18 – INTERVIEW: Cole Salewicz from ‘The Savage Nomads’
In February, I photographed South-London based band ‘The Savage Nomads’ at The Dublin Castle in Camden and to say that they stole the night is an understatement. The 4-piece band, consisting of Cole Salewicz (Guitar and Vocals), Billy Boone (Drums and Vocals), Josh Miles (Bass & Vocals) and Joe Gillick (Guitar & Vocals), have received highly complimentary comments from the likes of ‘The Clash’ founder Mick Jones and rave reviews from The Guardian and BBC 6 Music.
2011 looks to be a massive year for the band with their debut album ‘Coloured Clutter’ being released in the Summer and they are supporting ‘Big Audio Dynamite’ in April at The Shepherds Bush Empire. At the beginning of the month, I interviewed the band’s front-man Cole Salewicz to talk about how the band started and what ‘The Savage Nomads’ have in store for us this year:
CD: How did the band form? Was it a case of jamming with some mates and it just progressed naturally from there?
Cole: I’d been playing in a few groups around South London and ended up playing bass in a shortly lived electro-pop group called Sailor No Youth with Lauren Jones (Mick Jones’s daughter) and Del Vegas (serious badman guitar player who’s been around the way and back again). Del introduced me to his cousin Josh who was a bass player once he’d heard some of my songwriting efforts (which were predominantly stripped down punk back then). It was pretty perfect as Josh was and is a feisty little fella who says nothing but does the job perfect. I’d known Billy from playing in a few groups and asked him to join. We supported Mick Jones at his Carbon/Silicon residency: Carbon Casino at Inn On The Green and gigged for about another year, throwing out and throwing up guitar players until we met the one and only Joe Gillick. Boom: The Savage Nomads!
CD: Yeah, I found out that the band were inspired to perform as a serious act since you were invited by Mick Jones to perform at one of his Carbon Casino Events in 2008. That is only 3 years ago – do you feel that the band are progressing quickly and are you satisfied with how far the band have come since that gig?
Cole: Yeah it’s been an interesting journey, to be honest I try not to get too self-analytical about how we’re doing because it does strange things to my state of mind. I’m very happy that we’re making music that people are enjoying and I hope we can continue to reach wider audiences and play everywhere and anywhere that will have us. Those shows with Mick were absolutely key.
CD: As a young band, just really starting out in 2008 and getting an endorsement from a legend like Mick Jones, did it put a great deal of pressure on the band?
Cole: We’re too blindly naiive to understand pressure.
CD: Your music seems to capture and contain a variety of styles and I feel that moulding these styles together has created your own sound. Can you name any influences that the band have? Or is there too many to name??
Cole: It’s difficult to pinpoint anyone genre or era of music that has had the most resonance. I think we’ve got our parents to thank for their excellent record collections and I suppose we’re reaping the benefits of living in an age where you can share music amongst your friends incredibly easily. I think this is a beautiful thing. I never would of discovered or even understood so much music if it wasn’t for the other Savage Nomads. We’re always hyped about something new. Gotta check out the competition haha!
CD: Do the band find songwriting a difficult process or does it come naturally? How does the songwriting process work for ‘The Savage Nomads’?
Cole: I write the words in a very short burst, like in 2 minutes… Sometimes 3 or 4 songs at a time and then nothing for months. Joe, Billy and Josh are master arrangers and will write the majority of the music. They gel incredibly well and it’s a pleasure to watch: It’s a very organic process. Sometime s we’ll write a bit of music and leave it for months and then find it fits in with song X perfectly…Joe’s gotta wide canon of unique riffs…
CD: The journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson once wrote: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
In your experiences so far in your (and the band’s) career in music, do you agree with his tongue-in-cheek comments? Have you experienced the “dog eat dog” mentality of the music industry so far?
Cole: That’s wondrously serendipitous; I read that quote and it pretty much inspired me to write the song ‘Burnt-Out Case’ which is on the album. The music industry is just like any business: they want cash and they’re ruthless cats. When I wrote the words to that song we were dealing in the midst of figuring out which label to sign to and I found the whole process extremely depressing. I almost wanted to give up.
CD: What do ‘The Savage Nomads’ have in store for us during the next 12 months?
Cole: Well we’re about to play our biggest ever shows at The Shepherd’s Bush Empire supporting Big Audio Dynamite on the 2nd and 3rd of April and our new single, ‘The Magic Eye’ comes out mid-April – the video is going to make your eyes pop out your head. The Halsall Brothers or SimplePictures Productions as they’re sometimes known are a force to be reckoned with; they do all our artwork and videos are true masters of their trade: another example of South London talent. Our debut album, ‘Coloured Clutter’ comes out as a full physical release in the first week of June on Alaska Sounds. We’ll be touring too and please hit us up on twitter, facebook and youtube. A new website is coming very soon too…
You should all keep an eye out for their debut album due for release in the first week of June! Until then, have a listen to a track from their debut EP “What The Angel Said” which was released at the end of last year:
Links for ‘The Savage Nomads’:
Official Website: www.thesavagenomads.com