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Thread: Interview: CJ Grimmark

  1. #1
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    Post Interview: CJ Grimmark

    I recently found yet another Caparison Endorser who I found lurking around here on the forum so I figured I might as well harass him for an interview and welcome him to the forum

    (He was also nice enough to share some pics of some of his guitars and we all love guitar porn *wink* )

    Hi CJ,

    Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do an interview with us at CaparisonForum.com. I really appreciate you doing this and if you don't mind, I'll go right ahead with the questions

    1. Your band Narnia released it's latest album "Course of a Generation" not too long ago in Europe. Now that it's been released and you've had some time to look back, did everything turn out the way you wanted it? Or was there something you would like to change if you could redo the album over again?

    I always want to redo the albums...haha But, other than that I feel very good about this one. I guess I always want to improve things, but I'm very happy about the songs, the performance of the other guys including our great new singer Germn Pascual, and last but not least - the guitar tone, which is my best ever!

    2. When will we see the album released here in North America? Any plans to do any touring again over here?

    I don't have the exact date, but it should be any day. I THINK Nightmare records planned to have it available at Progpower in Atlanta which will take place soon around first half of September.

    I hope that our new tighter connection to a label over there will open some new doors for future tourdates in North America, so we'll see...

    3. Currently, the whole genre of Christian rock has been on the uprise and the last time anyone saw Christian Metal anywhere remotely mainstream was back in the 80's with Stryper. (You remember those guys right?? dressed up in their bumblebee outfits and everything). But being a Christian musician yourself in a Christian Metal band, do you see much of a market for Christian Hard Rock/Metal? Or do you think it's going to be more of a niche genre?

    Actually, in spite of all of us being christian believers, which can be heard in our lyrics and all, I'm not really too much into the whole "christian music genre".
    We play metal, just like any band and we deal with regular record labels and promoters and not only those who work in the "christian market".
    I mean, music can't be "christian", can it? We're not around just to entertain other christians, we play for anyone who wants to listen.

    4. Aside from Narnia, you're also playing for Rob Rock as well as a few other bands. Is there anything going with any of these projects that we should look forward to??

    When the work around "Course of a Generation" is getting less intense I will focus on some songwriting with my mates in Full Force.
    The band is Mike Andersson form Cloudscape, Anders Johansson from Hammerfall (ex Yngwie's Rising Force) + ex Hammerfall members Magnus Rosn and Stefan Elmgren.
    We're planning to put out our first album in 2010, so that feels exciting.

    5. You also released a solo album called Grimmark a few years back, an album which I didnt actually know about until recently. Was it a solo instrumental album like many of the solo albums released by guitar players when they go on a break from their regular bands or what?? Do you also have any more plans to do another solo project?

    It was actually an album with vocals and all, but I have no plans to do a follow-up in the near future. It sure was a good thing to do and I recieved some overwhelming reviews from it, but for now I want to focus on Narnia and then contribute to the sound of Full Force
    Last edited by buddroyce; 09-09-2009 at 09:04 PM.
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  2. #2
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    6. What's the difference for you in the song writing process between writing for Narnia or any of your other projects with a singer and doing an instrumental? Surely the whole thought process must be a little different, I'd love to know how you approach them.

    In Narnia I'm pretty much involved in the whole process from writing songs to sit in at the mastering session. In the other bands I've had more of a specific role as just a guitarist or as a guitarist/producer or so...I enjoy both situations in different ways. It feels fresh to work with someone elses compositions and try to make your best out of it.
    Rob Rock's "Garden of Chaos" is an album I feel very good about. Roy Z and Rob wrote most of the stuff. Roy sent me demos of just a guitar and a click-track, and then we built the arrangements based on that and re-tracked it all in our way. Very inspiring indeed, and Roy was happy about how his songs ended up too.

    7. Speaking of Christianity and song writing, does religion have any effect in the whole song writing process? Other than the obvious fact that you probably won't be writing the same kind of songs a band like Slayer would.

    Haha...my faith is "just" a natural part of my life, which is always present. I don't think "lets write a Christian song", I simply just do it and we put in the message that we think is important. The song can deal with any subject, but sure the Christian perspective colors the result a whole lot.

    8. You've been a long time endorser of Caparison Guitars. How did you get interested in the brand and how did you end up getting endorsed??

    I got pretty impressed when my long time friend IA got his first purple Horus back in the day, which made me curious. I was a strat-guy back then but I had started to look for ways to improve and move on from those classic guitars, looking for something new. When I flew to Tokyo for a week of Narnia promotion back in -98, our label set up a meeting with mr Kanno and some people from Caparison. (I remember calling Chris Amott from the airport asking what HE thought about his new guitar-company Itaru and the guys brought TAT's, Horuses, Angelus and Angelus FSW guitars so I could try them all out.

    It was clear that the guitars were up to the highest standards, no doubt, so we started to discuss a way to make an hybrid between the modern Caparison design blended with some strat-related specs such as maple-board and alder body etc. Itaru took a close look at the neck of my favorite scalloped strat-neck and made a similar neck.

    After a while I got more and more hooked on big fat humbucking sounds, so I asked Itaru about an Angelus. He made me my "Emerald Green" Angelus which I think was one of the very first guitars that got the new rotary split-control. I now have EMG's in that guitar, but it's just an amazing instrument that I use for all rhythm-tracking along with another transparent black Angelus, which was also an early model after they had removed the mini-switches that where on the first Angelus models.

    9. Maybe it's just me, but why does it seem like all the Swedish Caparison guitar players know each other??

    Haha....the poulation of Sweden isn't very big - slightly above 9 millions, so there's always a chance of bumping in to eachother
    Well, not all guitarists know eachother, but the network is pretty good. If You NEED to get a hold of someone, it's usually just a friend of a friend away from You...
    Last edited by buddroyce; 09-09-2009 at 09:05 PM.
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  3. #3
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    10. Seeing that you've been with Caparison for so long, I'm guessing you probably have quite the collection of guitars. Any Favourites??? (got any pics of your collection too?)

    Actually, my collection is probably not one of the bigger ones around, but I have a TAT II that I use for most solos and also as one of my main live-guitars. I also have a Dellinger II which is brutal guitar. I use it live for lower tunings, which is about half the set nowadays. Then I have the two stoptail Angelus guitars I mentioned earlier, both with rosewood fingerboards + a brand new Angelus TR that's on it's way to me. It will most likely be used a LOT...

    Here's some pics:







    Last edited by buddroyce; 09-09-2009 at 09:06 PM.
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  4. #4
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    11. On your Myspace page, I've seen pictures of your "slimmed down oversears rig", but just what exactly is your FULL rig?

    Oh, I better put the "real" stuff up there as well!
    On stage I use two Mesa/Boogie Roadsters and four oversized Rectifier cabs with V30s. For effects I use a TC Electronics G-force, a Maxon OD808 for my distrorted sounds, a Morley "Bad Horsie" wah, and some Axess Electronics switching-equipment (CFX4 and GRX4) controlled by an ancient Roland FC200 board. I have a Shure wireless and a Korg racktuner as well. I'm very satisfied with this rig and I use all 4 channels of the Roadster heads.
    In the studio I have 3 heads that I use for different sounds and combinations - all Mesa/Boogie.
    I have an old, regular Dual Rectifier Solo Head and a custom MKIV for most rhythm stuff. I also have a Road King II through which I play most of the solos and overdub kind of things.



    12. There are pictures of a Custom Caparison Horus with a Scalloped Neck and a Wilkinson trem that was supposedly a custom model Caparison did for you. Was it really yours? Why'd you get rid of it? Had enough of the scalloped fingerboard or what?



    Yes, that guitar is what came out of my search for a way to combine the old "strat"-type sounds but with brand new possibilities such as the 27fret Horus design.
    The guitar originally even had DiMarzio HS3's on it, but Itaru later sent me some Caparison pickups for it that I liked better.
    I was into scalloped necks in the -90's, but I kind of drifted away from it. I let the guitar go because I didn't play it much after I got my Angelus guitars.
    I prefer guitars with maximum 24 frets for the sound of the neck pickup position, so the Horus isn't really the model of preference for me anymore.
    Today, I definitely regret lettting it go, but I think it's in the UK at the moment...so maybe I can buy it back some day....
    That custom Horus was used on two Narnia albums back in the day.

    (Budd's Note: If you look at the picture above, you will notice how the bridge pickup routing is a little off from the standard routing)

    13. As a musician at your level, you probably could get an endorsement deal with a good number of the various guitar companies around, but why did you decide to endorse Caparison??

    I just love the guitars and the way that they are made. They're a great blend of of tradition and modern, new thinking and they look and feel very classy!
    Do I have to add that they sound amazing? We all know that by now.
    Other than that, Itaru is just a great guy to deal with and I really appreciate the kindness and skill of him and his staff, so I see no reason to look elsewhere.

    There are many guitars that are good but Caparison is definitely the best of the best for what I do, period. They are so reliable on stage that, it's unbelievable. No matter where I play them, if it's in the north of Scandinavia in the winter when it's so dry and cold that Your skin cracks or if I'm in Florida and it's humid as a sponge, they just WORK.

    14. Aside from Caparison guitars, you also endorse Lundgren pickups as well and according to Johan Lundgren, he's recently wound some custom spec pickups for you. Can you tell us something about your new pickup? Are we going to be seeing a CJ6 pickup soon from Lundgren?

    I think You will most likely see this pickup as a production model soon, no doubt. I don't know for sure what it'll be called though. So far we've just named it "The One"

    The pickup is great and differ quiet a bit from the other Lundgrens and the M6's I used before (which where also great, of course). It's pretty hot as far as output, but it never gets muddy and the mids are truly explosive and jump out of the cabinets.

    It sound brutal and HUGE in a Dellinger, super-smooth and with singing endless sustain in a TAT...I'll try it in an Angelus soon as well.
    Last edited by buddroyce; 09-09-2009 at 09:11 PM.
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  5. #5
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    15. Any chances of there ever being a CJ Grimmark signature Caparison?? If there was, what would the specs be?

    I don't really see the chance at present, but it would probably be related to the brand new Angelus TR.

    16. About the Angelus TR, did you have any input in the creation or design of that model?

    No, it just came as a surpise for me - a good one!
    I know I've mentioned the idea of an Angelus with FR to Itaru, but I don't think that's how he thought of the Angelus TR.

    17. Aside from your custom designs, did you ever have any input into any of the regular production models?

    No, not that I know of

    18. Just out of curiousity, are any of your guitars completely stock??? Are there any changes that you consider a 'must do' when you get a new guitar in?

    At the moment they have either Lundgren or EMG pickups which isn't stock, as You know. The main reason is that I think Mesa/Boogies are pretty sensitive and react very differently to different pickups, and in my opinion especially Rectifiers don't deal well with pickups that have strong low end.
    But other than that, everytime a new Caparison is at the door, it's just plug and play because it's well set up and IN TUNE when it arrives!!

    19. Some of our readers here have only recently discovered you through the Caparison network. Is there a trademark or killer song of yours that you would recommend for new fans? (Got any MP3 or youtube links?)

    Check out "Sail around the world" by NARNIA...it's up at the Caparison Myspace right now.

    20. That's about it for questions, are there any words of wisdom you would like to bestow upon the readers here?

    Thanks a lot for the attention, fellow Caparasites, and future ones
    I'm looking forward to follow discussions on this forum and without hopefully disturbing to much, I might chime in here and there.
    Don't miss to check out the new Narnia album "Course of a Generation" at www.myspace.com/narniaofficial + the latest Rob Rock releases "Garden of Chaos" and the "Live in Atlanta" DVD/CD.
    Here's a clip from the DVD - enjoy



    Thanks CJ, it's been a fantastic opportunity to speak with you and on behalf of everyone here at CaparisonForum, I would like to say thank you and best wishes. I'm looking very much forward to checking out your next project as well as the North American release of Course of a Generation.

    Regards,

    Budd

    --------

    CJ (Carl Johan) Grimmark, is the guitar player for the bands Narnia and Rob Rock and has been a long time endorser and supporter of Caparison Guitars. You can check out some of his tunes from his official myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/cjgrimmark . He's also a forum member here at Caparison Forum.
    Last edited by buddroyce; 09-09-2009 at 09:12 PM.
    ---=== Founder - CaparisonForum.Com ===---
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  6. #6
    firewalker Guest
    Nice!!!!

  7. #7
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    Killer pix!!

  8. #8
    SJLee Guest
    Nicely done Budd!! Keep the interviews coming!!

    CJ's tone on that video is awesome! Is that the Lundgren M6 I'm hearing?

  9. #9
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    Great job Budd. Scalloped maple fretboard is good business. You should make a new section to throw these interviews in for future reference. Still waiting for MJR and Amott haha.
    Pro White Dellinger II
    Pro Black Dellinger MJR
    Engl Powerball Mesa 4x12
    Sennheiser Wireless

  10. #10
    SymphonyZ Guest
    CJ you just got yourself a new fan!!!

    I'm also waiting for a Chris Amott or Michael Romeo interview. Any chances of that happening any time?

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