Can’t stop, won’t stop

Sean Nicholas Savage conquers and represents Montreal at the North by Northeast Festival

Sean Nicholas Savage prepares to release a new album and take on a European audience. Graphic by Emily Kai Bock.

Two weeks ago, somewhere between the Greater Toronto area and Montreal, a high-priority freight train whizzed from Lower to Upper Canada carrying some unexpected cargo.

As the train rushed towards Montreal, local songwriter Sean Nicholas Savage sat between two containers on a small plank, dodging CN Rail officials and writing his new album, Mutual Feelings of Respect and Admiration due out on Arbutus Records this summer.

Two weeks later the record is on the verge of being finished.

“[The album was] a fresh idea and it [had] to be made,” said Savage. “I believe in synchronicity […] it’s time to let everyone know.”

Know what, exactly? Well, we’ll just have to wait until the album’s release.

Savage has been heralded as one of the more prolific musicians in the city. Savage will play on the Pop Montreal roster at the North by Northeast festival in Toronto. Since his arrival from Edmonton in 2008, Savage has released four records, including his last effort Movin’ Up in Society, released in April. Where most musicians would take a much-needed break from the studio, Savage just can’t seem to stop producing.

“I wanted to make a practical album,” said Savage. “I want people to use it to have a good time.”

His music certainly allows for that, and, more often than not, one has the opportunity to drift off into his excitingly dreamy world, and walk around in it for a while.

“I wanted to make a practical album. I want people to use it to have a good time.”

Savage’s music has evolved dramatically over the years. His once minimalist approach and playful, Love-Me-Do lyrical styles have been traded in for luscious instrumentation and mature themes, leading him into a dark, mahogany-kind of country-pop (not to be confused with pop-country) that made his last effort his most serious to date.

For this summer’s record, Savage will be collaborating with label-mate, fellow Edmonton native and long-time friend David Carriere of Montreal’s sugar-wave band Silly Kissers. After being recorded by Sebastian Cowan, founder of Arbutus Records, the album and it is now being handed over to Carriere to be remixed in its entirety. The result is sure to be nothing less than promisingly uplifting.

Later this summer, Savage heads off to Europe where he has dates planned for Amsterdam and Berlin with more in the works. As he prepares to leave, his fans eagerly anticipate the manner in which these impending stories will find their way into his work.

Sean Nicholas Savage will be performing a free show Friday, June 18 for Fringe Pop at Parc-des-Ameriques (Corner of Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Rachel) at 9:30 p.m.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 1, published June 11, 2010.