PARADISE LOST have just issued their brand new effort obsidian and I have to admit that somehow the band has become more popular during last few years. it seems that nobody has a clue how did it happened but Paradise Lost is quite popular know perhaps like never before. Obsidian is definitely more coherent record and maybe the best one that PL have made during past several years. Agree or not, we have done one nice chat with good old Nick…
I have to say that I really like the new record. It feels really fresh compared to the last two albums. Definitely there is atmosphere and different musical approach when it comes to Obsidian so please tell me, from the musical point of view, how did you come up with this record and do you agree with my statement that it’s a little different from the previous records?
Every time we finish an album we have a touring cycle which could be two to three years, especially if we would spend time in America, then it could be even four. So we usually use the last album as a benchmark for where we want to go from there. We don’t usually go through our discography to see where was the high point, where was the low point. We always look forward as a band. We don’t look much to the past. It’s good to use the past as a reference occassionaly but, generally speaking we always try to look forward. Ultimately, you have to follow your heart. The first song that we wrote for this album was Fall from Grace which is very similar to something that would come from the last album. But after two or three songs we start to experiment a little bit more with everything that we can do under the umberella that is Paradise Lost world.
I really like the track Ghosts for example, the sound and the atmpshphere. Also there are a lot of keyboards and orchestrations on this record. Do you have any particular song when it comes to the new record that you could say it’s your favorite or that would represent you or your feelings during the recording sessions?
I usually like songs for the different reasons that other people would. The ease and the difficulty of writing for example. When we are writing songs, sometimes it takes a while until we write them. I think the song that was the most spontaneous was Darker Thoughts, because that was originally supposed to be an intro for the album. So when it comes to writing the song, it just came out so spontaneous and that doesn’t happen that often. So for my own personal reasons, that’s why I love it. It’s an old cliché that you can’t really choose between your children who is your favorite one. Especially when you spend so much time finishing the songs, so at the end they all feel like a one big song.
I already mentioned the keyboards and the atmospheric sound on the new record. Did it also come spontaneously or did you wanted it to be that way?
A lot of that is just a decoration. It’s easy to go over the top with the orchestration. I’m sure that there is an example of where we did that as well, as many bands do. Especially when you have such a great orchestral sample library, it’s easy to go over the top. I think the only song where we did use the real strings was on the beginning of Darker Thoughts. We had a violinist to do that section. And she played exactly what she felt. We didn’t write the part before the recording. And samples are really cheap today, so you can really get carried away easily. You can get completely lost in it.
And when it comes to lyrics and the titles, people already recognize you as a really dark band, especially when it comes to name Paradise Lost. And when they would listen to the music, they would even have some depressive moments as well, but they really get hope from your music. How do you feel about that?
Well, for me, music and lyrics is like watching a movie. I do like depressive and sad movies. Like the movie The Road for example, it’s very depressive, but also a fantastic film. It’s not really about the theme really. I find a lot of happy movies and happy music depressing. As far as the lyrics go, I write the lyrics to fit the music, so they fill each other. I like dark music and horror films since I was a kid. I always liked the more darker stuff, but I’m not a depressive person, far from it actually. I guess it’s all just about escapism.
If you could choose a movie to use the new record as a soundtrack, which movie would you choose?
That’s a great question. If they would do the remake of shining, that would be a great one. It’s a great film, and the soundtrack is also wonderful. But it they decided to remake it, we would totally go for it.
And also about the lyrics, what actually inspired you to write them? Was it a specific personal situation or something like that?
I’ve been writing lyrics on these same subjects since I was a teenager. I’ve been writing them in increments every three or four years. Although I’m getting older, my beliefs haven’t really change, but people and environment around me change, so it probably has a subconscious effect on me. There are always things in life happening, but I always try to make them metaphorical, since I think it’s more interesting that way. I love ambiguous lyrics that confuse me and make me want to scratch the surface.
When it comes to the new record, there is nine songs on the regular edition, unlike the previous albums that sometimes had even more, which is fine because sometimes you get more with less. What are your opinions on that?
Well, the songs are longer anyway. In my opinion the albums should be around 40-45 minutes. For me that’s perfect lenght. It’s also about what works as A side and B side when it comes to vinyl and the track listing, whic song would be good to begin A side, B side etc. I go a step further and think about the cassette edition also. So, anything around that is just fine. I think an hour is just too long for an album.
Yes, I noticed that vinyls and tapes have both made a return.
Yeah. Also the artwork. It’s really important for me. You know, back in the days, it was all about the vinyls and the artworks. There are a lot of people of my age that really get nostalgic about it. Vinyl was a great thing. I think there is a lot of guys in their forties that miss the feeling of going to the record store and buying them, reading the lyrics, looking at the images etc. We as individuals who come from that generation especially. But I’m sure that there is a lot of younger generations getting into it as well.
And when it comes to the visual side on the new record, you also did some new images. To be honest, you have impressed me with looking like the priest. What did you try to express this time with the band photos?
As I mentioned earlier, the artwork is really important to us. The artwork is kind of your badge for the next three years. It’s going to be something that people remember. We always try to add something that we like and something that is memorable. Although, artwork doesn’t mean anything to some people. As far as the photos, we don’t give them a massive amount of thought. We are definitely not going to be on the beach playing with the ball. We’re a different king of a band.
But I remember you on motorcycles.
Oh yeah, really? That’s great. I don’t have one anymore, but if I did, I would love to get some photos on it.
This was in Australia if I’m correct?
-Yeah. I think it was 1995. I was driving from Alice Springs to Darwin. A 3 day ride. It was a charity event for children with leukemia. It was brilliant. I would love to do that again. I wanted to do that in the whole world, but it was expensive to do that with a motorcycle.
Are you preparing for the tour, having the current situation in mind. Do you have any plans to tour Europe in autumn or winter?
Well, things change every day. It’s gonna take a long time before the airport industry gets back on its feet. The music industry is paused, the venues are closed and he longer it takes the worse is going to be for everyone. It’s really difficult to plan anything more than a week ahead.
Do you enjoy the role where you are behaving as an evil priest in Bloodbath?
I’m not a priest now, I’m a zombie businessman. The priest is gone for now so, I prefer the zombie businessman, it’s a bit more slick.
How do you like the work with the Bloodbath so far?
-It’s absolutely great. I love it. It’s a lot of fun. We generally do the bigger festivals. I’ve been doing it around 5 years already. Really good time.
- Answers by Nick Holmes
- Interview by Marko Miranovic
- Type and transcribed by Darko Panic