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Daniel Gildenlöw (Pain of Salvation)

Interview with Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain of Salvation
by Lauryn Plummer at 20 December 2014, 6:57 AM

One of our writers, Lauryn, was lucky enough to speak to Progressive Metal extraordinaires Pain of Salvation, a Swedish quintet known for delivering meaty concept albums.  A talkative fellow, Daniel went into great detail about the new acoustic album, and the nature of the world's major music scenes, and the implications of digital music distribution and its saturation of the industry.

Hey it’s Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain of Salvation calling

Hey how are you?

I’m good how are you?

I’m great thanks. What the album is like compared to the others you have done in the past?

Well, it’s an acoustic album so a lot of the songs are expected to be similar to the “12:5” album, which is also an acoustic album, but I mean it’s so different from that album in respect, first of all it’s more of studio album that we played live in the rehearsing room that we brought the equipment for. And you know where “12:5” was taking different songs and making them flow into each other and being very mixed them up, I wanted to have every song being focused on the specific moment so it’s very much more like a studio album in a way. Instead we’ve just chosen to refurbish the specific songs, so you’ll have stress released from the first album being totally reorganised and being a totally different song than it used to be which to me it’s sort of an interesting part of an acoustic song to have a chance of transferring and transforming the songs into a sort of second life.

What’s your favourite song on the album?

Having a back catalogue and having to pick songs for an acoustic album, I mean it was supposed to be an acoustic show from the start a live show. Either way picking a song from that catalogue is a little bit like having a zoo. Like running a zoo, you have a new environment, a new habitat and you have all these different animals that are the back catalogue of song from the previous album.  And they are starting to be a fairly large bunch of animals at this point (laughs). And you know when you have this new environment coming in and you want to place your animals into it, some of these animals will come naturally because they were basically designed for this.  It’s their environment from the start you take them and put them in there and they’ll be happy and start eating away. And those would be like “1979” and “To The Shoreline” because they might as well be acoustic from the start pretty much. But then you have this other type of animal which is more of a predator like “Linoleum” for instance, that’s an animal  that you know you can put in basically any environment that’s its gonna do well, regardless in what it comes out it’s gonna adapt because it’s a strong song. And then you have this third category and that’s the most interesting for me I think. And that’s where you know out of curiosity and restlessness you can’t help yourself but pick a few of the animals in your zoo that are totally unfit for this new environment, so you can’t resist just putting them in there to see what happens, and to see if they will see if they somehow survive and if they will transform into something totally different. That’s a typical stress relief thing, it’s totally a different version of the original version. “Spitfall” for instance or “Mrs. Mother Modern Mary” or “Holy Diver” for that matter, all of which are songs that probably are the least likely to expect to hear on an acoustic album and to me that is an interesting part of it, you know being able to pick up those songs and see what you can do with them.

Do you think that the Swedish music scene is different to what you see in the UK or the USA?
I think the music in Sweden has turned more and more into what we see in America, but the downside is that.  When I say that I mean when it comes to having very specific and very clear trends, over using those. You know whenever a new trend comes along it’s like all the media and all the listeners or the music oriented people in the country will focus on that and it will be very streamlined. So basically whatever radio channel you turn on it will have the same song playing over and over again. And it’s been like that to a much higher extent to what it was 15/20 years ago. So it’s very all or nothing much more. Which I think that’s what’s happening in the US for a very long time. On the other hand we are a much smaller country with much less people and we can’t afford to have the music industry turn into that in such a small country. If you are in the US even if 95% of what you hear on the radio will be the streamlined biggest artists the reaming 5% is still big enough in a country of that size to survive and to have following. Those 5% will be able to do something important anyway, whereas 5% here in Sweden is basically nothing. I think it’s much harder to have a chance in this country then it used to and much harder in the US just because the share is the smallness and the smaller quantity of people living here.

Do you think it was harder to get on to the music scene because of where you were from?

It was harder than when it was when I was kid I for sure it was difficult, but it’s much worse today than it was even back in the 90s. The 90s was when it started to happen, you could just see all of these alternative TV shows, mu shows just appearing and it’s been like that with the record stores over the last10 years, where you have the largest ones will survive but that will be very much because you’re sacrificing the middle ground, that’s what happening in society on all levels, it’s becoming bipolar or polarised  anyway. Where you have today with the digital revolution which is not so much a revolution it’s more of a transformation. (laughs) But what’s happening is that you’ll have much more or the really small alternative people, you can basically have success if you are 19 years old sitting with a keyboard in your parents basement. There is a way for you to get your music out there that was not available before the internet. And you know if you are a huge artists you will always survive these harsh transitions, the big problems is the middle ground, you know the semi big bands, because as a label you’ll have to decide if you’re going to survive as a label right now we’ll have to drop a few of the artist and bands that aren’t  basically earning money for that label and focus on the ones who are earning more because we’re gonna have less money now so I think that’s a big downside to the situation at what it is right now. I think that’s pretty much global, but it’s probably much worse in the big countries and the countries that have the internet as a big thing.

Do you prefer to download songs or buy them?

I do both , the key thing there is that if you’re buying it online or if you’re just download which is two different things, or it can be different. I think it’s getting better where you know you have much better possibilities. I said this many years ago that if we’re gonna make this transition and start putting out digital music, it’s needs to be simpler than to find it illegally because in the end people will sacrifice financial gain only if they get lazy. And I noticed that more myself you know as soon as iTunes was really taking off and you have Shazam in the fall, it was just so simple. As soon as you heard a song that you liked you were just in your phone and able to Shazam it and then once you have the result and you know what it is you have the link to buy it on iTunes. Alright, that’s going to cost me about 1 euro but you know the option would be to go to my computer and using one of those services that charter the music. And in the end I’m going to save 1 euro and it’s just easier to spend that 1 euro and press the link. And then of course from a financial point of view from the musician or the artist a huge difference financially compared to CD’s or even more when they brought LPs. When I got my first statement containing the first payment from Spotify, I made a calculation on how many downloads I would need per day just to afford to pay my rent for one month and I think it was something like 1 million downloads every day and it’s just impossible. And that’s a huge difference and I think the negative can be when having these services like Spotify and people are making money from taking something from someone and offerings to someone without doing anything., You’re just making money from getting something from him to him. But when people are using those services I think they have a feeling that they are supporting those bands and artists in the same way when they are buying the albums which is not at all close to the truth. It’s getting better but it’s getting better way too slowly I think.

Do you have any new tours planned?

We do, nothing is set yet but we have plans for the next year. It’s sort of taking shape we have some interesting ideas that we want to make happen. we’ve talked about touring, you know to do an acoustic tour for “Falling Home” but we were talking about tour alternatives as well, so we’ll see but there are gonna be tours for sure next year, but it’s just a matter of what kind of tours. But of course we want to start making a new album and that’s going to take time.

What is your favourite place to tour?

There are a few favourite places that I have been to, India and Sri Lanka were one of the top places that have I have visited. I mean there are a lot places that I want to tour in. I still want to go to China at some point, Asia in general will be very nice to visit., I think that all countries have something different to offer. For me it’s always nice to come to country that you haven’t been to before, the thing is when you’re on tour you barely have time to see any of the sites or walk around a lot. Usually you get to the city and to the venue and your day is just full of preparing, then you’re having the show then the bus takes off during the night then you wake up in a different place, But even so you still get the smell of different places is interesting, the temperature, the vibe you know how moist the air is every place is sort of unique in that sense, I just love getting to new place especially the odd places that you wouldn’t have think you would go there.

Do you have any more live shows to be recorded planned?

We’ve done a few live shows that we’ve recorded on DVD and for the next year we’re going to have a DVD coming out of a recording of one of the acoustic tour we did last year which is going to be interesting for sure. But it’s sort of a perfect companion with “Falling Home” after me being in hospital for several months and time was just passing it felt like we wanted to get something to the crowd at this point and to the fans.

If you had the chance to work with another artist who would it be?

Oh I have no idea, I’ve had that question quite a few times, I always come up with dead people (laughs) I watched a documentary with Elvis and I just felt that we could have fun that would have been a good match. Same thing with the Beatles I would have loved to be a part of that band. Contemporarily it’s much more difficult, I don’t know really it’s not like I have a list of people I would love to work with there are probably a lot of people around that I would like to work with I’m just not aware of that list in my head (laughs) it’s invisible to me.

Who are your favourite artists to listen to?

The Beatles is still one of my favourite artists to listen to. I just discovered 10cc the other year which was a very nice acquaintance but I had no idea, I recognized two or three of their songs. I recently brought a vinyl play and the previous guitar player was working as a janitor at some point and someone had forgotten two entire crates of vinyl’s In a locker and he said to me I don’t have a vinyl player but you know would you like to have them because they’re going to throw them out so I said sure thing. And there was half a crate of Jimi Hendrix albums and I could not understand how someone could leave those behind. And then there were two or three albums from 10cc the cover was just interesting. “How Dare You” was the album and I had a little rehearsing room where I would sit and mix and I Made it a tradition that every day I would come in and turn the vinyl player on and I would pick an album out and I would put it on and I just happened to play that album one time because of the cover I guess, and I very much so loved it instantly, it’s one of the common favourites right now.

What was it like to work with DREAM THEATRE?

It was nice, I’ve met Mike Portnoy before because he was a fan of our music, we were invited to play at a DREAM THEATRE fan club convention in Paris and I think that was the first time we met in person. For us back then (2001) it was a big thing for us going on a tour of that magnitude, yeah it was very nice you know big stages and very nice guys, it was a nice thing. We toured with them again in Australia but a much shorter tour. One occasion after that to tour with them but we couldn’t, I don’t remember why we were unavailable to make that tour.

Other than touring and writing what do you do in your spare time?

I’m a father of three and they’re all at a stage in their lives where thy have a lot of energy and sometimes they direct it towards each other and overtimes they direct it towards us. There’s a big difference in what I want to do with my spare time and what I actually do with my spare time. I’ve always loved taking long hot baths and reading, I’ve always loved reading and watching movies. But these days the movie watching has turned much more into watching TV series when they have fallen asleep. We end up watching TV shows before going to bed. Surprisingly I love sleeping late in the day. Sleeping has moved up further and further up the list of what I would like to do if I had the time have. The sleep deprivation pf being a father of three is on a level that I didn’t realise before. But that’s basically it. I just took up kick biking actually with my two older kids how are 5 and 8 we were looking for something to do that they would enjoy we looked at this big skate hall herein our city  which apparently  is the biggest in Europe with huge ramps and so many  things that you can kill yourself on. And so we went there to try it out and my original idea was to sit there and watch them ride the kick bikes but with a five year old I realised if I’m not out there he’s probably going to kill himself or someone else because he’s just not paying attention a lot of the time (laughs) so you had to have a kick bike to be on the actual ramps just to be out there with them, and I’ve had a lot of fun and I haven’t broken anything yet which Is probably a bit of luck (laughs).

Well, you’ve answered all my questions; thank you for talking to me, it was awesome to talk to you.

Thanks it was nice talking to you, have a nice night.


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Edited 28 January 2023

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