12.12.2016Архив интервью | Русская версия
Peter Tagtgren, the main man of Sweden’s Pain, is an extremely busy musician, as he also records albums with Hypocrisy, cooperates with Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann and produces nearly all Scandinavian musicians that you can even think of in his own Abyss Studios. The latest break between Pain's albums was the longest ever for the band, as it took Peter five years to complete “Coming Home”. However, this release really stands up to his name, and Pain returns not only to your playlist, but also to Russian stages (the show in Moscow is scheduled for December 17), and to the interview section of our websizne, where it has also been absent for five years. Naturally there are plenty of things to discuss with Peter – the new record, space mysteries, conspiracy theories and future plans being just a few examples.
I’ve read an interview you did some time ago about Hypocrisy. You were discussing the topic of coming back to the roots music-wise, and you said it was the case with your albums “Arrival” (2004) and “End of Disclosure” (2013). When it comes to Pain’s new album, on the contrary, the record sounds pretty different from what Pain have done before, one could say it’s a leap forward and I’ve read you said it was all a big experiment. However, you called it “Coming Home”. Why is that?
Oh I don’t know! It really felt good to call it that way because I was coming back to where I was when I only started with Pain – which indeed was a big experiment. You know, those two or three years when I was making the first albums. These were the experiments with different sounds; it wasn’t a typical AC/DC straight industrial forward music. It was more about trying to find slow songs… basically trying to do all kinds of shit. That’s really what it was all about. And when I did this new album it was not the same as the last album or the previous one. This time the album combines more different styles at once, I think.
So, you started with an experiment and you came back to the experiment then?
Well, maybe the album should have been called “Coming Back”. It’s about just coming home to be able to sit not really writing songs, but different music pieces here and there.
Okay, the opening track of the album, “Designed To Piss You Off” sounds very cheerful – content wise. Its main motto is: I’m not gonna stop. Then there is the title track which is also called “Coming Home” and it’s way more depressing: like, I’m tired, I want to go home, time is ticking. Is it a certain narration throughout the whole album, is there a development of the character, or are these two tracks just completely different songs which have nothing in common?
Well, it’s definitely not a story through the whole album. It’s just a different story for every song. I think the last song I was singing on and mixing was actually “Coming Home”. I was writing how it felt after nights of writing lyrics. And I really felt totally empty. It’s like therapy when you write religious things and stuff like that. So by the last song of the album you’re really empty and you start reaching out for different things. To get the last song finally done. And I simply got very honest in the lyrics. You know, I just wanted to go to bed and fold the blanket over my head!
I see! However, speaking of the story, there is a distinct space theme in the album.
Just a cover, you know.
No, there are at least two songs that refer to space.
Which ones? Oh yeah, of course, “Black Knight Satellite”.
“Starseed” as well.
Oh yeah you’re right!
Do you personally believe in conspiracy theories?
Yeah, of course.
What about aliens?
I am sure there is something there, you know. There are a lot of talks about the Nazis in the 30s – there was this woman, who was telepathic and she could reach out to something in the Universe. They thought she could help to do advanced technology in the 30s. So the theory has it that one Nazi group was going out to fight the war, while another one was developing technology. So in 30s and 40s they formed a sort of breakaway civilization in the Antarctic on South Pole and started building bases there without anybody knowing. People were of course identifying some unknown flying objects, but they were actually from the Nazi’s breakaway civilization, they were the ones who started that. And then the Americans joined as well with Operation Paperclip when they took Germans from World War II into starting NASA and stuff like that. But that was another story – that was a secret space program. So I don’t know: is that a good story or is that true? No idea, but I keep all my doors open. I could talk about this for, like, five hours if you want!
I am familiar with some of these stories you mention. But they are mainly about humans, not about aliens?
Well, both yes and no. These stories include talks about these reptilians and dragons and all kinds of stuff. You know, for me sometimes it gets too much of the “Lord of the Rings” kind of feeling. But everything is possible, you never know. Same thing with the Kabballah. And some believe that illuminati people are controlling the world. But I’ve heard for instance Donald Trump is not one of them thus him winning the elections was really a chaos for America right now as it means illuminati cannot control their next president. I mean, let’s see what Trump is gonna do and what’s gonna happen, but I think he’s definitely a fresh air in this whole illuminati New World order thing.
You mentioned in one interview that you were influenced by David Bowie in recent years. Is that true?
Yeah-yeah definitely. I mean, I’ve been listening to him for almost 40 years, but I only was listening to hit songs and stuff like that. And about four years ago I decided I really want to know why he was so big and such a major icon, and that was when I got stuck with one album – “Ziggy Stardust”. I still listen to it almost every day!
“Starseed” definitely contains certain references to Bowie’s Major Tom – starman – spaceboy mythology (a reference to Bowie’s famous songs: “Space Oddity”, “Starman”, “Hello Spaceboy” – ed.).
But it’s not really about that. It’s about your soul!
I most definitely understand that.
It’s not really about going to space like an astronaut or anything like that. It’s about wondering what happens with your soul when you die. Are we starseeds of the universe? But yeah, there is an influence in one way or another just because I was so intensive in listening to him at the time.
Speaking of your tour program, I saw that Till Lindemann made a surprise appearance at your gig in Hamburg.
And you announced it – not directly, but you hinted at it – on your social networks only few days before it happened. So I was just wondering if you guys planned it in advance long time ago, or if it was a kind of surprise for yourselves.
Well with Till and me you never know until one or two days before! That’s how we are. We don’t really want to plan anything and so we said: “let’s see”, because we were having a meeting together in Hamburg. The day before I said: “Shall we do a song together than?” – because he wanted to go and watch the gig. He said: “Yeah, why not, let’s do it”. I told the guys in the band, so they could learn the song. That was it! And then I said: “Hey I am gonna post something and see what people are gonna say about it”. And he was like: “Okay”.
Did you like how it worked out? It was the first live performance of you two together.
Yeah! But it was so short! 4 minutes! And the first one or two minutes were just like: wow what’s going on here. Because everything used to become a bit routine by then and it’s always been one front person on stage, so it changed this routine. But after a few minutes everything got comfortable. It was really cool and we had a really great time. We just hope we can do a whole concert at some point.
Have you actually had any negotiations about this, or do you just hope that it’s gonna happen one day?
Well you know right now Rammstein is working on the new album. And as soon as their album is out they are going on tour for a while, so I don’t know how long it’s gonna take for us to do something.
But you have plans for that.
We have wishing for that! Not plans, only wishing!
I was looking at your tour schedule and was rather shocked because I think in October and November you had gigs literally every day. How do you even cope with that?
I’m a Viking! (laughs) I mean, it’s not a big deal: when I am out, I just want to do it, I don’t wanna sit around and have a day off. When I am on tour I want to play. I don’t wanna do this fucking chancy nancy bullshit being like, okay, one gig and then one day-off, and then one gig, and one day-off. That’s waste of time for me.
So you like it intense.
Yeah, I mean, life is short, why sit on your ass all day long!
That’s fair enough. I know that your son was recording on this album. And he is touring with you as well, right?
Yeah, he was on tour with us and he’s going to Russia as well!
Would it be his first time here?
Yeah it will be his first time!
So I am sure you gonna show him around – you’ve been to Russia quite a number of times.
Yeah, I am gonna show him something good – there’s gonna be a surprise for him.
When I listened to the album it seemed to me that there are a lot of clean vocals there – maybe more than usual. That made me want to ask if you ever professionally studied singing at all?
No, I had this woman coming like 15 years ago, but it was more about reading and stretching things, it was not about singing tones or anything like that. But that was long enough ago. Recently I got a new management and they were like: “Why don’t you try sing this in clean vocals?” And I said: “I don’t know how to sing! I really don’t know how to do it”. But they suggested to see what it sounds like. So I don’t know what was the first song I did in clean vocals, but I was sending it to the management, saying: “Ouch I really don’t know – this is not me!” But they said: “No, it sounds good, keep on doing it, just try”. So there were some songs without distorting or anything like that. And I got comfortable with it for some songs. With other songs I want to scream a little bit – of course it always depends on what kind of song it is.
And how important are the lyrics in your practice? Is music more important or are they equal?
It’s becoming more and more important I think. In the past it was just like: “Oh I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to sing. What people want to hear me saying? Do I have anything to say at all?” In a way, it’s always been like that throughout my whole career as a lyric writer. So I think it gets a little bit better with every album, since I am really getting into the lyric part. Because with the music part I did not have problems for years, so it’s not an issue. But I think lyrics these days stepped out a little bit more.
They must be very different creative modes.
Oh yeah and I use a little bit more humour, other than serious stuff. But I try to mix it up. I don’t want to do a happy album or a depressing album. I want to combine it all!
I see. Oh, I think we ran out of time…
Okay the last one: your track “Call Me” featured Joakim Broden from Sabaton, whom you produced in the past. How was it different working with him this time and what did he bring to the song?
I think he brought a surprise to everybody. It’s always fun to hear someone who is very niched in his own things doing something totally different. And he was comfortable with it as well. It was a very fresh wind in the air to hear another voice on the album when you listen to it for 40 minutes. A new vocal is always very nice I think. And he did a great job I think.
Pain on the Internet: www.painworldwide.com
Special thanks to Alexey Kuzovlev for arranging this interview
Interview by Olga Stebleva
Photos courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records
December 7, 2016