Artist Interview: Sigurd Wallsten
Tell us about yourself and your music
I started playing electric guitar when I was 10 years old in Boca Raton, Florida. My mom told me, “You must play an instrument.” Thinking that over, I choose the electric guitar. After a slow start and over the years, I continued to develop more skills, creativity and a desire for song writing. When I joined the US Army, I continued to jam and even formed a few bands with friends but nothing that lasted. Rock/Metal music fundamentally motivates me, so I found that continuing to play was relatively easy. In 2015, I decided to take the Sigurd Wallsten solo act to the next level with a plan to produce and release the 6 albums I had created over the years. The name Sigurd Wallsten was chosen as a memorial to my Swedish grandfather from my father’s side of our family. He was a violin player and lifelong musician. The Sigurd Wallsten goal has been to reach the most fans with rock solid tunes. Continuing to grow, I’ve released the Sigurd Wallsten music world-wide through Tune Core which has been an excellent experience with massive distribution at low cost. My first release, “Roman Battle” joined the digital world last February (2016) and my second project “Volcano Burst” was released in October (2016). For the readers, I will add; principally, you must empower yourself to accomplish your vision, enjoy what you do, work your plan and then strive for higher goals. Also, make your main effort a daily routine. The third Sigurd Wallsten release “Valley of Decision” is set to be released in March 2017.
Talk to us more about your latest release
The Volcano Burst album is an all instrumental collection mostly rock/metal, but some lighter and diverse songs have been included on this album. Because I’m a lead guitar player, these songs were composed on the guitar with the supporting instrument parts written later in the process. I fundamentally strive for a positive message, even though negativity and evil exists all around us. Specifically, we can’t let negativity dominate us as evil themes are very popular now with new music. Likewise, all Volcano Burst songs are positive in concept and as instrumentals contain no hidden meanings. As for the songs; “Very Far Away”, “Fridays Here”, “Optimistic Fool” and “The Speculator” are positive, up-tempo songs that are intended to be driving and energetic. The songs “Perpetual Rule”, “Party Rock Song” and “The Falcon” are heavier and designed as more forceful. “Perpetual Rule” is a statement against those songs that glamorize Satan and evil. The actual leader is God and His reign is perpetual, permanent and victorious. The title track, Volcano Burst is a unique song with a slower tempo and steady delivery. Passion and Mystery is the most diverse song of the twelve. This song is the only song not composed on the guitar, it was written on my synthesizer / keyboard. Overall, positive and energetic guitar jamming instrumentals with a diverse sound emphasizing lead guitar. Volcano Burst was recorded in the Sigurd Wallsten project studio in El Paso, Texas USA and mastered by Colin Davis from Imperial Mastering.
What inspired you to write this release?
My song writing inspiration comes from many directions. My moods swing and since I play guitar for about 2 hours most days, I channel my thoughts onto the fret-board. Nearly all my inspiration derives in this way as I play the electric guitar. For the Volcano Burst project, since I wrote this album over a couple of months, it was a slow and steady building process that resulted in the final production. For individual songs, I like a solid rock beat. When working out in my studio, I like to exercise to Roman Battle songs. I also practice martial arts with these songs jamming on the stereo. It has helped me stay motivated. When composing a new song, I like to feel the song’s rhythm and then add the lead guitar notes to add depth to the creation. Developing the arrangement is also an important part of the creativity cycle. After the song parts are developed and aligned into the arrangement, I then create the guitar/instrument leads. When I have captured the instrument leads, then I move to the mix down phase to complete the song.
Any plans to release a video?
Yes, I’m working on producing music videos. Because, I am a one-person activity, it is tough to produce a video with only one performer while enhancing song originality. For now, I am focused on my third album release, but sometime this Summer around June/July, there will be Sigurd Wallsten music videos for selected Roman Battle and Volcano Burst songs available on YouTube. All currently released Sigurd Wallsten songs are posted on YouTube, but as music only with the album cover displayed.
Any plans to hit the road?
Currently there are no scheduled shows until December 2017 because I am currently serving in the Army and living in Saudi Arabia. Once I return to the United States, I will be playing shows in El Paso, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and Phoenix, AZ.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
My objective is to make guitar instrumental songs more mainstream, however I admit that this will be very difficult. For some genres, like classical music, it is mostly instrumental and for movie parts instrumentals have a role. The most popular Rock/Metal songs have vocalists. To produce instrumental songs in this environment, you really need to have a micro niche. With most listeners, you don’t have a lot of time to develop a song instrumentally. The song must hit hard fast, have obvious originality up front and maintain a superior sonic quality. Even with these obstacles, I strive to create songs that will be entertaining as instrumentals.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I listen to such a diverse group of genres that it is impossible for me to really answer this question with accuracy. For metal, I like older Ozzy Osborne, mainly the songs with Randy Rhodes. I like Sabaton, Fates Warning, and Mastodon. I have also been listening to new bands on Sound Cloud and Reverb Nation. I like the band Hessa from the Netherlands. Overall, when listening to unknown bands, it is amazing how many great bands there are that don’t make it big. Obviously, you need more than excellent songs and production to become popular.
Tell us about your passions
I like to play ice hockey. I’ve been playing for 10 years and not only follow my home team, the Florida Panthers, I play 2 to 3 times a week when I’m back in the states. I also like working out, basically cardio and light gym workouts. Finally, anything outdoors is a welcome break, like hiking, boating, fishing etc.
What else is happening next in your world?
The next event is to complete the “Valley of Decision” album, have it mastered and then marketed for world-wide distribution. I am targeting 15 March as the release date.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Gregory!