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Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Garage Rock





Savants, with their lo-fi, often psychedelic sound, share more DNA with bands from the '70s New York rock scene than with their contemporaries. But if there is one time stamp that points to some millennial malaise, it's the "Something Part One" lyric: "And when in doubt/ I prefer to be vague:' At the dawn of their eponymous debut album's release, we caught up with the brains behind our favorite New York band.

TONY PRINS: I play the guitar and sing. Charlie Porter is on drums. Charlie Halsey is on keys, Mitch Wilson on bass, Joseph Perry on organ and lead guitar, Leo Skillet on percussion

CHARLIE PORTER: In the summer of 2012, Tony and I were working for a brand in lower Manhattan, and we started listening to records and going to shows together. Shortly after, we decided to do our own thing.

CP: When we first started hanging out, we were kind of throwing that around as like a slang term. We'd be at shows, and we'd be like, "Oh yeah, this guy's a real savant."
TP: It was a way of complimenting people that were doing something right. And it also just looks really good on paper.

CP: We use a lot of analog gear in our recording and demoing process. So it has the warmness and sound of a lot of the records we like from the '70s and late '60s, but we're trying to put our own twist on it.

TP: I remember being in a gym class in high school where we were doing a wrestling exercise, and I was finding the brute force and the violence hard to get into. Then my gym teacher put on "Beat on the Brat," and it charged me up. I was like, "Wow, this music has a good heartbeat to it!" and it kind of just made me want to make something that had a pulse like that. - Nylon Guys Mag (print issue)

"Brooklyn psych band Savants share "Dream Machine" video starring Alix Brown from new LP, playing tonight w/ BOYTOY"

As mentioned, BOYTOY have their record release party tonight (10/2) at Good Room. It's also the record release party for Brooklyn psych-rock outfit Savants whose debut album is out today. You can get a taste via the video for "Dream Machine" which stars onetime Golden Triangle bassist Alix Brown. Watch it below.

In addition to tonight's show, Savants are also playing CMJ, also at Good Room on October 13 with Tall Juan, Surfbort, Scholars, Worthless, Navy Gangs, Acid Dad, Casey Hopkins Duo, Gods and Watermelon Sugar. No advance tickets for that show as of now. - Brooklyn Vegan

"Savants Record Review"

Words: Lucas Gladman / Album art: Lily Rogers

Savants is a four-piece psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn. Their sound is decidedly retro. Actually, their entire brand is retro. They release their albums to cassette. They have at least one performance recorded on VHS. This is important because in a time where refinement and clarity are often seen as tools of the establishment, retro has once again become current and cool. Savants—their latest self-titled, self-produced, self-released full-length—sounds like it just crawled out of the late 60s or early 70s, twisted and deformed as it makes its way from the garage to your ears.

The album has strong nods to psychedelic bands of the past, but it doesn’t settle in on any one sub-genre. “Hey Brother” and “View from the Floor” both callout the psych-folk of The Byrds. The aptly titled “Something, Pt. One” is put to bed on a droning sitar sound that George Harrison fans might appreciate. I hear The Doors in many of the songs on Savants, including top-of-the-album rockers “Dream Machine” and “Death Rattle & Roll”—much of this comparison can be traced back to the driving organ riffs, which set Savants apart from many of the guitar-driven psychedelic acts that have emerged in the past decade.

The vocals on Savants are notably different than the Lennon-leaning imitations of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. They stand at an odd crossroads between the nasally snarl of Bob Dylan and the deadpan talk-sing of Lou Reed, though I can sometimes hear the timbre that’s often associated with Jim Morrison’s voice. The vocals are often washed and set on the same plane as the other instruments, which certainly speaks to the importance of every instrument as the band attempts to establish the Savants sound.

Savants exists in the wake of everything that has already been pulled to the present by Tame Impala, Pond, Foxygen, Temples, and countless other bands. There is no way around these comparisons, but luckily there doesn’t need to be. The beautiful part of any revival is the inherent reminiscence and familiarity—even if those previously mentioned acts beat Savants to the punch, they didn’t really do it first. If nothing else, Savants comes across as earnest—the lo-fi, garage rock production keeps the band from losing a sincerity that often fades as an album is polished. - Tuned Up

"Dream Machine Review"

There's a heavy '60s vibe going on with the video to Savants' single 'Dream Machine', and it's matched by the music. This is a throwback of sorts, taking much from the psychedelia and garage rock of that era, but not aping it closely enough to be a mere imitation -and they do bring in modern aspects. The Brooklyn group released a debut limited edition cassette at the start of 2014, but this autumn saw their first album proper. 'Dream Machine' was originally a single a year ago, but has now been given some extra attention with the arrival of the self-titled full length, becoming the recipient of Savants' first ever video.

The visuals are a great accompaniment, adding to the song whereas some videos have the opposite effect. The song itself is a mixture of sounds that could have appeared on a 'Nuggets' compilation, along with more modern garage bands. It's pretty likely that these guys are familiar with The Velvet Underground, as there's a vocal similarity at times, and fellow garage types Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are probably somewhere in 'Dream Machine''s family tree as well. Take some organ and psych effects from Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the picture is almost complete. This may have a few borrowed ideas, but sometimes the best things are made up of spare parts, and in this instance that rings true, but it shouldn't detract from Savants' own talent which is clear to see. - The Sound of Confusion

"New york quartet Savants combine their influences to create an individual hybrid sound"

Savants frontman Tony Prins, opens with, “What a week for music.” He’s right. Our king passed and we exploded in a saturnalia of celebration and thanks. Music was everywhere, and we were reminded of its cardinal importance. This Brooklyn four piece see it as their responsibility to ride the wave of our geniuses, keeping their spirit alive and kicking. And they’re succeeding with aplomb, wit, and grace. Those Ray Manzarek keyboards and Lou Reed droll; thanking the greats by giving them great in return. It’s all about coming together with others to jam, indulge, collaborate, cavort and create.

Having released a debut eponymous record last October – a hot slice of Nuggets-era psych influenced death, rattle and roll that’ll leave your toes tapping and your heads spinning – Savants aren’t stopping to admire their work, they’re hotfooting it back to the studio and on then to the road, ripping up venues across the US. Be sure to catch them before they’re onto something new.

Lola Young: So your sound is super unique, I read you guys have hardly any digital elements to your music..
Tony Prins: That’s what we strive for.
Joe kimono: Although it’s a combination of analogue and digital, the best of both. It would be foolish to say we’re completely analogue when we’re instagramming.. but we have a lot of great analogue recording gear.

LY: And you’ve released cassettes!
JK: Yeah, our song ’”Something” we did by making a tape loop, actually cut the tape and stick it together. It’s fun to make stuff with your hands, a different area of creativity, different medium.

LY: So what are you up to right now?
TP: We’re getting ready for our show at Rough Trade! We got to book the support bands and they’re all great.

LY: There are so many great Brooklyn bands at the moment, all connected. Would you say the community is growing?
TP: Yeah we go to shows as much as possible. Joey and I both work at Good Room booking bands and recording them live. Then they come to us and we just end up doing shows together.

LY: There’s definitely an energy in Brooklyn of guys getting together, making music and having fun.
Charlie Porter: It’s great to see.
TP: There was a lack of that 2 years ago as DIY venues were closing up, people wanted to build something again.

LY: Yeah, there are shows every day in warehouses around the corner
CP: It’s definitely going through a transformation.

LY: In a lot of write ups of your music people are talking about your influences, The Doors, Lou Reed etc. But I still think it still sounds fresh, what’s your relationship with that referencing and reinventing process?
TP: We’re not afraid to reference. Instead of sticking to one sound we have a wild card strategy of trying to do different genres for every song and seeing if we can put it together to create a new type of music, combining everything we love.
CP: The last album was a compilation of the best of 2 years of recording spurts and turning it into a cohesive record. We’re huge fans of albums, figuring out the tracklisting and creating a physical object.
TP: That was the main concept behind it all.

LY: What do your lyrics tend to focus on?
TP: It’s as autobiographical as we can make it. It could be about playing in a band in Brooklyn…it could also be an abstract outlook about being in a band in Brooklyn! Shake Pendulum Shake was actually from a dream I had about this strange reptilian man going into cocktail lounges on the Bowery, a real seedy character. But then there’s a song on the album just about Williamsburg.
JK: Hounds of the Bourgeoisie.
CP: Modern day Williamsburg, the juxtaposition of young scruffy kids playing in bands and parents with strollers.

LY: Is that cynical commentary in your tone of voice?
TP: It’s inevitable, its New York, it changes so quick.
JK: You cant be sentimental if you live in a city.

LY: I think you can still really feel its history.
CP: We’re fans of that. Obviously the musical history is something we take a lot of influence from.

LY: You can tell through your sound, your music has a solid New York identity.
TP: Yeah, the three of us definitely moved here because of the music that was made here, we wanted to be part of it. It’s so cool to play in the same places those bands played in, to be in a rock band in the same lifetime as David Bowie! That’s amazing.
LY: So whats next for you guys?
CP: We definitely want to tour Europe this year.
TP: It’s going to be a similar writing process. Come up with a song that has a good character, record it, then come up with something totally different the next day. It’ll be even more eclectic, we’re not pigeon holing ourselves to anything.
JK: Our recording game and song writing game is getting better and better. At first it was simple, now we really take time to add lots of elements. It’ll be more intricate.
TP: More to get our teeth into, more meat on the bone.

LY: So when you get together is it more structured daytime? Or messy nighttime?
CP: Honestly, the latter.
JK: Something inevitably comes out of weird nighttime recordings.
TP: The later you go the better it gets, the sleep deprivation enhances creativity.
JK: New York can be very demanding so the band happens in-between and after what we’re doing, so it often has to be unusual hours in order to get it done.. and some insanity comes out.

LY: New York is Nighttime..
TP: Never sleeps. A lot of the time we’ll go out to a show to see some good bands and wind up inviting them back to our practice space, 15 people jamming till 8 o’clock in the morning.
JK: After our show at Palisades we threw an after party, set up a bunch of mics and everyone was playing shit, even some girl playing clarinet. We recorded it and put it on the album, drifting in and out of chaos, that 30 secondssnippet of magic.

Savants play at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday 28th January - Hero Magazine

"Premiere: Savants - ‘Shake Pendulum Shake’"

Brooklyn-based Savants are far from being Luddites, but their penchant for keeping things analogue extends from their more organic recording processes (tape being cut by hand) to their methods of release (they self-released a limited run of their debut album on cassette). Now, they’re even making their videos the old school way.
The warped, psychedelic visuals that accompany new single, ‘Shake Pendulum Shake’, was conceived by lead guitarist, Joe Kimono, and achieved by magnetising old TVs, creating distorted spectrums that pull and bend the picture.
Its unsettling effect, shot by photographer Jin K Lee, is a suitable companion to the lyrics, which recount a dream lead singer Tony Prins had about “this strange reptilian man going into cocktail lounges on the Bowery, a real seedy character.”

Shades of the Velvets are apparent in Savants’ sound, who clearly share with their psych forefathers a keen regard for the dark underbelly of New York.
‘Shake Pendulum Shake’ is due to be released as a single soon, while Savants’ self-titled album is due in October, through Narnack Records.
In the meantime, you can catch Savants supporting The Besnard Lakes on July 28th at Rough Trade, NYC. - Clash Magazine


"Savants" (2015)
"7" EP (2014)



Savants merge organ rock with guitar-heavy psych for a sound they call "death, rattle, and roll". Their first release was recorded on tape machines and mixed with samples resurfaced from thrift store records, cassettes, and reels. Since 2013, they've opened for acts such as Allah-Las, Hanni El Khatib and Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell. 

Members include:
Tony Prins - Vocals/Guitar
Charlie Porter - Drums
Joe Kimono - Guitar/Keys
Mitch Wilson -Bass

Band Members