Coming Home is Pain's eight studio album. Photo Contributed
Coming Home is Pain's eight studio album. Photo Contributed Contributed

'It is just a quest for the perfect song I guess'

With the release of the new album 'Coming Home' Peter Tägtgren has pushed his own personal and mental limits to try and find the perfect song.

In many ways he is a musician's musician not because the work is ultra-technical, although his production skills are legendary, but more because he writes music because of an obsessive love and addiction to creating music.

It is his life.

It consumes him twenty four seven and his only escape is working on different projects.

With an intimidating work ethic, and compulsive focus there is not much that distracts him from this goal.

The eighth studio album from PAIN sees Peter deliver a revolutionary mix of styles on this new release - bizarre alternative metal meets electronic melodies - and some spectacular orchestral arrangements.

The tracks on Coming Home don't have any cheesy moments and aren't overloaded. The result is ten highly addictive metal hymns with massive depth and experimentation.

We spoke to Peter Tägtgren about the latest album.

Marc Stapelberg: You have done a few things on the new album including tune 8 strings down a full octave and play in conjunction with six strings, guest vocals with Sabaton, using Clemens "Ardekˮ Wijers for orchestral arrangements, injecting more humour into the songs, focusing on the rhythm and pushing your own singing to be have more clean vocals. Was there anything that was like a Eureka moment where you took a risk and it paid off handsomely?

Peter Tägtgren: (laugh out loud) Pretty much all of the above. For me, I just had to move forward. Mainly change how I write music. That is the most important step I think for me. I don't know how people hear it but the way I created all the songs and how the layers of different things added up on it. You have to start a little bit different when writing for yourself in order to trigger and find new things with guitars, strings and clean vocals and stuff. Every time you do an album a lot of people stay in their comfort zone to get something that they feel works for them. I just want to move forward.

MS: Did you try any new techniques with amps or electronic sounds?

PT: A lot of new keyboard sounds. When you get new sounds that can also influence you a little bit. It depends what kind of sound that triggers you when you sit and go through sounds. Sometimes you hear sound and go 'Wow this cool' and start playing around with it and all of a sudden you have written a part and it just keeps on going like that. It's all about the influences.

MS: Do find the combination in guitar and electronic parts by ear or do use music theory so to speak and look for the key?

PT: I only go by ears and heart. Some people are more trying to calculate things. For me it's got everything to do with how tones are vibrating. That's how you feel it in your heart.

MS: What is the addiction - the process or the final end product?

PT: I think it is trying to prove to myself. Trying to get better production so that I can better songs. And trying to get better sounds in general. It is just a quest for the perfect song I guess that you are never going to find that keeps you going.

MS: I read that you went to an absinthe bar in Leipzig? What is an absinthe bar like?

PT: Well this one was pretty funky. It was a cool place. I don't know why we were going there. I think it was the bass player who said "hey I know this really cool place". He was into gothic stuff. And I guess we were just jamming it out with shots all the time. I don't know - its bar.

MS: Was it the real stuff?

PT: It's the real stuff.

MS: During the making of the album were you inspired by any books, movies or art? Or even just used them to have a break and escape?

PT: I think like with 'A Wannabe' it is simply said what the fuck is going on with the governments in the world. Like tearing up to destroy this earth. Sometimes when you see the kind of decisions they do no matter which country it is. And so I guess news can sometimes trigger you to go 'What the fuck you know'. 'Designed to piss you off' is really about my childhood when I was a real wild child - setting things on fire and crashing windows and shit. My mom and dad couldn't leave me for a second. Things will get destroyed for some reason. But every song has its own story. It doesn't have to be from the news. It can be from all kinds of shit.

MS: You talk about going to bed with the songs in your head. Do you have a way to go and free your mind from it?

PT: Nope. I finished Sabaton in April so I had two months off to disconnect. It's good to find something else to concentrate on or get into and then when you come back to it you instantly hear or feel what is wrong with it. It is good when you have the time from when you start writing music and take off and do something else and come back. It's not often that happens. But I think that in the end really gives you a way of seeing things after a while. Usually you love a song that you do and then after a while you start to think it's getting mediocre the more you work with it. So its good to take a break from it, but most of the time you don't so you just do what you have to do and then you have to release the album and afterwards you might regret stuff. Event though I did this album pretty fast pace in ten months from starting the first riff to the final mix it was still intensive. It was twenty four seven for many months.

MS: After being in the industry for so many years and achieving success in your passion. What have you learnt about life?

PT: I think without music you still learn about life especially when you are forty six years old. I kind of live in my bubble in my little town or village. And really concentrating on my stuff and really don't try to get upset on what going on rest of the world. Music is my life. Really hard to do anything else. And what you learn I don't know. You learn constantly with things.

MS: Being famous can become a trap as people's livelihoods suddenly depend on you. What is interesting about you is you have achieved a lot of that success but you are still writing for yourself. Writing as a personal pursuit as opposed to for everyone else. It sounds like this is a personal journey that you will never let go of. You will just keep on writing whether anyone is listening or not.

PT: I know a lot of bands who as soon as they become successful they start this whole circus with having a lot of people working around you, and you have to feed their mouths, and that means you have to be active as a touring person, or releasing albums and touring and releasing albums and touring. I have my producer job and that really keeps me sane. As soon as I am out on the road and start to get sick of it, it is always time to go into the studio. And either produce a band, and make whatever you are doing. When you get tired of one thing, you can go into the studio and do something else. And when I get a little claustrophobic in the studio I go out on tour again. I don't want to have those responsibilities where you have ten or fifty people that you have to constantly make sure they have food on their tables.

MS: Nuclear Blast describes you as breaking taboos in your music. Do you break taboos in your personal life?

PT: 70 yards from my house is my studio. There is no real free time for me because I think it is kind of boring the nine- five life so for me it is just about anything to do with the music. It is never really boring even though I live in the village where there are twenty people. I constantly stay busy in my head, maybe not my body. My head is constantly busy with things. After you sit in the studio for ten months with an album and all of a sudden you have to go out on tour and then you start jumping on the next project which is the stage show, and also with t-shirt designs, and I try to keep my hand in everything, you know the bookings, because this is a full time job for me. But it gets really stressful that's for sure. It would be good to do the album and wait for someone to pick you up to jump on the tour without having to think about think about it.

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