Yngwie Malmsteen Says He Owes His Success To Not Following Rock Trends
With his most recent album ‘Parabellum,’ Yngwie Malmsteen made it to the Billboard charts for the first time since 1988. The guitarist explained how he obtained this success and shared his point of view on how to be an original musician during his interview with 88 Miles.
Malmsteen is a widely appreciated musician who ranked No. 9 among the 11 greatest electric guitar players of all time. He is known for combining classical music with heavy metal as he was influenced by legendary classical music composers like Vivaldi, Niccolo Paganini, and Sebastian Bach. He followed his own path in the industry and became a unique musician by not following the trends of his contemporaries.
In his recent interview, he addressed why he chose this path after the interviewer asked if it was hard for him not to be influenced by trends. The guitarist said he was born in Sweden, and when he was young, he didn’t have a rock radio or TV channels to be influenced. However, later in his early teens, he started listening to the groundbreaking bands like Sex Pistols.
Even though he was exposed to American and English mainstream rock music, he continued doing what he wanted to do and didn’t think about matching people’s expectations. According to Malmsteen, a true artist is a person who expresses their inner melodies in their music and doesn’t copy others.
Yngwie Malmsteen said the following about not being influenced during his recent interview:
“What happened was, I grew up in a country called Sweden. I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and when I was a little kid in the 1970s, there was no scene, none. There was no rock television, radio, nothing. It was extremely barren. Basically, you would see three radio stations, one TV station, and two newspapers in the whole country. People like my older siblings would have records like Robert Palmer’s, so I would listen to this and be like, ‘I like this.’
But it was not like in America, cultural radio and stuff like that. So, the trends weren’t even something I was aware of in the very beginning. But then, when I started playing, in my early teens, like 12-13 years old and I was already out gigging, all of the sudden, there was a big change.
It was Sex Pistols and stuff like that, and everything just changed overnight. I just kept on doing what I was doing anyway. I didn’t even think about things like that. I just kept on doing it because I had that inner drive, the inner, relentless thing that music came out of, from the inside. I wasn’t listening to other people and copied them.”
Later in the interview, he stated how he made it to the Billboard chart with his latest album, ‘Parabellum.’ This was very rewarding for him because he insists that it was successful due to how reflects the music inside of him. He continued by assuming that he had followed the trends. Hence, if he did and became successful, he wouldn’t feel the same pride and satisfaction because it wouldn’t be genuine. He emphasized that an artist shouldn’t second guess their songs based on ‘what would everyone think.’
“The first time since 1988 I am actually Billboard charting on this album, and it’s extremely rewarding. Because, imagine if you’re like locked up in a room for a year, and all you do is paint. You don’t know if people are going to say, ‘Oh that’s nice.’ You just paint what you wanna paint, what feels inside you. And then you throw it out, and everybody likes it. Well, not everybody; some people hate it.
What I’m saying is, it’s extremely rewarding whereas, if I knew what was the trending thing, let’s say, like in the ’80s, there was this certain sound we knew, and I did a couple of songs back then. I wouldn’t feel much satisfied with that. To me, the biggest reward should be that you feel passionate and happy about your creation, and when you hear it, it stirs your insides. That’s the most important thing.
Now, if you have other people relating to that and liking it and understanding sometimes too then that’s extremely rewarding. For you to get to that point, you shouldn’t second guess, ‘I wonder if I do this like that they’re gonna like it more?’ Are you trying to please everybody? You end up pleasing no one. So, that’s where I’m at with that.”
‘Parabellum’ was released on July 8, 2021, consisting of mainly instrumental songs and only four tracks with vocals. Malmsteen was a huge part of its creation as he contributed to everything except the drums. The record made it to the Billboard chart and went straight to No. 89 on its debut date.