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Pain

Peter Tägtgren is a musical genius who's been active in the metal scene for many years. We all know him as frontman and composer of the Swedish death metal band Hypocrisy, his production and studio work is famous all over the world and his industrial allied side project Pain has become his main business through the years. Late October the sixth studio album of Pain will be released. 'Cynic Paradise' includes eleven new songs that properly illustrate his inventive blend of harsh metal and industrial. I got a very good-humoured Peter Tägtgren on the line, calling me from the Nuclear Blast headquarters in Germany.

By: Vera | Archive under industrial / ebm

Peter tells me why he feels happy…
Well, I feel very happy about it. Things turned out into a very good album for me personally. It is varied, but mainly it is back to the roots, to the industrial feeling.

You do vocals, guitars and programming in your studio for the Pain-albums, but for the first time you got some assistance of the musicians you use in a live situation…
Indeed that is new. But it happened only on a few songs. Drummer David Wallin can be heard in 'Don't Care', guitarist Michael Bohlin added some additional programming and bass player Johan Husgavfel is playing on 'Live Fast/Die Young'. But I do not know what's going to happen on the next album. I wrote everything as usual, but who knows what happens in future.

I see you have been to Belarus and Ukraine at the end of August. Was it a nice experience?
Absolutely, that was fun. In Ukraine I had to meet with the governor and plant a tree and do crazy stuff (laughs). We played at a festival with over hundred thousand people and we headlined. The day after Within Temptation headlined. It was really cool. Belarus was not that huge but it was fine too, we played in an amusement park.

There was announced that a Finnish reporter would go with you. What about him?
Well, he is recovering (laughs). The last day we got two cases of vodka, so we had about fifty bottles of vodka to celebrate the last day. It was pretty heavy. But he was documenting a lot and he will publish it in one of the biggest Swedish metal magazines.

In the beginning you could not tour as much as you wanted with Pain. But the previous album 'Psalms Of Extinction' was followed by a huge tour with Nightwish. What are your memories on that trip?
It was great. It was the best tour I have ever been on in my whole life. It was amazing. They move a lot of people and they are so huge. But they were so nice to us. They told us we can use whatever we need on stage. We had our stage and they had their own stage. We worked together and just had fun. So that was very nice from them and also their crew and management were very friendly. We had a really good time. The Nightwish fans were also very nice to us. We got good response and it was a very successful tour for us. Two months of happiness!

Nightwish's new female singer sings on two tracks on your album. Is that when the first contacts with Anette Olzon came into being?
Yes, exactly. When we were on tour we decided to do something together. We became very good friends and Anette told me to sing on one or two songs, that was no problem. She said: “I want to help you guys to get up.” That was really nice.

Another song that struck me was the one with the slide guitar…
'Have A Drink On Me', yes… After nine or ten songs I wanted something completely different. So I borrowed a slide guitar from a friend of mine and started to write the song. It turned out really cool I think. It is not really a Pain song, but it is a party song you know. A bit of Monster Magnet and southern rock feel. These are influences I normally do not use in my music. But I am not afraid to try anything in Pain. It is very important for me to have the artistic freedom. Some people might hate it, some people might like it. That is the chance I would take.

band imageDo you feel more freedom then with Hypocrisy?
Yeah, Hypocrisy has a certain frame we should stay in. Definitely. With Pain you can do a lot more different and diverse things and get away with it.

What about the lyrical context this time?
In general it is just like everyday life. It is mixed. For me it is everything, going from bitching at politicians trying to steal the tax money to everyday life situations when you think you always have bad luck. No science fiction or crazy things. It is about things most people can relate to.

There is also a song called 'Generation X'. What is Generation X for you?
That's the new generation who is on the internet all day long. I just sing about the record companies, that they have to get in the game to understand how the younger generation works. They should make it much easier to download with paying a small amount of money instead of ripping it. They have to come to a sensible compromise which works for everybody.

Can you talk with, for instance, Nuclear Blast about such things?
They say they are really working on trying to come up with new ideas. But mainly I think Nuclear Blast is one of the few labels who are always trying to come up with new ideas. I think that is the only reason why they are still growing. They are really trying to figure out the whole thing.

You start with a new management and a new label with this record. Maybe a few words about this…
It did not work out with Roadrunner as I thought it would. Same goes for the management I had at that time. Now it is a fresh new start, so I hope it is going to change for the better.

It must be a return to old friends because you were one of the first artists at Nuclear Blast…
Yeah I know everybody at the office and me and the management have been friends for about fifteen years. We are not strangers to each other either.

What about tour plans?
In Russia we open for Nightwish a final time soon. In January we are going to do a headline tour in Europe. First it is going to be about twenty shows and in March/April we are going out with a bigger band again. We are going to promote the album as much as we can.

Are there plans for a videoclip?
Yes, for 'Follow Me'. I am going to Istanbul to do the clip and also in Moscow we record and the rest in Helsinki. Anette is going to be on the video too. I hope it's going to be good.

Are there plans with Hypocrisy for the future?
Yeah, we are just writing music, slowly and we'll see what's going to happen. I have been writing for two or three years now.

Is there something in the pipeline on production work?
Not so much, only the next Hypocrisy, because I'd rather not occupy the time with other stuff. I should focus on my own bands. Money is not everything, you know. I think it is more important to be happy and do what you want to do and have freedom.

There are still challenges after all these years?
Yes, if it should feel too comfortable I would not do it. It still is a great challenge to write music, record good music, produce it. I only write for my taste, what I think is good. If people like it, then it is a bonus.

Can you live from the music?
Yes, I have been doing it for fifteen years.

I expected it, but sometimes it is rather surprising how many people still have to do a normal job when they are successful…
(laughs) Well, maybe some people are not good on handling money, I don't know…

If you should have to describe yourself in five words, what would you say?
Selfish, stubborn, party (thinks) I don't know, three words are enough (laughs). We party hard when we party.

Okay thank you Peter, famous last words?
Well, I just hope we meet everybody on the headline tour in January and I hope that people enjoy the new album.

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