Maverick Sabre, Interview

20 December 2011

Interview with Maverick Sabre

Interview with Maverick Sabre

Meeting Maverick Sabre for the third time in 6 months, I kind of knew what to expect from the London-Irish musician. Even though I was stuck in an elevator for a few minutes before the interview, I still felt relaxed.
Maverick Sabre's career has blossomed - in the last few months especially - and although that was one thing I wanted to delve into, I was still surprised about how laid back he was. Going off point and talking for what felt like hours, the interview took a far more conversational tone than planned, even resulting in the tables turning and Mr Sabre questioning me, the interviewer. Nonetheless, the addiction of music is always welcoming.

CM: Christmas is only just around the corner now, Mav. What would you like for Christmas? It can be anything!
MS: Anything in the world? Jeez man, that's a hard one! Eh, a plane, because I like to travel. Two things. Sh*t man, I'm not really into presents much.

CM: It could be a person!
MS: Or any person? Oh Lord! Alicia Keys, definitely!

CM: Scenario two: you're hosting Christmas, cooking with all the trimmings etc. You're allowed three people to dinner. Dead or alive, fact or fiction, who would they be?
MS: Oh Lord. Tupac, as he's my inspiration; would love to sit down and see what the man behind the music is all about. Barack Obama; to see what actually is going behind the government. And one of my grandparents who I never got to meet. I'd like to ask them some questions and see what it was like for them growing up.

CM: I met you a few times through the festival season. What's the biggest change since you started this summer, as you seem to appearing everywhere at the moment?
MS: There are less people you can trust in your personal life.

CM: In what way, selling stories?
MS: No, not even that. You just don't know what people's intentions are anymore. Friends; industry friends; people around you; you get to see their true colours when the situations come out and you get to see who would be there for you in thick and thin. The ones who aren't just there for the hype if you know what I mean. So a lot less people to trust really.

CM: That's quite sad.
MS: Yeah, it is but fu*k it, I love the music.

CM: What genre do you think is dominating music at the moment?
MS: Hip hop, grime and dub step; more dub step than anything else. It's killing it at the minute. I have a feeling it may die down but for the moment it's really strong. And to be honest, if you look at it, soul has done quite well too. Adele, Amy Winehouse and Plan B, it's all soulful music. So soul and dub step.

CM: Last time we met, you said your music was soulful, hip hop inspired, acoustic music. With Plan B and maybe Ed Sheeran doing similar things, do you feel like you guys are maybe creating your own genre in music?
MS: For me I don't I feel that. Ed and Plan B are both different artists. When you sit down and listen to the music, I think I am different to both of them and I don't try and create my own style of genre, or anything like that. I just want it to be my own sound, which is a mix up of anything that has ever inspired me. So my music is a mash up of inspiration.

CM: I don't know how you'll take this... many people who think your voice sounds a wee bit like Amy Winehouse. How would you take that?
MS: Massively positive man. A couple of people have said that already. For me, she is a fantastic artist and her music will still be played in 100 years to come. I'll play her music to my grandkids, my kids, whatever. For me, she put her heart and soul into her music and that comes across when you listen to it. To be compared to her is an honour.

CM: Would you agree that there is a lot of collaborating going on in the music industry at the moment?
MS: In the mainstream there is, as it's a way of tapping into other peoples fan bases. And it's slowly fizzled into the underground scene too. You meet someone and they're like, 'Let's collaborate' before you have even heard their music. And I wonder why they aren't trying to push their own music.

CM: Do you get that a lot personally?
MS: Yeah man. Jesus Christ, when I walk out of the front door, no joke, you get it from people. Nowadays everyone is a musician. They have watched X-Factor or some sh*t and think it's all achievable. There are genuine collaborations out there but a lot are forced.

CM: Your latest collaboration with Logic, Big Frizzle and Akala discusses the notion of poverty and anti-capitalism. Is this something you wanted to address?
MS: Yeah, it's a point I wanted to highlight. I think it affects the majority of people in society that aren't in the hierarchy. I think it's something that isn't often spoken about in music. To be honest, positivity in an intellectual way is not addressed very often in music. So it was a pleasure to do the track.

CM: There were a few clips of your football skills in the video. How are your ball skills?
MS: Ah, I'm glad you pointed that out (smiling away). They're good actually, I'm getting better. I used to play heavily as a child but then I injured my foot badly and couldn't any more. Did you see my Soccer AM shot?

CM: Yeah man, I was just going to mention that.
MS: That was the highlight of my life (laughing away). I loved playing football and I'm a big Arsenal fan.

CM: Album talk now, Mr Sabre. The album is finished and ready to be released, was there any added pressure when making this album, as your career has gone to the next level?
MS: No, because most of the album was made before the first single even come out. Some of the songs on the album were originally recorded back in Ireland. So I didn't feel any pressure. I don't feel pressure anyways. The only pressure I do get is from me. Obviously labels want this and that and singles and bullsh*t, but I don't let that stuff affect me.

CM: If certain tracks were recorded a while ago then, is there anything you would change?
MS: It's as good as it can be but I am the worst person for that. I'd be like, 'This is good and we should put this on the album.' I write music every day and for me, the best stuff is always the newest stuff. Some of the content is, like, four years old and we have been playing it every night for years. That doesn't change how good the song is but it takes away the initial impact the song had. I will always look at a song and think I could've dropped this bit or that bit. The album is good and is what it is though and I think I need to step away from it.

CM: Your music covers so many genres, is there one that dominates the album?
MS: They all have an equal share. There is a heavy element of soul, as I like my music to come from the heart and soul. There is quite a lot of story through the album which comes from my folk influence. And of course, there is a heavy hip hop inspiration throughout. So overall, it would be a mixture of all three.

CM: How much influence did you have over production?
MS: Basically I would cold write sessions. So I would go in with a writer, I would write all the lyrics and melodies with my guitar but normally, the cold writer would create a loop or a beat they have made and we would just bang off each other.

CM: I know you have spoken before of your hip hop roots; do you have to try hard to make sure that hip hop doesn't over power other passions?
MS: I don't even try to keep either element in a song, it just naturally happens. Hip hop will always be part of me; I will always spit. The majority of my lyrics are written down in spitting form and then I just sing them on the record. I love to spit because I love hip hop. Hip hop is one of the most direct forms of music, as it's actually someone talking; they don't have to form it in a nice cliché. In some songs, you can hear that line was beautifully written and it captures the essence of the emotion being felt. In hip hop, you hear exactly what it is. If I don't like the government, you will hear me say that on a track. If Tupac doesn't like his mum being a crack head, he will say exactly that; how he feels, like he was sitting right in front of you. That's why I love hip hop. Ah sh*t, man, I've kind of gone off track. (His passion for hip hop is more than personified here. We were talking in a very passionate manner.)

CM: Does music prevent you doing normal thing?
MS: Of course. It affects relationships; it affects friendships. For me, I have dedicated myself to music and music has dedicated its self to me. I fell in love with music and married it at a young age. My life will always be focused around music; that will never change. No one understands why you put so much time into music. Even my family used to think that. My mum, God bless her, is a lovely woman but she wasn't a massive fan of me putting all my time into music. She would say, 'Why are you spending so much downstairs in your bedroom? Why spend so much time on your computer and guitar; you're just wasting your time!' I'd lock myself away for days; I still do now. So, I'd get my mum to come down and look at her CD collection. I'd pull out Rod Stewart or someone and I'd ask her, 'How do you think he was able to make this album? Do you think he made it in two minutes? How do you think he started off?' And she'd be like, 'Oh.' She'd have no answer to that. What can she say to that? So for people who don't do music, they might not understand why I spend so much time doing it. But I love it; it is one thing that has always been there for me. Never let me down.

CM: How important to you are the charts? If one track gets to 17 and the next one goes to five, do you see one song being better than the other?
MS: No, I don't give a damn. Obviously I want to see a progression, that's natural. Obviously, you would want a number one. No one is going to say I don't give a fu*k; I would love to but I'm not going to bang my head against the wall if my next single doesn't go number 1. I would love it to but for me, as long as I see progression at live shows and people are buying the music, that's what I care about it. Charts: it's all about figures on computer screens.

CM: So you never let it influence your next track or album?
MS: No, I would never let it influence my writing. Never ever, ever let it influence writing. It may influence a certain pressure on me, as the first two tracks released went top 20. And the next one released is probably the biggest song off the album; maybe not the best song but the biggest hit of the album, so for me, I'd like it to be top 20 or top 10 hit. But as long as it does well and keeps the fan base growing and keeps people connected to the music, I'll be happy.

CM: You had a good festival season; probably too early to start booking but are you looking to get involved next year again?
MS: Hell yeah but you're right, it's too early to start booking really.

CM: What was your best one last year?
MS: For me man, probably V Festival, the crowd were just out of this world. Snowbombing was the most enjoyable. It's out in Austria, in the mountains, like a scene from 007 or something. It's just so brilliant. And Snoop Dogg's headlining this year. It's just this tiny little village in the mountains looking over the Alps. You get this little cart up there, with typical Austrian architecture and everything. You get to the top and it's the most amazing thing you'll ever see and everyone is raving man, in this little Austria town. Fat Boy Slim did a set in an igloo. So fu*king top.

CM: So where would you wanna play next year, festival wise?
MS: Anywhere I did this year and more but if anyone is listening: Snowbombing, come and get me, I wanna come back and play man.

CM: As the frequency and intensity of interviews increases as you are more in the spot light, what's the worst question you've been asked?
MS: You know what, someone asked my about musical and celebratory friends, which is a sh*t question already but I said something about Plan B and they asked if he a good cook? What the fu*k is that about?

CM: And finally, plans for New Year?
MS: I'm supporting Chase and Status at the 02 Academy in London for Kasabian's New Year's Eve gig, should be good. Everyone should come watch.

Adam Holden


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