Interview Kristoffer Gildenlöw

"I promise you'll be pulled into this story with its music and I aim for it to be possessive in the way that it will hold on to you until the last note of the album"

(April 2016, text by Kathy Keller, pictures KG by Henri Strik)

It was my pleasure to interview multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter, Kristoffer Gildenlöw, on a rainy Tuesday recently. We discussed his second solo album, The Rain (see review), launched at a special CD Release Presentation, on March 25, 2016 at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer, Netherlands. Gildenlöw's eleven year career as bass player in the progressive rock band Pain Of Salvation set the wheels in motion for his solo career, which took flight with release of his debut album RUST (2013, see review), paving way for The Rain. In addition to vocals, Gildenlöw performs a wide range of instruments and uses carefully selected guest musicians - adding strings, accordion and church organ - to make this album come to life. This is what the artist had to say about his new release, The Rain.

Kristoffer Gildenlöw
Welcome, Kristoffer and thank you for making time for this interview. Today we will not discuss your impressive 25-year career in the music business but we will focus only on your upcoming release of, The Rain. What is the theme of this album?
The new album is about the struggles and life of a man with dementia - Alzheimer's disease. Each song will deal with different memories, emotions, and ideas; this creates a good bone structure for the concept of the album. Luckily, I don't have first-hand experience with family or friends who suffer from dementia, but I've read and seen many different stories over the years and I have no problem with empathy or placing myself in other people's situations.
I am intrigued by walking in other people's shoes and these songs reflect how I think I would feel if I one day had to fight dementia myself.''

That is quite a heavy topic to tackle. Naturally, people will feel the music in different ways, but for those who like to follow the red line, can you give a preview of the progression of the album?
“The whole scenario is written from the first person perspective of a man in late stages of dementia. Throughout the album, dementia is referred to as The Rain and a cloud that blurs the mind and distorts the world around the dementia sufferer. From time to time these clouds disperse and the sun reaches his eyes once again. In these clear moments, his memories come back: childhood, love, his great bonding with nature and the feeling he had when he became a parent. But also the dark side of the illness with the pressure and weight it puts on people around him; and the fact that there is no way out as the clouds get thicker and the rain heavier. He wants to break free from the frustration and the inevitable outcome, but the clouds draw near again and the clear days become shorter and the rainy nights longer. He finally finds his peace with the situation and his creator and accepts his destiny. If he's to forget everyone, they might as well forget about him.''

This will be a very moving and inspirational album!
”As you mentioned, it's a rather heavy topic, but also it is a deep and dark theme to work on. I promise you'll be pulled into this story with its music and I aim for it to be possessive in the way that it will hold on to you until the last note of the album. Those are the best albums in my opinion, the ones that give you a total visual story from start to finish.''
  X X  
  Rust The Rain  

Based on your philosophy about enjoying life and the themes that runs through your first solo album, RUST and equally heavy theme of The Rain, it is clear that you have a wisdom beyond your years. Do you think of yourself as an old soul?
“I must have gotten something passed down for sure. Always had an old soul. Always had a great respect for elderly and wise people. They've been there, done that so shut up and listen and they can teach you something. The same
Kristoffer Gildenlöw
with nature; it was here before we humans evolved and it will be here long after we're gone, unless we kill it along with ourselves. We all need to pay much more respect to others than we do. We've become extremely egocentric these days.''

On `RUST' you worked with several guest musicians. What is your approach for the new album?
”I have several great musicians helping me out on the new album as well. Fredrik Hermansson (former Pain Of Salvation), who also played piano on RUST, will also be playing piano and keyboards on the new album. I have Lars Erik Asp from the Norwegian band Gazpacho on drums and percussion, Paul Coenradie (Valentine), who played the amazing guitar solo at the end of the song Rust on the former album, will also help out with some nice guitar work on the new one. I also have Anne Bakker (Blaze Bayley) on violins and viola and Maaike Peterse (Ayreon Theater Equation, Kingfisher Sky and Kovacs) on cello. There are also choir parts, accordion and a live church organ, so enough people on credit list for this one as well. All hand-picked of course.''

Kristoffer, thank you for this interview. I wish you success with worldwide release of The Rain on April 7, 2016

More info about Kristoffer Gildenlöw on the Internet:

       Audio recordings of the entire interview


       review album 'Rust (2013)'
       review CD single 'Pass The Torch (2015)'
       review album 'The Rain (2016)'

       review concert Alphen a/d Rijn 24-May-2013
       review concert Alphen a/d Rijn 21-Nov-2015

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