As a matter of fact you have a new record Hell Beyond Hell so tell us something about a newer record? Could you present it from your point of view?
Writing „Hell Beyond Hell“ was a long ride because we had some arguments how to go on with the songwriting. In the end we took all demos we already recorded with my little home studio, went into the rehearsal room and while drinking beer and having fun rebuilt all the songs. Riffs were put in and out, tempi were changed, whole parts were dropped etc. until we all were satisfied with the songs. Looking back now all the blood, sweat and tears were worth the wait as I think in some way we „reinvented“ Paragon and when we rehearse or play live we have much more fun than the years before and we are really looking forward to write our next album and play as much shows as possible.
Please, also could you present Paragon as the band to our readers since this is the very first time that we have a chance to have an interview with you.
Paragon was already formed in 1990 by Martin Christian (Guitars) and over the years had several lineup changes. The last few years the main core of the band is Andreas Babuschkin (Vocals), Jan Bertram (Guitars), Jan Bünning (Bass), Sören Teckenburg (Drums). Martin Christian “left Paragon 2010 but keeps on writing songs for the band and also joined them for the recordings of „Hell Beyond Hell“. For several reasons he will not be able to perform live with Paragon and so Günny Kruse is our live guitar player fro now.
We played a lot of important festivals like Wacken, Summer Breeze, Bang Your Head, Sweden Rock, HammerFest, toured with Grave Digger, Gamma Ray and Iron Savior and also played with bands like Saxon, Virgin Steele etc.
How would you like to describe your style of playing? Tell us something about your influences as well. It is more than obvious that you have traditional heavy metal elements in your style.
Our roots are bands like Judas Priest, Accept, Metal Church, Overkill, Mercyful Fate, Candlemass, (old) Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P. and also stuff like Exodus and Slayer. Over the years we found our own style and I would describe us as Speed and Thrash influenced Heavy Metal with the Thrash Edge taking over a little bit in the last years.
In fact this is your 11th record full-length so tell us something more about your previous albums? Which were the most important releases when it comes to Paragon?
One of most important was for sure our fourth CD „Steelbound“ as it was the first time we worked with our long time producer Piet Sielck, but the first milestone was „Law Of The Blade“ as it is the like a blue print for our style and for many fans it´s still their favorite. I guess second important would be „Revenge“ – it´s still our best selling album and another very important one is „Force Of Destruction“. It was the first one without Martin Christina in the band officially and nobody expected such a strong comeback after „Screenslaves“ and without Martin. It got the best critic reviews from all of our albums.
Could you compare your new record with your previous releases? Could we say that hell Beyond Hell has brought some new elements in your style and music?
Yes for sure. It was the first album Jan Bertram and Sören Teckenburg really worked on and our aim was to make and album without any compromises to anyone. The only aim was to make an album which we would like 100% and not to satisfy any critics expectations. It´s still a 100% Paragon album but there are a few experiments in every song and especially songs like „Heart Of The Black“ and „Devil´s Waitingroom“ are songs we would have never done before.
We take advantage of modern production technologies and are open to some different influences without loosing our „old school“ integrity. That´s why we still sound fresh.
When it comes to Paragon do you have any live shows in mind soon? Are you active actually when it comes to live performances?
The last weeks we have played several headliner and festival shows for the release of „Hell Beyond Hell“ and in three weeks we will co-headline the „Metal Bash“ near Hamburg together with Venom Inc. We also will play our anniversary show in December on a ship in Hamburg with a special set list and guests. We will play „Law Of The Blade“ from front to back and also songs we have not played ever or for a long time. Furthermore there are plans to play Italy, Spain and Portugal in the near future.
Paragon was on Napalm and Massacre Records, two quite big names and labels so tell us something about the working with them. Now, you are on Remedy Records.
Massacre was ok as a label but we couldn´t agree on a advance payment for „Force Of Destrcution“, so after some time we signed to Napalm. To be honest we are glad that we are not on Napalm anymore. Of course they are a big label with a mighty distribution and good promo, but they only know how to promote „commercial“ bands and have no clue to handle real Metal bands like us. Sales figures were ok for us but could have been a lot better if they would have done everything they promised they would do for us.
When looking for a new label after Napalm and us agreed on not doing another album for them anymore we had some offers. To be honest no label gave us the feeling they are really interested in our music, but they only thought about how much money they could make with us and some even treated us as if we are stupid newcomers. Some offers were really ridiculous! Remedy is a small label but we are the biggest band on the label, with Soulfood they have a very good distribution and they also have very good promotion. The best point is – they really believe in us and put as much blood, sweat and tears in us as we do.
I would like to thank you for the interview. Do you have any message for Paragon’s fans worldwide?
And Metal is the Law – always!
- Interview by Marko Miranovic