The New Savages

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The New Savages

With the Great Australian Beer Festival days away, we had a chat with Milan Milutinovic as he prepared for the event while drinking a cold one. 

Hi Milan, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte Magazine, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

I’m currently drinking an ice cold pale ale (James Squire’s 150 lashes), mentally and physically preparing myself for Saturday’s Great Australian Beer Festival!

It’s not long now until your show at the Great Australian Beer Festival, have you ever played at an event like this one before?

Yes! We actually had the pleasure of playing the Ballarat Beer Festival earlier this year in January – that was such a great day out. I’m excited about having another excuse this weekend to try a dozen different beers and justify it as a another part of our job!

While we’re on the topic of beer, what do you think is the greatest beer in the world?

Nail Red Ale.. I’ve been drinking a lot of amber and red ales lately. They’re not as dark as stouts or porters, so you can have a few without a terrible hangover the next day.

That’s one of many gigs you’ve got coming up. And we heard you’re putting on a blues stage for White Night in Melbourne, how did that come about?

Nathan on the drums has done a few cool avant garde art kind of installations at White Night over the years. Last year he built (yes, built – I was even going to help him, but he didn’t have any beer in the fridge that day) a phone booth and would have random people walk in, pick up the phone and talk to him while remixing their conversations into music live. He did this for 12 hours straight on the day. I guess after that they thought this guy can do anything, so let’s get him to organise a blues stage.

Are you planning on seeing the rest of the night’s events?

I’m really excited about our Blues Speakeasy stage actually – we got to put all our favourite Melbourne blues artists together and have a night of music with them. I’m definitely staying up til 5am to catch Rattlin’ Bones Blackwood who is a one man hill country blues machine.

It’s been a little while now since you released the clip to Smokestack Lightnin’ and we heard you’ll soon be working on the next one. Are you able to give our readers any teasers on what to expect?

We’re in the mixing process as we speak for the next EP. I’d say you can expect another catchy, broodingly dark blues song whose roots you will be able to find somewhere in a 100-year-old Library of Congress blues field recording.

Performing on stage is often exhilarating for musicians, but performing in front of the camera can be a completely different ball game. How do you find that process?

It’s strange – I must have sang Smokestack lightnin’ about a hundred times that day in front of the camera to get all the angles. Most of our recording sessions are done in a handful of takes. I felt like it wasn’t even a song any more, it just became a piece of nothing. Like when you say the word bottle out loud over and over again and your mind starts telling you bottles are no longer bottles.

As a band do you get quite involved in the process of creating new clips or do you prefer to leave that up to the filmmakers?

We’re lucky that the extremely talented Phil Watt, who handles all of our photography & film, is a very close personal friend of mine. So we get to have drunken conversations at 3am about how revolutionary our film concepts are going to be before going into the bin when we wake up sober.

That’s not the only thing you’ve been working on either. How did the recording go for the new record?

Really good. I’m really excited to put it out so that people can hear it. I think it’s a definite progression from the first without losing the quality that made our first record stand out to a lot of people. I’ve dug deep into the coffers of old blues recordings to get something new and fresh again. I think blues music isn’t the immovable monolith that people sometimes make it out to be. I’ve always tried to push the envelope a little bit while holding onto a sense of authenticity, and this new record feels like another step forward for me.

Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, are there any last words of wisdom you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like to talk about the time that a US television show about Turkey Hunting requested the use of one of our songs. They knew we didn’t support hunting – it was such a fowl move on their part. They really made a cock of it, so I told them to get stuffed, and Nathan told them to go get plucked… It was such an unpheasant experience. We’ll be back in Geelong on Feb 12th at Pistol Pete’s Food n Blues!

When & Where: Great Australian Beer Festival @ Geelong Racecourse – February 6 & Pistol Pete’s, Geelong – February 12