The Hypocrite's Arising Realm
CoC chats with Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren
by: David Rocher
For the release of their self-titled sixth masterpiece, I was lucky enough to be granted a chance to interview Hypocrisy's workaholic mastermind Peter Tagtgren. With their definitely exemplary career never ceasing to unfold before them, this three-piece have indeed attained a status which makes them one of the most influential acts in the death metal world, and that makes the definitely enlightened and unbelievably modest Peter Tagtgren a figure to whom the entire extreme scene can well and truly afford to raise their ale-horns.

CoC: I think a lot has gone on with Hypocrisy since the release of _The Final Chapter_... Can you enlighten me a bit as to this?

Peter Tagtgren: Yeah, it actually became chaos for a while, because we were supposed to quit, or at least I was supposed to do my own thing for a while -- you know, no-one was helping out and so on... But everything changed for the better. A lot of fans reacted very strongly to the fact that I wanted to quit, and it was very flattering -- the response to the album and everything was unbelievable!

CoC: Hypocrisy was indeed known for a while for being Peter Tagtgren plus Lars Szoke and Michael Hedlund; on _The Final Chapter_ there were tracks written by Lars and Michael, so I'd like to know how things are going now.

PT: It's very cool, we wrote like seven or eight songs each for this album over a period of one year and a half, and then we just sat down and chose the best ones. There were over twenty songs, it was really cool to be able to do that, because usually you only write the songs that are going to be on the album and you don't choose, because if you choose, the album will be too short. So this time we had like maybe two hours of music, and it felt very good having that much -- because you can then choose the ten best songs out of them, you know?

CoC: Sure -- and what are you going to do with the other tracks? Are you going to release the others, or work more on them and make them better?

PT: Maybe we'll work on a few of them and rearrange them a little bit, but right now I have no idea.

CoC: Your new album seems to venture further into the extra-terrestrial life concept that begun with _Abducted_. What brought Hypocrisy to this, initially?

PT: I don't know, just my imagination, I guess, since I write the lyrics and stuff... I've always been into it since I was a kid, I was always afraid of it when I was a child, but still it fascinated me a lot, and I was thinking "Why not write about it?".

CoC: What does the cover art of _Hypocrisy_ represent?

PT: To be honest, I have no idea, because we just talked to this guy who wanted to do the cover, and we told him "Just make it nice, we want a good quality cover, and if you can put some science-fiction kind of feeling into it, that's cool" -- and I think he did it really well.

CoC: Do you think you're slowly edging towards a personal kind of science-fiction influenced death metal?

PT: Yeah, maybe; I don't know. We just write music, and if we can come up with some crazy ideas, that's cool, you know?

CoC: It seems this drive has completely replaced the Satanic attitude demonstrated on your early albums, and even on some tracks of _Abducted_ -- how do you feel when you look back on your earlier lyrics?

PT: Well, I'm proud of them, sure. That's how my personality was then, and this is how it is today, you know; I don't want to change or regret anything that I ever wrote or said, I just wish we could have played better and had better production on the first albums, but I'm still very proud of them.

CoC: Actually, I'd like to have your opinion on your various albums...

PT: Well, the first one, _Penetralia_, I totally wrote by myself, and I was very influenced by Deicide, Morbid Angel and stuff like that. When I heard the first Deicide album, my life changed -- there aren't many albums that'll do that nowadays, albums that'll change your lifestyle and everything. The album was pretty much done in a short run after we got signed. For the second one, we started writing together a bit more, but it was still a lot of me. We'd said that we wanted to do the most brutal album ever, and _Osculum Obscenum_ was really brutal, I think. We tuned down more, we played faster, it was just all into getting as brutal as possible. On _The Fourth Dimension_, it was more like "let's try something new" -- well, on the other hand, we weren't actually trying something new, but we were writing these songs, and they came out different from the past. It was a very cool thing to do, we went to a very big studio, because we were able to do that... and I think the production on _The Fourth Dimension_ is the worst of any album. _Abducted_, we worked very hard on, we recorded it once, we didn't think four songs were good enough, so we threw them away, and wrote new songs, and we kept on doing that for half a year, between the various recording and all. In the end, there are maybe a couple of songs too many, but I think that overall the album is good, and it has a very nice and polished sound. And then, when we did _The Final Chapter_, we said "Let's make it with a dirtier sound and make it more rock", but we still continued mixing music the way we did [before], fast with slower and mid-tempo parts -- there are actually a lot of fast parts on that album. What I wanted to do with that album was work on the vocals, try to put in some new kind of styles for me and get the melodies out, and on the newest album we did it even more, we stretched our limits a bit more, I think.

CoC: I noticed that the latest album contains more atmospheric tracks, mid-paced with keys and a lot of atmosphere -- is this something we can expect from Hypocrisy in future?

PT: I don't know, it's hard to say. We don't know ourselves where we are going, so I don't want to say anything. We are so unpredictable to ourselves, it all depends on how we feel on that day...

CoC: Something that I noticed on _The Fourth Dimension_ is there were maybe less Satanic tracks and more tracks that talked about the fear of death, and it had a very claustrophobic cover -- was this a preoccupation of yours at the time?

PT: Yeah, I think it was the way I was feeling at the time, kind of claustrophobic, and I guess you can tell in certain songs...

CoC: Like the title track, "The Fourth Dimension", which is really choking?

PT: Yeah, exactly. You never plan anything, though, the way you feel just rubs off you.

CoC: I guess your musical influences have changed a bit in the space of six albums -- you mentioned Deicide, Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation for _Penetralia_, so what are you into now?

PT: It's pretty much the same, but it feels like I already wrote it, so now it's time to do something else, so it's a lot of different inputs -- so I have Depeche Mode's _Ultra_ album as a favourite right now, but I also have the first Deicide album, so I mean, everything in between.

CoC: The track "Timewarp" on the latest album sounds pretty much like a track from the first Pain album... What's happening with Pain now?

PT: Right now, I'm working on the album and it looks like it's going to come out on Polygram, so I have no idea about what's going to happen, but it's looking real good, they really want to push the album.

CoC: What's it going to sound like, anything like your first album?

PT: No, this will be totally different, it will be more into industrial and techno, and sounds like that, it'll be more like Rammstein, Rob Zombie and stuff like that, clean vocals and screaming vocals...

CoC: What about your other side-projects? What's with The Abyss, War, etc.?

PT: War was just one mini-album to me [_Total War_, out on Necropolis -- David] and The Abyss, we were like sitting around after _Summon the Beast_ and thinking "We can't do as brutal an album any more", so we won't do it -- it's stupid to try doing something when you know you can't do better.

CoC: You were drumming for Sorhin, too...

PT: That was a long time ago, their drummer just left two days before entering the studio, so...

CoC: <awed> You learned all the tracks in two days?!

PT: Yeah, I had to! <laughs> And I had a call last year in October, and it was Nick from Cradle of Filth [now in Dimmu Borgir -- David], and he was like, "Hey, do you want to sing on the new Terrorizer album, except it's not going to be called Terrorizer?!" I said "Sure!", you know, it's him, Shane and Jesse from Napalm Death...

CoC: Brilliant!

PT: Yeah, it's called Lockup, and they came over to my studio in February, and I put the vocals on it, and it sounds really cool, if you're into Terrorizer and old Napalm Death! So that one will also be cool, but I only spent two days on it, they spent a lot of time writing and recording stuff. It was really cool, they wrote the lyrics and everything, so I just had to put the vocals on...

CoC: Your studios are getting massive praise, you recently even converted Enslaved and Immortal, and Marduk don't want to go anywhere else than The Abyss. How did the sessions with Immortal and Enslaved go, since it was near to the first time they were venturing out of the Grieghallen?

PT: Yeah, I was very excited, and I didn't know what to expect from Immortal, because I'd never known them before. It just turned up they were super cool guys, very easy to work with and all, and I was very surprised, and I was very happy with final mix. It's very clean, nice and powerful.

CoC: And Enslaved?

PT: Well, I knew Ivar from going on tour with Marduk, he was helping Mysticum out with the computers. They're also really cool to work with, we tried to do something a little different, and it was really great, for sure!

CoC: What are the next scheduled productions?

PT: Mayhem, and then I will do Borknagar, Old Man's Child, and then Immortal are coming back, and I think I'll also do the next Enslaved. It will be very nice to know all these bands are lining up!

CoC: It seems you're reaching the same kind of "legendary" status with your band, projects and studios as Dan Swano did -- how do you feel about this?

PT: It feels great, it's a dream come true, to have this situation, it's really... <laughs>

CoC: I read a while ago that you had another studio under construction....

PT: Yeah, I have three studios, and my brother works in the other one, and the third one is a smaller one in which I can go and lay down some ideas if I want.

CoC: What bands would you ultimately like to record one day?

PT: I think Rammstein would be super killer, for sure. It's different from what I've been doing, and you always need different things to make it interesting, and that'll give you something when it comes to inspiration and things like that. If you do five black metal bands in a row, it will be very hard to be creative.

CoC: What are the tour prospects and general future prospects for Hypocrisy?

PT: We will do a lot of festivals this Summer, and a two-week tour in September, and then we're not going to rush anything -- I guess we'll just take it easy, see if anything else comes up, and start thinking about the next album...

CoC: Last words?

PT: I just hope to see you when we eventually get over to France, we haven't been there since '96, I think...

(article submitted 7/7/1999)


CHATS
8/12/2005 J Smit Hypocrisy: Spreading the Disease
9/1/2002 P Schwarz Hypocrisy: Ten Years and Still Humble
1/1/1998 A Bromley Hypocrisy: It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings
3/14/1996 G Filicetti Hypocrisy: Hanging With the Hypocrites
ALBUMS
7/23/2005 J Smit 8.5 Hypocrisy - Virus
1/25/2004 J Smit 7 Hypocrisy - The Arrival
4/12/2002 A McKay 10 Hypocrisy - 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion
8/12/2000 D Rocher 8 Hypocrisy - Into the Abyss
7/7/1999 D Rocher 10 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
6/15/1999 A Bromley 9 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
5/19/1999 A Bromley 9 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken
11/17/1997 P Azevedo 9 Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter
5/10/1996 A Wasylyk 4 Hypocrisy - Carved Up
2/9/1996 G Filicetti 8 Hypocrisy - Abducted
GIGS
10/20/2003 J Smit Dimmu Borgir / Hypocrisy / Norther One Step Closer to Armageddon
7/3/2002 P Schwarz Immortal / Hypocrisy Northern Darkness Descends
7/3/2002 P Azevedo Immortal / Hypocrisy / Holocausto Canibal The Night After the Night Before
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