Peter Tägtgren of PAIN
Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen
Interview pictures by Mirkka Tikkanen, Live pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
guess Peter Tägtgren´s Death Metal heroes Hypocrisy are familiar to
most of you at least by name if nothing else, but what ´bout his own
metallic techno-driven ´solo´ thing called Pain, then; how many of you
have become familiar with the brilliant realms of it?
The following chat I had with him for some time ago, hopefully
enlightens your knowledge ´bout this great band a bit more and allows
you an opportunity to check them out some day ´coz Pain definitely
ain´t your every day rushed project that fades away after a while. Pain
has come here to stay - just mark my words for that.
Let´s get to the interview now…
Pete, how indeed did you first get into Techno - or should I
rather say, ´a metal-driven Techno music´?
in the ´70s when I was a kid, my father was totally into Jean Michael
Jarre and stuff like that, so it kind of has always been around me, but
I never thought I could do stuff like that, y´know. So it´s just been
more like an experiment for me in the studio to try different things out
and at the same time, just developing both as a producer and a song
writer. So yeah, it is totally about me producing this thing, I think.
The very 1st time I got awakened by the realms of Pain was this
video you had done for a song called "On and on" on your 2nd
album titled REBIRTH - and which was constantly been running by MTVE. Do
you think that by the help of this particular video - and especially by
the help of MTVE (which unfortunately really isn´t that ´metal
friendly´ orientated channel any longer nowadays…), you got loads of
new fans for Pain?
Yeah, but the fact is that for this kind of music video is very
important, I think. I also noticed that here in Sweden as we have this
music program called "Vox Pop" in our national TV where people
can vote videos and stuff like that; they make a list, y´know. And when
we did "End of the Line" for the very first time - before the
actual album (REBIRTH) came out, the whole thing just exploded - and
they saw it. That particular video definitely had a huge impact on us
and helped me to become more successful with Pain, cannot deny that.
Then you have a new video available for a song called "Shut
your Mouth" on this recent birth of yours titled NOTHING REMAINS
THE SAME. That clip has been directed by a guy, nicknamed as ´Mikeadelica´
who also directed the clip for your 1st single "End of the
Line" out of your REBIRTH album…
the guy who did "The End of the Line" and "Suicide
Machine" - and this one, too - of course.
How did you get to find out about him in the first place?
Through the record company. I think in the beginning he was supposed
to take only some promotional pictures for Pain, but besides he takes
pictures, he also makes videos and I wanted to try him out. But anyway,
like I said, I got to find about him through the record company and
he´s a really cool guy. He had been working previously with all this
commercial stuff, and as I agreed he´ll shoot my next video. It was
like a totally cool thing for me personally ´coz that guy has got so
much talent and is such a professional guy to work with. I think I just
cannot praise him enough.
What ´bout Max Martin´s involvement on your new album; would you
tell something about that, too?
It was cool for me to do something different for sure because f.ex.
as far as that particular song goes, I just brought it into the studio
and didn´t think of anything really and told him that he could do
whatever he wants with it.
I find it kind of strange that he actually works for Pain ´coz
he´s been working with such big names previously (like Def Leppard and
Britney Spears, for example) and Pain probably cannot be considered to
belong to that ´big league´ yet…? Anyway, do you think that you´ll
co-operate with him in the future as well?
I think so, yeah… Allowing him writing some songs for Pain and stuff
like that. I´m gonna start writing songs with some other people, too -
and different kind of music as well. I´m not gonna limit myself to any
specific thing with Pain like what I´m doing right now. I´m trying to
stretch Pain´s sound even wider, I think.
Talking ´bout this Mikaedelica a bit more… I was just wondering
what kind of reputation does this guy have there in Sweden as a video
director anyway? Could you say that he´s a really hard-working,
determined and a goal-orientated dude who doesn´t leave anything for a
half-way and you can kind of always trust his skills as far as the
quality of his videos go?
Yeah, you could say so. He´s really good at what he´s doing. So far
he has done videos for A Teens, E-Type and he has done many videos for
some Swedish acts like Robin and - well, a bunch of stuff like that;
more commercial orientated stuff, though.
Hmmm… I guess he´s also a bit known outside of Sweden as well,
or is he?
Well, not really. Maybe for only these things that go outside of
Sweden, I guess. Stuff like A Teens and E-Type. He has mostly done these
Swedish artists; Swedish Hip Hop and Rap bands that are mainly famous
here in our country only.
On REBIRTH you have an uncut video clip available for "End of
the Line", so why did you have to erase some scenes out of it
before getting it air played thru MTVE?
I have no idea. I mean, maybe they just thought it was too heavy for
their channel or something. They thought the music was too heavy and
looked like a devil, so they didn´t wanna show it.
there possibly something on the script of that particular video clip why
they didn´t wanna show it or…?
No, there was nothing that was bad in it. It was just way too heavy
thing for their channel and that´s basically all, I think.
Seems like MTVE´s policy is kinda fucked-up nowadays as far as
that as a "something-for-everybody" music channel is concerned…?
Yeah, I agree, it is. They just do exactly what they want. If they
don´t wanna show some certain videos, they come up with some stupid
It´s kind of sad as they used to be a bit more ´metal-friendly´
channel in the past, having "Headbanger´s Ball" with all
those great metal videos there, but nowadays they really don´t show any
metal videos who knows why. Have you been able to find any other
channels for your kind of music where they actually could even show your
videos - and without censoring them first?
We have a Set TV in Sweden where they show videos a lot. I mean, they
even show Pain now, our new videos. A problem, however, is that when you
try to do a video, you just cannot put everything into them that may
crawl in the depths of your mind even if you like a certain idea a lot.
If you invest, f.ex., like $6000-$8000 for making a video - and they
don´t show it on any channel, it´s just a waste of money. That´s
always a pity. So, whatever you may come up with for any video, it sort
of has to be a limited thing to the certain point in order to avoid any
kind of threat for censorship.
So, do you think they will play "Shut Your Mouth" on
They are already doing so actually…
Where did the idea for it come from indeed?
That was just an idea I always kind of wanted to do. I wanted to do
this "thing" that´s seen in that particular video and doing a
movie has always fascinated me as well. So we did a 5min. long movie,
too, - and with the same clips like it´s seen on "Shut…",
but put only talking and stuff into it without any music. That was
actually pretty funny thing to do.
I personally liked that video shot a lot, I mean, the music video
thing; especially the final ending of it ´coz I considered it very
funny indeed and kind of clever at the same time as well - this alien
guy talking to you in your own house by using his strange language and
generally messing around there and acting like a good friend of yours…
Yeah, exactly. It was supposed to have this humorous aspect to it and
that´s one of the reasons why I like it very much myself, too.
You came up with the concept for that video or…?
No, it was all Mikaedelica´s idea, all of it…
Coming up with a new album is always kind of challenging task for
everybody, I think. Would you let us know how this album was different
to make compared to your previous album, REBIRTH?
think the REBIRTH album was more like, let´s just say
"Euro-Metal"; y´know, Euro techno/disco with a mix of metal.
This new one, NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME, is more like, hmm… sometimes
Rock - sometimes more metal, sometimes it´s musically a little bit
wider musically than what REBIRTH was content-wise.
Also I think your new album has got somehow more deeper and
emotional elements into it as well…
Yeah, that also, definitely!!
… and I can tell ya that before I came here, I was going thru
the promo of that disc song by song and noticed there´s really not any
bad song on N.R.T.S. - or should I rather say, you really cannot find
any so-called ´leftover´ material from this album in my opinion as the
all the songs have something very catchy on them and basically they all
stand out as single songs alone, so obviously you wanted to get the
best-of-the-very-best songs for N.R.T.S., correct?
Yeah, you could say so, namely I threw away a half of the songs that
I wrote for this particular album. I wrote over 20 songs and decided to
save these songs for N.R.T.S. . They just weren´t good enough for this
album, I think.
So what will happen to those abandoned songs; have you any
intentions to use them for B-sides of some singles or anything…?
Yeah, you are right. We are actually putting some of them to the
B-sides of some singles out of the album as bonus songs. Every single
that we will release - like these maxi singles, will contain 2-4 extra
songs on them. And we have quite a bit of this leftover material; some
demo versions of some of the songs and stuff.
actually the most challenging or most demanding and yet most
time-consuming thing for yourself personally when you are penning down a
new Pain song - knowing the fact you do and record every single
instrument by yourself?
Well, to have to time to do it all. That´s the biggest problem for
me at the moment for sure. It takes a lot of time to make a Pain song
from start to finish. Or to record it; it´s not like, y´know, 2
guitars, drums and a bass. I have to think a lot and maybe even to
record a single song 3-4 times all over in order to be absolutely happy
You also recorded this The Beatles -cover song titled
"Eleanor Ribgy" for this album - having a sixteen piece full
orchestra recording the strings for this particular song. How did the
idea for using a full string orchestra come in your mind indeed?
That was pretty amazing, I can tell…
Was it your idea to get a whole string orchestra for that
No, it was actually one of the guys from Stockholm Records who
suggested that. Because lots of the songs have strings on them, so she
said why don´t we put real strings for one of the songs on the album -
and I was first skeptically thinking: "Should we do that really…?!".
Then later on, I was like: "OK, let´s do it then…", so
that´s the story there.
Have you ever considered using a full string orchestra in a live
situation sometimes, too?
It would be nice to do it. Maybe if we could play at some outdoor
festival or some other special place, then it would be cool to have it
I saw Therion doing that thing with a full-sized orchestra at
Wacken last year and that was really amazing, I have to admit that…
Yeah, I know how they are for having such a big orchestra behind them
for a live situation. It´s really cool, I think.
As for playing live is concerned, when you started Pain, did you
already have this idea playing live right from the very start that Pain
will also appear as a live band some day - or has this idea been growing
in your mind just as of lately?
I didn´t think I would do any live gigs with Pain sometimes in the
future. It was just getting different kind of music out of my system
without changing Hypocrisy. So in the beginning we said that we are
supposed to play live, I was like how the hell am I gonna do that? But I
worked a lot on it, y´know, and it works out just fine nowadays, I
So what can your audience expect from a Pain live set then ´coz
people really don´t know yet how Pain are as a live act?
Yeah, that´s true. The live thing definitely is heavier than the
songs on the albums for sure.
Do you have any special elements involved with your live gig?
No, not for a moment. Because on this tour we just do promotion for
this new album. So it´s not really, let´s just say ´thought-out
package´ yet from our point of view. It´s just to get Pain through
Scandinavia as it´s really easy for us to do this Scandinavian tour
now. And just to work with promotion for Finland, Norway and Sweden. And
right after that, when shit starts happening a bigger way, we will come
back and do a bigger and better tour for sure. These gigs are only meant
to promote the new album.
When will this album be released elsewhere, too - like in the
Central Europe, for example?
Well, in Europe it should be coming out maybe in August 2002 or
something like that. We just have to be working with every country now
to get our record released in as many countries as it´s just possible.
Like moving on step by step…
Yeah, exactly - that´s what I meant.
What ´bout getting your album out for the bigger markets, like
both in the U.S.A. and Canada?
It´s the same there. We´ll be moving on step by step and hopefully
NOTHING REMAINS THE SAME will be released sometime there as well -
What ´bout some live requests; have you already been offered to
play there for some festivals and stuff like that?
We already played there actually. We did New
Jersey Metalfest a while ago.
So, how did the audience there respond to you?
it was a pretty cool show. I mean, when you play in America, it´s
always nice to go there even if they unfortunately don´t have the same
tradition and experience to organize gigs and stuff. Sometimes they are
just fuckin´ so badly organized, y´know.
Not to offend any American extreme metal fans, but I still think
European metalheads seem to be a bit more open-minded for new things
than our fellow American brothers - meaning it´s also pretty hard for
all these ´odd- sounding (?)´ bands (like Pain, maybe?) to get there
and play gigs unless you don´t have a big enough fanbase built over
Yeah, I guess that´s very true. But on the other hand, you just have
to get in front of the right crowd and make an impact that way.
Then I was just wondering whether you are going to keep this Pain
as your own project only or is there any possibilities that you could
share the song writing process for Pain possibly with some other guys
who are involved with the live line-up that you have now on this tour?
No, I don´t think so. I mean, the whole idea since the beginning was
just to bring out everything by myself; different kind of stuff, y´know
- and not being limited to any certain kind of style. So it´s entirely
my thing and that´s the way how it´s gonna be in the future as well. I
may spend a long time in my own studio just for coming up with different
ideas for Pain and going just crazy for them.
Is it easy to keep this Pain separated from Hypocrisy? I mean, if
you have come up with some certain melody line that you´d like to use,
do you always know for which of these bands you might use it?
Sometimes it´s really tough because, y´know, everything has to be a
little bit planned before it works out, I think.
So which of these two bands do you consider as your main band now;
Hypocrisy or Pain?
Both… Definitely both!! Everything has its own time, y´know.
But when you are coming up with some music for these bands, do you
always know that this riff must be used for Hypocrisy - or that drum
fill fits for Pain exclusively and so on…?
Sometimes I do - sometimes I just don´t. You think you do this song
and then it starts slipping to the other side musically. You really
don´t know until the whole song is finished.
Is it like when a certain song turns out be kind of ´heavy´ and
more ´brutal´, then at that point you may know that this song will be
used for Hypocrisy, f.ex.?
Yeah, probably. And because Pain is more melodic thing anyway, I
always somehow know what kind of things fit better to this band more
Where does your strong fascination towards U.F.O.s, aliens and
paranormal things in general come from ´coz you´ve basically been
using these concepts both in Hypocrisy and Pain, too?
I have always been fascinated by these things a little bit. But this
alien stuff in our new video isn´t my idea at all. It´s kind of
´typical´ as a matter of speaking, but on the other hand, it was a
cool idea to stick to that concept even if it has nothing to do with the
song itself really, y´know. I always think about it whether these
so-called ´aliens´ really do exist even if I have never seen anything.
Still, I think there´s something out there although you really can´t
be so sure, y´know. Of course some people claim they have seen them
(i.e. these ´little green men´ from outer space) - and you really
don´t know what they have seen. It´s just cool ´coz you don´t know
whether they exist or not unless you haven´t seen them in your own
eyes. That´s what fascinates me in them. You haven´t got any answers
´til you really can prove it to yourself by seeing them somewhere.
Yeah, you´re so right. I just believe in my own eyes only - what
my eyes can see before believing in nothing really. Oh well, let´s move
on next to films - and especially let´s talk ´bout your own interest
towards some roles in different type of films as some of us already
know, so far you´ve appeared on such films as SLEEPWALKER and
GREETINGS. Wasn´t that GREETINGS some sort of a short film or something
Yeah, that was a video where we did some music for and talked on that
video and stuff like that. So, like you said it by yourself, it´s like
a movie even if it´s only 5min. long. We have these plans to put it out
on our own homepage, I think, so anyone who´s interested in seeing it,
can check it out right from there.
Is that the only way to become familiar with that clip?
…uh? Honestly I have no idea yet. But I guess it´s really up to
the guy who did it ´coz he always wanted to do a movie and then he had
this chance to do it while we were doing the video for "Shut Your
Could one of your ultimate dreams be to do a script for a whole
film by yourself and even direct it from beginning to end?
Hmmm… not really, but it would be fun to be in one for sure. It
would be really cool to try acting in some film, y´know. It would be
nice to learn some acting ´coz it´s always a challenge to think how to
do it right way, I guess.
And you feel absolutely comfortable to be in the front of cameras…
I didn´t before, but nowadays it´s getting better for me all the
time. To be really honest with you, I used to be a bit afraid of being
in the front of the cameras, but luckily it´s got easier for me these
And you don´t have any new offers for some roles coming up in
some other films possibly…?
Not that I know of…
Well, if you think of any film you´d like to be a part of
somehow, what kind of concept would that film hold inside then? About
aliens and those kind of creatures possibly or…?
Not necessarily, but about anything really, y´know. An every day
comedy thing would be nice to be a part of ´coz I overall like comedies
Would you like to be abducted by aliens sometime in your life -
let´s just say, to get one more experience in your life, -eh?!
He-he… nah, not really. I would rather watch if someone else got
abducted by them. It´s a scary thought, however…
Ok, I´m done. Thank you for your time and all the best for
You´re welcome. Thank you…