We are so delighted and proud to have the most amazing band from the U.K. One of the greatest bands of the NWOBHM movement, SALEM, also known as Salem UK, hails from Hull, England. They started way back in 1979. They are releasing a brand new album on 29th April 2016. Even during this busy time guitarist Paul Macnamara gave us his time to us Metal On Loud, We are so thankful to Paul for his time for this Interview. Have a good time reading our Interview with Salem.
Greetings to the band! It’s a pleasure to have you in our upcoming magazine. Thanks, Paul, for supporting us in making this happen.
Thanks very much for inviting us to chat with you!
Salem is well known to most of us, but would you please introduce Salem to the readers who are new to Salem?
Ok! Salem was formed in 1979 by Paul Tognola (vocal/guitar) and Paul Conyers (drums) after the breakup of Ethel The Frog, with Adrian Jenkinson (bass) and me on lead guitar. We soon got gigging and recording – however, personal situations meant that the two Pauls from Ethel The Frog (Tognola and Conyers) left the band quite early on, and were replaced with Simon Saxby (vocal), Mark Allison (guitar) and Paul Mendham (drums) ... and we are still the same line-up today!
We continued to gig and do demos, but by 1983 we felt that Salem had run its course and we amicably decided to go different ways. In 2009, I put some of Salem’s 1980s music on MySpace. I started getting messages, and it wasn’t long before we were invited to release all our 1980s recordings on a Salem compilation album that ended up being In The Beginning... This brought the band together again.
Dark Days, Your new album, is scheduled to be released on April 29, 2016. How do you feel about the outcome?
With In The Beginning ... released, we started gigging again and recording new music in Adrian’s studio. By the end of 2013, we were ready to release our new recordings on the Forgotten Dreams album. We were – and still ARE – very pleased with this album; the music, the lyrics/theme and the performance.
Dark Days develops on that theme and experience. As with “Forgotten Dreams”, we are bringing together heavy riffs and melodic/powerful vocals together with lyrics based our (many LOL) life experiences. Forgotten Dreams was very up-beat. Dark Days digs into our difficult life experiences, and whilst it considers that life is certainly not always easy, we keep on looking for the positive outcome.
How do you guys feel to be back in to making music after 27 years of hiatus?
It is great for us all to be back together again. It is great for us all to be ALIVE! We have all grown in confidence in our musical direction. This has meant that new music ideas are even more diverse – we consider this to be a good, healthy thing (if not a bit difficult at times [laughs]). We are doing much more than in the the 1980s. I think this is for several reasons: Travel and communication is so much better than the early 1980s. There are much better links with the other bands. In the '80s I remember there seemed to be a lot of negative competition; whilst there is still some competition between bands, this is much POSITIVE and there is much more mutual respect and help. Maybe this an age thing? Our view of the world and our horizons have expanded so much. We are looking forward to our coming gigs and festivals, to the release of our new album and we already have ideas of the next album. We are here for the long run.
Salem the band name is bit hard to identify as many goes out with the same name. Have you ever thought of a name change for the band?
I agree that the name Salem is bit of a problem, as several other bands/artists have used the name. As far as I know, we were the only rock band using Salem when we formed in the 1979, but we recognize that other bands are now using “Salem” so we often refer to ourselves as Salem (UK) We have never considered changing the name from Salem.
What is the reason for taking such a long break and what are your plans to make Salem a success?
When the band members went their different ways in 1983, we all thought that was the end of Salem, so to be back together, recording great new music and playing awesome gigs and festivals, it still a bit of a surprise! But we are enjoying every moment. Plans for the future? We already have plenty of great new songs for the next album, and the next! And we are continuing to look for the next gigs and festivals. This year, we are playing festivals including Headbangers Open Air, MuskelRock and Heavy Metal Maniacs, and gigs with Diamond Head and Tygers of Pan Tang– festivals and gigs that were only a dream when we re-formed.
Even though you are considered as one of the Pioneers of NWOBHM do you still believe sticking into the same genre can impress the modern day fans?
That’s a very broad question. To start, there does seem to be a perception of what NWOBHM “should” sound like; however NWOBHM is a very wide genre, from the speed metal of Jaguar/Vardis to AOR of Praying Mantis. If you listen to all our albums, I don’t think that we stick to a narrow vein. I think that you find a real mix of ideas. As mentioned above, I think that we do base our ideas on the amazing rock bands of the 70s– Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple/Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, UFO, etc., and [we] have picked up other moods, phrases, ideas and techniques from all the other music since then. And we don’t deliberately compose and play our music, based largely on more traditional rock/metal influences, specifically to impress modern day fans – we are simply playing music that WE like.
Do you have any plans of a worldwide tour in support of Dark Days? If so what are the countries you will be concentrating on?
We have played in Europe, and have even been to Dubai. This year we are already playing in Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and U.K. We are very keen to play across other countries – and are currently making plans and looking for the next opportunities.
Do you have any message for the fans?
A big THANK YOU! It is still a dream-come-true to be playing and recording together again. We hope YOU like the new music, and that you come to see us one day!!