Born in Isreal, raised in the US with junctures in the UK and her home country, and now based in Vienna, Savage, real name Noa Ben-Gur and lead singer of Playing Savage, found her love for music at a very early age and has never looked back. In fact, there was never any other option: “I wouldn’t be myself, I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t making music“ she says.
With “This is Love”, the second single with her band Playing Savage out now, and their debut album, Wild, set to hit the shops on October 21st, The Red Bulletin spoke to the 29-year-old artist about what makes her so savage, her influences and much more.
Watch the video for “This Is Love” exclusively below.
THE RED BULLETIN: First things first, what’s so savage about you?
SAVAGE: I think it’s just because I’m a woman with balls. I say what I want, when I want and I do what I want, when I want. I think that’s pretty savage [laughs].
And the most savage thing you’ve ever done?
I lied about my age when I was 17 to work at a festival. It was this nude part of a festival on a nude beach and I spent a week painting naked bodies, and a lot of penises. That was pretty crazy.
Where does the name come from?
It was while I was on the lookout for inspiration – and I look for it in all channels possible – and I was reading an article about Jean-Paul Goude and the inspriration behind the Kim Kardashian shoot in Paper a while back, you know, the one with the Champagne bottle? The article talks about how men festish over the female savage body (in this case the black woman’s body) and as I read it a I realised that my art is about wanting to take back control - by letting females create female imagery. Meaning - the savage has taken over. And that’s me!
How would you describe your musical style? There seems to be a lot of 70’s sexiness and sassiness to it…
Definitely. A lot of powerful female voices came out of that decade and they really inspired me. They knew how to use their sexuality in their own way, they were like: ‘this is how it’s going to go down’. So the sexiness is just kind of like re-conquering sex and using it within the right context. There’s also a lot of funk to my music, and funk is all about having fun and shaking your booty. You always leave those kinds of concerts with a smile on your face. That’s what I want to achieve as well.
So your music has a positive message to it?
I like to think so. I just watched an interview with Rain Dove, the androgynous model, and in it she talks about how her work is just a medium to reach people. I’ve chosen music as my medium to reach people, and I think it has to have a statement to it. Music should be a form of positivism. I think music should encourage positive thinking and give people the energy to do what they want. “Bigger“ is very much about that. And a big aspect of music is to inspire, encourage and empower women.
Your new track’s called “This is Love” – so what exactly is love for you?
In the context of the song it’s about mixing gender roles and the borders of whom you can fall in love with and whom you can find attractive. The idea came from a lot of discussions I had with friends it’s about being liberated, both sexually and as a person. The chorus is:
“This is love , with love-infinite possibilities / Everyone wants it, nobody’s got it, it’s a source of misery / Now this is love and everywhere that I look around I see women and men who want to be more than friends and they’re all turning me on - Now this is love.”
And that’s pretty much it.
What’s with all the gold in the video?
This is the first video I have done where I also took over the art direction as well, and it’s kind of going deeper into the art work we did for my album cover and a photoshoot I did before I even had the album done. Someone just mentioned that I am kind of a “gold person” and it has stuck ever since. And the story is based on Lileth, who was the original Eve. It’s worth checking out [laughs].
You have classical music training. What has that training taught you that you been able to use in life?
I have learnt how to identify and to stay away from crazies! People say rock is full of crazy people, but they are totally wrong. The classical world is where the crazies are. It’s the genius and instability a lot of these artists have.
You mentioned on your Facebook page that: “pop music has become too flat lately - It needs a face lift.” Are you that face lift?
I hope so. My songs are definitely not flat, and I’m avoiding the millennial “whoop whoop.” There’s no part of any song where I go “wooo wooo“ to fill 30 seconds, which seems to be the case in a lot of songs these days. My music is real, it’s all raw and pure.
So what’s the problem in the business?
Everything is too over-produced. Thankfully, artists are going back to their roots, like Lady Gaga for example. But at the moment it feels like there’s a lot of copycat work. A trend happens and then it is done to death by everyone from pop stars to EDM producers and even indie rockers and eventually they all sound the same.
Your debut album “Wild“ is out soon. Can you sum it up in a sentence?
It leaves you feeling like you would after you’ve been to a block party in the seventies – happy and high.
You wrote all 11 songs on your album within two weeks, what the quickest song you wrote?
I think I wrote “Bigger” in 30 minutes. It was while I was walking down the street in Brooklyn on the way to my brother’s apartment, just drinking my coffee. I just walked down the street and the words hit me, and then the moves and I just kind of sang it into my phone as I walked. I do that quite a lot [laughs]. I’ve had a few weird stares while doing that – especially when I start improv hip hop dancing. A lot of my songs are written in motion, and they come from spontaneous situations. I can’t just sit down and write.
You’ve also written songs for other people and won awards for it as well. Do you think you would be happy only writing for others?
No, I definitely need the stage [grins]. I need the audience and that energy. I need the limelight. If music doesn’t work out then I might move into improv comedy!