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Insanely Brilliant

Les Savy Fav

Things have been quiet in the Les Savy Fav camp of late. That's not to say that the four members of the highly respected New York underground act haven't been keeping busy though.

The guys all have their own artistic pursuits outside of the band and have been dedicating a lot of time to further developing them. When not making unmistakably brilliant indie rock anthems, guitarist Seth Jabour does a lot of illustrating and graphic design work. Bassist Syd Butler runs his own record label called French Kiss Records. Drummer Harrison Haynes paints and vocalist Tim Harrington runs Deadly Squire, a textile design company that he started with his wife. With so much going on, it's easy to see why the band have been operating at a slower pace.

Harrington states that turning out a constant parade of "hits" and seeing their faces on the cover of every music magazine isn't something Les Savy Fav worries about. Instead he says that they tend to focus their energy on attempting to construct challenging and innovative sonic compositions. Although they may take longer to create, and occasionally don't turn out exactly as planned, the end result is often stunning and proves to be worth the wait.

Les Savy Fav"We are not very concerned with keeping ourselves in the headlines," explains Harrington. "Making music for us has always been like growing orchids. People have tried to mass grow them but the most exquisite specimens must be carefully nurtured if you want to coax them out. This doesn't suit most people's taste; they'd rather a more common plant which guarantees a flower of a specific quality. We opt to risk trying to grow unique seeds. Maybe they die, maybe they turn out frail and ugly, but maybe they amaze us."

Luckily for lovers of independent rock around the world, the bulk of the act's back catalogue falls on the amazing side. Over the last ten years, the group have put out three full-lengths and a handful of singles. Last year saw the release of a compilation, Inches, that combined all of the band's 7"s on one disc. The 18 track album provides a great overview of how Les Savy Fav's eccentric, post-punk stylings formed, how they've evolved, and where they're heading.

The group will be showcasing selections from Inches when they make their first visit to Japan early next week. Scheduled to perform two shows in Tokyo at O-Nest, you can be certain that both events will be highly entertaining. Harrington is notorious for his energetic and often bewildering stage antics. From the moment (and occasionally even before) his talented bandmates kick in with the night's explosive soundtrack, the bearded frontman is constantly on the move. Acting like a young child who has taken their first steps and now is eager to see what kind of trouble they can get into, nothing is off-limits. Harrington does every insane thing that that pops into his head to himself, his bandmates, and often select audience members. He states that the group strives to make each concert different and talks about how he tries to incorporate props from the area around the venue into his performance. Judging by O-Nest's close proximity to some of Shibuya's finer adult establishments it'll be interesting to see what he uses.

Les Savy Fav"We don't really have any rituals for getting ready to play. Probably the most ritualistic element is that we try to do as little preparation as possible for the shows. Our favourite thing is to pull together something which feels totally elaborate with no preparation.

In many shows I use props and costumes. Most of them are found at the place we are playing or sometimes I'll walk around near the venue and find some stuff. We want people to leave our shows and feel like they saw something happen which was unique."

Haynes relocated to North Carolina last year and Harrington admits that the group is still trying to figure out how to write songs and let their music blossom naturally without being able to meet on a regular basis. In the past overcoming obstacles has always strengthened Les Savy Fav and taken their sound in new and exciting directions. He's confident that this situation will result in the same outcome.

"By far the best part about being in Les Savy Fav is working with my three best friends on this long term project and the constant satisfaction that developing music in that context provides me. Writing can be easy or extremely hard, touring can be great or a pain in the ass, and live shows can be amazing or just above average. Regardless of all that, the way the four of us cope and the way that expresses itself in our music, live or recorded, is always marvellous, beautiful, and surprising."

interview by shawn

buttonmag files : the Ska Flames

buttonInsanely Brilliant : (05/04/30) : interview by shawn

The official site

Les Savy Fav


The latest album :

Les Savy Fav

" Inches"
(US import)

Japanese Tour Dates

5/2 - @ Shibuya O-Nest - Tokyo JP
5/3 - @ Shibuya O-Nest - Tokyo JP

previous works

"Go Forth" (US import)
"Emor: Rome Upside Down" (US import)
"The Cat and the Cobra" (US import)

check the albums?



buttonOrganized Chaos : Shibusa Shirazu (17th Apr. @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonSocially Aware And Ready To Party : Asian Dub Foundation w/African Head Charge (10th Apr. @ Shibuya AX)
buttonNice And Simple : Jimmy Eat World (4th Apr. @ Shibuya O-East)
buttonNothing A Few Sweets Couldn't Fix : Lemon Jelly (29th Mar. @ Shibuya AX)
buttonGroove Is In The Heart : Tabla Kwaiesa (6th Mar. @ Yokohama Silk Road Buto-Kan)
buttonInterview : Constantly Evolving : 90 Day Men (13th Mar)
buttonIt's Party Time! : The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Benevento/Russo Duo (28th Feb @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonWeekly Service : The Chemical Brothers (12th Feb @ Shibuya AX)
buttonTattoos and a Whole Lotta Hair : EXTREME THE DOJO Vol.12 feat. Every time I Die, As I Lay Dying and Shadows Fall (7th Feb @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonGeography At Its Best : ISIS (5th Feb @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonTo The Extreme : The Shins (31st Jan @ Harajuku Astro Hall)
buttonCD review : "Panopticon" : Isis (27th Jan)
buttonWinter Be Damned : Ash (17th Jan @ Shibuya AX)
buttonInterview : Peaceful, But Far From Quiet : Mono (20th Jan)
buttonCD review : "The Nein" : The Nein (13th Jan)


buttonCD review : "Christmas" : Old Man Gloom (28th Dec)
buttonMusic Soothes the Savage Beast : eastern youth (20th Dec @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonAnd to all A Good Night : Shonen Knife (19th Dec @ Daikanyama Unit)
buttonExciting Music for Exciting People : illreme (6th Dec @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonExpansive Rhythms : Tabla Kwaiesa (4th Dec @ Cozmo's Cafe and Bar)
buttonIt's In Their Hands Now : Franz Ferdinand (29th Nov @ Shibuya AX)
buttonLights, Camera, Action : Brahman (15th Nov @ Ebisu Liquidroom)
buttonMostly Business : The Stills (8th Nov @ Ebisu Liquidroom)
buttonScare The Rock Right Outta Ya : Halloween Ball 2004 feat . The 5,6,7,8's, Gasoline, The Woggles (30th Oct @ Shiomkitazawa Shelter)
buttonThree More, Two More, and Take it to the Left : Hawaiian6/ Idol Punch (11th Oct @ Shinjuku Loft)
buttonBusting Eardrums : Mogwai (5th Oct @ Ebisu Liquidroom AX )
buttonMedical Breakthrough : The Most Notorious Vol. 18 feat. Melt Banana and K.K. Null (25th Sept @ Shimokitazawa Shelter )
buttonGrey Skies Are Going To Clear Up... : HUSKING BEE (5th Sept @ Shibuya AX )
buttonno title : V∞REDOMS (8th Aug @ Ebisu Liquidroom )
buttonCD review : Andre Ethier With Christopher Sandes : Andre Ethier


buttonCause Music Must Be Magic : Mayor McCa (21st Dec @ The Casbah,Hamilton, Ontario )
buttonMake It a Double : EVANESCENCE (28th Jul @ Shinjuku AX)
buttonGetting Knifed in Tokyo : Shonen Knife / bloodthirsty butchers(12th Jul @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonHail Hail! Some of Japan's best come together to pay tribute to San Diego's finest : TRIBUTE TO ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT feat. John Speedo with Jet Boys, Retro Gretion, and KEMURI, (21st June '03 @ Shibuya Quattro)
buttonThe Canucks are Coming! The Canucks are Coming! : Simple Plan & GOB (26th Apr @ Akasaka Blitz)
buttonno title : Banda Bassotti with Doberman, Oi Skall Mates & Rude Bones (12th May @ Kawasaki Club Citta)
buttonThe Enchanting Sounds of Summer : KEMURI (31st May @ Shinjuku ACB Hall)
buttonAbsolutely F**king Brilliant!! : The Coral (21st Apr @ Shinjuku Liquid Room)
buttonno title : Short Circuit w/ Asparagus (24th Mar @ Shibuya AX)

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