Interview with Pete Tagtgren
Pete Tagtgren has undeniably played a large role in the sculpting of modern metal. Hypocrisy has, in the course of their 9 album career, influenced the sounds of many of metal's best known artists, and brought melodic and brutal splendor to the ears of thousands. Releasing a live and studio album after what was thought to be the end of their career, Hypocrisy continue to write groundbreaking and genre collapsing music.
At Abyss Studios, which Tagtgren had opened only five years ago in his home country of Sweden, he has brilliantly recorded and mastered the albums of countless bands, including Marduk, Immortal, Amon Amarth, and label mates Dimmu Borgir to name a few. His studio has earned itself a godly reputation over the years, and continues to produce only the best quality recordings.
Pete Tagtgren should be given a medal as an inspirational guitar player and vocalist, and for his devotion and contributions to the metal community. Since I have none to give, instead, I have decided to dedicate the front cover and these two pages to one of metal's finest.
Enslain: Are you happy with the outcome of "Hypocrisy?" And how has the response been?
Tagtgren: Yeah, definitely, as far as I consider, it's definitely the best Hypocrisy album ever. (The response has been) really super killer, especially in Europe, I start to see the reviews and stuff like that, and it's like 95% all the time, you know? It looks very good. And plus we entered the sales charts in Germany this week.
Enslain: What do you think of the world and what are your lyrics about?
Tagtgren: For the new album, there is a lot of different topics. Like "Fractured Millennium" is about, you know, if we're even going to see the millennium, because we're so self-destructive people, and with all the shit that's going on in the world, and, stuff like that, and I mean the "Apocalyptic Hybrid" is more about science fiction, it's about, more or less, "Star Wars" meets "Independence Day" story to it. "Time Warp" is obviously about time traveling and stuff like that. It's a lot of science fiction in this stuff, but there's a lot of truth and reality in some other songs also, so I really tried to mix it this time, it's kind of like a conflict album.
Enslain: Do you have any favorites of the new album?
Tagtgren: I think I have a few, the first, second, and the last one, you know? They're like three different songs, but still very... I don't know, it's... Hypocrisy, because you have all these different elements in the songs, we really tried to make a really wide album.
Enslain: Why did you decide not to title the new album "Cloned"?
Tagtgren: It's because three or four months before we were going to release the album, there was a few other bands that came up with that title, so we just made it self-titled. Also, we feel it's like a new era for us.
Enslain: When you wrote "Final Chapter," that was intended to be the last album... What made you change your mind?
Tagtgren: After we finished the album, and was about ready to do press release, we just went more or less, you know, okay, we agreed to take a long vacation, because there were so many different things going on in my personal life plus a lot of other stuff, you know, we just said okay, let's take a vacation instead of breaking up.
Enslain: Do you plan on continuing for a long time?
Tagtgren: Yeah, we're just going to take it step by step, you know, 'cause I mean it's supposed to be fun, and as soon as it's not fun anymore, I don't want to do it. I'm in it for the fun, it's a hobby, you know?
Enslain: What happened to The Abyss?
Tagtgren: We just, we did the two albums, you know, "Summon The Beast" was the last one, we don't think we can top that, so we're not even going to try.
Enslain: What is Pain like?
Tagtgren: It is just me fucking around in the studio, basically, with computers and keyboards and stuff like that, I mean, it's a mix between like Rammstein, Rob Zombie and stuff like that, you know, more industrial kind of stuff. I just signed to Universal/Polygram, actually. It's going to come out in like August or September.
Enslain: What kind of metal do you favor, and what are your major influences?
Tagtgren: I like all kinds of metal, I like all kinds of music in general. I think Kiss was like the first thing that really made me want to play music, to become a musician. But I like all kinds of shit, it's very hard to say what really is good, or what I don't like, you know?
Enslain: Are you happy with the way music in general has evolved over the years?
Tagtgren: Yeah, I mean, I'm glad things are not just standing in one place all the time, 'cause, for me I need things to move on, develop and things like that, so I'm not afraid of trying new things, and I'm not afraid of listening to new things either.
Enslain: Tell me about the history of the band.
Tagtgren: It really started out as a one man band, it was me, I was doing like demos and stuff like that, and I met up with my old singer, and he put on vocals on one of the demos, and we got signed, and it kind of, me and him put the band together, 'cause he was playing with Mikael at that time, so Mikael came along, and I used to play with Lars in a band like in '84, and I asked him to join... so, that's really how it was, you know, it was from the beginning me, and then putting a band together, and then just keep on writing music, and releasing and touring and stuff.
Enslain: Do you write all of the material?
Tagtgren: In the beginning it was like, 90% me, now the other guys are helping out a little bit more.
Enslain: Tell me about your personal background.
Tagtgren: I grew up with a lot of music, you know, basically my whole life has been just about music, so... I think it's natural the way it came out the way it did, and I feel really fortunate, because my youth dream was to own my own recording studio, and to have my own band, and release albums and stuff like that. It's super cool, you know, it couldn't be better.
Enslain: What are your feelings on religion?
Tagtgren: I think you can't have the good without the bad. Where there is good, there is always going to be bad also. And if people want to fantasize about gods and stuff like that, that's up to them. I am my own god; I decide my own destiny.
-- Lady Enslain