Kajsa Krantz

Sweden’s Kajsa Krantz first came to our attention at ROCKRGRL magazine’s ROCKRGRL Day at Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute in November 2003. Krantz was attending MI’s GIT division, and had somehow managed to talk her band, House of Fools, into becoming expatriates. At the time, Krantz’s playing on the group’s demo prompted me to call her “a crafty technician who’s absolutely ferocious.” Ultimately, she graduated with the GIT’s Outstanding Stylist Award. Now back home in Sweden, Krantz is gigging and recording new material, which, from the mp3s posted on her Web site, seems to be veering into more commercial territory than the unpredictable prog-isms exhibited by ’03 vintage House of Fools. You can check her out at kajsakrantz.com.
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What made you decide to travel almost across the globe to attend GIT in Los Angeles?

For some time, I felt I wasn’t developing as a musician. It got really frustrating, and I knew I had to do something. I figured that the GIT curriculum and some sun might help. My technique definitely got a lot better, and I learned the importance of listening. Patience is worth a whole lot!

Which guitarists have most influenced your style?

I can’t say how much a certain guitarist might have influenced my personal style, but I do have favorites—such as Jeff Beck, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Ford, Keith Richards, Dean DeLeo, and Peter DiStefano—that inspire me to be creative. My mood decides which one it is for the day.

How do you typically construct your solos and riffs?

I try to get a feeling for the tune by singing melodies in my head. Then, I fool around on the neck until I catch that vibe. Usually, the blues and mixolydian scales sound best with my music. I think that a fantastic solo needs the right phrasing and timing, but also a flow—almost like a vocal melody, with dynamics and a lot of feeling.

What gear are you currently using?

I have an Epiphone Les Paul loaded with Seymour Duncan APH-1 Alnico II Pro humbuckers. My amp is a Vox AC30CCH head and a Vox 4x12 cabinet loaded with Vox GSH 12-30 speakers. For effects, I have a CryBaby wah, a Boss OD-1 Overdrive, and a Boss DD-3 Digital Delay. My strings are Ernie Ball—a .010 set—and I use Dunlop Jazz III picks.

Guitar is pretty much off the pop charts in America. Is the situation the same in Europe?

It’s similar. There aren’t many rock clubs here. But I think we have to bring rock back to where it means something. If more people played from their hearts, maybe we’d hear more relevant guitar music. It’s sad that you can’t turn on the radio or television, and expect a great new rock tune to knock you out. And let’s face it, you can’t dance to ring tones on your cell phone!

Do you find it challenging to be in charge of a band of males?

I don’t have a problem being a woman bandleader. I think I’m good, and we don’t fight too often [laughs]. Unfortunately, I get a lot of attitude trying to get gigs. For some reason, European booking agents don’t seem to think women can deliver great rock music. Just the other day, a promoter asked me if I could actually play. Happily, that attitude usually changes during the soundcheck!