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Salim Nourallah Premieres His Long-Awaited Single, “Under Attack”

Salim Nourallah unveils his new single, “Under Attack,” the first new music to come from his brand new record, ‘A Nuclear Winter,’ due June 23rd via Happiness (A Record Label) and State Fair Records.



Salim Nourallah, photo by Gavin Nourallah

For Salim Nourallah, his new musical output comes with a large feeling of satisfaction, and maybe even a nice sigh of relief. Today, the singer-songwriter unveils his new single, “Under Attack,” the third track to come from his brand new record, A Nuclear Winter. It would be an understatement to say that the album has been a long time coming, but its final arrival date is June 23rd via Happiness (A Record Label) and State Fair Records.

“Under Attack” has a classic, late-1970s rock vibe about it, and Nourallah’s vocals and songwriting approach may very well remind you of the legend Tom Petty. Its origins extend back to early 2017, a song that Nourallah liked, but didn’t feel fit into what he was doing at the time. Fortunately, he made sure to store it away for a day when it may feel right.

The first songs to be written from this expansive new record go back all the way to 2012 when Nourallah wrote “I Can’t Take Another Heartbreak” and “Avalanche.” “Invisible Man” and “The Sound of Suffering” arrived the following year, a particularly bleak time for Nourallah, as these song titles strongly suggest. The rest of the songs arrived slowly but surely, over the next several years, right through the pandemic-related lockdowns. A huge assist has to go to Billy Harvey, Nourallah’s good friend and producer, who mixed these songs that had been sitting on his computer for years. If it was not for Harvey’s hard work and motivating words, this record very well may have never been released.

In conjunction with its official premiere, Nourallah joins us today to answer a few questions about “Under Attack,” his songwriting process, and what he’s got in store for the rest of this year.

What inspired you to write this song? What is the story behind it?

Salim Nourallah: “‘Under Attack’ was inspired by a friend of mine. They were going through a fairly brutal onslaught of negative self-talk and shared a bunch of the hateful thoughts coming from their own inner psyche. It was so over-the-top that we joked about it being like an inner assassin was on a mission to destroy them!”

What was the songwriting process like? Do you tend to be a music-first or lyrics-first writer?

“The words and music definitely came at the same time. It’s usually like that for me. I had the title ‘Under Attack’ swimming around in my head for a few days, and one morning the chorus refrain came in. The song actually leads with the chorus, which is usually not common.”

Salim Nourallah “Under Attack” single artwork

Salim Nourallah “Under Attack” single artwork

What kind of vibe did you want this song to have? How does it fit in among the other songs on the album, musically, lyrically, vibe-wise?

“It definitely fits in with a loose theme that runs throughout the album. Basically, inner negativity. ‘The Sound of Suffering’ and ‘You Are Beautiful’ are two other songs that also deal with the subject in different ways. ‘Under Attack’ is also a good example of the production approach on the A Nuclear Winter record. I didn’t want to pile on a bunch of overdubs. It’s basically the band playing, two electric guitars (panned left and right in the stereo field), keyboards, bass, and drums.”

It’s really epic that you worked with the great guitarist Marty Willson-Piper on this album. How did he impact the final result, and what is your relationship with him like?

“He impacted the album by bringing loads of great guitar hooks, for example the lead guitar on the song ‘Hazy Morning Glow.’ His presence also encouraged me to let the band take off on some psychedelic guitar jams, like at the end of ‘Hazy Morning Glow’ and ‘Let Go.’ Having a guitar section with so much talent, Marty and Joe Reyes, it seemed foolish to not let them stretch out every now and then.

“Marty and I have become good friends over the past five years, but our friendship was in its infancy when we recorded this album. I think we’re much more familiar with each other now! Still, we’ve always gotten along with ease and been able to communicate well. Both are important factors when you’re working on music with someone.”

What is your favourite part of the song — musically or lyrically speaking?

“My favourite part of the song is definitely the electric guitars. Joe plays a super cool, snaky guitar part during the verses (in the left speaker), and Marty plays a pretty spectacular, frenetic guitar solo. I usually don’t go for guitar solos per se. I think a song has really got to call for a solo to make it worth including. Marty definitely channeled Tom Verlaine, but it also has a quality to it that is very ‘Marty Willson-Piper.’ It’s one of my favourite moments on the album.”

What does the next year look like for you? What’s coming up?

“We’re celebrating the release of A Nuclear Winter in June with the first band dates we’ve played in several years. Marty is also going to join us, so that will be super exciting! I’m really looking forward to that.

“In July, I’m spending a week on the East Coast touring with my longtime friend, Rhett Miller. In September, I’ve got a Texas tour planned with NHD, that’s a side project I have with two more friends, Billy Harvey and Alex Dezen. We put out an album in 2017 and haven’t played together in five years. I’m really looking forward to that, too!”