Interview – Filip Dahl

We’ve featured Filip Dahl’s music a few times now, and it just seems to get better and better. I decided it was finally time to have a chat with this musical great – read on below to find out more!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a track titled Cry Of A Broken Heart, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the song?

Cry Of A Broken Heart is a guitar-based ballad which starts off almost unplugged, with only lead guitar, piano and acoustic guitar, but it develops and grows throughout the whole track and ends up in a grand finale. Both the title and the mode of the track itself has clearly a very sad and emotional aspect, especially for everyone who has experienced deep sadness. I have tried to let the instrumental track express this and it will hopefully grab the listener in a way that touches their hearts and minds.

Your music is largely instrumental. Why did you decide to go down this route, instead of adding vocals?

It can indeed be very difficult to express feelings and emotions without having vocals and lyrics which directly tell the listener a clear story. I do, however, really like the challenge it is to try to express the emotions and feelings that I want to provide to the listener only by the tones from my guitar instead. It is so rewarding if you can manage to do that and thereby keep them engaged in your music. The feedback that I have got from fans and reviewers on the instrumental music that I have released recently has also been a great inspiration for me to keep on going further down this route.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

My work has in fact not been affected or hindered at all, especially compared to many bands and fellow musicians who really has struggled so hard during the pandemic. This is mainly due to that I have my own basement studio and that my work so far has been a ‘one man band’ project. I have actually been more productive than ever during the pandemic, as it gave me the opportunity to spend even more time in my studio writing, arranging and recording new music.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I do not believe that it is possible to just sit down and decide that now is the time to write a new track. My inspiration and ideas for a new track does often starts up with just a chord sequence, a riff on a guitar or sometimes a keyboard part which suddenly can turn up out of the blue when I am just playing around with an instrument for relaxation. I usually record these ideas on as a rough sketch and then build a full-length track from there by adding more parts bit by bit. The first part is normally writing the basic rhythm parts for drums, bass and piano and then start to add more keyboards and guitar parts gradually until I reach a fully instrumented track ready for mixdown.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

There will certainly be more singles coming along soon, as I already have started on a couple of new tracks. I assume that the first one will be released sometimes in August or September this year.

Have you started writing for an EP or an album?

Yes, I have thought that it might be time to release an EP or an album again. It will most likely only instrumental tracks this time, with the main focus on the guitar as lead instrument. It is always challenging to produce a fully consistent album, but it is in my opinion also much more rewarding than just releasing a single when you finally have reached the goal.

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

My main influences, when I started to play guitar back in the late 70s, were iconic guitarists like Carlos Santana, Richie Blackmore and David Gilmour. There are so many great guitarists that I have discovered and admired since then, but one who really has made a huge impression on me is Jason Becker. He was such a talented and promising guitarist before he was diagnosed with ALS and ended up being totally crippled and not able to play, speak or move at all. His tragic destiny is indeed heart-breaking and something which normally would have stopped anyone’s life and musicianship completely. The fact that he still carries on to write and arranges great music just by communicating what he wants to express with eye movements has made such a deep and lasting impression on me. I have recently been listening a lot to his latest album, Triumphant Hearts, as it gives me more inspiration to carry on making music.

I do otherwise listen to all kinds of music as long as it manages to touch something within me, and that means literally everything from classic music to hip-hop.

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

I am based in Trondheim in Norway and I have been around in the music scene here since the late 70’s as lead guitarist in various bands and later also as recording engineer/producer and a studio owner. Norway has really an ongoing great music scene with many well-known and established bands, but not at least so many still undiscovered great underground and indie artists to check out.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

There are unfortunately not any current plans or dates lined up for a tour since I still am a ‘one man band’, something which means playing all the instruments on my tracks myself. It would be really great to get a band together and perform my music for a live audience as I believe that it would be an amazing experience.

Any last words for the fans?

Making music and releasing it is always a bit scary, as you are putting so much effort and personal emotions into it. The biggest reward for me therefore is when someone actually is listening to it. I would therefore use this opportunity to say thank you very much to all my fans for listening and providing such great feedback. It really keeps me inspired to carry on further, so watch out for more music coming from me soon.