Hello there Savage Cut, and of course ‘special guest’ Jimbo! How the hell are we all? Just wanted to get you guys in to have a wee chat about what you are doing these days, your new collaboration track that will be getting released on the first ever NHC RECORDS LP, and what it means to be part of the always changing Savage Cut sound. So what have you guys been up to since last time we chatted then? Any huge changes since we last talked?
Hi – things are pretty good with us thanks – looking forward to the LP and really chuffed to have a track on it. We have been working hard on a project with local schools, getting kids from age 9 -15 into bands, teaching them a few chords and helping them with the odd song writing tip. We have 3 bands to record and a big show coming up in June…easy peasy! Apart from that we’ve released a couple of tracks – an instrumental Curse Of Code 13, and Making Up Lies with Garlands’ Gordon Harrow. We’re really pleased with how they have turned out. We finally broke our BBC duck too with a few plays by Vic Galloway and Nicola Meighan, which was nice! Another great thing was having ‘Andy From Finance’ with Leyla Josephine named the track of the year in the Scotland On Sunday.
You guys have been firing on all cylinders, constantly. I know I have probably said this before, but you don’t seem to have any filler at all, and every single track is a bloody smash, with the Jimbo McKellar one only proving that once more. Do you think that switching round vocalists for each track helps you keep up the quality?
Well, it certainly keeps things fresh, and I suppose takes a bit of pressure off us – we can’t really repeat ourselves if we keep changing the vocal focus…not that there was ever some kind of Machiavellian master plan!
So what goes into a Savage Cut track then? Do you guys write the music first then approach vocalists you like? Or do vocalists approach you with lyrics and then you write the songs around them?
Mostly we will write the tune first and then ask about to see who’s interested – send them a demo and if they can hear anything they like, we’ll record it properly before getting the vocals done. We’ve had a couple of lyrics sent to us, but haven’t gone down that road yet, but if something turns up…The closest thing to that was I had heard a song called The Hopetoun Quarry Murders – it was folky acoustic, but fancied trying it as a Nick Cavey murder ballad. I got in touch with the writer and got the permission to mess about with it. The beauty of it is that all of the guests have lifted the songs to a new level – they all bring their own ideas and energy to the process and we aren’t precious about anything – as long as it’s good.
Was it harder / more time consuming to put together, and release an album with so many vocalists involved in the one project?
Not really – we don’t mess about, we’ll record a couple of tracks in a 6 hour session, the vocals maybe another hour or so after a rough mix and the mixing and mastering is another few hours. We are lucky to have a great relationship with Robin Young at Live Rehearsals, who does all of our recording, mixing and mastering…he knows what we want and delivers every time. We’ve also had vocal tracks sent to us from USA and Greece, so that saved a few bob in air fares! Our main issue is playing live to be honest - Bobby Deans, Hextasy, Lisa Kowalski, and Jimbo have all trailed out, which is brilliant, but it really must be a pain for one song – we are just so grateful, it’s beyond words.
Do you ever get into disagreements on how a particular track should sound? If so, is this just expected during any writing project? How do you overcome obstacles like this (if indeed there is any!)
I can honestly say that as a band, we’ve never had a cross word – even more remarkable when you have a father and son in the mix! We are all pretty laid back and are just doing this for fun, so no egos need polished. Sunshine – the track on LP was buzzing about my head for weeks, so I came up with a lyric (about my wife Karen) and suggested Jim to do the vocal, but that’s about as dictatorial as it gets in Savage Cut.
Who came up with the idea of switching out vocalists for different tracks? Was it a planned thing, or just a natural progression from none of you guys wanting to be the singer!
We did our first load of tracks using samples, but that was wearing a bit thin. I think we’d always fancied working with others – rappers, poets, a choir etc. Sometimes when we are writing a tune, we can get a feel for what might fit.
So what’s coming up for 2018 then? Apart from the compilation LP of course! Any new gigs, songs, videos coming up you can tell us about?
2018 will see us finishing up with the Schools Band project, we are always writing, so we’ll probably churn out another 4 tracks this year. We don’t go hunting for gigs to be honest – if we are asked, we’ll do it if we can. The track I mentioned earlier, The Hopetoun Quarry Murders was sung by our mate, George Thom, who sadly died last month. George had been working on a video for it – story boards – the whole nine yards, and we’ve been in touch with the director to see about getting it finished for him, so that will be happening later this year. Apart from that, we’ll just bumble along looking out for new vocalists to pester!