With three albums, a stack of shows and a loyal, growing fan base under her belt, Cash Savage is starting to yield the rewards of years of hard work. Having had a pretty full on 2016, Savage has been enjoying taking some time away to work on writing her next album. Her intent is to record overseas in June, and there may even be some new songs ready for the upcoming run of Australian shows in May, but Savage makes no guarantees. “I’ve been pretty relaxed about getting back into writing, because the last album really knocked me around a bit,” says Savage. “So I’ve just been happy to not put too much pressure on myself. I say that, but in about a month I’ll just be freaking out that I should’ve put more pressure on myself.”
It’s hard to tell what the new material will bring for Savage and the band, but it’s unlikely that they’ll shy away from the deeply personal content of One Of Us, regardless of the effect that it had on Savage. “The subject matter was emotionally taxing, and I don’t mind that, but I guess I didn’t really think about what it would be like to write a song about my cousin and my friend’s suicide, and then have to go all over the world and play it to people… it was quite nice when the actual One Of Us tour wrapped up and we could start putting more of our older stuff, as well as the new stuff [into the sets], and we didn’t have to stick to the album as such, we could chuck a couple of other things in there, just to lighten it for myself”
Songwriting isn’t an especially regimented process for Savage, with some songs taking months and others being finished in a much shorter time frame. Anyway you look at it though, the key to a good song seems to be to relax. “It sorts of depends. I mean one of the songs I didn’t finish writing until the night before [recording], but I’d been writing it for a year. One of the songs I wrote all the lyrics for sitting in a bar over about 30 minutes, and then sort of had some music that I was mucking around with and tried it out and it worked together, so there’s no hard and fast rule for me. I found as I’ve got a bit older just to be a bit more relaxed about it, because if I freak out about writing then I’m not necessarily productive.”
Though not willing to put any constraints on her songwriting, once the band gets in the studio, Savage likes to put some rules in place. “When we made One Of Us, one of the constraints I put on it was that it had to be recreatable with the six of us. I told our producer that he had to use us, but we had a couple of exceptions there. The drummer that sometimes plays with us, Jordy, he came in and did some stuff. Also, a lot of the musicians in the Last Drinks are multi-instrumentalists, so restricting it to the six of them isn’t necessarily much of a restriction. But I did say that I wanted more vocal stuff, so it was easier to recreate with voices rather than with new instruments.”
These restrictions were a massive change from the last album, where the band entirely stretched out and really aimed for a massive sound. “We actually had a massive choir in one section of it, and that’s sort of why I put that restriction on. We’re down one member since Hypnotiser, we used to have a trumpet player as well, and he’s quite incredible and can make a lot of different sounds. In some respects, [One Of Us] is a little more stripped back than Hypnotiser, though it may not sound it to anyone who is listening to us for the first time.”
The band will return to Melbourne at the start of May to kick of a run of east coast shows, and it will no doubt be a happy homecoming. Playing shows all around the world hasn’t dulled Savage’s love for the Melbourne scene, in fact it might have made her appreciate it a little bit more.
“I feel like every city has its own vibe, and they’re all really different. I found being in Paris really similar to being in Melbourne, which is probably one of the more wanky things I’ll ever say. I feel like Melbourne crowds make you work for it and I think it makes good bands. If you can get a crowd to come and see you in the other cities then maybe they’re a bit easier to please, but Melbourne crowds have always made us really work for it, and I don’t mind that. I think it’s part of the reason why Melbourne bands are so good, because the crowds are so hard on them. It’s our community and our radio stations and everything else [that makes the scene great], but I also think that the crowd can claim a little bit of that. You know, those crowds at The Tote are just amazing, I’ve never really experienced a crowd like that anywhere else”
Cash Savage and the Last Drinks will be touring up the east coast from May 6, for more information visit cashsavage.com.au. One Of Us is out now through Mistletone Records.