5 March 2012
THE BEST LIVE MUSIC AT A VENUE NEAR YOU
Maverick Sabre: Interviewed By Chris Beanland
Tour Dates: 5/3 Cardiff University 6/3 Birmingham HMV Institute 8/3 Bristol Anson Rooms 9/3 Portsmouth Pyramid 10/3 London Roundhouse 11/3 Falmouth Princess Pavilion Maverick Sabre, aka Michael Stafford, spent 2011 gathering fans via singles ‘Let Me Go’, ‘I Need’, and ‘No One’ as well as his amazing live shows and down-to-earth but passionate take on the business of making music.
award voting. His debut album ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ entered the UK charts chart at Number 2 on it’s release on 6th February and he tours the UK in March. Maverick Sabre, what have you been up to lately? “I've been doing promo for the album. I started promoting it in Ireland and then came over here. Basically any newspaper or radio show that'll take me, I'm happy to talk about the album.”
People are really He was runner-up in the interested in this album. 2012 Brits ‘Critics Choice’ You must be happy with
that? “Definitely. Firstly I make music to express myself, but secondly to connect with people. So the more people that write about it, the more people that hear it, the more people connect with it. That's the aim of my music.” ‘Lonely Are The Brave’ is a really accomplished album. You can tell that a lot of work has gone into it, it’s a very polished, strong production. Did it take you a long time to get there? “Yeah, some of it took a long time. There's a song on there called ‘Sometimes’ that I recorded back in Ireland when I was 17.
Maverick Sabre There's a one-string violin on there that I grabbed from upstairs. It was my grandad's violin that he never re-stringed. Then there are other tracks on there that are more recent that have full bands and full strings on them. There's a lot of years that it took to make the album – you can see the growth on there. I feel like it kind of represents a large part of my life. It's the first time you put yourself out there properly, the first time people get to bring a piece of you home. So it's the first time you get a chance to explain yourself and say 'Look, this is who I am – so you're gonna be a fan of the music or not.'”
“I look like the kind of lad that can sit in the corner of your pub on a Saturday, but I sing soul music. I love hip hop.”
You can hear the influence of soul and hip hop. You mention influences – who are the people that influenced the album and influenced you? “Each song is influenced by different people. Overall my Dad was a big influence – he There's a lot of depth in the samples loved music. He did it himself for years just and different instruments you’ve used. for love. Acts like Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, “There's a lot of different genres in there, and John Lennon, Tupac, Johnny Cash, they did a lot of different topics, and a lot of different it for love. People Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, influences. I'm influenced by music in Bon Iver influenced me. Reggae in general, general. I didn't want anyone to listen to it soul in general and hip hop: Pete Rock.” and go 'I can't listen to it.' Music's so segregated now – people feel that you have to Hip hop draws on so many influences be a certain age or be from a certain itself, right? background to listen to certain types of “Yeah that's what it does – jazz, soul. It's a music. I look like the kind of lad that can sit melting pot. But what really drew me in to in the corner of your pub on a Saturday, but I hip hop was the directness. There was no sing soul music. I love hip hop.” dilly-dallying about. You got it in one line. You felt that straight away. If someone wanted to say something, they said it. You felt that.
Mav’s album Lonely Are The Brave entered the UK chart at Number 2
Maverick Sabre You're from Stoke Newington in London and grew up in Ireland. Do you think either affected you and your music? “Definitely. When I was 4 or 5 we moved over to Ireland. I moved back to London by myself when I was about 17. Then again properly when I was about 19. It kept me open-minded. That moulded my music. Being influenced by traditional Irish music, the blues, the soul from my dad.” Do you think the variety in where you’ve lived and the different cultures have given you a wider outlook? “Yeah you can tell people who've lived in different places because they have that universal outlook, they can talk on that different levels, adapt in conversations. Well, most people can – you do meet people who've travelled who are pr*cks!”
Once the album's come out here, are you releasing it in other countries? “We start pushing it in Europe, then in America after.” What are your hopes for the album? Do you just want to go and play it live? “I get the immediate reaction of people when I play it live you know? I've got a singing voice that not everyone can hear exactly every word I sing cos of the way I sing it. So I made sure to stay up all night writing all the lyrics out so they could put them in the booklet. Now people know what I'm saying and can connect with me as a person, we can all be on a level. I'm looking forward to finding out what people like, what songs and lyrics, the different vibes – then I can take it on into the next record.”
You're doing summer festivals like Benicassim in the summer. How do you plan to develop the Have you worked with a lot of those Hackney live show for the bigger gigs? hip hop guys? “Yeah I'm doing Snowbombing as well. That is a heavy, “Yeah I've worked with Pro Green, Klashnikov's a big heavy festival! We did a tour in October, the London influence on me. Skinnyman, Taskforce – UK hip hop date was at Koko. I've got a five piece band – we're is a big influence on me. Almost more so [than pretty much keeping it the same for this tour, maybe American hip-hop] – they were talking in English adding a backing vocalist or two. I'm pretty happy with accents about places I'd been – Finsbury Park, Hackney, the set up – we've all gelled together so well musically. I Stoke Newington. They were talking about things I feel comfortable with them behind me. I try and keep it could connect with.” as simple as possible. I make simple music. I'm not coming on in a massive hat or anything. Sometimes I They're big stars now. Do you think there's an get into it so much I forget to sing! There's a song of appetite for this kind of music with people like mine called ‘I Can Never Be’ and my guitarist Charlie, Plan B, Wretch 32, Pro Green all doing so well when he does his guitar solo, I sometimes go into my right now? own world and forget to start singing again.” “I feel like hopefully it'll expand even more. UK hiphop was trying to be American but then people started You seem to achieve a real connection with to accept British accents much more like Mike Skinner the emotion of the crowd. – that combination of Brimingham and South London “Music's about unity, positivity, love. That's what I accent - he made hip hop, almost like folk hip hop and want my music to be about. I want it to break appeal to a wide audience.” down boxes, walls. I want my shows to have people Any plans to tour in the US soon? “Actually yes, it's just getting confirmed but I'm touring to SXSW in Austin. Big Festival. I did it about two years ago and met my American ex-girlfriend there actually. American women are lovely! So hopefully we have a little show in New York before we go down there. I Need got played on a show on VH1 recently. My friend called me the other day and he said 'Mick, I Need is on the jukebox in this little bar in Pennsylvania.' My ex rang me the other day and said she heard it playing in a department store in Chicago.”
of different races, different ages. Everybody's there – enjoying it. Like with Bob Marley – everyone in the world can listen to him. I've never heard anyone say 'Bob Marley's sh*t.' And you know that for me is what music's all about. I was doing the dishes the other night – feeling a bit down. I put on ‘No Woman No Cry’ and it made me feel better!”
Maverick Sabre Songs bring people together don't they? “That's why I did Wonderwall on the Chris Moyles show. People loved it! Chris Moyles and Mistajam were singing it. They were singing Wonderwall with me. Music's about bringing people together. That was actually inspired by when I saw Oasis play at Slain in Ireland and everyone was singing along to Wonderwall, everyone on a level. I'd lost my shirt, someone gave me a can. I was pissed. But it was that moment as the sun was going down. Everyone on a level.” Finally, what's next for Maverick Sabre? “More music, more shows. Pushing my music. So as many people as possible before the day that I die can hear my music. And that's it. I do as much as I can everyday. For me music's about being timeless. I want my music to be timeless.”