Backstage Pass: Artist Josh Savage on Playing Sofars Around the World

Backstage Pass: Artist Josh Savage on Playing Sofars Around the World
Backstage PassJuly 1, 2019

British singer-songwriter Josh Savage is one of our most-traveled alumni and has played some of the most Sofars around the world! Besides his native UK, he’s also played in Russia, Guatemala, Canada, Portugal, the U.S., Germany, Greece, France... and the list goes on. He’s also worn another hat in the Sofar community, as founder of Sofar Winchester and Sofar Southampton in the past. 

He talks to us about the most memorable Sofar moments and the power of coming together globally:

His first Sofar:
Sofar Oxford in January 2013. I remember arriving at the address at someone's front door and thought it was a prank. I almost didn't knock, but fortunately I did because it turned out to be the best show I played. I had never seen so many people crammed into a tiny room, yet it was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop! Instead of a pin, someone hiccupped which resounded like a gong, and we all cracked up laughing. I was new on the music scene, and it felt like the first time people actually listened and understood my songs.

It inspired me to set up Sofar Sounds in my own hometown in Winchester and then expanded to Southampton.

The most memorable moments out of dozens of Sofars:
Aah, where do I start?? I love the quirky venues that I've played at Sofar, from brandy distilleries and attics to the Ashmolean Museum and nuclear bunkers. But what makes Sofar so special is the people. The atmosphere is friendly, and I've made some amazing friends on my journey, which I'm truly grateful for because touring as a solo artist can be quite lonely.

Standout artists he’s seen at Sofar:
Reeps One, I See Rivers, Petrie, Josh Whitehouse and the poet Toby Thompson (to name a few)

If he could play a Sofar anywhere in the world, it’d be:
Richard Branson's Necker Island

Artists he’s loving right now:
Olafur Arnalds, Leif Vollebekk, Half Moon Run, Joseph and Mansionair

His dream act to see at a Sofar:
RY X with his string arrangement

What keeps him coming back to play so many Sofars:
Sofars are great for filling free dates on tours. It's simple, little soundcheck is needed and has a lovely friendly atmosphere.

The intimate settings of Sofars is perfect for trying out new things because you can read audience reactions to see what works and what doesn't, and because it's generally a friendly and a forgiving audience so you can get away with messing up sometimes. This then gives me the confidence to do it at live venues.

I also feel that if you can play living rooms, you can play bigger venues easier, because you can hide a lot more when you're behind a stage and amplification.

Josh performing at Sofar Hamburg with Killin H8, Old Bohemia and Devarrow, also on the lineup

His motivation behind playing over 600 shows on 5 continents in his career:
I guess I just love traveling, meeting new people and learning from different cultures!

What’s next for him:
I’m in the studio right now finishing my debut album The Long Way Round, which will be out in 2020! The first single “Citizen of the World” was released recently, and I will be trickling a few more until the new year.

I wrote “Citizen Of The World” to create a little hope amongst us who believe in “kindness without borders” to turn the tide against the fear mongering that seems to be in fashion at the moment. Just so you know, it’s not an anti-Brexit/anti-Trump song, but rather a means to give voice to those who believe in building a world together. Sadly this often gets ignored by the media because it’s not “a story” but maybe we can change that?

Cheers, Josh! A story we love about one of Josh’s many Sofars happened after he played Sofar Toronto, when he joined a few guests for a poker game. Hours later, the game ended, and the winner of the pot (and a fan from the show) handed Josh his entire earnings. He told Josh, “I used to be a musician, but I gave up...this is to help ensure you keep going. Do it for me – and for you.” 

We’re so happy to have Josh as part of our Sofar community! 

Connect with Josh: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter