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Interview with Iron Asparagus
Hi Captain J. Savage, what got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I grew up in Eastern Canada, in a small village (Fox River) that is part of the beautiful Gaspé region. The sea and the mountains have always inspired the people who live there, and music is very present. The Appalachian Mountain range ends in my parents' backyard, so we have a lot in common with all the music of the mountains. Fiddles, mandolins, guitars, harmonicas are the tools of folk, country, traditional Quebec (very influenced by Irish fiddle tunes). Gaspesians are music lovers. All styles find their ears. Johnny Cash is a god here, as well as Beau Dommage, a French-Canadian band.
So, it's quite natural that I started learning the guitar (classical) at a young age. I stopped for a few years, and started again as a teenager, this time with electricity. I started to sing in the sailors' bars at the age of 16. Too young to drink legally, but old enough to play the cowboys. I was already writing tons of heavy riffs, folk ballads and some lyrics to go with them.
Otherwise, I could see myself teaching history or driving a truck, on long runs.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I read a lot. I like political essays, history books, biographies, some science fiction. I have also been practicing Kung Fu for some time. I used to be a heavy drinker (I still fall in the pot sometimes), and this martial art allows me to age a little better and gives me confidence.
How long have you been making music?
I am 43 years old. I wrote my first riffs when I was 13 years old. Can we say that I have 30 years of career? Ha, ha, ha !
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I am currently in Montréal. It's a beautiful city, full of artists and people of different nationalities. It's a city that has its challenges, like any other, but it has that little something unique in America. It has a European feel to it that is very appealing. The French roots are very present.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
Iron Asparagus is so new that we haven't played any shows yet. I've played hundreds of shows in bars, though, singing many different styles of songs. For the Iron Asparagus, a good concert for me would be a good chemistry between the band and the audience, each one enjoying it. A good sound and musicians in good shape also helps.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There are all these festivals where metal is sacred. I dream of going there...
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
I wouldn't say no to Metallica for the M72 with Pantera at my place at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal (I don't have the money to pay for a ticket, I put it all in the EP, so I could be there, ha, ha, ha!). Otherwise, a tour with new bands like ours would be really cool.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Never forget why you are doing this, for the fun of it. The pleasure of making music. There will be people who will tell you that your music lacks a little of this, a little of that. Of course, you have to listen to people's opinion, but follow your instinct, listen to your heart. If a song, a mix, a snare sound makes you smile, keep it.
To the young Savage, I would tell him to smoke less pot and finish more songs! Then today's Savage won't have to finish them all for him!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The band's first EP will be released in February 2023. We already have two singles floating around. So those are the first 4 songs from the band to come out of my head. It's such an accomplishment for me to have done this, after a few years of struggling. So these songs are a great victory, they are a unit.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Mr. Molotov is so simple on the guitar that it allows me to coo without worrying too much about the riff.
And I like this marriage of lyrics and music.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
In all this work, the creative part is my favorite. I always have a book on hand, jotting down words, phrases, juggling them. I find a good song and sing it a cappella in my car, while walking, while fucking (it's a joke, usually the melodies let me fuck my wife, they comeback after).
When the title has found its melody, I take my guitar and put the right riff on it. Then I figure out what would make good verses.
And there is the other method, which is a bit the opposite of the first one. I play a riff, find 4000 variations on it, and usually the best of them will whisper a few good words to start me off. Then I work on the text, without any instrument, just the good old pencil and paper tools.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Injustice is one of the things that touches me. Politics too. Human stupidity. Our weaknesses are a great source of inspiration. I am still far from a love song, but it will come. Probably on the 5th album.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
The first EP is coming in February, Mr. Molotov and Diamond in the Dirt are already available. I'd like to finish some new songs during the winter. Getting on stage and spitting all next summer would be fantastic.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The Facebook page of Iron Asparagus is the most animated in our social networks, hope to see you there ! Thanks !