Peter Tägtgren interview

Originally published in ‘zine issue #25, 2001

Just look at what he’s involved with: He has his bands Pain (the second album of which is out now in the States) and Hypocrisy, he did vocals on and mixed the first Lock Up record, and he has his Abyss studio, where he records bands, located in his home country of Sweden. Here we talk about all these subjects and more.


D.U.: To be honest I haven’t heard Pain yet.

Peter: Oh, you haven’t? That’s a bummer. It’s really hard to describe it then, you know?

Can you try?

Oh, fuck. Uh [pause] I dunno, I mean, it’s nothing unique or anything like that, but since you haven’t heard it, it’s really hard to—

When you say it isn’t unique, you mean you’re just doing it for fun?

No, no, but it’s not so unique so I cannot explain what it is. That’s what I mean, you know? So I mean, it’s [pause] I dunno, in general, it’s metal, in the bottom, and then with some techno influence or industrial influence in it, a little bit like Rammstein or Rob Zombie kinda vibe into it, but not so much industrial, though.

It’s more metal than industrial.

Yeah, I think so. I mean, you have tuned down, heavy guitars and it’s kinda clean vocals, but in a heavy way, you know.

So is it just you in the band?

Yeah, but not live, though.                 


What’s going on with Hypocrisy right now?

Actually working the new album. We just released 10-year anniversary box.

Was the last studio record that came out The Final Chapter?

No, no, there’s been two after that and plus the live album.

Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken. This is where you get a second guitar player when you play shows.

Yeah, we always have a second one when we play live. I think it was like in ’93 or ’94 we did tours in Europe with only one guitarist, and then it worked fine until we started doing a lot of harmonies and stuff like that off the album, and you could just tell right away we need a second guitarist to make it as fat as possible live.

Is it safe to say you’re going in the same direction as the last few records with Hypocrisy, with the melodies and so on?

Yeah, but actually the last album was one of the most brutal album we’ve done for the last six, seven years.

This is back to the older sound with your first few records?

Yeah, we went, like, backwards on the last one. So it’s a lot of blast beats and fast and growling and shit. Yeah, it felt like was time to go back a little bit. It’s always like that, you know? One day you feel like this, another day you feel like that.

I guess that’s part of the reason you have more than one band, too.

Yeah, exactly.


I’m sure the studio takes up a huge amount of your time.

Yeah, it does. You know, it’s a fortune to have a job that I really love.

Is there an Abyss sound in the same way there’s a Sunlight sound and that kind of thing?

I dunno. Now I just bought ProTools and stuff like that. The Abyss sound is definitely changing. The shit I been doing [since] is definitely standing out much more in sound and quality and productions than I ever done before. It’s a step forward. I need to renew myself and Abyss sound. It’s very important to renew yourself, otherwise you get in the same shit as Morrisound and Sunlight and stuff like that, and I don’t really wanna get in that situation. That’s why I invest a shitload of money in equipment to just renew myself all the time. I just wanna become better and better and not to have a stamp that you can hear, “Oh, the guitar sound is the typical Abyss sound,” or drum sound or whatever. The quality should be like, “Ooh, the quality is very good. It’s gotta be this,” you know? That’s what I’m aiming for, to get like totally 99 percent killer productions, no matter what kind of guitar sound it is, if it’s clean guitar or whatever. The same with drums and bass and everything.


Do you mind talking about how you’re not involved with the band anymore?

Okay, yeah, it’s very simple. We did it as a cool one-time thing, and I guess we got a lot of offers to do festival gigs and stuff like that, and I was up to my neck with work and I turned down one festival after another one, and the other guys were still wanted to go. So I guess they asked Tomas At the Gates if he could do some festival gigs and stuff and they felt that they had more time than I did, and I didn’t have a problem with that. So it’s very simple, it’s no big deal, we’re not enemies or anything like that. It’s like they wanted to take it further than just a side project, you know, and I didn’t have the time.


Is it still that situation in the death metal scene there where most of the audience is either doing a band or they have a label or a ‘zine?

Yeah, I dunno, it’s getting a little better, actually, I think. Metal is getting more attention again, the same as the States. It start to coming back, slowly but safe, you know? It’s getting the attention in the daily news and stuff like that again, like it did in the beginning of nineties and something, so it feels like people are getting thirsty for some more brutal music again.

Is the government subsidizing bands still?

Yeah, you know, some bands can get help to get, like, a practicing place and stuff like that sometimes from the government. At the end of the month you can get some kind of social service money, not too much, but enough if you practice for a half a year you can go and do a proper demo in a cool studio.

Why do you think that’s such a priority there?

The whole Swedish music scene has really grown a lot internationally. There’s bands selling millions and shit both in America and the whole world. And plus all these producers like Max Martin and people like that. So yeah, they really try to put their effort to get young people to play music, ‘cause I guess there’s some quality stuff that came out here, you know? So it’s really cool that they’re trying to do something for the youth.

Does that mean there’s high taxes in Sweden too?

Yeah, for sure. I mean, on gas there’s like 80 percent tax, so what you pay for one gallon, we pay for one liter. But on the other hand, we don’t have to pay to go to the dentist or if we need an operation or whatever. There’s good things with it and there’s bad things, you know?

How do you feel with all the changes that are happening with the E.U.? Like, you’ve got the Euro coming out and all the countries are trying to become uniform. Do you support that sort of thing?

Not really. I like to see my kind of money from my country, for example. I like to see our king on the crown, you know, the same as a quarter in your country. Also the same thing where you have your presidents on the dollar and stuff like that. I still would like to see that with our king and stuff, and not do some stupid logo that represent the whole Europe on the money, you know? I’m not into that.

It doesn’t seem like it has too much culture with it.

No, exactly, you know? I mean, no matter where you come from, be proud. Why be like everybody else? They try to be one unit, for me that’s [pause] I mean, first of all, I’m not really into politics and shit like that. I do my own race, but these kind of culture things, they’re unique for every country, and why change that so it’s like you lose all that and put it into one country for everything?

When I ask different musicians from Europe this question, a lot of times they say the same thing: they’re against the trend of the E.U. because it benefits the rich and not the middle class and the poor. Without staying too political, do you feel that way too?

I mean, it could be good be good but it also could be bad, you know? It’s pretty cool situation for me. Like, if I would import a new mixing board from Germany because it’s cheaper in Europe because they have more people and more businesses there, so they have to lower their prices and stuff, than in Sweden. I mean, there’s 65 million people living in Germany and it’s only 9 million in Sweden, which means that they can raise the price on the shit here in Sweden ‘cause they don’t have all these stores or whoever imports it from the manufacturers and stuff, you know. I can order it from Germany; I don’t have to pay taxes through the border and shit like I used to, which is good. But it comes a lot of shit with that also, like terrorists that they don’t have to show passports and shit like that in every country so you have no clue who’s coming in, who’s coming on. Same thing with trucks and the gangster kind of mobster shit, so there’s positives and negatives. ■

Photos: Lock Up (top) and Peter Tägtgren (courtesy Nuclear Blast)


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