Interview with Victor Olsson - Saffire, May 2013
Brilliant Progressive Hard Rock from Gothenburg, Sweden.
PoM : Can you tell our readers shortly about the history of Saffire?
Victor: Me and Dino Zuzic, our keyboardist went to school together in Gothenburg in 2005 and we had a funk rock band going, where I actully played the drums. But I decided to focus more on my guitarplaying and wanted to start a band as a guitarist and write more 70's styled hard rock based tunes. So, me and Dino put together a band consisting of us, our present bassist Magnus Carlsson, a drummer, Gustav Elowson, and a vocalist, Martin Jonasson. We recorded a demo in 2007, but Gustav had to leave the band just short after that. Anton Roos replaced him and in 2009 we recorded another demo and started doing gigs all over town.
In early 2010 Martin had to leave the band and in came Tobbe Jansson. We decided to do yet another demo, since we had a new line-up and this time we started playing gigs more frequently and evolved into a pretty well-oiled machine, and somewhere in 2011 we felt we're ready to record our debut album. Which brings us to where we are today!
PoM: Is there a main songwriter in the band or how have you divided the work with the song writing?
Victor: I do most of the writing, and come up with ideas for songs etc. But when a shell of a song is written, everyone still get to put a personal touch to it and add ideas and �colors� to it. Me and Tobbe (vocals) usually write the lyrics together.
PoM : Tell us how media has responded to "From Ashes To Fire" so far?
Victor: I would say it's been generally awesome! Almost overwhelmingly positive. This is our first album and we weren't too sure how the reaction would be, although of course we are very pleased and proud of the album ourselves!
Victor: I didn't write the song until like a few weeks we started recording, so it was a bit of a late addition to the family of songs we had. I wanted to write a quite forward, catchy and groovy tune and leave the complicated stuff out. Everyone in the band felt it would fit the album perfect and we all liked it so much we ended up putting it as the first track of the album and even recorded a music video and released it as a digital single.
PoM: The heavy track "Paralyzed" is also a great song, what can you tell us about that song?
Thanks! "Paralyzed" is a quite old song I wrote in 2007, but I couldn't work out
a proper chorus for it so we sort of scrapped it from our repertoire. But when
the album was about to be recorded I really wanted a song with that ultra-heavy,
sinister feel to it, and so Dino came up with this cool organ riff which
eventually became the new chorus for "Paralyzed" which really made the song
complete and worthy of being recorded.
PoM: The closing track "Stormy Waters" is one of my favorites. Can you tell us something about the work with that song?
Victor: I'm glad you like it! It's pretty influenced by the prog rock bands of the 70's but of course with a bit more simplistic and modern touch to it. But I remember listening to a lot of Kansas at the time and Tobbe really loved recording all the backing vocals for it.
Very cool song to record, there is a lot of stuff going on with the keyboards and the vocal stuff.
PoM: Any other track that means something extra or special for you on "From Ashes To Fire"?
Victor: Since this is our first album, and some of the songs were written years ago, I would say that basically every little song is special in it's own way, some of the lyrics are based on some very personal stuff for me, such as "What if" and "The Redemption". And a song like "End of the world" ,which was the first song I wrote for the band and wasn't even going to be recorded but we had some time over in the studio, ended up being one of my favourites.
Victor: We really stuck our heads into the whole business with the record and stuff around it, so right now we do not have a lot of giggs planned. But now since the album was just released, this will now be our main focus. We want to play our music live!
PoM: Which bands or persons has been the musical inspiration for Saffire?
Victor: If we were to combine everyone's individual influences it would be a very wide range of genres and bands. But of course there are a few bands that we all enjoy very much and influence us the way we sound and create our music. Bands like early Rainbow, Dio, Deep Purple, Kansas, Spiritual Beggars I suppose could be mentioned as important influences and inspiration to us. But inspiration really varies! Lately I have really enjoyed the new "Ghost" album along with Steven Wilson's new progressive masterpiece. It doesn't necessarily means I want to make music just like theirs, it just fill me with lust to create my own music and gives me an urge to try to touch people the same way I've been touched by their stuff.
So inspiration can come from everywhere I suppose :)
PoM: Tell us something about the artwork - who made it and is it important for you with a cool artwork?
It was made by Anders Fästader, a really cool guy in Gothenburg who have made
artwork for bands like Hardcore Superstar, Mustasch and others.
PoM: Thank's Victor for your time. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Interviewed by Patrik Skoglund