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Nad Sylvan on birth of The Vampirate

Hackett collaborator explains origins and future of his stage persona

Nad Sylvan says his 'Vampirate' stage persona came about on the back of an off-the-cuff remark by a friend.

Sylvan released solo album Courting The Widow last year and also works as Steve Hackett's vocalist.

Explaining his love of prog rock and how he came to be known as the Vampirate, Sylvan tells Progarchy: "Progressive rock is multi-dimensional in a way. It always leaves the listener free to interpret the songs the way they want, the lyrical content and everything.

"I have this stage persona called the Vampirate. Someone used to tell me, 'You look like a vampire. You look like a pirate....I know, a Vampirate.' I just laughed at it and thought, 'What a great gimmick.' So I developed that."

The character appears throughout Courting The Widow as well as Sylvan's stage show. He adds: "Of course, a pirate must have his own ship, which the Vampirate certainly has. In the first song you hear the moored boat, the people walk on board, and you hear the Vampirate’s wings.

"He’s sort of coming from nowhere before the synth kicks in, you hear him soaring through the sky and land on the yardarm and stuff like that."

Revealing that he plans to keep the Vampirate around for three albums, Sylvan adds: "The Vampirate was born in the late 16th century, but his active life was in the 17th century. If you look what I’m wearing on stage, you’re probably thinking I’m from that era.

"It’s just something I feel confident with doing, I think it’s unique and nobody else is doing it and I enjoy elaborating on it. And I thought when I went to do a solo album, why not just get him out of his coffin and let him do his thing. So that’s what it is, that’s my persona."

Sylvan adds: "I’ve always been fond of a trilogy. I think I should do the Vampirate for at least three albums. Then I might do something completely different. As long as it works. Or, I may just stay faithful to this character, I don’t know, it’s too early to tell. Let’s just see where this album is going at first. I’d like to tour for this album, but I don’t know how that’s going to be executed."

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