VIDEO PREMIERE: Salim Nourallah Collaborates with Marty Willson-Piper (The Church) on Triumphant Power Pop Anthem “Hold on to the Night”

Photo credit: Gaines Greer

Salim Nourallah’s See You in Marfa EP, due out August 19th via Happiness (A Record Label), 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. 

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) – for the first time since 2011’s acclaimed Hit Parade, a record which AllMusic called “a superb album from a master of contemporary pop.” Joined by Willson-Piper, who co-produced and played guitar, 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 struck in March of 2020 and 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 as well as “Hold on to the Night,” a song Nourallah and Willson-Piper co-wrote, and the EP serves as a teaser for the forthcoming, still-to-be-scheduled album. 

Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for the standout track “Hold on to the Night,” which officially releases on June 3rd. The colorful animated video serves as the perfect visual for this tune that brings together the indie rock sensibility of Wilco and the catchy power pop stylings of Tom Petty. The marching beat lends itself well to this bouncy rock and roll anthem that feels truly timeless. It also provides further proof that, while Nourallah may not be as recognized as the acts he produces, he is gem of a writer and musician.

Watch the music video and read our chat with Salim Nourallah and video director Jordan Thompson below…

Please tell us about this song. What inspired you to write it and how did it come together?

Salim Nourallah: It actually took me several years to finish this one. I liked the refrain “hold on to the night before you let in the day” because it was catchy, but I couldn’t manage to write anything else that lived up to it. I tried and tried. I even dragged it out at a songwriting retreat in Austin. I bounced it off Alex Dezen (from The Damnwells) and Sandy Chila, who’s written songs for Britney freakin’ Spears, but I scrapped what we came up with and indefinitely buried the song.

When Marty Willson-Piper came to town in 2018, I played it for him one afternoon and we stood around a friend’s kitchen, merrily bouncing ideas off of each other. With his help and encouragement, the rest of the song finally fell into place. It was a great feeling of relief. It’s about living it up while the sun is away!

What was it like recording this song?

Salim Nourallah: It was recorded rapid-fire, along with fifteen other songs in Nashville. I thought it would be fun to make a totally NOT alt-country or Americana record in Nashville with a British producer. The one vivid memory I have is singing a guitar melody to Joe Reyes when we harmonized the guitars on the solo. Right before his solo, I ad-libbed, “Joe Rey-ezz, money, money, money!” We ended up keeping the “money” part because it cracked me up.

Did you record before the pandemic hit or during the pandemic?

Salim Nourallah: This song was recorded pre-pandemic at Welcome to 1979 with Marty Willson-Piper (from The Church) producing.

Who created the video? How did you come to work with them?

Salim Nourallah: An Australian videographer named Jordan Thompson created the video. I run a non-profit record label called Happiness (A Record Label) that helped out with the release of a great Aussie group called Snowy Band. Jordan had done a couple of videos for them that I really liked, so I reached out to him and sent “Hold on to the Night.” He said he liked it and had some clever ideas for a video.

So was the video treatment all Jordan’s idea, then? What story do you hope to tell with the video?

Salim Nourallah: Jordan came up with the entire concept. He had great ideas from the very start and had no trouble letting his imagination roam.

As far as the video’s story, I think we just want people who watch it to be entertained for four minutes!

What made you want to have an animated video for this song?

Salim Nourallah: That was Jordan’s idea, so I’ll have him answer that.

Jordan Thompson: On the first listen, the song felt cartoonish in the best way. The bouncing rhythm gave it a sense of walking along, and the lyrics introduce characters and situations which start to paint a world. It was an obvious choice to flesh out that world with animation and to find a main character to embody the rhythm and adventure of the song. Animation has a prerequisite of suspended disbelief for the viewer, and I think that is the best state to be in when first exposed to an artwork. Letting a song just unfold in front of you and enjoying where it takes you is a beautiful feeling, and I hope the video allows for viewers to be taken into the song in this way.

Any great stories to share from the video creation process?

Jordan Thompson: Salim asked me to include his friend and co-writer Marty Willson-Piper in the video somewhere. The Church is a very well-known band here in Australia, so it was cool to sit down and make a puppet version of one of our Australian rock idols. I had to check out a bunch of footage and photos of the band, then try to create just the right Rickenbacker, hoop earring, and fringed jacket combo.

Was there much back and forth between you two about the video?

Salim Nourallah: There was very little, actually. I thought the first cut of the video was perfect.

Jordan Thompson: Salim gave me total creative control of the project, so apart from some early animation tests, he had no idea what was coming until he saw the final product. It was tons of fun to go a little crazy with ideas and just have the freedom to follow any inclination.

Is there any other info you’d like to share with us about this song or the video?

Salim Nourallah: “Hold on to the Night” is out on Bandcamp on June 3rd! You can order or download it here:

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