Article: Summer with Savoy

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy has been pushed to increase the tempo.
But does he have to sing about drugs for that reason?



It could have been tempting to say that “Savoy’s summer album” is an impossibility. The band behind songs like “Rain” and “Lackluster Me” has for “Savoy Songbook Vol. 1” not just recorded songs like, well, “Rain” and “Lackluster Me” over again, in new and more tight versions, but they have also increased the tempo and written songs that don’t go along at half speed, that haven’t been written with the face against the wall in a dark room.

The first single “Karma Boomerang”, for example, describes a pleasant trip to the coffe house Grey Dogs in New York.

“But the song isn’t about the coffe house”, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy says.

And then he doesn’t say any more. That should be enough.

Floating quality
Drummer Frode Unneland would like to add that he, as a citizen of Bergen, feels that “Rain” is an appropriate summer song. Lauren tells us that she has always been fighting for the Savoy songs to be faster.

– Then you must have endured some defeats.

“I know! But that’s how it’s always been with Paul. He writes ballads, and then others have to convince him to increase the tempo. That’s what happened with a lot of the a-ha songs as well. “The Sun Always Shines On TV”, for example, started as a ballad.”

Paul nods and explains.

“But that’s something that gives many of the songs that distinctive, floating quality – the slow melody lines on top of a fast beat.”

On my way to do the interview, I thought that the new song “Best Western Beauty” had synth sounds and drum beats reminiscent of a-ha. This observation receives a mixed reception. Lauren says that she laughed so hard that she fell to the floor, when her husband came up with the synth riff for the song. The synth-performer himself is quiet for a moment.

“Well, it’s become easier for me to combine the two bands. It’s not so tense anymore”, he says.

He holds one of his arms out to one side. Implying that this arm symbolizes Savoy. He holds the other arm out to the other side, and is probably meant to symbolize a-ha. And while the arms approach each other, Paul says that he would like to spend more time on Savoy and that a-ha has always been there as this thing, and that he hopes to be more of a Savoy-man during this coming autumn. And then he lowers his hands, just before they meet.

– In “Karma Boomerang” there is a line that goes “You take your crystal pill / You get an instant thrill” – is this Savoy’s “Lucy In The Sky”-moment?

Paul’s eyebrows come flying up from under the pilot sunglasses.

“Well. You can choose. It’s either about heavy drugs. Or it could be a reference to the pills Lauren is taking against her lactose intolerance.”

At this point, Lauren chooses to illustrate how she laughed when she first heard the synth riff.

From Aftenposten, 7. August 2007.
By Espen A. Eik. Photo by Marlen Kihle.
Translation by Jakob

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