Interview: Daniel Palmqvist

Dan McAvinchey: Daniel let's dive right into your solo album, "A Landscape Made From Dreams". When did you write the songs, and what did you strive to achieve when recording began?

Daniel Palmqvist: Two of the tracks, "Moment Of Clarity" and "Riddle Me This", were written about seven years ago while I was studying at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. The rest of the songs were written shortly after I got signed with Lion Music. It was actually a pretty speedy process.

As far as what I wanted to achieve with this album, my producer Daniel Flores and I had a clear goal to make an album with good songs that could appeal to both musicians and to non-musicians as well. It's a guitar album, so there's a lot of guitar playing and solos, obviously, but the songs and the overall production was our number one priority.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you practice in order to get to the advanced level of playing you are now at?

Daniel Palmqvist: Oh, that's a hard question to answer, but I'll try. More importantly than talking about obvious stuff like; "practice with a metronome or a drum machine" and so on, I think one really important factor is to listen a lot to "good players" (which is a matter of personal taste, of course) and try to emulate and imitate the things you like with their playing style. And I don't necessarily mean that you should copy stuff "note for note", although that might be a good idea to do that too from time to time.

I had the privilege of having Johnny Ohlin of Dionysus (and earlier Nation) as my guitar teacher when I was 12 years old. I learnt a lot from Johnny when I studied with him, and maybe more importantly, I was inspired by his great playing and he got me to listen to players like Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Lukather, Michael Schenker and Reb Beach to name a few. I think that listening to these players really helped me to become aware of aspects like vibrato, technique, and phrasing and so on, and it gave me something to aim for. Since then I have studied with several good teachers and tried to stay open to different styles of music and influences.

Dan McAvinchey: What in your opinion is essential for a great guitar solo?

Daniel Palmqvist: That depends on the song and the style of music. But generally speaking I like to listen to players who take you on a journey and have a clear direction and build-up to their solos. Kind of like a composition within the composition, although the element of improvisation is also very important factor of course.

Dan McAvinchey: What are your favorite tracks on "A Landscape Made From Dreams"?

Daniel Palmqvist: They are all my "babies" in a way, ha ha. But I really like "Moment Of Clarity" because of the vibe and what I feel is a strong melody. I also like "If Things Were Different". It's the "softest" song on the album and I think I get to show a different side of my playing on that track. The title track is also a favorite because of the melody and because that song takes the listener on a musical "journey" in a way. But tomorrow I might have a different set of favorites.

Dan McAvinchey: How did you hook up with Lion Music?

Daniel Palmqvist: I had collaborated with Daniel Flores on several projects in the past, and since he was signed on Lion Music with his band Mind's Eye he recommended me to Lasse at Lion Music. It's a very good label for this style of music.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you get the chance to play your instrumental compositions in a live setting?

Daniel Palmqvist: Not at the moment, which is too bad. I would really look forward to playing my music live, and if the right circumstances would emerge, it sure would be a blast!

Dan McAvinchey: Do you find your solo work to be more creatively satisfying than some of the things you have done previously?

Daniel Palmqvist: I find it very rewarding to play a lot of different styles of music, and it's always a great learning experience to record and play with different projects/bands. But my solo album is very close to my heart of course, and it's great to get to play my own compositions and really stretch out as a guitar player.

Dan McAvinchey: Have you heard any new guitarists that have really caught your ear in the past couple of years?

Daniel Palmqvist: Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry (who also co-wrote two of the tracks) has been a big inspiration to me for a long time, and he's finally starting to get some well-deserved attention. Marco Sfogli also caught my attention on Lames LaBrie's album "Elements Of Persuasion". He's a really melodic and interesting player with awesome technique.

Dan McAvinchey: Other than guitar-oriented music, what kind of music do you like to listen to?

Daniel Palmqvist: I listen a lot to progressive rock/metal. Dream Theater, Symphony X and Mind's Eye are some of my favorite bands in that genre. But I also listen to singer songwriters/artists like James Taylor, Kip Winger, Sting and Peter Gabriel. A good melody is a good melody, it doesn't matter if it's sung or played on a flute as far as I'm concerned. Classic hard rock bands like Deep Purple and Whitesnake have also been big influences.

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Dan McAvinchey: Give us an idea of what's coming up in the future for you.

Daniel Palmqvist: I'm currently writing new material for a second instrumental solo album, and I'm really happy with the new ideas I have so far. But right now, my number one priority is a new band with Daniel Flores on drums and Maria Radsten on vocals. The style is reminiscent of Evanescence and Within Temptation, heavy with strong melodies.

Dan McAvinchey: If you could do a once-off album project with any guitarist in the world, who would it be?

Daniel Palmqvist: I have so many heroes, so choosing just one is tricky. Maybe I would pick Steve Morse. I think he's a good songwriter and he seems to be a really nice guy too - so I'm sure that would be fun.

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Swedish guitar maestro Daniel Palmqvist blazes on his most recent solo album, released through Lion Music, entitled "A Landscape Made From Dreams". His playing combines the technical proficiency of players such as Eric Johnson, Allan Holdsworth, Pat Metheny and Steve Lukather along with a strong dose of melody to make his own unique voice.

Dan McAvinchey had a couple of questions for Palmqvist, which the enthusiastic Swede was most happy to answer Here's how it went.