Interview of Steve Edmondson
British doomsters Paradise Lost has just recently released their tenth studio album called "Paradise Lost". Prior album release band did a "mini tour" in last December which also reached Finland this time and i was able to discuss about new album and various other things with their bass player Steve Edmondson. Read on !
Interview by MARKO SYRJALA
Pictures by MARKO SYRJALA and www.paradiselost.co.uk
You just started your current tour about one week ago from Greece. How this new tour has been going so far?
Well everything has been great so far and i just heard that tonight’s show is sold out so
For some reason you didn?t came to Finland at all on the last tour but now, but like you said tonight?s concert is totally sold out!
I don’t know why we skipped Finland and some other countries on last tour you should ask reason for that from our manager but now we are here "laughs"
Are these gigs part of "a real tour" for the new album or just a short series of gigs before the actual tour which begins after your new album is out?
Actually this isn’t a real tour but just a series of kind of "warm up" gigs with our new drummer and we are playing only a few shows in countries where we didn’t played on last tour. Actual tour will follow sometime later for sure.
Have you considered of doing a tour alone or together with some other metal band in this time ?
We don?t know yet. It?s too early to say nothing about that. It would good idea to have a great package tour with some good bands but nothing?s been confirmed yet.
When "Icon" came out you did a massive tour together with Sepultura back then?
Yeah. I remember that tour very well. Hopefully we can go out with something like that but only time will tell what happens?
You have a new drummer (Jeff Singer) in your band now. How did you find him in the first place?
Well he did audition for us when we were searching drummer last time but then Lee got the job. So we have known him for a while.
Because you are a bass player tell me what kind of drummer Jeff is to play with?
Well let?s say that it?s really easy and fun "laughs"
Did you ever hear his playing with BLAZE?
No, I never did but I knew he was a good drummer.
Do you know what Lee he?s up to now, because he did spend a many years with you ??
I think he?s doing a regular job now. He wasn?t happy being in the band anymore doing touring and other stuff.
There are rumours that he has started his old band Marshall Law again. Do you know anything about that?
I think maybe he is doing Marshall Law again but I?m not sure about that? He didn?t leave from the band in good terms so I don?t know too much what he?s been up to lately.
Sometimes changes are for the good?
That?s true. We sound really fresh and energetic now and that?s a good thing for us and for the fans.
Your forthcoming album will be called "Paradise Lost". When it?s going to be actually released?
Yeah I think it?s coming out in the end of February or something I?m not quite sure about that but around that time I think?
And the first single is going to be released?
In February as well I think. If I remember right the single is coming out in the beginning of February and the actual album sometime in late February.
Is this album kind of closing certain era in your career because your first album ever was called "Lost Paradise"?
I don?t think so. This album is our tenth studio album and when people will hear and see that album they will know it is Paradise Lost and that?s the reason for that album title.
Do you think that this album is a kind of new frash start for the band when you have this new lineup ?
Definitely. I mean that Jeff bring us a lot of new energy and new ideas when he joined this band and he?s a much more straight and tighter drummer than Lee never was. When you hear the album you?ll know it?s definitely Paradise Lost. We couldn?t even think any other name but "Paradise Lost" for this album.
After a brilliant "Symbol Of Life" which was one of the best albums released back in 2002 I?m really looking forward to this album and can?t wait to hear it. Tell us something what we can expect from the album? I heard some rumours that it?s even heavier than it?s predecessor??
Well, the new album is much more organic than "Symbol of Life". It?s sounding like five guys playing live in a room. On this album we used less keyboards and also much less computer programming. There are much more guitars and even a few guitar solos are played this time "laughs". The album sounds quite modern and it sounds really fresh.
How about lyrics. Is this album as dark and mysterious as you have always had or is there any surprises this time?
It?s really dark as always "laughs" It?s not a happy album I mean I?m not quite sure about lyrical context because I haven?t seen all lyrics yet?
If you compare it to any other albums you?ve done earlier which one is the closest to this new album then?
Probably "Draconian Times" and "Icon" are the closest ones for me and a little bit of "One Second" also because there are some programming used like we did first time on with "One Second" but not as near much we did used for a last couple of albums. This album really sounds like a five guys playing live in a small room.
Is there any kind of theme or concept used on this album?
No there is no concept on this album. But let?s say it?s not a happy album because the songs are all about sadness, misery and as depress as we always have had. One thing we?ll not do ever is a happy album. That?s impossible for us?
Do you have plans to shoot any promotional videos for this album?
Actually we do have plans. We are going to record that one sometime in January. If I remember right it was 4?th of January when we start working that one in Germany.
Who?s going to produce that video?
I?m not quite sure.
Do you remember when you were doing promo for "Host" album and you played live in a TV show called "Jyrki"?
Yeah I do remember that "laughs"
Paradise Lost live 1999 in Finland Jyrki
You played almost complete "Host" album but no any other songs and many people were shouting "Eternal" and "As I Die " all the time?
But we didn?t "laughs"
Many of your older fans were shocked and disappointed when you released "Host". Now afterwards do you think that it did hurt your career someway or was it just one of those necessary steps you had to do in your career?
I think that we were really disappointment as well. It?s not a really good period for Paradise Lost especially personally for me.
Did record company ever pushed you to do that kind of stuff back then?
No, they never did. They never asked us to do that. If we would have done another "Draconian Times" after first one and one after that we might not be doing this anymore but? No record company was never told us what to do.
So maybe that was a period that must had to be done otherwise you wouldn?t be where you are right now?
I think so.
But after a few "more experimental" albums "Host" and "Believe In Nothing" you went back to harder and more guitar based sound with "Symbol Of Life"?
Yeah we tried to do some more experimental stuff, which did quite well but you know we love metal. We are rocking, melancholic metal band and that?s what we love to do. This time we just love and enjoy this situation when we have just five guys playing metal. We didn?t have any keyboard player and stuff this time because we wanted this album to sound like it sounds. When we did a last couple of records it wasn?t us really to be honest and we wanted this new album to sound like five guys playing live in a room and I think it sounds like that a lot.
Paradise Lost live 1996 in Tavastia Club in Finland
Many metal/hard rock bands have said recently that things are getting more and more better for that kind of music. Record sales are increasing and suddenly there are more and more people in the audience especially a lot of young people. Have you noticed that something has changed during the past few years?
In the U.K it?s the same. M?tley Crue are coming there to play stadiums and things like that are happening now. It?s a good thing I think? It?s good for the rock culture and it shows that rock is still alive and doing well.
Times are also getting better for more brutal music like trash/speed/doom bands?
That?s true but I think that it never went away really.
How about Internet and illegal downloading. Do you see it as a problem for your kind of music ?
I think that metal people are still buying a lot of music because they are solid and true fans and they don?t download everything that they listen to. They want the original stuff you know? Like I do myself. When I hear something really good on the Internet then I go to a shop and buy it. I hate burned cd?s and I want the original, it?s a good to have real thing "laughs"
In the beginning of your career you were described as a doom metal band. Do you think that Paradise Lost is still doom metal?
Yeah I think it is still doom. Music is pretty melancholic and it?s not happy and we still have the same feel that we have always had in our career so it?s definitely kind of doom still.
Would you then say that even "Host" album is a kind of doom in your opinion?
Kind of it is a doom but in a different. It?s a kind of electronic doom in my opinion? It is still a sad album and it?s not commercial album either. It?s not commercial at all… Of course you can try to categorise thing in a different ways but that album is based on feel on it it?s a doom feel we have on it like we always have had in our career. It?s a sad and dark album so it?s a doom album also.
You have been a part of this band since the beginning. How much do you remember of what happened in the very early days?
How did we start and how did I get involved with band? I think that Greg and Nick had a band together and they were rehearsing in a basement. There used to be a rock club where me and my friend used to see each other and once I heard that they were looking for a guitar player and bass player and they asked me to go down and try. I remember that I was like "I can play bass". I had a bass but I really couldn?t play it. I just went down there and that?s how it all started. In the beginning we used to play a lot of cover songs. I remember we used to play "Celtic Frost", "Kreator" and "Black Sabbath" songs and things like that in the very beginning. We all liked the same bands so that was a kind of stuff we all knew pretty well.
In your opinion is anything changed in the relationship between you guys since the beginning? I mean do you still get along well with everybody and so on?
Well no. Actually I think that we are now even closer than in the beginning. We are more friends than before. We realize what?s going on our lives. Now on this new album we have become a really much closer band, a modern metal unit, much like a family. Before we never saw each other at all after tours and stuff. We had long intermissions without seeing each other at all but now for some strange reason the things have changed and we do spend a lot of time together within band members so I think that our relationship is now better than it was before.
Paradise Lost live 2004 in Tavastia
Did you played any "serious bands" before Paradise Lost?
No. I didn?t play with anybody before Paradise Lost.
You never had even any "cellar bands" before this band?
No. I touched my bass very first time when I joined this band "laughs"
It?s always Nick and Greg who are getting all writing credits of your songs but do you still wrote songs as a group?
Well it?s true that they wrote most of the music but for example I do write all bass lines and so does Aaron his guitar rhythm parts. Usually Greg and Nick give us some root keys and notes of the songs and then we start to write our own parts for that music. We do all the bass and rhythm lines so basically we wrote songs together as a group a lot in my opinion. Especially on the new albums there?s a lot of all of us on that album.
Have you ever written any complete songs alone?
Yes of course I?ve written something too "laughs"
So there are no any "secret unreleased demos" from you that will be released sometime in the future?
Well I do play music for friends and stuff like that so you never know? I don?t know? Maybe later "laughs" We?ll see?
What else do you do when you?re not playing with Paradise Lost? You don?t have any "real job" besides this right?
Not much really. I don?t have any regular job if you meant that? We spend a year in the studio when we worked this new album so we have been extremely busy all the time. We have been rehearsing, writing, recording and now we are mixing the album and it?s coming out very soon I mean we have been really busy with this album and we have to spend as long a time as needed to create this album to be a perfect album
So you don?t have actually time to do anything else but Paradise Lost?
Well of course I do as any regular person does "laughs" I do shopping, cleaning, watching TV and that stuff you know "laughs"…
Sometime ago you released a live DVD, which included promo videos, classic "Harmony Breaks" VHS and one gig from "One Second" tour and some more?
Yeah. It was called "Evolve". I think that original "Harmony Breaks" has been out of stock for years already so it was great that some fans finally got the change to see that one. That gig was filmed from Sheppard Bush Empire in London I remember and there are some promo stuff and interviews as well. It is a great DVD in my opinion.
Speaking of promo videos."As I Die" was one of the first death/doom metal videos ever played on MTV, right?
That?s true. We were a really good friends with Vanessa Warwick who was hosting "Headbanger?s Ball" show back then and she was a huge fan of ours and that?s how it went in the beginning "laughs"
You are also releasing a new DVD from the very beginning called "Live Death" which include a live footage from year 1989 or something. Tell us something more about that release?
That one was originally released as a regular video by a company who had the right?s for that stuff and they just asked us if it?s ok to release it again as a DVD? We were like "It?s not okay really" but? I mean we are not a shamed of it but we are not too proud of it either but I think it?s cool thing for fans.
Have you seen the DVD version by your self?
Yeah I have seen it. It?s cool and very funny as well because we were really young back then "laughs"
It?s from 89 or??
It?s from 88 or 89 I’m not sure. It a real first evidence of Paradise Lost existing and it was done during time when death/doom metal was really big thing you know? I got a pretty good memory I can remember almost everything "laughs
Do you then remember when you first time played in Finland?
Of course! In Lepakko.It was a place where we had to walk down before we get in the concert place and what we had a support band from Finland called Corporal Punishment there, right? I remember there was some kind of ramp up to venue and it was very cold and dark in there inside.
I?m impressed !
It was a good show. I even remember that there weren?t too many people there then?
Okay our time’s up. Thanx for your time and see ya in the gig!
Thank you !
Special thanx to Pia Santajuuri from Sony BMG to get this interview done !!