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Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Kalle Wallner of RPWL
MSJ: It's been a while since we've done an interview with you guys. Can you catch the readers up on what's been going on in the world of RPWL for the last two or three years?

Especially in the last years we’ve been very busy and finally we had many releases of the RPWL family. I released two albums with my solo-project Blind Ego (Mirror 2007 and Numb 2009), Chris did his solo-work Parzivals Eye and with RPWL we released many albums: the limited edition 9, the very important The RPWL Experience album 2008 and its live DVD The RPWL Live Experience and last but not least we started up the RPWL 10th anniversary with the album The Gentle Art Of Music this year. This is a double album which contains a compilation of all our studio-works and the Revisited disc on which we re-recorded and re-arranged old songs in a new more acoustic way with many special instruments and guests. Another important step was founding our own label which is called “Gentle Art Of Music” as well. We found great distribution partners with Soulfood and ADA and it’s a great feeling to hold the business in our own hands.


If you weren’t involved in music what do you think you’d be doing?

I have no idea. It has always been my dream to become a guitarist, especially when I started playing in a band at the age of 11. Music was always the most important thing in my life. So it’s hard to imagine that I’d be doing something else.


 How would you describe the sound of RPWL?

First of all it’s very emotional music. It was always an attribute of RPWL to write songs that are working just with an acoustic guitar or piano as well. Yogi is caring a lot about the lyrics of a song and finally about the topic of each album. So it’s worth to listen to it not only nearby.

We always try to arrange the instruments in a song functionally. Every song can work without a solo, but a solo can’t work without a song. Of course our sound has lots of influences especially of the seventies art-, symphonic-, prog-rock or however you will name this kind of music. But I’m sure we more and more found our own way and I’m very happy that you can hear the development on each record.


What’s ahead for you?

We are very happy with our new label situation, so we are really looking forward to produce our upcoming regular studio-album this summer and autumn. So this will be out next spring. But in between we are planning the release of Yogi’s solo-work in the early October. This might be interesting because after the solo-albums of Chris and mine this is the last puzzle for hearing how the different main influences of RPWL sound particularly.


Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

Well, in the past we had the opportunity to play with many great musicians, e.g. Ray Wilson, Igor Cavalera, Guy Pratt, John Jowitt, Paul Wrightson and many more. On the Gentle Art Of Music album Tom Norris from the London Symphony Orchestra did all the strings arrangements and played violin and viola himself. He is a brilliant musician and it was awesome to work with him. So you never know what will be up. There are so many great musicians in the world I’d like to play with, it would be hard for me to pick just some of them.


Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians? It's been said by the major labels that it's essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales - would you agree?

It is definitively a big problem. Many bands will not be able to finance making their music in the future. But the main aspect I’m scared of is less appreciation for music. The next generation is not used to pay for a song neither on CD nor in the web. So this might be the end for music in this kind we know. But on the other hand the world became closer due to the internet and I’m sure we wouldn’t have so many friends and fans all over the world without it. So for smaller bands the internet with all its advantages and disadvantages can be a good thing as well. You see I’m trying to think optimistically!


In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I can’t approve this. Of course, if there’s just someone who just wants to archive some concerts for his private library, it’s not that bad. But trading with them is like a thievery. At least you breach the copyrights and finally the property of the band.


If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

I don’t have one of them. I’m not such a jealous or aggressive person who is looking around to find a nemesis. I’m concentrating on my own music and my own career. I think everyone should have respect for the music and the work of other people.


If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it and why?

Difficult question… and very similar to one above. I like lots of different styles so I had to choose for every song different musicians… (laughter)… I think there are too many great musicians that I could not choose just a few.


If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

Unfortunately there is no chance to bring The Beatles and Pink Floyd back. But they would be definitively part of it.


What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

My last CDs I bought were Fleetwood Mac (Rumours), Creed (Full Circle) and Tool (Undertow). Obviously I lost my vinyl edition of Rumours, so it was high time to get it again. I’m a big fan of Mark Tremonti’s guitar playing, so it was a must to grab this. Undertow was the only album I was missing in my Tool collection - one of my favorite bands.


What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

I joined the last concert of Elbow in Munich. Very good band and great concerts! I like the smaller venues much more than these big shows.


Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

As this is our tenth anniversary I really want to say thank you to all the friends and fans who supported us that much during the first 10 years. Cheers to the next ten!

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at
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