The Savants of Soul describes themselves as, “a 10-piece Motown Soul band built on a foundation of blues, soul, jazz, rock ’n’roll, punk and ska.
They’ve gained a large following, cramming dance floors with their kinetic energy and theatrical live shows. Since the group’s inception, The Savants of Soul has shared the stage with acts like Charles Bradley, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Wailers, and Thomas Wynn & The Believers. The band released its single, “Second Chance Lover,” on Swamp Records in January 2016 as a follow-up to its debut full-length, Downtown Sound.”
How has Gainesville influenced the Savants of Soul?
Alex Klausner, Drums: There’s a specific piece of Gainesville history that really influenced this band and really its core concept, and it’s a band called Chupaskabra. My best friend, Tony Farah from The Duppies, used to play in that group. Justin, our lead singer, was actually a guitar player in this band. They just had this chaotic, uptempo energy to their shows that always tore the roof off whatever venue they were playing. They got their crowds involved in their shows, they got people dancing and above all they were all some of the best musicians in the city. There was this kinetic quality to what they were doing and that had a huge impact and influence on us. We want to be like that when we go on stage. We want to get people dancing and going crazy at our shows. I could only hope our crowd is having half the amount of fun I used to have going to see that band play.
What is the Savant’s of Soul’s favorite place to play?
Alex Klausner: Any place that hosts live bands and furthers the positive growth of the Gainesville music scene — which I owe everything to — is all right by me.
What has your experience been working with Swamp Records?
Alex Klausner: My experience with Swamp Records has been positive, and I’m fortunate to call all of these people my friends. We’ve run into really brilliant people in Swamp who really go hard in the paint to help the band grow and get the word out. And they do that while juggling classes, internships, work, and everything else that goes along with being a student. I have a great amount of respect for these kids.
What was Showcase like for the Savants of Soul last year?
Klausner: It was a blast. It’s always a good time. It’s really rare I get to see all my Swamp Records friends in one place, so I always relish that. Plus, it’s always a good performance and there’s a lot of energy. We had people crowdsurfing, we had a huge crowd and I really am looking forward to seeing what it has in store this year.
Austin Van Wie, Guitar: Last year’s Swamp Showcase was incredible. We had an incredible crowd! We even had crowd surfers that night! To the best of my memory the band was super tight that night. And Alex even stood up on his drum set!
Are you guys looking forward to it this year?
Van Wie: Swamp Showcase is one of the events I personally look forward to most every year. It’s just one of those nights that feels like everything is right. Tons of music, lots of people looking forward to hearing the music… It’s just overall excellent.
Does the band have any pre or post show rituals?
Klausner: We’re a big band, so everyone has their own things that they do. I know my post-show ritual is always low-key weeping to myself as I load up the drums. It’s a lonely job. Then I go home and have a glass of scotch or a beer. Then I read a little political or football news until I go to sleep. Exciting, I know. Hashtag rock star life.
What has the band produced, written, and/or achieved of which you guys are most proud?
Klausner: I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I’m extremely proud of our latest single, “Second Chance Lover,” and I’ll tell you why. That song literally came together in a month. We were unsure if we could even finish the song and record it on the deadline that we had to get the word out. The group banded together, got it done and everyone really played a part in making that happen, and everyone really had their own contributions to making that song what it was.
Van Wie: I think it’s normal for people to say “Oh yeah, our most recent album is totes bitchin’!” but for me personally what I am most proud of is our work ethic. I mean, getting 10 people together every week is tough. Now consider trying to organize shows, tours, recording times, etc. Everyone in this band is incredibly dedicated to what we’re trying to accomplish. I think that is one of our greatest accomplishments.
What does The Savants of Soul have planned for the future?
Klausner: We’re going into the studio in a week or two to get to work on a new EP, which is going to be kind of a culmination of the work we’ve done since we put out Downtown Sound to the world. It’s got a little bit of a funkier edge to it than what we’ve done previously.
Austin Van Wie: The Savants of Soul are preparing for their busiest year yet! A tour is in the works, we’re discussing recording new tracks soon, and we have tons of shows coming up between now and July. In reality, by time 2016 is halfway over we will have accomplished more than what we accomplished in all of 2015. And 2015 was a huge year for us! So I think that’s saying a lot. There’s so much time left in 2016 that by time it comes to a close this band will have done so many incredible things that we won’t know what to do with ourselves.
- Carly Coughlin
This article was originally published online at the Swamp Records blog.