Pain Of Salvation (Daniel Gildenlow)

"We get born and then we break a little every day. That’s the beauty and the sadness of mankind."
on Tue, 02/07/2017 - 17:12
Pain Of Salvation
This is certainly not the usual interview you’ll read in a music site. But then, Daniel Gildenlow is not a usual musician and most of all he’s not a usual person. On the very day the fantastic new album “In The Passing Light Of Day” was released we were supposed to have a small talk about it. We ended up chatting for more than an hour and I didn’t even manage to address him half of the questions I had ready. And that’s exactly the magical thing about Daniel: he’s brutally honest, he’s clever as hell and you never know where his train of thought will get you, but you know it’s going to be greater that you could ever imagine. This is not an interview. This is a ticket to a ride you have to take. Again and again...
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
Hey Daniel, how are you doing? 
 
I just feel a lot of stress for the last weeks to get everything ready. It feels like I’ve been going 200 klm/h since January last year with the album and being involved in every single part of the project. There hasn’t been a lot of rest. So, it’s really nice, even though we still have things to do. We have the shows coming up, there’s a lot of stuff happening. But, having reached the release date feels like as if you were a runner and you have reached one of the main destinations somehow and I’m really happy to finally see the album in the hands of all those people that have been waiting for such a long time. 
 
It’s kind of frustrating… having lived with the album for such a long time and you just want people to hear it. Feels like: “LISTEN TO THIS. WE’VE MADE IT”. And you can’t… You have to wait for like a year…
 
Is that much time needed after the album is actually ready?
 
Yeah… I mean, for me there’s not much of a gap. There is this gap of several months after the album is ready and normally I guess you would just wait as a musician, but I’ve been involved in the artwork and the videos and basically everything that happened up until the release. There hasn’t been really a gap for me, but I could just imagine the other guys in the band. Once the album is done, you just wait… (laughs)
 
At least it must be rewarding getting all this positive - if not raving - feedback… I also have to congratulate you for the new album. It’s fantastic, it’s up to your high standards and I already love it so much.
 
Thank you very much Chris. It’s been great, but I try to avoid getting too much feedback, as I am always… I was gonna say that I’m that kind of guy, but I think most people who are into jobs or working with stuff that requires some sort of confirmation will probably always be more sensitive to the bad stuff than the good stuff. I know from past experiences that I can have ninety nine wonderful reviews and then a bad one. And I’m gonna remember that one bad forever… The good ones you won’t remember them after a while, the bad ones you’re gonna remember the phrasing, the words. And it’s ridiculous! And I tell myself intellectually that I shouldn’t be like that. That whole side is hard all the way I guess…
 
Well, that’s part of your perfectionism I’d say. So, being a perfectionist and the hardest judge of your music, how do you feel about it now it’s out there?
 
I’m fairly partial to it I guess… (laughs). I’m not really very objective. I really like it a lot. 
 
We knew very quickly that we had a very strong album. And I felt after these last years, stuck in so many things… like you had the lineup changes, you had all the delays with the “Road Salt” albums, the failing of the “Falling Home” live recording. So many things that have delayed everything and of course all those months in the hospital… I’ve been having this feeling of “revenge”. Not like in a bad kind of revenge… There’s a probably better word to express it… “Getting back”, “bouncing back”, “a hunger”, “an appetite” for bouncing back physically and bouncing back musically and explode. 
 
Once we started we knew very quickly that we would have a very strong album and as we were recording it and building it, it kept confirming to us that indeed this would be a very strong album, a very intuitive album.  So, from that perspective, I feel that the album can sort of speak for itself. You can play it out there and you don’t have to stand for it; it will speak for itself.
 
Once again you seem to be addicted to your honesty and in this album you channel what life has taught you through your lyrics. And life has taught you a lot during the last few years, hasn’t it?
 
Yeah… Hard earned lessons, right? That’s what they call it… (laughs). I don’t need to learn more of that, thank you very much… I’m done! (laughs)
 
Well, it’s been important on many levels. One part of me had so much frustration over the years that I wanted to come to this album. I didn’t know what it was gonna be, but I knew this was an album in this vein, that wanted to come out. 
 
In retrospective now, I think it was all for the best. Cause, all these things that have happened over the last years, those things are what made this album what it is and I wouldn’t want to change anything. But, I wouldn’t want to go through everything again to have the next album. I’m hoping that I could use a simpler method for making the next one… (laughs)
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
Well, I tend to relate with all Pain Of Salvation albums, but I feel I have many things in common with this new one, more that I wish I did… (laughs) I had to face a kind of similar situation, so I have many thoughts and questions in common with the ones you address throughout this album. Most of all I wanted to ask you this: In the end what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or it leaves you broken instead? I sense a bit of both…
 
Yeah, I think that too… It’s what I sung in “Road Salt” album that “everyone I know seems to be broken inside”. I think that’s the beauty and the sadness of mankind. We get born and then we break a little every day. 
 
Again, I’m gonna relate to my own lyrics… what an idiot! (laughs). I wrote this lyric for another band that wanted me to sing with them. I’ve been going around with this phrase in my head for a very long time and I placed it in this song. It’s that feeling that we’re all punch cards. All these little damages and all these things that happen that causes imperfection, that’s actually what carries the information.  That’s what makes us not being blank verses. So, I guess, all those little things that happen and break you a little are the ones that cause your personality. Once you talk about computers that have personality, it’s usually the computational functions a little bit, but with human beings, as long as you don’t break entirely and be on repair there is something interesting in those damages I think. 
 
Musically, fans got bumped in the idea that this album would be a return to the sound of “The Perfect Element” or “Remedy Lane”, but - even though you do revisit the past in a way - in the end it feels like you’ve made a step forward sonically. Would you agree with that? How would you describe the new Pain Of Salvation sound?
 
It’s wilder than “The Perfect Element”. And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we know better … or I know better what I want and we can accomplish that in a better way now than we could back then. Even the music equipment… I wouldn’t want to say that the music equipment necessarily is better these days, but it all depends on what you use. And back in the early 00s, late 90s there was a strong fascination about all the new digital stuff. I was not necessarily a friend of that, but that was what was offered back in the day and you try your best, sort of. I love the analogue stuff and we try to do that as much as possibly, but also mixing it with using the digital stuff that doesn’t pretend to be something else. 
 
One of our guiding mottos or northern stars when we started to build the sound landscape and the demos, was something that I’ve been carrying with me ever since the first album and probably before that: “Ugly/Beautiful”. I’ve always had this wonderful, nice place in my heart for things that are “Ugly/Beautiful”. Again, with those imperfections and stuff. That’s why it felt so natural to approach Daniel Bergstrand. Because, even though I can’t say that I’m listening a lot of music in this music style, the stuff that I’ve heard that he mixes or produces always have that “Ugly/Beautiful” stuff left in there. Ever since I heard the first Meshuggah album with that really ringing and almost painful snare drum, I’ve noticed that he always likes to have something that speaks out. 
 
And that’s something that I really miss, especially from 2005 and forward in the music scene. Productions are turning more and more into trying not to have anything stick out. Just make everything equally impressive until nothing feels impressive. It’s like watching an action movie that starts with action and then every second of it is just action and there’s nothing to contrast that. The action doesn’t feel like action anymore, it just feels like the default tempo of everything.
 
Many people will say that with this sound you’d want to win back the older fans, but my feeling is that you’ll win more new ones, which is way more important in my opinion. That’s why I mentioned in my review that this album is like a return to the future for you. Would you agree?
 
Yeah, for sure. I think that’s the entire thing with Pain Of Salvation. Well, I can only speak for myself. I always have this frustration as the driving force behind a lot of stuff I do. I’m known to say that every music style that was ever born, it was born out of frustration and a restless desire to reinvent. Apart from wanting to express something and wanting to reveal my own philosophical doubts and thoughts about life and mankind, another important factor for me is always that desire to reinvent and try to turn things around and look at it from a different angle. Sound wise, trying to find something that is new. That’s always been there with Pain Of Salvation. 
 
But, there was always also that nostalgia for the past. So, there will always be this clash between wanting to change everything and wanting to stay in that little tree house, where you grew up and everything. There is a big clash between those two elements in myself and I think that will always show in the music. That constant conflict between trying to find a brand new everything and trying to just remain in this nostalgia and pulling things from your past and pulling things from the sounds that you’ve loved growing up and the sounds that you’ve loved from the previous albums. There will always be the old Pain Of Salvation there and there will always be the new Pain Of Salvation. I hope that those two sides will always benefit from each other and be fruitful as a combination, as a contrast that can actually complete each other in a nice way.
 
I think I understand this mindset and it can drive you forward in a very nice and organic way…
 
Yeah… I do like the expression “return to the future”. It’s pretty much what it feels like... Or moving on to the past, I don’t know… (laughs)
 
It’s been a while since you had a wingman like Ragnar to write stuff – maybe since Daniel Magdic in the first two albums if I am not mistaken... 
 
Yeah…
 
How important was his role and how much did he change the one-man show of the last few Pain Of Salvation albums?
 
I’ve never seen it as a one man show. I’ve noticed a few times, especially among fans that are maybe not musicians themselves, but are listening to a lot of music, they seem to have this visional idea that everyone that is playing music is also writing music. And that the highest desire of musicians is to write music. But, the fact is that writing music and writing lyrics is… I wouldn’t say a different thing than playing music, but it is like a sidetrack. I made a parabol once that you can love computer games and you can love playing computer games, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re gonna sit down and write a computer game. And it’s the same thing for musicians. I have always seen degrading portions of the different roles that people have and the fact that they’re all different in a way. It can be frustrating at points. Usually you learn things in small steps and then once in a while there’s this huge step where you go like “Ahhhh” (laughs). 
 
I remember for the first album I involved everyone in the concept. I would pull everyone to the table in the studio, cause the first album is different, as you’re actually not writing an album that’s supposed to be recorded. You go into the studio and you record an album out of the material that you’ve written. Basically, the latest 10-15 songs that you feel like “these are the most representative, these should be an album”. 
 
As usual, my mind works very like making associations and drawing lines between the dots, so I saw patterns and I saw a story in there and wanted to make it a concept. Not a chronological one, but one that would go back and forth. Much like a movie where you sort of like take different parts and you throw them around, so that what happens, happens more because how it relates to the scene you just sa*w than what it arrives in time. So, I pulled everyone to the table and I involved everyone in trying to put this concept together. It was difficult. I didn’t feel like they were really trying all that hard… (laughs). But, we managed in the end… I pretty much did it in the end, asking everyone if it’s ok and everyone was ok. Everyone was fine and very positive. That’s the thing… I’ve always had a lot of fantastic support from the band members and I always felt that they truly trust me in what I want to do. If ever once in a while they would disagree, they would tell me and that’s really nice.
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
But, anyway, for the second album, “One Hour By The Concrete Lake”, which is a huge concept of lots of different themes of society and I was looking at how they actually interact with each other, I was actually writing an essay about this… about the global warming assumption, the nuclear industry, the war industry, the disposition of the indigenous people, the breaking of the uranium… All of these different things I could see that they were relating to each other and affecting each other, but I couldn’t see anywhere that anyone wrote about how these things influence each other. I wanted everyone to be on board with this. So, I collected and put together this huge pile of essays and papers and stuff… it was 102 pages, I remember that… (laughs) of concisely written pages. Not like scattered over there, but really lots and lots of text… Basically, a descent book (laughs)… So, I handed it out to the other ones, feeling that I wanted to have them on board for this and… (laughs) then it was like:
 
- So, what do you think of it? Did you read it?
- Nooooo, but I’m sure it’s going to be fine (laughs) 
 
Fredrik was the only one who actually read it, because he’s that kind of person; he’s like me in that way. If gets the task, if someone tells him “could you do this?”, he can do it. All the way. But, as opposed to me, he has huge difficulties making decision and actually starting something. I can start up things, but he usually says “I’m bad at making things up, so maybe if there’s some task I can do, so that I won’t have to make choices or decisions, I would do that” (laughs).
 
So, everyone is different. Daniel Magdic, him and myself have been playing together since I was 15 and he was 14. I remember when he joined the band he had two bigger brothers and both of them were playing guitar. They were a lot older, like ten years older, and they were really good at playing guitar, so he would really come for the audition and he knew all these rock chords and blues solo stuff and I had to up my game (laughs). I’ve been the king of my school up until he arrived to that audition. Jesus Christ, he could play guitar for real! He was not the kind of guys who write music like entire songs, but he had riffs, he had guitar riffs. So, we could usually work together, because we completed each other. I would play the drums, I would make vocal lines, I would take ideas that he had and he didn’t know what to do with them and I would sort of like easily see “this could be really cool. Let’s try this like if we have the tempo and then we go into that section”. Then all of a sudden things were happening, because he had that small rudimentary idea and I could pick that up and put it in context. That worked pretty well.
 
When Ragnar joined it was pretty much the same thing. He was the main vocalist of his band, he was the main guitar player, he was writing the songs. And I don’t think it was a coincidence  of all the many-many guitar player that were applying to join Pain Of Salvation, the few 5-6 that remained and actually made it to the final audition, they were all the frontmen of their own bands. They were all lead signers, lead guitar players and composers. We were not looking at this, but the thing is you can tell… When you have all these components your playing will be different, your understanding and your way to catch up and adapt to what’s happening in the music will be different from someone who only plays the guitar really well and does that. For most bands that would do, but with Pain Of Salvation I think you pretty much have to be able to follow the emotional flow of the music somehow… I don’t know, maybe I’m overthinking it, but at least that’s what it seemed to be like when we did the auditions. 
 
And that was a nice thing for me, being able to sit and do these things again. Throw in ideas, turning them around, going like “Wait a minute! Play that thing and then you go up there and let just me play this thing on the drums!”. I was sitting on the drums a lot, having a guitar beside me, which was pretty much the way I wrote the first album; playing a lot of drums. I come to a point where I realize that when people say it’s the typical Pain Of Salvation music, I think it’s actually very closely related to the way I’m playing the drums… (laughs). The way I like to play... It’s fun...
 
It’s been a nice thing. We’ll see what happens in the future. He lives in another country and it’s a bit of a setback… 
 
Well, I guess it is… You’re a multinational band now…
 
(laughs) Yeah…
 
So, let’s get to the songs of the album and start with “On A Tuesday”. It seems that from the very beginning you wanted to make clear that this will be a heavy and complex album, didn’t you? 
 
Yeah... The funny thing is we were not even considering starting with that song, pretty much because it was ten minutes long. And you have that feeling that you can’t start with a ten minute song, which is basically your mind talking, not your heart. 
 
But, then, when you write music you have a few friends that always get to be those experiment, the ginipigs of what you’re doing. The persons that you’re always testing the music against. Maybe not because you always share the same opinions. In this case I have an old friend. We’ve been good friends since we were fifteen and we pretty much dysfunctional in the same kind of ways. We suck at keeping the relationship alive, so it can be like three years and then we meet again and everything is back at normal (laughs). He always wants to hear the music and I always want to hear what he says, because I know exactly how his music taste is. Even when we’re not agreeing, it’s a good way of knowing where things are going. 
 
So, he heard demo versions of the songs at one point, before there were vocals or anything and he came back calling like “Jesus Christ! You know I’ve never said this before, but this album is going to kick out “Remedy Lane” from my favorite position. I know this even before I hear the vocals.” Actually he did hear the vocals for many of the tracks as I realize now… (laughs)… But, the thing is he said “You have to promise me to start with “On A Tuesday”. Well, it wasn’t called “On A Tuesday” back then… I just wrote back “I don’t think so, it’s too long”. And he said “you have to”.
 
So, the thought was born and I figured “maybe it is a way of putting your foot down”. Cause I had problems finding a good song order and that’s sort of a natural ending song. As usual with Pain Of Salvation, the music that I make tends to be very good closing songs (laughs). It’s very difficult finding the other ones, especially the middle songs; that’s always difficult. Which is probably why I’ve always worked with chapters of the albums, cause then you can have several openers and closers…
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
Good trick… (laughs)
 
Yeah… (laughs) You have to adapt to who you are I guess…
 
I started thinking about that and I told Daniel that I wanted to start with that song. He said the same thing, that it doesn’t seem like a good opener song. It’s ten minutes and it starts off with this guitar riff thing. But we kept thinking about it and we came to a conclusion, after a few weeks probably, that actually it is a good opening song. It hits you in the face and it makes no compromises, no excuses. It’s just like put the foot down. This is what it is about. You can turn away now or you can go all the way in. These are the only two options at this point. You like it or you go away. We started thinking this was a genius idea! He just saw that! Thank you very much!
 
And then the next time I talked to him I’m like “well, did you listen more to the album?” and the first thing he said is “yeah! And I just realized I was dead wrong! Of course, you shouldn’t start with that song!” (laughs). And I’m like “What the hell, man? We’ve just changed everything! We’re gonna start with that song and that’s cause you told us so! Don’t forget that!”. I’m really thankful, cause I don’t think we would ever come up with this idea, starting with that song. I think that was a very-very perfect start of the album, that you set the bar from the beginning.
 
It is…
 
His name is Michael by the way...
 
Thanks Michael then! Well, the lyric that I’ve been thinking most about from this song is “I haven’t lost the faith, it’s just lost in me”. How can this be done, especially when throughout the lyrics you seem to have lost your faith in many things?
 
I’ll be brutally honest here. The thing is I couldn’t get that lyric part in there, in the concept fully, because Ragnar had this little piece of a demo thing that he recorded and that little line of vocals was in there. We considered re-recording it and trying to make another lyric. The thing is - just like you did - I like the lyric. For that entire song that’s the little part of the lyric that Ragnar had written, but I felt it sat so well with the singing and the melody and I also liked the delivery of the vocals that he had on that old demo. It was recorded with the weirdest microphone, under really bad conditions and everything. We quickly realized that we could re-record it, but it wouldn’t become any better. Just because it has that something. You know sometimes things just become something magical. And you can try to redo that, but you can only make it better, you can have better equipment, you can have a better pitch, you can have a better pronunciation, you can better everything and still it’s not as good as the original. This is the magic of music I think. 
 
So, we opted for keeping it there, the demo vocals as they were on that old demo recording. That’s what’s on it, looped a few times. There you go… 
 
It is a weird phrase to go with the album, but somehow I managed to think my own way into it and make it sort of representative feeling that I could relate in the end. Or that I could feel that I did relate back then when I was in the hospital. To me it’s not a faith in God maybe not even in a relationship. It has to represent losing the faith in general, in yourself, in your direction… that it was in there somewhere. 
 
To me it rings true with the lyrics that I wrote for “Full Throttle Tribe”, that really evolve around the entire life of Pain Of Salvation, of this band that I created as a kid. A lot out of the necessity to feel that I had a reality that was something that I could relate to. A little part of the universe that would make me feel a little less abnormal or not normal. 
 
I think that I was not very different than most people. Once you get to school and you meet all these other people, you feel a little bit like an outsider. Most people that I know in my life say pretty much the same thing. Especially, artists and musicians. You get to school, you like it and you make friends and everything is nice, but on some levels you just feel that you’re different. They relate to stuff that you can’t relate to, when you relate to stuff that they don’t seem to relate to. 
 
And, also, all these things that seem to come so easily for them, it doesn’t come easily for you. When you come to all the learning stuff and doing stuff it was always extremely easy for me, I didn’t have to struggle for anything, which made me feel a bit lazy. The fact is that sort of you want to hide that. If it’s too easy for you, you want to hide that, cause at some level you’re afraid that people won’t like it that much… (laughs). But, then it was all these social stuff that they seemed to find uncomplicated. I always found it complicated. I felt that I was trying to behave like you should behave, but it didn’t feel natural for me, many of the times.  I would feel more sensitive than most of the boys and they would be interested in lots of stuff that felt only mindless to me. At the same time I was sort of like wild and too much of a lot of stuff. It was a weird combination like I say in the lyrics: too shy, too much and wild at the same time somehow. 
 
I think this was one of the reasons to form a band. Cause then you can create your own little part of the universe where you can relate to the stuff that you like and that’s fine… music, lyrics, philosophy. And cool stuff of course, like Kiss and fire and blood and makeup… (laughs). All of that stuff was jumbled in there… 
 
But then towards the mid part of the song, you can see the struggle to try to make this tribe, this community, this little family of people that share a common goal of getting somewhere. Me having a dream of what a band can be and being a driving force to get somewhere and up the game musically all the time. And then the lineup was falling apart… 
 
The thing is most people don’t know that we knew that Johan on the drums would be leaving the band. We knew that already back in 2003, around the “BE” album. Already at that point, we knew that he was gonna leave the band. He stayed for a few years to try to ease the transition and what he could for the band, cause he didn’t want to disappoint the band or the fans, but he really saw that he wanted to focus on family and his day job and getting a proper real family, better life. Which I respect and I understand, but I can’t relate to myself. Probably, because I was a kid with a dad who used to be a musician, but wasn’t a musician anymore. And to me that was always like “Why couldn’t he be a daddy who was a musician and go on tour and stuff? That would be cool” (laughs). I guess it all depends on your approach of things. But, anyway…
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
That sort of losing that band structure is the essence of “Full Throttle Tribe”. We’re focusing on that song now… Unintentionally, but…  (laughs). To me the phrase that relies on faith in “On A Tuesday” is pretty much that. Cause, I lost a lot… 
 
Especially, when the other Johan, the guitar Johan [editor: Hallgren] and Fredrik left the band it was just like pulling the plug… You know, I always tried to motivate me and all the people that have left the band have motivated me to keep going and they convinced me not to give up and to keep going with the band, which is very wonderful of them. But, this was just like a replay of having been on the tour with Johan Langell, back in the day. Being on tour and knowing this is gonna be the last tour and the audience is not knowing; it’s a very weird situation. This was even worst knowing that both Johan Hallgern and Fredrik would be leaving the band. 
 
I just recall that situation on a gig where I was in the shower and all the way to the shower you could hear people yelling for Pain Of Salvation. It was probably even before the opening act. I just felt this emptiness, this total emptiness of pushing for the end, having invested my entire life in a prog metal band, from the age of eleven and standing here, seeing it fall apart, hearing the audience yell “Pain Of Salvation”, while you don’t even know what Pain Of Salvation is gonna be. And knowing that in half an hour or in an hour from now I will have to go up on that stage, representing a band that I don’t even know if it exists anymore or it will maybe not exist anymore. I didn’t feel like this band that we were on stage, pretending to be anymore. That made me feel like going on stage with a lie. And I’ve had a huge problem with not feeling true about stuff. I just remember that very-very sinking feeling of like not knowing whether I had just come to the point where I had to realize that I had spent all the money on the wrong horse…  (laughs). My entire life spent on something that was not there anymore. That was even with the new lineup and stuff and getting back and getting motivated again. I still had that sort of lost and mixed feelings. Still being I guess in a mourning process on some level… It takes time. It’s like losing family members or getting out of a really long and very nice relationship. Doesn’t really matter if you meet wonderful new people, you still need time to mourn what you have lost somehow. 
 
What I realized in the hospital is that you wake up in the morning with this huge list of things that we need to do. We’re living in a stressing situation with lots and lots of choices and must and has to and we just…
 
[Daniel starts laughing hard] There’s a guy burning out with his old Volvo here at the parking lot. Cool man! [still laughing hard]
 
What is he doing?
 
He came with an old Volvo. It’s slippery here right now, cause it’s been snowing and there is ice and he was just like going round and round for a few turns. Doing that stuff that you do when you’re eighteen, but I think he’s a grown up man. I don’t know if I should respect that or just laugh… Probably a little bit of both…
 
Both, yeah… (laughs)
 
He’s a grown up with a working suit with yellow reflections and stuff. Not the guy you would expect to do that… Well, there you go! You never know…
 
Anyway, there’s so many things on that list that you get confused. It’s like going shopping and normally you have a list with ten or twenty points on it, things that you should be shopping. Then someone hands you a list of 10.487 things and they say “You just pick the twenty most important things on this list to shop”. You’re gonna choke on that. It’s just “No Way”. Once the list becomes too large it gets very difficult to prioritize and know the important stuff from the unimportant stuff. I feel that’s who we are as adult persons, all of us. We wake up every morning with this impossibly large list of life goals and decisions and what we should have done or what you have to do today, tomorrow, the next year, the next week or several years. We’re supposed to have plans for several years these days. You have to change to winter tires, you have to make a tax declaration…  All those things are just burdening you as soon as you wake up… 
 
When I was in the hospital, that list had boiled down to just a few points. It was very easy to see what’s important and to see what was still remaining on that list. Cause a lot of stuff had just melted away. There was no room for tires on that list, there was no tax declaration. The life goal was pretty much to make it through the day and hopefully enduring another month and hoping you’ll be able to bounce back as good as possible physically and mentally after it. If you could stand on a stage again, great bonus! 
 
But, one thing I realized then was that all the doubts concerning Pain Of Salvation were just gone. It was very obvious that I wanted Pain Of Salvation. That was still on that list. Of all these thousands and thousands of things that fell away from the list, Pain Of Salvation was not one of them. Pain Of Salvation was still on that list. Which made it easier to go back and make this album. Cause, it filled me with a conviction that I hadn’t felt for a very long time. I guess I came to the conclusion that whatever happens with Pain Of Salvation it goes beyond the people in Pain Of Salvation and that’s just a fact.  So, whatever happens just go on...
 
Addressing God, like you do on “Tongue Of God”, is not something new for you, but I was wondering if the whole thing you went through changed your view on God and religion a bit? Sometimes people get out angrier and sometimes more grateful towards God after similar situations… You seem to lean clearly on the angry side… How do you feel about that?
 
My biggest problem is that I don’t believe in God, which makes everything very difficult. But, I still feel the need to address God. That’s the weird thing. I’ve always felt that the notion of God is really important. Divinity for mankind and any sort of God life being is a very strong and important concept for mankind, so it’s impossible not to be fascinated and deal with it. 
 
I talk to God every once in a while. I always start with “sorry for not believing in you”. There you go… You know, for the odd chance that he or she finally exists… It’s not therefore that I don’t believe in them (laughs). Things can exist even if you don’t believe them. It’s not that I’m saying that it’s impossible that there is some sort of God; I just don’t believe in it. 
 
I tried to make that thought experiment in “BE”, that if there is a God, by default that God must be on a level of existence that we cannot grasp or understand. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something exceptionally bizarre… 
 
I made this parabol once. If you have two people that have always lived in a two dimensional world, without any three dimensional objects, but only flat stuff -everything is flat - that means you know your world, you know what can exist. And if you would take those two persons out of their two dimensional world for just a second and you would let them watch a cylinder from two different angles, then one of them will see a circle and the other one will see a rectangle. And when you put them back into the flat land, there’s no way that they can ever agree that they’ve seen the same object. One will be ready to fight to death that this was a circle. The other guy will be equally certain that it was a square/a rectangle. And in their world there is no way that anything could be both. So, they will fight for generations about whether this was a circle or a rectangle. And in the end, it’s nothing weird with the cylinder. It’s just that it goes beyond their reach, their window of existence.
 
If there is any sort of God it’s gonna be the same thing. It’s nothing weird! It’s just something that is beyond our way of experiencing the universe. I’m fairly sure that’s it’s not another being that would that feel the necessary need to intervene with lots of small stuff that are happening in the world. It would be something that would affect and permit everything that happens. Maybe not even consciously. Much like if you’re at a computer writing something you will change a lot ones and zeroes from one state to the other. You have no intention of switching this particular one to a zero or this particular zero to a one, but it happens either way, because you’re writing on that computer. If you lived inside that hard drive it would appear to be an almost magical process that you’re being part of. And there is a purpose to it, but not a purpose that the ones and the zeros could ever understand…
 
Pain Of Salvation
 
So, if God exists why does he love a jester and a joke?
 
(laughs) I am just assuming that we’re all images of God and if humor is important for us it’s got to be for God too. Me and Fredrik used to joke a lot - we still do actually - what if God doesn’t have humor? What a negative surprise that would be? 
 
Imagine that you don’t believe in God, but then you die and you actually come to some sort of doorway to heaven and there is this God, sitting there and having no sense of humor. That means that everything you’ve said in life ironically will be judged as your true emotions (laughs). That would be the most horrible way of being judged as human intellectual beings. Because, the people joking more will be sent to hell forever… 
 
Oh no!
 
For all the things that you’ve said and you didn’t mean, that were meant the other way around.  That would be the ultimate joke on mankind. Going in there like:
 
- Sorry, but you said that Hitler had a nice haircut
- I didn’t actually mean it God! I meant it the other way around…
- But, that’s not what you said
- I know, but…
- Ok…
 
… see you in hell my friend…
 
(laughs) It’s hell for you man! 
 
Also it’s another thing. People keep saying “keep smiling”, “keep a happy face”, “smile in the face of danger”. There’s so many things that permit the human existence that tend to give us the impression that you have a bigger chance of surviving state if you can sort of like pretend that everything is fine. 
 
Probably because of having been the class clown for quite a few years - like I guess most people in any sort of artistic area of expertise have been the class clown at some point - you were getting out of danger maybe by making jokes or being really good at talking. Just making your way with jokes, with humor. So, I was just assuming that the class clown should adapt to that, even at the deathbed. Make jokes for God and he’d let you go... 
 
[Daniel talks with a deep voice]“Maybe I’ll keep this one alive for some time, he seems funny. I can watch him for a while. Maybe I can kill him tomorrow” (laughs)
 
Well, now I have to skip questions about provocative videos, about sleep and dreams and how they influence your music, about if you feel like Herman Hesse’s  Steppenwolf with multiple personalities, about the title track that is a whole chapter of its own and also I have to skip the question about Trump’s election and you being right about America ten years ago…  [editor: Daniel laughs hard]. I also won’t ask you if you’ll ever come to Greece again…
 
Well, we’ll do that… (laughs). I can answer to that at least… (laughs)
 
So, I’ll end this interview with my ultimate question out of this new album. We can be sure by now that in life there’s pain. But, what about salvation?
 
It depends on what you mean with salvation. I mean, in the end we’re all gonna die (laughs). And if you don’t believe in some sort of afterlife, that’s pretty much it. You live and then you die. It ends sort of like on a lone note, you have to admit… (laughs). 
 
In everyday life I tend to feel that things work out. The last years’ experiences for me have certainly underlined that belief. And it all depends on how you see things…
 
Leo was driving me to the hospital. I got to the hospital because my wife refused to let me stay at home. Cause I was at such pain and I didn’t want to go…
 
[editor: The grown man in the parking lot appears again] Oh, he’s doing it again with the car as he’s leaving! He’s going round and round with his car (hard laughs)… Sorry… Anyway…
 
It was a Sunday so I thought I was gonna end up in the emergency ward waiting and waiting and waiting and then I’m gonna get in there, they’re gonna take a look at me and they’re gonna say something like “take these painkillers, it’s going to be fine”. I figured there’s no point in going to the hospital anyway. Johanna made sure I did, which is the first good thing. She called Leo, because see needed to stay at home with the kids, so he came to pick me up and drive me to the hospital. While we’re driving to the hospital he lost the control of his car. It’s the first snow and we were driving very fast and he loses control of the car and we’re actually leaving the road in more than 100 klm/h. And there’s this huge ditch that runs alongside the road and on the other side of that ditch there’s the forest. So, once he loses control  I know…  
 
I’m fairly used to driving on snow, I’ve been born in Sweden. I know exactly when the game is over for salvaging the situation. So, I know that we’re gonna leave the road right over there, we’re gonna have our back in first and we’re gonna turn over from the ditch and we’re gonna hit the forest… And that’s not gonna be good. There’s nothing to be done about it. You just hold yourself in that handle on the door. We leave the road and for some weird reason, just where we leave the road by accident, the ditch has this little old road into the forest where tractors used to drive. So, instead of the ditch, there’s this three meter absence of ditch, exactly where we’re leaving the road. See, that’s a little bit of salvation right there, right?
 
Then, I find myself standing there with flesh eating bacteria and a pain that I never thought in my entire life, pushing the car out in the road again, while Leo is inside trying to help with driving and steering it. Which is insane in retrospective, but we had no idea what was wrong with me. And then, as we’re standing there, we notice that the car was pretty much fine and we were fine, but one of the tires had actually entirely left the rim of the wheel. So, we had to change the wheel in the middle of the road, in the middle of the night, in minus degrees, snow, no gloves, no jacket. And I was there hardly being able to stand, using my phone as a flash light, with hands that had no feeling at all, cause it was so cold. 
 
So, while we were shifting the wheel on this desolate road, there is a car stopping. Just the fact that a car is driving by is miraculous enough. This young guy opens the passenger’s door and leans over from the driver’s seat and yells to us “Do you need help?”.  Leo and me are very polite persons and so what happens is I see that he has this gas station plastic bags in the passenger seat and in a split second I have made this entire story in my head that this is a young guy that wants to spend the Sunday night cozy. He’s been driving to the gas station, he’s been buying a Coke and a bag of chips and he’s on his way home to watch his favorite movie or TV show on a TV and having a nice, warm evening and then he feels the need to stop and ask us if we need help. But, of course, he just wants to go home. So, I can’t say “Yes, we need help!”. And Leo is exactly the same kind of person. So, when you get to it, I’m having flesh eating bacteria, on the way to the emergency room, we’ve just left the road, the car is broken and Leo’s standing there, changing the tires without gloves or anything, in minus degrees and it’s night. So he’s asking and both of us are like “No, no, no, we’re fine!”.  He says ok, he is a little bit confused and then he drives off. Then both of us are going like “that was probably the only help we could ever get. You realize what we just did, right?”. I think that was also a bit of salvation, him stopping there. But we didn’t take that salvation… (many laughs).
 
So, we come to the emergency ward after a few hours. I’m going in and I’m explaining the pain and it feels like someone is gripping my spine with really hard tools. Just like yanking away all they can at my spine. And then it’s small, and then it’s red and it’s progressing really fast. And they don’t have any guy working with bones, I don’t find the exact word… They don’t have any doctor for skeletons… (laughs). They don’t have that this night for some reason, so they say I should go home and come back tomorrow.
 
And this is the thing. If we hadn’t left the road and had the accident and got through all that stuff for Leo to get me to the hospital, I would probably have accepted that and gone home. But, just having been through that and Leo having driven all the way out to my place in the countryside, driving me in, having the accident, having to change tires in the middle of the road, crashing the plastic parts on the back of his car… if he hadn’t done that, I would probably have accepted that. I was on my way to do the same thing with the car that stopped and go like “Ok”. And then I just felt that after all this at least they have to look at it, at least I’ll have a doctor look at it. So, I said that “I need someone to look at it. I don’t think it has to do with the actual spine. It just hurts at the spine. Please have someone look at it. I’m begging you”. And so they did. And they came to the conclusion very quickly that it was not the spine, it was some sort of infection. So, I’m thinking, if we didn’t have that accident, things could have played out really differently. 
 
So, yes that was the pain of salvation for that night… (laughs)
 
Maybe instead of a documentary you should consider a movie… I see drama, comedy, adventure there…
 
(laughs) I think that day could be like a Fargo movie. Just all these really weird situations… That ‘d be fun. I’ll sit down with Leo and talk about who would actually be playing us… (laughs)