An Interview With The Rock Singer-Songwriter SAVANNAH POPE On Her Newest Music and More!
Posted On 08 Nov 2018
Rock singer-songwriter Savannah Pope, formerly the lead vocalist of SpaceCream, is proud to announce the release of her new video and single, “Creature.”
“Creature” is an explosive, operatic, and hard-rocking song featuring lyrics brimming with both moxie and self-deprecation. Boasting soaring, gorgeous vocals, the song’s melodies cross over to metal while retaining a bona fide glitter rock vibe. Savannah made the video for “Creature” by blending original footage with sophisticated original motion graphics. It took her an entire year to create, frame by frame, and the resulting imagery is beautiful and disturbing.
Savannah makes incendiary, soulful rock music. Her songs boast stunning lyricism and vocal power. Her stage presence is larger than life, and should be experienced firsthand by any music lover. Influenced by such luminaries as David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Lou Reed, Queen, Joni Mitchell, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Heart, her music blends classic rock elements with a unique modern sensibility.
Savannah has been a fixture in the Los Angeles music scene for over five years. Until one year ago, she was the vocalist and leader of glam rock band SpaceCream, which released the acclaimed album Pterodactyl Sky in 2016. As lead singer for SpaceCream, she played LA Fashion Week and opened for national artists such as Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), and VOLTO (Danny Carey of Tool). SpaceCream won the Battle for Vans Warped Tour at House of Blues Hollywood, and played numerous live shows at storied venues like the Viper Room and the Troubadour.
Born in LA, Savannah’s background story is definitely different from the average musician’s. Savannah was an angsty, precocious, and unique kid who wound up at a boarding school for wayward teens when she was 14 years old. “I was sent away because I was extremely depressed and wild, and running away all the time,” she reveals. “My parents never knew where I was. I fought them on everything, and they were scared for me.” During her two years there, a friend taught Savannah some chords on the guitar, and she started writing songs.
After graduating high school, Savannah traveled extensively. “I went to Ecuador with some very intense hippies and we lived off the land. We climbed volcanoes, and one guy actually got hit by lightning. No joke. We also stayed with Quechua natives in the jungle for a hot minute. As it turns out, I am entirely unremarkable in the art of being one with nature…I mostly got eaten alive by insects and resembled a leper.” Savannah then went to college, dropped out, stopped by Harlem for a while, spent a year painting/being a wild thing in Barcelona, and eventually landed back in Los Angeles, where her journey began. She fell in love with performing by accident, when she wandered onstage during some friends’ open mic and got an incredible response. And she’s been hooked ever since.
Perhaps the best way to immerse oneself in Savannah’s world is to see her onstage. She utilizes her live performances to present a new brand of art rock steeped in glam and prog; an unpaired blend of riveting musicianship, garish style, and theatricality.
Stay tuned for the announcement of Savannah’s brand new solo EP, out later this fall.
Connect With Savannah Pope Here:
Learn more about Savannah Pope in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
I’m listening to Bjork at my place in Hollywood. It’s my little rent-controlled haven of color, up just enough floors to escape the tourist-driven debauchery of this neighborhood. I painted it and put art everywhere. It’s a good time.
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
2018 is my main man right now. Until this year, I was the vocalist and leader of a band called SpaceCream. Deciding to go solo has been really freeing and inspiring. I’ve been writing like crazy – both on my own and in collaboration with others. A lot of my new material is going onto my first full solo album, which is laying down beautifully and set tor release early next year.
2018 also marked the first releases of my solo career – the single and video for “Creature.” That video took me a year to make. It’s essentially a frame-by-frame painting mixed with live footage. Finally putting that out into the stratosphere was very rewarding. And thankfully, “Creature” has been getting some attention due to some outlets picking it up and public figures sharing it on Twitter. Having Edgar Wright endorse it was such a huge honor! Still pinching myself.
My goals for 2018 were to finish “Creature” and get my solo career started with a bang. I’m never fully satisfied, to be honest. But I am a little proud of myself!
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
My first – and in some ways favorite – memory is being in my mother’s lap while this auburn sunshine pours through the window and Joni Mitchell’s “Morning in Morgantown” plays on the stereo. For me, music has always done two things: it captures a feeling, and it provides a portal to any place I need to go. I was a hypersensitive, overly imaginative kid – and raised as an only child – so both of those things made me feel less alone. They still do.
I’ve always loved singing, but I didn’t know sincerely that I wanted to be a musician until I performed at an open mic. I don’t know how much of a choice that was, really.
I was there with some friends and not planning to perform. But I got this awful feeling in my stomach and somehow knew the only way to make it go away was to borrow someone’s guitar and sing in front of all these people. The high was just phenomenal.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise has been watching this industry completely change. My mom was a music video producer for twenty years, so I grew up around that industry. It’s unchartered territory now, and I don’t think anyone necessarily has an easy answer. Being an artist means getting used to uncertainty. Existential dread kinda comes with the territory.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
I’m from LA, and I live in LA now. I lived in a number of places in-between. I hated this city when I left as a kid. Now I love it sometimes. Either way, it’s in my blood. A lot of my upcoming album is about Los Angeles.
What has it been like branching out from your band SpaceCream and being a solo artist? How does the music of the group compare to your solo music?
I held out for a long time, trying to make SpaceCream work. It was too much my project to last as a band. Eventually, I had to own up to the fact that I really wanted to be a solo artist, and that I was simply scared. Acknowledging that made a big difference. Once I made the leap, I felt like I could breathe again! It hurled me into a creative place.
‘Creature’ is much more hard rock than anything I did with SpaceCream. At the same time, it’s more strictly structured. As far as the rest of the album…I don’t want to give too much away! Let’s just say that it’s all tied together thematically. It has a great range of feeling and a take that, to me at least, is very fresh.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Creature.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it prepares listeners for your upcoming EP?
Creature is about some of my very early romantic endeavors and sexual experiences. It’s about trying to figure out who is blame when you’re drawn to unkind people. And, in its own way, it’s about breaking up with the band. The whole thing started with a kickass baseline by my former bassist, Saul Slotnick. I think it prepares listeners very well for the really driving rock songs on the record. There will certainly be some surprises, though. I’slow down and make some sharp turns.
Can you talk about making the music video for “Creature”? Why did it take a whole year to create?
The preparation for the shoot alone took a long time. I worked with my friend Lori AKA Lady Lea to design and alter the graphics. Then the footage was shot entirely on green screen, which I had never done before. It was all very DIY, so I ended up having to key most shots frame by frame. That meant countless of hours of grunt work. Good learning, though! If I make another video in this style, I’ll know what to do next time.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
That’s a lot of question! Shit. Obviously, I’d like it to be received well, and to be appreciated on a much larger scale. Honestly, what people take from music is so subjective and personal. I do hope, though, that my hard work will pay off overall in the music industry. A lot of what I hear on the radio sounds exactly the same to me. I’d like to carve out a notable place for myself and shake things up. I want artists to be appreciated for how they stand out, not how well they fit in.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Social media is a strange thing. It can be really toxic if you interact with it too much. That being said, I’ve been able to connect with so many amazing artists and fans because of it. I try to update at a reasonable pace that feels organic to me. I also try to take a little time every day to see what else is out there. I use Instagram the most, though Facebook can still be helpful. I’m really just on Twitter to follow that King Henry VIII parody account.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
So many people! Joni Mitchell was my first musical inspiration. After that, it was a mix of rock artists like Bowie and Lou Reed with soul acts like Sly & the Family Stone and Etta James. Amy Winehouse inspired me to make music that means something to me, rather than catering to what’s popular. I’ve been cheering for Janelle Monae for a good ten years now, ever since I heard this crazy cool girl in a suit was tearing things up in Atlanta. I would love to work with her. I’d also love to work with Linda Perry, Halestorm, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Ozzy. I feel like singing on a Gorillaz track would just be so much fun. I hope Mars Volta gets back together, and I hope I get to tour with them sometime. Other people I’d kill to work with are Rick Rubin and Muse.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I’d bring my ‘78 acoustic Martin in its cloth case with extra strings in the pocket. It travels well, and I wrote my first song on it.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
GLOW is the first show that comes to mind! It would be such a fun project to write a Weimar republic piece for Babylon Berlin. Ash Vs. Evil Dead would be great, as would Insecure or Everything Sucks. I’d melt with happiness if I could have anything to do with Broad City!
Film-wise, I’d love my music to be in a Floria Sigismondi, Quentin Tarantino, or Charlie Kaufman film. I’ve fallen in love with so many new filmmakers lately, like Boots Riley, Gretta Gerwig, and Jordan Peele. I’m also a genuine nerd, so I follow music supervisors like John Houlihan and Danny Elfman. Getting picked up by either of them would be a dream.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your fall and winter?
My next big show is Saturday, November 17th at the Viper Room. I’ll be releasing a new single and sharing the stage with one of my favorite LA acts, GayC/DC.
I’ll be spending the rest of this year finishing my full album and making music videos to release with it. I’ve streamlined the process, thankfully. I’m currently designing sets and doing scouts.
As for next year, I hope to land some kind of representation. I also definitely plan to go on tour!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
I want my fans to take away an experience that is meaningful to them. I want to inspire people to read and paint and make things. I’d love to ring in a new era of beauty, experimentation, detailed quality, and overall creativity. And yes – I want the lyricism, vocal range, and interesting structure of my work to go down in history.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
Take a chance on this kook. You won’t regret it. And even if you do, you’ll have good story to tell.
(all photography provided by Lesley Z Media)