Fredrik Pihl is a Swedish guitarist. He released his first album, Silhouettes in 2011 and is currently writing for his follow-up release. He is also a guitar teacher and a member of the band The Rockoutz. He answered 18 questions for Korea Guitar. Here they are. Enjoy!
- Why do you play the guitar?
I picked up the guitar at the age of twelve after watching a Guns N’ Roses show on TV. I was heavily influenced by bands like GN’R, Metallica and Iron Maiden and devoted myself to learn their songs. 23 years later I still feel the same devotion towards playing the guitar. It’s like a necessity, almost like breathing.
2. What was your first guitar?
My very first guitar was a black stratocaster copy by a brand called Kingston guitars. Never heard about the brand afterwards so I guess they don’t exist anymore. I played and abused that thing for a couple of years and then my father gave me an Ibanez Roadstar II series guitar that became my main guitar for a long time.
3. Who was your biggest musical influence?
Growing up, my biggest influences were without a doubt Slash and Kirk Hammett. These two gentlemen were the reason I started playing. Later I began enjoying the playing of Marty Friedman, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. And the list of influences has evolved a lot since then….
4. What was the first concert you ever saw?
Funny enough, the first concert I remember was actually a Guns N’ Roses show in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1992. I was totally blown away!
5. If you could form a band with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
This is a tricky question. Playing in a band is a matter of two key factors to me: musicianship and getting along socially. Since I’m already in a band called The Rockoutz (www.therockoutz.com), I would probably choose this band. We get along great and we are having loads of fun playing together, which I believe is shown when we play live.
6. What’s your dream guitar?
I would say my dream guitar is already in my possession. It is my Vigier double neck guitar with a fretless neck on top and a fretted bottom neck. It has everything I need.
7. List 5 albums that you think every guitar player should own?
1.Allan Holdsworth – Hard Hat Area
2. Shawn Lane – Powers of Ten
3. Yngwie Malmsteen – Rising Force
4. Eric Johnson – Ah Via Musicom
5. Mattias IA Eklundh – Freak Guitar
Well, I’m a Swedish rock/fusion player and I write my own music as well as playing in a band called The Rockoutz (as mentioned in the previous question). Furthermore, I also do session work on occasion for different bands and musicians as well as demos for various endorsing companies. I could bore all of you with deeper info and details, but I rather suggest you check out my website: http://www.fredrikpihl.com
- Is shred a bad word? (Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but there are always the purists who say “Gilmour said more with one note than Malmsteen did in 500.”)
I guess it depends on whom you’re asking… It’s like asking a person if oranges are the best fruits to eat. It is all a matter of taste and in the ears of the listener. But here is my personal opinion on the matter:
In order for shredding to be as interesting as possible I think it should be sparingly used. I always prefer a nice and clever melodic phrase to lightning fast playing, but at the same time a fast or technical moment in a song could really add some tension and contrast. So why not bring the best from both worlds? Many musicians are trapped in the belief that they have to choose one before the other, but that is not the case. Music is a free art form and there are no right or wrong ways of expressing yourself. It’s all up to the listener to decide whether he/she enjoys your art.
10. Tell us all about your first album, Silhouettes, and what you have planned for your second release.
I wrote and recorded that album back in 2011 and the whole process from idea to finished album took about a year. Music-wise I would describe it as instrumental progressive metal, with flavours from jazz, fusion and modern classical music. The album is quite dark and ominous but still melodic and romantic in its nature. It also features guest appearances by my good friends Ron ”Bumblefoot” Thal, Lalle Larsson and Mattias IA Eklundh. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify or as physical CDs.
My next album is slowly in the writng process right know. I haven’t got a deadline, it will take as much time as it needs to be done. The music will be very different from Silhouettes, more easy to handle rock/fusion and it might even include some vocals…
11. Name the three things every guitar player should know?
- Be a person that other people want to work with. Be humble and professional, nobody wants to work with an egocentric douchebag. Be reliable, i.e. show up on time to rehearsals/gigs and be well prepared for the job you are about to do.
- Figure out what kind of player you want to be and work towards that. You only need to be good enough to play the music that you want to do. Although, being as diverse as possible is a good thing, because you never know where the musical roads in life take you.
3. Don’t be too obsessed with your practicing and playing. Go out and experience life because that is what gives us inspiration to make music.
12. What’s the greatest guitar song ever recorded?
Guitars SUCK by Bumblefoot. Suiting name too…
Ok, here comes the loooooong answer for this interview. 🙂 I’m endorsed by the following fine companies: Vigier guitars, DiMarzio pickups, RotoSound strings, Pedal Tank pedals, Free the tone solderless patch cables and YouRock midi guitars. Please check my website for more specific details. http://www.fredrikpihl.com/gear.html
For recording I use Logic Pro on an iMac computer. I use a load of plugins by various companies and a new favorite is an ENGL Powerball custom shop patch that I got for Amplitube 3. Sounds killer!
Live I use a Peavey 5150 head and a Harley Benton 2*12 speaker with Celestion vintage 30 elements. I also use my big pedal board, which gets updated all the time. I mainly use Pedal Tank pedals on there but also some other goodies. I use a Joyo PLX8-loop switcher to switch between different pedal presets. It really makes my life a lot easier, rather than quick step dancing whenever I need to change sounds.
For smaller gigs I use an Ibanez TSA30 head with a 1*12 cabinet.
14. Any new players out that we should that impress you that we should check out?
There are so many great players out there and thanks to YouTube, Facebook and other social medias I keep losing track. I actually stopped looking for new talent but every once in a while I come across someone who plays great. Alex Hutchings is a new player that I really enjoy; at least his music is fairly new to me.
- Who’s the best guitarist you’ve ever shared a stage with?
Hard to say… but I think I have to go with my good friend Christian Johansson. We always inspire each other and push our musical and guitar playing limits together.
16. What’s in the future for you?
My idea is mainly to just keep on playing and having fun, learning new things and stay inspired. I’m going to continue the work on my next album as well as continue to work with the band. Other than that I have no idea what the future will bring, only time will tell. 🙂
17. My brother owns a School of Rock in Ottawa, Canada. He teaches a bunch of kids how to perform in bands. What advice would you give to these kids about being a musician?
Simply to have fun! Music is something we should do to feel better and a tool to express our lives with. If your goal is to make a living as a full time musician you need to work hard and be flexible and diverse. The music industry is a tough business with a lot of competition for the jobs.
When you play in a band, remember that the song always comes first, not your fancy guitar playing. The drummer is the boss and you should follow him.
18. You’re Swedish so I have to ask about your thoughts on Yngwie Malmsteen.
One of my biggest influences for sure. I met Yngwie many years ago and had a nice conversation. He is truly one of the greatest out there!