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Pain: The most painless of all!

Peter Tägtgren, the walking definition of workaholic, is back with a new creation, namely “Cynic Paradise”. This one-man-band´s album is already the sixth and Pain is only growing stronger and isn´t willing to give in to no circumstances, let it be inefficient record label, rich dudes in suits or a team of Within Temptation fans…

How´s it going?
(in a very hyper voice) Very good! Yeah!

So how satisfied are you with the new album?
Very. It feels good when I listen to it now. To my taste it sounds like we concentrated more on the sound of the songs now, not so much on the production, it´s just… all about the songs and it was maybe too much experimental, compared to the previous albums. This one is more about party, that´s the theme.

Was this planned intentionally?
Well, some of those elements we have lost over the past 5 Pain albums, so now I really just wanted to bring it back, cos it took me those 5 albums to find what exactly I wanted to do, what Pain should sound like, so it was mainly realizing it now and it feels more comfortable to do this now.

How´s the whole recording process?
It was very easy actually, the most painless recording so far (laughs) but when I knew what I wanted to do, I just kept on going with that and then everything just really clicked along the way, very smooth and no surprises.

Can you explain the title?
(sigh) yeah… this is how I see the world, it´s no science fiction or anything like that, you´ve 11 songs with 11 different topics, and the whole thing combines how I see the world. It´s just a regular every person´s daily life, about every one of us. There´s no focus-pocus in any of the lyrics, each lyrics is a straightforward daily situation in different kind of way, that each one of us knows and has been in.

Would you agree that a cynical, ignorant person has a better life in general?
He worries less! (laughs) I mean for me, just like when I watch news or something, you just go: “what the f-u-c-k is going on?!” because you know, there are no happy news and of course bad news always sell and that´s how things are, it´s life. So for me, those songs are from my life´s situation, how I see other people, anything from politicians to record companies, all kinds of stuff.

And what kind of person are you, optimistic or cynical or who is Peter?
(long sigh) errrrrrr, well, I´m a very optimistic person in general, even if I write words that are very negative. Oh, I don´t know… it depends on how far you want to think about it. If you wanna think 50 years ahead, or even a 100, if you just want to think for as long as you wanna live… and if you think about the world´s situation I´m not so optimistic, but I´m an optimistic person anyhow.

Is there any song on this album that´s more personal and special to you?
I don´t know, it depends… like “I´m going in” it´s about people always telling me to stop doing the Pain stuff, go back to Hypocrisy instead, blah-blah, so much easier, it has its own fan-base already… But it´s not why I´m here, to do some easy stuff, I like a challenge and it drives me. And then “Drink on me” is about the best lifestyle of that marriage thing, it´s also personal, you know? (laughs) but that´s how it is, but hopefully now I got a bit older now and when I look back at it, I smile instead of getting pissed.

Is the song “Don´t care” a dedication?
It´s about fat rich dudes who look down on sweaty metal dudes like me! (laughs) But they don´t know shit, so it´s about sticking a finger in their eye when they come with their Porsche and looking at us long-haired beasts and think that we are some kind of freaks…

And this one, “Live fast, die young”, sounds like a motto…
Well, I´m not young anymore! (laughs) well, it´s about how those people talk about recycling stuff, saving the planet, blah-blah-blah, but those who are actually coming up with those ideas, preaching about it, and when we are actually recycling things, they are the ones making money on it, and it´s very cynical in that way as well. So that´s what I´m singing, it´s too late anyhow, so just fuck it! It´s all so simple, you put paper in one bag and plastic in the other, every week you go to the recycle bin and put it there. You don´t have to come up with those solutions and stupid things for something so simple, just to make the money on this.

Then explain the cover of this album, what´s on it and what does it mean?
That´s actually my management who told me about this Travis Smith, an American drummer who did a bunch of different things, for Amorphis for example, and stuff like that… This album is like a party album, so the cover is the complete opposite, it´s dark…

So how did you end up cooperating with Nightwish´s Annette?
It was all from the tour, when we went together and Pain and Nightwish became good friends, we spent months together, many drinks, a lot of talks, and we´ve bonded… I played “Follow me” for her and she really liked it, it´s always when you drink it´s like “hey, we´ve to do something together! Blah…” and there it goes! But actually this time I really made sure that we will do something together, we´ve kept contact after the tour, I wrote the parts specific for her, but I couldn´t get the lyrics and the melodies specific for her, so it was more convenient if she´d just sing “Follow me”, that song was already done and completely written. We had a try and as soon as she was done, I was like “wow!” and this was really motivating for me to do the rest of the song and so…

What´s your personal impression of Nightwish? Many people turned away from them since the singer changed, many don´t consider her a skillful enough vocalist and so on… What do you think?
I´ve never been with Nightwish from the beginning, so I really can´t know much about them, the only song I´ve ever heard was “I wish I had an angel”, and that´s as much as I know about them, until I knew we´re going on tour together. I checked out the last album and thought it was a very cool record, it´s really complex, it´s like movie music, it´s all more than a song. I´m used to her voice, more used to it than to Tarja´s, because I didn´t listen to the albums with her, so I´m really the wrong person to ask…

And what about the rest of the Nightwish guys? Whom did you get along the best, or who was annoying?
Everyone! But the closest was probably Marco, we were the ones to really dive into the bottle, you know? But we´ve all got along well, and it was cool all the way…

During the tour she came on stage with you to sing something from Pain, did you ever join their show?
Oh yeah! I did “I wish I had an angel” and the whole of Nightwish did “Shut your mouth”, we had a playback and just gave them the instruments. And the audience just went… crazy! It was really cool and fun! And I´ve never seen any band do that… and I think it all started with Tuomas just playing keyboards on that song, and then I was singing and then Marco added the base, Jukka was suddenly on the drums, so it was all on the soundcheck before the show… And it was our last concert on that tour, so we thought cool, let´s do that!

Do you play practical jokes often?
They played one on us. Before we went to Spain and Portugal, they couldn´t go with us because they didn´t get an authorization to do any of the pyros there, so they put a prank on us. They sat the whole stage with pyros for us, it was full! And we had no idea and we had no idea, we were just playing and suddenly everything started to explode and shoot, and we were like “what the hell is going on?!?!” We had a suspicion that something was going on, because the whole Nightwish crew was standing on the side and watch us, so I wondered what´s up… and then it all goes boom-boom-boom! Damn, I don´t know how much money they blew on us, but it was crazy!

And you´ve plans to go to Russia, what are your expectations for that?
We like it – somehow we always do very well there, for some reason… It´s going to be cool, the location is great and huge, will hold a lot of people…

What kind of experiences you´ve had with Russian fans?
Everywhere we go, it´s one fuck of an experience!!! We did one tour in Russia last year´s summer, all the way to Irkutsk and it´s really far out in the east, but it was great, we went to Moscow, St Petersburg, Perm, Novosibirsk, we did many shows along the way along the Trans-Siberian, we were on the train the whole way – no western band had done that, ever! We loved it, want to it again! Like I said, I love a challenge: why go to Hamburg or Amsterdam, where everyone´s been a thousand times, let´s go somewhere else, somewhere different! Of course it´s great to play those cities too, but it´s so common… And the people are very grateful there!

In the Ukraine you´ve met their governor?!
Yeah-yeah! He´s a big Pain fan, so we met and I planted a tree there, in Herson, it was awesome! And they set up a lot of pyros for us, we counted almost a thousand rockets at the front row, just for us! They filmed it too, we´ll get a copy also and it went on their TV as well, so we´ll definitely put this on a dvd.

What about that tree, did you have to name it or something?
I don´t know, but there were a few trees put there by some famous people, Ukrainian bands… it was very special.

How come you chose Tavastia for your new album´s premiere?
We wanted to do a pre-listening for everybody, but make it special, give away some guitars and such… The contest is that you´ve to motivate why should you have the guitar. The strongest motivation wins.

Ok. Another question is about your relationship with the record label, because for a while you had no contact with Nuclear Blast and went with Roadrunner, but now you´re back to NB, so what happened there?
Roadrunner didn´t work with us at all. We did one album, they put a lot of money into it and stuff, but when the album came out, they didn´t do anything. So we were like …dead. We wanted to go as support with Paradise Lost last August, but Roadrunner said “nope!”, then we wanted to go with Apocalyptica in November, they again denied, so we were like “what the fuck?!” So we organized a tour by ourselves to really show them that we mean serious business, that we really want to do something. Then we had an opportunity to go with Nightwish, but Roadrunner said no, so I got very angry and said “fuck this, I´ll pay this whole shit myself” and so…

What?! You paid this from your own money?!
Yep, 65000Euros and it was a great investment, it was totally worth it. So I don´t know why did Roadrunner even sign us, if they didn´t want to work with us?! But now we´re back with Nuclear Blast and it´s working, they´ll give us tour support or whatever we need, so I´m confident.

From this tour´s diary I´ve read that your light technician was on purpose kept out from the diary, was there a reason?
Oh yeah, he was like “please, don´t mention my name” and we were like “ok, we will not mention Thomas…” He was just like, I´ve read some crazy tour stuff and I don´t want to be in it, my woman is going to kill me… He was new, so…

From that same tour diary: a football match between Pain fans and Within Temptation fans, what the hell was that?!
Oh yeah, the WT team flew in from Moscow, but I don´t know if it was actually a team of fans or they just named their team that… Pain fans were from Ukraine. It was pretty funny to watch… and Pain lost. Just for the record: I personally don´t have anything against Within Temptation though.

Do you think Pain has a mission?
The only mission is to give people good music to party to.

How´s your other work going, side-projects and so on?
Well, we´re having a long holiday with Hypocrisy, the last album we did 5 or 6 tours, so it was a real burn-out. Now one of the guys became a dad, another one is working on the new Immortal album, so we all have enough things going on… We decided that when we´ve an album we´ll release it and tour again, but for now we are taking a long break.

Now you can concentrate on celebrating Pain´s 11 year birthday!
We are celebrating every day! Time flies, why lose it?!

How´s your son growing up and how´s your relationship?
It´s very good, I have him every other week and then his mom has him, when I´m on tour then I miss a few weeks, but then I catch that up. He´s 10 years old now, he´s more into painting and drawing. His mama is a good painter, so he inherited that, nothing musical though…

Just out of curiosity, did you like the new Metallica cd?
No. I´ve heard two songs and no, didn´t like it. One day I´ll hear the whole album…

What´s the best relationship advise?
What?! Yeah right, you´ve got the “best” person to ask! So you mean like boy-girl situation? Oh, but you´ve really asked the worst person… I´ve been married twice, but it´s something wrong with me… So first of all, don´t be a musician or be a musician, but then have no music-oriented goals in your life. For me music was always the first, above anything else, and of course it doesn´t really work like that.

Are you happy?

Author: Marina Sidyakina, transl. Sandy Mahrer, photos: Xeniya Balsara
Date: 2008-11-02

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