Savages set for Manchester Ritz

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If dystopia ever became reality, “Silence Yourself” would prove its ideal soundtrack.

Savages’ brooding debut is uncompromisingly ruthless; an industrial and fearless post-punk punch in the gut, yet an ironic ray of light in music’s conveyor belt of mainstream monotony.

Its icy, bleak workings warm with every listen and the critical acclaim that surrounds it should come as no surprise. This is a band who are working for their living.

“Whenever we go to a venue the first thing we think is what should the setlist be for that night because it all depends on the location; whether there’s anything special about that venue that we want to associate with and add into our set,” says bassist Ayse Hassan. “There’s so many different things that might make us alter what we play, even the soundtrack we play before we come on. We try and see the whole night as an event. It’s good to do because it keeps it interesting for us and for the people who are coming to see us. If you’re touring a lot it’s great to keep it fresh and entertaining and try new things. The best way to do it is on stage and live.

“The last year has been a lot of hard work. It has gone so quickly. People don’t see when you go to bed aching because you have put so much into a show that your body physically hurts. You don’t really have time to stand back and see how things have progressed.”

Things have progressed though. And recognition (the band have been nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize with the winner chosen tonight) has of course bred popularity but Hassan does not foresee them neglecting their more intimate live surroundings.

“What is more peculiar for us is playing a festival in the daylight, that is something that we’ve had to work towards getting better at doing, because of the nature of our music. At larger venues we just encounter the problems other bands may have, like with sound and the music we make but, generally, it transfers well I think. Personally I prefer the smaller venues just because I love seeing my favourite bands in smaller venues. There is more of a connection there. I hope that whatever happens with us we always go back to playing intimate venues because I love when a band connects with an audience. It’s like a party and people can feel directly involved.

“It happens, that as bands get bigger, more people want to see them and they have to accommodate that by playing bigger venues. I have only been to a big arena once and I hated it. I don’t know if that’s something I would like to do. There’s something about venues of that size. You lose something. This is me speaking as a fan. I hope that we can always accommodate our fans in smaller venues or even interesting places. We’re always open to looking for places that are interesting for us to research and work out how we are going to achieve putting on a night there. We want it to be memorable for the audience.”

As for the Mercury nomination, it’s an honour but not something that defines what they are currently doing.

“It is what it is. If we get recognised for what we are doing in any form of award or whatever that is nice. I don’t think any of us ever really thought about it when we first started. It’s just one of those things that has happened to come along and it’s great to be recognised, especially as there are so many great bands out there. It won’t change how much work we put in.”

November sees no let up, with a UK tour and a smattering of dates across Europe. A short break from touring follows though and a chance for the band to immerse themselves in writing, something Hassan is looking forward to.

“We always try to play songs which are in various stages of finishing, during soundchecks. In the last tour which we’ve done, the American tour, we’ve been so busy that we haven’t really had time to write. We’re going to try and take a bit of time out in December/January and write and finish new material which is actually quite a nice relief. I think it’s really nice to get back in the studio, shut that door and get on with creating music.”

Before that door shuts though, Savages play Manchester Ritz on Saturday, November 9th.