PARADISE LOST Guitarist Discusses New Album, Illegal Music Downloading

Sweden's Metalshrine recently conducted an interview with PARADISE LOST guitarist Aaron Aedy. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Metalshrine: Did you all decide to write heavier stuff [for the new album "In Requiem"] or was that just the way it developed?

Aaron: The thing is that we've never ever planned an album, really. There's not like a board meeting and we go "OK, this is the master plan for the next record!" We don't really do that, we just see what happens. We've been enjoying how much energy and more powerful the songs, that we've been recording lately, have been sounding live. I think we've been trying for a few years really. With "Symbol of Life" we were trying to get what "Believe in Nothing" sounded like and it sounded so much better live than it did on the record. Every album we seem to have been trying to recapturing it. Using Rhys [Fulber, producer] this time again has been great and Jeff [Singer, drums] is a full-time..., well, he's actually been in the band for two years now. Whereas when we did the last record, he had only been in the band for a couple of weeks before we started going into production. He's managed to get his own sort of stamp on it. Getting Mike Fraser to mix it was a big step. I was really excited when I heard we got him. He's done AC/DC, METALLICA, SLAYER, THE CULT! Loads of people and I was really excited when I found out we had him to mix it. I think it's just we've been really enjoying playing live and the feeling of the energy on stage. I think the new record, and I am seriously biased, but I think it's really good. We're all very pleased with it. It's cool. We're just looking forward to playing it live.

Metalshrine: A guy like Rhys Fulber, who you've worked with before, what does he bring to the process of working on the new album?

Aaron: Rhys likes to be very involved. The thing with Rhys is that before we used him on "Symbol of Life", he had been nagging us since about "Draconian Times" to work with him, because he's a big fan of the band. His ambition is to make the ultimate PARADISE LOST album. That's what he wants to do. And he isn't just a producer, he's actually somebody who cares a lot about the music and not just about the paycheck. He actually wants the best for the band and having that sort of input, you know, sometimes we can be rehearsing things and we'll send them to Rhys and if he's like "Mmm, you know what? Maybe you should try this or that's cool" and that's good. To have an outside, sort of perspective while you're doing it. He's got good visions and a good ear for a good tune. He's a good friend and he's really fun to spend time with in the studio. He really does help you to do the best you can for the band. It's just a great working relationship.

Metalshrine: When it comes to the next album, would you consider working with him again? Turn it into a Bob Rock/METALLICA kind of thing?

Aaron: (laughs) To tell you the truth and I can only speak for myself, but me and Nick had this chat the other week, and if there's nothing too wrong with it, why do you need to fix it? He really is good to work with and it might come to a point where he might get sick of us (laughs). But you can't predict the future and you just know when you're writing the record if it's right or not. I like Rhys a lot and I really like working with him, so I can't see myself not doing it in the future, but the future is there to happen. Concentrate on the day.

Metalshrine: When did you start working on the new album?

Aaron: We started, probably in spring last year, but we were doing a lot of....man I got sick of flying last year. I think we did something like 100 -150 flights. We just seemed to be flying all the time. From Mexico to Brazil to Chile to Argentina and we just seemed to be going all over the place last year and we always had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning to go to the airport. So it was quite a tiring year, the first six or seven months of last year and then we really got down to it from September and onwards. Rhys came over and actually it might've been August, because he was over here working with another band. It might have been MORTIIS or something and he said "How you doing?" and we said that we only had about three or four songs and he just went "Great, I'll come up and have a listen." Now he lives in Canada, on the west coast of Canada, so it's a long way, but he was in the country and we did a bit of pre production in about August or something. Then we started piling into work seriously in October. We had to stop for a couple of weeks for the OPETH tour, which we'd promised to do in advance and it turned out to be really good fun. I mean, the OPETH guys are great guys and we've known them for quite a while. Then we just started knuckle down really and started recording in December. I did all the rhythm guitars and Jeff did his drums and Steve did his bass before Christmas in England. For a vocalist, you can only spend so many hours a day singing or the throat will close up and you lose days anyway. You can only get two or three hours out of a singer, so Nick and Greg, to save money, they flew to Canada for a couple of weeks and sort of swapped. When Nick couldn't sing anymore, Greg recorded his solos basically. Pretty much the way we normally work, but it just worked out cheaper than having to rent a studio. We only needed the accommodation of the real studio the first couple of weeks or so, because everyone needs to be there when you're lying down the guide tracks for everyone to record and stuff like that. But then after that, Greg and Nick can be on their own somewhere.

Metalshrine: You're heading out for the U.S. with NIGHTWISH in October? Are you into their music?

Aaron: No, not really. It's not really my kind of thing. I like the people in the band. I've never talked to the old singer, but the guys in the band are all really cool. To tell you the truth, we supported at a London show about a year and a half ago and watching them live, it sounded infinitely better live and I could see why they do really well. They're really good at what they're doing, you know. They're the best band I've heard of that sort of thing. I do appreciate them, but to be honest I haven't listened to a great deal of material, so I can't really say without listening to a lot of it. It wouldn't be fair! You just can't listen to everybody. And sometimes, especially if you're touring, the last thing you want to listen to is more heavy metal.

Metalshrine: The whole thing with buying albums these days and downloading. Is that something you're afraid of? How do you look upon it? We talked a bit about this before.

Aaron: It's really affected us in the past. The "Believe in Nothing" album was supposed to be coming out in September 2001 and then it needed remixing and then it moved into what they called "superstar traffic," which is basically a Christmas release. So they decided to delay it until February, but they had already given out promos of the album and someone put it on the internet before it came out, so that really fucked that up to be honest. But what can you do? It's really annoying. People think they're sticking two fingers up to the record companies, but the record companies are the first people to be paid, it's the artist that don't get paid. And if we don't get money we can't...because the less money you get, the less you can afford to record in good quality. Some new bands have to hold jobs down. It's very difficult.

Metalshrine: Do you have any thoughts on what will happen? The record companies have to come up with something.

Aaron: I think the iTunes and the downloading is just getting past that whole generation. There's a whole of people and I think it's gonna take another five years. A good five years now at least. There's a whole generation of people that believe they have the right to get the albums for free. And then they go on Blabbermouth.net about artists...and hang on a minute, I'll come around to your house, take your telly, because I haven't got one and then I'm gonna go to the band and have them to let me off my mortgage, because I believe I should have a free mortgage. (laughs)

Metalshrine: It's interesting because I'm a teacher and I don't think anyone of the kids I teach has ever bought or will ever buy a record. They just download, that's all they do.

Aaron: It's difficult. When I was a twelve-year-old kid you had one guy on the street who bought an album and two of you taped it. But now only one person has to buy it in the world and everyone can get it. That's the ridiculous thing. I think LINKIN PARK, in five or four years ago, had the biggest selling album of the year and they sold four and a half million. The biggest selling album ten years before that was MADONNA and she sold forty. Now, bands are touring to make money and they lose money on albums. When we were touring "Draconian Times", to make sure we had a top show, we took two trucks, a couple of buses and an eight week tour would cost us £300.000 and you sort of put that as a loss, a tax loss whereas now you don't make anything like that. It's very difficult. Now everyone is trying to make money on the tour and all the bands are touring, so the agency is paying less because there's a larger selection. Then you're trying to make money on t-shirts. It's ridiculous!

Read the entire interview at Metalshrine.

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