With interstate travel off for the interim, we here at Hum have decided to branch out from Melbz to help highlight a band breaking ground up North. Blue Savannah Underworld are a Brisbane-based 5-piece reared in improvisation with an amped-up brand of psych rock. Whilst previously grounded in spontaneity and surprise, their recently released debut EP, This Is A Threat see’s them channel their energy into more fully formed song writing that highlights the importance of viewing the world through eyes devoid of prejudice.
Taking their name from a poetry class’ creative exercise prompt, Blue Savannah Underworld is a band founded on an innate cohesion between its members. When Bruno Lordao (guitar and vocals) met Elliot Randall (guitar) through a housemate, this instinctual musical understanding was soon realised. “As soon as we started playing there was instant chemistry. Between us, we just improvised with each other and could read where the other was going”. The addition of Jordan Vasilou on drums saw Blue Savannah’s original formation as a three-piece operate under the instincts of each player; “From the start it had always been an improvisation thing. Our first gig was just a jam, we just got really drunk beforehand and wondered how it would turn out. We used to go onstage, play a riff and see where it went from there”.
As the trio began to evolve, Sam Power (bass) and Liam “Llama” Sims (multi-instrumentalist) rounded out the quintet and resulted in a unified push toward more considered compositions in the form of their latest EP. The process caused the band to re-educate and re-affirm the chemistry already established; “It can be tough getting 5 people on the same page. We’d go and record a jam, and that was all well and good, but it made you think about arranging songs and mixing songs. We didn’t have much experience mixing, recording and arranging and so we all just learnt that together”.
The 4-track, This Is A Threat is the first unified collection of songs from the band that explores the importance of remaining open to impressions within an architecture of psych-rock; “It was about personal growth and being in awe of the world around you. Kinda looking at the world without any classification and dissolving boundaries”. It’s a colourful blend of new and old, conveying Brett Kirk’s spoken word soliloquy of love and hope in one instance on ‘Whore’, whilst closing with a re-recorded version of the group’s debut single from 2 years ago; “The first version of ‘Space Weed’ was complete improv. We didn’t actually sit down and talk about it we just did the live improv as our first track and then jammed it more and more as the song kind of formed itself. This one on the EP was recorded at SAE and that’s the only one in the EP which was live”.
The movement into more calculated arrangements means the 5-piece have also re-interpreted their live presence on stage. Randall describes the liberation of being free to play up to the punters; “I think when we first started, it was more just about the music. When I’m improvising, I’m usually lost in my own head but now there’s more audience interaction”. Lordao similarly sounds rejuvenated by the shared balance of responsibility; “I remember when I was onstage I’d just go really hard and that took a lot of angry energy and tension. Now we still have the energy, but I think we’ve calmed down in the sense that we focus on being as good as we can be”. Needless to say, Blue Savannah will still continue to indulge in free-wheeling jams having created a safe space where mistakes fail to exist; “I’ve played in bands and you go out and do a gig and everything is the same and they’re too scared to improvise because they’re scared of making mistakes. In our band, if we make a mistake, we just keep playing around it until it’s not a mistake anymore (laughs)”.
As a group that’s grounded on the symbiotic relationship of its individuals, Blue Savannah Underworld believe in appropriating these values into the Australian music community, asking for radio to better serve the local scene in a time of need; “The responsibility of Australian radio is to give a platform to local bands who are putting all their heart and soul into music and to really support the Aus music scene because there are so many incredible bands coming out right now and they need to be backed”. With community radio doing its fair share of heavy lifting, Blue Savannah are evidently more than happy to keep the mainstream media accountable.
This Is A Threat is available now on all streaming services and