ein Interview :
With supermodels, Hollywood stars, and Sondre Lerche living close by, it doesn't look as if this music couple will be moving to Norway any time soon.
Savoy back with a new album:
. Nearly 10 years with NYC as their home base
. Think often about moving
. Loft apartment worth several million dollars
. Son, age 8, wants to start his own band
NEW YORK (VG): Once every decade the harmony is broken in the home of Lauren (44) and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (42). The time is nearing for yet another upheaval, but it won't be with one other.
Because the couple simply radiate an inner harmony, a feeling which also dominates our meeting with them at their Soho home on the southern tip of Manhattan. Yet there's a vague uneasiness in Lauren's eyes as she gazes down the seemingly endless wooden floors of the refurbished loft they've called home since 1999.
When their son, True August, or Augie as he's called, turns 10 in about two years, New Yorkers Paul and Lauren, who grew up in Manglerud and Boston respectively, will have lived in this apartment just that long - 10 years.
"Then it will be time for the drastic upheaval Lauren is so addicted to," smiles the a-ha songwriter and guitarist good-naturedly.
"I don't really understand where it comes from, but this craving to do something radically different every 10 years does come over me," Lauren says, almost apologetically.
"I begin to get a bubbling sensation in my body as the time draws near. That's the way I feel now."
She doesn't know what the change will consist of - or if there will be one. The idea of moving to Norway has, for example, been one that's been entertained at regular intervals since 9/11 in 2001. Their apartment is just a few blocks south of the former World Trade Center.
Their second home in the exclusive Oslo neighborhood of Vinderen is a much more relaxing and low-key environment in which to live.
But New York is addictive. Habit-forming. Moreover, son Augie has shown such a keen interest in his school activities that his amazed father maintains that apparently not everything is passed on from father to son.
"If Augie hadn't liked his school so much, we might have moved. But it wasn't an option - he liked his school so much that he preferred staying home in New York when we traveled to Norway to do PR," says Paul.
And both Lauren and Paul love the excitement of living in the Big Apple, and feel very much at home in their part of it after living there for about 20 years.
"It's always nice spending a couple of months home in Norway each year, but time goes so quickly when you live in a slide show like New York," says Paul.
"New York has everything. Here everything is possible. And Paul is a workaholic, which it's easy to be in New York, because here everybody works all the time. And New York City isn't necessarily a place where everybody's out meeting everybody. If you want to be alone, you're left alone in New York," Lauren adds.
They themselves take advantage of their apartment's good location in New York's most attractive neighborhood. There are many restaurants, as well as small clubs. And just as many coffee bars.
There are actually so many coffee bars in their neighborhood that Paul and Lauren find themselves walking with cup in hand to their favorite morning coffee bar, Grey Dog on Carmine Street, vis-à-vis the musical instrument shop Paul frequents, even though they live only four to five blocks away.
"I bought my first apartment here in 1988. I was driving down the street and felt I just had to live here," says Paul, as we stroll past the venerable old pub, Milady's, on Prince Street.
Sondre Lerche has also moved over the past year to what was once the hippest part of New York and possibly the whole of the East coast.
"There's a lot still going on here, but the 'in' places are being forced out due to the rising real estate prices. First it was the East Village, and now the Lower East Side is beginning to take off. Hopefully not everything will be forced out of Manhattan, even though Broklyn has become the latest party scene," Paul says.
The rise of property values in the area means that he's sitting in an apartment now worth several million dollars. Yet Soho is not yet so 'out' that Patti Smith can't still be observed ambling down the street so often that "she must have lived here at least 100 years," as Lauren says.
She's run into super-model Christy Turlington on her stoop sipping coffee, and actress Claire Danes still lives in their building. But Lauren didn't dare speak to the object of her considerable admiration, actor Mike Meyers, when she saw him outside the building.
On the other hand, she did speak to rock star Billy Corgan who was in and out of their building for a period of time laying the groundwork for the most recent Smashing Pumpkins album just one floor above the Savoy couple.
"I remember that I complimented him on the music, and the poor guy nearly freaked out," remembers Lauren.
"But let's talk about more adult matters now - what about Augie? What's it like for a child growing up in New York?" we ask.
"Well, we don't have a car - we don't need one - and it's a bit more difficult finding nature that he can run around in. He still needs to be watched every single second," says Paul.
"But actually it's more about taking advantage of the possibilities that New York has to offer, and there are many," says Lauren.
Such as 'streb' training, which at the moment takes up large blocks of Augie's free time, and which is named after founder Elizabeth Streb. It's a typical New Yorkish dance variation that is made up of equal parts dance, sport, extreme sport and stunt maneuvers.
Here you can in other words risk coming happily home from training with bruises, even when you're only seven years old.
"The idea is that the physical contact and bruises you get from it help to strengthen bone-building," Lauren says.
"And then he wants to start a band, but he is a bit spoiled in that area," Paul interjects.
For the family naturally has its own studio at home, where 22 of Paul's guitars hang along the wall over a state-of-the art mixing board.
"I didn't have it nearly so good at home when I was seven. But if Augie shows an interest, I won't stop him. Nor pressure him. At the moment he's a punk musician who's used to living with songwriters," Paul says.
"He's already put his first lyric to a basic guitar chord. Damn Caesar's Salad, the song's called," Paul grins so broadly that the gray New York weather seems suddenly far, far away from the sofa in the gigantic but cosy Soho apartment of the Savoy couple.
And as we take the building's elevator down to the ground floor, we think that's Randy Newman blasting from the apartment's speakers, singing I love New York . . .
Source: Paper edition of VG Helg magazine, Saturday, May 12, 2007