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1st March 2013

Interview: Jack Savoretti

Phoebe Clarke chats to Jack Savoretti on his number album, and finds out whether being compared to Bob Dylan ever gets old.

“You always have to up your game when playing an English crowd – they’re unique” explains Indie breakthrough Jack Savoretti. Lounging in one of the many cafés amid the concrete monster that is Salford’s Media City, he describes his UK experiences touring alongside Jake Bugg as distinctive. “I always find the English tougher because they’re very used to good music, whereas in other parts of the world, they’re not as spoilt for choice.” We’re flattered.

However, with three successful studio albums under his belt as well as world tours supporting Gavin DeGraw and Corinne Bailey Rae, Jack Savoretti is no stranger to recognition, earning comparisons to Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan for his lyrical fluidity. He comments humbly “it’s always flattering to get any comparison like that, granted a little silly. Although Simon & Garfunkel was the first time that I heard music and thought wow, this means something. It stopped me in my tracks – they were the main reason I started song-writing.”

Many of his songs have featured in TV series, including the OC and the Postgrad, “I studied cinematography at university and my dream was always to put music to film. A soundtrack can make or break a movie and it’s definitely something I’d like to explore further in the future. Simon & Garfunkel’s soundtrack to the Graduate made it one of my favourite movies growing up. It blew my mind.”

Albeit ‘silly’ to the Italian stallion, the comparisons to old greats are certainly well-founded. Describing song-writing as make-up that colours lyrical intensity, Savoretti explains how he was never very musical, instead preferring poetry for artistic expression. “I used to scribble a lot of free verses. However, a poem is a very intimate thing to ask someone to read. People have a lot more time for what you want to say if it’s carried by music.”

It is precisely these poetical parallels that give Savoretti’s writing such raw authenticity. He continues “thoughts on a page are freer rather than in a rhyme scheme. Free verse poetry is like complete freedom and I still enjoy it for that but whenever I want to share things I put it into a song! Song-writing is a craft and has been done a lot of times but if it means something to you then it’s likely that it’ll mean something to someone else too.”

This ethos is shown no better than by his newest single ‘Not Worthy’ that embodies a self-deprecating yet personal message. “Not Worthy is about looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking what a prat, how did I end up here? Why have I done these things? It ended up being quite self-reflective. Everyone can be a prick sometimes and these songs are my way of saying sorry. I think that’s the reason why their connecting more than anything else – they’re genuine.” Time has also seen Savoretti develop a more stripped-back sound. “I’ve slowly tried to go more towards the band sound. Every song you hear on Before the Storm is one full take. It’s four or five guys in a room, locking the door and pressing record – it’s real.”

However, with a new album on the horizon produced by Adele’s bass player and musical director Sam Dixon, Savoretti promises to “take it up a notch in terms of sound elegance”, involving some experimental collaborations. “I was in the studio yesterday with DJ Fresh. He’s an old friend and so we did a song together which is going to sound nuts if it’s ever released!” We have high hopes.

Phoebe Clarke

Phoebe Clarke

Saxophonist, Composer/Arranger and current Music student at the University of Manchester. Phoebe has been writing for the Music section of the Mancunion since 2011 and was appointed editor in September 2013.

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