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All mod songs
They’re the unsung heroes of plaintive Irish pop. Ahead of a new run of live shows, Saville talk guitars, pedals and Wurlitzers – and explain why musicians should be prepared for the worst whenever they go on stage.
Colm O Hare, 03 Apr 2009
Saville are one of those bands we too often take for granted. While others arrive in a short-lived blaze of publicity and hype, this Dublin outfit have toiled for over a decade, along the away releasing a series of consistently brilliant albums.
Initially influenced by 1960s mod culture (and the later Jam-led mod revival) they’ve since expanded to embrace psychedelia, folk and ’70s soul and funk – as their latest LP, Nostalgia attests.
“It comes from a genuine love of all music,” says guitarist/keyboardist Tosh Flood of the band’s approach to songwriting and recording. “We wouldn’t be all that calculating – it’s not ‘let’s make a pastiche of this or that’. Having said that, I’ve a lot of deep soul singles that I play on a Dansette record player at home. When I wrote, ‘I Can’t Do Anything To Ease Your Pain’ (from Nostalgia) I was trying to do a song along the lines of ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ by Brenda Holloway (as covered by The Small Faces). So yes, sometimes I do set out to re-work something else. But not often.”
Flood (who also moonlights occasionally in Pugwash) says his guitar of choice for both live and studio work has changed over the years, from Rickenbackers and Gibsons.
“The Rickenbacker was all about The Byrds, The Beatles, The Who and Johnny Marr. I always loved that sound. Before that, I played a Gibson. I’ve recently fallen in love with a Fender Jazzmaster – when we were making Nostalgia the engineer had it in the studio and I used it on most tracks. I eventually bought it off him. Neil Hannon and Thomas Walsh from Pugwash are making a cricket concept album and I played it on a few tracks. You can get a good trashy sound off it. If you want to play Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’, it’s the only guitar that’ll get that sound.
For amplification, Flood uses a Fender Reverb Twin while he occasionally employs Orange amps too. “The Fender is a brilliant amp. It’s a valve amp and you can get great distortion form it. But it’s a bastard for lifting in and out of gigs. I use a volume pedal on stage with everything up to five. On the amp right across the board I use Line6 distortion module and a delay module – great for getting that 70s Isley brothers sound.”