Peter's Pain
CoC interviews Peter Tagtgren
by: Adrian Bromley
Peter Tagtgren is a busy man. Whether it be his work with his other projects Hypocrisy or The Abyss, or even his producer work with other bands out of his Abyss Studio in Sweden, Peter Tagtgren always finds some time - somehow - to come up with some new direction or sound that interests him. The results this time around from some heavy brainstorming? The industrial-fueled metal band Pain. The self-titled debut release for Pain was written, mixed, produced, and performed by Tagtgren alone, a process he feels comfortable with.

"My musical career is going by very fast with all the bands I am working with and the stuff I am doing", says Tagtgren from Abyss Studio. "I am cutting down with the projects I do or the bands that I work producing. This is a creative outlet for me and as long as I can keep being creative with all the things I do, then I will do it."

But the hard work, multiple projects and long hours seems to be catching up with Tagtgren. "For personal reasons, I can't do as much of this stuff as I want. There is too much shit. I just can't do it. What I am gonna do in the future now is focus primarily on the Pain project and not do any more Hypocrisy or other projects. We are gonna do one more Hypocrisy record, starting to record it in May, and then I am just gonna put everything aside except the studio and Pain." And why that decision? "I don't have time. Too much stress. I feel really tired. I just got home yesterday from a tour (he played guitar for Marduk on a 10-day tour in Europe) and today there is a band waiting to record an album. I am totally shot and this is the way all my days are. Always working on either projects or producing bands."

The more you hear the Pain record, the more you get the impression and feel of Tagtgren moving on with his creativity into more modern sounding musical ideas and sounds. Sure, Pain's debut is far from what he has done with other projects, but there is no denying that the industrial-tinged offerings of Pain do hit the listener fast and furious, leaving us with memorable hooks and a pulsing rhythm echoing in our heads. "I am glad with what I did with this record, sound- and style-wise , but I wanted it to have more of a more techno feel to it but I didn't have time. But next Pain record, it will be more industrial and techno sounding. The thing I like about industrial or techno music is the amazing sounds you can get from machines", he explains, about why he used such styles in Pain's music. "I like the weirdness of the style. There seems to be just a huge onslaught of sounds and then all of a sudden there is a melody to work off of. It's quite fascinating."

About the Pain record, Tagtgren has mixed feelings about the way the album ended up. He is a tough person to please in the studio and even his own work is easily criticized by himself. "There are a few songs on this record that are not as good as some other ones and I wish the whole album was totally strong, but you can only do so much", notes Tagtgren. "I put a lot of pressure on myself because I am doing this all by myself and you get confused. And when you listen back to the record you think, 'Oh... I should have done this, or did that.' While there are the good songs on this record and the others that I am sort of happy with, the main thing is that they all work off each other and make a pretty solid record in my mind."

Like a lot of his other projects, Tagtgren brings a lot of ideas into a studio and works them there. He and whomever he is working with collaborate in the studio and emerge with material and strengthened ideas. But unlike preparation in the past, when going into the studio with Pain, Tagtgren had the basis for what he wanted to do (four songs) but not a complete roster of ideas. Studio time, hell, even some stressful nights preparing ideas, helped create the music on the debut album. "When I went into the studio, I had four songs, and in the studio I had to write four more. That was tough. Songwriting is an easy process when you are in the mood to write. I can write easily... if I am in the mood to write. I had to work hard to get the ideas out for this record."

He concludes, "This record is a very depressing record. Like the name of the band, it is a painful assortment of songs, though heavy. Not death metal heavy, but like a fist to the face heavy."

One thing that can also be noted about Tagtgren is his love for experimentation in his music and not really fitting into a set mold of ideas. Through past releases with Hypocrisy and The Abyss, even with Pain, he and his former bandmates have always geared their music to pushing the envelope with ideas and interpretations of how heavy music should be directed and delivered to the masses. "I have always been open to experimentation. If you listen to all the Hypocrisy records, they are all very different. I think it is cool to do something original and something cool because then people notice and you get applauded for what you did. I can't stay grounded with an idea, I do, I explore with my music. That is what I do and what I will always do."

(article submitted 9/4/1997)

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