Ep03: Ayse Hassan (Savages) on the absurdity of getting everything you thought you wanted and coming home to nothing

Ep03: Ayse Hassan (Savages) on the absurdity of getting everything you thought you wanted and coming home to nothing

Welcome to episode 3 of “Attention Engineer”! I’m so happy to share my conversation with Ayse Hassan.

[Content warning: joyful, exuberant swearing, plus one mention each of bereavement and suicide in the context of a discussion about the potential healing power of music.]

About Ayse

Ayse Hassan is a multi-instrumentalist who first came to prominence as the bassist in rock band Savages. She has since made music in duos Kitebase and 180DB.

She’s currently focusing on her solo project ESYAlisten here, support and follow on your favourite platforms: Bandcamp / YouTube / Instagram / Spotify / Soundcloud.


In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how a HMV combo deal and a terrible audition kicked off an exciting career as a bassist
  • saved by matcha tea – how the rock n roll myth could have killed her
  • what to do when touring for 7 years means coming home to nothing
  • the importance of integrity in an industry where everyone’s making it up
  • the perversity of social media and how to make proper memories at gigs
  • how to write a book on a tour bus

The three songs Ayse recommends from her back catalogue are: “Obsolete” by Esya, “Fuckers” by Savages and “Something I Can Never Have” – a NIN cover by Kitebase.

Ayse Recommends

MUSIC: Gazelle Twin (check out the collaboration with NYX, “Deep England”), Beak and Depeche Mode.

BOOKS: “The Secret Life of Trees” and “The Hidden Life Of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben, “Underland” by Robert Macfarlane and “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

Other artists mentioned: Laura Mary Carter (Blood Red Shoes / Shit Girlfriend), Gemma Thompson’s project Unmoor Kiva and Brody Dalle.

The Frank Herbert quote Ayse mentioned is from “Dune”: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Powerful stuff.

She also mentioned the contributions the Musicians Union and Featured Artist Coalition are making to help artists navigate the wilds of the modern music biz.

I also mentioned one of my favourite podcasts “Song Exploder” – listen here.

Thank you, Ayse!!!


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Have a lovely day xo

Podcast

6 comments

  1. Erin says:

    I’m listening to the podcast now and I have to tell a little story relating to using phones to record during shows. At Disney World about 4 years ago I was in the Frozen show and a little girl, under 10 years old, was recording the show on her iPad. Holding it up over her head and blocking my view and I didn’t want to ruin her fun but her mom should have probably used it as a moment to help her learn to respect others around her.

  2. Diego says:

    Great interview! I loved when Ayse said that she inspired a person to start a musical career. Suicide subject was another standout in that conversation. My best friend killed himself two years ago and the music was a therapy for me. In Brazil, there’s a song that says “Someday, my friend, we will meet again ,even the time and distance say don’t!”

    Greetings from Brazil, Laura!

    • Laura Kidd says:

      Thanks Diego – it means a lot that it spoke to you. I love that saying. I wrote “Weary Bird” about my friend, it helped me to be able to commemorate him in some lasting way. Sending love over the oceans!

  3. Darren Tunstall says:

    Wow, what an emotional rollercoaster that was! I was already a fan of Savages but I hadn’t heard any of Ayse’s other projects – I’ll correct that oversight.

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