So the Converse GET OUT OF THE GARAGE 2013 competition has closed for all entrants hoping to win this amazing prize, and we got to get in a last minute word with the final judge for the comp, Jon Savage. Here is what he had to say just before the mammoth task of selecting 10 finalists of over 300 entries…
MA: Tell us a little bit about yourself before we get started..
I am Jon. I’ve had a long crazy relationship and love for music and – my default- the SA music industry. When i was 18 i was very involved in radio at Rhodes Music Radio (woooord, Grahamstown) and a group of us became obsessive about local bands! We started a magazine called Bandscan which eventually became a nationally syndicated radio show all about local bands and news! Interestingly that group of people was a real mixed bag – Nicole Fox was one, Paul Viv (from Late Night With Paul Viv) was one, Chris Verijjt (Laugh It Off) was one and a whole bunch of others – but we were just stupid passionate kids back then. Now we’re all stupid passionate grown-ups (sort of). Then i started being in bands and that’s when i really lost my mind.
One day i went on national television (the first ever season of Idols) dressed as Superman specifically to take the piss out of the whole program! During my “performance”, Dave Thompson (judge and also head of Sony BMG) stopped and said “I know this guy is joking around but I’ve seen this guy before. He can really sing. Move to Joburg and start a band and I’ll sign you.”
That was when Cassette started and I spent the next 5 years travelling the world in a rock band enduring epic successes and even more epic failures. When I got back, 5FM asked me to host a radio show so i did that.
These days I play in lots of bands (www.kiteridermusic.com) , produce the 5FM MashLab (www.5fm.co.za) , have a podcast called “The Official SA Music Industry Podcast” (www.jonsavage.co.za) , founded the Songwriting Business Academy of South Africa (www.songwritingbusiness.com), am a composer and producer at Pocket Love Studios (www.pocketlove.co.za) , have an online radio station called Seed (www.seed.tv) and various other strange things all to do with trying to help grow the SA Music industry (www.jonsavage.co.za).
MA: You are one of the judges for the GET OUT OF THE GARAGE 2013 competition, what are you most excited about for this amazing competition?
I’m excited about that little moment when you’ve listened to 112 bands in a row and can’t tell what is good or bad any more when suddenly, something unexpected and awesome pops out of the speakers and says “HELLO IM AWESOME!!!!”. When that happens, I’m going to make a tiny wee in my pants. I LOVE that moment. And that’s exactly what this competition is about. Unearthing genuine talent!
MA: What are some of the things you will be looking out for?
I think it’s important not to be too cerebral about things. Sometimes a song will break all the rules of what we think we are looking for, but we’ll just love it because it’s great. With music, you can often overthink it and lose out something just being cool. I’m just looking out for ANYTHING with any sound or any genre that is just plane undeniably great!
MA: What has you most excited about our local music industry?
This is going to sound REALLY self-promoting but the 5FM MashLab is all about local collaborations with genuine interactivity from fans. It’s only been going 4 months but i can already see the scope of it and how it can transform the local industry and give an amazing platform to local artists. Right now, this is what I’m most excited about in local music.
MA: Any advice for the aspiring artists hoping to win this competition?
It sounds corny but be true to your band and work harder at it than you think you need to. The harder you try to win this competition, the less likely you will win. The harder you work at being in a band that won’t win this competition, the more likely you will win it!
MA: Where can people follow you?
To the shops, to the bar or on twitter @jonsavagerocks