[Interview] Exclusive interview with Bob Saliba

Dear readers, we have the pleasure to offer you in this article an interview with a French artist who combines Progressive Rock and prog Metal. We welcome Bob Saliba.

Hello, how are you?

Bob: Hello, always fine! Thank you for the time

You are a guitarist, singer, composer and producer, how did your passion for music and progressive sounds start?

Bob:My parents gave me my first guitar when I was 6 or 7, and I even had a guitar teacher in my village in Cassis, France. I didn’t understand much about it, but the seed had been sown and I at least fell in love with the object. Then the real trigger came in my teens when I discovered the first Metallica and Iron Maiden albums, and my parents gave my brother and I our first electric guitars for Christmas in 1994. I quickly felt the need to create my own music, exploring my instrument even before I was 20.

In your solo project you play progressive Rock/Metal contaminated by different influences, how would you describe your silt and which artists you are inspired by?

Bob:My style is definitely melodic, it is heavy, it is prog, it can be AOR sometimes. I try to infuse the folk music that’s part of my history and each melodic theme is designed to be an invitation to travel. I’ve listened to a good number of artists in my preferred styles: The prog (Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Starcastle, Camel…) and the hard rock from the 70s (Led Zep, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Rainbow…), the hard FM and melodic metal of the 80s (Pretty Maids, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Manowar…), the great power prog bands of the 2000s (Ark, Symphony X, Angra, Rhapsody, Secret Sphere…). But I’ve been immersed in listening to different types of music since childhood: Greek, Celtic, Oriental and Latin folk. Video game music also inspired me quite a bit.

The new album ‘Hosts Of A Vanished World’ was released in February 2024, how would you describe this new work?

Bob:It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years, and I wanted to break all the boundaries in terms of musical style, musicians and guests. I really wanted to create a world of my own, without the compromises you might find in a band. The real interest is in being able to share music without barriers of style or approach, that can break out of the true heavy, power or prog frameworks of other bands or projects, it’s a mix of all that. I think in terms of colour it’s the richest thing I can offer. You’ll even find folk instruments like bouzouki, saz or lyre…

Both the music and the vocals are very intense, what themes do the lyrics deal with?

Bob:On this first album, I tackled a fictional story about the life of a scientist (paleontologist), because as a biologist with a passion for paleontology, it was a theme that particularly spoke to me. But it’s also an excuse to tackle more general subjects in everyday life and society, linked to achieving one’s ambitions and resisting everything that comes in the way of your raison d’être.

Several guest appearances on the album, what did they bring to the sound and how did you create the tracks?

Bob:Some of the songs were written years ago, while others are much more recent. Everything comes from the time I spend at home in my home studio or in the places I like to be close to home. I’m lucky enough to be constantly inspired and in need of creating. I also write all the lyrics and lay down the concepts and the universe. The tracks were arranged by John Macaluso on drums and my 2 accomplices Tom Abrigan and Bruno Pradels from Yukio Estudio. The main difference is that here my songs are not re-arranged to fit in some other band or project. I then wanted to involve guests, many of whom are friends of mine. John’s drumming instills a dynamic, a magic that we wanted to preserve by keeping it as it is, organic, real, without the fashionable trigs of the moment. Ricky’s guitar playing is so distinctive, and his ability to make his guitar scream makes a big difference on the track Visions, while Roland Grapow brings his own majestic solo to the track Transposition. Alessandro’s bass solo is both high-flying and chaotic, contrasting so well with the rest of Expectations. Saz specialist Nicolas Leceux rounded out my work with his knowledge, Ludovic Favro provided a fine piano on the intro to the eponymous track, and Roberto Billi’s flutes brought that great Tull folk feel to the end of the album. A big thumbs-up to Tom Abrigan for his superb guitar riffs, and to Bruno Pradels, also an exceptional guitarist, for his interpretation of the bass lines, which lend great dynamics and depth to the whole. All these talented musicians have my utmost respect!

Your music is elaborate and engaging, will there be a chance to hear it live in the near future?

Bob:This is indeed the goal, and the whole live band is working hard to achieve it. Our management is working to make us known to orgas and festivals so that we can defend the album on stage.

You have worked on and released many albums, how has your sound evolved over the years?

Bob:I’ve always been pretty faithful to my approach to music and to playing my instrument and singing. It’s also what makes me recognizable even in all the different bands I’ve played in or the different albums I’ve recorded under different banners over the years. I have, however, swapped my beautiful tube amp for a digital pedalboard for practical reasons when touring live, but I’m happy with it and it does the job 🙂

What advice would you give to young artists approaching music in a genre like yours?

Bob:Never distort the essence of your art and what you want to do just because you want to make a living from music, which will lead you to make compromises. It’s even better to have a more stable job to finance your art than to chase fees playing music you don’t like or written by well-known bands, at an uncertain pace and exploited by the system.

Music is constantly evolving, how do you see the modern Progressive scene?

Bob:My thought is that there is prog in a lot of subgenres, even in more modern music such as Djent. But I have to admit that I’m more familiar with traditional 70s prog and 90s/2000s prog metal bands. The evolution of prog could increasingly include medieval or even ancient secular influences, with the help of archaeological studies – at least that’s what I’d like to do in the future.

Do you have any other activities or artistic passions outside of music?

Bob:I always learn more things in biotechs and read books, as a lover of antical history, I also like to read history books like to spend my time in my garden building walls of stones and trim trees, I also used to draw a lot when I was younger. I also dedicate a lot of my time to my beloved ones

I thank Bob Saliba for the interview, wishing him all the best for the continuation of his artistic career.

Purchase the new album HERE

Bob Saliba |Official Website|Facebook Page|X (Twitter)|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

FTF Music |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|X (Twitter)|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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