Savages Lament "Phoney" Indie, Discuss Influence of Genesis P-Orridge and Pornography on 'Silence Yourself'
Published Apr 02, 2013Eliminating hype-band skepticism with furious wails and psychedelic poise, post-punk quartet Savages recently bejeweled the crown of CMW with two shows in Toronto. Speaking beforehand to Exclaim! about the British-based group's upcoming debut, Silence Yourself, frontwoman Jehnny Beth (real name Camille Berthomier) outlined some ideas underpinning the band's ethos.
"Music has emancipated me, pornography has emancipated me, people, lovers. And I think music and words combined have this potential to change consciousness," she explains, before elaborating on the text found on the album's cover. "The Silence Yourself poem is the idea that people are too distracted by things, and you lose control of yourself, because someone else is clearly trying to take control of us. To sell us another thing, or distract us from ourselves. That's a dangerous thing. And music and sexuality are a really important key to explore ourselves."
London-based Jehnny Beth previously mapped the industry circuit with former outfit John & Jehn. She sees Savages, along with the Pop Noire label she co-founded with that band's John (aka Nicolas Congé), as an opportunity to re-infuse British music with independence, existential purpose and abrasive righteous anger.
"I think guitar music nowadays tends to be less and less artistically driven," she explains. "What we call indie music today is very dry, this phoney thing. It's an institution — people don't surprise themselves anymore."
She continues: "We're artists, so we should explore what it is to be a human. The most extreme or modern version of that is Genesis P-Orridge from Throbbing Gristle. She was a man, and then she turned into a woman. I wish I could do that, in a way: Have this total awareness... And potentially, people who come to see us play, they will receive a sound, they will receive a word, and something will happen. They will go back home and maybe they will look at their husbands differently, look at their family differently, friends, lovers, their job, what kind of music they listen to. Because nothing else is asking you to think about these things! Where are the things that make you reflect? And pop music is such a direct thing, it's a great power, a great tool, a great medium."
Savages' debut LP Silence Yourself, which features a clarinet solo by jazz legend Duke Garwood, will be out May 7 via Matador/Pop Noire. You can see the band's upcoming tour stops below, as well as listen to the newly revealed "She Will."
4/11 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
4/13 Indio, CA - Coachella Festival
4/15 Portland, OR - Bunk Bar
4/16 Seattle, WA - Neumo's
4/18 San Francisco, CA - The Independent
4/20 Indio, CA - Coachella Festival