Peter Tägtgren is one of the most influential figures in the metal scene. He has been involved in the music industry for over twenty years as a producer and frontman of Hypocrisy and Pain. I felt honoured to have quick chat with him before their set in Wolverhampton as part of their Coming Home tour.
We were halfway through the tour and it was pretty quiet backstage. ’It’s usually very quiet before the show but it’s only the calm before the storm.’ Since the new album is out I was wondering how much tonigth’s set would look like. ’We’ll play a lot of from the new album but also a good spread from the old ones. I actually have never played this many new songs on a tour before. It’s very hard to choose but no one can choose for me. It’s normally 4, maximum 5 songs, now we play 7. But it has a lot to do with the dynamics of the show.’
’It’s refreshing to play these songs live.’, Peter adds. On this tour his son, Sebastian Tägtgren joined them on the drums. Peter explains: ’David has some family issues he has to take care of in 2016 but he’ll come back next year.’
Despite Pain being a one-man band I wanted to know how Peter chooses his session musicians to play with live. ’Whoever you can handle in the bus for a long time. Whoever you can handle in closed compartments, how social they are and of course, how they can play.’
I also wanted to know a bit more about the songwriting process of Coming Home. Peter sums it up pretty nicely, ’This album is a rollercoaster of emotions and I guess that’s me as well.’ However, as Peter quickly adds ’The last album was really hard. After I was done with it I got really sick for a month. I guess that’s the price you gotta pay.’ When I asked if he does any songwriting on tour he said, ’No, I don’t really work like that. I get more ideas and melodies in my head but I won’t let it out until it’s ready to explode. I don’t even think about songwriting on tour. It’s always in my head first. Maybe it’s the rhythm or melody or a riff but when I start with an idea I usually finish them off.’
As far as the lyrical themes and topics go, Pain and Hypocrisy are two different worlds. Pain, as Peter explains ’is more like life in general and I don’t wanna go political. I stick to the everyday world that we all see everyday.’ The only exception maybe is ’Black KnightSatellite’. ’It was something I googled and came across and I thought it was fascinating so I really got into it and I had to write something about it.’ Peter’s fascination with secret government projects and extraterrestrial life is well presented in the works of Hypocrisy. It is natural to ask how things are with Hypocrisy nowadays. ’It’s only Pain now. After this tour I will have some time off and start thinking about it. It takes more time to think about it than write it because as soon as you know what you’re gonna write it’s fast.’
The song, ’Pain in the Ass’, Peter co-wrote with his manager/girlfriend. ’We shared the writing of the lyrics. When I had a listening session with the album I had two songs that weren’t quite done yet and I had to name them something so I named one of them Pain in the Ass and she suggested to do something with it. We formed the lyrics after the idea. It’s like a working title.’ The idea behind ’Absinth-Phoenix Rising’ is very simple. ’A friend of mine said why don’t we write a song about absinth? I only have bad experience with it but I went ’well, ok let’s do it’.’ ’Starseed’ is about what happens to our souls when we die.’
Peter does just as much as a musician as he does as a producer so I couldn’t help but wonder. Which is more like him? ’It’s a give and take. I love to write music and see how it develops. But when you’re in the studio for too long you want to get out and when you’re out too long, you want to go home. So it’s really good to have these two things.’ Many bands have chosen him as their producers, such as Dimmu Borgir, Dark Funeral, Amon Amarth, Sabaton, Carach Angren and many more so I wanted to know why these bands chose him but Peter only had a very humble asnwer for me: ’I don’t know. You have to ask them.’
Peter is also known as the ’Mayor of Pärlby’, a small, secluded village in Sweden. He has his studio there, The Abyss but when I asked him about his own village he said ’it’s not even worth mentioning. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. I’m actually selling houses to have less headaches. But I like living there. I’ve been writing every song there since 1994.’
Peter also collaborated with Till Lindemann, vocalist of Rammstein and from the initial collaboration of a few songs it turned into a full album. They’ve known each other for years and there were talks of a collaboration but it didn’t happen for a few years. The reasons were really simple. ’He was busy then I was busy. Then he had a long break for two years and said let’s write some music together.’ The album Skills in Pills was pretty successful so I wanted to know if we can expect some more from them. Peter’s answer was promising but didn’t give too much away. ’I hope so’.
View more photos of Pain in action in Wolverhampton below. Pictures by Vivien Varga.