On this blog I have talked two times about post-punk band Savages. Once was about their amazing debut album, Silence Yourself; the other was about their live show and presence. This time I have managed to get an interview with Savages bassist Ayse Hassan. This interview was conducted via email and, though it may be short, Ayse was very kind to take time out of her busy schedule and answer these questions at length. Enjoy
Question: How did you become a member of Savages?
Answer: In many ways savages developed out of the break up of a band that Gemma and I were in. During that time our singer quit that band and we decided to continue as an instrumental group. After our first gig as an instrumental, we realised that it wasn't what we totally wanted to achieve live. So together Gemma and I quit that band, making the decision to continue making music together.....this new project quickly developed into what has become savages. During that time Gemma was playing session guitar in Jehn's band and that's how Jehn found out about this idea of Savages, originally we wanted a male singer but Jehn was interested. We were surprised as we never consider she would be, in fact we had not even considered having a female singer.... finally we found Fay through a friend and shortly after we got together in a rehearsal room and started writing music as savages. It felt right and we knew that what we had could develop into something special.
Q: What about the band made you want to become or stay on as a member? Was it that you wanted to play music, or was there something a little more special that you felt was being done with the band that you wanted to be part of?
A: You know when things just feel right. We just had a connection with each other and making music together just worked. It was an interesting union as we all brought various experiences and influences to the group, which always seems to keep things exciting and in many ways challenging.
Q: Who and what inspires you both creatively and as a person? What films, books, records, or people have really helped make you who you are?
A: Like everyone,I am a product of every thing that has come before me. There are many moments in my life that has contributed to what i am now and the music i'm involved in making. I think in many ways i'm driven by a desire to make music, a passion to entirely lose myself in a sound, a drum beat and to make music in a way that is true to me. It's quite simple, music is something that i've always loved and it's an important part of what i need as a human.
Films: There are many influences film wise. But the one thing i watched numerous times would be Best of Bowie collection - which documented every song over the years, this made every bone in my body ache to make music at that very moment....... Another would be The seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman, everything in life is so connected to death, for me it feels like the same sort of partnership with music...whilst i'm alive i will always make some form of music...it comes hand in hand. Savages is very much about simplicity and going back to the primative part of music that humans connect with...also with the use of silence in the movie and how we use silence within our music, trying to avoid distractions, remove anything that isn't necessary and getting to the point. It's an amazing film and a game we all play with death on a day to day basis, when we really think about. Although people only realise their mortality when faced with something that highlights it. The movie sends my thoughts into overload as there is some much to ponder.
Q: What do you hope to convey to people who listen to your music? To me there seems to be a sense of personal freedom in your music. Is that something you feel you are trying to convey to listeners and fans?
A: This is a hard question to answer without sounding pretentious however i hope that our music does challenge how people see themselves and the world around them. For people to be true to themselves, which we try to reflect in the decisions we've made over the course of the two years we've been together, to choose a path that is right for us regardless of how hard that path might be... To challenge life, to strive for more and not let fear hold you back. On a basic level, it would be great if for a moment people avoid the distractions of the everyday world and lose themselves in the music we make, to feel a connection with a sound or beat and to have a good time without any need to conform....i hope our shows give people the strength to just be themselves and enjoy what we do.
For just a moment to truly listen.
Though this interview is a gateway of sorts into the heads of these highly acclaimed women and what they are all about. It is clear the Savages is a band that has something they are trying to say artistically and though they may be coming from a place that has existed before, they are not trying to exploit that place, or even play a simple homage to it. In fact, they are trying to add their own artistic voice to it and reach across to as many people as they can in hopes that they will be able to, as Ayse put it, help people feel a connection with a sound or beat. However, Ayse giving me this interview shows another thing; despite the fact that they are a band of acclaim, they don't treat others like less or act like cocks for it. These post-punkers 'get it' and have a lot to say within their music, and that's something so beautiful it is beyond words.