DAN MUMM Interview

Dan Mumm Album Promo

Interview with Neoclassical Guitarist Dan Mumm

Following his well received 2013 “No Illusions” EP, neoclassical virtuoso and acclaimed Metal Method instructor Dan Mumm has released his 2nd full length solo album, “Peering Through the Lens of Time”. The album is an ambitious 15 track concept album highlighting Mumm’s signature blend of hardcore classical elements and modern progressive guitar styles. We caught up with him a few days after the album’s release to get all the latest insider info on his career and current endeavors.

First off Dan, congrats on the new album. Anyone who’s been keeping up with you knows that you’ve been working diligently on this album for more than a year. How does it feel to have it released?

Thank you! Honestly, it feels fantastic. I’ve never spent so much time on one project in my life. But I’ve also never been more satisfied with the end result of a project like this. In a way, it’s almost hard for me to believe it’s done.

Tell us about the “concept” of this concept album. As an instrumental guitarist, do feel it’s more difficult to get the meaning of the songs across to the audience, without lyrics?

As some of my ideas might be considered a little “out there” by conventional standards, I found that the particular concepts I used for the album are easier to express through music than through words. Lyrics might have gotten in the way. By my thinking, it allows people to be able to interpret the music in a way that is easier for them to relate to. There is a very specific story being told through the music but it is somewhat layered and perhaps even convoluted. It would be difficult for me to put it into words, but one aspect of the story acts as something of a metaphor for walking the path towards fulfillment, achievement and finally enlightenment. The song titles and album artwork are meant to help guide the listener in interpreting the music while leaving it open-ended enough that they can hopefully find a meaning that relates to them personally. As the ideas conveyed in the album are of a personal nature and of real significance to me, I hope that they will resonate with the listener in a similar way that makes sense to them. In essence, I want the listener to view the album through their own “lens.”

“Peering Through the Lens of Time” is your 3rd solo album and 2nd full length album. Why did you choose to do another full length album after your last release was an EP? It seems like a lot of bands these days are releasing EPs almost exclusively. Do you feel that the full length makes a stronger statement?

I can’t say for certain what I will do in the future, but both of my full length albums focus on original material while my EP focuses almost exclusively on my interpretations of Classical music. My EP is strictly a collection of “stand-alone” songs. My first album is a traditional album to a certain degree, but since most of the songs were written ahead of time it is still something of a collection. In the case of this latest album, the length was a result of how much I had to say for this particular “story.” I wouldn’t want to add anything to it and I couldn’t possibly take anything away from it. I realize that most people don’t listen to albums anymore in the traditional sense, but it was important to me to make the option available. I have plans to release more EPs in the future that center on my Classical arrangements.

You’ve had a lot of success as an instructor working with Doug Marks and Metal Method, in particular your “Sweep Pick Mechanics” course has been extremely popular. Do you think your work as an instructor has changed your approach to composition or affected your playing in other ways?

In truth, I think teaching a skill is a critical stage of mastering it. While it forces you to rethink and review fundamentals it also gives you the opportunity to see the skill from the view of students at varying stages of learning. I gave private lessons on guitar and a few other instruments professionally for a number of years and found it did wonders for my playing, perspective, and approach to practicing. I was amazed at how much I could learn from students, especially ones who were first starting. Without being checked by other people’s points of view, it is easy to fool yourself into thinking of things as black and white and believe that the way you see something is how it is (which, I believe, is never true). But for the case of the Metal Method instructional programs, I feel that compiling all of the various techniques and converting them into programs had a tremendously positive effect on my playing in general.

A few months ago it was announced that you started working with the amplifier company DV Mark. Did this come about after you had finished the recording of “Peering Through the Lens of Time”, or did you have a chance to use the new amp on the album? Tell us a bit about that endorsement.

I am very excited to be working with DV Mark! I was contacted by Marco De Virgiliis over the summer about trying out their groundbreaking Multiamp. Since receiving it, I’ve found it really difficult to stop playing through it. It is incredible! I’ve played around with tons of amp emulation amps and software over the years, but nothing has ever sounded so convincingly like the real thing to me as the Multiamp. In my opinion the response and nuances are all right there. It really feels like I have all of those classic tube amps at my disposal. But anyway, because I had intentions of reamping the guitar work later, I recorded dry signals of every guitar track for the album – either running them through amp emulation software or splitting the signal while recording. Most of it was recorded before I received the Multiamp, but it was easy to reamp it back through. I feel that using the Multiamp’s amazing tone for the lead and rhythm parts brought the music to the next level. The only guitar parts on the whole album that aren’t through the Multiamp are the clean guitars on the first track which were the only tracks that weren’t recorded dry.

This new album was crowd funded through Kickstarter correct? Obviously, many bands and artists are doing that now. What’s your take on that and how does it feel to have your audience financially involved in the creation of the album?

While there are obviously a lot of downsides to the changes that the internet has brought to the music industry, there are a lot of upsides as well. I think crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have given real freedom to the listeners and artists alike. Now it is possible for an artist to remain independent and still be able to release an album of professional quality that meets professional standards. The lower costs of recording and production, now possible because of modern technology, play a big role in this as well. But the bottom line is that artists, who play in a genre that is too “niche” to ever be played on traditional radio, can find their audience online and produce the same quality of album that was once only possible with the backing of a record label. This means that no changes have to be made to the music to fit what the label thinks the end product should be. It keeps music in the hands of the artists! To answer the other question, I would say it feels fantastic to have my audience involved in the making of the album. For one, it is an amazing feeling to know that my music is being appreciated enough for people to want to pay for me to produce a new album. I also feel that gives me a closer bond to my listeners which is really important to me.

Obviously right now you’re focused on the promotion of the new album. Will you be doing any new videos or shows to promote this? What’s next on the horizon for you?

While I intend to get back into the groove of producing and releasing new Classical arrangements and music videos regularly again, I will also be mixing in music videos of original songs from “Peering Through the Lens of Time.” I can’t say too much about it yet, but I am working out the details for a tour in Mexico in 2016 and plan on performances in the LA area to promote the album as well. I hope to tour Europe at some point in the not-too-distant future, but I don’t have any specific dates to talk about yet. My listeners are from a lot of different countries and I’d really like to and intend to play them all. It’s just difficult to say when that will be at this point.

It’s been great talking with you! Thanks for your time and congrats again on the new album!

No problem. Thank you!


  • Maxxxwell Carlisle

    Maxxxwell was a reviewer and the host of The Maxed Out Metal Hour here on Metal Express Radio. He is the current lead guitarist for LA based metal veterans Hellion. In addition to his ongoing role in Hellion, he has also released 5 albums as a solo artist and appeared as a guest writer and soloist on Michael Angelo Batio's Intermezzo album, named one of the Top 5 shred albums of 2014 by Guitar World Magazine. He continues to collaborate with various Metal musicians and teaches guitar technique and Metal composition via Skype. Additionally, he is a former competitive bodybuilder and enjoys a lifestyle based around health, fitness and Metal.

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