PAIN first came to the attention of many beginning as a personal project for Peter Tägtgren in 1997. Peter is a well accomplished producer in his own right having worked with the likes of Sabaton, Children of Bodom, Destruction, Amon Amarth, Overkill, Dimmu Borgir, Marduk and Lindemann to name a few.
PAIN’s mix of industrial/symphonic/techo based metal has been Peter’s personal passion. Later this month PAIN embarks on their first Australian tour; a tour that almost didn’t happen. Check out the chat I had with him and rest assured these shows are going to be incredible.
Hello Peter, welcome to Wall of Sound Australia. How are things?
I’m good how are you?
Great, thanks for asking my friend. Your project PAIN is about to embark on your first Australian tour later this month. This tour looked as though it wasn’t going to happen there at one stage. How happy are you to have the tour locked in and ready to go?
I’m so happy that Buzz was with us, he is the one that tied the sack together so to speak. Buzz was a part of the touring company that originally had booked us, he was an assistant with the promotion company that had originally booked us, and so he saved the day. The flights are booked, the visas are in and everything is under control. We are very happy to be coming out.
Your Australian tour covers all of the major capital cities. Its five shows in five days across this vast land. It’s a pretty grueling trek when you think of the distance you are covering. Are you used to this kind of schedule?
Yeah, I mean we just finished off a Russian tour a couple of weeks ago, and that is a big country. We traveled from east to west and did ten gigs in twelve days, so we are ready and well conditioned supermen (laughs).
It has been twenty-one years since you released the debut PAIN album, how do you think the project has evolved?
PAIN has evolved in a way that I can only describe in at the end of the day it all depends on what kind of mood I am in that steers the direction of an album. It has always been about the songs, but it has become less about writing hit songs.
From the very beginning PAIN was set up to be a studio project, where I can get into things that I can’t do within the bands I normally produce because they don’t have the same kind of elements I am after, so I have to develop my own band to produce, and that is how PAIN came about. It really is about experimenting in the studio for me.
Your background prior to masterminding PAIN was in and with bands. What made you decide to take on a project like PAIN?
It was the lack of bands in the nineties that I produced. No one was using midi controlled synthesizers. Sure there were bands that had keyboard players, but I wanted something that had a mechanical feel and sound to it.
I was influenced by earlier Fear Factory and trance techno, all of that combined together started off what became PAIN. After a few albums I put my mark on it. But that is how it is when you start a project, it takes a couple of albums to develop something that is yours and away from direct influences.
From a recording point of view, you play all the instruments, do all of the programming yourself as well as sing. Do you have a preferred instrument?
I am a drummer in the basic sense that is where I started. But it is all about rhythm in the end, it is very important to have very rhythmical songs and whether that comes from loops or playing something a certain way. For me rhythm is crucial and is a big influence when it comes to writing riffs to sit on top of it.
Would you consider yourself to be the Swedish Trent Reznor? The reason I say that is because you are the architects and executioners of your visions. Is that a parallel that has been made before?
No not really. I think Trent Reznor is more into the pure industrial side of things, where I think I am more experimental when it comes to metal, industrial metal and a lot of orchestral stuff. Trent is very good at what he does and is certainly a pioneer of what he does.
The latest record Coming Home has such a great feel to it and I hear so many different elements through the record, the layers are intricate and musically it is new with a familiarity to it. How long does it take to complete a record?
From start to finish I would have to say six months at least. Some songs may have been laying around for a year or two, so when getting ready to release an album; you really pick up the pace about six months before completing it. You start gathering all of the pieces from the last couple of years and start to put all of the stuff you have been writing together, clean out ideas and redo some things. So it is really difficult to put an exact time frame on starting with nothing to a finished product. The writing process can go for years though.
Would you consider yourself to be a prolific writer?
I don’t know, I mean I really love to write music and create music. There are times where you feel stuck and aren’t progressing as a writer. You find yourself a bit like a hamster on a wheel, running in the same place. Then a door will open and you evolve to a different kind of level. That is the way I find it happens for me. Sometimes you are happy with yourself; sometimes you think you suck, that’s just the way life is.
PAIN has become a bit of a family affair with your son Sebastian playing drums for the live shows. How difficult is it for you to find the right members for the live version of PAIN?
Those things are not so important you know. At the end of the day if you have a good musician they can duplicate what you did on the album of course. The main thing is that people around you are people you can be around you know (laughs), without freaking out or things like that. The last line up we had was from 2007 until 2015. Now we have a new line up with my son. David our previous drummer who had played with me for fifteen years just had to have a break. David also plays drums for Hammerfall, so I took in my son. David and my son Sebastian play drums on the album and have done a fantastic job.
How would you best describe a live PAIN show?
Very brutal, a lot more brutal than on the album. It’s a little bit rougher, but in a good way I would say. On the albums there is more of a machine feeling, live it is much more like a rock n roll band with a lot of fucking energy.
There must be something about Swedish musicians. The rock and metal scene and the new bands/artists that have come from Sweden over the last 25 years have been incredible. There must be something in the water there. What do you put that down to?
I have no idea (laughs). Maybe it is the lack of daylight (laughs). We do tend to spend quite a bit of time inside drinking beer and composing music (laughs). But honestly I don’t know.
What do you know about Australia? Have you been to Australia before?
I was there on the Lindemann promotional tour in 2015, in fact almost 3 years ago exactly. We were there from May to June and it was fantastic. Such a beautiful place and we had such a great time.
Are you still a part of the Lindemann project?
Yeah, I still see Till Lindemann (Rammstein). In fact I am going to go see him tomorrow. We are going to hang out and talk shit and see how life is as friends.
Is there a band that you have toured with in the past that has just blown you away?
There are always bands that are really good that you play with so it’s really hard to pick just one, but I can give you a good example. In 1997 we did this headline tour on the Nuclear Blast festival and there was a band with kids running around on the stage opening up and that was actually Children of Bodom. They blew us away. We are still good friends with them, I produced an album for them and have done some vocals for Alexi.
What is the most important part of the PAIN live show?
It would have to be the energy we get back from the fans. It is very important for us to get the energy back, what we give is what we want back. Otherwise we may as well stay in our practice room (laughs). On a bad day it still works fine. When the crowd is crazy you put an extra gear in there. Even when you are out of breath and in a condition where you almost want to die because you have given so much on stage like David Lee Roth on acid (laughs). I mean when you get the crowd going you get this extra gear, a bit like a turbo and at the end of the show you are totally done.
When you first started PAIN did you ever imagine that you would have released eight albums, toured the world and be doing it for twenty one years?
No not really. I just thought this was a good outlet for my other things that didn’t fit into hypocrisy. I didn’t really think about it because it took ten years to put a band together that was representable. We tried to do some shows at the beginning of 2000 but it was horrible. Nobody knew what we were doing, including ourselves. It wasn’t until 2007 when we got a band together for the PAIN stuff. PAIN was always meant to be an in the studio project, then people started asking for shows and that is how it really started. I figured I had to do something good and those first ten years were not so good. We are a very well oiled machine right now.
Where do you see PAIN in ten years?
I don’t know. Probably the same way we are now, try to go out and play, write some good songs, try to do something a little different than I normally do and keep pushing the envelope.
Thanks for your time Peter, are there any words for the Australian fans before we wrap it up?
Yeah, I hope to see everyone at the shows and I promise you will not go away from them disappointed. See you soon.
Interview by Andrew Slaidins
PAIN‘s Australian Tour kicks off on May 23rd via Hardline Media
PAIN – Coming Home Australian Tour
May 23 @ Badlands Bar, Perth*
May 24 @ Fowlers Live, Adelaide
May 25 @ Max Watts, Melbourne
May 26 @ The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
May 27 @ The Zoo, Brisbane
*Witchgrinder not appearing