Ahead of his highly-anticipated Bow St. Sessions show, Darragh J. Mullooly caught up with the soulful Maverick Sabre to chat about his new record, finding inspiration overseas, and a third album in the works.
6 ½ minutes with Maverick Sabre is simply not enough. A soulful spirit with a depth of character that almost outweighs his talent for penning profound melody. As a hard-core fan of ‘Mav’ – as he’s called behind the curtain – I could have chatted for hours; but alas, he’s a busy lad these days, jetting around promoting his latest album, Innerstanding. It’s an album full of reasons to love the guy: sharp displays of lyricism, clever combinations of style and genre, and that signature tone – one that has been likened to the late, great, Amy Winehouse.
Before we get down to business Maverick and I quip about the lacklustre weather (because we’re Irish), and complain about the length of the Dublin-Galway bus (because we’re Irish). Despite getting the wee hour’s red-eye from London and being a little bit wrecked, he’s his usual chirpy, chatty self, happy to gab with us media folk. Pure sound like!
So, did the 25-year-old have any fear that he wouldn’t top the success of his 2012 smash-hit record Lonely are the Brave?
“The main thing I was thinking about was ‘what am I going to write about?’ That’s why I took time out. I started out when I was 19 and I released Lonely are the Brave when I was 21, and a lot had happened in that period of time. There was so much to write about on the first record that when you get to the stage of touring with it and time to write the second, I didn’t want to write songs about being on a tour bus or being in the back of a cab on the way to an interview. That’s not what I got into music to write about. I needed some life experience. That’s why I took myself away.”
And take himself away he did! Maverick became a real jet-setter during his hiatus, taking in South Africa, the US and Jamaica – a journey on which he found plenty of material for new tracks.
“I was all over the place. I tried to take myself away quite far do you know what I mean? I met many magical people and many inspirational musicians and loads of people who guided me. It was a much needed experience and a much needed break. I grew massively in that space of time; I learned a lot more about myself. I feel like if I had stayed creating music at that point and not really having any experience to back the music up, then I would have got into a bigger whirlwind that I wasn’t ready for. I wanted to sharpen myself before I tuned back in.”
Within his musical compendium, variety is the spice of life, blending notes of hip-hop, soul, reggae, and rap. Maverick may just be adding another category to his collection as he tells me: “Folk has always been a big influence on me. Bluesy-folk. I’m working on a folk project with a producer back in England.”
In his downtime ‘Mav’ loves nothing more than biking round London parks to clear his head and get a little exercise in. And when he’s not touring with his own records he loves discovering new acts: “Georgia Smith – she’s from Birmingham. I give her my full support.”
Having grown up in New-Ross, Co Wexford, it’s always a pleasure when he returns home for gigs, especially when it’s in the funky surrounds of the Jameson Distillery – a bleedin’ deadly venue! Sabre promises a “stripped back acoustic set” and “fun” collaborations with the always powerful Dublin Gospel Choir and the rockin’ good time band Otherkin.
And the show? A masterclass in collaboration is an understatement! Dublin-based quartet Otherkin got feet stomping with their high-octane brand of grunge, joined later by the Dublin Gospel Choir for renditions of Bitter Sweet Symphony and the Choice Music Prize nominated Feel it. Not a still reveler in the house; this musical mashup would have made the dead dance!
As Mr S took centre-stage, only accompanied by a guitar, the energy and mood became slightly more mellow. An intimate affair for some smooth soul numbers, The belter kicked things off with I Can Never Be, before moving into Come Fly Away, Sweet Love and Don’t Forget. The evening was finished off beautifully as he was joined by the choir for a surprise cover of Adele’s Hello. Magic.
The Bow St Sessions are proudly sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey and Hot Press Magazine. The next Bow St Sessions gig will be happening very soon. Stay tuned!