An interview with banjo stylist Tall Tall Trees
We discovered Tall Tall Trees a little while back and I was blown away by just how different the music was. Mike Savino is the banjo player behind Tall Tall Trees and has toured both with a band and solo, showing off his very unique style.
The Tall Tall Trees bio on the website starts off by saying: ‘Mike Savino is not your grandaddy’s banjo player, and Tall Tall Trees is definitely not your average indie-folk outfit from NYC’.
We spoke to Mike about his beautiful, unusual style and musical influences. He said: “My influences have always been all over the place. I love music and people that defy convention and strive to do so myself.I keep a very open mind when it comes to what kind of music I feed my brain. I can appreciate a Katy Perry song just as much as Iron Maiden.
“I’ve also spent a lot of time with music from other countries, particularly Brazil, Africa, and the Balkans. Some really deep music comes out of those places, rhythmically, tonally, and spiritually. I spent a lot of time studying these musics before there was YouTube, which was crazy. You really had to search, and buy a lot of CDs at random. Now you can just travel the world in front of your computer. I hope people appreciate this.”
Had it not been for the Internet we wouldn’t have found and posted a video of Tall Tall Trees on our Facebook page, the action which sparked my interest in the music. (Nor would we be sharing this interview.)
Different people perceive the banjo in different ways, I suppose it all depends on the music you listen to and the circles you move in. The banjo is definitely cool again but not everyone sees it that way. We asked Mike how he thinks people percieve the instrument, he said: “Well, I’d say that the banjo is pretty trendy right now with all these folksters out there. That Mumford and Sons video spoof with Ed Helms summed it up pretty well.
“I think most people still associate the banjo with country and bluegrass music, but hopefully I can help change that a little bit. Psychedelic banjo anyone?”
Thanks to a successful PledgeMusic campaign, Mike is currently in Georgia working on his third album. Of this he said: “It will be the first record without a full band and more directly connected to my live solo show.
“My friend and touring partner Kishi Bashi is helping me to produce it. We’re aiming to record almost every sound including drums, using my voice and my electric banjo, Banjotron!
“I’ll also be doing a full US tour with Kishi Bashi in the spring/summer as well as Europe and Japan.”