The Traveler: Erik and the Worldly Savages
“I’m the traveler/I go from state to state/you see my face then I’m gone” Guru, “The Traveler”, Jazzmatazz Volume 2, 1995.
Contrary to popular belief, reality—as it is lived, experienced, and felt—is not always as it appears. To see things as they actually are, not as they are told to be by others, requires cognizance of the seen and the unseen. It necessitates discernment of connections, of causes and effects, no matter how longstanding the latter, or fleeting the former. Most of all, perhaps, it mandates an understanding of, and counterbalance to, that which is said and not said—particularly as it relates to the truth.
Envision then, if you will, a van, much like any other. Perhaps it’s white. Perhaps its girth encompasses a significant portion of the road. Mayhap it does not. And then, right before your eyes, what if you were to see…
“my band, roll up in a van to your town, and get out at sort of your highway rest stop and you’re just trying to have a normal drive on a normal Saturday; it [would] very much seems like we’re savages,” admitted Erik Mut, front man for Erik and the Worldly Savages. “You hear the loud noises we make in the club; it’s very savage. The beat, you know, the way everybody starts drinking and dancing, it’s a savage ritual. I will own that, yeah. I will own that part of the perception. And you can romanticize it as well.”
The juxtaposition of that imagery—such scenes, smells, and events, as typifies the sometimes rollicking music of Break Free, the debut EP from Erik and the Worldly Savages, which just happens to be touching down tomorrow across streaming platforms just about everywhere—with the staid settings of Information Technology back office teams everywhere, may seem diametrical. It may seem out of place or, at best, out of touch with what’s termed reality.
But it’s no less true than the worldly savage musician taking over towns with primal music. And, it’s actually proved—at this point, which is still early on in the musician’s career—just a tad more lucrative.
“I started fixing computers when I was like, 16 years old, and dropped out of university to follow that because it was actually real,” the artist recounted. “The computers were real; I fixed them. The people I was fixing them for were real and I got to learn a lot about life because of that. Now like, 24 years later, I actually made a business out of fixing computers which now has people working for it in 22 countries.”
Savage, you may wonder? Perhaps it’s best to defer judgment until later.
“Oh won’t you look at this world, that we’ve built for ourselves, it’s starting to look like a dystopian hell/oh we all wanted only to find our success but we ended up lonely in this corporate mess/so brainwashed our we, to think that we’re free as they tighten the rules of how we should be”, “Brainwashed”, Erik and the Worldly Savages, Break Free, 2002. Break Free is not so much of a condemnation of listeners as it is a call to challenge them, for them to question their surroundings, the societal norms and attendant behavior, and to choose their own way to live—be that in IT circles or on stage in clubs performing—that is congruous with not only the world as it, but as it should be.
“People like me, we want to understand why things are the way they are,” Erik mused. “Most of the time, growing up in a certain context, you’re told no, this is the way things are and you have to believe this because I said so. And, society says because they say so that you need to believe that. Where, there’s like a whole group of people that actually want more understanding, and want to understand what impact they have on the world, how they can make the world a better place. The world doesn’t become a better place if we just accept blindly the dogma that’s handed down to us by society and just go along with the machine. The world becomes a better place from people actually questioning the paradigm, the opinions, the ideologies, and stuff like that.”
That, as much anything else, is the message behind the music populating Break Free. Listen to it, hear Erik’s perspective, consider the binary nature of his professions, and ask yourself—who, or where, is the savage?