Interview with Dan Swano
Band: Dan Swano
By: JorZine.com - 2012-12-01
Dan Swano the multi-instrumentalist/producer and metal icon from Sweden, the mastermind behind Edge of Sanity, Odyssey and Nightingale, conributor and member in more than 80 of the best metal bands in the world like Bloodbath, Katatonia, Opeth and novembers doom to name a few. the man behind Unisound studio. released 2 of the longest legendry tracks in the history of metal Cromsin I and II.
Dan recently worked with bands from the Middle East, Bilocate (vocals), Kaoteon, Grieving Age and Baht (mixing and mastering)... 3 pages wont be enough to talk about Dan Swano but JorZine got an exclusive interview for the first time in the history of metal in the Middle East that bring many personal and musical information to his fans... enjoy reading!
JZ: Hi Dan, and thanks for finding the time for this interview. How are you doing?
I am doing just fine, thank you. And you?
JZ: You are one of the most accomplished metal musicians out there, playing for over a dozen bands, I'm not sure how to introduce you. How would you introduce yourself?
Ha, ha... well... I sure have done a lot of project work over the years. I guess it all boils down to the fact that I must have something to do at all times or [else] I get depressed. I am definitely a work-a-holic. That and a sugar addict. Imagine the consequences ;) I am just a guy that loves a good tune, and I also love to mix and master a good sound!
JZ: You’ve contributed to more than 80 bands (as far as we know) whether it was vocals, guitars, drums, mixing, mastering..etc while most other well known musicians focused on one or two projects in all their careers. What were the driving forces behind this and how hard was it to dedicate the time and creativity for each project?
It must be more! Well, like I said before... I have some kind of disorder that forces me to do things at all times. In the early days it was easy to get the guys together and form a new project every night. Somehow, all of them spread like wildfire and most people seemed to believe that all bands rehearsed and played live.... [while] most of the bands only existed for a few hours, and then made a demo in my little studio....
JZ: Let's start with the classics, like Crimson I (1996). How did you get the idea and how did you feel while recording it (40 mins of non-stop blasting music)?
The idea had been there for quite some time. I grew up with 1 song epics. I was also fascinated [with] the works of Jean Michel Jarré and Mike Oldfield. Both have albums that was one song [and] lasted about 40 min, and some of them "broke free" from the rules of verse/chorus etc. and since I had come halfway (22 min) with Pan Thy Monium's, "Raagoonshinaah" on Dawn Of Dreams, I figured that it would be easier to get a long track together than ten, four minute tracks. It meant I had to come up with 10 choruses.. now I had to come up with... no chorus at all :) The recording was awesome. The writing session was one of the few times EOS really played and wrote together as a team. Writing the lyrics was much [harder] work and also the mix [was] kind of a drag... but I don't regret it one bit.
JZ: You recorded a sequel to Crimson which was also critically acclaimed, was it planned back in 1996 when the first Crimson was released? Are there any plans to make it into a triology?
Ha ha.... You never know. Musically there are "traces" of a CIII on the upcoming Witherscape record . wait and see :)
JZ: Have you ever played any of them (Crimson I and II) live? Are you planning to in the future... with who and when as we are sure everyone is eager to know.
Nope. We played the first 40 seconds of C1 on the Crimson tour!! Ha, ha....back then it would have been impossible for musical and technical reasons...nowadays I could probably get a band together that performed both albums back to back....the problem is that I would have to be in the line up and I kind of suck at gigging anything more complex than what I do with Nightingale.
JZ: Any plans for a new solo album or sequel to Moontower?
Not really. Witherscape is a bit like my soloalbum but with a co-pilot in Ragge Widerberg.Fans of Moontower will be delighted!!
JZ: Any plans for an unorthodox side project (like Pan.Thy.Monium)?
I would like to do more in that kind of "sick" style... but only a few songs, and with the "break thru" in downloads... it feels like the market for "a song here and there" has opened up and finally filled the void of the super-dead CD single.
JZ: What was your first project?
JZ: What was your first instrument?
Banging on pots, then drums
JZ: What triggered this impressive musical career and history you currently have?
I just wanted to do what my older brother did and get his approval. A few years down the path I got my own taste and when he went for jazz and stuff, I went death metal!
JZ: Recently you were involved with the Jordanian band Bilocate as guest vocals in their upcoming release and Mixtering (as you call it) for Kaoteon, Grieving Age and Baht, how did that happen? What is your impression about music from the Middle East?
It's not that complicated. The bands got in touch and I work with anyone :) Singing was a bit more "special" and not something I will do that much in the future. But since the last album from Nightingale was years and years ago, I figured it could be nice to have releases coming out with my voice it, a bit here & there! I like bands from "exotic" countries. Some of them have a bit more resistance in their home countries and are really driven by their passion for music. I have read about some bands that get arrested after every gig! That is dedication!
JZ: Bloodbath, one of the fastest growing Swedish Death Metal Band, had you as a founding member and yet, you decided to leave when the band hit it's peak, can you share with us what drove you to this decision?
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!
JZ: Dan Swano the musician who influenced many throughout the years, tell us about your personal influences (bands, musicians...etc).In nor particulat order, and probably missing half of them :)
Guitarists: Dann Huff, John Petrucci, Steve Rothery, Arjen Lucassen, Mike Slamer, Ragge Widerberg... and probably a hundred I forgot about.
Bass Players: Geddy Lee, Pete Trewavas
Drummers: Simon Phillips, Les Binks, Kim Ruzz, Nick D'Virgilio, Phil Collins, Terry Bozzio
Singers: Lou Gramm, Russell Allen, Russell Arcara, Steve Overland, Dann Huff, Alex Ligerwood, Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, Steve Hogarth, Fish and millions more!
Keybaordists: Tony Banks, Eddie Jobson, Didge Digital, Kevin Moore, Mark Kelly
Favorite bands are: Marillion, Rush, FM, Asia, Giant, Toto, Queensryche, Alter Bridge, Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback, Mercyful Fate, Daughtry, Dream Theater, Death, E.L.O., Foreigner, Genesis, U.K. Journey...
JZ: Unisound Studio, how did the idea come about and how has the transformation to an entrepreneur more than a touring artist changed the way you perceive music?
I started recording my own stuff, then later on, other bands [started to] learn the trade and in the end I was so popular that I had to make a choice of having a boring dayjob or go fulltime studio. I did some for a lot of years, then had a dayjob for some time and now I am back in fulltime studiowork, and it feels awesome!
JZ: Tell us about any futures plans for Edge of Sanity, should we expect something new after “When All is Said” or was that the end of the road as it indicates in the album name?
I re-mixed the Kur-Nu-Gi-A for release on Picture 12" and CD EP. It's out now from Black Mark. Hopefully, I will find the time to finished the "from the vaults" stuff off the EOS for release some time in a few years.
JZ: Is there anything else you would like to add to cover a story about a metal-icon like yourself? We would need around 50 pages if we were to ask you about everything! If there is anything we missed please feel free to share it with your fans in the Middle East.
Not really! I am perfectly happy with this interview the way it is! Good luck with all... and remember: No band is too big or too small for me to work with. As long as you pay, I'm here for you ;)
Thank you for your time! JorZine.com JorZine is a Mid-eastern Metal Webzine that supports the underground Rock & Metal scenes in the Middle East, offering bands the opportunity to go international and reach the world of metal music.