Savages On Love, Death And Why They’re Not As Serious As You Might Think

Jehnny Beth, lead singer of Savages, describes the band’s second album ‘Adore Life’ as “rollercoaster music”, and she’s spot on. The follow up to the London snarlers’ 2013 debut ‘Silence Yourself’ jerks, twists and crashes for all of its 39 minutes. Here, she and drummer Fay Milton delve into its story, and explain their gang mentality.

‘Adore Life’ is all about love

Jehnny Beth: “We try to make music that grabs your attention. The album is quite psychotic, neurotic and weird. At each corner there’s a surprise. Sex, jealousy and the complications of love are hard to write about, not because they’re painful, but because you have to put yourself in the position of someone who doesn’t have the answer to the by-products of love. I’m showing what it feels like when you’re in the middle of it and really struggling, the fucking difficult times you have to go through to be free in love.”

Drummer Fay Milton almost cried when she first heard the lyrics to ‘Adore’

Fay: “They make me think of not wanting to die, which is one of the biggest fears if you’re enjoying life. It’s something we all block out, but it’s there and those lyrics made me face up to that and think about how much I enjoy life and how much I don’t want to die and how scared of it I am.”

They’ve never made as much noise as they’re making right now

Jehnny: “We definitely wanted to do a loud record. The first songs we did were quiet and slow because the room we were in wasn’t big enough to blast the sound. We want something that shakes people up. I respond better to loud parts of our songs, I think they’re so exciting. It needs to feel exciting no matter what. It needs to give you chills. I always think of it like every note is your last breath, everything is about to collapse but it never does.”
Fay: “We like loud bands like Queens Of The Stone Age or Swans. There’s something very physical and enjoyable about loud sound, everyone who’s ever been to a club and stood by a speaker can understand that. It can change your energy, change your vibrations.”

They’re a gang

Jehnny: “It’s a gang that is constantly looking for its own telepathy, for answers and ways to feel better and to be 100% all the time. I always need that kind of environment, my mind loves it. Being in a band is the story of human beings working together, it’s real. I really enjoy that.”
Fay: “It’s important for us to always be together. We spend our lives together, travelling, playing live, being each other’s best friends and each other’s sisters and looking out for each other and taking time to understand each other when we’re not at our best. We all hate being told what to do, we always do what we want and we only take advice from ourselves.”

They’re not as serious as they look

Fay: “It’s funny being seen as serious. We don’t think it’s negative, we think it’s completely fine. We’re not serious in a miserable way; we’re serious in a wild way. No one looks at Nick Cave and goes ‘Oh he’s sooo serious’, it’s like ‘he’s serious and it’s fucking cool’. As people we’re all really nice and silly and stupid and we say rude things and laugh our heads off, but we have this image in the press. Maybe it’s because we always look miserable in photos!”

Their live show will shake you to the core…

Jehnny: “I never want to have a cold show, I never want to have a show where people stand stiff and don’t get out of their minds or freak out somehow. You want a reaction. It feels really like freedom.”
Fay: “We’re a live band; you don’t understand who we are unless you see us play live. We did a residency in New York before recording; we wanted to get that live feel into it. Everything gets faster and harder live, pumped full of adrenalin. We want people to feel like they’ve seen us live when they hear the record, rather than a quieter version.”

…and singer Jehnny Beth might step on your head

Jehnny: “[Walking on the crowd] comes from a desire to respond, to give back. You want to feel you’re giving as much as you’re receiving. We started to get mosh pits at pretty much all of our shows and I really wanted to get a reaction from the crowd, so I was pushing and pushing it and started doing it.”