What´s up IA?
– All mighty tiptop here, thanks. Laying down the last bits and pieces of intense takes on my demanding compositions for the upcoming Freak Guitar Camp, the 21st in a row.
What´s the aim for your music in Freak Kitchen and solo?
– Mostly, without (hopefully) sounding arrogant, to please myself. I like to go where I haven't been to before. Exploring new stuff is everything. Building something out of nothing is still the ultimate kick. I dread and fear stagnation and always try to push forward. The monumental satisfaction when you've completed a piece of music that, at least from your own point of view, breaks new ground is immensely uplifting. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed. It's part of life.
Tell us about your summer Freak Guitar Camp!
– Oh, it's my annual highlight in so many, many ways. The workload is quite insane but the reward is tremendous and I can't see a summer without it. I salute the extremely brave and curious players from literally all over the world who come to the deep, dark woods of Sweden to learn unorthodox ways to approach music via the guitar. They're the best and I am so tremendously grateful I am able to do this.
Why do you prefer TT on your guitars?
– Don't get me started! TT-frets are the best thing that ever happened to the guitar. I believe you should have invented the frets before you invented the string. Once you tried it, there is no going back. Picking up a regular fretted instrument after having used True Temperament frets since 2008 is almost painful and you realize how dreadfully it intonates. Playing 8-string guitar with TT-frets is plain and simply divine. Building layers with single notes in any octave is sheer bliss. It's the best. Period.
And you focus playing only 8-string. Why?
– I like the options you get and the way I tune it (high to low: E, B, G, D, A, E, A, E) it turns into a chamber orchestra in a single instrument. An 8-string looks and smells metal, of course, but this doesn't necessarily have to be the case. So much of what I do has very little to do with so-called djent music, which is the easiest "trap" to fall into when you first pick up an 8- or 9-string guitar. I try to use it in a different way as much as possible (although I have nothing against djent).
Your 8-string True Temperament equipped Caparison almost sounds like a grand piano, speaking of the frequency range. A kind of full range instrument. Is it hard to get a decent, justifying sound? Does an ordinary guitar amp work fine?
– It does, it does, actually. Laney amps have been part of my rig since 1996 and they deliver the low end in such a grand way. Rock solid. However, I am also using the wonderful Helix by Line6 nowadays as it makes my life so much easier. Boy did the guys progress since the early days of the POD – which I pretty much detested. The Helix, both live and in the studio, is amazing and running it through my Laney to "reshuffle atoms" is the best of both worlds.
Your device ”Grow your own moustache!” is not a slogan for hipsters, right?
– Hahaha, oh, I hope not. I am a caveman pretty much with loads of hair everywhere, but I can't see myself visit a barbershop. I am way too primitive and would feel awkward. The expression comes from encouraging players to walk their own way. Always.
– Many, many. Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin, Dean Martin, AC/DC, Django Reinhardt, Van Halen, Slayer, Howard Shore, Metallica, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Michael Lee Firkins and countless others.
Plans for the near future?
– Well, this very moment I am drinking my second cup of coffee and bouncing the camp music, a true task to come up with new stimulating tunes that contain good stuff for your musical growth. I am also recording the 10th Freak Kitchen album for release late next year plus music for something I call Freak Audio Lab, but you'll hear more about that later on.
Tell us something you never told anyone before.
– I like to play a couple of Quake Champions online deathmatches every day before breakfast and complete my Daily Challenges. I am not sure why, but gaming, along with books and movies, gives me great pleasure in everyday life and cleanses my brain. I am "Mr Kaschei" out there if you want to hook up.