Technically PALMER has nothing to envy any other band, they are so skilled as any one can be, and more than most of bands around. In terms of composition they can thrash you in a moment and the next one they are just silk and millpond, dark atmosphers or fantastic melodies all around. Probably, the best band out from Switzerland since the times of Swiss legend Coroner, a must listen, in a word. We talk to Jan Walchli, founding member and axeman. Hello Jan and congratulations for your excellent new album ‘Surrounding The Void’
Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.
Palmer is a Swiss band with four members and more than 15 years of path in this complicated world of Metal and music in general. How do you summarize all those years? What is the balance?
We never thought too much about that. When I decided to found Palmer, around about 2000, all I wanted is to find some guys who shared my passion in music. And so we came together. I more or less knew all the guys already, as we were all active in the local scene. And so we started doing our own thing, we just let it happen. We never had a masterplan or something. When we felt ready to go to studio, we did. We’ve had a lot of good moments, gigs and experiences so far. And at the same time we managed to keep our musical independence.
What can you tell us about the current line-up, Jan?
Ueli, Remo, Steve and me, it‘s still the original line-up. I think this is fact that speaks for itself. This also gave us the opportunity to find and create our own way of making music.
‘Surrounding The Void’ is your third full-length album. The bands usually say that the last release is the best, it’s almost like a mantra. But I think in this ocassion it’s totally true
I totally agree with you. I‘m very critical concerning my own ideas. The most ideas disappear directly into the trashcan. And of course we try to improve ourselves in every aspect of making music i.e. arrangements, tightness, production, cover and so on. And I‘m pretty convinced that’s exactly the case with our new record.
In fact, there are so much work on this ‘Surrounding The Void’, so many views and angles in you music that you need some time and many listenings to digest all you offer
Lot’s of the people say so, so I think that‘s correct, too. But we don’t think about such things. The music just happens. It‘s our music.
Jan, do you consider yourself a perfecionist in terms of music and composition?
No, not really. To be a perfectionist must be very exhausting. We do the best we can, but we are also aware of the fact that it‘s not Palmer that feeds our families. So at a certain point we have to go further instead of arguing over and over about certain details.
How long have you worked in this ‘Surrounding The Void’ and how was the composition process?
About two years. I bring riffs or ideas that I figured out at home and we build on them as a band. We were kind of collecting all the riffs and ideas over the few last years and then we picked out the premium ones, arranged everything and put the songs together.
Compared to previous releases, what new elements are we going to find?
I don‘t know if there are genuinely new elements, but in general I’d say that the new album is more intense, more elaborated and more professional; simply put: a little bit more of everything that defines the Palmer sound. Furthermore there is no uptempo song on „Surrounding The Void“.
I was totally surprised by the great amount of musical approaches you are able to play in the same song, even jazz elements in some moments. You name it progressive metal or what?
Let‘s call it Palmernoise 🙂 . Indeed all members listen to a lot of different styles. Yeah, I love Jazz a lot, but also Rock, Prog, Pop… Our bassplayer Ueli for example plays double bass in a jazz combo and a Mambo band too. We are not only metal dudes. Metal is great, but there is so much fantastic music out there, you just have to be open minded and you get free acces to a huge universe of amazing bands or musicians.
Palmernoise… it really sounds good. Some pleople may think your music is not ready for comsumption by any kind of metalhead, I mean, maybe if you are too focused in a unique style or you listen to a few bands then Palmer’s complexity would be too much for some guys, what do you think?
As artists or musicians we just do what we have to do without thinking about the consequences or whether people may like our music or not. What we do just feels natural for us. I think it‘s the only way to keep your own integrity. Of course we feel lucky if people share our music with us. And luckily there are some 🙂 .
One of the strong points in ‘Surrounding The Void’ is that you blend all those influences and subgenres with absolute fluency, that makes the listening very easy and enjoyable for any trained ear
Absolutely, for us it‘s the most natural thing in the world. It‘s how we build our music and hopefully keep it exciting and interesting for people who want to dig a little bit deeper into music. The more you listen to our songs the more you can explore and discover.
I would like to remark the great execution of the rhythm section, it really opens the path for all your developments
Yeah, they did a great job. The drumsound is absolutely fat and massive and together with the mighty bass, these two guys create the framework on which Steve and I can unleash our musical fury.
You, Jan Walchli, have done a titanic effort on guitars. I really appreciate your skills to pass from brutality to melancholy or melody. What is your background? What guitarists have influenced your style?
I started listening to metal when I was twelve years old – Helloween, Testament… Then I had my progressive period, the more complicated the better i.e. Watchtower, Dream Theater, Cynic. At the same time I started to listen to Jazz Rock/Fusion like Frank Gambale, Scott Henderson and of course the outstanding Allan Holdsworth. I like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Snarky Puppy, Rush, Meshuggah of course and many more. Meshuggah in my opinion is definitely THE shit in metal. Since decades they’ve been blowing my mind away.
The instrumental work is awesome and Steve Diener (vocals) fits perfectly on it, with a very dramatic performance
The fact that we’ve been sharing the music together since we started in 2000 helps us appear as an entity. And Steve, with his personality on and off stage and his unique voice, is an important part of it.
Being a band from Switzerland, how do you see the Metal scene in your country and how has it affected your life as a band?
There are a lot of great and interesting bands out there and we try to help each other as much as we can.
If you could choose to tour around with some guys whom they would be?
So, any tour dates confirmed for this 2017 so far?
Yes, please check out our homepage www.palmernoise.com where you can find all the dates. But let me point out the Czar Fest at the Kaserne in Basel on the 15.04.17. A great Festival with an amazing Line-Up.
What are your plans for the future?
To play as many gigs as possible an of course to have a lot of fun.
Thank you very much Jan for this chance to know more abour Palmer. If you wish to add something…
We would like to thank all the people out there who have supported us during all these years! Thanks alot!