Jehnny Beth wrote on the Huffington Post yesterday about her past year fronting Savages on various stages around the world. It was a very good, revealing read, as evidenced early on when Beth talks about the economic state of the group. One looks at Savages and thinks of them as a successful first-album band, with tonnes of money banked after a year of touring. Not so, according to Beth:
I spent my whole year traveling the world, discovering countries and cities I had never seen, made interesting friends everywhere, played in front of loving crowds — but my life hasn’t changed so much. For a start, I am not richer than I was when I started. When I told my dad how much money I earned, he was shocked: “What? You go all around the world and you don’t earn more money than I do?”
Now don’t get me wrong, the economy of the band isn’t bad. We have enough money to survive and make a second record exactly the way we want to. We are lucky, yes, but I mean for example this job doesn’t give us the possibility to buy a house if we wanted to, or to start a family if we wanted to, to do what people you know do, when they have a life and their work is successful. Recognition doesn’t bring money. Does it matter? Not really, and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t care at all; money is not gonna stop you from enjoying music, or me from making it. Although it doesn’t make it easy for me to rent a flat… This week, every landlord I spoke to on the phone said they didn’t want to rent their property to artists. I found myself arguing for nothing: “It’s not because we do what we like that we can’t pay our rent!” That was my reality after two years traveling the world, meeting the most amazing people — people I’ve admired for years. I wanted to tell these goddamn landlords who they were dealing with.
– via My Year in Savages, by Jehnny Beth
It reminded me of what Wild Beasts singer/guitarist Tom Fleming said to Michael Gira of Swans a few weeks ago:
Fleming: “With all humility, we had our first Top 10 record just this last week. I was over the moon. It sold, like, 7,500.”
Gira: “That’s Top 10? You can’t live on that.”
Fleming: “Nowhere near. A broken amplifier would cost that, almost. I always try to be very diplomatic whenever somebody asks me about streaming and illegal downloading and stuff, but I feel like, erm…”
Gira: “I don’t think you should be diplomatic. You should just say what it is.”
The glamourous life of a musician, eh?
Savages also revealed a new video yesterday, for the stunning ‘Fuckers’, which is out on 12″ next month. It’s more than deserving of your money – preorder details here.