Pain Of Salvation: Léo Margarit, the other French touch in Sweden

After Daniel Guildenlöw, the mastermind behind Pain Of Salvation, three months ago, it was drummer Léo Margarit’s turn to answer our questions in Anarchy-X on October 25th.

Léo joined the Swedish band in 2007 following the departure of Johan Langell. Given the vibe and playing of the later, we could expect his replacement to be difficult; however it is now obvious that Léo has managed to find his place within the band and regarding the fans. Nothing that surprising after all, given his talent first as a drummer but also as a vocalist, a determining criteria for Pain Of Salvation since the vocal harmonies have an important place in the band’s music.

We had Léo on the phone. This was the opportunity to sum things up with him and talk about the two albums he has done with the band. Two very particular albums in the band history since they let aside the metal component for a more seventies feel. We’ve also tried to find out more about the recent departure of Johan HHallgren, guitarist and vocalist for whom it will, without a doubt, be tough to find a replacement.

Worth noting, Léo has also worked with the band Zubrowska and has took part in Within Temptation’s guitarist Ruud Jolie’s new project called For All We Know, which was released last april, among others.

« I was to be part of an international band, to perform in big venues, and to hang out with people I’ve loved since my childhood. »

Radio Metal: People don’t know you that much from before Pain Of Salvation. Can you briefly tell us how, at one point, you happened to join a Swedish band?

Léo Margarit (drums & vocals) : I come from the south of France, a town called Carcassonne. I made a living out of music; I had a career as a modest musician. I had plenty of different bands, different music styles, I did ball music, pop music, I did a bit of metal as well, salsa, jazz, plenty of different things. But, on the side, I was a huge fan of many bands, Pain Of Salvation in particular. One day, a friend called me and said “Have you heard? Johan Langell quit the band, you should apply!” I thought it was completely ridiculous and that, anyway, they were going to take someone they knew from Sweden. They’re not missing good drummers in Sweden, are they? But after thinking about it, I figured it would hurt to give it a try. So I sent in my application with a few demos and, of course, I didn’t get an answer, as I expected. A few months later, I played at the Hellfest with my band from back then, Zubrowska, and Pain Of Salvation happened to play the same day. So I sneaked in their backstage with my artist pass and we talked a bit. Daniel remembered me and my demos very well. The first thing he did was to discourage me by telling me it was insane to move from the south of France to Sweden [laughs]! In the end, they invited me to audition anyway, they chose me so I moved to Sweden!

I remember that when they were looking for a bassist, one of their specifications was to live in Sweden. So you really didn’t hesitate a second before you decided to move to Sweden?

No, because it really was a unique opportunity for a local musician. All of a sudden, I was to be part of an international band, to perform in big venues, and to hang out with people I’ve loved since my childhood. Also, I was single, I didn’t have children, it was the best time for me to move so I didn’t hesitate.

And this way, you could go check out the Swedish chicks! [laughs]

Yeah, apparently there are plenty around here! [laughs]

“Apparently” or is it true?

There are about 50% of women around here, like in the rest of the world, I guess. [laughs]

Are they prettier than elsewhere, as it is said?

I think that’s a cliché we’ve got in France: blondes with blue eyes, but after all, we’re just not used to it. It’s a different type, so of course when we get here, we find all the girls to be beautiful. But then, when you talk to Swedish guys, they’ll tell you French girls are the prettiest in the world, so, after all, I think it’s all about what you’re used to. But yes, there are beautiful girls here.

The grass is always greener on the other side…

Yeah, that’s exactly it!

« I tried as much as I could to stay in Zubrowska but when you live 2500km away, it’s wasn’t ideal to practice with them. In the end, we talked about it with the guys and we decided it was best for them if I stopped and they found someone else. »

You talked about Zubrowska, did you actually quit the band? Was it an obligation to be in Pain Of Salvation? Or did you not have time the time anymore?

We tried to make both work out at first. With Pain Of Salvation it wasn’t a problem at all, I’m pretty much free to do whatever I want on the side. I tried as much as I could to stay in Zubrowska but when you live 2500km away, it’s wasn’t ideal to practice with them. In the end, we talked about it with the guys and we decided it was best for them if I stopped and they found someone else. And that’s what happened.

Did you play the drums on Zubrowska’s last album?

No, I didn’t, their new drummer did. But actually, they recorded the album at Orebro, in Sweden as well, an hour from where I live. So I went to the studio and I recorded the clear vocal introduction there is on the album. That’s all I did.

Speaking of vocals, I know backing vocals are really important in Pain Of Salvation. Did you work on that for this band in particular, or did you already have vocal experience before?

I did backing vocals in almost every band I played in, especially in my pop bands since that’s where it’s needed the most. So I was used to singing and playing at the same time. Of course, I needed to adapt a bit, because some songs in the band need a lot of work to synchronize the vocals and the drums since they’re pretty different. But, after all, it wasn’t that hard apart from a song or two which needed more work, but I managed to do it after all, I think.

Do you think that’s part of the reasons why they chose you? Because of your vocal abilities?

I think it didn’t work against me. I don’t think it was the most important thing, though I had to sing. Let’s say it probably played a part in the decision, yes.

You came into the band at an unusual time, since in both albums you did with them, Road Salt One and Road Salt Two, the band took an unexpected musical direction, even more unexpected than usual since Pain Of Salvation is used to surprise people from one album to another. But here, the band has somewhat abandoned the metal aspects of its music and went with a more seventies feel. Did you influence this in some way or not at all?

Maybe not directly. I’d say that Daniel chose this direction entirely. From the beginning, when I got into the band, or even before I moved to Sweden and was chosen, he had warned me by asking the typical “Does it bother you if the band changes direction? If we get closer to a 60s, 70s thing?” Of course, I was in favor of it, but in fact, I think I contributed in my way to play the drums. That improvised side of things, the live side, was really my thing. I can play a written part, but that’s not where I have the most fun. I think it wasn’t me who chose the style but I contributed a bit to bring it. I don’t think Johan Langel, the previous drummer, could’ve done that, since he was really the kind of drummer who wanted everything to be written down, and he didn’t write his parts at all. So maybe Daniel wanted to do this earlier, but didn’t have the chance to do it.

By the way, did you have feedback from the previous drummer regarding these albums?

We don’t see each other that often. Last time was in August, we did a show with the band and, actually, I don’t even think we talked about music. We spent the evening together messing around, drinking, but I don’t think we talked about music once. [Laughs] Maybe he didn’t like them at all, I don’t know. You’re right, I should ask him next time I see him.

Keep us posted on his answer! [Laughs]

Yeah, I’ll send you an e-mail.

« We haven’t spoken about the future at all, for now. We’ve just released this album, we got back from a tour two days ago […] Next year will also be dedicated to being on stage, and then we’ll see for a new album. »

In the end, with these two albums, do you really feel like having played with Pain Of Salvation? The playing style is so different than what it was in the past.

Yeah, I do feel like I’ve played with the band. Daniel’s voice does at least 80% of the band’s sound. To me, the most important thing in the band is that, since the beginning, no matter what, there’s emotion, and may it be calm or aggressive, that emotion is always there, you’re always moved by the music. I think it’s still the case with the two new albums. So, even though the approach is different, even if it’s a lot more improvised, live-like and… It’d say overall it’s warmer, because I thought the album Scarsick was pretty cold. The two new ones are really warm, you really feel – this is the way I feel it anyway – in the middle of the band. I wouldn’t know how to explain that, but to answer your question; I really do feel in Pain Of Salvation, and not with the same guys with another name, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, of course.

Would you like to make an album with them that would be more like what they did before: a bit more metal, and a bit more modern?

I don’t know, actually. As I said, as a drummer, I’m pretty open to improvisation. Playing all written down parts is fun, but I find it less interesting than what we did with these two albums. So I don’t know if going back to what the band did before would really be my thing. Then of course, as always, it’ll depend on how it’s done. As long as that emotion is still there, I think it could work out as well.

Have you already spoken about the next step? When I talked with Daniel at the Hellfest, he told us it was his thing at the moment, the seventies thing, but he’d get bored of it sooner or later.

That’s kind of how he works, it’s true. We haven’t spoken about the future at all, for now. We’ve just released this album, we got back from a tour two days ago, and we’re leaving again in a week and a half. Right now, we’re focusing on the live shows. Next year will also be dedicated to being on stage, and then we’ll see for a new album. Right now, we don’t really have a goal or any ideas.

As a drummer, you said you enjoyed improvising but for these albums in particular, did you try to inspire yourself from – or even study – drummers from the 70s like John Bonham?

No, actually I did my thing most of the time, I didn’t think about it much. When we wrote the songs, even though Daniel brought the riffs and all, we started by jamming on them and we’ve more or less written them together. Daniel had the main ideas but we’ve arranged the songs all together. I simply did what I usually do, I did my thing, I didn’t really think about trying to inspire myself from other people.

Let’s listen to the song “Eleven” off Road Salt Two. Do you have anything to say about this song?

It’s the last song we’ve recorded for this album, we did it last June I believe. The central part is really improvised. I’d say it was done in a day: we all played together and we kept the best takes, put them together and there you have it.

We’ve got some reactions online regarding this song, some are saying it almost sounds like stoner rock, others hear a Robert Plant side to it, or almost The Who live… Would you agree with this analysis?

I have no idea [laughs]! I haven’t heard one or the other. Well, yes, maybe Robert Plant with Led Zep. I saw him live six or seven years ago, he did a tour in France at one point so yes, why not after all! I don’t think the resemblance is that crazy. I don’t know the other band, though.

The Who?!

The Who? Oh, yeah, okay… I understood something else entirely. Of course I know The Who! In a way, I guess, yeah. Anyway, they were a part of the 70s, they were there back then! [Laughs]

On the album, there’s a song where Daniel sings in French. We wanted to know if it had anything to do with you, did he ask you about the pronunciation, etc?

I have absolutely nothing to do with that, which is kind of funny because Daniel doesn’t speak French at all… Well, he did some at school when he was fifteen, but he’s forgotten all of it a while ago. But, one day, he calls me, I was at home, and he said “I wrote some lyrics in French” without really telling me why, so he reads it to me and asks me if I could help him to correct his mistakes. There were a few grammar mistakes but really nothing. He thanked me, and I asked myself why he did that, and a few days or weeks later, we were rehearsing with the band and he told us he had just finished mixing a song and he wanted us to listen to it, and I heard the lyrics in French. He said: “Oh by the way, how’s my pronunciation?” I answered that he could’ve asked me before doing it! [Laughs] That way I could’ve helped him a bit more, but we didn’t have the time to re-record. But, as I said, there might be a few words here and there that aren’t perfectly pronounced but, generally speaking, it’s pretty understandable. So he wrote the lyrics himself, he pronounced it on instinct, and it worked out pretty well.

I think, generally speaking, he’s really talented.

Yeah, you could definitely say that. He’s talented in languages, he likes that, he’s interested in it. He writes well, even in French, it’s kind of funny. And surprising!

What motivated him to do that part in French?

I have no idea. I think he’s always liked the language. Like many people who don’t speak French, he thinks it’s a pretty language and, therefore, I think he wanted to give it a try. I think he took it as a new challenge somehow, since he’s never done it before.

« When [Johan Hallgren] first announced [his departure], Daniel était choqué et triste […]. I think at that moment, Daniel probably thought about stopping everything and saying ‘Since there are almost no original members left, there’s no point' »

Earlier this week, the departure of guitarist Johan Hallgren was announced, he mentioned family issues. According to you, are there any other reasons?

No, Pain Of Salvation is in that middle category, we can’t live fully from the band, you need a day-job and Johan has had a child for a year and a half, and he has another one on the way, so I think it became difficult for him to go on tour, to leave his job and especially to leave his family home. I can’t really relate because I’m not a parent, but I think it is difficult when you have a kid. Not everyone is able to go on tour, leave your family and your kids home. I think that’s basically it.

And what was Daniel’s reaction? Soon there’ll only be him left from the original line-up.

Yeah, when he first announced it, Daniel was chocked and sad but then they talked about it and I think he understands. I think at that moment, Daniel probably thought about stopping everything and saying “Since there are almost no original members left, there’s no point” but we later talked about it all together, and even though it’s going to be really hard to find a replacement for Johan, we want to go on, me in particular. I moved from France for this band, so it would be too bad to have done all that for nothing. Well, it’ll never have been for nothing because I still did two albums and a few tours. I hope we’ll find a guitarist who does fits in and that we’ll go on. Obviously, Daniel was really sad at first, as for everyone, because Johan is an emblematic figure in the band because in addition to being a great guitarist and vocalist, he has his personality, his character in the band will be tough to replace, so we’ll see.

But do you really think that at some point the idea of ending the band really went through his mind?

Yeah, I think so. We’ve all talked about it together. We asked ourselves “What are we going to do? Are we going to quit? Do something else? Should we go on?” And, after a while, we decided it was best to go on. We don’t want to quit but I understand that it crossed his mind. As he said, he has used this metaphor before: with this band, you’re building something, you’re climbing a mountain, and suddenly you have to go back down, get someone new and start climbing again, you never get to the top. It might be the same thing once again, run back down the mountain, find a new guitarist, learn everything from scratch and start over, it’s kind of discouraging.

Did you start looking for a replacement? As you said, Johan was a great guitar player, a great singer and he also had an amazing stage presence, clearly it’s not going to be easy to find someone as good as he was.

Yes, it’s going to be very difficult. So far, we tried to list the few names we could think of. But since we’re leaving on tour for five weeks in a week and a half, Johan will still be with us. So we’ll have a few months after this to figure something out. We haven’t started to audition anyone yet, we haven’t called anyone, we haven’t done much actually. But indeed, it’s going to be a tough challenge.

You were saying you had a few names in mind…

Yes, but not necessarily famous people, it’s more people who, according to us, might fit in. So far they’re really vague ideas. You might think it would work with this guy, but he’s actually a good guitarist and a bad singer, or the other way round. Or he might be both, but doesn’t have the right look for the stage. So it’s going to be tough. I think we’ll figure it out in the end; there are plenty of good musicians in Sweden, it shouldn’t be too hard.

They were pretty lucky to find you fairly quickly. But it seems to be a bit more difficult for the bassist. If I remember right, you had found Simon Anderson but in the end he didn’t really like the idea that Daniel was the one and only captain of the ship, so as a result the position was never really stable. Even the bassist you’re working with now, I don’t know if he’s actually part of the band.

We’ve recently had another bassist for the last tour. I think the main problem is that there are less good bassists than good drummers or guitarists; it’s the same thing with keyboardists. It’s tough to find someone who plays really well. So for the bass, it’s tough and right now we’re having a hard time finding someone who really wants to be part of the band, who isn’t busy somewhere else, so it’s hard but we’re not losing hope! [laughs]
As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know if they were lucky, I guess they were a little, but I don’t know. But I do happen to adapt easily, so it works better than with someone who likes to argue too much. But to have all the right things to be the perfect candidate, living nearby, doing everything right, that’s more complicated altogether. But as I was saying, we haven’t really started looking yet, we’ll see what happens. But Stockholm isn’t that far away, it’s the capital, so there are plenty of musicians there. There are also quite a few where we live, even though it’s a smaller city, but it would be best to have someone right here; it would be easier to rehearse etc. So we’ll see what happens.

« I get the impression that in France, when you listen to rock or hard rock and you’re more than 15, it’s something to be ashamed of, you know what I mean? ‘Cut your hair short and get a job!' »

By the way, regarding Sweden in general, I remember talking to the guys from Hammerfall, it must have been ten years ago, and they told me in Sweden, the government helped artists by giving rehearsal rooms for young bands, etc. Is that true? Is it still the case?

Yeah, I think so. I don’t know that much about how that works but I know culture is really important here. Rehearsal rooms, if not free, are really cheap compared to the ones in France or even Norway or the Netherlands. I was talking about this morning it with the Finnish band that opened up for us on our last tour, the vocalist came to get their gear back with his truck and when I showed him our rehearsal room and told him how much it cost per year, it was half of what they paid for a month I think. But it’s true that the government takes care of that, to try to help young people to do music, or to be interested in culture in general, and I think that’s a great thing compared to France where it’s a bit harder, especially when you’re talking about rock or modern music.

It’s interesting to hear your take on it as you’re French you live in Sweden; do you think in France we have much to learn from Scandinavian countries?

It depends on what you’re talking about, but when it comes to culture, or rock in general, maybe. I’d say there are no taboos here in Sweden. I get the impression that in France, when you listen to rock or hard rock and you’re more than 15, it’s something to be ashamed of, you know what I mean? “Cut your hair short and get a job!” Whereas here, you find people who are in their fifties or sixties and are AC/DC fans, they’re happy and proud of it. In France it’s more like “Yeah, I listened to hard rock when I was 15. Now I listen to Pascal Obispo and some other guys…” I’m not trying to criticize Pascal Obispo, that’s not what I mean…

But you can if you want to, don’t worry, he’s not listening! [Laughs]

[Laughs] No, that’s not my point: it’s a really different culture when it comes to rock in general, even though it’s not the main music in Sweden. We get that impression in France that Scandinavia, and Sweden in particular, it the Mecca of all things metal. But actually, the bands that we know about, outside of Sweden, are not that well known over here, except for In Flames, Meshuggah and Opeth, a bit, but they’re pretty small bands around here. The other bands are completely unknown. So us, even in our city where a hundred thousand people live, nobody know about us apart from a few fans. But what I’m trying to say is that generally speaking, it’s a different culture around here. You can go to the bank and the banker is going to have dreadlocks down to his ass and tattoos all over the place, and it doesn’t matter at all.

It’s true that in France we have some politicians starting to attack metal…

That’s completely ridiculous.

I’m guessing that would be completely unimaginable in a country like Sweden, to attack citizens like that.

Here it would be completely ridiculous. Actually, as an example, in Norway, a few years ago – I think everyone remembers about this – some black metal bands burned churches and everything, but now, people don’t judge black metal bands or anything. If that happened in France, black metal would be banned from TV and radio shows for at least 125 years. So yes, Scandinavia is more open-minded about culture and about people’s different tastes.

Indeed, as you said, if that happened in France, it would be forbidden for 150 years. Even though religions have been the cause of massacres and are completely tolerated today, or more than tolerated.

It’s kind of a “double moral” as we say in Sweden [laughs]. It’s “I’m doing something but no one else is allowed to do it”, it’s special.

You took part in Ruud Jolie’s project, the guitarist from Within Temptation, called For All We Know. How did you end up taking part in that project?

Ruud is a friend of Simon [Andersson]’s, our ex bassist, I have no idea how they met but we met during a show in Holland. He invited the entire band at his home because he was playing in his own city so we talked a bit. He was thinking about doing his own project and he asked me if I would be interested. I listened to the songs on Myspace or I don’t know where, maybe he sent them to me. I thought it was really interesting, so obviously I said yes, and almost a year later, we finally found a moment to meet up and start to record the drums for the album.

And it’s quite amusing that Kristoffer Gildenlöw is playing bass in this project, since he’s Daniel’s brother and he used to play bass in Pain Of Salvation, though you have never known him in the band.

That’s true. It’s funny because I recorded two albums with Kristoffer last year but not in Pain Of Salvation at all. It’s a funny coincidence.

So how is he compared to his brother?

One is more down to earth than the other. You know, Daniel is kind of lost in his thoughts, he’s a dreamer. Kristoffer is more down to earth but really friendly as Daniel can be, he’s really someone nice and a great musician as well.

Indeed. Don’t they miss playing together? Especially since they’re far apart now, Kristoffer lives in Holland…

Yeah, that’s why he left the band. I don’t know how they feel about one another. I see Kristoffer once a year at most and Daniel doesn’t talk about him often either, so actually, I don’t know much about that. You should ask them [laughs].

About that project, have you only recorded the drums or did you take part in the songwriting, or in writing you drum parts in particular?

When Ruud sent me the demos, there already were programmed drums, so I played almost everything that he had programmed except for a few personal touches. There was only one song that didn’t already have a drum track, so I did my own part. But I don’t remember which one it was! [Laughs] It’s a funkier one I think, towards the end of the album…

“Open Your Eyes”?

Yeah, that’s it! There weren’t any drums at first, if I remember correctly, he wanted it to be an instrumental and, in the end, we added vocals on it. It’s the only song where I did pretty much whatever I felt like on the drums.

There’s another project I haven’t heard from, it’s called Epysode. I saw that in your discography. What is it?

Epysode, is kind of an Ayreon-like project, there are plenty of guests, there are five vocalists I think, two women and three men, I believe. Kristoffer’s on the bass as well actually. So it’s fun. Actually it’s more of a power-prog-metal project. It was founded by Samuel Arkan who played in Virus 4. He wrote at least three albums until now. It’s a story about a serial killer and a profiler; it’s quite interesting by the way. He wrote three albums with that story and each character has his own part, each vocalist. He contacted me through a mutual friend and offered me to record the drums. It was more or less at the same time then when I was recording Ruud’s album, a few months earlier or later, I don’t remember. It’s a bit more metal than Pain Of Salvation or For All We Know. But it’s really interesting as well, you should listen to it.

« I’m putting together a project with Ark’s guitarist, Tore Ostby. […] We met up one afternoon. We started to jam for a couple of hours. We said to each other that we should try to do an album together. So it’s in my future projects. »

Do you have other projects like that?

I’m putting together a project with Ark’s guitarist, Tore Ostby. It’s funny, if you want to know the story, because Tore used to live at Castelnaudary, next to Avignon, for two and a half years. I’m talking about ten years ago, and I was a really big Ark fan at the time. It also happens to be around the same time that I became a fan of Pain Of Salvation. A friend of mine called me and says “you know that band, Ark? The guitarist lives in Castelnaudary.” I then said “What the hell? What is he doing around here?” [laughs] And it happened to be true. We met at the time, the drummer, John Macaluso was there too, he came down at the same time. They started to write Ark’s third album which, in the end, never came out. Now Tore, who’s Norwegian, lives in Stockholm because he’s married to a Swede. John had also decided to move to Stockholm as well to get the band going again, but that didn’t happen. […] So I had a phone call from Tore a few months ago, he told me John had left again and, since we had been talking for weeks, even months – since I had moved to Sweden actually – about jamming together, so we met up one afternoon. We started to jam for a couple of hours. We said to each other that we should try to do an album together. So it’s in my future projects.

That seems promising; do you have other musicians with you?

For now, it’s just the two of us. We did two, three jam sessions. We recorded the session, and all three times we played for forty-five minutes straight without even noticing it! Since I’ve been on tour, we haven’t seen each other lately, but I think we’ll see each other in two days. He should’ve had listened to all the tracks we have recorded and tried to select the interesting moments to use as a basis for some songs.

Do you have any idea who you’d like to work with?

Not really. I like the novelty of this. Maybe we’ll have some unknown people who might just blow me away when I hear them. We asked ourselves who could sing in the project. Finding a vocalist is a delicate task, especially since Tore has been used to working with some pretty good vocalists, like Jorn or Roy Khan in Conception. [Laughs] So he’d like to have someone of the same caliber. That won’t be easy! Right now we’re focusing on the music anyway, and when the time comes we’ll start to look for a vocalist, bassist, keyboardist, etc.

After all, why not ask Jorn Lande if he’s interested? It’s been a while since their last collaboration…

I don’t know. I’d have to talk to Tore about that! But it might sound a bit too much like Ark. […] I was supposed to meet him Saturday in Stockholm with Tore but I won’t make it because I have a show with the orchestra. So the two of them might talk about it and say: “It’s a shame, we should do something together”. But don’t get your hopes up, you might be disappointed. Whatever happens, this won’t be Ark because that was Tore and John. I’m an outsider in that. As I said, if we did that with Jorn, even if he wanted to, it might give the impression that we want to do Ark under another name. We’ll see.

By the way, Roy Khan is also available…

Indeed he is, he quit Kamelot! That might be another lead [laughs].

Do you have other projects?

We’re about to go back on tour with Opeth in two weeks for five weeks to do the rest of Europe. We did Eastern Europe, so now it’s time to do the other side. It’s going to be nice.

Have you already played a few shows with Opeth?

We haven’t started the tour with them. We’ve already played with them at festivals two or three times these past few years, but never on tour like this. We were just doing a headlining tour with Von Hertzen Brothers opening for us, we did Eastern Europe, we couldn’t play at the same places than we’re playing with Opeth. It’s a business decision: if we played in the same cities, people wouldn’t come to see us because we’re only playing for forty-five minutes. So we did Eastern Europe because there were plenty of countries where we have never been until now, so now we’re going on tour with Opeth and we’ll do our thing there.

This tour with Opeth is a great idea given both your albums, since Opeth took a very seventies-prog direction with Heritage, which works with what you’re doing.

I don’t know what kind of setlist they’re going to do. I guess they’ll mix it with their older albums as well. But indeed, it will probably please the fans, at least to their fans who like that side of Opeth as well as our fans. I think it can be a really interesting tour. We’ll see what happens, but I should work out fine. Anyway, in all the shows we did together in the past, the fans were always open to what both bands did, even those who didn’t know about us. I think they got a good impression and, in general, all our fans knew Opeth; the other way round doesn’t happen that often. But generally speaking, I think both our audiences work well together.

I remember talking to Mikael Åkerfeldt who told me Road Salt One was the first Pain Of Salvation album that he really liked and that what you did before that didn’t move him particularly, but the seventies direction that you took was dead-on.

I’m not surprised that he didn’t like the old albums, you know. But it’s great that he liked the new ones! [laughs] That’s always flattering.

Interview : Spaceman & Claude
Transcription : Isa & Stan.
Pain Of Salvation’s Website : www.painofsalvation.com
Léo Margarit’s Website : www.leomargarit.com

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