Pain Of Salvation (Daniel Gildenlöw)
The continuous evolution and the struggle against musical stupidity of one of the most metamorphic band in the whole prog scene.
Article by Riccardo Coppola - Publish on: 27/10/14
Hi Daniel, welcome to Spaziorock's pages! You'll soon return to record stores with "Falling Home": how much are you enthusiast about this release? How much expectations do you repose on it since it's been three years from "Road Salt Two"?


Yeah, it's been an unexpectedly long journey. I feel very happy that finally it's going to come out, to be born. I'm really happy about that.

The album can be viewed as a prosecution of the acoustic tour you had in 2013. What are the best things you experienced in these dates, in which you divided the stage with Anneke Van Giersbergen among others?


The album was supposed to be published before the tour, so the tour was actually supposed to be a tour for that album. But the album was delayed so we did the tour before releasing it. But we had a really nice tour, which was in a totally different set: we brought a living room on stage every night. I especially enjoyed performing songs together with Arstrdir and Anneke. It was a terrific experience every night.



What has convinced you, after the aforementioned live shows, to incide some of the songs you played? What made you choose the actual tracklist? Was it an hard choice?


The tracklist came from one specific show that we did in Germany. When you have the chance of rearranging your songs from your back catalogue into an album like this, some of the songs you would pick because they're natural, they're kind of natural in this environtment; other songs you would pick because they're not natural, like "Spitfall", for instance, I chose that because it's one of the most unlikely songs to pick for an acoustic album, because it's so far from an acoustic song. The entire tracklist comes together from moving into the rehearsing room in the end and trying different songs.

Some days ago you played, in one of your shows, a large selection from "Remedy Lane". Said that your sound has become very different through the years, what is still tying you to that album, in addition to the fan's predilection?


It's a special album, It recalls me lots of things, I used lot of autobiographical elements for that album. I mean, in a way it's like you work with those memories when you're working on that album, but in a way that you are making those memories objects: so in the end the memories are not yours anymore, because they have turned into an album. So I have mixed feelings with "Remedy Line" all the time, everytime I get back to it, because it's a bit confusing going back again to that album and that concept. In Prog Power Europe and Prog Power USA we played the entire "Remedy Lane" album straight through, which we have never done before... and I've never even thought we would have been able to perform it straight through. But I really enjoyed it, and with the line up that we have right now in the band, we're stronger than ever and it's really nice to get back to that material. I enjoyed it a lot.


gildenlowitw002Probably no band in prog world has shown a metamorphism like yours. Now, after all the route changes you experienced from "BE" onwards, is there something that you regret? On the other hand, is there some particular moment that you see as fundamental for your development?


It's hard to tell: I think that when it comes to development, it's just the combination of all those years. I think that when it comes to the band, you're learning lots of interesting lessons when you're working with lots of different people through the years. It's hard to pinpoint every step, though. Right now we're having the most stable construction of the band that I've seen in a very long time. It's like we've been searching for a stable state for a very long time, and probably we got to that point, and I appreciate that a lot. I guess I'm still learning, and it's gonna be for my future self to look back and find where the big lessons where.


Mikael Akerfeldt has recently joked about the metal community, which has disapproved the stylistic revolution that Opeth has undergone. Since you too were criticised sometimes for similar reasons, do you agree with his ideas? In your opinion, how much has an artist to be subordinated to public's expectations and tastes?


We've usually taken the wrong way. Whenever we feel that there are certain strong expectations, we have a tendence to do the opposite. We were recording and releasing our first album in '97, but we were recording music already in the late Eighties and the early Nineties: at the times of our first album I was happy of being labeled progressive metal or progressive rock, because I figured back then that this was truly a genre that was keeping the music in progress. But very quickly that turned into a recipe, and I think that it happens with most new music genres that come out: they are formed by innovators who try something new, and after this wave of innovators there will be lots of bands who want to sound like their favourite bands. These people are not innovators, they are repeating something, something fixed, something tha is not moving anymore. So I felt very quickly after our first one or two album that the whole music style was stagnating, and that it was not progressive anymore: that was just a music style. I've tried to stay true to what I was happy about the original progressive metal genere, which was all bravery and innovation and expression, and having high music skills that you use as a tool for expression. In that respect I've haven't changed a bit: I'm still trying to find new ways of expressions, taking one thing and another thing and put them together, and see what happens.

Unlike lots of musicians who has gone solo, you've always kept alive Pain Of Salvation, even though the band passed a lot of line-up changes and difficulties. What convinced you to continue this adventure? In your opinion, what's the link that ties Pain Of Salvation of the days of "Entropia", and the ones of today?


For me it's never really been a choice. The same passion that made the band start, has been the same passion that made the band going through the years. I've seen people leave the band, even before we've recorded our first album, people have come and gone in the band. It's always difficult when it happens. The line up that people usually refers to the original line up, the old line up, they basically quit the band because they wanted to focus on family, job and things like that. I never thought I really had that option, I couldn't give myself that option, because I want to create music. If I quit the band, I would just do the exactly same thing, but not within the bad, so there's no point for me to quit the band, if you see what I mean. Now, the line up we are in, consists much more of people that are more like me in that respect, that are focused on music since they were very young. They know what it means to be in the music industry, they've made lots of sacrifices and they have the passion that would made them keep making those sacrifices. For me I can still see a very straight line between even the first demos that we did and what we're doing today, because all of the different album that we've made share something, exactly the same passion and restless curiosity we had when we started the band.




"Falling Home" is the first release with Ragnar Zolberg: what did you appreciate of Ragnar so much to bring him in your band, and let him sing the refrain of the title track? What opportunities can his presence give to the band?


He's a remarkable vocalist, a tremendous guitar player and a very good musician in every respect; everyone in the current line up: all of us are multi-instrumentalists, we're stronger than ever. When it comes to Ragnar specifically: it's always been natural for me trying to use people's strenght. He's just a very good singer, it would be a waste not using that voice [laughs]. We are both music writers, we're both composers. In the old line up the other guys, they were writing music occasionally, but most of the time it was more a coincidence in the rehearsing room, they were not people who wrote music. With Ragnar it's a totally different thing, he's more like Daniel Magdic, our original guitar player: he writes music because he wants to write music.

Keeping in mind the long list of influences you're open to, I'd like to ask you if there is someone or something in today's music world that you can't stand at all.


I can't stand music that I can't sense. There's a lot of product music today, that it's very very hard for me to stand, because you can feel that three guys have been sitting in a small production computer studio and put songs together, without having spent the time, without having spent the passion and devotion to that. And that is unrelated to the music style. I think there's mainstream pop music that's very simple but can still be very good and can still feel very honest, and you can still feel that someone has been passionated about that song, about the performance and whatever. I can't say that I can't stand any specific style, I can't stand stupidity. You can find that stupidity in every music style: there's prog metal that's stupid, and there's simple pop that's stupid. And you can find that in every music style and genre that has not been made with passion. And that's the biggest divider for myself: for me music has to be honest, and passionate.

gildenlowitw01You've written hundreds of songs. Do you think that a story of your life can be read through your verses? Are there some particular lyrics that remind you some fundamental moment of your life?


Well, I don't one if anyone would just pick my lyrics and understand my life; probably not. I know I could: I can take lyrics from all the different albums and understand where I was at that moment, emotionally. For me they can be important connectors to what I've been going through. I mean, if I pick up "One Hour By The Concrete Lake" those lyrics would remind me the studies I was going through: natural conflicts, radiation microphysics I was studying at te university of Gothenburg at that point. And you can see emotional patterns in all of the songs dealing with relationships and love. But all of the songs are pieces of artistic work, so if anyone would just pick them up they would be very fragmented. But yes, with the right knowledge I think they can make a map of my life, somehow.

Have you already got some ideas for your next step? Have you got plans for a new studio album after "Falling Home"?


I have lot of music just waiting to be picked up. I've been recording a lot of ideas that are more like the earlier albums like "Remedy Lane" and "The Perfect Element", they are harder and larger music, with more complexity than the latest albums. I think it's an obvious direction after going through the Road Salt albums and Falling Home. In the end, we are ready to take steps into the older paths of Pain Of Salvation.


That was the last one, Daniel: any plans of playing in Italy? Would you close the interview leaving a message to your fans?


I'd say that we're returning in Italy for sure. I've been in love with Italy since I was a kid, we went there on vacation when I was a kid, so I always want to come to Italy.

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