Thinking Out Loud: PAIN's Peter Tägtgren

Peter Tägtgren

Some people are just annoyingly talented. Peter Tägtgren is one of said people. Over two and a half decades, the Swedish multi-instrumentalist has formed death metal deities Hypocrisy, black metal behemoths The Abyss and industrialists PAIN; he’s been in supergroups Bloodbath, Lock Up and Lindemann; oh, and he’s produced just about every band in Scandinavia apart from ABBA. As Tägtgren releases PAIN’s eight LP, Coming Home, he shares some brain bacon he fried along the way.

“I guess someone got jealous [of Lindemann]. Next time, maybe – that’s all I can say. Till and I had everything planned – we were offered a lot of shows, it went that far – and we’re still planning it; we just have to wait for the right time. The next time [Rammstein] take another two years off or whatever – I have no idea what their future plans are. Till doesn’t even know! They have a few more festival shows this summer then I guess I’ll find out, because that’s when they need to make a decision about what they’re gonna do. We have a bunch of good ideas for the next Lindemann album, so we’ve just put that all aside for next time.”

“I’ve been influenced by David Bowie for the past four years, like really hardcore. Also, coming off this huge hype with the Lindemann stuff, it was really hard to know where to go – I didn’t want to repeat Lindemann with PAIN. I wanted to do it on my own terms, so I really got out of my comfort zone; I wanted to develop and dare to really take chances, both with the vocals and musical styles. Picking up an acoustic guitar – I would have never thought of doing that in my entire life before this, and I just tried everything to see if I could do it. Every time I did something new, it influenced me to finish the song I was working on.”

“My wife thinks I have a good voice when I don’t scream – I hate my voice. Management really pushed me to try and sing on the new record; I had to work on that because I don’t see myself as a singer. So now you can understand what I’m saying and not have to look in the lyric book and be like, ‘what is he saying?’ I really had to open my mouth and try not to sound like a fucking crack whore when I sang, so I really had to be picky with how I pronounced things. I had to sing in key and that was new for me! Every time I do an album – whether it’s with PAIN or Hypocrisy or whatever – I discover something that’s new for me and I bring that with me for the next album. It doesn’t mean I want to do ten songs of clean vocals, but I can bring it in part to the next album. It’s all one big experiment.”

“My son plays drums on all the songs for the new PAIN album. He just turned 18. He loves bands like Meshuggah and Decapitated, and he really takes influence from the technical side of it. He plays a lot of progressive death metal, and he likes stuff like Periphery and all these other bands.”

“Long Island Iced Tea will kick you all the way to the moon. Gin and Tonic’s refreshing; that sounds stupid but it’s true. Piña colada is kinda girly but it’s great. The lyrics for Absinthe Phoenix Rising were written about this guy who really gets a kick out of drinking absinthe, but on the other hand, we were sitting drinking absinthe for an entire day [with PAIN in 2008], walked out of a bar and got beaten up, y’know! Maybe it was good to make a point out of it.”

“I send Clemens Wijers [Carach Angren] sketches, basically, and he comes back with a whole fuckin’ symphony. I mixed Carach Angren’s last album, so I was turning up the orchestral parts and was like, ‘Wow, where did you record this? Did you go to Prague?’ And Clemens was just like, ‘Nah, I did it at home, I work with movies and stuff.’ So I asked if he could work with me on Lindemann, if I sent him some files with the cellos and violins and stuff. That also influenced me on the new PAIN album – I knew I could do a lot of dark, deep, heavy fuckin’ orchestra parts. Not like Nightwish, who overdo it for me, but everything has its own place.”

“I’d like to produce the Rolling Stones, but I guess we have to go to the Bahamas to convince Keith. All producers want to try doing something big, but my main thing has been doing small bands and watching them turn into bigger bands. Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Sabaton… it’s great watching them develop and following their careers. They’re like my babies, y’know? I usually don’t get involved so much – my main thing is to bring out the best from the parts the musicians are playing.”

“Production is like a garbage can. You hear so much stuff on radio, TV and the tube or whatever – everything goes into your brain and something comes out, with an imprint from whatever you heard. In the ‘90s it was good because all these great bands were coming through my studio, and it was a great influence for me to keep going and keep creating.”

“Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be here – maybe I was supposed to be up in space. I like to dream away and put the music aside, just so I’m not thinking about music all day long. It’s cool to just go out on the tube or whatever and do some research, seeing what might be and what might not be. We definitely think that things are in a certain way, with what we hear on TV and news and shit, but it’s definitely more than meets the eye.”

Pain’s album Coming Home is out now through Nuclear Blast. They play London Underworld on October 24, Wolverhampton Slade Rooms (25) and Bristol Fleece (26).

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.