Last Thursday, Anh Phi and the Poule interviewed Jack Savidge -the drummer of Friendly Fires- at the Colette Offices in Paris. He was in town for a DJ set at Social Club the night after. Funny guy, here is the result. (For a french version, see Voluume.fr)
Are you ready for tomorrow night?
Yea. I think I need to get to sleep at some point, got a really early start from London this morning. I’m so dying tonight, sort of living on coffee right now.
So, you’re doing the DJ set by yourself?
Yea it's just me, we've been in the studio all week. It's kind of me who does the DJing.
Can you tell us how it's going to sound?
I think it’s going to sound, I don’t know. It's probably going to sound heavy.
Is it going to sound like your Bugged Out mix?
Yea probably like more the banging end of it.
About your Bugged Out mix, you say it's a tribute to New York house music.
I think one of our songs, the one with Azari & III would probably fit into that country, the rest of the mix we were kind of trying to be as varied as possible without being to patchy. A lot of tracks are from disco, house, boogie and classic house as well.
Why did you do this mix?
We were asked by Bugged Out to contribute a mix to their series, they’ve had such great success with them, It’s just been a fantastic series. Like the Damian Lazarus' one in particular.
What did XL Recordings think about it?
I think they were happy to go along with it, maybe they were thinking that we should have spent the time recording the new album. Making a new record often seems like such a big task in front of you that you got to break out by doing sort of extracurricular things that remind you that making music is meant to be fun.
Are you the only one of the band that made the mix?
We chose a pool of about 40 tracks and then I went in and stitched it all together.
You said that your favorite mix would be the one released in 2004 by Ivan Smagghe. How far did it influence in this mix?
I don’t know, his mix is sort of acidic and perhaps somewhere towards the end it's sort of emulating that. I guess ours is maybe a bit more varied.
The song that you exclusively wrote for the mix is the one with Azari & III. What was it like working with them?
It was good, very easy. It was kind of the first time we ever collaborated with another band. It's kind of a weird process because you email things back and forth. Sometimes it’s easy to feel that you are missing the point of what they’re trying to get at and then you take the track off in a different way and they are wondering, "Why did you do that?” Sometimes there is a bit of the creative process lost in translation when you’re doing it over email.
So you have never actually met then?
No, well, we have met them a few times but this was done over email. It’s never ideal, but I think what we modeled together worked. But what you’re hearing is version 12 or whatever. I don’t know maybe one day you’ll hear versions 1 to 11. It’s a funny process I think if we done it again we might make sure that we were in the same room at some point. But that said, I’m not knocking the track at all, I love the track and it seems to go down well when I play it out
Does the song announce the sound of your second album?
Not really, no. The second album sounds a bit more.. I don’t know, I think the average BPM is lower overall and a bit slower, maybe a bit more sensual and indulgent.
So where are you right now with your second album?
Somewhere between 65 and 70 per cent. It’s a work fully in progress. We were working on it this week with Paul Epworth. The recording process is going on a little longer than we expected but it sounding great, I’m really really excited.
In your song Paris on the first album Ed Macfarlane sings “One day we're going to live in Paris, I promise” So is it true?
Haha, yea I don’t know, I mean Ed wrote the lyrics, so I can’t speak for him but I suppose the song is more about a romantic idea about leaving the kind of boring place where you live now and just living somewhere exotic.
And do you like Paris?
Yea I like Paris a hell of a lot. The people have always treated us really well and its always been a pleasure to come.
There is a band called Bot’Ox in the mix. What do you think about Botox in general?
Haha, I probably wouldn’t get it, but I don’t know, when I start getting wrinkles I’ll reconsider my position. But I think it does really change people because you can tell they’ve had it because they can’t make any facial impressions. Do you know Anne Robinson? She is a TV game show host in Britain and has a horrible amount of Botox it makes her look like, do you know the film Mask? She looks like him now. And she ginger as well.
Are you an Egyptian lover?
There is only one Egyptian lover and that is the Egyptian Lover.
I had a question for Ed, but I think you can reply for him. He is very famous for his dance moves. Do you know if he trained for that?
No, I mean, can you not tell, that it comes straight from the heart. I can definitely vouch for him that he has never had a minute of dance schooling in his life.
I would like to do a little a game, so I will show you some images and you tell me what come to your mind.
Is this like a psychological test?
Well, I think you know most of the images, so here is the first one. (Klaxons - Surfing The Void)
Oh, I like this cover actually. The guys who did the cover did the artwork for the bugged out mix. I think it a good image. I mean, cats doing stuff is always a win, isn’t it. Cats in any kind of funny position is money for all broke.
And what do you think about the band?
We played with them a couple of times. They’re really nice. I wasn’t really too sure about their second album at first. There are songs that great like Golden Skans but it feels like they are kind of a bit noisy. They have good literary references but they kind of seem to take their music a bit hard. I would be really interested to hear their lost album because I imagine that’s probably far more up my street.
I don’t know if you know this one (Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing)
Yea I like this, I play the Andrew Weatherall remix of Sweet Love For Planet Earth. I love the band and I love most things that Andrew Weatherall has done. He is a huge hero of mine, DJing-wise he is amazing and yea, great artwork, fantastic artwork. I haven’t seen them live actually.
I think you know this one (Golden Silvers – True Romance)
Oh yea, we played with them, I think the drummer is fantastic. He's really, really funky and again nice artwork. I like a lot of their songs. They have really great minimal arrangements.
Next one. Which one do you prefer? (Foals – Total Life Forever)
I love this one. They’re probably the band we are most friendly with in England because we toured with them. It’s a fantastic record, such a good progression from their first album. Also it hangs together beautiful as an album. Feels like every song is part of a larger home, which is rare these days because albums seems to be sort of throwing together weird songs and EPs. That’s always the case with debut albums, I mean not that this is a debut album but this is great as well.
Last one, not sure if you know him, Four Tet. (Four Tet - Pause)
Four Tet, yea, haven’t heard this but I know when he DJs he plays a lot of UK garage which is always a plus in my book.
One of your influences, Carl Craig, is on twitter since yesterday. And today, Courtney Love joined it. And you, what do you think about twitter?
I love twitter, totally addicted to it. Especially the fake twitters where someone writes pretending to be someone else and writing ridiculous stuff. There is an amazing one of Fabio Capello that is obviously not Fabio Capello, but it just seems to be a repository of someone who has just the basest level of humor, like the lowest form of pure art humor, which I love. There is one really good one that popped up which is probably a reference you won’t get but there is a newsreader in the UK called Moira Stuart. She is very proper and has the real authority on the news but they’ve done a fake one of her where she is just .. like there is one today where she is saying "just stroked a hairless cat and it felt like a dead man's ball sack." just like nonsense like that. Also Tim Westwood, he is a hip hop DJ in England, he has this overly hip hop persona and yet he is writing like "I’m in a post-office eating a sausage." It's just genius. I love twitter.
And what do you tweet as well?
I kind of dip in and out of it. I tend to go crazy on it and then go why did I write all this stuff and what do the people reading this think of me now they’ve read this. So I think at the moment I’m trying to regain my courage to get back in the game because it only takes one too many drinks and you’ll be writing absolute bullshit on it and you read it back and you think oh my god what must these people think of me. I think in order to be really one with twitter you have to do away with those worries.
So can we follow you?
Yea of course.
So where are you going after this interview?
Probably back to the hotel. Take a nap. That's kind of boring, isn’t it.
I don’t know, I’m totally on loose end and I have nothing planned and I don’t know what to do with myself. What do you think I should do?
I don’t know, sightseeing, go some places in Paris.
I’m kind of bored by sightseeing. Give me something good to do.
For tonight, you can maybe go to Of Montreal. They’re playing tonight with We Have Band.
Oh, okay. Where is that?
At La Cigale, it’s next to Pigalle. Or you can go to the movie theater. I don't know..
Hahaha, oh, good one. Okay, I’ll consider all those options. Thank you.
Thank you Charles and Christophe who allowed us to do this interview. Questions and photos by Anh Phi. Transcription by Yours Truly.
Thank you Anh Phi for setting it up. It's been fun. And Jack's DJ set the day after certainly had Paris rockin' :