There’s an unsettling feeling of timelessness to the music of Sean Nicholas Savage. Not in the sense that it could, and will, live forever, although that’s certainly possible, but rather that it seems cobbled together from, and broadcast from, multiple different, and often conflicting eras. That concept is a big part of the Canadian artist’s latest video for “Darkness.” Directed by Angus Borsos, the clip intercuts early 20th and turn-of-the-century found photo images with a sepia-tinted Savage, framed himself as if in a time-worn scrapbook. Coupled with the spine-tingling piano runs, and simultaneously disconcerting and alluring vocal gasps from Savage, it makes for a heady juxtaposition. Or maybe it’s just weird!
Savage, whose Bermuda Waterfall is out now on Arbutus Records, has put together a catalogue of what each of the songs on the album means and how they were made, which we’re sharing for the first time here today unedited, which you can read below. He will perform on August 15 at Death By Audio in Brooklyn, and on the 16th in Central Park with Blood Orange.
we took two piano pieces i had written for an instrumental album that never came out and made the left hand the rhythms and the right hand the melody, in a bossa style for both tunes.
touchy easily crafted a natural tone that i was immediately pleased with haha.
i had planned to do this kind of thing with them for a while. we kept one for the album, and i named it after the one film i’ll confess to watching during our stay.
standing on the beach in barcelona and watching the sun come up, so then i’m crying cos that fire of ours is still burning every day, and of all the beautiful people i’ve met on my way, cos i honestly feel very close to so many, for many reasons known and unknown, there’s this unlimited relationship in my life that i turn to on the regular.
anytime that i’ve spoken with what i’ve taken to calling god, it’s been easy to do at the right time. i call out as a reaction, and the response is immediate, even if it’s just a wink or chuckle.
so this is a song about my faith in nature, and it’s course.
even for the seemingly untouchable populous,
each nuance a ripple in the mirror of nature,
a wave in the ocean of love,
close to completion of the record, i’d cancelled the most perverse songs on the album. i just wanted to have a pure and positive record you know? in light of the place that we live?
but the end of last year was spent dwelling in the darkness and you know it’s only a shadow of the good times, and you can’t paint with white on a white canvas, so at the recommendation of angus borsos, in heavy times of manic hell, i quickly recorded the rat and darkness again, and slapped them on the record proudly..
the rat deals with the subject of people who suffer from emotional vortex. it’s a common thing i guess, and so when they get something from me an my name and face right there, personal, they’ve got some love, they want more, and the only way they know how is by chewing it all up, chewing me to bits like little rodents. they speak and no words come out. there’s nothing behind their eyes, like hollywood zombies. i had many, many strangers put their hands around my kneck and try to choke me last year. chase me in the night. i know i’m not even famous. go ahead, call me a liar. i can’t hear you, i don’t even know you. now think about that. how am i supposed to know you exist? how can you be so certain that i’m here?
confessing to long mistakes.
little day to day mistakes ain’t a thing, but the long ones, made in arrogance, over years.
those are painful. even if my heart was in the right place.
in fact, it’s with all his heart that the most sinister vilain commits his brutal crimes against himself. misguided is all it is. so ye, i’m an asshole, and that’s nothing special. life is long, and i think everybody does that a bit,
but i’m poetically confessing my crime here, and came to be, cos i believe in expression. maybe you can understand from this, that i’d never have been able to be so ugly, if shit hadn’t been so beautiful.
regarding, taking cover with your lover as it all comes down, just trying to hold on to a fucking relationship while the whole world loses it’s shit, i’m talking about the relative world, not like a blue planet idiotically floating on a black canvas thank you, and of course almost comically, losing your shit,
while taking cover behind your eyes and words,
in your hearts and souls, together.
church roof crumbling,
one last bang to the beat of
the booming laughter of doom.
trees fall in forests and make no sounds.
seannie sings to himself
the people in his heart who he sees as his brothers and sisters, all of them in weakness and strength, shades of himself, and him a shade of them
essential to understanding and respecting his existence.
so this song is set mainly on pannierstrasse in the summer time, when i crash in robert’s room and i can hear people screaming and drinking all night, and i love them so much, i’d almost get up and join em, but you’ve gotta sleep sometimes.
verbatum of a profound dream. i flew naked, green wand in hand, through the ancient bathhouse of a spaceship, it’s occupants horrified although they’d calculated my visit.
when i reached the ship deck, i found the love of my life in commanding uniform, looking out over a few dusty planets and contemplating the morality of terraforming for the sake of the last gasp of our race. she was also unhappily expecting me, and accompanied by her brainless clone who stood needy and nude at the far end of the cockpit. feeling the urgency of the situation but still playful and horny being that i was dreaming, i flew over to the twin and pulled a few dazzling spells on her pussy with my magic wand.
she came and came, me willingly pulled under a waterfall between her legs accompanied with visions of oceans crashing down violently into the dunes of the planets in question, with no regard for the impact on previous desert ecosystems.
through lust; ignorance essential to the survival of my species, we achieved perfectly what the commander was morally incapable of; unethical spring.
i wrote the chorus; melody and words together in kensington park in toronto, after a joint, laughing my ass off, in a serious way.
i’d been reading some questionable conspiracy articles about pyramids under the bermuda triangle that morning, and the title came naturally that way.
what an incredible feeling that day.
i can’t forget, when i wrote the title, i felt a surge of creative power flood the park.
that’s not my massive ego,
we put this record out and i think it’s beautiful and here you are reading so i’m just telling you what happened.
thank you for your respect, and a grain of salt please.
this was the other heavy metal poem i’d removed from the record, then dragged back on with the rat. it’s got a similar message.
i put my whole self out there to communicate with the populous i love and believe in.
when they reach out with starving claws, eyes glazed and wet chins to tear me to bits,
i’m down. they’re welcome to it.
my faith is unbreakable,
if that’s where we are, then we’re there together whether i’d like to admit it or not.
i am the populous, a minion of evil.
i was having a dream about flying around the neighbourhood tree and apartment tops in montreal. it was a hot and colourful night.
with my girlfriend on my back, we were headed a long and playful way home.
she held onto my kneck and we made enormous jumps with my arms pulling us like weightless chimps. she screamed and laughed and it was an incredible feeling.
when i woke up, i felt my hand touching another, not my own.
this filled me with fear, i can’t say why, just in shock of who it could be, or what’d happened.
when i pulled back the pillow, i found my own opposite hand,
numb or still deeply asleep as you could say.
i was so envious.
that rascal of a hand had it all figured out, and was still back in the beautiful dream with sony, pulling her around the rooftops and street lamps, doing a happy dance through the distant night.
please set me free
i used to walk down to china town and get some rice and tea, or a pastry for lunch in montreal. even after i’d moved away, when i’d visit, it was a nice thing to do alone on a rainy afternoon. with my girlfriend working over near the college close by.
the sentiment of the tune is just “save me from this”,
from this city, from this job.
like the abstract idea of ‘world peace’ disturbs me.
i think ‘world compromise’ is a more tangible and practical message to push, right?
so in this love song, i long to compromise the trippy nightmare my dreams and passions have become, for freedom, sacrifice for love, and be free with my lover, in the sense that we would have each other to escape to.
‘come together and free each other’.
coming back to someone i had loved a long time, and staying with her, i was surprised at how she now left herself wide open to everything. it worried me, and when i made a little comment about her apparent ignorance, she snapped right back at me, asking how i ever expected to really live if i were afraid of the pain that comes along with life?
our electric relationship which defeated me so many times, was the most vivid i’ve ever known, that spark burned a happy hole in my heart.
the power of love burns, and passion is a painful thing, as i say in the song, but passion is everything, and so i became a slave to pain.
like a vampire who comes back from the dead to know violence,
who sustains himself on that horror, the wrong side of love,
of romantic slaughter.
pathetic and true, repulsive and undeniable.
some things never die
i address this concept in the bridge of bermuda as well.
that these beautiful events existed so much inside us, or in context as feelings in the first place, that they’re still very much alive after they pass.
the fact that it happened, something so powerful,
is proof that it happens, is happening,
always, and we can reflect back,
and go back, right back to where we were,
in our hearts and minds, where the whole play went down.
our love, our time, our ideas.
big enough to live forever, no matter what size.
no start, no finish, just tapped, no life, no death.
just spirals dancing under the disco ball.
thank you so much.