Into the Eye of the Hurricane with Saffire

Saffire has returned with Taming The Hurricane, their fourth melodic hard rock magnum opus, now available worldwide via ROAR Rock Of Angels Records!  A whirlwind of emotion and intrigue, Taming The Hurricane presents Saffire in their finest hour, ready to break through in a grand and epic way!  Highwire Daze recently interviewed guitarist Victor Olsson to find out more about the almighty sounds of Saffire and the story behind the glorious Taming The Hurricane.  Read on..

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Saffire, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Victor, the guitarist. I am also the main songwriter and have been that since I started the band with Dino, our keyboardist, in about 2005/2006.  We didn’t, however, get serious about it until about 2010, when Tobias joined as a vocalist.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are based in Gothenburg, which of course is known for its prominent metal scene.  My studio is actually right next door to Studio Fredman, the birthplace of the Gothenburg Sound!

How did you wind up signing with ROAR Rock Of Angels Records?
We were actually approached by ROAR after they heard we were looking for a new label.  They showed great interest and love for what we did and wanted a more long-term vision for the band which suited us perfectly after years of hopping around different records labels.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the Taming The Hurricane title?
There are actually a few different meanings to the title. One is the storm of emotions one has to tame when a band member quits the band. You know, it’s a bit like breaking up a long term relationship.  It could also be the almost bipolar wave that flows over me sometimes, where I just come up with so many ideas and melodies and stuff I just have to slow it down and try to “tame” it.

Select two songs from Taming The Hurricane and what inspired the lyrics.
One song I’m pretty happy with is Mr. Justified. It sort of tells the story of a maniacal religious cult leader and how they work their evil deeds. Loosely based on and much inspired by watching a lot of documentaries on Scientology…

Another one, a bit more personal, is Flight Of A Thousand Wings. A tribute to my dear late grandfather who passed away during the writing for the album. It became clear I wanted to have a song that tells the sad ending of a much loved person but also to act as a celebration and a tribute. During the production of the album almost everyone in the band went through similar losses of loved ones, so this song became special to everyone, I like to think..

Who produced Taming The Hurricane and what was it like working with them?
I actually produced the album. And I like working with me, we usually agree on everything!  I did a lot of the mixing too, but with help from Thomas “Plec” Johansson who helped us set the basic sound of the album. He did the groundwork so to speak!

Who did the cover art for Taming The Hurricane and how much input did you have on it?
A very talented Polish artist called Michal Matczak. I was actually searching around the internet for some cool art and came across this guy. The cover art was based on an old art piece he had done and published years ago. I found it to be extremely fitting with our album and the title and he then proceeded to make some adjustments to it to make it fit even better.

What is the background of your new drummer Efraim Larsson and how did he become involved with the band?
I had known of Efraim since his days early days with Diamond Dawn which then became Streamline. We needed a new drummer for Gathering Of Kings (my other project/band) and he fitted the bill.  When our old drummer then quit, Efraim felt like the perfect guy to step in for Saffire as well. I had gotten to know him as a sweet guy, great drummer, both live and in studio, and overall a great easy-going guy to have in a band.

When you look back on your previous album Where The Monsters Dwell released on Perris Records, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
I think it marked the first album where we sounded how we wanted to sound. An album where we found our identity in a way. Maybe it didn’t do as well as we had hoped, maybe due to Covid and what not, but we are really proud of the album and it will always have a special place in our hearts.

What could one expect from a live Saffire show?
Just an overall, great rock’n’roll show. No bells and whistles, just a tight, energetic 5-piece rock band who love what they do and goes all-in to entertain and provide a fun, yet musical experience for everyone there.

What was the experience like opening for The Night Flight Orchestra in 2018?
A great experience! We had gotten to know some of the guys, they had also been involved in the Gathering Of Kings project, so we knew they were amazing musicians and great people overall.  And their fan base really welcomed us with open arms, we felt which is always pleasant when you open for a band.

Has Saffire ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We haven’t been abroad at all, except for Tons Of Rock festival in Norway. We’ve had some opportunities but stars haven’t aligned perfectly yet haha.. But we hope to play abroad in the future, including the US!

Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Saffire?
Yes, I’m also the songwriter for Gathering Of Kings, a melodic hard rock project/band which also features Tobias and Efraim.

What’s up next for Saffire?
We’ve been really focused on the album release for quite some time now but of course, now is time to step out in to the world and show how we sound in a live performance. That is our main focus right now and we have a booking agency working on getting us on the road again!

Any final words of wisdom?
Have a good time all the time!

Saffire are:
Victor Olsson – Guitars, backing vocals
Efraim Larsson – Drums, backing vocals
Tobias Jansson – Vocals
Magnus Carlsson – Bass
Dino Zuzic – Keyboards, backing vocals

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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