Hypocrisy frontman Peter Tägtgren should be a familiar name to many a metal household. From fronting Hypocrisy to producing many great metal albums via his own Abyss Studios, there's no doubt that his metal achievements are at levels that most of us can only dream of. Instead of dissecting the music itself, Metal Update had an in depth discussion about the mindset behind the lyrics, the controversial CD burning epidemic and the love of good ol' country music.
Interview with Peter Tägtgren from Hypocrisy at Wacken Open Air on August 7th, 2004.
METAL UPDATE: So Peter, you have been going for a long time. I mean, I remember listening to Abducted when it first came out when I was a college radio DJ, and I was just blown away. A fantastic album.
PETER TÄGTGREN: Thanks, man.
MU: I remember calling up the representative at Nuclear Blast because there were no lyrics printed in there. They said you felt uncomfortable putting out the lyrics.
PT: Yes, it was just not good enough for me, you know? A lot of songs were good enough, but there were a few things here and there that made me not want to put it out. It was not 100% because if I want to do something great, I want to be proud all the way from beginning to end. There were certain parts where it wasn't 100%.
MU: On any of the albums, have lyrics been printed?
MU: I didn't think so. Still not comfortable with it?
PT: Yeah, I guess it just occurs in my brain, still.
MU: I listen to the lyrics and try to figure them out. The theme seems to be, on a lot of the albums, about dying and what is beyond death.
MU: What kind of state of mind do you get into when you think about those things?
PT: I don't know. I just really start thinking deep in my head and just go from there. Wherever my brain is telling me to go. And I make my own vision or my own movies of where shit is going to go.
MU: In your mind?
PT: Yeah, and just go nuts with it. No boundaries.
MU: Right, of course. I have listened to a lot of your music tripping on acid, high doses, and I have seen many things coming from the music.
PT: Yeah, mushrooms and stuff are always nice, as long as you get back. It definitely brightens your ideas.
MU: It makes them very clear and finds new places that takes you to the edge and lets you come back, if you are strong enough.
PT: Exactly, you just have to know what you are doing. That is the most important thing, you know?
MU: Right, right. So, the alien theme that is prevalent in a lot of the albums is also something to do with the altered state of mind?
PT: Yeah, exactly. It comes also with the territory. You don't know anything about it. It's definitely taking a trip, and trying to bring some stuff around about it, a "what if" kind of thing. What if this or that? It's just cool to write about it because it just kind of goes forever.
MU: Yeah, exactly. I mean, this is just one dimension for us.
PT: Yeah, exactly.
MU: Who knows how many dimensions are layered on top of us or beyond the edge of our universe, and how those things could be affecting us.
PT: Yeah, exactly.
MU: Which I think, maybe Jon from Dissection has gone to also. He kind of looks at that kind of stuff, if you have listened to his lyrics and read his interviews, and looking at the dark archetypes.
PT: Yeah, exactly. And it's just like I said. It's just something you do not know anything about, and it is just interesting to write about, you know? It just makes you hungrier for new things.
MU: Yeah, I think it is a very important perspective to have.
PT: Yeah, right.
MU: You can not say for certain that we know what happens when we die, because you will only know when you die. Or you will not know because there is nothing.
PT: Turns black, you know, or you don't know!
MU: You have been working very hard the last couple years. I know you wanted to get back out there and tour and tour. How has that been for you?
PT: It's been great. I have not done too many recordings for two years. Done a lot of tours and stuff like that, and now I am getting hungry to go back and start recording again. I guess you need one thing to make the other thing work. It makes me hungrier.
MU: That's good.
PT: I think the next album . . . I think it is going to come out in May or something like that. We think so, that's plan right now. We wrote some songs and stuff like that. We just gotta sit down together and decide which ones to keep on working on.
MU: Same theme continues to run or different direction?
PT: It is going to be a little different. I think it is going to be a little more brutal this time around.
MU: Fantastic, good shit!
PT: At least the songs that I wrote right now are really brutal. We are going to see what happens, what's going to end up on the album.
MU: I will be hungry to get the new album. I have all of them whether I got them as a DJ, or now, as I work and I pay for them. I don't like people who are burning CDs and then never buying a copy of it.
PT: It is like a spreading disease, you know? It is cool to burn CDs for some things, to give to people to discover different bands that they normally would not go and buy their CD. On the other hand, yeah, you have the record company who needs the money back because they put a lot of money into it and shit like that. So it has its good sides and dark sides.
MU: I think it is okay if someone burns a CD, like in America it is very different. You can't go to a store, pick up the CD, go to the listening booth and listen to it. So every album you buy, you are taking a chance.
PT: You've got to make sure. Yeah.
MU: Over here (Germany) you can do that. So if a person burns a CD of yours and then likes the album, but just keeps the burned CD, I think that is very wrong. It is not supporting the artist.
PT: It is just really hard to control. It is technology. You have got to live with it. You can't fight it. Just make it better, you know? There is nothing you can do.
MU: I understand the new Bloodbath is already out. Is that correct?
PT: No, it comes out in September I think.
MU: Okay, a friend of mine who worked with the record company has a copy of it already. I have not heard it, but the last one, Resurrection Through Carnage was totally brutal. Fantastic. It was incredible.
PT: The new one, I think, is really brutal too.
MU: I think your vocals will go very well with it.
PT: Yeah, I got a lot of pats on my back for my work on the vocals on this album. I feel really happy about it.
MU: I can't wait for that one, definitely.
PT: I mean, I am just a member in the band. I did not write anything. We just went in and recorded it and did it. I am not responsible for it, but I really liked the stuff they sent me and then I started working on it. And I was really proud to do it.
MU: Dan Swäno is really the leader of it?
PT: He is really good guy.
MU: I like old Edge of Sanity. It's fantastic. Crisma, charisma . . .
PT: Yeah, it's great. Crimson.
MU: Crimson, thank you. It's a great album, also.
MU: So, what influences today are, besides your own internal thinking, influencing you?
PT: Just life and lot of the old stuff, '60s/'70s biker music. I am back in there again. It comes in waves, what you listen to. I grew up on that shit and now I am back on it again to develop in here (points to his head), and plus it is good music.
MU: The progressive style, the prog style, where did you get that?
PT: It's just from growing up. Around my Mom and Dad, and around people like CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival), and Zeppelin. For me it is just natural, and it is one of the grounds of why music is today. Also, with the Beatles, was one thing that changed the world. Also, like old rock and roll, like the '50s and stuff. Like that also, blue grass and stuff like that. Hillbilly shit, I really love it.
MU: That's like stuff my father grew up on.
PT: I like country music, for me it gets you in the mood. The same way as death metal and metal. It gets you in different moods. It's killer with music, how you can listen to a certain type of music style and get you this mood, and put on another album and get you in that mood. It is very good.
MU: Music can change your life.
PT: Yeah, for sure. I mean, death metal is only a small part of what music is in general. It is really great.
MU: Somebody was saying today, I think Death Angel, that heavy metal has so many different genres, yet we are still a community as a whole, except for power metal.
PT: You might like death, thrash, or speed. In the long run it is just music with different attitudes, that's why you gotta put a label on it. Different kind of label, kind of attitude, kind of stuff.
MU: Do you think that music is more than just something to enjoy?
PT: Escape from reality.
MU: Maybe, escape from reality, so as a group maybe we can move forward and create a better reality.
PT: You can never say.
MU: Because things right now in the world are very bad.
PT: Yeah, it's definitely real bad. You need something to kick your ass, you know, and smile a little bit, and put on some good music. Either it is death, black, or country music or rock and roll, disco, whatever. Anything that escapes you away from reality for awhile. You can't be fucking pissed off all of your life because life is bad.
MU: You are putting yourself in a cage.
PT: You just go with the flow and get in the mood by listening to different music.
MU: Right, so music can create freedom in people's minds.
PT: It is like a drug. Taking acid, whatever. Just go, okay, just block everything out.
MU: I appreciate your time. It was very interesting and very nice to meet you. I have been a big fan for a very long time.
PT: And you, too. Thanks, I appreciate it.
Hypocrisy Interview - March 13, 1999
review of Hypocrisy The Arrival
review of Hypocrisy Catch 22
review of Hypocrisy Into the Abyss
review of Hypocrisy Abducted
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