DECEMBER 5th 2014

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment worldwide. We are here talking with Marcus Nygren (vocalist) of Swedish band State of Salazar. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
1. For those people that do not know the band, how did you come up with State of Salazar for the name ?

Actually we came up with the name Salazar because of an old internal joke between the guys in the band and we thought it sounded great to put it together with State of. It’s kind of a wordplay with; state of mind - state of Salazar. That’s all there is to it. But later on we learned about Portugal’s history and the irony that we play positive feel-good music and the possible link that can be done with the dictator Salazar, so we thought of changing the name. Thankfully we didn’t, hahaha! I believe the name brings an edge to our music with all the questions, preconceptions and ideas about why we chose this name. Our music is all about feel-good and the last thing we wanted was a predictable slick name to go with our already smooth music and lyrics.
2.  What made you choose the genre of Arena Rock / West Coast / AOR / Melodic Rock?

This is the music I grew up on. It’s that simple. Queen and Toto has meant a lot for me in my musical development and when I was little I watched every single movie I could get my hands on which contained a ”training montage”. And through those movies I fell in love with this kind of music performed by such bands like Survivor, Chicago, Cheap Trick and others. So when I started my studies at the Music Academy  in Malmö, Sweden, I met these guys who also likes this music and I had written some why not start a band?
3.  Never heard the term West Coast described as a genre before, can you tell us what that means ?

You haven’t!? In Sweden we refer to West Coast as a genre that was born in Los Angeles by musicians/producers like Jay Graydon and David Foster for example, and it got a very big foothold over here back in the 80’s and 90’s. When I say West Coast I mean the kind of music from bands like Airplay, Pages, Toto and Chicago with the vocal harmonies, twin or triple guitar melodies, intelligent arrangements and harmonies.
4.  How did each of the members come to be in State of Salazar ?

We met at the Music Academy in Malmö where all have done studies in music teaching. We became friends and decided to start a band since we had so much fun playing together.

5.  Was it an easy process to find each member ?

There was no search for members at all. We’re just five guys who became friends and decided to play some of the songs I had written, and State of Salazar was born.

6. In 2012 you did an EP ”Lost my Way”, you received high praise for that, what do you think made it so highly acclaimed ?

Well, I believe with the EP we kind of came from nowhere for the AOR audience. So maybe it’s because we took everyone by surprise but I think everyone could hear that there is heart in our music. We were not a project that was looking to fit in a box, each song had a soul and could stand on its own.
7. You have a new album, your first full length “All the Way” to be released in August by Frontiers Records, what can people expect to hear on this album ?

With this album we really tried to take it all the way. We worked hard with the songs during rehearsals to make sure every member could put their stamp on their contribution and therefore I would say we have found the true sound of the band on this album. You will hear groovy songs in the style of Toto, symphonic songs in the Arena style of Queen, epic smooth power ballads and lots of bombastic choirs and angelic guitar solos. Just to name a few descriptions filled with superlatives, hahaha. We’ve tried to push every song far out in the direction each song needed to go. And the result I would say is an album with a heavy, but in the same time, clean sound with a great amount of musical details.
8. Who wrote the lyrics for your songs ?

That would be me. I wrote all the songs for this album, both music and lyrics.
9. Where does the inspiration come from to write ?

I have no idea where the music comes from, it’s simply something that needs to come out and leave my system. But the lyrics...well often the music, which comes first, often inspires me and tells me what the lyrics should be about. I always want my lyrics to make you feel something and I want them to be right to the point just like our music. And that’s why I often write about simple themes like the daily life troubles or the daily happy feel good moments. I love how the right lyrics combined with uplifting music can inspire people to carry on, feel good about themselves and to fight for something. That’s what inspires me to write.
10. It has been said that you are one of the biggest influences in “training montage music”, can you explain what this means, I have never heard that before.

Yes, when people have asked us about our influences and wanted to put us in a bin with other bands to make us comparable, we always mention ”training montage music” as the most important influence. The term might be something we have made up on our own, I don’t know haha. But what we mean is the kind of music that often appeared in the middle of an 80’s movie, and most definitely in every fighting movie around this time. Think of the soundtracks in movies like Rocky, Karate Kid, Top Gun and so on, and you know what I’m talking about.

11. Who created the artwork for your cover ?

His name is Emil Nyström and he is a really talented photographer and a former member of the Swedish black metal band called Zonaria.

12.  Did the artist come up with the design, or did you have some input into it ?

We had the idea for the cover art and he made it come alive. We were inspired by some earlier photos he had taken of his little girl and we wanted something in the same style but with a SoS touch to it. So yes we didn’t just have inputs, it was our idea the whole way through. But I think he did an excellent job!
13.  After your album is released do you have plans to tour in support of the album ?

The plan is definitely to tour or at least to do as many shows as possible. We want to hit the roads and meet the fabulous AOR-loving audience which we know is out there.

14.  Do you have it being worked out now, or something you will think about after the release ?

We will come and play wherever someone wants us to play! There’s no tour booked right now but we’re hoping for the wheels to start turning when the album is out and bookers realize we have a killer album to offer in a live version. We will start off with our release party in our home town in Sweden and then...let’s see what happens.
15.  Do you find it very competitive in Sweden, there seems to be so many successful bands that come from your country, is it hard to become known ?

No I’ve never thought of it that way. I think it’s inspiring as a swede to be surrounded by all these successful bands and I believe that’s why we have so many great swedish bands. It’s kind of like - If they can do it, we can do it. But not in a competitive way. It’s more of a peppery spirit that it’s actually possible to reach out and succeed with your music.
16.  What do you think would surprise people to know about State of Salazar ?

Our first real official live show was this year in Milano, may 1st, on Frontiers Records Rock Festival.

17.  When you are working on things for the band, when do you find you are most creative ?

Behind my piano writing new songs. That’s where my creativity flows.
18.  Was this something you have always wanted to do, since you were young,  to be in a band ?

Yes for sure. I’ve been playing instruments since I was 6 years old and from the very beginning I always loved to play with others the most, starting with my dad haha. Sometimes I ask myself why I’m doing this and I’ve never come up with an answer really. Anyway, I can’t stop doing it. So this is what I was meant to do and I’ve known this ever since my youth.
19.  When was the first time you got up on a stage to sing ? How did you feel about it ?

I was 14 years old and it was my first band playing covers on a school party. Ooh this brings back memories hahaha....I believe I was deadly nervous and it felt like the biggest event ever in my life. For the first time ever I was supposed to get up on stage and sing in front of all my friends, and I do remember I was scared they would think it was lame for a guy to sing hahaha.
20. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to while driving down the road ?

That depends on the mood I’m in, and of course the weather. But alright, most times it’s between Melodic/Progressive Metal or pure 80’s West Coast/AOR.
21.  Is there anything you would like to say to people, that I might have missed asking you ?

No this pretty much covers it all I think, haha. But ok I can say this; Buy our album, listen to our songs, write to us on our Facebook page or website and come visit our shows! We will be forever thankful. Hope to see you on a State of Salazar concert in the future!
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and we wish you much success with All the Way. - Thank you!