interview by Andrew Iliadis
Andrew interviews singer/songwriter Salim Nourallah, who has recently released the lovely Beautiful Noise. Go!
AI: Both you and your brother have released above average records in a field that is completely, totally overcrowded. Did your parents put something special in your cereal?
SN: Our Mom was an artist and our dad was an accountant so I guess the confusion created something bizarre.
What I mean is, do you come from a musical background in regards to your family life growing up?
Our background wasn’t really musical. Our mother played a bit of piano here and there but me fooling around with an A.M. radio at age 9 was probably more influential than anything else.
I've read that you've been a part of many other projects since you began your career and that they have been pretty diverse. Care to elaborate?
I always loved bands as a kid. So I always wanted to be in a BAND. Being a solo, singer-songwriter type was never really what I set out to do. I learned though, after many frustrating years, that you can’t simply will yourself to be in a great band like the Clash, for example. For most people it just never happens and it never happened for me. Turns out, in some ways, that it was the best thing that ever happened to me ‘cause I’ve loved being on my own and I think I’ve done the best work of my life without the shackles of “band-dom.”
How did you hook up with Western Vinyl?
A very long and involved miracle that was pretty well documented here… http://www.dallasobserver.com/issues/2005-02-03/music/music.html
Beautiful Noise is pretty pastoral but there is some dark subject matter in places, so in a way those lyrics are understated. Are most of these topics from personal experiences?
Yeah, that seems to be my problem. I write most of my songs for my own therapy – it’s always been a way for me to cope with life. Sometimes it’s not enough but it’s the only thing I know to do. “Beautiful Noise” was written during the time period where our 3 month old baby boy was going through major surgery on his head.
The sleeve says "written, recorded and mixed by Salim Nourallah." How many guest players were there?
How many guests where there? Let’s see…there was Carter Albrecht, Richard Martin, Daniel Hopkins, Chris Holt, Danny Balis, Aaron Kelly, John Lefler, Steve Duncan, John Dufilho, Jason Garner, Rick Nelson, Paul Averitt –at least 12 – I’m sure I forgot a couple. All friends of mine who happen to be great musicians. Dallas has a ton of undiscovered talent here.
Aside from their parts, did you take care of everything else?
Yes, I took care of all their requests for cheap oriental food and exotic goldfish.
It says recorded at Pleasantry Lane. Is that a street where a house is that holds the bedroom where you recorded this...or is it a studio?
Pleasantry Lane is an actual, full-blown recording studio. It was named after an old song my brother Faris and I used to do. The chorus went: “One day I’ll land on Pleasantry Lane…” The studio was started by both of us around 1998. We recorded the Nourallah Brothers cd here on an 8 track. Since then it’s expanded, not only format-wise but also space-wise. I’m now recording and producing others bands as well as my own records. Faris is no longer involved though.
Do you play a lot of shows? If so, where have you trekked and where are you planning to go?
I play about 4 times a month. Texas only. I was hoping to get out of state for the promotional of “Beautiful Noise” but no opportunities really came up. The only touring I’m thinking about right now is maybe Europe sometime next year.
Not sure. We still haven’t given up on “Beautiful Noise” even though Fanatic’s promo work behind it was extremely disappointing. We’re kind of trying to figure out what we can do with it at the beginning of next year.
How does the process go for you in regards to writing new material?
I guess it’s just force of habit by now. I’ve been writing songs ever since I was a kid, for over 20 years now. I try never to force writing – sometimes I go months without writing anything and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
If you could travel in time, where would you go and what would you do?
I think I’d pop back to 1960’s London and form a rock’n’roll band. Maybe with Austin Powers as the front man?
What's your favorite pick-up line?
How much do you weigh?
What freaks the hell out of you?
People who are really into guns, the state of this world (in-tolerance and violence, etc.)
If you could date any movie star (dead or alive) who would it be?
What do you look like when you wear a tuxedo?
Where's the party?
Anywhere I go, man.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
A unicorn. I collect them you know…
What have you been dreaming about lately?
What becomes of the broken hearted?
They join a lonely hearts club band
Have you ever killed anyone in a knife fight?
Myself actually – these answers were generated by a Nourallahbot made to my exact likeness./december 2005/