Into The Abyss – An Interview with HYPOCRISYs Peter Tägtgren
Skriven av Kristian Kotilainen
Skapad 2013-04-17 12:20
It was a nice spring evening when I turned up to K17 in Friedrichshain, Berlin to check out HYPOCRISY. I got there early to catch up with workaholic and HYPOCRISY frontman Peter Tägtgren for a little pre-gig chat in the tour bus.
Apart from the tragic incident when bass player Slawomir "Mortifer" Archangielskij from the support band HATE – passed away in his sleep just two days prior to this interview, everything is going forward for HYPOCRISY.
You’re currently on the road in support of your new album ”End Of Disclosure” – which is your 12th studio album. How has the tour been so far? – It's been really good until this shit happened with HATE, you know. Other than that it's been fantastic, one of the best we've done so far.
Have you been informed of what happened with Mortifer? – (Sighs). I don't know if it's something he was born with... his heart just stopped. Not because of drugs or anything like that. I mean he was only 27 years old so... but we'll find out when they know. What can you say? It's insane.
"End Of Disclosure" has been out for almost three weeks now and I’ve seen several good reviews – it’s also doing well on the charts. How have the fans responded to the album? – We do signing sessions every day at the venues and everybody seems to like it so that's really good.
Where in the world would you say you have the biggest support? – Oh that I don't know... I mean Germany has always been very good for us but it's picking up everywhere. It's really hard to say where is the best place.
Do you feel that this is your strongest album so far or would you like to take it even further in the future? – Maybe if we take it too far it's gonna be too commercial instead? We're still an underground band, we're not like PAIN or something else. The album was made the same way we did it in the past, not so complicated riffs and not so complicated melodies. We just put it together.
"End Of Disclosure" still has that typical HYPOCRISY sound but what would you say is the biggest change on the album? – Maybe the way I produced it, there's not so much instruments on there except for certain spots where you really "push it up" you know. But other than that it's more like AC/DC I think.
You know what you're gonna get and you know you're gonna like it – in the MOTÖRHEAD kind of good way? – Yeah in a good way definitely, we didn't try to re-invent the wheel.
Which of the HYPOCRISY albums is your favourite? – I don't know, I mean I'd have to take a day and listen through all of them and then do a review myself. I really like the self-titled album but of course you see it in a different way when you've been writing it yourself – so it's really hard to say. But I think most of the good songs are on the self titled one for some reason. But it could easily change if I listened to them all tomorrow.
And which one are you least proud of? – "Fourth Dimension". The sound is so awful. And the way we play is so awful so... I can't concentrate on the songs unfortunately. (laughs).
HYPOCRISY have been going for over 20 years now – how do you keep the passion burning within the band? – I think the most important is not to stress things and tour your brains out. We haven't been such an active touring band in the past. In the 90's we did a couple of Nuclear Blast festivals and that was kind of our tour, well a few other ones as well... Nowadays we try to first do Europe then America - and this time we were in a hurry because of the coming festivals. Nobody goes to a concert when it's festival season. South America is up next and after the summer we'll continue with South Europe, East Europe, Russia and hopefully Australia and China.
What other bands do you get inspired by? What was the last album you heard that made you go "Wow"? Because there is a lot of bad metal music these days... – Yeah, yeah, it's so easy to release an album so a lot of shit comes up to the surface. I don't know – it's been so long since I heard something that kicked my ass to be honest. I can't come up with anything now.
Most of your songs have an alien theme to them. When I read the lyrics to ”End Of Disclosure” – it seems to be more about war? – Nah, I think it's more about all these secret government projects and the cover up stories about different things that's happened. I don't know how to describe it but different stories that people have different answers for you know... And it's not really about any alien stuff – it's more about governments, bankers and such, doing bad shit.
Do you keep yourself updated about what goes on in the world? – Of course, we all do. I mean you just watch the news and think about when we'll go to America – maybe there's some missiles flying by the plane you know. (laughs). You never know what's gonna happen with Korea and stuff like that. It's really fucked up but I don't think they're really a threat.
Can you still see yourself on stage in 20 years or do you think that you will be more settled down, working more in the studio with other bands? Are we gonna see a “40 Years Of Chaos And Confusion” documentary? – (Laughs). Well that goes up and down it's impossible to say what's gonna happen next year or the year after. One day you say that you don't wanna tour anymore and then after half a year in the studio you wanna go out and do it again.
Your other band PAIN is quite different from HYPOCRISY – is that how you get your experimental side out? – Yeah exactly. Hopefully I'm gonna start during the summer to think about what I wanna do with the next PAIN album. But who knows, there might be another HYPOCRISY album before that, I don't know.
It seems like you share the priorities 50/50 basically? – Yeah, when it fits, it works.
Any other projects going on at the moment? – No, no I don't have time.
Is there something in particular that you would like to do? – No I'm pretty happy with what I'm doing right now so it works.
Is being on the road something that you love or is it a necessary evil? – I love standing on stage and playing in front of the crowd – meet the fans and stuff but everything else is kinda... yeah, stressy.
Do you have any good stories from the road that you’d like to share with us? – Oh there's a million. I'd have to write a book... This tour has been quite easy except the shit that happened last Friday (with Mortifer) but other than that it hasn't been any crazy stuff yet. Maybe it's too early...
Have you cut down on the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle a bit these days or do you still party a lot? – Yeah, still partying. I don't have time at home so I'll do it on tour.
Sweden and Scandinavia in general have a very successful metal scene. Why do you think that is? – Maybe it's the sun that never shines, I don't know what it is...it's weird. Why is there so many metal bands coming from Scandinavia? I have no clue.
How do you feel about WATAIN and SHINING, which in my opinion is two of the best extreme metal bands Sweden has these days? – I haven't really listened that much. I think my brother (Tommy Tägtgren, who also works at Abyss Studio /KK) recorded one SHINING album a long time ago. I'm not sure but I think so. I haven't listened enough to have an opinion. I've seen a bit live and it looked really cool but I have to listen to the albums.
You live on the country side where you also have your Abyss Studio. Have you ever been tempted to move to a bigger city or maybe even a bigger country where you could take your producing even further? – No, no, no, no, people have to come to me. I also go to Finland and record bands as well, and Germany and I go everywhere so... it's all up to the bands.
Is there any band that you would die to be working with or have you done it all? – Of course you'd like to try something more commercial or what you say - as well. Anything from SLAYER to RAMMSTEIN, big bands, of course. I guess that's the same aim for everybody. As a musician you wanna play in front of more people and as a producer you wanna produce bigger bands.
But haven't you recorded RAMMSTEIN before? I know they've been at your place? – No I haven't recorded them, they were just at my place hanging out, we're just friends.
(During our interview he receives a text message from RAMMSTEIN's Till Lindemann. Apparently they are having some kind of gig/party for fans the same evening and Tägtgren is invited).
Is there any band you regret working with or that didn't turn out that well? – Of course there's a few bands where it happened but that was a long time ago. I don't wanna mention any names (laughs) but yeah, you can't really win it all you know.
HYPOCRISY is also on Spotify. I’ve read a lot about artists refusing to be part of it basically because they say the payment is not good enough. What is your opinion about that? – Oh it's shit alright (the payment). We actually tried with PAIN before to take it off – from Spotify, just to wait six months and then put it on again, but it wasn't a big difference. (Referring to the money coming in /KK).
How much do you actually get? – I don't know... well they're changing it and making it better all the time (they say) so I don't know. But I guess it's better to have it on Spotify than people downloading it for free, I don't know what's best... I'm just glad that people come to the shows and buy t-shirts you know.
There’s also ways to get donations for your music and do everything yourself as an artist, especially in the punk scene. You’re basically doing everything yourself but are still backed up by a big label... – I have so much on my plate that I can't take care of everything, that's why I don't do that stuff. I'm not in charge of the homepages, I don't even have Facebook you know so for me – I just let someone else take care of that.
Is there a need for record labels any more? – It all depends of what quality you want. Anyone today can record an album in their apartment but what kind of quality will you get?
It seems like you can get quite a good quality when it comes to DIY recordings – but I guess if you wanna go on a big tour and make expensive videos you need the backing of a big label? – Yeah you need some money there unfortunately because touring doesn't pull in the money. It costs a lot to be on tour. A bus like ours costs like 1200 euros a day...
But it feels like the labels are going down... – Yeah they are.
...whilst DIY is going up which I see as a positive thing. I'm not a musician but it seems like a good way to get better paid for your work without some other wanker getting the bigger part of your cut? – That is true, definitely.
What are you looking forward to right now? – Get up on stage and play and then have a fat fucking drink.
What can we expect from tonight's gig? – Pedal to the medal, we're gonna go all the way. We're gonna do at least 1,5 hours of music from all kinds of albums.
And finally – any last words? – Just thanks a lot to the fans for the good support and for getting our album!