Paradise Lost Interview
with Gregor Mackintosh (Lead Guitar)
@ Bloodstock 2012
At this year’s Bloodstock Festival, I had the absolute honour of meeting one of my musical icons!
I’m looking forward to seeing you guys perform later on the main stage, how have you been finding the festival so far? Have you been able to check out any of the other bands at all or have you been quite busy with all the press stuff so far?
Gregor: Umm, I got here half an hour ago…
Ahh right! Haha!
Gregor: Partly because I was lost! I was actually following Adrian Erlandsson our drummer, and he just drove into the middle of nowhere, so we both ended up lost at different parts of the area.
Swedish directions then I take it!? Haha!
Gregor: Yeah, exactly! I think he thought he was going home or something, back to Stockholm you know? But I’ve been here a few times it’s a really cool festival and it’s one of the only Metal festivals around that feels very family orientated you know? But some of the other European Festivals, obviously I can’t name any of them, but some of them feel like they’ve become a little too… errm, corporate, and it kind of loses its feel if you know what I mean? It’s cool for punters I guess because there’s a lot for them to do, but it kind of loses its feel for the artists.
Yeah, and the atmosphere here just seems more to be like one big Heavy Metal garden party more than anything else, it’s not really like any other festival I’ve been to.
Gregor: Yeah, yeah!
So, do you prefer playing larger festival type shows, or are you more of a smaller venue and more intimate show type of person?
Gregor: No, it totally depends. Sometimes Festivals are great because it’s kind of like hanging out with a load of mates, so it’s just one big party atmosphere, but sometimes the organisation is not as good as it should be on certain festivals, and in that respect it would be better to do your own gig because then at least you can make sure that everything is working correctly and stuff like that. So yeah we’ve played a few festivals where just nothing works and stuff like that and what can you do? No one speaks English, so you’re kind of a bit fucked, you know? But it depends on how well organised it is, if it’s a really well organised festival then festivals are cool!
Yeah! And the latest release that you’ve done with Paradise Lost, entitled Tragic Idol, what’s the inspiration behind the name of the title and what’s the meaning behind it?
Gregor: Well, a lot of people thought it was a reference to one person in particular or something like that, because I’d just done an album with a side project band of mine called Vallenfyre…
Yes! I love that album!
Gregor: Yep, and the title for that was A Fragile King, so a lot of people thought that those two album titles were linked but it wasn’t at all, we had the title of Tragic Idol hanging around for a while and it was more and All That Glitters Is Not Gold was another one. It’s more of a global meaning more than one person, it’s not one person it’s more of a general “Don’t Believe It Until You See It” type of thing, you know?
I was really hoping that Vallenfyre were going to be playing at Bloodstock this year…
Gregor: Oh! Well we were supposed to be but erm, one of the guys asked us to play on the Sophie Lancaster stage but because of logistics… …I mean, I just came from… …where was I? I don’t even know where I was yesterday! …Czechoslovakia, I was in Czechoslovakia yesterday, and I did two gigs there; I did Paradise Lost and Vallenfyre there, but the day before I was at the Party San Festival in Germany, doing a show just with Vallenfyre, and the day before that we were at the Metal Camp Festival…so it was just logistics really and we just couldn’t get it together in time to get both bands here.
It’s a shame really, because I think a few people were thinking it was going to be the triple header at Bloodstock of having Paradise Lost, Vallenfyre and My Dying Bride all together.
Gregor: It would have been great! Yeah! That would have been superb!
Yeah, it would have been really good for the festival, but hopefully next year you can come back and play the Main Stage with Vallenfyre?
Gregor: That would be fantastic! I mean obviously all this was discussed, but Vallenfyre couldn’t make it and Hamish (guitars) has had to go off to Transylvania to do a gig with My Dying Bride, sounds like a set up but it’s not! It’s an actual gig!
Nice! So what are the touring plans for Paradise Lost after Bloodstock, I guess your off playing around a few other places after this as well?
Gregor: Well no, we’ve done a lot of Festivals already, lot and lots so I think we’ve only got a few Festivals left. In fact it may only be one, Summer Breeze next weekend! It’s quite a big one, and Vallenfyre are doing that one as well, so it’s another double show for me.
And after that you can have a bit of a break?
Gregor: 2 weeks… I get 2 weeks off, and then after that I’ve got a 3 or 4 week tour of America with Devin Townsend.
Ahh yeah I saw that touring line-up for America with you, Devin and Katatonia and I’m really hoping that tour comes to the UK because that’s a line-up that is just too good to miss!
Gregor: Well, you never know, we’re all on the same management so… …never say never! Then after that I’ve got a couple of days off and then another European tour, so I’m kind busy up until November.
Are you getting any free time over the weekend to check out any of the bands here, are you going to be watching today at all?
Gregor: This weekend?
Gregor: No time whatsoever, no no. I’m doing press right up until I start drinking and that’s 3:50pm. I start drinking two hours before a gig; everyone has their routine you know? So 3:50pm is cut off point for press and then I have to start drinking!
So are you fairly tanked up before you go on then?
Gregor: Yeah, I just like it that way, you know?
Yeah, I know what you mean! So, if you could do a collaboration or guest on someone’s album or have them guest on your album our of any of the bands on the line-up for this weekend, who would you really like to work with and why?
Gregor: Well, if I could see the line-up that would be good!
Haha! Well a few people have said Testament so far as they were playing earlier on, and Behemoth played on the first night, Watain and I think Dimmu Borgir are on later today. Nile are playing as well and Machine Head, Alice Cooper’s headlining tonight. Or just in general really…?
Gregor: Yeah, none of them spring to mind! Well, Crowbar are playing here and we took them out on their first ever European tour, they’ve always been a great band. Erm, who else is playing? Oh yeah, Nile! Nile are very good, it’s a little bit too busy for me in places, but they have some of the coolest riffs!
I thought their live sound this weekend was really good because I’ve seen them before and it can sometimes just sound like a wall of snare drum and not much else.
Gregor: Well I didn’t get here on time and I just missed it. I was just talking to our Bass player Steve Edmondson and a few other guys in there as they got to see it and they were saying it was a really great sound as well.
Seeing their drummer perform live was awesome…
Gregor: Have you seen his Jazz band as well, his Jazz side project?
Gregor: Yeah, that’s crazy as well! The technicality of it, you know?
Awesome! I’ll have to check that out then because his drumming is amazing.
Gregor: Yeah yeah!
Especially the feet as well, keeping up the speed that he does.
Gregor: Yeah, definitely!
So, if you had the opportunity to put on your own Dream Festival Line-up, of bands from any era in history, whether they be living or dead, who would you love to put on your line-up?
Gregor: Ahh it would be just about everyone who’s ever influenced me so it would be starting off with the original Black Sabbath line-up…
Yeah! Everyone so far has said Black Sabbath!
Gregor: Yeah! Of course! Of course! Then it would be the early Celtic Frost line-up, the first Candlemass album line-up, errm, who else? Early Sisters Of Mercy I guess, Dead Can Dance, things like that just to kind of mix it up a bit.
Yeah!? Because you guys have done quite a few really interesting cover versions in the past, as you did Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy on Symbol Of Life and Xavier by Dead Can Dance, and you even did Missing by Everything But The Girl as well! I thought everyone had forgotten about that song and then I saw the cover on the latest album and thought “Ahh wow! I love that song, I grew up listening to that song!” and what was the other one… …err, You’ll Never Take Me Alive by Spear Of Destiny.
Gregor: Yeah, that’s on the most recent album!
So are there any more plans to do more good 80’s cover versions in the future?
Gregor: Well I can actually tell you why we did all those cover versions and I didn’t even realise it at first! There’s a pub I go to in my hometown and it has an old Jukebox on the wall, with all these old songs on and I think I’m just going down the list!
Gregor: Yeah it’s all these old compilations, you know?
Yeah, because I love all those 80’s bands! I think it’s really nice that the genres are kind of crossing over and I think a lot of other bands would look at covering those kind of songs and be like “Ooohh no, we don’t want to do something that is that kind of style”…
Gregor: Well there’s still some bizarre stuff I’d still like to do, you know? I’d like to do a Simon And Garfunkel cover at some point.
That would be really cool actually!
Gregor: Yeah, I mean “Hello Darkness My Old Friend” I mean, come on?
Gregor: It’s begging for it!
Of all of the bonus or limited edition versions that come out of Paradise Lost’s albums, I always try and get those versions more than anything else so that you do get those really cool cover versions on there as well. So hopefully you’ll be recording more for the next album after the touring plans have finished, but I guess that’s going to be a long time in the future?
Gregor: It’s going to be a while now, yeah, because there’s a lot more areas that have just opened up to touring in recent years, you know like India, China, South Korea, there’s just all these new areas that have opened up and you’re being asked to go and gig there. So the touring cycle ends up being a bit longer, so I guess it’s probably going to be a little bit longer between albums, you know?
Well, I don’t mind the wait though because Tragic Idol has been an amazing album, and I like the fact that you guys have never really stuck to a single style really, as stuff like Symbol Of Life compared to Tragic Idol and then compare that to the Host album, it’s all very different, and whilst a lot of people say that they’re not massive fans of the Host or Symbol Of Life era stuff, I think the Symbol Of Life album, is personally my favourite one by you guys.
Ahh I think you’re press person is wanting to get you off to the next interview so we better wrap up! But thanks very much for your time today dude!
Gregor: Alright man, cheers! No worries!