» Peter Tägtgren - Hypocrisy
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Interview conducted November 24 2021
Interview published December 4 2021

"People are worshipping everything: whatever the news says, whatever the news doesn't say, what the left say, what the right say, sports people, rock stars, a YouTuber, whatever."

Worship, the new album from melodic death metal division Hypocrisy was out on November 26th and Metal Covenant was a couple of days prior to release date given some time to talk with master mind Peter Tägtgren.

Tobbe: It was about 8.5 years ago since you released your previous album End Of Disclosure. Partly because of the Lindemann project of course, but still, what took so long to get another record out? I mean, I guess you could put out a record, like, every year if you just wanted to do so.

Peter: Yeah, if I'm motivated I can do anything, I have realized. Yeah, in 2013 we released the album, and then it has just been touring and touring. And then I did the Lindemann album and that took a year as well, on and off, so to speak. That album came out in 2015. And then I hit the wall, because I was totally out.

But then the stupidest thing: I was like "Okay, maybe I should do the Pain album.". So I did the Pain album instead, and that came out in 2016, and then touring with that. And then going back touring with Hypocrisy, together with Pain, in 2017, and that was going crisscross. And the second Lindemann album took a long time also to make, and all of a sudden we started touring with Lindemann. So now it's 3 bands.

So I mean, time just flies. All of a sudden you don't think about writing music 'cause your brain is tired. But in 2018 and 2019 I actually wrote this album that we're talking about. So in 2020, after Lindemann, I was supposed to mix it, but I took half a year off and just didn't do anything.

Tobbe: Mikael Hedlund plays the bass on the album, according to the notes, but how much bass did you personally play, really?

Peter: Um, I would say 100 percent. [Laughs] Unfortunately. But that's how it was. But the guys came to the studio in the summer of 2018 and we wrote Chemical Whore together. I and Mikael wrote Children Of The Gray together and I and Horgh wrote Gods Of The Underground together.

So that came out at that point, and the rest was me, and my son Sebastian of course who did Dead World, from another project, that we had in 2017. A father and son project. We were just sitting and writing, and doing demos, and he'd jump in on the drums, and then come back to writing. 'Cause he's really good. He's becoming a really good songwriter. I mean, on End Of Disclosure he wrote Soldier Of Fortune with me, and he was 14. And he wrote Mathematik with Lindemann by himself also. So yeah, he's very talented.

In 2017 we said "Okay, should we do an album or not?", and we decided, like, "Nah, fuck it!". We kind of got everything out of our system, so. We had, like, 11 demo songs. And then when I started with the Hypocrisy album I asked him, 'cause I always liked it, if I could use the Dead World song and he said "Sure. No problem.", so I wrote lyrics for it. I think it's a cool song.

Tobbe: Did your son play anything at all on the album? Like, just a single stroke, or whatever. Just wondering, you know.

Peter: No, not even one stroke. He did play on the demos, and the demos sound really good, I'll tell you. So Horgh is kind of copying that. He put in his own finesse as well of course, but the way of choosing beats and stuff is the same as my son did. Horgh came in for 4 days and put down all the drums.

I had programmed drums on demos and stuff like that, so he could sit at home and practice. He changed stuff a little bit here and there. And he has a certain way to play, and that's how it should be also.

Tobbe: And Tomas Elofsson. I guess he doesn't play anything on the album either and we will have to wait for his services until we get to see Hypocrisy live again.

Peter: Yeah, 'cause he is mainly a live guitarist, so.

Tobbe: I would say that this album is, like, death metal, and thrash metal, and then we get some just heavy songs. Was that variation something you calculated with to 100 percent?

Peter: When you write a song, let's say it's a fast song, then you don't wanna write another fast song, 'cause usually your ideas are done with fast songs. You know, riffs and stuff. So then you automatically jump over to either a mid-paced or a slow song. I think the first song, except Sebastian's song, was Worship, the title track, and right after that I wrote Bug In The Net, which is a slow, epic song. So that's how I kind of do it. You know, like, not doing the same kind of song twice.

Tobbe: And is it easy for you to get the melodic part into this heavy music?

Peter: Yeah, I think so. You know, if there's a very slow riff going and it takes forever to the next tone, then you kind of start imagining melodies on top of it. I always write in my head, so when I come up with the melodies, then I can go back to the chords behind it and change them. So in the end you change a little bit here and there and then you finally get something.

Or you start with the melody. So you start doing this melody and then you start putting the basic tones under it. And sometimes it goes a different way than you thought in the beginning. I guess it's like a painter or something. You paint a square and then you start splashing on some different colors and all of a sudden it grows to something.

Tobbe: And if you're lucky there's a great result as well.

Peter: Yeah, otherwise it's like "Oh shit, I fucked up!", and you can't repair it, so you have to start over, and do the square again. But, you know, after 30 years you learn. The two first albums were very influenced by Deicide, Morbid Angel and the first Entombed album, and that's what we wanted to do, or I wanted to do, because I did, of course, all the demos myself.

But I could never sing myself so I took in Masse [Broberg] who could sing. He's from Stockholm, but his grandparents live close to where I live, in Ludvika. And that's how we met, because a friend of mine said "This guy from Stockholm. He's in a death metal band.". So the two first albums are very based on those things that influenced us to play this kind of music.

And then, on The Fourth Dimension, I found a keyboard in the studio, and all of a sudden we started writing very slow, epic, or doomy songs, or whatever you wanna call it, you know. And also, like, mid-paced songs, like, you know, Roswell 47 kind of beat.

So over 10 years the Hypocrisy style grew as it became the Hypocrisy style, I would say. And after that of course that was boring, because now we'd found our style, so I did Catch 22 and telling everybody to fuck off. [Laughs] And then slowly coming back again to what we do best, I would say.

But it's the same shit, you know, for all bands that's been around at least for 30 years, because look at Metallica for example. You know, Load, Reload, Lulu. Everybody got to try different things and then you come back again.

Same with Slayer when they started tuning down, and things like that, and then they came back again. I think it's something that you have to do, like express yourself and try things, instead of being stuck in one place all the time. But eventually you always come back to what you do best, so.

Tobbe: Worship, the album title. Who or what is to be worshipped?

Peter: Well, just look everywhere. People are worshipping everything: whatever the news says, whatever the news doesn't say, what the left say, what the right say, sports people, rock stars, a YouTuber, whatever. It's all about worshipping. In the beginning when I came up with the idea for the cover with this pyramid and the big crosses it was like "Okay, they can worship us.". You know, like, the band.

And then, as it went by, and I got this guy, Blake Armstrong, who actually did something out of my ideas, I looked at it and "Yeah! You're gonna worship the people that maybe is responsible for the human race.". The people that planted us here, and they're coming back, you know. So it can be personal for anybody. 'Cause there is so much fucking worship bullshit everywhere. You can't be yourself. You always have to look up to somebody.

Tobbe: We both understand that Covid-19 is still an issue of course, but in disregard of that, how often will we get to see Hypocrisy on stage next year if everything goes well?

Peter: We have a headline tour in America in the end of April, that will be announced in the next couple of weeks, I think. And then festivals this summer, but the problem with this coming summer's festivals is that the bands are booked since two years ago. But there's some people who canceled since that so we can jump in there.

So we will play, I don't know, 6-7 festivals this summer. And then in the end of September we start a European tour. And then our plans are to put a Scandinavia and Russia tour together maybe in this time next year or maybe in the beginning of 2023.

Tobbe: Your departure from Lindemann was indeed not the nicest one I've ever seen. Wouldn't it had been easier just to say that you would go back to your normal chores and stuff like that and, like, simply put the band to rest? But you chose not to.

Peter: Well, I put it to rest. I chose to put it to rest. And now he's gonna do his solo thing, so. I mean, he's a stadium superstar, you know, so he can do whatever he wants. You know, he's such a big star, so it doesn't matter to him. For me it was important to end it, and it was time to move on for both of us also. I mean, we'd known each other long before we started working together, and then, you know, when you start working together sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work.

Tobbe: I sense two guys with a strong will in there.

Peter: Oh yeah, very. And both of us would never back out, you know. It was a fun thing to do and I'm proud of it. You know, we shook the world. So it's a milestone. Whether you think the lyrics were silly or the videos were too much, we just pushed it all the way. We always said, like, "We're going to hell for this!", with a smile, you know. But yeah, after a while it was just "No, this is not gonna work.". It's like relationships, you know. No big deal. Nobody's fault either, so super simple.

Tobbe: How do you look at the future for Pain, after this Hypocrisy cycle is over?

Peter: I'm gonna sit and write now, because I didn't wanna do anything until the promotion for Worship was done. I wanna have full focus. So I have a lot of ideas. I think it will be pretty cool. I hope to maybe release one or two singles more before the summer, just to keep it up, and then at the same time work on an album. So maybe there will be a new album out in the beginning of 2023.

Tobbe: I find this hard to believe, but I checked out The Metal Archives the other day and it says that you own the village Pärlby with 120 residents and that you are being called the mayor as well.

Peter: Well, not by people who live there. People figure "Oh, he owns a village.", but I didn't own the whole village. But, you know, it just went out of proportion. I took over an insane asylum. In the end of the '80s they closed everything down. So there was workers, buildings where they lived, a big stable and things. They were actually self-sufficient.

Actually in the '30s or '40s it was a poorhouse for, like, elderly people that nobody took care of. And then it became a place for those who were a little bit behind and so on. They put them in a basement and showered them. There are so many cruel stories about that. And then it became a refugee camp in the end of the '80s for only about two years, I think.

And then they started rebuilding it for apartments and stuff. I was renting the studio and an apartment there, and then I bought the studio house, and then I bought the apartment building. It was a two-apartment building, so I rebuilt it to one house. And then he said "Why don't you buy the whole shit?", so I did.

And it was no big deal. It sounds crazier than it is. But people go "Oh, you're the mayor." and I'm like "No, I'm not the mayor.". Because whoever bought the stable and the north side also owns Pärlby. But now I have teared down, like, 2 or 3 houses and also sold 3 houses, so I'm keeping it to a minimum. So now I only own a building where there's 7 apartments, and my own house obviously.

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