Interview conducted August 29 2016
Interview published September 27 2016
"I put a lot of pressure
on myself. It's kind of brutal."
Metal Covenant recently talked with
multi-instrumentalist and producer, etc, Peter Tägtgren
in a downtown hotel when he visited Stockholm for a promotion day for
his new Pain effort Coming Home [Street date September 9th].
Tobbe: OK, Peter. Yet another Pain record
to add to the collection, so what do you present this time?
Peter: Well, I think there are more different
sides to it, but you can still identify it as Pain. It's written in
a little bit different way to some extent. It's kind of the continuation
of where Lindemann and old Pain ended. It's quite easy to end up in
a pattern when you write, but this time I tried to avoid that as much
If I come up with a melody or a riff or something
like that, I put it down on the computer and then build with synthesizers,
bass and everything. I usually build it part by part. And the next thing
that comes usually should be like "this", but there I tried
to do the opposite instead. So it took a long time; to think in a different
way. I started writing in September last year and wrote until April
and it's just how long it takes. It's the way it is.
know, you can surely write an album quicker, yet this was pretty quick
for me to write this one. I can work with a record for two years, but
this time I felt that I wasn't gonna change stuff all the time back
and forth. And that's probably what was most important, because it gets
more genuine, I think, and the way it was supposed to be in the beginning.
Tobbe: So were you able to work in a relaxed
way or did you put a lot of pressure on yourself?
Peter: I put a lot of pressure on myself. It's
kind of brutal. I actually put pressure on myself with stuff all the
time. It's not something that I would recommend; to make a record on
your own. It helps if you have a producer and coworkers, but when you're
sitting all alone it's a little brutal, really.
Tobbe: About the artwork. What made you
choose a front cover like this?
Peter: I felt that I wanted to do something with
a spacesuit and then I was thinking about a desert too. But that was
all I had. And then Heile [Stefan Heilemann], who did the previous Pain
record [You Only Live Twice ] and also the Lindemann [Skills In
Pills ] record, began brainstorming. We rented that thing and
then we went to a place for the photo shoot. We used a lot of suits
and a lot of strange things.
Well, I don't know, it felt like a cover. It's
a little bit different and pretty unique, you might say. It's hard when
you always should be on the cover personally, you know, so with the
last couple of records I have tried to avoid that. In the beginning
it was kind of standard. Stockholm Records wanted that, so I tried to
follow their will. But then I got tired of seeing my face on T-shirts
and so. It's different if you're a band, you know, where all four guys
are on the back cover. But now that I'm completely solo it feels a little
Tobbe: But do you have to do pretty much
all the work personally, really?
Peter: Both yes and no. The problem is the way
I write. When I write I record at the same time and if I would hire
a producer, he would want to have what I have delivered now, before
he begins, because he can't see what I mean when I say that a specific
riff will work in a particular way together with something else. I must
record everything to begin with before someone has something to produce
and I feel that it would take twice the time to go through with this.
And I don't feel like playing stuff over again, when I'm already done,
Tobbe: No, but that's something you push
other guys to do when you're sitting in the chair, right?
Peter: Yes, but that's a little bit different.
They enter with complete songs and have hopefully practiced or have
some pre-production or something like that, so that they know what they're
doing. So that's much easier and fewer things to keep track of.
And does the economical side also weigh in? You don't have to pay someone,
really, besides using your own time, so to speak.
Peter: Yes, exactly, and the sweetness of it
is that I get to kind of sit with my own little ego and write and I
don't have to care about other people, like "I have to go home
now", or "Blah, blah, blah". I just keep going for as
long as I can.
Tobbe: You can quite easily hear that this
is a Pain album, but what do you try to do to find new stuff today, within
the framework of Pain, really? I mean, it's the 8th album.
Peter: You know what? With Pain it's so good,
because there are kind of no frames to stay within and I've tried to
put that forward all the way from the beginning, you know. It might
turn in any direction and I believe that all Pain albums sound a bit
different, at least production-wise and sound-wise and so, so it maybe
becomes at least a little more interesting to listen to. But with songs
and so, I blend different stuff and it's basically just what comes from
I don't think about what it is, like with the
first song [Designed To Piss You Off], people think it sounds a little
country-ish, but it's just regular slide guitars with something punk-ish
to it. But everybody perceives stuff in different ways, you know.
Tobbe: So what becomes easier over the years,
as you gain more experience?
Peter: Well, it's never easy to make a record.
You're just like "How will I do this? How will I make this record
become better than the last one?". There are no shortcuts, unfortunately,
but you have to fight like hell. And this,
I think, is the most interesting, both song-wise and production-wise,
record that I've ever done.
But maybe that's because it's so fresh and new
to me right now and it's really hard to say what other people might
think of it. You're on different chairs, so to speak. I'm right in the
middle of it and you tend to become very deaf and blind when you're
doing it and it's easier for someone from the outside to come in and
say what it sounds like.
Tobbe: As a musician, do you really always
have to think that the new album is the best you've ever done? Do you
at least have to have that mindset?
Peter: Well, but you preferably should think
so. Honestly, you know. For the most part it might be, if you think
so personally, that you're so blind from it so that you see it in a
different way than everybody else, like I said, you know. And then I
don't know if this one is better than the last couple of records. It's
hard to say, but I feel that the songs are better and that there's something
more to the songs now.
Tobbe: As you now release a new album, besides
doing a few interviews and so, what can you do to make Pain take yet another
step on the stairs to fame?
Peter: If I knew what to do, I would be the biggest
in the world. [Laughs] I think, like many other people you keep fighting.
The right momentum, the right place, the right band, maybe a void in
people that you can fill. You know, if all the record companies knew
what to do, they would bring forth hits all the time. I think nobody
knows and it just runs its course. The right place, the right style.
mean, there's so many bands that have become successful with a specific
album, but everybody thinks that the previous records were much better
than that record. And when they have worked their way up, they can release
crap and it will work anyway because they have worked so hard.
Tobbe: About the music style; the Pain concept,
which is kind of melodic electronic industrial metal. Do you have an idea
what the market looks like for this type of music today?
Peter: I have no idea. I mean, if you look at
Sabaton, who plays power metal. No one would have said that it would
work today. So you never know. And they are a good example of hard work.
They really have a goal and they keep going so hard that people are
falling off in every direction. [Laughs] So they have to change members,
because no one can cope with it.
Tobbe: About Sabaton. Jocke [Brodén]
is laying down some vocals on the album [on the song Call Me], just like
you did on their Carolus Rex album, and is exchanging vocal efforts just
something you do for fun, or is it to help each other, or can it be essential
for the song's outcome?
Peter: Well, this was more an act of revenge
from my side, because they forced me to sing in Swedish. No, I asked
Jocke if he wanted to make a guest appearance on one of the songs and
he said "No problem. Which song?" and I told him "I don't
know. I haven't written any lyrics yet.". So I didn't know, but
when I had written the record we just sat down and listened and "This
one could work. Let's try it.".
Tobbe: You have worked with Sabaton quite
a lot over the years and without sounding cocky, could you take some credit
for what they've achieved?
Peter: Well, no, I wouldn't say so. You know,
production and sound are maybe not so important in the long run, in
comparison to what's on the record. You know, music-wise and song material
and so on. I think that is probably more important. But it's always
nice if it sounds good.
Tobbe: But you're also a skilled songwriter
and you're able to put things to the records that are not credited in
the liner notes. Things that people don't know about.
Peter: Well, occasionally I have written some
stuff, but no big deal, you know. But it's not much. Just some things
here or there.
Tobbe: OK, not to be mean, but on economic
terms, wouldn't you earn more if you would only work with other bands
than your own?
Peter: Yes, but that's not so fun. I did that
for 10-15 years, just working all the time. But I had no time for myself
either. I had to book my own studio since there was a waiting time for
about 12-14 months. So I really had to plan everything. It was fun when
we were right in the middle of it, but then I just felt that it had
to stop because my head was going to explode. It was hard to come up
with new ideas and new sounds and so. So it was pretty nice to just
relax and start to tour more; to come out and see things.
me, it feels like: if I'm in the studio for too long my body kind of
starts to itch and I want to come and play. And when you've been out
playing for some time you get new influences; from everywhere, like
people in the bus play new music that you've never heard before, or
you hear stuff if you're hanging out at a bar. You get new inspiration,
simply, and then it's nice to come back to the studio again. But, it's
absolutely fun to record bands as well, but not 20 bands a year. 2 or
3 makes you stay focused, you know.
Tobbe: You know, Pain had a few hits when
you kind of had your breakthrough around the millennium change and, in
hindsight, should you have put more time and effort into Pain when the
ball started to roll?
Peter: Well, don't want to. No, it was a fucking
nightmare, all that. To be some kind of celebrity, I don't want that.
And especially for a person who has been brought up in the woods, in
a tiny village and so. No, it's nothing that I would recommend. But
I mean, people see this differently. I like to keep a low profile and
do my stuff. Of course we could have put together a real band back in
the days and made something really good out of it, but I had no desire
to do so.
It came out wrong, how things came out, because
it almost became a video hit band, or a single band, and I come from
death metal, you know, where you're going from underground and up. Everything
came out completely wrong and for me it was pretty far-fetched.
Tobbe: When working with music, like you
do, having a lot to do and working with other bands as well, do the thoughts
about music constantly fill your head up and you can't really take a few
weeks off sometime?
Peter: No, that would be impossible. If I'm
away for a week I almost break into pieces. It's not possible and I
must go home. I already now feel that my body is starting to burn. We've
been doing promotion on and off since June, so I feel that it's time
to do something, you know, in the studio.
Tobbe: Are you ever worried about the pace
is getting too high? You're not old at this point, but I mean, we're all
Peter: Yes, that's true. It will probably take
longer and longer time between each record, because you want to do it
in a little bit more comfortable way, but when I feel my body is kind
of starting to quiver, I can't help it. It's not worse than that and
all the shit must be let out, because I know that there's something
within me that must be let out. What it is, I don't know, but I feel
that things start to happen.
Tobbe: You're touring Europe in October
and November and what does your schedule look like later on?
Peter: Oh, man. It will probably be rather hectic,
I think. First the European tour, and then we're going to Finland for
6 gigs, and then we're going to Russia, and then it's Christmas. On
February the 1st we're going to the US for the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise.
I've never done that before, so it will be great fun. And then we will
probably tour the US for a couple of weeks too. Then we will go back
home for a European tour again, but in the countries that we didn't
visit on the first run. Because else we have to be out 7-8 weeks in
a row and I don't want that, you know. 3-4 is just perfect.
And festivals next summer?
Peter: Yes, probably that too.
Tobbe: The record comes out in the right
time to first tour and then follow up with festivals.
Peter: Yes, exactly. I think it will turn out
well. I don't dare saying anything, because I don't know, really. It
also depends on how many people that will come to the shows and what
kind of offers you will get. And you want to bring the entire production
to Europe and then bring it to the festivals, with big screens and all
that shit and that's not cheap, so we got to get paid for it. I don't
want to end up with a negative result and it would be nice to at least
get a few bucks left. If you're going to do something, you should do
Tobbe: Of course, no matter what you work
with, you got to get paid for it.
Peter: Yes, exactly. But I feel that I spend
a lot of money on stage stuff on the European tour just to work up the
Tobbe: Will you be touring with the same
guys that you've been doing for the last 10 years or so?
Peter: Well, almost. David (Wallin, drums] will
throw in the towel now, since he's got some other things to take care
of during 2016 and then he will be back for 2017 again. So my son [Sebastian]
will jump in and play the drums for the tour. He also plays on the record,
Tobbe: And that won't be a problem, out
on the road?
Peter: We will see what kind of mentality he
has. You never know. Touring is not for everyone. It's just the way
it is. Some people can do it and some people can't. We will see. But
I will try to make it as good as possible for him.
Tobbe: Even if this is probably not the
right time for this question, considering you have an album with Pain
now, but do you have any stuff for a new Hypocrisy record right now?
Peter: Well, I don't know. Maybe that's what's
in the pipeline? I really have no idea. I know that Reidar [Horghagen,
drums. A.K.A. Horgh] will start with Immortal pretty soon and I don't
know if Micke [Mikael Hedlund] has started to put together any songs
yet. The last record [End Of Disclosure] I pretty much wrote all by
myself, since the other guys weren't there at the moment, unfortunately.
So we will see. But for my part, I don't know if there's Pain stuff
in my body, or if it's Lindemann, or Hypocrisy. I just know that something
is in any case about to happen.
So what will happen with Lindemann in a little bit longer terms? Do you
have any plans?
Peter: Well, it's hard to know what they [Rammstein]
are doing. That's probably the biggest problem. I don't think they really
know either what to do and so. I mean, it's the best live band in the
world, absolutely, so that's not a problem for them, but maybe they
will come up with new songs. I don't know what they have planned. But
when we get the time we will try to put together another record and
we have plenty of material for it already, because when we were doing
it the last time we couldn't stop writing and we just kept going and
Tobbe: The first record has only been out
for a year, so it's not like you have to put another record out today.
Peter: Exactly. It would have been great to
play some festivals and stuff. But it's really difficult. We must respect
Rammstein of course, because that's where he has his feet, you know.
And I have my Pain, so it's hard to say. But I think the record has
sold gold in both Germany and Russia and it's going really well in a
lot of other places too.
Tobbe: Seems like you have nothing to complain
Peter: No, there's absolutely nothing to complain
about. It's just a question of how we should manage it and how to get
the time for it, since we both have other bands too.
Tobbe: It's pretty common that musicians
play in a couple of bands these days.
Peter: Yes, exactly. But it has to stay genuine
too, you know. It just can't be the same guy in 14 different bands and
I'm a little bit over the top already, but I don't really know what
to back down from.
Tobbe: So what's in the pipeline right now
in life within the music? Besides Pain of course. And how do you see the
future at this point?
Peter: I have nothing planned. For the first
time I have nothing planned. It's just the tours that are coming up.
I have nothing booked in the studio. I try to keep everything open for
something. I don't know what, but something will probably come.