Salvation For the Metal Mind
CoC chats with Daniel Gildenlow of Pain of Salvation
by: Adrian Bromley
Pain of Salvation singer/guitarist Daniel Gildenlow loves his music. He also loves the fact that it isn't perfect. He loves that there is room for change.

"Every album we do has its own personality and sound, but in a way I am never really satisfied with how an album turns out. You can't always be satisfied", he declares about the new progressive metal / hard rock-tinged opus _The Perfect Element Part 1_. "I don't think you should be satisfied completely because it is one of the things that should push you forward so you strive to make a better record each time."

"I just always feel that I could be a little better on each disc, but it is a good thing that I want to do more as the years go on. It gives me initiative to make a better record than what I did with the current one." He adds, "I am satisfied at this point of time with the band and its music."

He and his band -- comprised of drummer Johan Langell, bassist Kristoffer Gildenlow, keyboardist Fredrik Hermansson and guitarist Johan Hallgren -- are pleased with the studio work and ideas that went into the new record. "This record I think we did a lot of great work. There was a lot less compromising in the studio this time and that was a great thing to have. It was a very relaxed environment as well. I felt as the work in the studio went along, it all seemed to go along well. When you first really start to do studio work, there is the intimidation factor for you to deal with. But it wasn't there this time as it was with our first disc _Entropia_ (1997). We just had this relaxed feeling going on and I was at ease and free to try different things and knew that people wouldn't judge me on what I wanted to do. They just felt that whatever came naturally would work best for the recording."

"Something in the studio doesn't feel right when you try things a certain way, so it only seems right to go out and try to expand your ideas and do new things. It feels good to have people working with you that will let you try to bring things into the band and see how they play out."

It has been a long road for Gildenlow, who started playing at a young age back in 1984. Plus, as the years have gone on and Pain of Salvation took shape, Gildenlow has managed to keep focused and make the best of everything that came their way. What has been the secret?

"I think one of the reasons we have lasted is that we try to work out the differences within the band. You know? Try to fix any problems or situations that come to the surface. It isn't good to silence any problems. That is one thing because we talk it out when we need to. I think we are all very strong supporters of one another and that helps. Musically I think it all has to do with the changing of the band and the evolution of the band. When I started out, when I was eleven, I had a whole other sound and idea going on for the band. Band members have come and gone with the music I have made and from out of all the changes came Pain of Salvation in 1991."

He adds, "There is a lot of inspiration in our music and that makes it all the more enjoyable to digest and play."

One strong factor in the corner of Pain of Salvation is the respect and praise many critics and fans have for the band. How does Gildenlow feel about all of the good words being spoken about he and his Swedish comrades?

"Stuff like that makes me feel good. It is true, after all" -- he laughs. "I have mixed feelings about all of that. I feel that in a way I have always been fighting the music norm, which makes it difficult to get our music out to the people. We are flattered that people like our music, but it is sad that we are "only" in the progressive metal genre. I think our music is a lot wider than the progressive metal genre. When we are labeled that, a lot of people who would like our music don't give us a chance 'cause they see the label tagged on us. I think a lot of people who -really- like progressive metal are into what we do because we aren't "Dream Theater" enough for them or play progressive music the way it is meant to be played."

It seems as though over the last few years, progressive metal bands have come out of the woodwork, almost saturating the market. It seems as though everywhere you look there is some new progressive metal band making the round with rehashed ideas and so-so song structures. What is Gildenlow's take on all of this hoopla?

"I think every genre is like that. I think when Dream Theater came out with _Images and Words_ (1992), it was a miracle in a way", he says. "But at the same time, it really drained the inspiration from the genre, because so many bands were inspired by their sound and they aimed to sound like that and/or did everything they could to be like them. Dream Theater was unique -- why copy it?"

"That is one of the main reasons why this genre can be boring. It is supposed to be progressive. It is funny when you go to all these progressive metal websites and there is the tag that says "music for the intellectual" and I just have this feeling that repetition is going on. I think that one of the main problems is that there is a lot of repetition. It has to be stopped. It is just derailing the genre."

Gildenlow finishes, "Bands of this genre really need to be open-minded. That's why we have tried to maintain our own sound and tried to make progressive music the way we want to, rather than try to impress people by being what they expect."

(article submitted 13/3/2001)


ALBUMS
12/26/2006 Y Stefanis 10 Pain of Salvation - Scarsick
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