Saor interview (10/2016)


With: Andy Marshall
Conducted by: Bad English (e-mail)
Published: 26.10.2016

Band profile:

Saor


Bad English: Hi, and thank you for doing this interview with us at Metal Storm.

Andy Marshall: Thanks!

BE: Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your musical background? How did you become a metalhead and what music do you listen to on your own time?

AM: I grew up listening to a lot of different rock and metal bands in High School. I got my first guitar when I was about 12/13 I think. I started jamming with friends in a local studio, nothing serious, just playing covers and goofing around. I properly started writing and recording music in my late teens, when I was about 16 or 17. I played in a few shitty metal and post-rock projects during my late teens till early 20's but I didn't start writing and recording music seriously until I started Saor in 2012 when I was 23/24.

I don't consider myself a metalhead, I am a music fan. I am listening to less and less metal as I get older. I like some metal, I like some rock, I like some folků you get the point. I just happen to be writing metal music at the moment. I'm a big fan of the original black metal scene (late '80s - mid-'90s), some folk metal, classic and power metal. I mainly listen to older stuff. I listen to a lot of different music in my spare time. At the moment I'm really enjoying Bathory - Blood On Ice and Cnoc An Tursa's new album The Forty Five.

BE: This might be a somewhat provocative question, but do you consider yourself primarily British or Scottish?

AM: Scottish.

BE: Can you speak Gaelic?

AM: No, I only know a few phrases and words.

BE: Many German, Scandinavian, and Finnish bands record material in their native tongues. Have you ever thought about doing songs in Gaelic?

AM: If I could speak Gaelic, I would have done that from the start. Gaelic isn't Scotland's native tongue, it's a minority language now, mainly spoken in the Highlands and Western Isles. 99% of Scots speak English (badly).

BE: On the flip side of that, have you ever thought about doing a spoken word track or an intro or something to show off the Glaswegian accent? Many people say that Glaswegians are impossible to understand, but I can get 99% of Rab C. Nesbitt's conversations.

AM: I've not thought about doing any spoken word but I'd not be against it. I'm not actually from Glasgow but it's the closest city. I think my accent is pretty tame compared to some of my friends who were born and bred in Glasgow.

BE: You started Fuath in 2015, but the style is rather similar to that of Saor. Why begin a new project, rather than releasing I under the Saor name?

AM: I wanted to do something darker, more black metal and I had a few ideas I didn't want to use in Saor. It didn't really turn out the way I thought it would but it's still a decent album. I don't know if I'll do much more with it.



Fuath's I


BE: Why did you change Àrsaidh's name to Saor?

AM: I just grew to dislike it and Saor looks and sounds better.

BE: Saor and Fen are two British black metal bands that stand out to me from other acts (possibly Winterfylleth as well, though I am less familiar with them). What is your formula for distinguishing yourself?

AM: Saor isn't black metal. It never was and never will be. Put on the new Saor album and then listen to Darkthrone or Burzum. It's not even the same genre of music in my opinion. Saor is more folk metal/atmospheric metal in my opinion. Black Metal died in the mid-'90s and I don't even listen to it anymore apart from the old classics. I guess the Celtic folk and Scottish elements distinguish it from those bands.

BE: Your songs are about nature, landscapes, and the seasons, not about St. Ann (if you catch my drift). What sparked the deviation from typical black metal themes?

AM: I've always felt a connection to nature and landscapes. When I used to listen to black metal in my teens, I was never really interested in all the evil and Satanic bullshit. The same goes for all that Pagan shit. I guess I was attracted to the cover art too, with forests, castles and mountains.

BE: I always think that the best black metal acts are those that sing about the nature surrounding the places where they live. You clearly share an interest in that subject matter; do you find this to be true of the bands you listen to?

AM: I prefer themes like nature and heritage, yeah. It's great when you find bands with the same interests as yourself. But to be honest, I listen to music if it sounds good, I don't care much about the themes.

BE: Recently I was watching a British black metal documentary, and one band (I don't recall which) said, "Norway has nature, forests, fog, but it's not part of the British landscape; we have a more industrial environment." Do you agree with this statement?

AM: That is a pretty dumb comment to make. They are obviously not looking hard enough.

BE: To clear my head, I usually walk through a dead Swedish forest in the summer or along an icy road on a cold winter day. How do you find inspiration?

AM: Nature, hillwalking, films, books, music, life.



The wild Andy Marshall in nature.


BE: This is purely speculation, but if you were able to spend a few months in north Sweden, would you choose summer, when the sun never sets, or the winter, when there is lots of snow and the sun doesn't shine for days at a time? How would it change your musical creativity?

AM: I prefer the atmosphere of winter. I like how dead and frosty everything looks. I don't think the seasons would change my musical creativity much.

BE: To me, Àrsaidh's Roots and Saor's Aura are equally good albums; I think they will become classics in the genre. Which of the two was more challenging to produce?

AM: You mean Saor's Roots? The official release is actually under the Saor name now. Aura was more challenging because more people were involved but the production ended up sounding worse than Roots.

BE: Could you perhaps share some interesting trivia about the new album, Guardians?

AM: Well, we recorded the album in cottages in the Isle of Skye and Cairndow. The album has a lot of great session musicians on it such as Bryan Hamilton (Cnoc An Tursa) on drums, John Becker on strings, Meri Tadic (Irij, ex-Eluveitie) on fiddle and Kevin Murphy on bagpipes. The album was mixed and mastered by Spenser Morris in the US.

BE: Who came up with the artwork for the album?

AM: Sebastian Wagner - http://www.sebastianwagner-art.com/



Guardians


BE: Are you still a one-man band when it comes to studio work? Do Reni McDonald, Martyn Moffat, and Bryan Hamilton work in the studio, too, or are they just the live line-up?

AM: I write most of the songs and play most of the instruments but I worked with some amazing guest musicians on Aura and Guardians. The fiddle, string and bagpipe players usually come up with their own parts and I send a guide track to the session drummers and they come up with their parts.

Martyn helped me record the first two albums and helped me record some of the guitars on Guardians. Reni recorded the majority of Guardians and Bryan plays drums on Guardians. I hope to work with Bryan in the future; he's a great drummer and a close friend.

BE: As a live band, how many shows have you played?

AM: I don't know exactly but I'd say about 8-10 shows. We no longer play live shows, I hate playing live.

BE: You play bass and sing when performing. Why did you choose bass over guitar?

AM: I always preferred playing bass live. I also found it easier to sing and play bass.

BE: Many similar artists also have neofolk projects on the side. Have you ever thought about something like that?

AM: I've thought about doing some non-metal music with Saor. I think I might do some acoustic stuff in the future but I don't see the point of doing it as a side project.

BE: How do you listen to music: mp3s, CDs, vinyl? Do you ever listen to your own bands?

AM: I mainly stream stuff and buy LPs nowadays. I can't remember the last time I bought a CD to be honest. The only time I listen to my stuff is when I'm recording demos or mixing the album.

BE: To me, Saor calls for a good imperial stout, a fireplace, and a whole album play-through. Do you prefer beer or whisky?

AM: I prefer real ale.

BE: I have never been a fan of British pub culture, since it doesn't exactly fit in with the Swedish climate; if it's 20¤c or worse, it's no fun. How often do you go to the pub?

AM: Probably about 2 or 3 times a month.

BE: This might be the stupidest question of all, but a lot of metal artists we talk to have favorite football teams that they support. Is your home turf Ibrox Stadium or Celtic Park? Do you care about this kind of stuff?

AM: I support Scotland national team and Rangers FC. I am a football fan but I'm not obsessive about it.

BE: Thank you once again for your time. Do you have any last words for our readers?

AM: Cheers. "Guardians" is available for pre-order @ Bandcamp and Northern Silence. 


 


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 35   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 277 users
27.02.2017 - 13:11
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Written by h_jny on 26.02.2017 at 06:06

Written by Belegûr on 01.02.2017 at 18:22

Written by h_jny on 29.01.2017 at 03:27

Written by Belegûr on 13.11.2016 at 05:42

Written by Bad English on 12.11.2016 at 16:55

Written by Belegûr on 12.11.2016 at 13:18

Gaelic seems to be very misunderstood. It has never been our primary language. Even at its peak a lot of Scottish people were speaking Old English. So asking a guy from around Glasgow if he speaks Gaelic is very strange indeed.


He is not from Glasgow and some my friends what live sin Sco, most of they co workers speaks in it .. Inverness area


He said in the interview that Glasgow was the closest city. I also said "from around Glasgow". Almost no one from Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Perthshire etc speak Gaelic, unless they come from the places he mentioned. I think about 8000 speakers across Glasgow and Edinburgh...about 1% of those populations. There's only about 7000 speakers in the highlands, so if "most" coworkers in Inverness are speaking it, then I have to ask if the guy works in a Gaelic school or if they are those people that know how to say hello and cheers. If you take away the Outer Hebrides, there's about 20,000 speakers in all of Scotland. So I stand by my original point, it's strange to ask people from down this way if they speak Gaelic.


Last census had it at 60,000 people in Scotland speak gaelic, there is BBC ALBA and Glasgow itself has a big gaelic school. It is not that strange to ask someone if they speak it, especially if you are in a band called Saor.

Dunno what you are talking about with 'old English', nobody in Scotland spoke or speaks that now. There is Scots and Scottish English(which most of us speak today, along with Standard English). They former are far from dead minority languages, the train stations have gaelic signs all around Central Scotland for a start. You can convert the Scot Government site into gaelic.

AM comes across a bit of an asshole here actually but a lot of the questions were crap.


If you don't know what I'm talking about with Old English, then go read up on it. Southern and Eastern Scotland most certainly did speak it. Gaelic signs on train stations prove nothing. The vast vast majority of us can't even say one word in Gaelic, it's not our language.


A tiny part of Scotland, or bits that used to be Scotland but are now England spoke a variation of Old English. We are talking 8th century though lol from then it splt into Scots.

Gaelic was widely spoken and Scots used many gaelic loanwords that survive to this day, Latin was widely used too. Scotland has a rich history with languages, not sure what you have against Gaelic, This band is called SAOR for god sake haha.


You keep giving me some form of history lesson I don't need. I also don't have anything "against Gaelic", it's just never been OUR language, There's a romantic view of it and that's why musicians and bands like using Gaelic names etc, doesn't change the facts though. Gaelic, quite simply, is NOT our language.
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05.03.2017 - 14:05
Paz
News Man
Hey folks, trim your quotes! Otherwise it is just a mess...
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15.03.2017 - 03:27
h_jny
Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Written by Belegûr on 12.11.2016 at 13:18









A tiny part of Scotland, or bits that used to be Scotland but are now England spoke a variation of Old English. We are talking 8th century though lol from then it splt into Scots.

Gaelic was widely spoken and Scots used many gaelic loanwords that survive to this day, Latin was widely used too. Scotland has a rich history with languages, not sure what you have against Gaelic, This band is called SAOR for god sake haha.


You keep giving me some form of history lesson I don't need. I also don't have anything "against Gaelic", it's just never been OUR language, There's a romantic view of it and that's why musicians and bands like using Gaelic names etc, doesn't change the facts though. Gaelic, quite simply, is NOT our language.


It is as much part of OUR history and culture as Scots or any other language.

Have you climbed any mountains at all in Scotland? To read a map and not get lost you need to know a bit of gaelic.

I bet you are a unionist, they seem to have a real dislike of gaelic for some reason. Asking a guy in a band called SAOR if he speaks gaelic is not a strange question, maybe Andy is learning it?
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14.04.2017 - 21:57
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Written by h_jny on 15.03.2017 at 03:27

Written by Belegûr on 12.11.2016 at 13:18





It is as much part of OUR history and culture as Scots or any other language.

Have you climbed any mountains at all in Scotland? To read a map and not get lost you need to know a bit of gaelic.

I bet you are a unionist, they seem to have a real dislike of gaelic for some reason. Asking a guy in a band called SAOR if he speaks gaelic is not a strange question, maybe Andy is learning it?


Again, never said it wasn't part of Scottish history . Nice of you to get so offended on behalf of the THOUSANDS of Gaelic speakers in Scotland haha

You are definitely new here if you think I am a Unionist

He's not learning it. It's probably the Scottish equivalent of some Scandinavian bands dressing up like Vikings.
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19.04.2017 - 05:31
h_jny
Written by Belegûr on 14.04.2017 at 21:57

Written by h_jny on 15.03.2017 at 03:27

Written by Belegûr on 12.11.2016 at 13:18





It is as much part of OUR history and culture as Scots or any other language.

Have you climbed any mountains at all in Scotland? To read a map and not get lost you need to know a bit of gaelic.

I bet you are a unionist, they seem to have a real dislike of gaelic for some reason. Asking a guy in a band called SAOR if he speaks gaelic is not a strange question, maybe Andy is learning it?


Again, never said it wasn't part of Scottish history . Nice of you to get so offended on behalf of the THOUSANDS of Gaelic speakers in Scotland haha

You are definitely new here if you think I am a Unionist

He's not learning it. It's probably the Scottish equivalent of some Scandinavian bands dressing up like Vikings.


Oh piss off...I'm not offended just defending the language against your nonsense/ignorance.

Gaelic was a language when English wasn't even a glint in someones eye, somehow it is 'not our language' though.

Maybe there is only 80,000 speakers or so because for centuries speaking gaelic had you persecuted. Did you ever think of that?

Here is what the Scot Gov say on it:

"The Scottish Government recognises that Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland's heritage, national identity and current cultural life.

Gaelic has been spoken in Scotland for over 1500 years. Over this period, Gaelic has been the language of court and government, learning and the arts, education and devotion and the home and the community.

Although its use has declined over the centuries, it is still alive and an official language of Scotland, as well as a priceless part of our nation's living, diverse culture."

Hopefully this will put an end to yer shite.
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