Well, all kinds of magazines, really. Mostly metal ones, but also quite more not-metal mags than were used to. Which is quite interesting, because there's more diversity.
I was actually surprised when I heard your album for the first time, because the sound is more metal than it was on the last three cd's.
Yeah, this time we brought back a little bit of aggression. On the last couple of albums we pulled back, and this time we tried something a little bit different. But I don't see this as a step back to our roots, it's another step forward. And it wasn't a preoccupied decision either. We don't think ahead about what we compose. When we have four songs finished we haven't got a clue what the next four could sound like. It's always like that with us you know, nothing has ever been intentional.
Do you think that with this album you'll win back some of the fans that you've lost with your previous three albums?
I don't know, but it could be. There are more parts on this album that might appeal to people who were into the old material. And hey, maybe we get some new fans as well. So it would be really cool if some fans returned to us, because a lot of them have left us after the past couple of records. But winning back fans has never been the main objective. We have always written music for ourselves, and not to please a certain audience. It's cool if it does, but that isn't the main reason why we do this.
What kind of response are you hoping for?
I'm hoping for good response of course, I hope that people will like it. Some who didn't like Host will perhaps like this one, and hopefully people who liked Paradise Lost all the way will also feel at home with these new songs. But we have to wait and see. You can't put numbers on plans, and in the end it's up to the listener.
And do you think that there'll be people who were a fan of the early PL, who'll refuse to listen to these new songs because they were disappointed by the last albums?
That might happen with some. People change, we sure did. Some people will perhaps not bother to listen to it. That's something that we can't help. We can only hope that people will give it a chance. They might like it, they might not like it. I just hope that they'll notice the album and give it a try.
There's a lot of electronics on this album.
That's true, that happened in the studio. We don't use electronics for the sake of it, but sometimes it can really improve the song. On this album we use breakbeats, acoustic strings, female choirs, etcetera. We only use these if we think that it'll enhance the song.
I've played the promo-copy of the tape to several people, and some of them thought that it resembled Rammstein.
Yeah. You haven't heard that remark before?
No, this is the first time, actually. I can't see the similarities myself.
It wasn't the first thing that I personally thought of. But I can see why some people would say that. Both of you combine electronics, a strong drumbeat and heavy guitars.
Well, yeah, in a way that's right. But for one thing it wasn't intentional to sound like Ramstein.
On this album Nick's vocals once again sound very different.
That's mainly thanks to the producer, who pressed Nick really hard. In the past Nick used to to three, four hours of vocal sessions and then stop. In fact, on the last album he really rushed it. On this album he had recording-sessions of up to nine hours, which was really stressful, but definitely improved it.
How do you think that your new album is going to do commercially?
I hope that it is going to do fantastic. It deserves to, because this is our best album to date. It's an all round good cd. The guitarplaying and singing is great, the production is very well done, and the songs are really strong. So I'd be slightly disappointed if it didn't sell a lot. But then again, ultimately it's up to the audience it they're going to buy it or not.
After One Second your sales went downhill. Would it disappoint you if this continued after the release of Symbol Of Life?
Of course I would be disappointed if it wouldn't sell well, because I know that it deserves better. I would be let down that we couldn't allow more people to listen to our music, because this cd really deserves it.
Are you going to tour for your new album?
Yes, we will. In fact we want to tour every place on this Earth until everybody is bloody sick of us. It will probably take a while until we're heading out. Our album is going to be released in October, and all the venues are already booked till Christmas. So we'll look after something in the beginning of next year, and we'll try to squeeze in a small tour in the build-up till Christmas.
What kinds of bands would you like to tour with? Popbands, gothic/electronic bands or metalbands?
I'd like to tour with a band that plays different music than we do, as long as it's not too different. So I don't think that we'll tour with a popband, because they usually are too far removed from us. Last year we did a tour with the Sisters Of Mercy, that was very good, but we won't do another tour like it soon, I think. A tour with a gothic or electronic band could be possible, but something with a metalband would be more likely. The metalscene is very healthy right now, so we are spoiled for choice with many quality bands for support. Hopefully this time we also get to do a tour as an opener for a band different from us. I'd like to do a tour opening for Korn, that is, from a commercial point of view. The kids that go to see them might perhaps like us, even though they haven't heard us before. I'd also like to do a tour with the band Cathedral, because they're close friends. But we still haven't decided, and our people are still working on it.
Have you already decided which songs from the new album you'll do live?
No, not yet. Whenever we've got a new album we usually pick out five songs, and try to fit them in with the old songs. We haven't decided which ones, we'll do that in the next couple of months.
Will you be able to play it all live?
No, not everything. That's why we'll put some of the choir arrangement on a tape or on a harddrive. The electronic drums will all be done by our drummer; so we won't be using a drumcomputer. We could in theory do the songs with a keyboardplayer, but that isn't a realistic option. If we'd bring one it would certainly increase the costs of a tour, and half the time he'd be doing nothing on stage. Because despite our experiment with electronic elements, we've never relied on them. In fact we've had the tape breaking down on a couple of occasions, and we still held our own without the backing. The choirs and electronics are there to enhance the music, but they're not the essence of it.
And which songs have the most potential to be really good live?
That's hard to say, because I'm tempted to say that they all have as much potential. But if I had to name some, I'd have to say Channel For The Pain and Erased. I really like the heavier songs on this album.
The title of the cd is Symbol Of Life. Is there a deeper meaning behind it?
No, not really. We were really hard pressed to come up with a decent songtitle, but couldn't think of anything. So we choose one of the songs as the titletrack. The song is, despite the seemingly positive title, a real dramatic tune, which is the main hook for the entire album. It's chorus is a loaded gun towards life, resembling the dark way we look at life.
Music For Nations recently released a DVD entitled Evolve. Were you involved in that release?
Yes we where. They might be our old recordcompany that's trying to make another quick buck out of us, but it's always better to work on such a release yourself to ensure that the fans get a decent product. I think it worked out really well. The title Evolve says it all, really: it shows how we've progressed during the years that we were signed to MFN. The DVD is real value for money. It has our two home video's, all promotional video's and some backstage footage that even I hadn't seen before. It's not the kind of release that I fully stand behind, but from a fan's perspective it's a good deal: after all, you get over three hours worth of Paradise Lost.
That's a bargain at any price.
At the moment you're signed to GUN records. How has that been so far?
Really excellent. GUN is a really hard working company. They're still an indie label, so they have a real feeling for the music. All of the people at the label have been working in the music business, so they know what's going on around them. And they don't have that many bands, which is a real plus. They release about twelve cd's a year, and every time a new cd comes out, everybody in the company concentrates on that one cd. That's a real benefit, together with the fact that they understand what we want to achieve with their music. And they're affiliated with BMG records, who's able to back them up financially. That's important, because thanks to that support they've got the recourses to push their bands really hard. So basically they're a major label that cares.
And here endeth part one of this interview. Next month more Paradise Lost, when Aaron and I talk about the transformation that the group underwent in the last couple of years.