A chat with Andy Marshall (Saor) by Teo

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SL: Hello Andy, welcome to “The Somber Lane”. Let me say I’m honoured to have you on our “pages”.
First of all could you please introduce yourself to our readers and to who doesn’t know about you?
How could you describe your musical project, Saor?

AM: I am the founder, main composer and multi-instrumentalist for Scottish band Saor which I started back in 2012. “Saor” means “Free” in Gaelic and the name was taken from “Saor Alba” meaning “Free Scotland”, a phrase used by the Scottish Independence movement.

I would describe my music as “atmospheric Celtic metal” which takes influences from a range of genres including atmospheric black metal, Scottish folk, post-rock, and classical music. Lyrically I am influenced by my Scottish heritage, Highland landscapes/nature and emotions.

SL: I know that you released your first album “Roots” with the Àrsaidh moniker.
Why did you decide to change this name in Saor?
What has changed in both your sound and compositions from the “Roots” era?

AM: I had a few problems with it when digitally distributing my music and grew to dislike it. I think “Saor” described my music much better than the previous name too.
“Aura” has more riffs and folk elements than “Roots” and the overall sound is a bit rawer and intense.

SL: Your latest album “Aura” has been a huge win, and definitely my favourite album of 2014.
So I’d like to ask you to talk about this record.
Is there any funny behind-the-scenes anecdote worth to tell?

Which is your favourite track of the album? Or the one that you feel mostly connected to, at least?

AM: Thanks. No funny stuff to report I’m afraid.
My favourite track on the album is probably “Pillars of the Earth” but I enjoy playing “Children of the Mist” and “Aura” live.

SL: In the credits of the album “Aura” Austin Lunn, from the band Panopticon, appears as guest drummer. How did you guys end up working together?

AM: Austin got in touch with me after I released my debut album “Roots” and we quickly became good friends. I used a drum program os1n “Roots” and I mentioned to him that I was thinking of doing real drums on “Aura”, so he offered his services. He is an extremely talented musician and it was a honour working with him on that album, I really hope we can work together in the future.

SL: And I hope that too, being honest, because your cooperation sounded very well.
So, what we can except from Saor in the near future?
Are you already working on new material?

AM: I am currently rehearsing with a live band and have three shows lined up this year so far, North of the Wall Festival in Scotland, Dark Troll Festival in Germany and Warhorns Festival in England. There will probably be a couple of other shows this year too.

I am currently working on new material but I don’t know when I will go into the studio to begin recording it or when the next album will be released. I will post news on the Saor Facebook page when I have more information regarding new material.

SL: Let’s talk a bit about your music background.
Which are the main influences that stand behind the uniqueness of Saor’s sound?
And which are the artists/bands you like the most these days?

AM: I would say that 90’s Black and Folk Metal, Scottish Folk music, Celtic music and Post-Rock are my main musical influences for Saor.
I’m also influenced by classical music and soundtracks. I don’t listen to a lot of new music these days, it’s been years since I’ve heard something that has really caught my attention.
At the moment I’m really enjoying a Swedish electronic/dream pop project called “iamamiwhoami” who recently released their new album “Blue”. I listen to a lot different musical styles, I don’t really understand people who confine themselves to one style of music – it must get so boring.

SL: Besides music, do you do anything else for a living?
Do you have any hobbies?

AM: Yes, unfortunately I work in a normal job just like everyone else. I would be lying if I told you I wouldn’t like to live from my music but it isn’t easy to make a living from music these days due to the fact that it is so easy to steal peoples work illegally from torrents and websites hosting MP3’s. CD’s don’t sell as well as they used to either so a lot of bands rely on touring and merchandise sales when they are on the road.

Apart from composing and recording music, I do a lot of hill walking, camping and exploring in the Highlands. I enjoy spending time away from the crowded cities and being outdoors surrounded by nature. Apart from that I like reading, watching films, gaming and drinking lots of good ale.

SL: Well, Andy, we have sadly come to the end. But before we wrap up this interview, if you have anything to say to our readers, your fans or if you have any final thoughts this is your moment!
Thank you very much for your time and good luck with the new album!

AM: Northern Silence Productions recently re-released my debut album “Roots” which is now available from the Official web store. “Roots” and “Aura” DLP vinyls are set for release in March. Thanks for the support!

 

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