Pain - Peter Tägtgren

Peter Tägtgren is not only a well-known producer but a great songwriter, with the HYPOCRISY and PAIN albums being solid pieces of proof. In the context of the “Coming Home” release under the PAIN moniker, METAL KAOZ got him on the phone to see what was his inspiration, how the project with RAMMSTEIN’s frontman influenced his music and what are the future touring plans that involved the US. Check out our really interesting discussion below.

Pain - Peter Tägtgren

Hello Peter, welcome to METAL KAOZ! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!
No problem, man.

I’m sure you’re excited to release “Coming Home”, right?

Yeah, and get it over with (laughs).

(laughs) You recently worked with Lindemann from RAMMSTEIN, so how did that collaboration inspire you to write the music for “Coming Home”?

I think it opened other possibilities in a way how to write music, I guess. I and Till have like 25 years of experience from different sides, so I guess made us think of new ways to write music and so on. It was really important that both we did this together because both of us learned a lot from each other and it was really amazing to see how the experience of writing music for 25 years can be combined into something new. So, I just kept on leaning toward after that.

Yeah, I can see quite a few songs from “Coming Home” that could be on “Skills In Pills”, so to me, that’s great because you had all the degrees of freedom to write – there are no limitations when it comes to PAIN.
Exactly, so if I wanted to do a slow song with acoustic guitars then I do it – if I wanted to do it in another way, I can do it. There are no limits on how I can do things with PAIN. When it comes to HYPOCRISY, of course I really want to stay having one foot on Death Metal - even though we are not a purely Death Metal band, it’s more melodic but still, it’s heavy as fuck. So, it’s two different kind of bands I’d say.

Yeah, although I don’t like all these labels because at some point they kind of put boundaries onto the artists, and this is something I don’t like, to be honest.
Yeah, that’s true.

But what can you do? This is how things work in Metal, sometimes. You also worked with Clemens Wijers, so what was his contribution?
I sent him my style of orchestral stuff and he kind of pinned them up for me, you know. My melodies and things like that, plus he add instruments around it because he’s got a lot of experience with this orchestral how things must set up, since he does film music as well.

So, all the melodies we hear in “Coming Home” are yours, right?

Oh man, the “Starseed” melody in the orchestral parts is amazing! I really loved that!
Thank you very much, man!

And speaking of “Starseed”, even in HYPOCRISY, you have some scenes about aliens and stuff like that, so are you a supporter of the Ancient Aliens theory?
“Starseed” is really about something else; it’s about our souls, where they go when we die.

Oh, so I got this completely wrong, so maybe it's the other way around…
Yeah - like, where do our soul go when we die. Do we die or it’s just a vehicle like an old car and then jumping into a new car. When we buy a new one, how does it work. It’s just my philosophy on life after death kind of thing.

So, are you asking questions, not presenting theories or answers, right?
Exactly. So, to get back to your question, I’ll say that the only song that is about aliens and stuff is “Black Knight Satellite”.

Yeah, that was my next question. So, did you follow these stories through Nikola Tesla or from the Youtube postings or whatever?
Yeah, things like what Tesla said to people in the beginning of 1900s. He was saying that something is out there but he didn’t have the technology to really say what it was and how it was – but he said that it’s something out there that’s beckoning. I thought it was kind of fascinating saying these things. Is it true or is it not? You always have to take it with a grain of salt. But also I thought it was a really cool story to tell to people.

And it also fits the PAIN aesthetics, if you may.
Yeah, a little bit, I think so too.

It’s funny looking at the album’s cover artwork where we see you after having suffered a crash on Mars, most probably…
Yeah, or at home, I don’t know. I just really liked the idea of getting a spacesuit and the desert feel. That was really the only direction I had where we were discussing the photo session.

Wait, it was not an actual spacesuit, right?
Oh, it was. They rent it, I don’t know from where -somewhere in Germany I believe and it was really expensive. And there was like a big manual book how to get into it (laughs).

Of course, it might take you at least 40 minutes to get in that thing, man (laughs)!
Yeah, but it was a cool feeling to have it and I really wanted to space out on this one when taking the photos.

Sure. And you had Joakim from SABATON doing some guest singing; how did you make him sing some so much different from his usual war history themes? It must be really funny hearing him singing these lyrics that you wrote for him…
Yeah, both of us were laughing about this. You know, his singing like about being a gigolo and wanting women to call him (laughs). I just thought it was a cool thing, you know.

Of course. Was this part of your deal to produce the new SABATON album (laughs)?
No, absolutely not. It was just like “do you want to put on some vocals on my new album like I did for you” and he was like “yes, sure”.

Yeah, I’m joking. How fun did you have when you’re writing such lyrics? I mean, it is impossible for me not to laugh with “Pain In The Ass”...
Yeah, that was actually me and my manager who put it together and my manager is a she, so you know she has a good sense of humor.

(laughs) What the usual reaction do you get from people when reading these lyrics?
I don’t know – in the past there were more serious things but I think on this one I wanted to add some more humor in the whole thing. Both, when it comes to the lyrics and the whole visual aspect. Just some funny crazy shit, you know.

Yeah, although “Natural Born Idiots” is almost ironic, right? But go on about the lyrics - what is the reaction you’re getting?
I think it’s pretty good; people seem to like that I am kind of lighting up situations. In a way of you don’t have to be so god-damn serious for things. I think Till taught me a little bit about that too; do everything with a twist (laughs). Of course, there are some serious stuff as well; “A Wannabe” is about really you shouldn’t really trust what people are feeding you with the news because it’s not always what you think it is, or like you said “Natural Born Idiot” is about we all know someone who always try to avoid at the bar or at a grocery store or wherever we go, there’s someone who is really annoying. This is my version of telling what I think for some people - everybody has a local, natural born idiot who tries to avoid - it’s a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter.

What about the title track? I’m sensing an underlining of nostalgia when I hear this song, so where are you coming home from?
I don’t know; I think basically from working really hard and being really fucking tired. Like now, I can feel this being the hardest to make albums because I’ve been sick for a month after I was done with it. Because I think all the tension and all the pressure kind of went away when I was done so I got really sick after that. So I think I’m overworking a bit too much, you know. Now, I’m coming back a little bit, so I have a month to recover before going on tour. It should be no problem.

And you’re talking about the tour with THE VISION BLEAK, right?

So, my obvious next question is what about the States? You had to cancel the previous one [with HYPOCRISY] for visa issues, I think.
Yeah, but I have been to the US since then so it won’t be a problem. At that point it was kind of fucked up, there were some unexpected bullshit for some reason and the embassy was trying to play tricks on me. But I overwhelmed them so to speak, so I have no problem anymore for visas and stuff, it was just a big bullshit from that kind. Now it’s all cleared up. We’re doing the ‘70000 Tons Of Metal’ and then we actually are gonna go out in America but we’re still working on the cities and on the venues and stuff like that. We’ll definitely come to the States.

That’s awesome news! I hope Chicago will be included in this tour.
Yeah, definitely it will. I know this for sure.

So are you talking only about HYPOCRISY, right?
No, I’m talking about PAIN. I’ve a new album, man (laughs).

Oh, with PAIN? Well, you can convince Till to come with RAMMSTEIN, right?
I think they were just in Chicago.

Yes, they were. Although this is a semi-funny question, can we see HYPOCRISY and PAIN co-touring?
No. I’m not KING DIAMOND, you know.

(laughs) I’m joking. So, speaking of HYPOCRISY, is there anything from that side in your mind for the future?
Yeah, in the future it is, for sure, but right now it’s PAIN that goes all the way. I’m just going to tour until people stop wanting to see us anymore. Then it will be time for the next step whatever that step is.

Sure. Have you talked at all about what bands you’ll bring with you in the States?
No, we’re still negotiating with some people and we haven’t still really found what we’re looking for.

And do you see yourself working with Lindemann for the “Skills In Pills” follow-up?

I think so. I mean, it’s all up to see what RAMMSTEIN has planned. They have a couple of more gigs on this festival season and then I really don’t know what they’re up to. But I think they’re gonna write some new songs and I really have no clue to be honest, but you know, when time allows, then we’ll definitely gonna jump in and try to do something more.

Yeah, that would be awesome! How much fun did you have shooting all these videos for the “Skills In Pills” album?

It was great! Everyone involved in that thing had a great sense of humor. It was a lot of Zoran [Bihac], our director, just really going crazy for the whole thing.

Yeah, that was funny! You also did some cool videos for “Coming Home” that were nice. Do you have any left-overs from these album sessions for “Coming Home”?

No, I got a little bit on this 7’’ vinyl that we’re gonna be doing on this special edition. This will contain the album a live recording for the summer festival plus the 7’’ with two songs in there as bonus tracks.

Do you know if this will be available here in the US or we’ll have to get it as an import?

I hope, I mean, there is Nuclear Blast America, so they should be delivering this as usual.

Well, sometimes, some albums or some editions don’t make it to the States, so we’ve to buy them online from Europe?

And they even have different colors; some of them are not available here, so it’s a bit crazy.
I didn’t even know that. That sounds weird.

Yeah, it is, but I don’t know if the vinyl market is strong here in the States. But anyway, we’ll find a way. Ok Peter, it was a pleasure talking to you.

Yeah, you too.

Hopefully, we’ll see PAIN here. I mean, I saw HYPOCRISY in Greece during the ‘Arrival’ tour that you did. I don’t even remember the year, so it’s been a long time.
Yeah, that was a long time ago. Thank you very much, man. Hopefully we will see you in February [2017] in the States. Thank you!