We are greeted with an upbeat and genuinely pleasant Peter Tägtgren, who is more than keen to talk about his latest project, PAIN. As he is preparing himself for a five-week tour that begins today (October 13th), it’s obvious that the multi-talented instrumentalist is raring to get out on the road and finally air his latest creation.
OD – So the new album is finally released. Now I know that everyone has been asking you ‘why did it take so long’ I can only guess with everything else that you have going on. What I want to know is the approach to writing material over a period of time that is constantly changing and influencing you. Did you find yourself scrapping ideas and restructuring songs a lot?
PETER – Not really as I was really busy with Hypocrisy and Lindemann over the last four to five years or so. The last Pain album came out in 2011 and we toured something like 100 shows for that release and then I moved straight onto the Hypocrisy album and when you include the process of writing and touring, that was another couple of years. Then Till (Lindemann, Rammstein) got in touch for that project around about 2013 and that took two years to write and promote that project. So really, I started writing Coming Home in September of 2015.
I really started really writing for this Pain album in 2013 and when Till got in touch I just put this on the back burner, so we could concentrate on Lindemann. We wrote and produced that album in a year and a half and then a half a year doing promotion; so as you can imagine, time was just flying by.
I knew that what I was doing with Pain was very different, because that just who I am as a person. I like to write a song in a certain way, I know that the next song I write is going to be completely different because of the method in which I work. The album is very “wide” in terms of sound and influence. Some people that had heard it before it was released commented on how vast in sound and feeling it was.
OD – The title of the album, Coming Home would suggest that is more of a personal meaning to it, can you comment on the reason you choose this title?
PETER – I would say, the title is related to me getting back into doing something that was purely for me. I was working so much with other artists and musicians that this really felt like I was “coming home” and fulfilling my personal ideas on how this album should sound. It was a very liberating experience for me as I didn’t have to ask about certain ideas and I could just have the complete freedom to write and record what I wanted.
OD – You have said that when putting Coming Home together, you didn’t want to plagiarize yourself. How did you manage to avoid this and were there any unusual tactics that you underwent to achieve a fresh approach to new material?
PETER – When I started in September last year, I was like “Okay I’m going to do a new album, but I don’t want it to sound like me”. I really wanted to get away from myself and the way I usually go about writing. Everybody has their own way and technique for composing music and I wanted to really approach things from a different way.
I usually know when I have a riff, just how the song is going to be in it’s completed form. That’s just the way my brain works! So when I reached a point where I was thinking about what direction to take, instead of doing what was natural to me, I made a conscious effort to do the opposite. I wanted to really venture outside of my comfort zone and try new things with this album and I really think that I have achieved that.
OD – I believe you started putting PAIN together back in 2013 and then the Lindermann project came about. Do you feel now in hindsight that there was a tremendous amount of influence taken from that project?
PETER – Yea, totally! I really feel that Till thought me plenty of things and vice-versa. When two people get together with all of that experience, there is going to be many ideas and experiences traded amongst one another. We really clicked and shared stories and experiences from, growing up in different places to our individual experiences working in the music industry.
Till thought me many different ways of putting songs together and I took that with me and applied it to the way I work today. We learned a lot over that year and a half and I believe that sharing ideas can only lead to something positive.
OD – Regarding a follow-up to Lindemann, are there any plans to get together again in the near future?
PETER – We definitely have our minds set on doing another album together, that’s for sure. Also, we have both spoken about our intentions to take it out on the road which is something that would be very special indeed. But for now, I just need to see where PAIN is going to take me and also where Rammstein is going over the next few years. We have a great deal of material and ideas laying around that we need to pick up and get back into again.
OD – You have some guests on this album with Broden of Sabaton and of course your very own son. When you were putting the material together did you have this in mind or did it just happen organically?
PETER – No I didn’t really plan it. My whole idea was to write ten or twelve songs with just the music before a certain deadline and I didn’t even dare to think about the vocals at this point. By April, Sabaton came into the studio, so I stopped with my music and was working on other stuff. My goal is always to get the music completed first and then tackle the vocals and lyrical arrangements. I like doing things this way as it gives me a little breathing space and some clarity on each of the songs. It’s just the way I really like to work on things.
OD – You are one of the very few artists that have managed to work at almost two polar opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Your other projects most notably Hypocrisy, Lock Up and The Abyss being from the extreme end of things to PAIN which is industrial / electronic. Do you find that working with such a vast array of styles just creates more ideas and exposes you to situations; where you begin to think outside the box musically?
PETER – Yeah, all the things I have already achieved in my life influence me. My head is almost like a garbage can that collects ideas and different feelings towards what I feel I wanted to achieve. Regardless of music from the top forty charts or brutal death metal, some things just get into my head and manifest into a particular idea.
OD – Speaking of Hypocrisy, what’s happening with things these days as I’m sure you have been just non-stop busy since End of Disclosure came out?
PETER – I guess we should start to thinking about the next step on what we want to do and what approach we would like to take on the next album. There is definitely going to be another album, that’s for sure. So basically it’s a case of “time will tell” if you know what I mean (laughing). I mean, it’s highly unlikely that there will be a new Hypocrisy album in 2017, but more likely in 2018.
OD – As well as being a multi-instrumentalist, you are known for your record production duties with a huge catalog of bands. Did you take a back seat on producing PAIN as it might interfere with the overall creative process for your own material?
PETER – When I produce my own stuff, I’m in a completely different world and when I’m doing production for another band, it’s very different because they come with their talent and they come with their songs and it’s my job to really nail it down for them and get the very best out of the musician for the take. Sometimes in song structure, I would have to advise or suggest a different approach or to cut away on a specific riff to keep the music engaging and fresh. It’s a very different role to the way I would approach my own music and recording which is just the way I like to work.
OD – When undergoing the role as producer, have you found yourself in any real difficult situations when dealing with other artists, as some bands find the recording process to be a little stressful or boring?
PETER – I don’t think I’ve come across any bands that I’ve worked with that were not 100% dedicated to making the best album of their career. However, in saying that some musicians cannot handle the pressure of recording sometimes and I’ve seen a couple of blow-ups between band members and shit like that you know? It’s just part of working with people and can happen anywhere, even a supermarket! When you have people working with each other, then there is going to be some tension from time to time.
I saw the blow-up between Celtic Frost, Dimmu Borgir and Sabaton and in the end, they survived somehow and managed to get it together and work through it. When these bands are in the studio, it’s almost like they are putting their whole life on the line. The career that they have worked so hard to achieve all depends on what they produce under one roof over a certain period of time and when you look at it that way, there’s bound to be a certain level of stress. My job it to make things run smoothly, yet draw the best from each of the musicians during the recording process.
I have to push them as much as I can, but not too far if you know what I mean. I’m pretty good with people and trust my judgment with how I conduct my sessions. At times it’s almost like being a shrink ( laughing ).
OD – So with Coming Home, finally released, can you tell me what is happening with touring etc?
PETER – Well, our European tour will be kicking off on October 13th and will run for five weeks and then we’re on to Scandinavia and Russia before Christmas only to get back on the road again in the new year with a U.S tour. Once that is finished, we will then be making our way back over to Europe where we will be concentrating on hitting those areas where we missed this time around. This will be the second leg of the European tour and we are hoping to get up to Scotland and over to Ireland during this run of dates.
OD – Having been in the business for a considerable amount of time now, do you see anything on the business side of things that keep reoccurring over and over again that you would like to change for the better for younger bands?
PETER – It would be great to see a sort of universal union to protect bands and one stipulation would be that they would all receive some good advice before signing a contract. I know that this is just fantasy, but it would be great to see some type of a law introduced that protects bands from signing a contract that is basically a very bad deal.
OD – What’s the remainder of the year looking like for you, will your attention be solely focused on PAIN?
PETER – For me, my big plan is to concentrate on PAIN and go as long as we can on the road. If people still want to see us live, then we will keep doing it until people are not interested (laughs). I will then go back to working on my other projects at this point, but for now, everything is very much focused on PAIN.
PAIN – COMING HOME is out now via Nuclear Blast. You can order your copy from this link.
Catch PAIN on tour now on any of the dates listed below.
© OVERDRIVE 2016