Peter Tägtgren goes back to te essence of Hypocrisy

Peter Tägtgren is a man to be reckoned with in the metal world – because of his work with Hypocrisy, an influential melodic death band, because of the success of his electro-industrial project, Pain, but above all because he’s everywhere! Peter Tägtgren is always doing something, whether it is releasing an album, touring with one of the two above-mentioned bands, or working as a producer. This year alone, he’ll release an album with Hypocrisy, start working on Pain’s new record, have his name associated with Amorphis’ new record, which he produced, and with Children Of Bodom’s latest effort as a vocal producer, and so on.

After all, it may well be the key to success: always having one’s name in the metal news. It’s probably not his main goal, though, but just a consequence of his hyperactivity. He himself admits that he can’t stop thinking about business, even on holiday, because “the industry never sleeps or take a vacation”. In order to succeed, one needs to always catch the right train.

One of the risks with hyperactivity is to lose sight of the essence of things. But today, with End Of Disclosure, it’s precisely the essence of Hypocrisy that Peter Tägtgren means to go back to – the formula that characterized him in the 90’s and allowed his band to leave a durable mark on the international metal landscape.

More on that after the jump…

Radio Metal: Last time we spoke, you told us that touring is the only moment when you can rest because when you’re home, you work. It really sounds like you can’t just do nothing, isn’t it?

Peter Tägtgren (vocals, guitar): Yeah, on tour you just try to relax, go up, get on stage and then you just keep on relaxing, do some interviews and if you have the time, go out in the city, walk around and stuff like that. But mainly when you’re home, you just have to really work with whatever you have because I’m always doing my schedule in a way that it’s always overbooked. So it’s good to go out on tour, that’s my vacation.

And do you go on real vacation sometimes?

Yeah sometimes, not too often but once in a while.

Are you one of those musicians that really can’t go on vacation because they start to be really stressed and they have to do something, to write something or to work on the computer or something like that?

Yes, so I try to organize myself. For instance last summer I was in New York City with my wife, and I would spend half an hour in the morning answering emails and one hour at night and that was it. Then it works because the industry never sleeps or take a vacation, so you gotta be in there.

« On this album, I decided to go back on what we did in the 90s’: simple song structures, very catchy melodies, and heavy stuff. »

You will be touring in the US this summer with Krisiun, Aborted and Arsis. Apparently you had some visa trouble last time you wanted to go there. What happened exactly? (note: since this interview, that tour has been canceled for the same reason)

This is the same old misunderstanding shit: it just took to long to get the visa. By the time I had the visa, half of the tour was already over, so it didn’t made sense to go because normally you go there a couple of weeks before to have all the papers from America done. You go to the embassy, you just go in there and they give an “OK” and two days later you have your passport. Mine took forever and I was like: “Oh shit, we gotta fly soon, what’s going on?”, and they were like : “We need some more informations and blahblahblah” and everything just took forever. But after a couple of month we scheduled a new headline tour, so we did that one. So it’s all good now, there’s no problem, that’s just some old shit that was laying in the back there.

Is it possible to have some emergency procedure to get a visa for situations like that, like when you’re a musician and you have to tour?

Nah, they don’t give a shit. Everybody is the same.

About the new album, you declared: “This time, I wanted to go back to the basics, I felt like we lost it for the last couple of albums.” Don’t you like those two albums anymore?

Yeah I do, I really like them, but it’s not really what Hypocrisy started off to achieve as Hypocrisy on style so to say. From the first album up to Into The Abyss, for every album we developed a Hypocrisy sound. After that, we kind of changed a little bit, and that’s what I meant. Especially when Horgh got in the band, I got more black influenced, with a little bit of more complex riffing and stuff like that. So on this album, I decided to go back on what we did in the 90s’: simple song structures, very catchy melodies, and heavy stuff. We just went back to what we were actually working for at the end of the 90s’.

How did you do that, actually? Did you listen to your first albums to get inspired, to your early influences, or to some band that are doing what you wanted to do on this album?

No, not really, I just started thinking about Hypocrisy because in the last couple of albums, like I said, I just tried to push ourselves to do a little bit more extreme and complex music. Now for this album, I wanted to go back to the more catchy, heavy stuff.

« Seeing where we have gone in so little years in developing technology, if there’s a civilization that’s like thousands years or a hundred years ahead of where we are, I’m sure they figured out a lot more things that we have. »

On the artwork of the album, we can see some sort of devil that holds the Earth in his left hand. What is the signification of this? Do you think we’re doomed?

Oh, we’ve been doomed since we’ve been walking on this Earth [laughs]… The whole album is kind of a concept album, I don’t know how to explain that but every song has its own story about cover-ups, dark projects, what’s going on in the world and stuff.

Most of Hypocrisy’s lyrics are about science-fiction. Is it still the case on this album?

Like I said, this is about the end of the disclosure and coming out with the truth. It’s my stories, my philosophy on different subjects. “44 Double Zero” is about abduction, but it doesn’t mean it’s about aliens abducting people. I think it’s more or less the government, the secret services and these people who’re kind of abducting people and doing the same experiments that they did with people in the 30s’ and 40s’, like Nazis with the Jewish people. That’s still going on, and of course they want to push it as aliens like there’s people from other planets doing those things to people and we can’t do anything about it. It’s like a double thing.

So do you think that the threat isn’t coming from outside the Earth, from the aliens but from Humans actually?

Yes, definitely.

Where does come from your passion for science-fiction and aliens themes?

It’s a fascinating thing. It’s obviously to do research and stuff like that, because actually that’s the same thing: you don’t know if it’s true or it’s bullshit. There’s so many people seeing so many things, but you always have to look at it on two different sides. Like I said with this “44 Double Zero” song, it could as well be secret projects of the army. There is so much money going into secret projects… It could be anything to be honest.

Do you actually believe in aliens?

Of course! If you look at the universe, in just our galaxy they say that there’s I don’t know how many planets systems that has the same kind of things than in ours. You have big suns, planets, moons and stuff like that that can definitely hold water and air, and if there’s water then there definitely could be living things. And traveling time and shit like that… Seeing where we have gone in so little years in developing technology, if there’s a civilization that’s like thousands years or a hundred years ahead of where we are, I’m sure they figured out a lot more things that we have, if you know what I mean.

« The day I’ll think I do really good music the fire will stop burning inside of me. »

Can you update us on your activities as a producer? What will you be doing soon?

This year I’m going to be really busy playing and touring. We’re starting out a European tour soon, then we stay home for a week and then we go to America. Then it’s summer festivals, then we go to South America, we’ll probably go to America one more time and maybe we’ll do a small European tour again on places we didn’t go on the first time. I don’t really have time for production. Now it’s Hypocrisy full power this whole year. But I did some cool shit like Sabaton’s new album, the Amorphis album. I helped out on the new Children Of Bodom album that’s gonna be out in May. This year will only be live, writing new material for Pain, and touring with Hypocrisy.

OK, and what can you tell us about the new Children Of Bodom album since you produced it?

I just produced the vocals like I did on the Blooddrunk album. I was pretty blown away, they sound way more grown-up and more angry I think. I really think this can be a really good album.

Like you were saying, you will be writing new music for Pain. Have you actually started writing some songs?

No, not yet. First it takes me a while to think about what the hell I wanna do, which way this album’s gonna go, whether it will be more industrial or heavier… When you start thinking about that, it takes a while to get into it but then it’s much easier to write the album if you know already what you wanna do. Right now, I’m still living on the DVD that we released last year and we just finished off the last show in the UK with Pain. So I’m really just trying to enjoy what we did for the last album and all the touring we did. When you start getting butterflies in your stomach, then it’s time to work on a new one.

Last time we spoke, you said to us that if you want Pain to have a big success, you will have to write good songs, and that bothers you because you really like writing mediocre ones [laughs]. You still think that way?

I don’t know. I’m always trying to push myself to do better. The day I’ll think I do really good music the fire will stop burning inside of me. I always have to convince myself to write better songs all the time. That goes for Hypocrisy as well: it doesn’t make sense if you’re just repeating yourself all the time. One thing that’s positive is that I think I write slightly better songs every time I write a new album, but I still can’t get enough.

Interview conducted by phone on March the 1st, 2013
Introduction: Spaceman
Transcription: Chloé

Hypocrisy’s official website: www.hypocrisy.cc

Album End Of Disclosure, out since March 22nd 2013 via Nuclear Blast

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