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Daniel Gildenlow – Vocals and Guitar for Pain of Salvation

Date: 02/03/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Pain of Salvation is a rather different progressive metal band in comparison to the norm say like Dream Theater or Symphony X. Can you tell us about your music and what makes you different?

DANIEL: I always try to see music as a borderless language as of which you can use different colors to achieve different things. The more colors you use the more you will risk to annoy certain people that want music to be more or less genre based. But I never concern myself too much about that. We want to focus on expressions and emotions and to write music that is very reflective of our personalities and is what may lead to our originality. We have done some many different things on the different albums, but like you say, you can always hear the Pain of Salvation soul in the music even within the midst of the ever changing flow I think there is always a constant.

2. I hear influence from the band Tool in your music. Do you hear that as well?

DANIEL: I gotta be honest (laughs) I only really heard one record by them and it was just because so many people were talking about it but I gotta say no they aren’t an influence. I mean there’s nothing wrong with being compared to them I mean it could be a great reference, maybe you would know better and can tell me but I have no idea because I really don’t know enough about them.

3. I also hear some of Rage Against the Machine in the way you choose to sing some of  your lyrics, verses or chorus’, and it has that rap quality to its delivery like on “Spitfall”. Is this something you hear as well?

DANIEL: That all depends on what we want to express. For some songs and topics with that style it just works better. I think the possibilities with Rap and Hip Hop type vocals is mainly about the possibility of doing more advanced rhythmic structures and patterns with the lyrics and that triggers my imagination for more intricate beats. If you are working with rhythms on your vocal less people will be thrown with it than if you do it with the drums. If you did it with the drums and your bass then it would be up there with the real prog metalish stuff. If you do it with the vocals it just doesn’t seem so obstructive to getting your music across.

I have heard “Killing in the Name of” by Rage Against the Machine and again I haven’t heard enough by them but sometimes you are influenced more by things you don’t hear too often then the stuff you listen to all the time ya know. Again you can find a color that would help you to express a certain thing even though even though it doesn’t belong to the genre that you are supposed to be in. Then again we never really saw ourselves as being part any particular genre. I think we are more free to explore different colors, see I am using that word again Haha.

4. Who writes the lyrics and who writes the music?

DANIEL: I do both actually (laughs), it just turns out that way. I write music at a very high pace and I through away at least 90% of what I am doing sometimes. I only spend time with the stuff I really really like and the songs have to go through a sort of aggressive filter system in my head before I actually turn a song into an album. I have done most of the writing since I was a kid. Its not like the other cant write if they want to they just rarely do that.

5. Pain of Salvation has become sort of a favorite at the ProgPower festival so how did that happen?

DANIEL: I think we’ve played like five Progpowers all together in different places. I don’t know what to say its fun to be wanted. Looking at the different ProgPowers the music direction has changed from time to time so sometimes you feel more in line with the rest and other times you feel like the odd number you know. I mean the one time we went on after Blind Guardian or something, that felt really odd (laughs). We just play our music and we always thought that if we play music we really love and believe in then other people will like it too.

6. Is there a concept or theme behind the new record “Scarsick” and tell us about the artwork?

DANIEL: I will try to keep it as brief as possible but that’s kind of impossible Haha. It’s the second part to an album called “The Perfect Element Part 1” which we released in 2000 and the whole concept of the perfect element is to see looking at the similarities between society and an individual. How we try to fill emptiness inside with other stimuli. On part 1 we focused on two main individuals, they are kind of outcasts and broken down, seen as dysfunctional you can say. On that album we see a lot of themes of individual abuse and then we move on to follow the male main character in a sort of mental decline and reaches a mental point of no return where the past and the truths about himself are catching up to him and he kind of breaks down. We leave him lying on the floor on that album and on “Scarsick” we are picking up seven years later where we left off with that male character still lying on the floor with the TV on in the same room so contemporary society is being displayed through television, and that’s filtered through the main character of course, and the state of mind he’s in.

We are basically looking at how the symptomology of the individuals equal to the symptomology of society in general, and how society is forming individuals and how those individuals are forming society for the next generation. Ummm…and then we get to follow the physical point of no return and the physical breaking point, falling down, which mirrors the mental point of no return and the falling down of the first part of the perfect element. And this all kind of goes to show that society today is becoming more and more empty inside and is in need of filling emptiness with outside stimuli. Also that looking at the kind of fate of this main character is like a warning sign where we can see that society is also on the brink of risking being caught up with its past and truths about itself that may lead to this similar kind of point of no return and falling down unless we kind of deal with those problems right now.

Its been a lot of dense thought period to get all that together.

7. Why call the band Pain of Salvation and did you come up with the name?

DANIEL: Yes I came up with the name, that was back in 1990 I think. I was sixteen at the time and I wanted a band name that was different from others I had heard. I wanted it to be something you would stop and think about, promote thinking a bit. The typical balance ying yang stuff, through something bad you might actually end up in a good place. I was interviewed by a local newspaper at that point in like 1993 about the band name and I made a parable about a man being stuck in the desert and the most painless thing would be to sit down and save your energy but then again in the long run that’s not going to help you much. So in the long run you will have to waste a lot of energy and pain to take yourself into that situation. So you may have to go through that period of pain in order to get to that salvation you know.

8. How would compare “Scarsick” to rest of your work?

DANIEL: I think its more direct and on the surface level more angry and frustrated. The concept is definitely revolving around anger and frustration a lot and its looking at what’s wrong with society in our eyes, so in a way it may be more intricate and complicated than our previous albums. So we had to go through even more processes to try and hide that in the music so that the thing that hits them is the directness heard on the surface level and then if you want to delve deeper into complexities you will still have the opportunity to do that if you want to. We don’t want people to get focus from the actual music, that’s the biggest difference in the directness.

9. Touring plans?

DANIEL: We have a tour coming up in Europe that starts on the 16th when we leave Sweden and get back home the 10th of March. Then we got out again the end of March until early April if everything turns out as planned. For the States we had a few offers but from a political point of view….we think that fingerprinting is just awful and many many steps in the wrong direction for forming a nice democratic open society and that’s our main problem. I mean we do wish to come there to play our music and we do have friends there, I really want to go but I haven’t really since the finger printing. It’s a principle, I want to object in ways I can and the only way I can is not leaving my finger print. I guess either the fingerprinting system will stop or everyone will adopt it but I don’t have much hope in changing the American government really (laughs).

10. Have you been here for any other reason other than the ProgPower festival?

DANIEL: We have been over for the occasional gig here or there but I have also been over there with the Flower Kings and Hammer of the Gods with Paul Gilbert and Mike Portnoy and lets see I think that’s it really.

Official website: www.painofsalvation.com
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