It’s not often that an interview involves absinthe and a Seamless delivery, but it was certainly the right night for it. With the knife-like wind tearing through Brooklyn’s darkened, frozen streets, Paul Hammer’s warm hospitality was the only cure for the cold. (The hot carne asada didn’t hurt either – big shoutout to the delivery guy who braved the polar vortex for us). “Can I offer you guys a drink? We have water, and also… not water,” Paul said with a grin. And that’s how our Savoir Adore interview started off with whiskey shots.
As Paul and his cat, Spalding, showed us around his apartment and impressive built-in recording studio, we talked about some of the big changes that have hit Savoir Adore in recent years – including, of course, Deidre Muro’s departure from their original duo. Even with the talented Lauren Zettler stepping in to fill the role, we wondered how the switch has changed the way he approaches the project. “We’re in the middle of figuring it out right now,” said Paul. “This week was the first show with our new singer.”
Before we listened to his newest work, he shed some light on the history between him and his former partner. “Deidre and I went to college together; we basically wrote all the early material together in one weekend session. And we continued this same sort of process, just getting together in these little weekend hangs,” he reminisced. “It’s funny, because we didn’t really write anything in the city. We just kept leaving and going upstate – actually, to my parent’s house. We recorded everything as we wrote it. So it was a very specific process.”
“It was like two months into starting the new record – we went to Brazil for our last tour, came home, and then we played our last show in New York, which was Brooklyn Bazaar. And that’s when I just knew something was up. She’d been going through some personal stuff too…” he trailed off. “It wasn’t out of the blue when Deidre quit. We were already sort of butting heads in certain directions – just strong personalities.”
“Are there any hard feelings there?” I asked. “I mean… I can’t say no,” Paul confessed openly. “Because we haven’t spoken in a year. There are, unfortunately. I think when you have a friendship and a creative relationship like that, it’s a very specific closeness. So I think when things kind of go sour, it just sucks. It’s hard.”
His honesty was as refreshing as the drinks he was mixing for us, which featured a mind-blowing blend of vermouth, Campari, absinthe, and whiskey. (Though he probably wouldn’t admit it, Paul is quite the connoisseur, and will even be starting a whiskey diary for us on his upcoming tour.) But if he’s an expert at anything, it’s figuring out how to constantly innovate and move forward. Savoir’s newest single, “Giants,” which we’re proud to stream today, is like a battle cry for carrying on.
“Regardless of who I’m collaborating with now, the biggest shift is that at the end of the day, I have to decide when something’s done – which is weird!” Paul laughed. “Once I started writing new demos and collaborating with a few different singers, I was like ‘Oh, right! I can do this.’ But the funniest thing is getting into this process where I’m like, ‘Is this good enough?’”
“That was probably the hardest part – that all of a sudden, it’s all on me now. But as difficult and different as that is, it’s also really good. And production-wise, I play everything on the records and do most of the production anyway. It sounds like Savoir because it is Savoir.”
You can hear just what that sound is by checking out Savoir Adore’s brand new single, “Giants,” below.
Don’t miss out on Savoir Adore’s upcoming tour with X Ambassadors!
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley