Although local musician Jeff Zagers grew up on punk, his taste has grown more particular as a musician in the Savannah limelight — he only likes loud things now when he’s in the mood. But one thing’s for sure: he’s ready to open for Weyes Blood & Sun Araw at Hangfire this Saturday night at 10pm (presented by Safe//Sound).
“Sometimes there’s music that you connect to and it is hard to tell the person next to you what you like about it, but you know you like it,” says Zagers of his experiences finding new music in Savannah and the surrounding areas. “There’s a lot of great people from other towns and we’ve all somehow found each other. It’s great to bring their craft here [to Savannah].”
Zagers has had the opportunity to play with Natalie Mering, the woman behind Weyes Blood, in Providence, Rhode Island once before. Both artists cite their love of recording and the physical album as a part of their musical processes, but say that live shows offer an entirely different experience for listeners.
“I try to keep it captivating, but I know the general populous might not find the same things captivating that I do. So I try to stay pretty aware of where I’m playing and for what kind of show. I mean, you don’t want to bring something to a bar that doesn’t work in a bar,” says Zagers, who has worked with Safe//Sound in the past to bring musicians to Savannah. Contrarily, Mering feels that the venue doesn’t really matter: “The venue is just a vehicle. I bring the same vibe no matter where I am.”
Mering might sound steadfast in a constantly-evolving industry, but in reality it’s the industry that slows her down at times. “Labels don’t want you constantly recording. It’s incredibly frustrating to have an album that, by the time it comes out, the content is already one and a half years old.” Mering is signed to the label Mexican Summer and has two stops left on her tour of the east coast. The anxiety she experiences while finishing an album (i.e. “Is this even good? Is this even music?”) isn’t apparent in her emotionally-driven songwriting, even when playing for strangers.
Both Zagers and Mering enjoy playing a show in front of people they don’t know because they get to take new listeners through their own auditory story. And while both have interests in the medium of film, both feel music is the most accurate way for them to translate what they experience.
“There’s pulling from chaos and then there’s music that is made out of silence — sometimes it just comes to you,” says Zagers. Mering simply says that making music is about “expelling the excess, whether it’s love or loneliness.” With these two opposing energies in mind, the show this Saturday is sure to be sensorially electrifying.