Not only were we lucky enough to see Jack Savoretti perform in Zermatt, we also had the chance to meet him and interview him. After spending some time with 2 TV crews out on the balcony of the hotel, we were able to sit down with him for a couple of minutes and talk about Zermatt, his music and other things…
After getting comfortable on the sofa of the nice and warm room (it got a little cold outside after a while), we got right into it. Thanks to Jack Savoretti for taking the time and thanks to Zermatt Unplugged for organizing the interview!
Interview with Jack Savoretti
It’s great to have you back here Jack! You seem to be playing the Zermatt Unplugged quite often. What makes you come back, in your opinion, what’s so special about this festival?
I think the location is a huge part of it, even more than the festival itself might realize. Most of the musicians – and I can even throw myself in there as well – are not used to coming to this sort of location for work. I’ve noticed when running into other musicians here, there’s an energy in them that’s different than when we’re at other festivals. It’s usually quite hectic and stressful and nothing goes to plan, in Switzerland everything goes to plan. You’re also just surrounded in a very beautiful setting and everyone is in a good and more relaxed mood. The crowd feels that too. But I also think the line-up is – and I might be a bit biased on this – great. It’s not often that I go to a festival and want so see everyone on the bill!
Talking about festivals and a great line up – you’ve been invited to play at Quincy Jones’ B-Day Party, how does it feel to be playing for such a legend?
It’s terrifying to be honest. It’s one of those funny feelings where you’re not mad for doing what you’re doing. When someone like Quincy Jones asks if you want to be part of his party, it’s a great honor, but yeah, I’m a little terrified. It’s at the O2, so huge crowd, the big stage doesn’t bother me, but the huge crowd is the scary part.
You’ve been in some bigger arenas though, with John Legend last year, how was that compared to playing smaller crowds?
It’s strange because on that tour there were also some smaller venues in Germany, some that we were almost as big as the ones we were playing. That’s when I think the show really comes to life, even his show. It was amazing, his band is incredible. I like arenas, don’t get me wrong – and I also think everyone wants to end up in an arena, but it’s not where I like to go to shows. I find at arenas the show takes over the music, and it has to, because of the size of it. These places are usually not built for music to sound good, but for a show, something big in size. In music I don’t think size should matter, it should be more about what you’re hearing, the detail of it, the feeling of it. It’s quite hard to connect with the audience in arenas. When I’ve gone to see bands live, it’s hard for me to connect to them too. Being on stage, it’s not easy. Some nights – where the lighting can really help – it magically happens. You can make an arena feel like a jazz club. When that happens, it’s incredible, but it’s hard to do.
Yeah, I get that. I just saw Bob Dylan play at Hallenstadion in Zurich, and somehow I think that his music is not made for huge places like that.
Yeah, I can imagine. Actually, the first concert I ever went to was Bob Dylan at the Hallenstadion. It was incredible because when I went, it was empty. You could walk to the bar in the back, get a beer and walk back up to the front row. It was a while ago, I think I was 16, so must have been 1999/2000. I was also shocked that Bob Dylan was just a little guy on stage, he didn’t really care if we were there or not, he was just a guy… That’s when I sort of realized “oh that’s a cool job” – if he can do it, I should try it – not thinking about the fact that he’s a genius… It’s more the fact that I saw a little guy walking on stage…
Your duet with Imelda May was great – do you have any other artists you’d really like to work with?
Uuuhm, someone I would have never expected, and it’s been one of the most fulfilling experiences in my music career and also as a person – I wrote a song with Kyle Minogue last year for a film called “Halal Daddy”. We wrote it really carefree, we weren’t really writing for an album and nobody was trying to impress the other one. There was a scene in the movie that got us talking about personal experiences and we wrote this quite sad and intense song together. I got to see a side of Kylie Minogue that I’ve never seen before and I don’t think many people have. It was a very introvert, intimate, intense Kylie. I was so happy with the song, I remember finishing it and thinking to myself “Wow, what an experience”. And 6 months ago she called me and asked me if I’m ok with her putting that song as the last song on her album. Of course I didn’t think twice and said absolutely!
Is there anyone else that you haven’t worked with but want to?
Oh god, the list is huge. I would hate to say because I would sound like a weird fan, but I gotta say, I haven’t had my breath taken away in a long time, like last night watching Norah Jones. That was pretty amazing.
Talking about songwriting and lyrics, I know your songs are always very personal. On song that I personally really love is “Not Worthy”, can you tell me a bit more about it.
It’s basically me putting my hands up and saying, I’m not very good at this. I’m not really worthy of sitting here with you right now. It’s a bit tongue in cheek – it’s actually a very sad song, disguised as a drinking song. It’s a song about self-doubt and not feeling up to the task to fulfill someone else’s needs. Most people relate to that, it’s a song about being insecure. It’s also at the same time, it’s asking “who are you to judge me”. It’s a conflict of “I’m insecure, but screw you if you don’t get that”.
For all of your interviews we ask our followers/your fans to send in some questions. Here are some of them.
Sandra: Have you ever had something really embarrassing happen to you on stage?
(before Jack can answer, his Manager Niko starts laughing…)
Jack: Hey, what are you laughing at, you probably know better than I do! I tend to erase those things from my memory!
Niko: I don’t think it’s that embarrassing, but when the roof in Montreux was about to fall down on you?
Jack: Oh yeah, at the Montreux Jazz Festival I was opening up for Deep Purple! It was very lovely actually. I didn’t realize I was going to open for Deep Purple first of all, I was told it was for 30mins, then before going on they asked if I could do 40mins and just before I walked on stage they asked for an hour, Deep Purple aren’t ready. So there I was, alone with an acoustic guitar, in front of a Deep Purple crowd. The crowd was amazing! But halfway through all this this water kept dripping on my head. I kept trying to pretend like nothing’s going on. Then I noticed the audience looking up at the ceiling. I don’t think that was too embarrassing though, more embarrassing things have happened to me I’m sure. My bass player fell off stage once and I had to pick him up (not the current bass player). Or I’ve started playing without plugging in the guitar, that sort of thing…
*again I’ve almost ran out of time, so unfortunately I was only able to ask one of the many fan-submitted questions*
When getting on a plane, I want to… listen to music and go to sleep!
The last book I read was… Another Country by James Baldwin
Zermatt is… AWESOME!
Monkeys make me feel like… myself, my true self! (Laughter goes through the room) – that was revealing in all sorts of ways – haha, Monkeys make me feel like – I like that!
Well, that was it from my side! Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me! Really looking forward to seeing the show later tonight.
Thank you! It was lovely to meet you!
A little while later, Jack Savoretti put on a great show on the main stage of the festival. The show was sold out and people even got up to dance after a while (which I heard wasn’t always the case at this venue). As I’ve seen him live a couple of times already, I knew what to expect. But somehow he keeps surprising me… Loved how he interacted with the audience, talked a little in between the songs and man, his voice just gets me every single time!
Do you want to know more about my experience at Zermatt Unplugged, click here: Zermatt Unplugged 2018