Salt & Samovar are a Brooklyn band that sound more like they're just visiting here from Upstate...or a Coen brothers film. Their live shows are described as "pentecostal revival-like performances that evoke the musical and spiritual heirlooms of a cherished American past." A simpler and simply transporting sound that'll have you pining for the past. Come check out their revival-rock this Friday at Mercury Lounge -- get your tickets here.
Where did your band name originate?
I have been into Russian Lit for a long time. I like the idea of everyone sitting around the communal samovar, drinking tea, &, conversing. I wanted the the band to have a collective sound that would emulate such a scenario.
Your sound is a bit pastoral, and in fact the Village Voice recommended listening to it on "sun- baked patches of grass" -- how did you come up with this while living amidst the hustle and bustle of Brooklyn?
We love the traditions of American music--music that came largely from rural, pastoral areas. Blues, Gospel, Country, & folk. They have the ability to transport one to the time & place they were recorded. I also am a heavy classical music listener, which oft brings one farther back, to the pastoral lands of the Old Country.
What can we expect to see from the band in the coming year?
We will be playing KCRW's showcase at SXSW & are touring on the way down. We are in the works booking some other tours. We are looking for someone to help do the booking as we do it all ourselves. We are expanding what we do. Everything is handmade & takes a while to put together. Our CDs are handscreened & wax sealed. Our bassist handscreens our custom shirts. & I have just started a company making handmade perfumes. We will be making an exclusive Salt & Samovar scent to sell at shows & online.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
I work at a restaurant where we have staff meetings in a room that is not readily accessible to customers. You would have to walk through one of our two kitchens to get to it. We were all sitting back eating, & in walks Owen Wilson. He looked surprised to see lots of people. He laughed & joined in the feeling of the moment, touching his chin & saying, "mmmm, I have something important to say..." then he walked through the other door into the garden. Bizarre.
What's your favorite/least favorite place to see/play music in New York?
Favorite to play: We love the down home feel of Zebulon & The Rodeo Bar, but the sound at Bowery is unparallelld. To See: Bowery Ballroom. There is no bad place to stand.
Worst to play/see: Any of the places that book 6 bands a night & smell like stale beer, & usually are operated by unfriendly people.
Which New Yorker do you most admire?
Tom Brady had an apartment here, but I don't know if you could call him a NYer. I guess I'd have to say Robert Zimmerman.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York?
I would make it quieter. I cannot stand how loud it is. On the streets, construction early in the morning, people yelling on the subway to impress everyone around, loud music in bars/restaurants. Why do restaurant owners think diners like to listen to modern dance/pop music while they eat.
Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York?
Whenever I leave, & remeber clean air, quiet, & nature. I think all of us in S&S would move upstate tommorrow if we had the bread.
Can you please recommend a good weekend hang-out that isn't unbearably mobbed?
Does one exist? I stay away from Manhattan on the weekends. Zebulon in BK is a great place with good free music, nice owners, & cool crowds.
What's your current soundtrack to the city?
Van Morrison always on. Christmas music from Perry Como! He's money.
Best subway line?
Best cheap eat in the city.
10 $ lunch special Thali at Saravanaas on 26th & Lex. R.I.P. Matamoros puebla.