Cash Savage and the Last Drinks have gained national and international attention for their unabashed style that calls out derogatory behavior. Cash Savage spoke with LARA FOX to discuss the making of their fourth album Good Citizens, an intensely personal album, despite the fact its inadvertent universal themes have struck a chord with people all over the world. In true punk spirit, Cash is raising her voice for all those that are sick of being marginalised due to sex, gender or orientation, with songs that are like anthems for nonconformists. If you are a big Patti Smith fan (and all good people are), then Good Citizens may very well become one of your favourite albums this year. Catch them at Mojos on Saturday, December 8.
Firstly, congratulations on Good Citizens, it is fricken amazing…
Aw thanks very much.
How did Good Citizens come together?
This is the quickest album I have ever written. I started writing it in July last year and we recorded eight songs in January this year and then recorded another two in March, but one got cut. That is a pretty quick turnaround for me, it usually takes me a year to 18 months to write an album. And actually, I started writing it on the road, which I never do, I never write on the road… I usually don’t like playing guitar in between shows, but for whatever reason, I did this time round. So, I started writing it when we were in Europe last year and then when we got back to Australia, I just kept writing it.
Every song is different in terms of how it comes together. Some songs are pretty complete when I take them to the band. Some songs take a bit of working around with the band, others are quicker. The song Collapse we actually put that together the week before we went in to recording, so we just had a day to put it together. There was a lot of pre-production on Collapse because we didn’t really have the time to work on it. But then other songs, like Better Than That and February, we knew exactly what we were doing so they were really quick.
A lot of people are saying the album is politically charged, but it also feels extremely personal. Has personal become political in this album?
Yeah, I think it is a really personal album. Actually I felt really different about these songs, quite protective over them. And I think it’s because in previous albums I have been singing about love and grief and universal emotions, but this time around it was very personal, and I didn’t know just how universal it would end up being. I was just writing from my personal experiences and my view of the world and how it looked to me at the time.
I think that is also the reason why I wrote it so quick, I wanted it to be a snapshot of exactly how I was feeling in those six months.
There seems to be a juxtaposition between the seriousness of the songs and the lightheartedness of the videos, is that deliberate?
Yeah, but in a way, I would like to think that the songs speak for themselves. I actually find the whole video clip thing really annoying. As a mate of mine pointed out, we musicians have to make an entire album and in addition to that we have to make 3-5 tiny movies around that. For me, I have put all my creative energy into making the actual album, so then to make the film clips is really difficult.
I suppose with the clip for Pack Animals, when you are making something about something as serious as that, I don’t want to jam it down people’s throats. If you are listening to the song then that is good enough for me, so I figure we might as well have some fun with the film clip. And Pack Animals kind of rollicks along, so it’s a good song to have some fun with.
With the #metoo movement and people becoming more woke with sexual harassment, gender and sexual biases, have you seen a positive change in the music industry over the last year or so?
Yeah, I think over the last year there have been some really positive changes in the music industry. There is still a long way to go though. But even over the last nine years there has, too. When I started the Last Drinks about nine years ago, there were very few non-women, or non-binary, or basically non-men in bands. And when I started I would always get offers to be in ‘all women line ups’ and I would always say no, because all the other bands playing are not billed as ‘all men line ups’. But now, that is unheard of, there are so many women on the stage and I think that is a massive change for the better. There is still a long way to go with women and non-binary people on the stage and in the back end of the music industry. But there has also been a lot of positive change.
You mentioned there is a long way to go until we reach real equality, what do you think are some of the steps we need to take to get there?
I don’t really have all the answers to that. I think we can, in a general sense, all come at the world with a lot more empathy. But I think in a more practical sense, we can listen to the organisations that are trying to make better and safer spaces for everyone. As musicians, and everyone in the music industry, we can all work to create safer spaces and spaces which are more encouraging, that will allow different people to enjoy the industry just as much as everyone else.
There is a lot of good work already being done out there, I think Listen organisation are doing a really good job. It is up to everyone to create a safe space for others, including the people who want to come along and enjoy music too.
What is coming up for Cash Savage and The Last Drinks?
I actually fly out to Europe tomorrow for a tour. Then we start touring Australia in November.