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Interview: Jeffrey Novak of Savoy Motel on writing hooks and growing up in Tennessee

Spirits in need of lifting? Take refuge in the delectable sounds of underground rock group Savoy Motel from Nashville Tennessee. Writer and founder Jeffrey Novak was kind enough to share some insight into the bands unique sound.

Where did the name Savoy Motel originate?
Jeffrey Novak: Savoy Motel is a motel in east Nashville. It’s fairly close to where Mimi, Jessica, and Dillon are all living right now. I always drive past it on my way to band practice.

When it comes to writing music, is there a source of inspiration you usually turn to? Or is there a process that you go through?
It’s a process I’ve developed and used for about 17 years now. I keep long lists of potential song titles and subject matters. Once I’ve got a hook in my head, I can start to figure out what the song is, then I write lyrics that I feel like are working on at least three different levels until I’m sold.

This idea of a 70s revival is something which has been largely associated with you as a band, what is it about the 70s that resonates with you?
We’ve stated many times in almost every interview we’ve done, that we are not a 70’s revival act. I was born in the 80’s, and I came of age in the 90’s, so I would say if any decade resonates with me it’s the 90’s. What really stuck with me from the 90’s was all the TV I watched, especially the music videos on MTV, particularly 120 Minutes. 60’s/70’s nostalgia was a big thing in the 90’s, with the 20 year cycle that nostalgia usually takes, so I can’t deny that had some influence.

Is there a particular band or artist that has influenced you?
Steve McDonald from Redd Kross has been a encouraging influence for a long time now. He was the first person to turn me on to Sparks, when he played me Kimono My House. I’m surprised Savoy Motel never gets compared to Born Innocent era Red Cross, that’s some of the only 80’s music that actually holds up and matters to me.

Has living in Nashville helped shape your sound in any way?
Nashville shaped us, because it’s the city that brought us all together. None of us are from Nashville proper. Jessica and I both grew up in the flats of west Tennessee. Mimi and Dillon grew up a little closer to the city, but we were all drawn to move to Nashville to inevitably start a dream band together.

Are there any artists you would love to work with?
I really wish we could have recorded with Bobby Keyes from the Rolling Stones before his death. He lived in Nashville, and I used to go see him play with his own band at Mercy Lounge pretty often. I talked to him once about recording at his book signing and got his son Jesse’s number. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write a song that I thought was worthy enough for him to play on when he was still alive. Mercy Lounge had a tribute show for him when the Stones were in town. Jessica was able to get in somehow, and she got to stand next to Charlie Watts in a three-piece suit!

What can the fans expect from your live shows?
A good vibe, a few extended solos, and dancing.

Upcoming Live Shows (with The Lemon Twigs):
1/26 THU Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle
1/28 SAT Minneapolis MN @ First Ave (***supporting Hollerado)
1/31 TUE Seattle WA @ Barboza
2/1 WED Vancouver BC @ The Cobalt
2/2 THU Portland OR @ Doug Fir
2/4 SAT San Francisco CA @ Brick and Mortar
2/5 SUN Santa Cruz CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
2/6 MON Santa Ana CA @ Constellation Room
2/8 WED Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo (***with Jack Name, Sadistic Candle)
2/9 THU San Diego CA @ Casbah
2/10 FRI Phoenix AZ @ Valley Bar
2/11 SAT El Paso TX @ Lowbow Palace
2/14 TUE Austin TX @ Stubb’s Jr
2/15 WED Houston TX @ Raven Tower
2/17 FRI Birmingham AL @ Saturn (Note: Free Show)
2/18 SAT Atlanta GA @ Aisle 5
2/21 WED New York NY @ Bowery Ballroom
2/22 WED Philadelphia PA @ Everybody Hits **
2/23 THU Baltimore MD @ Ottobar **
2/24 FRI Durham NC @ The Pinhook **
3/3 FRI Cincinnati OH @ The Woodward Theater **

(** without The Lemon Twigs)

Jack Lloyd
Jack Lloyd lives in London. He has written for websites such as Music Vita and The Metropolist and is currently hosting his own podcast Ramble on Records at www.soundcloud.com/rambleonrecords.

Interview: Jeffrey Novak of Savoy Motel on writing hooks and growing up in Tennessee

Spirits in need of lifting? Take refuge in the delectable sounds of underground rock group Savoy Motel from Nashville Tennessee. Writer and founder Jeffrey Novak was kind enough to share some insight into the bands unique sound.

Where did the name Savoy Motel originate?
Jeffrey Novak: Savoy Motel is a motel in east Nashville. It’s fairly close to where Mimi, Jessica, and Dillon are all living right now. I always drive past it on my way to band practice.

When it comes to writing music, is there a source of inspiration you usually turn to? Or is there a process that you go through?
It’s a process I’ve developed and used for about 17 years now. I keep long lists of potential song titles and subject matters. Once I’ve got a hook in my head, I can start to figure out what the song is, then I write lyrics that I feel like are working on at least three different levels until I’m sold.

This idea of a 70s revival is something which has been largely associated with you as a band, what is it about the 70s that resonates with you?
We’ve stated many times in almost every interview we’ve done, that we are not a 70’s revival act. I was born in the 80’s, and I came of age in the 90’s, so I would say if any decade resonates with me it’s the 90’s. What really stuck with me from the 90’s was all the TV I watched, especially the music videos on MTV, particularly 120 Minutes. 60’s/70’s nostalgia was a big thing in the 90’s, with the 20 year cycle that nostalgia usually takes, so I can’t deny that had some influence.

Is there a particular band or artist that has influenced you?
Steve McDonald from Redd Kross has been a encouraging influence for a long time now. He was the first person to turn me on to Sparks, when he played me Kimono My House. I’m surprised Savoy Motel never gets compared to Born Innocent era Red Cross, that’s some of the only 80’s music that actually holds up and matters to me.

Has living in Nashville helped shape your sound in any way?
Nashville shaped us, because it’s the city that brought us all together. None of us are from Nashville proper. Jessica and I both grew up in the flats of west Tennessee. Mimi and Dillon grew up a little closer to the city, but we were all drawn to move to Nashville to inevitably start a dream band together.

Are there any artists you would love to work with?
I really wish we could have recorded with Bobby Keyes from the Rolling Stones before his death. He lived in Nashville, and I used to go see him play with his own band at Mercy Lounge pretty often. I talked to him once about recording at his book signing and got his son Jesse’s number. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write a song that I thought was worthy enough for him to play on when he was still alive. Mercy Lounge had a tribute show for him when the Stones were in town. Jessica was able to get in somehow, and she got to stand next to Charlie Watts in a three-piece suit!

What can the fans expect from your live shows?
A good vibe, a few extended solos, and dancing.

Upcoming Live Shows (with The Lemon Twigs):
1/26 THU Chicago IL @ The Empty Bottle
1/28 SAT Minneapolis MN @ First Ave (***supporting Hollerado)
1/31 TUE Seattle WA @ Barboza
2/1 WED Vancouver BC @ The Cobalt
2/2 THU Portland OR @ Doug Fir
2/4 SAT San Francisco CA @ Brick and Mortar
2/5 SUN Santa Cruz CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
2/6 MON Santa Ana CA @ Constellation Room
2/8 WED Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo (***with Jack Name, Sadistic Candle)
2/9 THU San Diego CA @ Casbah
2/10 FRI Phoenix AZ @ Valley Bar
2/11 SAT El Paso TX @ Lowbow Palace
2/14 TUE Austin TX @ Stubb’s Jr
2/15 WED Houston TX @ Raven Tower
2/17 FRI Birmingham AL @ Saturn (Note: Free Show)
2/18 SAT Atlanta GA @ Aisle 5
2/21 WED New York NY @ Bowery Ballroom
2/22 WED Philadelphia PA @ Everybody Hits **
2/23 THU Baltimore MD @ Ottobar **
2/24 FRI Durham NC @ The Pinhook **
3/3 FRI Cincinnati OH @ The Woodward Theater **

(** without The Lemon Twigs)

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