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Photo Credit: Gaines Greer
Salim Nourallah’s bright and breezy new video for “See You in Marfa” (the single is out July 8, 2022), is an aural love letter to a cool place and a favorite person, and the song is the title track from his upcoming EP. Out via his label, Happiness (A Record Label), on August 19, 2022, Nourallah’s See You in Marfa EP is the result of a collaboration between the singer-songwriter/producer and British guitarist/songwriter/producer Marty Willson-Piper.
Willson-Piper spent over 30 years in the Australian band, The Church, and continues to perform, produce, and prolifically record since parting ways with the band. Nourallah is a Texan (based in Dallas) who has spent many years releasing solo records and touring Europe as well as producing a vast array of other artists. Rhett Miller and Old 97’s sit atop the list of Nourallah’s production credits.
Pre-pandemic, during the fall of 2018, Nourallah assembled his long-time band – John Dufilho (Deathray Davies/Apples in Stereo), Joe Reyes (Buttercup), Richard Martin (Shibboleth), and Jason Garner (Polyphonic Spree) – and was joined by Willson-Piper, who co-produced and played guitar, and the group of musicians cut an album and a half’s worth of songs in a Nashville studio called Welcome to 1979. Plans to release a full-length album of the material fell through when the Covid pandemic forced Willson-Piper to cancel plans to come to the United States and tour with Nourallah. A decision was made to indefinitely shelve the album, A Nuclear Winter, until Willson-Piper was finally able to come back to America and the two musicians could resume touring plans; both hope this will happen later this year along with the album release. The five-song See You in Marfa EP includes bonus material from the Nashville sessions and serves as a teaser for the forthcoming, still-to-be-scheduled album.
Nourallah sat down with The Big Takeover recently to discuss “See You in Marfa,” the song, as well as the accompanying video, in more depth for this exclusive video premiere.
The Big Takeover: What was the inspiration behind this song?
Salim Nourallah: I was listening to a live concert, and this super dippy love song sent the crowd into a frenzy. I got kind of upset and thought to myself, “I can write a better one than that in my sleep!” I don’t normally have reactions like this; I think it was just because the song was so cheesy. At the time, I’d just started going out with my girlfriend, and I was playing a place in Marfa called El Cosmico. I thought it would be romantic and fun to write her a love song then play it for her in the trailer we were staying in. So that’s what I did!
The Big Takeover: What is “See You in Marfa” about?
Salim Nourallah: Marfa is a small town in one of the most desolate parts of West Texas that’s become a hip art colony. A New York artist named Donald Judd started it all when he moved to Marfa in the 1970s. Judd bought up some industrial spaces and started doing art installations. Over the years, his efforts began to attract other artists from all over. It’s a really cool place with a great, interesting vibe. It was kind of a Texas secret for a while, but in the past few years word has been getting out and people are coming to visit Marfa from all parts of the world.
The Big Takeover: The video has a wonderful, carefree vibe to it. Who directed the video and how did you come to work with that person?
Salim Nourallah: It was filmed by Joe Salinas in Marfa, where he also happens to live. I intended the video to be a love letter of sorts to the town so I wanted to find a videographer who actually lived there. When I was searching for a director, I reached out to my friend, Grace Vroom. Grace is almost Marfa “royalty.” She recommended Joe, and he was gracious enough to take the project on even though he has a hectic work schedule.
The Big Takeover: Whose idea was the video treatment?
Salim Nourallah: The treatment was all pretty much Joe’s idea. I gave him some very general opinions, but he’s the one who came up with everything and then executed it.
The Big Takeover: What story do you hope the video tells when paired with the song?
Salim Nourallah: I thought it would be best to ask Joe Salinas about this since the video was his vision. Here’s what he said: “There’s something to be said about coming to Marfa. Expect the unexpected. When you’re not looking, you’ll find it, whether it’s companionship, clarity, or just some spiritual awakening. This town is a connector for all of that. You don’t have to skateboard down a big two-lane road to understand the feeling I tried to convey in those shots along with the music. Both the music and the visuals are a perfect complement to each other. To just drift without worries, knowing the wind and roads will lead you to your destination, whether it’s a place in your head, or meeting up with a lost love, or even new love, at that.”
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