Savoir Adore have a brand new record out TODAY! Titled First Bloom, it’s a two-parter, and the second half (Full Bloom) will be released in the spring. The band has a couple of fall dates coming up, and there’ll be a special visual component to this performance run that corresponds specifically to First Bloom. You’re ONLY gonna be able to see it like that now, and in the spring it’ll be totally different, which is bonus incentive to grab tickets to see ’em 11.27 at Baby’s All Right, and 11.28 at DC9!
Paul Hammer told me a bit about all of those very exciting developments, but mainly he told me about ghosts he’s seen when we caught up on the phone earlier this week. If you’re going, “G-g-g-g-ghosts?!” I’m going, “Y-y-y-y-yes!!!” He had two tales – one about a spooky AF little ghost girl who visited him in a hotel in Vermont in the middle of the night, and another about a phantom spider who lurks in a Super 8 in Upstate New York. (Yes, he left a formal complaint in his online review! The Ithaca-bound people of the world have been warned!) Turn out the lights and check out our full chat below, and remember to grab tickets ‘n records when you’re done!
BYT: So I’m told you have some ghost stories, and I’m SUPER STOKED to hear all about them! I’m assuming this means you believe in ghosts, then? (I definitely do.)
PH: Oh yeah. I didn’t always believe in ghosts, but I’ve seen two – one in the form of a human, and one in the form of a spider. So I can’t not believe in ghosts. And especially in the Northeast. I think it’s rife with ghosts. SO, do you want me to start with human or spider?
BYT: Maybe let’s do chronological, so whichever you saw first!
PH: Okay, so with the first sighting, I was on a road trip with my friend Kristen, and I was basically helping her do a nature documentary about the Northeast. So we were all over really small, rural, backwoods Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the hotels we were staying in were pretty spooky. Just kind of decrepit and old. We were in one of these, you know, not like a chain hotel or anything like that, and it was in Vermont, and it just kind of had the vibe of being spooky. It was run down. And I wake up, and in the corner of the room, there’s a young girl standing, staring at me, sort of swaying side to side. And I’m like, “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD.” And she goes, “Hi, I’m Emily!” So I’m like, “Holy shit!” I put the covers over my head, and I looked again and she was still there, laughing at me because I was trying to hide. And I just remember being so scared, trying to wake Kristen up, and all I could do was whisper her name. I was frozen. I put the covers over my head again, counted to ten, and then she was gone. But I could draw her. I know exactly what she looked like. She was real.
BYT: That’s fucking terrifying!
PH: Yeah, I just remember hyperventilating, trying to get out words to my friend who was with me. The rest of the trip I don’t think I slept at all. I was pretty screwed at that point. [Laughs]
BYT: Did you ask the owners or the concierge or whoever if there was a history of that?
PH: No, I was kind of too embarrassed. I should have been like, “Just so you know, y’all are haunted. Maybe you wanna do something about it.” They’d probably be like, “Oh yeah, that’s just Emily. Everyone knows Emily!” I wimped out, but I should have asked.
BYT: That’s seriously bananas. I’ve been on edge since I pounded that new Netflix show The Haunting of Hill House the other night. There’s one character who gets really bad sleep paralysis, and she always sees this “Bent Neck Lady” standing over her, who’s obviously a real ghost but people try to explain it away. I’ve had sleep paralysis before and it’s AWFUL, so now I’m paranoid I’ll get it after having watched this show.
PH: Yeah, I don’t do well with being frightened. If I ever had to deal with a crisis situation, I’d be toast. I wouldn’t help the situation. [Laughs] I just went to the Headless Horseman Haunted House in Upstate New York, and I haven’t been to a haunted house in a long time. This one is super elaborate, it was rated like, #1 in the country, and it’s like the Disney World of haunted houses. I got pretty scared a couple of times. One of the last scares is when you get out of the house, and you think you’re safe, and this guy with a chainsaw comes running behind you. It’s just insane. Everyone was making fun of me because I’m very jumpy, but every time something would pop out I was completely toast. So I’m not good with it.
BYT: Same. Last year we got invited to one of those murdery escape room things around Halloween, and one of our contributors really wanted to do it, so I was like, “Okay, but please don’t cop out on this because I literally cannot take your place.” And then he ended up not being able to go, and I was having a serious meltdown because I almost had to go instead. Fortunately another guy went and did it for me, but apparently he like, hid in a refrigerator for the entire time until one of the referees or whatever came out and said he had to keep going or else it would fuck things up for the rest of the group. Very thankful I didn’t have to do that!
PH: Right! Like, “Sorry, no!” It was fun, though. Once I got there I was really freaking out, but afterwards I was like, “That was cool!” Once you’re in it it’s kind of fun, but it still totally freaked me out.
BYT: Yeah, I definitely won’t be doing any of those this year. Or ever. But alright, so tell me about the ghost spider now that we’ve covered the ghost human!
PH: Yes! So fast-forward to now, because that was in 2014. I haven’t really seen any ghosts between then and now. My cat sees ghosts all the time, I’m pretty sure of it, but not me. So anyway, we’re in Ithaca three weeks ago, and it was during the Cayuga Sound Festival that our manager throws. Again, I got a really crappy hotel, and I was like, “Great, this’ll be interesting.” (I’m also really afraid of spiders, and that’s part of this story – it’s really important.) So I’m trying to fall asleep, and in my peripheral vision I see something crawling on my pillow next to me. I’m like, “Oh, shit!” And so I jump up and slam it with my blanket. I lift the blanket, and the spider is gone. Now, the only thing I’m more afraid of than spiders is like, a spider that I can’t find, you know what I mean? And I knew there was a spider in the bed somewhere. So I rip this bed apart at like 3am, rip every pillow, sheet, everything off, I look through everything, and the spider is gone. And this is a good size spider, like a quarter or so sized spider, but anyway, I knew I had to go to sleep. My whole body is itchy just thinking about this thing, but I go back to sleep thinking, “Okay, I hit it, maybe it just fell off the bed.” So then I go to the bathroom at 5am, 6am, and I turn on the light, and the same spider is just sitting in the sink. Just sitting there looking at me. So I grab a wad of toilet paper, and I lunge on it, and I squash it. And I’m like, “PHEW! Okay.” And I lift the toilet paper, and it’s gone. And I’d closed the sink and everything, but this thing is just gone. I looked everywhere, gone. So there’s really only one explanation. Ghost spider.
BYT: That’s the worst combination of things! No one wants to see a ghost (or at least I don’t), but to have the ghost also be a fucking SPIDER…no thanks.
PH: And you think about that, like people talk about spiders being like humans and stuff, but I mean, if there are ghosts, there are probably ghost spiders. I usually like to leave a review here and there about the hotel experience, so I left Super 8 a review and said, “Hotel was okay, but you might want to do something about the ghost spider.” So that review does live on the Super 8 for Ithaca New York’s reviews page. I’m still waiting on my refund. [Laughs]
BYT: I wonder if anybody else will read that and be swayed against staying there. [Laughs]
PH: I know! There must be someone who reads it and goes, “Oh, ghost spider. Can’t stay there.” [Laughs] Like, no thanks! Are you going to choose a hotel without ghost spiders or a hotel with ghost spiders? The answer is simple.
BYT: Totally. Now, was 2014 the first instance where you did feel like ghosts were real, then? Because you mentioned you didn’t always believe in them.
PH: Yeah, it’s funny, because I grew up in Upstate New York in a really old house, and friends have always told me…you know, people have always been into that stuff, like the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow is like twenty minutes from where I grew up. And there’s kind of a culture around it. Like, Halloween is a big deal in Upstate New York, but I never really got into ghosts. I always liked scary movies, and my sister was into the occult and all that stuff, so we’d do Ouija boards and stuff like that, so I did sort of think there was something to it, but it wasn’t until…like, Emily was real. I’m 99% sure that Emily is a late 19th century girl that probably drowned in a lake somewhere in Vermont, and now she haunts people for all eternity. You know, just a hunch.
BYT: [Laughs] You’re basically like Max in Hocus Pocus. Zero to sixty re: believing!
PH: I’ve never seen it! It’s like my wife’s favorite movie, so I need to see it.
BYT: WHAT?! That’s blasphemy! You gotta watch it. That’s almost crazier than seeing a ghost! But back in the mortal realm, I did want to talk to you about this record that you’ve got coming out on Friday before we wrap up. And it’s a two-parter, right? What was the reasoning behind splitting it that way?
PH: Well, it’s Ghost Spiders Part 1 and Ghost Spiders Part 2. [Laughs] But no, Lauren and I really started writing together on the last album, and diving into this record, it sort of really became much more of a partnership where we’re writing every song together now. At a certain point, we realized there was something developing that was a little bit different, and as we were finishing songs, we’re like, “We kind of want to extend this story,” this process of ‘blooming’, if you will, kind of becoming yourself. It’s almost this sort of evolution. And we’d never done this before, and hadn’t released a lot of singles in the past, either, so to us it just kind of clicked one day. We were like, “You know what? We should release this as two bodies, two pieces of work.” So first is First Bloom, and we’re gonna release Full Bloom in the spring, which we’re putting the final touches on now.
BYT: That’s so exciting! And lastly, what can you tell me about the shows we’ve got coming up?
PH: So the show is actually completely different now, too, which is really exciting. This is the longest we’ve had the same group of musicians (Savoir has always sort of gone through changes and evolutions), and it’s been the same five band members for a couple of years, so we’re really digging in. There’s also a whole new visual accompaniment that we’re calling First Bloom, and we’re just going to use it for these dates. When we do shows in the spring, we’ll change it up. And that’s kind of special. We’ve been working really hard on all of it, and we’re really excited!
Featured photo by Shervin Lainez