State Of Salazar

Finally a new album by State Of Salazar after a 4 year hiatus and it’s wonderful again. It was a nice chance to catch up and talk with songwriter and vocalist Marcus Nygren about the new album and the band’s next steps, among other exciting things…
State Of Salazar band pic
Hi Marcus, glad to talk to you again. The new album “Superhero” is fascinating as well.
M: Well thank you, that’s very kind of you.
Well, it’s been almost 4 years since your debut. What happened in the meantime and why did it take you so long to release your sophomore album?
M: We started writing new songs and recording pre-production demos right away after “All The Way” was released, and this album was supposed to be finished two years ago. But some personal matters forced us to take several breaks during the recordings, things that were out of our hands to control, and this made the making of this album a 3-year process. The album was finished in the beginning of 2018 and then it was up to Frontiers when they would be able to release it.
Were you afraid at some point that your fans would forget all about the band especially nowadays that so many albums are released every month?
M: Sure, that’s always a risk when an album recording takes too long to complete. But as I said, this was out of our hands and there was nothing we could’ve done differently. We’re doing this because we love to write and play this kind of music and we’re not making a living out of this… so at this point we’re just happy we have people believing in us and wanting to listen to our music.
How did you approach the songwriting this time?
M: Well, the goal was to make this album a bit more guitar heavy and we wanted a better balance between keyboards and guitars. And as always we try to have a good balance between AOR and West Coast songs on our albums. Other than that I just wrote the kind of music and lyrics that came to me at that time, expressing what was on my mind during that period. And then we did some really detailed pre-production demos were all members could contribute with their ideas and way of playing, before entering the studios and recording the final product.
Which are those new things that Kevin Hosford (keys, vocals) brought to State OF Salazar?
M: The most obvious change is that we now have one more member writing songs for the band. On this album he wrote the songs “She’s a Loaded Gun” and “To the Wire”. Kevin is also a really great singer, which makes it possible for us to work with the lead vocals in a different way with two lead vocalists.
Did you have a contract with Frontiers Music for a second album or you re-signed with them? What do you think of you cooperation with the label so far?
M: Our contract situation is nothing I will talk about in public, that’s between us and Frontiers. When it comes to working with Frontiers I only have good things to say. They’ve been really understanding and supportive during the process of both albums.
How did you come up with the album title “Superhero” and what does it declare?
M: We just named the album “Superhero” after the song on the album. We thought it was a great album title, and a clear theme for the artwork. We wanted an old-school comic book style inspired by retro marvel stuff. Timeless, short and concise, easy to understand and remember. That’s all there is to it.
Do give us a hint for each track…
M: “If You Wait for Me”: This was the first song I specifically wrote for this album. I remember me singing the intro riff to the other guys during the shooting of the music video for “All the Way”, trying to explain what a great song I was working on, haha.
“My Heart is at War”: A really busy song with lots of things going on simultaneously.
“Hold on Tonight”: With this song I really wanted to tribute Vince DiCola with a grandiose instrumental part that could have been the music for a training scene in one of the Rocky movies.
“Masquerade”: This song was originally an instrumental song called “Suit Up”, which we used to start our concerts with when the band had just started. We kept all the original parts, re-arranged it and added the vocal lines and the lyrics.
“She’s a Loaded Gun”: This song is written by Kevin. I worked a bit with it and added some stuff to make it sound like a SoS song. It turned out really great with both of us on lead vocals.
“Lie to Me”: This one is actually a re-recording of an old song. You can hear a demo version of “Lie to Me” on our first EP “Lost My Way”. It was time for it to get a better recording.
“Joanne”: I wanted to do a Maxus-inspired song with a distinct groove. And I was really tired of a girl’s behavior during the time I was working on the lyrics, so it’s based on that badly hidden contempt haha.
“Someone I Know”: This song definitely has the most personal lyrics. The story behind it is something I will keep to myself because it’s a delicate subject. And that’s why I’ve hidden my thoughts and feelings in some cliché phrases and nonspecific/ambiguous descriptions. It was the only way of getting it out.
“To the Wire”: This song, also written by Kevin, lean more towards a 70’s AOR sound instead of the 80’s. It has this steady riff pushing the song forward and Kevin sings really good on this one.
“Love Will Find a Way”: This is actually the first ballad I ever wrote for SoS, way back around 2010. But back then I couldn’t finish it. The lyrics just didn’t come to me. Apparently I had to go through some things in my private life first to have the right story for this song.
“Superhero”: Another song where Kevin and me share the lead vocals. This is how SoS sounds like when we get inspiration from and mix Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin and Toto. A heavy guitar oriented song and it just had to finish the album.
Tell us about the guest appearances of Kristina Talajic (vocals) on “Lie to Me” and Rasmus Nyvall (saxophone) on “Love Will Find a Way”.
M: Well, I think they both did a great job and it was a nice way for us to bring something new to the table with the ballads on the album. With “Lie to Me” we wanted a female voice in the style of Whitney Houston to sing a duet with me, and Kristina was perfect for the task.
What are your touring plans for 2019?
M: The plan is to come out and play as much as possible. There are some shows to be announced, but we hope more venues will contact us all over Europe. We are ready to tour, so it’s up to venues and festivals now to show some interest in booking us. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds…
Can you say that this is a new start for State Of Salazar or what?
M: I guess you could say that. But in the same time it depends on what happens next… If we can book some shows and take it to the next level, then maybe in a year or two we can look back at this album as a new start.
What are your expectations from the new album “Superhero” and what are those things that you wanna achieve with SoS over the next years?
M: To be honest with you, I have no expectations at all (haha). I think the album turned out great and I’m really proud of the songs and all the work we put down on this album. Whether or not the album becomes a success is out of our hands now. There’s nothing we can do about it. We have no master plan other than that we would like to take it to the next level and do some more live shows and maybe some mini tours. That would be great, and we are totally ready for that if we will get the opportunity.
Which are these things that inspire you to write music and lyrics in general?
M: It’s more of a need actually, it’s just something I have to do. It’s my way of processing things in life by composing my thoughts and feelings. But when it comes to the style and sound of the music I’m obviously influenced and inspired by different 80s bands and movie soundtracks. I love the AOR and West Coast music I grew up with in the 80s and 90s, and to me it’s inspiring to keep that music alive and also contribute and bring new life to the genre.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
M: Rockstar: The movie.
AOR: Way too often incorrectly used to describe soft melodic metal.
Sci-fi: Star Wars!
Eurovision: I love 80s schlager music with a symphony orchestra, The Eurovision of today… I can’t stand it.
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
M: Hmm, I have no idea… I think I’d rather have one last supper with some of my family members who aren’t alive anymore, instead of a chat with someone famous.
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
M: There are a lot of bands that I love and admire but they wouldn’t have been the same with me. So, I think it’s for the best if I stick to State Of Salazar.
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
M: I’m really bad at history (haha). If I would try to answer this I’m sure I would make a bad decision… kind of like taking the name Salazar without knowing the dictator in Portugal (hahaha). So lets not do this (haha)!
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
M: That’s impossible! There’s no album to cover it all. So, the aliens might as well listen to any album they want, by State Of Salazar (haha)!
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in rock history?
M: Freddie Mercury and, well… Whitney Houston is the best female singer of all time in my opinion. But if it has to be a rock singer I guess I will have to say Tina Turner.
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
M: Next question. Haha no seriously… I don’t find rock stars sexy at all to begin with, and I don’t think of female musicians being sexy or not. I’d rather talk about their musical skills than looks.
We’re done Marcus! Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock. Wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors. Take care dude!
M: Thank you! It was nice talking to you.