Nad Sylvan, vocalist with Steve Hackett and Unifaun, has released the second single from his new solo album ‘The Regal Bastard.’ The video showcases the song ‘Meet Your Maker.’
Nad comments about the track: “This song features the fabulous Tania Doko on vocals, Tony Levin on bass and Nick D’Virgilio on drums. The rest is all handled by yours truly. ‘Meet Your Maker’ is a typical song, where still in the realm of prog – I bring in my R&B/soul influences combined with rock and dark theater. I don’t hear anyone else making that kind of noise at the moment, so I believe this is a unique piece of music, delivered by first rate musicians and production. So I’m very pleased with it.”
Swedish singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Nad Sylvan has risen to the top of the progressive rock scene because of his solo work and collaborations with Steve Hackett and Roine Stolt. The Bride Said No is his new solo album and continues the story he initiated with the acclaimed Vampiric album Courting The Widow.
The Bride Said No still has plenty of first class symphonic progressive rock inspired by 1970s bands like Genesis and UK. However, The Bride Said No adds a music theater element and masterful vocal interplay between Nad and his guest lead vocalists Tania Doko and Jade Ell.
Nad Sylvan is a generous vocalist. His albums always provide plenty of space to the virtuoso instrumentalists that participate in his recordings. The most noticeable difference I find in The Bride Said No is that there is less mellotron than in the previous album. However, keyboard lovers don’t despair, Nad and his colleagues provide plenty of succulent synth solos and majestic keyboards throughout the album.
For prog rock guitar fans, track 5 ‘What Have You Done” is true delight. Nearly half the piece features two outstanding, hats off epic electric solos. The first is by the grand master of progressive rock guitar, Steve Hackett. The second solo is by the equally talented Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Asia, Erotic Cakes). But there is more. If you manage to filter out the guitars (which is hard to do because they’re so good), you’ll notice remarkable bass work underneath by yet another master, Tony Levin.
Although Nad Sylvan’s vocals are superb throughout the album, on track 6, ‘Crime Of Passion,’ Nad stands out even more, delivering all vocal parts, lead and backing vocals. Guitars also play a leading role with Steve Hackett again, along with another regular collaborator, one of the busiest and finest guitarists in the prog world, Sweden’s Roine Stolt.
Another favorite is ‘A French kisses in an Italian Café,’ a beautiful laid back song with a trip hop beat that captivates you right away. It’s enriched with beautiful orchestrations by Nad Sylvan, Steve Hackett’s fabulous guitar, Tony Levin’s masterful Chapman stick and bass, and the delightful backing vocals.
The final song on the album is the most theatrical, with attention-grabbing interplay between Nad Sylvan and his female guest vocalists. It’s prog rock meets neosoul. This track has a hidden song. There are over 2 minutes of silence and then a pop song appears.
The lineup includes Nad Sylvan on vocals, keyboards, guitars, orchestrations; Jade Ell on vocals; Sheona Urquhart on vocals and saxophone; Anders Wollbeck on keyboards, programming, orchestration and additional sound design; Tania Doko on vocals; Jonas Reingold on bass; Nick D’Virgilio on drums and percussion; Tony Levin on Chapman Stick and bass; Doane Perry on drums; Alfons Karabuda on waterphone; Steve Hackett on guitar; Guthrie Govan on guitar; and Roine Stolt on guitar.
The Bride Said No is another captivating forward-thinking progressive rock album by the multi-faceted and talented Nad Sylvan.
Vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Nad Sylvan is currently one of the finest singers in the international progressive rock scene. In addition to his recent work with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Nad recently released a superb solo album titled “Courting The Widow” that was one of the finest progressive rock albums of 2015.
Nad talks to Progressive Rock Central in this exclusive interview:
Can you give our readers a brief history on how you started your musical career?
I sought to myself to the piano when I was about 5. Started to compose maybe a year later. I joined various bands in my teen years and after a while drifted into progressive rock with stacks of keyboards and mikes around me. Apparently I never got out!
What do you consider as the essential elements of your music?
Melody, harmony and rhythm. Arrangements that supports the lyrical content.
Who can you cite as your main musical influences?
I know people think it’s generally Genesis, but it’s so much more than that. Everything that rocked in the 1970s plus lots of soul music.
Tell us about your first recordings and your musical evolution.
I recorded a single when I was 19, a total Genesis rip off. But that’s fine, I think I was excused being so young and with such high ideals. Two years later that band, which was called Avenue, broke up. I drifted into fusion, jazz rock and so on in the early 80s and formed my own band. We never played any gigs, but I learned a lot during that time.
In 1984 I joined a band that became “One By One”, a funk rock band in the same kind of musical hybrid style as Prince, Scritti Politti and etc. We made it as far as being the supporting act to Lionel Ritchie in 1987. I went solo after that and recorded a couple of unsuccessful solo albums until I met Bonamici in 2003. We formed “Unifaun”, recorded an album, which is now my musical platform. That’s when I started to get some kind of recognition. In 2008 Roine Stolt contacted me, we made three albums and in 2012 I heard from Steve Hackett.
What’s the concept behind your latest album, Courting the Widow?
Death and the sea.
Along with Italy, Sweden has produced some of the finest progressive rock groups in recent years. Why do you think Sweden generates so much talent?
It wasn’t always like that. I think the Internet opened up so many possibilities for everybody, let alone for myself, and the Swedes were very quick to latch onto this new digital world.
There seems to be a dark theme in the lyrics of many Nordic progressive rock artists. Why do you think so many acts have this gloomy side? Would the music be different if it was composed in sunnier and warmer places like Tenerife or the Costa del Sol?
I think you just came up with the best answer yourself.
Although you are known as a vocalist, you also play various musical instruments and you do it quite well. Tell us about your musical training.
I taught myself everything I know. Singing is my key element, second comes piano and keyboards. The rest I do on my recordings such as guitars, takes an awful lot of time for me to get it right.
Your most recent solo album features a lot of beautiful mellotron-sounding work. What does the mellotron represent to you?
How did you connect with guitarist Roine Stolt?
He got in touch with me after he’d heard Unifaun back in 2008.
And how did you link up with Steve Hackett?
Same thing there four years later. But I was also recommended through Win Voelklein who promotes the Night of the Prog festival in Germany, where I have performed three times now.
How do audiences react to your versions of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis songs?
Nowadays they are alright with it. They have allowed me to grow into the role.
It wasn’t easy at first.
On April 19, 2016 you’ll be performing as part of the Steve Hackett band in Durham, North Carolina which is where we are based. What material will the band be presenting there?
The same show we did in the autumn. 50% Hackett solo stuff, 50% Genesis.
In addition to your solo work, you are currently involved in other projects like Agents of Mercy. What’s the focus of Agents of Mercy?
I am currently not involved in anything but Hackett and my solo career. Agents of Mercy has not released anything since 2011 (The Black Forest), and we haven’t played together since 2012.
If you could gather any musicians or musical groups to collaborate with, whom would that be?
Basically the people that play on my album “Courting The Widow“. Especially Nick Beggs and Doane Perry. But also Jonas Reingold is a fabulous player and a good friend.
Do you have any upcoming projects to share with us?
I am working on a follow up album to “The Widow” right now. That will take me at least a year.