A Conversation with Sean Nicholas Savage

~ The following interview was printed in issue 10. It was conducted by Rebecca Storm, a friend of Sean’s, who has been photographing him since they met. All photos by Rebecca. ~


Sean Nicholas Savage has worked within so many different genres that his music avoids easy categorization. Suffice it to say, if you’re unfamiliar with him and his work, you are in for a treat. Sean used to be one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets: if he was playing a show, there was a good chance that nearly every member of the intimate audience knew one another. This was back when he was releasing several albums a year, with material engaging and diverse enough that many might still regard it as the score to life in Montreal at that time.  While his output isn’t as frequent – though still laudable for at least one album a year – Sean is gradually garnering a world wide reputation for himself as a prolific songwriter. From playing “Kisses Like a Girl” at Burritoville to an audience of less than thirty, to “She Looks Like You” for the Maison Martin Margiela runway during New York Fashion Week this year, Sean remains one of our favourite artists.  His latest album, Bermuda Waterfall, came out in May. I caught up with Sean in the mean time to chat about music, bloggers and plastic.  

 I remember you used to walk around with a little pocket recorder, do you still do that?

 If you take a moment to listen when you’re going through a potent experience in your life, there’s always a soundtrack playing somewhere in your mind. I consider myself an active collector of those. I’m always prepared cause you never know.


Sean playing at Lab Synthese, 2008

You recently did some touring with Solange and she has since mentioned that you’ve been top on her playlist, while artists on her label have even sampled some of your music. How do you feel you and Solange have influenced each other creatively?

She inspires me, because she has said nice things about my work and she comes from a very different place then I do, but I’m also a huge fan of her music. I think she told me Flamingo helped her through a tough time once.

Do you think that the two of you will do any collaborating in the future?

Sure, I would love that.



What are you listening to right now?

I walked from Penn Station, Manhattan to Kent Avenue, Williamsburg last night, listening to Sally Oldfield’s ‘Easy’ and ‘Celebration’ the whole two hours. She’s my top inspiration at the moment. Also I jam the Blood Orange album just like everybody does, every day.

Back when we were roomies, you had an odd aversion to plastic. Do you still have that?

Certain materials in certain contexts which are difficult to pinpoint disgust and irritate me. You could call it a reverse fetish, most potently towards cheap plastic. Bottled water is just another shit out the ass of capitalism into mother nature’s lap isn’t it? Hey! Lets frack some oil out of the earth and put water which runs from every damn household into little wasteful bottles, then load billions of them into trucks, onto ships and drive them as far as we fucking can to other places where there’s perfectly drinkable water running out of the tap, or is it not drinkable because the government puts too many chemicals? Ok, then lets drink this cheap crunchy plastic flavoured water, crunch crunch!



A blogger referred to you as a “tropical Marvin Gaye” – do you feel like this is an accurate classification of your current sound? 

A flattering but inaccurate comparison. I don’t get the tropical thing, I think this blogger just likes me, so then is putting me in a box with her/his favorite things that don’t match. I like to think there is alot of soul in my music, but I don’t play soul music. My song writing is more linear.

Some critics have described you as having “genre ADD” but I like to think of it as you exploring and trying everything, drawing from whatever’s around and inspiring at the time. What’s fuelling your next album? 

I’m always working on poems first, I’ve just been writing a lot of poetry. I’m in a new phase of my life, and doing a lot of reflecting, and contemplating what’s to come.


 You’ve been spending some time in BC with friend and filmmaker, Angus Borsos. The video he shot for “Other Life”  has got to be some of his best work to date, or at least my favourite. Can you tell me anything about some future projects you two might be working on together? 

My favourite Borsos videos are the ones for Doldrums and Blouse. Angus is one of my very best friends and heroes, he’s always cooking up something good isn’t he?

 It’s no news that Montreal has garnered a reputation for being a new music mecca. Do you feel as though living in Montreal has had a profound influence on your career as a musician?  

Montreal; where I lived for years with the love of my life thus far who inspired most of my known music. Where I made most of my best friends, and for better or worse grew into the artist that I am today.