On their first trip to LA, Brooklyn based duo Savoir Adore played to a packed house last week in Echo Park’s The Echo. Savoir Adore is Paul Hammer and Deidre Muro, who together have created fantastical indie pop music that marries whimsy and folk with a pop backbone. Before their spectacular 45 minute set which got the crowd going with songs mainly from their currently unreleased (it drops this month) new album “Our Nature,” I headed to the Echo’s outdoor patio to get to know Deirdre and Paul. Both are pleasantly down to earth, earnest and excited. Deidre smiling widely through perfectly painted red lips and Paul glistening and wide-eyed from a rigorous sound check, we made small talk about the lovely Los Angeles weather and the plethora of amazing Mexican joints in this city. Casualties exchanged, the duo then shared some insights about their band, their sound and what to expect from their newest album.
Alright let’s start with the basic boring stuff that everybody asks. How did you meet, how did you start playing together?
P: “NYU in college actually. Well, we met in a songwriting club believe it or not. I was a sophomore, [she] was a freshman, or maybe a year later.”
D: “We were both just doing our own thing. We didn’t start making music together for a few years after that.”
P:” We played a lot of shows together as like singer/songwriters, as like solo artists and eventually we sort of thought it’d be fun to – we had similar interests in sort of breaking out of it – so we decided well you know we are into all these different kinds of things. Why don’t we experiment a little bit? We gave ourselves a weekend to record something completely different. The only rule we had was – we had 48 hours and the only rule is no acoustic guitars because that’s how we’d been playing for 4 years. So at the end of that weekend we had like our first EP, which like we didn’t have a name yet or anything, we didn’t have a band and we just ended up passing it around and eventually through some connections, Deirdre’s husband David actually was producing MGMT’s first record, their EP and their label at the time was Cantora Records. One of the guys there heard the EP and was just like “oh.” It was just through those sort of connections of just passing around the EP that they then came to one of our first shows and were like – wasn’t even a Savoir Adore show – we played like some of the songs from the EP and then some covers of our solo things. …And he was like why don’t you go upstate again like because we ended up recording everything in upstate New York at my parents house, because my dad’s a musician as well, but um it was really that that formed the band. This one experiment and just being encouraged to do more and after 2 or 3 weekends we had our first album’s worth of material. Literally within 6 months Cantora records wanted to sign us and that was pretty much the birth.”
What instruments do you play?
P: “In studio we pretty much play everything but live Deirdre plays key and I play guitar and we sing together all the time. I’m very good at the recorder, also very good at the synth recorder.”
D: “Paul is very good at -“
D: “bass and the drums. Oh my god he said everything, but he really means it! It’s true. He’s very good at anything he picks up.”
P: “That’s not true! But we play everything. Deidre played some sick bass on the EP.”
How do you two collaborate when you write songs?
P: “It really varies. There are some tendencies.”
D: “We’ve done it every way.”
P: “It started with jamming in a room.”
D: “On instruments we were both not very good at. Just to put ourselves outside of our comfort zones basically.”
P: “It’s fun because when you play an instrument that you don’t really know the mechanics of but you know what you want to do, you make these – weird things happen.”
D: “And you break out of your habits. Be they good or bad. You’re forced to do something new, because you’ve never done it before.”
So Savoir Adore means knowing love. Is that meant to be indicative of your music?
P: “A bit yeah.”
D: “The name was created very quickly, almost haphazardly.”
P: “And it became more meaningful later because it sort of just fit and worked. When we started it was really just because – the first time we recorded even before this EP we were recording this weird ambient song where Deirdre sang in French and we were just sort of like– At that time we didn’t really know how to share music with people. Oh you have to make a Myspace, so this was like 5 years ago, 6 years ago. And literally we were like what’s a good name? What’s a name that makes sense -Savoir Adore.”
Are either of you French?
P: “No, but we both love French culture.”
D: “Amateur Frankophiles.”
How would you describe your music. What genre would you put yourself in?
D: “Paul gets very creative with this. We get asked this kind of question often. It’s very difficult.”
P: “It’s hard because, I don’t think it falls into a musical category.”
D: “And if it does, it falls into like 8 of them.”
P: “I think a lot of times we combine 80s sound with 60s songwriting.”
D: “But not even all the time. 90s songwriting even more so.”
P: “That’s why I think it’s more about the escapist nature of it. The fantasy pop thing pops up a lot, fantasy pop, fantasy rock. I don’t know if that’s something we would necessarily agree with 100% because we vary a lot.”
D: “No no no, but I think it is true, always, it relates to our imaginary place that we write all this from and it’s pop music.”
P: “We also have very different influences and interests in music we listen to. I think the thing that what we really cross over in is basically pop music that’s creative or a little more wild than the average pop music. I think that’s really what more or less happens when we write together. Adventure romance to really sum it up.”
Who are your major influences?
P: “It changes so much. So many bands. I’m influenced by certain guitar players from some bands but then I’m like influenced by the sounds that Sigur Ros makes or the songwriting of Ryan Adams. Which obviously our music doesn’t sound like Ryan Adams but that’s what I listen to most of the time.”
D: “It just ranges all over the place. I like to give the broad genre of 60s pop as one of my biggest influences. We’re listening to new things all the time.”
P: “I’m into sad acoustic music.”
D: “I’m into scary blues.”
P: “And when you combine them you get adventure romance. (laughs) That’s how it works.”
So you’re about to release a new album “Our Nature.” How is this record different from your preview works?
P: “It’s very different actually.”
D: “I think the biggest difference is our approach to it from the other ones. Like with each record from our EP on, we’ve spent more time and gotten better at producing and everything. So I think it just sounds more mature and more like where we are as musicians and you know, arrangers and producers. It’s more mature I guess.”
P: “It’s more polished. We definitely took more time with it. Whereas with the first record, part of the energy that we wanted to put across things being a littler bit wilder. And just in terms of the sound, it was a little bit rougher around the edges. Whereas this, we took a year and a half. We workshopped songs back and forth and we re-recorded things and it’s just more of a mature effort from both of us.”
What is your favorite song on the new record?
P: “Sea of Gold.”
D: “At the Same Time.”
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
D: “We’re doing a tour in October. For the northeast, east coast and midwest. So we have that to look forward to.”