DATE OF INTERVIEW:
22nd April 2011
METAL DISCOVERY: I seem to remember reading a while back in an interview that when you were working on the ‘Dancing with the Dead’ album you overworked yourself during that time and became quite ill…
PETER TÄGTGREN: Yeah.
(Peter Tägtgren on producing other bands' music compared to his own)
"...it’s easier to push other people to do their best than to push yourself because, usually, I become a fucking monster when I work on my own stuff because I pressure myself so much."
PAIN/Peter Tägtgren - promo shot
Photograph copyright © 2011 Heile
Interview by Mark Holmes
PAIN Official Website:
Thanks to Markus Jakob at Nuclear Blast for arranging the interview
Nothing Remains the Same (2002)
PAIN Official MySpace:
Dancing with the Dead (2005)
Psalms of Extinction (2007)
Cynic Paradise (2008)
You Only Live Twice (2011)
MD: Has that been a lesson learned and you’ve tried to have an easier schedule since then?
PT: No, it’s definitely worse now, you know.
PT: Yeah, but I hope it’s gonna slow down a little bit. I took it a bit more easy with the recordings and, now, I’m more a touring guy either with PAIN or Hypocrisy. It’s pretty much the same except you work outside the studio. But, next year, I’m probably gonna take on some more production work because I want to slow down a little bit on the touring. I want to do this all the way, of course, with the PAIN album wherever it’s possible.
MD: Do you find it easier producing and mixing your own music rather than other people’s or would you say it’s a more subjective and self-critical process when in the studio working on your own stuff?
PT: Oh, it’s much easier to work with people because, first of all, they have the material done and they have to play the stuff. When you do your own shit, I have to write the music, I have to perform it, I have to produce it, and I have to mix it, and there’s a lot of confusion there…I constantly run into walls. So it’s easier to push other people to do their best than to push yourself because, usually, I become a fucking monster when I work on my own stuff because I pressure myself so much.
MD: One thing I was going to ask, you were described as a “living legend” by Nuclear Blast on the email invite for interviews – do you regard yourself as such?
PT: What?! What did they write?!
MD: The subject line of the email was something like: “Interviews available with living legend Peter Tägtgren…”
MD: So do you regard yourself as a living legend?
PT: [laughs] Fuck no!
MD: They toned it down a bit in the actual email and said “metal icon Peter Tägtgren is available for interview”!
PT: Oh god! No, no, no, no! Fuck no!
MD: Well, maybe some of your fans think that. Obviously your label does so that’s a good sign, I guess!
PT: [laughs] Well, that’s nice of them but I think that’s a little over-the-top!
MD: I always like to test the integrity of Wikipedia because I know it’s full of crap in a lot of cases but it claims on your page that you own a village?
MD: Is this true?
MD: Okay, how did you come to own a village?
PT: I grew up in the area. It was some kind of hospital. This whole village was more about, in the beginning of the 1900s, it was actually a poorhouse for people. Then it became a hospital for people who were a little retarded, like older people in their sixties or something like that. When they couldn’t cope with them anymore they threw ‘em over here. So it was kind of a really nasty fucking place. In the mid-eighties it closed down and then they had a refugee place here for a few years and then they closed it down again. Then the houses, they rebuilt them as apartments for people to live in. I actually moved there because they had some good places for the studio so I started renting a studio, and also started renting an apartment, and then I grew more and more for the studio so I needed more space and I knocked down some walls in there and, at the end, he just said, “why don’t you just buy the whole house?” It just became so expensive to go by the book, you know, all the square metres and shit so I guess he felt sorry for me and he was just a guy taking care of the place for the owners. It was a big company that owns shitloads of stuff, and then he arranged it so I bought the whole studio so I could just do whatever I wanted with it. Then I bought the house where I had the apartment in and then, after a while, he said, “why don’t you just buy the whole shit?” [laughs]
MD: Wow. So you rent out apartments there?
PT: Yeah, now I have a big house where there’s seven apartments and I sold another house away. It’s really nice; it’s right by a small lake. It’s really nice and secluded.
MD: Cool, yeah. Also on Wikipedia, they have you down as forty years old but the press sheet for the album claims you’re thirty six…
PT: Yeah, I know, they’re all idiots! I’m forty one!
PT: Yeah, actually, the other day I just sent an email to Nuclear Blast and said, “how the fuck can you use some old fucking bio and send it out to people?”, because I heard it when I started doing interviews. And they were like, “errr, well, we took it from your homepage!” [laughs] And I’m like, “oh fuck!” and I told the guy who was doing the homepage to take that shit away!
MD: Nuclear Blast obviously love you – they describe you as a “living legend” and have taken five years off your age!
PT: Yeah, that’s really nice! [laughs]
MD: Obviously you mentioned the big European tour in October but there are no UK dates I noticed – can we expect any UK dates to be added at all?
PT: Yeah, I mean, this tour is constantly growing. It’s getting more and more so definitely it will be…I hope for four or five gigs but the problem is the UK, they don’t give a shit about PAIN, the promoters, so there’s no money. We’re gonna have to pay to play, kind of. It’s gonna cost us more to go there than we’re gonna make. Since I have seven people working for me, I have to pay them also, and we have to get over there, and we have to get around there. But we’ll find some kind of solution, but we’re definitely gonna do it.
MD: Maybe just one date in London or something?
PT: Yeah, but it would be cool to go out also, you know.
MD: Wasn’t the last time you played here on the Nightwish tour in 2008?
PT: Yeah, I think it was four or five gigs and when they did this other tour we did one at Brixton Academy and that was the only gig they did in England, I think.
MD: Yeah, on that particular tour.
PT: But, before, we went up to Scotland and a bunch of places.
MD: I think it was the Newcastle date where I saw you. It blew me away, a really awesome live show. And you seemed to go down amazingly well with the Nightwish crowd.
PT: Yeah, I know, and we should go back and try to stand on our own feet.
MD: Yeah, definitely. The final thing I wanted to ask – because you’ve done so much in your career as a musician and producer, what’s the thing you’ve been most proud of to date?
PT: I don’t know…I still think it’s PAIN because I do it all by myself and it’s fucking hell. I’m gonna start going through therapy now because of the last album…anger management and so on to get a hold of myself, kind of. It just takes so much to make an album, you know. It’s easier for people to just listen to it and listen to the songs, which they should, but I’m saying, for me, as a person to make this, it’s not a walk in the park, that’s for sure.
MD: It’s what it says on the tin, PAIN, I guess…
MD: So do you get more satisfaction out of a PAIN album than a Hypocrisy album when they’re done?
PT: I don’t know. Of course, I get satisfaction in everything I’m involved in whether it’s producing or whatever but this is like in a different way. It’s like Lone Ranger, you know! [laughs]
MD: Well, thank you very much for your time.
PT: Alright, thank you.
MD: And, like I said, an incredible new album so really good luck with that.
PT: Okay, thank you.
MD: And I hope to see PAIN over here in October or November.
PT: Yeah, probably November. I don’t want to have a break for half a year and then go out all rusty. I want to be in tiptop shape when I go places.
MD: Yeah, and keep the momentum going.
PT: Yeah, and the only way to do that is just playing and playing and playing.
MD: Definitely. Cool.
PT: Alright, thanks a lot, man.
MD: Cheers very much.
PT: Cheers, take it easy.