An email interview with Nad Sylvan conducted by Alan Hewitt.

TWR: What drew you to Yeats's poetry in the first place?

NS: It was Andrew (Laitres) who introduced me to Yeats. I’ve only heard of him but never read anything of him prior. Andrew threw me some demos he had done with Yeats’s lyrics and I was very intrigued.

TWR: How did Lockdown affect putting the album together? Was it easier or more difficult?

NS: Actually, that’s the only thing that I see through a positive light. Instead of being on tour, I could solely focus on this album.

TWR: When did you start working on the album and how long did it take you to complete it?

NS: I started right after I had come off the tour with Hackett in November of 2019. By the time we went on the road again in February the following year, I had already 3 or 4 songs down. So coming back home in mid March, I’d say I worked non stop until Sept-Oct. Then I spent about two months creating the artwork, which was a lot of fun! Finally, I just waited for a green light from my label to release it.

TWR: You open the album with one of Yeats's most apocryphal poems, that is quite a statement of intent. Do you think the vision expressed in The Second Coming has resonance today?

NS: Oh yes, I feel that Yeats’s poems have a sense of timelessness over them. He very much dug into the core of human emotions, and they will always be the same. Of course, the poems can be seen as diaries of his time, but also a mind opener to your subconscious. A very fine poet he was. And he worked hard living a hard life. Great sorrows often create great work.

TWR: With such a vast body of work to choose from, how did you go about selecting the poems you were going to work with?

NS: That was all Andrew. He has a knack for finding the right words and to set them to music.

TWR: The Stolen Child has imagery that has influenced many people - Steve for example, even being referenced in an episode of Torchwood. What does the poem mean to you?

NS: To me it’s a sweet little story told in the way an adult would explain the world to a young child.

TWR: Tell us about the other people involved in the album. What did they bring to the project?

NS: I wanted to make a really organic sounding album. Orchestral, and yet a very subtle way of using each instrument. This is not a “show off your playing skills” kind of an album. I think everyone (and they are not that many players on here, mostly it’s me and Andrew) brought a vibrant feel in their playing, especially the bass, played by Jonas and Tony. What I love the most about everything musically, is the consistent use of the acoustic guitars, so eloquently played by Andrew. We actually created a singer/songwriter kind of an album, very much to my liking.

TWR: How long did it take you to complete the album?

NS: I’d say everything including the artwork, close to a year.

TWR: How easy/difficult is it to set such iconic lyrics to music? Did some of them lend themselves more easily to the process than others?

NS: That’s actually a question for Andrew. But it seems to me it all came together relatively easy. He had a big bulk of songs and ideas to choose from when I approached this project.

TWR: Do the poems suggest musical ideas to you when you are reading them?

NS: Not always, there has to be a certain rhythmic flow in order to turn a poem into a song.

TWR: Are there any other poets whose work you would like to set to music?

NS: Yes, my own! It’s been over two years since I scribbled down something usable with my quill.

TWR: It's back to the "day job" shortly with Mr Hackett, are you looking forward to it?

NS: Oh yes. It’s been a long wait, and we are all looking very much forward to see each other again after 1 1/2 years. I have missed being on stage, but at the same time I must admit
I have enjoyed staying at home to see my garden come alive in the spring. Something I have missed out on for many years.

TWR: Future plans?

NS: I have just started writing again for another album. I would like to take what I have learned from working with Andrew and use that as a pallet for what is to come. But, still keep on exploring and moving forwards into uncharted territories!