Swedish guitarist Kristofer Dahl didn’t always dream of playing music professionally – before he started Guitar Master Class, he studied mathematics, environmental care, political science, and even dabbled in sport fishing. After learning his chops from Therion guitarist Kristian Niemann, he’s spent the last 15 years working as a professional musician and instructor. He’s the founder of GMC and has recently released a new single, “Love Me”, and I’m stoked to have him on the blog today.
Steff Metal: First of all, tell us who you are and what you do?
Kristofer: Hey there! I am a Swedish guitarist who started the website GuitarMasterClass.net (GMC). Most of my time is spent developing and maintaining GMC, improving my guitar playing, singing and songwriting!
S: How long have you been playing guitar? What make you choose this instrument?
K: I have been practicing seriously since the age of 18. I just had to get an electric guitar because it was (and still is!) the coolest instrument I could think of.
S: How did you learn the guitar – from books / teachers / watching youtube / hitting it until something musical happened? What helped you take your guitar playing to the next level?
K: I mostly learned from old REH instructional videos. I also took lessons for one year with Kristian Niemann and we went through basic theory + he inspired me with his incredible chops.
S: What kind of reaction did you get when you told people you were learning the guitar to play heavy metal? How easy is it to find teachers and fellow musos who want to teach and metal guitar?
K: Hehe well at the time, my parents weren’t too happy about the noise and attitude that came with heavy metal. Finding metal people in Stockholm is doable, although the music scene might be better elsewhere.
S: What got you in to heavy metal guitar?
K: Well I started with Metallica/GNR/Nirvana, then I slowly drifted towards fusion/shred music and then I found my way back to metal with Bands like Rammstein / System Of A Down / Nightwish.
S: What makes playing metal different from other guitar styles?
K: Metal focuses on heaviness and attitude – add melodies and a fresh arrangement on top of that and you get a cool metal tune!
S: Who are some of your guitar idols, and why?
K: I like guitarists who think “outside the box”, and some of those are Greg Howe, Marty Friedman, Allan Holdsworth. I think those guys have gone way beyond just playing cliché licks at high speed. The guitar needs more innovators!
S: Tell us about the inspiration behind “Love Me”?
K: I have always wanted to try opera in a heavy kind of context – and since no opera singers came knocking on my door I decided to record everything myself … I like the meeting between the the heavy, ‘spoken’ kind of Rammstein voice and the high pitched opera voice. Of course I had to drain the whole thing in wet guitar lines, not to forget where I come from! ;)
S: Let’s talk gear. What do you use and love? What guitar would you play if money was no object?
K: I play a Parker Nitefly and an American Deluxe Stratocaster. I am really interested in the following brands/models – Parker Fly Mojo, Steinberger ZT-3, Suhr – but I haven’t been able to try them here in Stockholm yet.
I play a Mesa Boogie Mark V – and I currently use a TS808 and a Boss DD-3 pedals.
S: What are some of albums and artists you’re excited about this year?
K: There is a relatively new Swedish act – RAUBTIER – which is just fantastic if you are into the Rammstein kind of thing. Another one is CORRODED which to me is a little like a super melodic Metallica. ROYAL REPUBLIC is like The Hives on steroids, with lots of groove (yeah it’s not all about heavy metal!). I could keep going forever …
S: What’s next for Kristofer Dahl?
K: I like to see myself as a perfectionist so I will keep doing what I do and just try to get better at it, in other words: Make GMC an even better place for learning guitarists, and develop my musical abilities.
S: Do you think the internet has made it easier / harder for new musicians to make a name for themselves in the metal world? What do you suggest new bands do to gain exposure?
K: Easier for sure! But the ways of getting there are different and very new, so I think it’s going to take some time until people “get it”. As an example my “Love Me” video at Youtube has got 100k views after less than a month and I have never been backed up by a major label.
My number #1 advice for new musicians would be to not only be musicians: You should also dive into other departments – marketing, audio/video production or follow new social web trends etc – and the world will be yours! And don’t worry, most of it is fun, once you get into it.
S: What do you think the GMC community can offer to people keen to learn metal guitar?
K: It can offer you a place to test your skills and get helpful/constructive feedback – before you hit the stage. If you are a beginner guitarist it will teach you the foundations of riffing and soloing.
S: What advice can you give to anyone wanting to learn to play guitar?
K: The key to success is TIME, the more time you put into your playing the better you will be. However in order to practice all day long you need to have FUN – that is why you should always focus on having fun when you play guitar. Just pick a GMC lesson which you like the sound of and that seems doable to you. We have so much cool stuff you will be able to keep going all day long, without ever having to go through boring stuff (like a traditional music school).
Good luck – and if you have any further questions you know where to find me!
Check out Kristofer Dahl’s new single “Love Me” on youtube. The vocals in this might not appeal to many of you, but you can’t fault the kick-ass riffing or the solo.
On GMC at the moment, there’s an exclusive walkthrough to help you learn this song. Steff Metal – in association with GuitarMasterClass – are giving away SIX memberships to the GMC guitar forum. To enter, simply leave a comment on any of the Metal Guitar Week articles – the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win!