Text: Žikica Milošević
Massimo Savić started his career in the 1980s, and even back then he managed to attract a lot of attention with his performance style, image, lyrics and emotions. As a co-author he additionally positioned himself as a bard of ‘skillful pop’; a gentleman in an elegant suit who steals your heart over a glass of wine, and gives it back to you, happier than ever before. Massimo is coming to Belgrade soon to give pre-New Year’s concerts. We are talking to him about his impressive career and new plans.
It all started with the band Dorian Gray who wo over the audience’s hearts with their excellent new wave music in the early 1980s. Why the band did not last, and how come you embarked on your solo career so quickly after?
Dorian Gray decided to make their second studio album in Sweden. Back in the day, Sweden was almost at the end of the world for us. We spent the budget, that covered only 15 days in the recording studio, pretty quickly, and spent a total of 43 days in the studio, absolutely oblivious to who was going to pay for it all. When we returned to Zagreb we experienced a rather rude awakening, and a depressive period during which the costs of making of our album had to be covered. That meant that some people in the band had to obtain loans, and our 42-concert-tour was supposed to cover a part of the costs.
As musicians, we only got food, drinks and paid travel costs. Obviously this was too much pressure for everyone in the band. We succumbed to it and fell apart the moment my voice broke due to such a high level of stress. I spent the next few years with Toni Varga in Stockholm, perfecting my craft. In the meantime, I also got a call from Zrinko Tutić who had been trying to get hold of me for two years, and who told me he wanted to work with me. And that’s how my solo career was launched.
In the beginning and even now, it is quite evident that Bowie remains your big inspiration. Who else is inspiring to you?
Let’s start with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Led Zeppelin, and then move on to Jimi Hendrix, Prince and many others, who feel the sound and hear it in several layers. This capability is a curse and a blessing at the same time. I would give anything to be able to hear music like ordinary listeners, and enjoy in it.
You have become an apostle of emotions and the favourite of female audiences. In your career that spanned over 30 years, are you happy with were all of this has taken you?
If I were not happy with everything that led me to this moment, I would give up this business all together. You see, my entire career left a big mark on me. Everything I created is a part of me and my path towards becoming what I am today.
You are known for your elegant style. How important is personal style today considering that we live in a visual age?
It was my grandad Giovanni who contributed the most to my style. On one side, I had aunts that loved taking me to cheap shops and stuff my suitcases with bad quality clothes, while, on the other, my grandad had a different philosphy all together. He would take me to see the best tailors. They would take my meaures, and make the perfect suit for my age. With that in mind, you simply have to like my grandad’s view of the world. He always used to tell me: „My dear grandson, we don’t have enough money to buy garbage“.
There are two main ways in music business to present yourself on stage. One is to identify with your audience, i.e. to perform in jeans you have been travelling in, or to strip down to your undershirt. The second way, and the one that I chose, was to be specially prepared for stage, both psychologically and visually. In this way, dressing up for performances is a ritual of sorts that elevates me to the best state to perform. The people who inspired me were David Bowie, Brian Ferry, Peter Gabriel and Prince.
Who reacts the best to your music?
Women are my biggest audience, but, over the years, we have managed to draw in men who now accompany women. They also feel great at the concerts, and keep coming back. Actually, the men decided to give us a chance to show them how well practiced we are. And once they come to our concerts, they become our loyal audience.
What do you expect from the Belgrade audience? What are your further plans?
I expect the audience to enjoy in the concert as much as we are going to enjoy performing. The Belgrade audience has proved to be very musical and having really good vocals. I do hope the both concerts in Belgrade will be something that will be talked about for a long time. Some time ago, I said that I was going to release a new album by the end of 2017, but, considering that our work pace is pretty fast now, my team and I have decided to postpone everything for next year so, in 2018, we are planning a new tour and a new album.