ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Fred Simoneau - Avril 2016
PROFIL - Good day Kristoffer, first and foremost we would like to thank you for taking some time off your schedule and talking to us today.
KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW – My pleasure, thanks for having me.
PR – First, for the benefits of our readers, looking back at your career at only 37 years of age, your discography is very impressive. You started little over 20 years ago at age 16 with POS. Please tell us about yourself and the projects you participated in from 2006 to 2012.
KG – Already in 2005 we were busy recording ‘Synchronized’. After my departure from PoS, early 2016, I got more time to put into this project and we released the album in 2007. Originally just meant to be a demo for us in the band. After PoS I’ve been asked to join several smaller and bigger bands but have turned them all down until now. Joining an existing band isn’t easy; there are so many parameters that have to match. So I’ve kept on working as a session musician for recordings, live gigs and tours and on top of that, eventually, making my own music. Doing things solo the way I do it is pretty hard though and there are sure enough times where I miss being in a band and doing things together. Who knows, maybe the right band comes along one day. I don’t mind being a hired gun though. I’m very business minded as a person in general and to be able to enrich someone’s music, live or in the studio, with my playing is a great feeling.
PR – This is amazing! You still find yourself time to teach base guitar with videos on YouTube, how do you balance your music creations and collaborations with other obligations – mate, children, job?
KG – Nah, I don’t teach bass anymore. I have a few instruction videos on YouTube but they are 10 years old now. Will do some more vids soon though, once it slows down a bit here. Combining everything with work and family is hard and needs a lot of planning. This is also a reason I don’t just join any band out there. By the end of the day, it has to be worthwhile.
PR - can you please describe the concept of your new album to be released worldwide on April 7th titled “The Rain”
KG – The Rain is a journey through life seen through the eyes of a man in a late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. I use rain as a metaphor for dementia as it covers his world, his sight and perceptions.
Sometimes the rain stops and at these clear moments he remembers his past. But these are also the moments when he realizes what’s actually going on. He knows the effect of the disease to himself but also to others around him. Fighting the demons of his past while coming to terms with the inevitable outcome and path he has to walk.
PR - So, the subject of this album being about struggles and life of a man with dementia /Alzheimer’s disease, how did you came up with the lyrics and the music to create an album about such a hard subject to communicate ?
KG – I’ve always had lots of empathy and an ability to feel for and with others. My first idea was to write one song on this topic but as I tried to tie the new album together with some sort of theme, dementia and Alzheimer’s became a good way to “travel” over the different topics that I wanted to sing about. So it became the main theme wherein I could visit different locations in time and space.
PR – We can feel a lot of melancholy in your music, don’t get me wrong, I do believe that sad music is beautiful but is this what we can expect from any future work from you ?
KG – You can expect a lot from me and many different parts of the spectrum. I think I will keep it rather serious and dark when it comes to my own music under my own name. So that will probably continue somewhere in the genre of RUST and The Rain but I have much more music that I’m ready to get started on and that will take other turns and shapes and sounds. But I’ll probably put that under a different label as a project or a band or such. So many ideas, so little time.
PR – Would you consider your solo career to be your main focus from now on?
KG – Not necessary. My solo music is not only a career for me but an output for my own emotions. That way I’ll always continue doing this but doing so when I feel the need for it. I can’t and won’t push it just because the career needs a release or something like that. My music comes very natural for me and that’s the way it needs to be. That said, I’ll continue as a session player for recordings or live shows and I wouldn’t mind playing in a band again, if the right one comes along. Making and recording albums on your own is completely different than the team effort of a band. Advantages and disadvantages with both and sometimes I do miss the feeling of doing something together. We’ll see.
PR - In order to release “The Rain”, you went through a crowdfunding campaign. Tell us about this experience and how the fans answered. Would you do it again?
KG – I have mixed feelings about this way of working. Of course a bit scary to see if you really do have enough fans to reach the goal and in that way I took this as a trial of fire to actually check if there was a reason to go on with the album at all. In a way it was great to get a more personal contact with the buyers and fans this way and to create some sort of bounding via special treats and updates along the way. But it was also very hard for me to think commercially and to spam people about this all the time. I really don’t like that and I could feel my soul getting darker and more jaded and bitter along the way.
One week before deadline I just had to quit all the sales-talk on social media and find myself again before I went under. But I made it in the end and I’m very happy and proud of the people who supported me during the crowd funding. I owe them this album.
PR – How is it, with today’s reality in the music industry, to write and create an album in 2016 ?
KG – Writing and creating an album on your own has become much easier due to computers. You can get far with small investments using a home studio. This is where the craft and knowledge of the user is important. Knowing that we have more power and quality in a smart phone than what Beatles had back in the days proves that technology will never replace talent and creativity. You now have the ability to work with other musicians all over the world and send recording files via internet.
In that way, music making has become amazing and available for every creative mind. But it has also caused a flood of music and it’s very hard to get heard and be found in the masses of music that poor out into the world every second. Never before have we had so many producers of music compared to consumers. The digital age, with streaming and down loading, is killing the physical media (LP, CD but also magazines and radio stations). The way humans are getting used to get everything for free and at snap of their fingers is scary. We’ve become very lazy and easy with pretty much everything and the mentality is changing to where people think they have the right to get music for free. And this is making it very hard for musicians to actually make a living out of their music and be able to continue making music.
PR – If you had the power to change something from the music industry to make it healthier and easier for artists such as yourself, what would it be?
KG – It’s not the industry itself that’s changed, it’s the mentality of the consumers that need to be adjusted. People don’t expect to get a bicycle for free, or a package of milk; people don’t expect to work a whole day and not get paid for it. So why is it that music (and films and software) should be free for everyone?
PR – Would you consider yourself a progressive rock artist or this genre doesn’t fit the model anymore? Many will say that prog is dead… will you agree on that?
KG – There’s a bit of everything in my music. Not as much prog as symphonic though. Or neo-prog, if that’s even a genre. My philosophy is to make what’s best for each song. Starting with an idea, then adding flavors and colors to it. Not to get stuck in a genre or line-up but look individually at each song: what’s needed to make the best out of this arrangement (instruments, vocals etc.). That’s what’s so great about working alone instead of in a band. You don’t have to add an instrument just because you have band members who want something to play, and you can add instruments that you normally wouldn’t use (like digeridoos, strings, church organ, musical saw etc.).
If prog is dead… I don’t think so. There’s so much prog right now. So many bands and so many old bands still going strong. But I do think that people have stopped being progressive in their music in general; especially within prog. There are a lot of re-runs and copies out there and it’s hard to find something new and fresh really. A few do try to find their own personality but so many bands are either trying to sound exactly like the old prog rock or the “new” prog metal. But it’s not dead.
PR – Do you miss the years you spent with POS ? If you could go back in time, would you do exactly the same?
KG – I don’t miss them but I do look back at them with a smile on my face. We had some really great moments and did some great stuff. If I could turn back time, I would probably do things differently but only because I’ve grown and learned so much after the PoS-years and knowing what I know now about the music industry and how it looks today. That would be like living with a crystal ball though.
PR - What are your plans in the immediate future?
KG – First of all trying to promote the new album with playing shows. I would love to come out and reach a bigger audience by playing festivals or support for suitable bands and artist but nothing is confirmed yet. I already have a theme ready for the next up album but first I need to get some other music off my chest and I can’t wait to do that. It’s been lying around for years now, waiting for The Rain to get completed.
PR – Based on your experiences, what would be your recommendations if someone that wishes to write his first album asks you for guidance?
KG – There are two paths to walk here. Either you make the music that you love or you make the music that others want to hear. If you’re lucky, that path is one and the same. Once you’ve come to terms with that idea, you’re ready to proceed. Only do what’s needed to make a song the best version. Everything you do should add a something to the song. If the song doesn’t get better with a guitar solo, then don’t add a guitar solo. If the song sounds good with one guitar, don’t add a second. And find someone you trust and respect to have a critical listen to your music and production and listen to their comments and suggestions. Doesn’t mean you have to follow them, as long as you make a conscious choice.
PR - Before concluding this chat I would like to wish you the best with this new release and congratulate you for all that you have accomplished, you can certainly be proud of it ! You have the final word…
KG – Thank you for taking the time. Just want to thank everyone who’s supported me so far and I hope that many more out there will find your way to The Rain and RUST. I would love to come out on the road and play my music for you.
PR – Have a great day and thanks one more time.
KG – Thank you!