Two years ago, an all-female English post-punk band called Savages released a debut record called Silence Yourself, a combination just incongruous enough to be attractive. The record was a tour de force not only in its furious sound, but also in its refreshing, unapologetic commentary on modern life: “Your head is spinning fast at the end of your spine until you have no face at all,” lead singer Jehnny Beth sings on “Shut Up.” “And yet, if the world would shut up, even for a while, perhaps we would start hearing the distant rhythm of an angry young tune and recompose ourselves.” Savages is here to refocus you, and they’ve promised no less with their second album (although they hope you dance a little, too).
We chatted with bassist Ayse Hassan ahead their FYF appearance on Saturday August 22. Here are five things to know about Savages before they take over Exposition Park.
→ As Savages “road-tested” new material during shows in New York earlier this year, American audiences helped shape their second record, which they’ll release in a few months.
“What’s great is that is that the songs have evolved in how they’re structured, or sound-wise,” Hassan says. “It was a great experience road-testing the songs in New York. It really helped developed them. The American audiences are brilliant. There’s such an excitement; we get such a good vibe from the crowd. It’s really nice to get something back—an intensity from the audience. It’s then a two-way thing we’re sharing.”
→ It will hit harder than their debut LP, Silence Yourself.
“I wanted to have a sound that was driven by a more [aggressive], brutal sound that would grab your attention. With the first record, there weren’t many effects used. With this record, the effects I’ve used are quite intense. There’s a track, “Surrender,” that I cannot wait to play live. I still want people to dance; I want people to enjoy the music, but I also want a more industrial, electronic edge. This time, we went in the studio knowing exactly what we wanted.”
→ The new album was mixed by—wait for it—Danish electronic producer Anders Trentemøller.
“It was a really interesting learning curve for us. This record feels like a progression in sound and process. We wanted to make something a bit out of the box. If you’re a rock band, you go to someone who makes rock music, and it’s like, ‘Well, actually, we have this opportunity to be fearless and try something different.’ We admire what Trentemøller does. It added a new dimension to what we’re doing. I’m a massive electronic fan, so I learned so much from being with him and watching him mix in his studio in Denmark. He got us, and it worked.”
→ They won’t compromise their music or their ethos for anyone, and they encourage you to do the same.
“This record is us trying to be fearless. When people listen to the record in its entirety, I hope they attach their own meaning to it and gain some strength that will help them in their everyday life. I hope it’s inspiring for people who are making music at the moment to be confident in what they’re trying to make and to do what they have to do. If someone puts a seed of doubt in your mind, try not to take that on board. Ultimately, fear will stop you from what you’re trying to do: It’s the mind-killer. You have to try to be true to yourself.”
→ If you can’t make it to FYF, you can catch them at The Roxy on Wednesday, August 26.
“We’re so excited for the West Coast shows. We’ll be playing songs off the new record, and we can’t wait to see how people respond to it. The only thing we know for sure is we’re going to be exhausted, but that’s a good thing.”