Jack Savoretti: ‘The day I come to a show and everybody in the crowd looks the same, is the day I quit’.

The Courier Sent Robyn Wainwright along to Jack Savoretti's recent gig at the O2 Academy, where she got the chance to chat to him about his latest album, Sleep No More, and the process behind it

Robyn Wainwright
7th December 2016

Image: Robyn Wainwright

There is no denying that Jack Savoretti wowed and entertained his extremely diverse audience at the 02 Academy Newcastle. Providing his fans little snippets of personal information about particular songs, Jack created a close and connected atmosphere. Performing songs from all of his albums, his raspy, old-school voice didn’t disappoint in such a large space. He paid particular reference to ‘Dreamer’, the first song he performed in Newcastle years ago at The Cluny, demonstrating his growth in popularity over recent years. He addressed his audience “Thanks to you guys, last week we came in at number 6 in the album charts. Thank you very much”. An artist with such genuine gratitude deserves to keep his loyal and unwavering fan base. I managed to chat with Jack before his gig about his new album, his writing and his varied audience.

RW: I read that all the songs on the Sleep No More album were recorded the same day as they were written. Is that true?

JS: Sort of. I did that with the last album. Every song was recorded the same day it was written, that’s kind of how it works. It’s not that we try to record it all in a day but I record while I write so I like to do the things simultaneously. That usually means by the end of the day we’re pretty close to the finished product. We do add things later, we do touch things up if we can fix something, the strings usually always come later, but the basis of the songs is all done on the same day it’s written.

RW: Sleep No More is a very emotional album. Is it semi-autobiographical?

JS: Yeah, all my records are. Autobiographical doesn’t mean it’s necessarily happened to me, it means that I’m seeing it. My imagination can only go so far, it’s usually if I’ve seen something that I don’t like or I really like or something I find unjust or overwhelmingly beautiful. So it’s a combination of things, but it’s usually something I’ve experienced or seen. Especially on this album.

RW: What’s your favourite song? Not just from this album but from all of them?

JS: (He puts his head in his hands) Oh I don’t know. I haven’t written it yet as Paul McCartney once said. Erm, yeah I think that’s the feeling. You always feel like you haven’t written it yet, but you’re getting closer and closer to your favourite song. The last one you write is always pretty close, closest to what you’re going through at the time. I always think that songs are a bit like photographs and art, and albums are like photo albums. Usually the first ones you take are usually further back, and when you look back on them, the most recent one means a lot to you but you’re more fascinated by the ones that happened long ago.  So I can’t choose a favourite.

"My imagination can only go so far, it’s usually if I’ve seen something that I don’t like or I really like or something I find unjust or overwhelmingly beautiful."

RW: So what was the last song that you wrote for the Sleep No More album?

JS: That’s a good question actually. I remember the first one, the first one was definitely ‘When We Were Lovers’. The last one….(he pauses)…probably…’Living In The Moment’. I think ’Living In The Moment’ might have been the last one. It almost didn’t make it onto the album. Err, it was very positive compared to the rest of them (he laughs). It doesn’t quite fit in.

RW: I know you’re a fan of Bob Dylan and Otis Reading, are there any contemporary artists that you’re into?

JS: I’m huge fan of Half Moon Run, a Canadian band. I’m a huge fan of Broken Bells. I’m a big fan of Mystery Jets. Erm, lots of stuff. Singer-songwriters I love, Max Jury, he’s really good, he toured with us actually. I’m now a very big fan of Jones (his support act for this tour). I’m a HUGE fan of LP, I think she’s the best thing to hit the music industry in a long time. Yeah there’s loads of people.

"I’ve always said the day I come to a show and everybody in the crowd looks the same, is the day I quit"

RW: Your music is really universal. There is a huge range of ages that listen to your music. Is that something you bear in mind when you’re writing or is it something that happens naturally form your music?

JS: I don’t bear it mind when I’m writing, I bear that in mind when I’m living. I am terrified and despise trends and anything about them.  I’ve seen so many friends in bands were I’ve gone to their shows and everybody looks the same, and that really freaks me out (he laughs). I’m not a big fan of groups. I don’t like when people get categorised and I’m surprised when people choose to be categorised, I’ve never had that. I guess because I grew up in a very multi-cultural environment we all did it together. So I think in life in general, from the people I work with, and the people I make music with I never like to get stuck into a niche, of people that only listen to the same music or only wear the same clothes. That freaks me out, so I always look into the crowd every night and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of. What we’re trying to do here is not have that, and not depend on a trend. I’ve seen a 60 year old woman stood next to a 25 year old skinhead with tattoos on his face dancing along together. I think that’s pretty cool and that’s what we’re trying to do. I go to a lot of shows and I don’t see that very often. You can tell the band by the audience, and I’ve always said the day I come to a show and everybody in the crowd looks the same, is the day I quit. It means they’re not there for the music anymore, they’re there for something else. And I don’t want the responsibility of that (he laughs and shakes his head). When it’s more of a fashion statement or a trend, something that’s passing through. I have nothing against that but that’s not what we’re trying to do.

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