Wednesday, 6 June 2012

INTERVIEW - Dan Swanö


Dan Swanö is a Swedish musician who is currently the vocalist and guitarist for the band Nightingale as well as the owner of Unisound Studios. He achieved fame as the vocalist and songwriter for progressive death metal band Edge of Sanity. As a multi-instrumentalist he is regarded as influential in the underground melodic death metal, black metal, progressive metal, death metal, progressive rock, power metal communities. Dan was kind enough to answer a few questions for Chamber Of Ages.


COA: How old were you when you first discovered music and starting playing instruments?

DS: I think the first impulses came from watching my older brother play. He is 10 years older than me, so when I started to realize what a band was, he was already jamming with his friends in the livingroom. I played in my first band; The Fordz (with my 2 older brothers) when I was 7. I got the vibe that life was easier when you were famous. And since I am quite lazy that seemed like a good idea. Later on I learnt that you needed to work really hard to become famous at the level I wanted and kind of gave up on the whole idea. I am pleased with the level of fame I have achieved over the years.

COA: Which artists have been of major influence to you over the years?

DS: Death, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest, UFO, Rush, Foreigner, Queensryche, Marillion, Toto, Dream Theater...

COA: What is your opinion of all the reunion shows taking place for older death metal bands, even ones that didn't record more than one record. Do you think Edge Of Sanity will ever get back together?

DS: "Not really. I think it´s great that they pick up the torch again and set fire to the scene again. I love working with the "elders" like Asphyx and Hail Of Bullets. Most of them arte family fathers and this is their one true style of music that they "fall back" to. Most elders fall back to country or blues or some other stuff. These guys go banging their skulls to pieces armed to their teeth with pointy axes and HM-2 pedals in their forties! I do still have a dream to get a bunch of talents together and kick some Wacken ass with only EOS material. I have a possible line-up and all that, but it’s just so much work and I am not sure if the budget allows all the stuff I want to happen.

COA: Are you still in contact with any of the other guys from EOS?

DS: I am not in touch with any of them anymore. I guess I will bump into some of them sometime in the future. I know this sounds extremely weird, but we were never really that good friends after ‘The Unorthodox’-era. We drifted apart as individuals and never really had anything in common apart from the lust to do brutal death metal. When I wanted to make things more sofisticated they guys never liked it that much and we were divided a bit.

COA: Do you get tired of answering questions regarding EOS?

DS: I will never get tired of answering these questions. EOS was a big part of my ‘formative years’. I saw my salvation in death metal. And looking back, it gave me the life I have today. I can blame pretty much everything good (and bad) that has happened to me since 1990 on my whole involvement with this death metal scene. Had I never listened to “South Of Heaven” that fateful day as a kid, none of this would have happened. I’d most likely be alone, living in Finspång and desperately trying to reach out to the major labels with my soft and sensitive singer/songwriter music….But we’ll never know if I’d be happier than today, will we??

COA: Are you a perfectionist when it comes to playing and recording in the studio?

DS: I am incredibly picky, but I am getting better and better to let go of things that no one will ever care about, like the amount of breaths between words etc. But I am still picky about tuning and intonation, and also timing. Since I got lucky with my new studio-monitors, the mixes I do sounds better than I ever thought possible coming from me. There will be less details bugging me at the mixing-stages, and I hope the productions will take a little bit less time now that I work 4 days a week with the new equipment.

COA: How come you ended up leaving Bloodbath?

DS: I was kicked out of the band when they decided to "Go Pro" some time after the Wacken gig. I was sad and bitter for some time, but later on I realized that I would only have held them back. It might sound super-ego[tistical], but I really only liked the first EP and my own songs for Bloodbath. The other writers are more inspired by un-commercial US bands... I like my Death metal super catchy and easy, they wanted to go more in a technical, "humourless" way, and in the end, it was best what happened!

COA: You've worked a lot of varied projects and dabbled with a few different styles over the years. What sparked the return to death metal and do you still enjoy the genre?

DS: I met my ex-wife through my involvement with death metal and also met my new girlfriend thru this ‘scene’. So it’s not been entirely fruitless!! The reason why I returned to the scene was quite simple… The guys like me here. I tried to take on the prog-rock scene only to find that, at the time, if you had dabbled with death or thrash you were marked for life. Like a hardcore pornstar trying to be accepted by the finest theater crowd… So I swallowed my pride and got right back into it with a vengeance (Bloodbath!!!!) and after that I got re-bit by the bug and have accepted the eternal presence of death/thrash in my musical life. I like the simplicity and the raw brutality of it… but I am really picky when it comes to bands, riffs etc. and that is never gonna change. I don’t like anything just because it happens to be a part of a genre.

COA: Finally, how do you feel about reviews of your music and the albums that you have worked on?

DS: It’s weird, but it’s only the really bad ones you remember, isn’t it?? I have had my share of complete beheadings in the press, but you must try to learn not to care too much about it, then you turn into someone trying to please reviewers across the globe, and they are all failed musicians and their music-taste is often really really weird. The only critics I listen to are my fans. Guys that liked my previous stuff, independent of style.

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