By: Sara Savery
I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. There’s a bunch of classical musicians on my dad’s side of the family and there was always somebody playing piano or performing whenever we all got together. It was both really cool and inspiring to be surrounded by so many musicians. I liked the music they played and how passionate they were about it. But I always felt like there was a sense of competition, which I didn’t like. I felt like a bit of an outsider because I looked at things differently. So I just started doing my own thing. This is something that probably created a foundation that I’ve taken with me throughout my life, the feeling of being an outsider and just doing my own thing.
My grandfather on my mom’s side was a contemporary composer and a ethnomusicologist. I have this early childhood memory of watching him play piano at our place. It seemed like he was pressing down all the piano keys simultaneously and the room was just vibrating with sound. I never got to know him that well cause I was only four when he died, but he made me think that music is really just vibrations. He and my French grandmother had bought an old house in a remote village in the french Alps where he would compose and just chill. When he died, my mother and her siblings took over the house and that became my second home. We’d go there every summer. The house was crawling with insects, was old and falling apart but there was an amazing vibe there. It was sensual and dream-like. There were a couple old beat up pianos in the house so I’d sit and work out songs that would incorporate the broken keys as part of the song.
My French grandmother lived next to my parents in Denmark and she was like a second mom to me. She was so elegant and smart. She taught me a lot about French movies and art. She’d always bring me a ton of CD’s from the music library (no internet back then) with all different kinds of music from Penderecki to Ali Farka Toure, to Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. I read Billie Holiday’s autobiography and was so inspired by her. My parents also had a pretty wide selection of music on vinyl that I’d listen to at full volume while lying face-up, eyes-closed on the rug in the living room. I think “Let’s Get it On” and “What’s Going On” were the records I listened to the most and I was secretly in love with Marvin Gaye hehe.
I had a cool choir teacher at my elementary school in Denmark and I also played in a band, took singing lessons and was basically just teaching myself how to play piano chords and was jamming in my home every day for hours on end. I got a four track recorder which got me into recording and doing weird vocal harmonies. My parents were amazing, it was pretty dope to have parents who didn’t think I was just wasting my time on music. I don’t think they ever complained about me making noise. At some point I was playing drums and had a drum kit in the apartment and they never said a thing but were just supportive of me doing my thing. I guess it was because they were really into art and music themselves.
By the time I was a teenager I was so restless and was so eager to meet people with other views in life and different life stories. I surrounded myself with people from other countries and was just so ready to leave Copenhagen. So I applied to different music schools in England and somehow ended up in Leeds as soon as I turned 18. Leeds was cool, but I was living in a rough area. It was intense. I had never experienced how violence can be part of daily life in such an extreme way. I felt like I had been in this safe little bubble. There were just fights happening all the time and people just walking right passed it. It was pretty sad to see.
I moved to London after two years and completed my BA (Hons) in Jazz Studies there. I was really into jazz back then, but didn’t feel I fit in. I felt like there was way too much of this academic-competitive-high-brow-kind-of-attitude which I had already learned really wasn’t a good fit for me. I struggled with a lot of personal stuff too and was kind of falling apart.
One summer, I was back in Copenhagen and I met some guys in Denmark who did electronic music and that was the first time I was like, oh man I gotta learn to produce and do electronic music. So when I finished my studies, I moved back to Denmark and was just teaching myself how to create, produce and arrange music in Logic. I was writing songs with a guy who was helping me learn all the basic production and editing skills. I just loved the feeling of becoming better at being in complete control of the overall sound of the music I was making. I loved making beats, recording sounds, sampling and looping etc.. I had met a really cool sound designer whom I worked with on a few graduation films from the Danish Film School and he and I became close friends. He had an enormous record collection and we’d just sit and listen to music all day like Sigur Ros, and Cannibal Ox and Arvo Part. I had been really into films in general all my life and was so happy to finally be part of that scene and be able to write music for films. To be able to explore music as sounds without a song structure. When you make music for films you are creating an overall atmosphere and you have to understand and be able to translate a visual emotion or energy into music. I love how much you can change the vibe and sometimes going totally against what the visual mood is, creates a completely new emotion which can be really exciting.
I also met Tobias Wilner from Blue Foundation in Copenhagen and started working with him on different projects. He introduced me to the music of Autechre, Funkstorung, Lusine etc and I was so happy to discover more electronic music. I met some other electronic musicians through him and then formed a band called People Press Play with one of the members being Thomas Knak who had been producing a couple tracks for Bjork. I continued writing music for films and documentaries and formed a neo shogaze band Ghost Society with Tobias Wilner and two other musicians. We toured and had a blast. I taught myself to play electric bass and loved playing bass while singing. We did a tiny tour with Ghost Society in the US which made me fall in love with NY. I had been over a couple of times before and always liked it.
I finally made the move to Brooklyn in 2009 and have been here since. Since being here, I’ve done a bunch of stuff such as continuing scoring documentaries, short films and a feature film ‘You and Me Forever’ (which was Robert nominated for best score). I did a Sara Savery solo album ‘The Diver’, helped score a two-season TV show ‘Follow the Money’ alongside Tobias Wilner, collaborated with Blue Foundation on their last few albums, Trentemoeller, Sunglitters etc.
With Drop the Gun I wanted to create a solo project where I could show who I am now and do whatever I want. It’s my personal universe. I’ve realized that I love playing in bands with other people but that I always felt I couldn’t really be me 100%. I’ve reached a point where I know I am good at producing, writing songs and singing. I’m still developing and learning new things everyday and I have so much more to learn but I feel like I know myself better now. I’ve been so inspired by NY and all the different people I’ve met here, the night life and the overall chaos. All of that is present in the music I’ve produced for the Drop the Gun EP with references to all the different music I’ve done and have been inspired by. The music video ‘Deeper’ was filmed in the family house in France and portrays the whole French 60’s Clouzot movies that has been one of my big inspiration sources as well as using more urban-feel footage here from NY. I am so happy to be able to share the music with people.
It’s all been a long learning process and being curious has made me move further. There’s been so many times where I was just feeling like an outsider and felt like I just couldn’t fit in but I guess it’s made me want to be stronger and just be myself and be independent. It’s hard if you can’t be part of a clique or an institution but I can’t change how I feel so I gotta just try to keep on doing my own thing. And I know there’s a few people out there who have felt like that and done their thing and they inspire me a lot. I like moving around both physically and mentally. Being a stranger and being out of my comfort zone inspires me to do things in my music. With Drop the Gun I want to collaborate with as many people as possible while being able to be in charge and stand on my own two feet. I will be releasing another EP at the end of the year and an album in 2018.
For more information including tour dates & videos visit: DroptheGunOfficial.com
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In collaboration with/produced by Jeff Gorra