USA-born Swedish Nad Sylvan has been muscially active since the 1970s. Having played different genres, being in bands with people like Roine Stolt and Steve Hackett tends to make your writing more progressive. DPRP's Patrick McAfee talks to Nad after his latest release, The Bride Says No.
Interview by Patrick McAfee, April 2017. Photos by Tom Wild.
[DPRP] Nad, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I truly appreciate it. I've had the opportunity to listen to The Bride Said No several times and I think it is outstanding.
[Nad] Why thank you very much. I'm very happy with it.
I first discovered your work via the Unifaun album several years ago. As a huge Genesis fan, I thought the album played like a tribute to the band, but also worked extremely well on its own musical merits. Considering your own admiration of Genesis, do you still get a bit awestruck when you are performing this great music on stage with Steve Hackett?
Yes I do, especially when I feel it went down well with the audience. I still have to pinch myself sometimes.
The current Steve Hackett tour spotlights Wind & Wuthering's 40th anniversary. The Genesis eras are generally catagorised as The Gabriel Years and The Collins Years. As a performer (or as a fan) do you have a preference for either era?
Funny thing, I don't. As long as Steve was in the band, they delivered the goods, at least to me. I don't care who sang the songs. That's not important to me.
Your new album, The Bride Said No is certainly progressive rock, but there is also a very accessible musical vibe to found throughout. There is a more commercial sound to this album, that is extremely appealing. Prog fans will still find much to enjoy, but they may also find themselves humming some of the tunes. To my ears, it is a very diverse album as well. Was there an intent to move things a bit more into a different musical direction for this record?
Yes I felt it was time for the ship to enter new waters. No point in repeating myself really, although I hope I have made a mark big enough for people to realise I do have my own identity and that I can do more things musically than you perhaps thought and expected of me.
When the Music Dies is outstanding. In my opinion, it is a career highlight song for you, and considering its subject matter, it is a truly powerful and emotional track. Can you provide any details on the inspiration for the song?
Well, this is when collaborating with other songwriters goes right. You entice one another. It's a song based around a chord sequence and a beat done by Anders Wollbeck. I wrote the melody, and the words we did together. With all the musical greats that passed away last year, the song is a tribute to them all. It's a song full of love and respect to these iconic figureheads.
What Have You Done features astounding duet guitar solos by Steve Hackett and Guthrie Govan. In fact, the album really has quite the All-Star Line-Up. With such a talented group of musicans to choose from, it must be very challenging at times to decide where you should feature them. Do you have a process to determine who should play on which tracks?
On that particular track I had initially asked Andy Latimer (Camel) to track a solo for me. Unfortunately he took sick and simply couldn't do it. I then asked both Steve and Guthrie, hoping at least one of them would find some time to do it. They actually delivered on the same day, which completely surprised and amazed me. I simply had to extend the solo segment and in a way, go totally over the top with it. But I think it works.
Now to get down to your question - I basically hear who could do what in my music. Musically I know these people since years back. They are my heroes and I am in complete heaven working with them now.
While listening to the new album, I found myself thinking how great these songs would sound in a live setting. Having released your two recent solo albums, as well as perhaps material from Unifaun and Agents of Mercy to choose from, have you thought about doing any solo live shows around the release of The Bride Said No?
I have made a promise to Steve to always be available to him. So that comes first. However, I do want to tour my music sometime in a not too distant future. When I have another album out, probably in late 2018, would probably be a good time. I am really looking forward to it. I have been waiting a long long time in the wings.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions and congratulations on The Bride Said No. It is an excellent album!
You are very welcome! And thank you yourself. I am indeed very happy and pleased with The Bride. She's very pretty!