Sator shares the secrets that led their niche indie rock success

Leaving your mark in music is increasingly difficult, but Sweden’s Sator has been making it look easy for nearly four decades. Today, they share their secrets with Haulix.

by James Shotwell of Haulix

Sator has been making music longer than many of our readers have been alive. If that is not impressive enough, the band has done it with friendships and members (mostly) intact. Formed in 1983 under a different name, the group found its footing and changed its identity in 1987. From there, the band remained active in the studio and on the road until today. 

Early in their career, the men of Sator knew they needed a hook to help gain widespread attention. The answer came in the form of a covers album, but not in the traditional sense. 

Cover songs are a dime a dozen, and they share one big problem: Everyone already knows the song. Finding an element of surprise in most cover songs is impossible. You can make a pop song sound like a rock track and vice versa, but the core elements remain the same. 

Sator found the answer in scraps of the artists they love. Rather than recreate well-received songs, the band wrote musicians and asked for permission to record any unreleased material the artist or group might have in their possession. To their surprise, people said yes!

That one decision—to deliver original takes on other people’s unreleased songs—gave Sator something nobody else could offer. It was enough to propel the band onto the international, which they then remained on thanks to their original songwriting. 

Nearly thirty years since the release of that first covers album, the band is back with another collection of other people’s songs. We asked Sator to tell us the secret behind gaining access to this material and how they’ve managed to stay relevant for decades, and they were more than happy to respond. Check it out:

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