YNGWIE MALMSTEEN On Why He Doesn’t Work With Co-Producers & Co-Writers: “I Want A Pure Expression Of Myself, Not Diluted By Having Anyone Else”

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In a recent press conference at Hellfest in Clisson, France, renowned Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen elaborated on his unconventional views on music production and songwriting. To illustrate why he prefers to produce his album entirely on his own, instead of relying on outside producers, he recounted an amusing anecdote from his early days in America, highlighting a cultural misunderstanding that somehow shaped his musical philosophy.

“I have a funny story to tell you guys. When I was a very young man, I came to America. I lived in America most of my life, and I spoke very, very good English coming to America, but there were some terms I didn’t understand; I didn’t get ’em, really, ” he remembered (as transcribed by Blabbermouth). “So I’m in the studio, and there was a producer there. And I’m doing a solo, and he goes, ‘Oh, wow. That was really good, man. Yeah. Can we do one more? A little slower. Remember: less is more.’ And I looked at him, like, ‘Oh, you mean more is more, right?’ And that was an honest reaction because I didn’t know that stupid way of saying things because less is not more; more is more.”

Malmsteen emphasized his preference for solo work, citing his early start in music at age seven and his clear vision for his sound and compositions. He explained: “Basically, what a lot of people might not know is that I started playing when I was five years old — seven. I got my first guitar was five, but I started playing when I was seven. And I was so extreme that I was having bands put together where I wrote the songs, I was the singer and a guitar player. I was a little kid, like fucking Michael Jackson or something, and I had a 20-year-old bass player and a 20-year-old drummer or whatever. From day one I did that. I was always a solo artist — always. And I never had a question about what I wanted. I never had a question about what I wanted to do with things, or how I wanted to sound. I knew what it was. I knew what I wanted to play. I know what I wanna write. I know what kind of sound I want.”

“I’m not knocking producers. I think they’ve done a lot of good things for a lot of bands. Mutt Lange is amazing. He made great music with the group — great direction, all this stuff. Martin Birch — a lot of people like that,” Malmsteen continued. “The difference is that I already have this in my head. It’s already there. So when I have someone else coming in, it doesn’t add — it dilutes. Same thing with songwriting. And some people might think that, oh, I’m an egotist, whatever. No. The music is done. It’s finished. All I do is play it and record it. That’s all I do.”

Malmsteen also touched on the differences between his creative process and traditional rock songwriting partnerships, comparing his style to classical composers like Johann Sebastian Bach. He emphasized that this method isn’t driven by ego but by a desire for pure self-expression

“In rock and roll, even if you’re a solo artist, like Ozzy Osbourne or whoever, they have songs written for them, they have producers and stuff like this. I don’t do that. I do everything. I do everything. And it’s not because I’m an egotistic person that I don’t want anybody else to take the credit. No. It’s because instead of what you would say a traditional rock and roll songwriting partnership, LennonMcCartneyKeith RichardsMick Jagger — I love all them guys; I think they’re fucking great. Instead of what they did, I work more like an author, like let’s say, Stephen King or Johann Sebastian BachJohann Sebastian Bach‘Brandenburg Concertos’, he would give the sheet music to all the musicians, and the cellist in the first row goes, Hey, can I play C sharp instead of C?’ No, he didn’t say that. He played the note that he was told because that was what was written by him.”

The guitarist likened his approach to that of an author or painter, creating complete works without outside input: “So, basically I’m like a painter or an author like this. Like a painter, I paint half the big painting and I call my friend and I say, ‘Hey, can you come and finish the half of my painting?’ No, I don’t do that. And that’s why I don’t have producers. That’s why I don’t have co-writers and so on. When I did have that, every single time I came out unhappy and I wasn’t pleased with the result. And I only live once. So what I wanna leave behind, what I wanna create, what I wanna put out on records, what I wanna perform on stage is something that is purely my expression. Because I have so much inside. I want a pure expression of myself. Not diluted by having Elvis Presley in the band. Most singers think they’re Elvis Presley. They’re not. They’re just another instrument in my orchestra.”

Yngwie will embark on a 40th-anniversary tour this fall. Support on the trek, which will kick off on September 26 in Fort Myers, Florida, and conclude on November 18 in New York City, will come from singer-songwriter Kurt Deimer. Check out the available date HERE.


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