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May 15, 2018Feature

As part of the 'Men's Issue', featuring Guest Editor Anna Cosgrave, we speak with acclaimed vocalist and musician Maverick Sabre who discusses why he's voting Yes on May 25 to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

“I’d like to think it will show that men aren’t living in the dark ages mentality and that there is progression in our thinking. That it will highlight a new era of Irish men.”

 

It feels weird when you have been chatting non stop for two hours and then all of a sudden you press record, it somehow changes things,” The first sentence I transcribe from our interview is my own.

Mav nods his head in agreement. We’ve been having a rare dialogue over a 2pm pint of cream in Mulligan’s pub of a Monday afternoon. The vocalist was back in Dublin for the weekend to shoot a music video for a track from his forthcoming third album.

The track, entitled ‘Drifting’, is entirely self-produced. For a man who is just 27, Maverick Sabre has been at the top of the industry for a decade. As well as shooting the whole video on film, he chose to cast his friends in lead roles and take a seat behind the camera alongside one of London’s finest young directors. I first met Mav at his home in London earlier this year.

We were there to shoot him for a documentary we’re (Collective Dublin and District Magazine) making about the origins of hip hop in Ireland. He was so honest and hospitable. It’s not often an artist will open up their home to a film crew having never met them before, but then again maybe the title of the doc gave an insight into the energy he was so openly welcoming into his space, or maybe that’s just how he is.

From the very off we went straight into the rich stuff; the duality of growing up in Wexford and London, his accent, singing or rapping, love, politics, Repeal, equality, his inspirations in life and, of course, the music. We ended up staying in his place well into the early afternoon before rushing back to The Barbican to film. This time our conversation holds a significantly felt weight. We’re not discussing the foundations of a genre but rather if women will be granted bodily autonomy and equality in our country. So we get into it.

How does it feel for you (a man from Wexford) to be living in London where women have bodily autonomy, but the place you come from doesn’t? Does it make you feel Ireland is in the dark ages?

On this specific topic, yes, but not in general. I’m just really happy that this issue is being brought to light now and I believe people will come out and do the right thing.

I don’t ever want to heavily impose my view on others, but I believe we need to step away from the conversation of abortion and talk about women having the choice of what to do with their bodies. It’s not about whether you agree with abortion or not, it’s about giving women the choice of what to do with their body.

This is more a conversation of equality in my mind.

So even if someone doesn’t agree with abortion themselves they should still be able to allow others the freedom to do what they want with their bodies?

Yeah, I think so. Everyone should have the right to their own freedom. If someone doesn’t believe what another person believes, it doesn’t mean that they then can’t believe that thing. It all comes down to having the choice.

Fuck yeah man. What are your thoughts on 50 per cent of the vote being down to men, I even feel weird about that sometimes?

I’d like to think it will show that men aren’t living in the dark ages mentality and that there is progression in our thinking. That it will highlight a new era of Irish men. Also, I think it’s good when people from different backgrounds and sexes talk about other people’s issues. That shows empathy, care, compassion. It’s not just one group of people in the world. If we care about women’s rights, freedoms and struggles we are moving in the right direction.

People seem to forget about context. There is this billboard along the canal near Rathmines where it’s like, 10 weeks (image of developing embryo), 11 weeks (embryo further along), 12 weeks (gone! blank space)… I’d love to write in that blank space, ‘cause she was only 14’. The context of the situation is key.

Agreed. Yeah man, I’ve seen those posters. It’s easy to highlight and tell a story for your own agenda, to go for that shock reaction. But the whole thing about this is the backstory. They aren’t showing women and their backstories.

Also, let’s just point out, no one is willingly going out there wanting to get an abortion.

Yeah, it’s like there is this perception from the anti-abortion lot that women are just going out loving having abortions. The truth is, ask any woman who has had an abortion and who has gone through that process, it definitely won’t be a highlight in their lives.

It’s a very emotional period.

We live on an island here and the mindset can be very one dimensional. You’re a man who has travelled the world and seen a lot, always trying to push your horizons. How important do you think it is to travel, to have a look at what’s going on outside of here?

I think it’s really important. I think again it comes back to being able to understand other people’s struggles. And just different cultures and histories around the world. The beauty in all of this though, when you delve down, the real beautiful stuff is in the similarities we all have.

What’s going on musically for you now, you’ve just finished that third album?

Yeah, just finished it and been here for the last four days shooting a video for one of the tracks, which will go out soon. Album will go out before the end of the year and heavy touring from the start of next year forward.

You’ve been at this a long time, for a 27 year old man.

Yeah since I was 15.

How do you feel about the music you are making now and where you are at on your journey compared to where you were at the start?

It hasn’t really changed. I still have the same vision of why I do this and where I want to be with it, and that’s the hunger that still drives me. In saying that though, after I came off my second album with a major label I had blurred vision of where I wanted to go musically.

Around that time I moved into a new flat which had real nice space and light and I sat there feeling like this is a good space for me to make something new. Then I was like, ‘What would your 17-year-old self do?’.

My 17 year old self would produce all his own tunes, wasn’t waiting on others to do anything, was making his own videos, recording, mixing and mastering himself… Then I was like just like let me get back to doing that. So as I got producing again, this new sound just kinda came out randomly one evening as I was playing around with some psychedelic sounds on the guitar. I then made a tune from it which I was really excited about, and that became the start of the whole album.

I’m a soul boy at heart, so it will always be running through my music but there is a completely different sound on some of the tunes. The track ‘Drifting’ is the first thing I’ve put out fully self-produced, 100 per cent me, since I was 19. I’ve been producing on all the records all along, but this one was just me. The video for ‘Drifting’ is also really cinematic. I’m really inspired by film. I’ll often have films on mute and on repeat in the background getting inspiration from them. I can sometimes see a visual and get inspired to make a tune off it. Or I might have a riff and be a little stuck on how I need to feel with it, so I’ll put on a visual that I like and it can give me the feeling I need to develop it.

Man, I love all of that. Lastly, what does success look like to you? Often society will try tell you you’re successful if it’s like this and that… Do you feel we need to be defining success for ourselves, and if so, what is that for you?

Happiness.

[Room full of laughter] That’s it, nothing else needs to be said.

Words: Mark William Logan / Photography: Mark William Logan 
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