PARADISE LOST – bassist Steve Edmundson discusses the new album, and changes in the lineup

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Interview by MARKO SYRJALA

Pictures by MARKO SYRJALA and www.paradiselost.co.uk

British doomsters Paradise Lost has just recently released their tenth studio album called “Paradise Lost.” Before the album release band did a “mini-tour” last December, which also reached Finland this time, I discussed the new album and various other things with its bass player, Steve Edmondson. Read on!   

Paradise Lost started the current tour last week ago from Greece. How everything has everything 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 come to Finland at all on the last tour, but now, but as you said, tonight’s concert is sold out!

I don’t know why we skipped Finland and some other countries on the last tour, you should ask the 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 begins after your new album is out?

Actually, this isn’t a real tour, but just a series of “warm-up” gigs with our new drummer, and we are playing only a few shows in countries where we didn’t play on the last tour. The actual tour will follow sometime later, for sure.

Have you considered doing a tour alone or together with some other metal band at this time?

We don’t know yet. It’s too early to say nothing about that. It would be a 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?

He auditioned for us when we were searching for a 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 straightforward and fun, “laughs.”

Did you ever hear him 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 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 rumors 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 the band on good terms, so I don’t know too much what he’s been up to lately.

Sometimes changes are for good?

That’s true. We sound really fresh and energetic now, which’s a good thing for us and the fans.

Your forthcoming album will be called “Paradise Lost.” When it’s going to be released?

Yeah, I think it’s coming out at 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 at the beginning of February and the actual album sometime in late February.

Is this album-closing a certain era in your career because your first album was called “Lost Paradise”?

I don’t think so. This album is our tenth studio album, and when people hear and see that album, they will know it is Paradise Lost, and that’s the reason for that album title.

Do you think this album is a new fresh start for the band when you have this new lineup?

Definitely, I mean that Jeff brought 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 of any other name but “Paradise Lost” for this album.

After the brilliant “Symbol Of Life,” which was one of the best albums released back in 2002, I’m looking forward to this album and can’t wait to hear it. Tell us something about what we can expect from the album? I heard some rumors that it’s even heavier than its predecessor??

Well, the new album is much more organic than “Symbol of Life.” It sounds like five guys playing live in a room. On this album, we used fewer keyboards and also much less computer programming. There are many 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 the lyrics. Is this album as dark and mysterious as you have always had, or are there any surprises this time?

It’s really dark as always, “laughs” It’s not a happy album. I mean, I’m not sure about lyrical context because I haven’t seen all the 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 the first time on with “One Second” but not as near much we did use for a last couple of albums. This album really sounds like five guys playing live in a small room.

Is there any 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 depressing as we always have had. One thing we’ll not ever do 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 the 4’th of January when we started working that one in Germany.

Who’s going to produce that video?

I’m not quite sure.

Do you remember when you were doing a promo for the “Host” album and played live on a TV show called “Jyrki”?

Yeah, I do remember those “laughs.”

Paradise Lost live 1999 in Finland Jyrki.

You played almost a complete “Host” album, but no other songs and many people were shouting “Eternal” and “As I Die ” all the time?

But we didn’t “laugh.”

Many of your older fans were shocked and disappointed when you released “Host.” Now afterward, do you think it hurt your career somehow or was it just one of those necessary steps you had to do in your career?

I think that we were disappointed as well. It’s not a really good period for Paradise Lost, especially personally for me.

Did the record company ever push you to do that kind of stuff back then?

No, they never did. They never asked us to do that. If we had done another “Draconian Times” after the first one and one after that, we might not be doing this anymore, but? No record company was ever told us what to do.

So maybe that was a period that must have 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 more experimental stuff, which did quite well, but we know we love metal. We are a rocking, melancholic metal band, and that’s what we love to do. This time we 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 the last couple of records, it wasn’t us, 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 better and better for that kind of music. Record sales are increasing, and suddenly more and more people are in the audience, especially many young people. Have you noticed that something has changed during the past few years?

In the U.K, it’s the same. Mötleyy Crue is 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.

Are Times 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 the 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 they listen to. They want the original stuff, you know? Like I do myself. When I hear something really good on the Internet, I go to a shop and buy it. I hate burned CDs, and I want the original. It’s good to have a real thing, “laughs.”

At 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 feeling that we have always had in our career, so it’s definitely kind of doom still.

Would you then say that even the “Host” album is a kind of doom, in your opinion?

Kind of it is 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 a commercial album either. It’s not commercial at all… Of course, you can categorize things differently, but that album is based on feeling 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 the 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 my friend and I used to see each other, and once I heard that they were looking for a guitar player and bass player, 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 the 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 at the beginning. We are more friends than before. We realize what’s going on in our lives. We have become a reality, a much closer band, a modern metal unit, much like a family on this new album. 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 as band members, so I think that our relationship is now better than it was before.

Paradise Lost live 2004 in Tavastia.

Did you play any “serious bands” before Paradise Lost?

No. I didn’t play with anybody before Paradise Lost.

You never even had any “cellar bands” before this band?

No. I touched my bass the very first time when I joined this band, “laughs.”

Nick and Greg always get all the writing credits of your songs, but do you still write songs as a group?

They indeed wrote most of the music, but for example, I do write all the bass lines, and so do 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.”

There are no “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.

Not much. I wouldn’t have any regular job if you meant that? We spent a year in the studio when we worked on 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 actually have 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 “laugh”…

Some time ago, you released a live DVD, which included promo videos, classic “Harmony Breaks” VHS, one gig from the “One Second” tour, and some more?

Yeah. It was called “Evolve.” I think that the original “Harmony Breaks” has been out of stock for years already, so it was great that some fans finally got the chance to see that one. I remember that gig was filmed from Sheppard Bush Empire in London, and there are some promo stuff and interviews. 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 really good friends with Vanessa Warwick, who was hosting the “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 includes live footage from 1989 or something. Tell us something more about that release?

That one was originally released as a regular video by a company that had the rights for that stuff, and they just asked us if it’s ok to rerelease it as a DVD? We were like, “It’s not okay, really,” but? I mean, we are not ashamed of it, but we are not too proud of it either, but I think it’s a cool thing for fans.

Have you seen the DVD version by yourself?

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 is the real first evidence of Paradise Lost existing, and it was done when death/doom metal was a huge 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 before we got to the concert place, and we had a support band from Finland called Corporal Punishment there, right? I remember there was some ramp-up to the venue, and it was very cold and dark 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 you at the gig!

Thank you!

www.paradiselost.co.uk

Special thanks to Pia Santajuuri from Sony BMG for getting this interview done !!

 

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