Interview Worldly Savages for Ethnorama, Bucharest, 5/5/16
Why Worldly Savages?
ERIK: When I was naming the band in 2008 I wanted a name which represented the idea of being a global citizen, sophisticated and compatible with many cultures combined with the idea of living from the heart and indulging the beast inside oneself which fits into no culture.
Tell us a bit about your roots as a band, musically speaking.
ERIK: When I was getting into making music as a teenager, I was into rock bands like Radiohead, Post-Rock like Godspeed You Black Emperor and Indie Folk like Neutral Milk Hotel among others.That’s all still in there.Later I added influences of Hip Hop (mostly lyrically) and a strong influence of World Music from around SE Europe and of course anything else that inspired me. Then there’s the voices and melodies in my head, who knows where they come from.
How did Toronto or London or both together affect what you are today as an artist?
ERIK: Toronto is where I grew up. It’s by measurable standards one of the best places in the world to live, so how can I complain? My Central European father always told me it was the suburbs of the world.He was right.It is where culture goes to die, with nothing authentic of its own, just stale ideas from other places.The struggle there for me was to make something which felt actually authentic and to find people who that feeling resonated with, so I got used to listening to my musical heart and not caring what other people thought, which really helps now.
London was a place where I went with the band’s sound and message already developed, looking to spread it.It worked well and fast, making me work harder and rewarding me for that. But London was not a place culturally for me to live and be creative long term.It inspired songs like March Towards the Madness and Glass Cage, which were rejections of Anglo-Saxon culture and the restraints it places on people and their emotional beings.
In the end, I feel much more inspired by my life in Belgrade, watching the western world from a place not fully enclosed and dominated by it.
What would your message be to all of the people who listen to your music?
ERIK: Find a way to express the passion in your heart and to make it somehow valuable to the world and people around you, without caring what anybody thinks of you when you are being true to yourself.
How about to the people who do music?
ERIK: Same as last question, just to be incredibly relentless and disciplined in applying this.
Tell us a bit about your new album?
ERIK: Our new album Culture vs. Destiny, out in September is the product of 2 years of finding direction and passion living in Belgrade as a singer songwriter working with Dutch producer and bass player Caspar Wijnberg and recording with great musicians, we strived to take the Gypsy Punk genre beyond its clichés to a new level of weirdness and complexity.
What are your musical preferences and how did they influence your own productions?
ERIK: I tend to like musicians who are passionate and charismatic, when you can see that they are being themselves when you watch and listen to them. That influenced me in being who I am in my band and not trying to be popular or trendy but really telling my own story from my own heart.I’m also an intense person emotionally, so I like every type of music which tends towards that and if you listen to my music, the intensity is there.
The festival you’re playing in Romania pretty soon, Etnorama, is about diversity, about different cultures. It seems like you’re right where you should be. How do you feel about the way diversity influences a cultural space?
ERIK: This is one of the important questions of this time.What is diversity in the 21st century?I grew up in Toronto where more than 50% of people, including most of my family were not born there, however, I can say that people there did not behave very much in a culturally diverse way, it seemed that they were more there to forget their past and history and accept the White North American middle class lifestyle.Is that diversity?Not the one I idealize.I idealize cultural diversity in which people can express their own values without having them unnecessarily compromised by the dominant culture in that place.
What does your music bring to this diverse environment?
ERIK: The violent catharsis of rejecting the insular Anglo-American cultural values which threaten to destroy all other diverse cultures, languages and feelings on this planet, told by someone who was born in and experienced that culture who is using Serbian/Balkan culture as a weapon to revive feeling and authenticity in the European heart.
What should the people expect to see on stage, at Etnorama Festival?
ERIK: 6 dudes playing intense and fun music which makes them want to drink and dance and if they listen closer, think about their lives and their passions.