Metal Discovery recently conducted an interview with PAIN mainman Peter Tgtgren. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Discovery: The new album ["You Only Live Twice"] is absolutely fantastic; I've been listening to it all week. As a whole, it's a lot more diverse than any other PAIN release in terms of all the different styles on there. Did you set out to make a more varied record this time round?
Peter Tgtgren: No, not really. I just wrote music as usual but I guess it just came out different. I don't know how to explain; it's really hard when you just write music and sometimes you're in the mood of certain things, you know, and you just start writing in that way so it's not really anything planned. The only thing I knew was that it was gonna be a heavier album than the past ones, for sure.
Metal Discovery: Yeah, I was going to say that it's got a much more aggressive edge in general like on certain tracks such as "Monster" and "Let Me Out", it sounds like a bit of HYPOCRISY creeping in there almost, you could say
Peter Tgtgren: Yeah, maybe a little bit like that.
Metal Discovery: So do you compose discretely for HYPOCRISY and PAIN or do you always have a pool of ideas that find their way into both?
Peter Tgtgren: I don't know. For me, it's more or less like when I'm in the mood from the beginning, even before I touch the guitar or whatever, I pretty much set out in my mind what I'm gonna write for. Sometimes, of course, not often but sometimes something doesn't fit to one band that you think so you have to rearrange it a little bit to fit to the other band. But it's not often that happens, though.
Metal Discovery: Do you find it easy to switch focus between working on PAIN and HYPOCRISY albums then?
Peter Tgtgren: Yeah, I mean, because I had one third of, or almost half, PAIN music written for this album while I was working on the HYPOCRISY album. After "Virus" with HYPOCRISY, I started writing a little bit for "A Taste Of Extreme Divinity" over a four-year period and the same thing with PAIN, you know, after the last album I started writing right away. So it's just constant writing. Sometimes you're in the mood for doing it one way, and it really represents where the last album stopped andusually, some ideas grow out from listening to the album when it's done and it's like, hmmm, it's missing this kind of song, so you start writing that kind of song. So it's kinda weird.
Metal Discovery: Definitely. And I read you were aiming for a Tim Burton kind of vibe with the artwork?
Peter Tgtgren: Yeah, well, I told the guy we have this mascot, Painhead, that's been with us for five years, I think, or something like that and I just wanted to do something with that thing and combine it a little bit with a not real life surrounding kind of feel. Well, yeah, Tim Burton movies where everybody looks like freaks or trees and things are oddly shaped and shit, you know. So that was the only thing I told him and that's what came out. It's actually a clay model he made to get a photo of and paint it.
Metal Discovery: So there were no guest musicians this time?
Peter Tgtgren: It was just me who did everything and David, our live drummer, did the drums on it. And yeah, it just feels better to have real instruments. Before, there was fifty per cent program, fifty me playing drums. Most of the time it was keyboard bass but this time I just put bass on everything. Everything becomes more alive, I think. You know, it's a little loose here and there, and that's how it should be to become a humanized album. Before, it was a little bit too stiff.
Metal Discovery: Would you say there are pros and cons to working in that solitary kind of way, you know, out of a band context and having less people to bounce ideas off in the studio?
Peter Tgtgren: Yeah, it's both good and bad. I mean, I set out in 1996 to do my own ego-trip and mainly just in a producer's hat aspect as I started with the PAIN shit. There were no bands that had drum loops and shit, and crazy keyboards, so I had to invent my own band to produce and that's really how PAIN came out. I really want to keep it to myself but still have a solid band live.
Read the entire interview from Metal Discovery.