Today, as New York music lovers line up for CMJ Week shows, Complex is throwing its own event, in Brooklyn. Sure, there are a ton of hip-hop acts on the bill—Action Bronson, Alchemist, Ka, SpaceGhostPurrp—but there's also Savoir Adore, a hometown duo that comes very alt-approved.
Their songs are like Etsy set to music, a DIY project set to take over CMJ. At the moment, Paul and Deirdre are making their way down from a gig in Boston, traveling down I-95 in one van, being interviewed on two different phones. The conversation moves smoothly, except when Paul, then Deirdre get disconnected.
Interview by Jeff Rosenthal (@itsthereal)
This Complex show you're playing has a bunch of different types of music being played, but there's a heavy hip-hop component. Being that you guys play very dreamy, experimental pop, I was wondering how you would fit in, but then I read that Paul was in love with MC Hammer, so I think you're good.
Paul: Yeah, I think my childhood obsession with MC Hammer will get us through.
Deirdre: We also hip-hop music. From, like, a production standpoint; how amazing and minimal some of it can be, it's really exciting. It'll be really fun.
Paul: As far as like, the dreamy pop stuff, we do produce and write a lot from a rhythmic standpoint. We'll often start the beats and drums before any of the other stuff is written.
Have either of you ever been to a hip-hop show?
Paul: Oh geez.
Paul: I've only been to one extremely small one. My friend who's a rapper was at Brooklyn Bowl and there were like three people there. I don't know if it was a show? [Laughs.] But that was my only experience. Other than that, no, actually. I haven't.
How do you think it'll be different from like, a rock—do people still say rock? Lemme try that again: How do you think it'll be different than an indie show?
Paul: "Rock" still works, definitely. I think it all depends on the crowd. When you go to a really good rock show, or a really good electronic dance show—we sort-of end up bridging that gap, we'll play with a lot of electronic musicians and a lot of more traditional rock—it really all comes down to the energy of the performers and the audience. After that, I think it's pretty much all the same exact thing. It's just getting into music.
Supposedly, you both are Brooklyn residents, but there's only one way to prove it: What's your favorite cheese?
I've only been to one extremely small one hip-hop show. My friend who's a rapper was at Brooklyn Bowl and there were like three people there. I don't know if it was a show? [Laughs.] But that was my only experience. - Paul
Paul: Hm! Favorite cheese. I'll go smoked gouda!
Deirdre: What'd you say, Paul? Oh my god. Um...that's a very hard question!
Paul: How 'bout a baked brie?
Deirdre: Yeah, I like that, too. I'm kind of a mozzarella person, too, though. It's hard.
If you were really really from Brooklyn, your favorite cheese would be Craft with a C.
Paul: [Laughs.] Oh, man. Very true.
You guys met in a songwriter's club when you were both going to NYU. Can you just describe quickly how a songwriters' club differs from say, Bungalo 8 or Mansion or Danceteria?
Paul: Whoa. I don't know what those are.
Those are clubs!
Paul: Those are clubs! Oh! Oh. Well. An NYU songwriters' club is probably very different from that. It's a place in a 20 by 20 foot practice space in the student center of NYU. It was basically the musicians and songwriters of NYU who wanted to go somewhere to meet other people and share songs—it was really that simple of an idea.
Through that, though, Deirdre and I met so many of the other people that we're involved with musically and professionally. Really, it actually did a lot for us. At the time, we were 19 when we met. We met our first record label through that club, a lot of the musicians that we play with. It was pretty great!
That's awesome! Your band was started on a dare five years ago. At what point do you think, okay, this was just a dare, we made a lot of cool music, but we're taking this dare a little too seriously?
Deirdre: Well, it really was the first record label we were with, Cantora Records, they were friends of ours. [Paul and I] just made this first recording and gave it to our friends and closed the books on it for a while. It was just something we did, but when Cantora heard it, they were just like, "Why don't you try and play this live? It's really fun!" and we did.
They were like, "Oh, we're going to put out this collection of recordings that you made as a record—is that cool?" We're like, "Okay!" It kind of just snowballed into what you would call "being a band."
When you search for your band on Google, Google suggests one look up "Savoir Adore really nice."
Deirdre: Wow. Is that true?
It is! So let's try and change that: What's something you've done that's not nice?
Paul: Oh wow. Here's the problem. I guess...you know what? I broke my sister's finger when I was nine. Pretty bad.
Deirdre: I make fun of the way Paul pronounces some words? That's not very nice. He says "carry" and "carriage" weird. Oh, wait. I think we just lost Paul.
He probably hung up once he heard you making fun of his pronunciation.
Deirdre: Oh no! Maybe he did, and that's not very nice.
[After a few minutes, Paul rejoins the conversation.]
Deirdre and I were just saying that you probably hung up because she was making fun of you because you say "carriage" weird.
Paul: Yes, my vengeful nature. I'm so vengeful. Nah, this van has a lot of technical difficulties. Deirdre, are you on the line? Are you plugged in? Hang up and then let's try this one more time.
Deirdre: Okay, I'm here.
I think it's hilarious that you guys are both in the van together, but on different phones.
Paul: This is our technique that we do for any conference calls in the van: I'm in the front, Deirdre's in the back, huddled under a coat so she can't hear me.
Deirdre: There's like, a delay so it's really confusing! Yeah.
Paul: Making it work.
Now, I know you guys don't do drugs, and I don't either, but your music is very hallucinatory. So, what legal substances would you suggest people take when watching one of your shows?
Deirdre: Have a nice drink or two. I don't know!
Paul: Maybe like, a very spicy soup.
Paul: I don't know! That might get you loopy? Spiced soup and maybe four or five Old Fashioneds and you're set!
Deirdre: Oh my god. That sounds like a stomachache.
But so worth it. A lot of people remember the first time they heard their song on the radio—but what do you remember from the first time you heard your voices in a Tide commercial?
Paul: It was really funny, actually. We knew, we've been pretty lucky because we have a few songs in commercials, but this was the only one we knew exactly when they were airing it for the first time.
It was during the Oscars last year, so we were having a little mini get-together at my sister's place, so were all sort-of drinking a lot and it came on. It was really awesome, because it was like, a big event. We didn't know whether it would be aired or not, so we had sort-of a party around it. It was great.
To attend the "Judgment Night" concert, which will feature performances from Action Bronson, Interpol's Paul Banks, Alchemist, Spaceghostpurrp, Savoir Adore, and many others, RSVP here.