"HYPOCRISY Is Just a
(This interview is provided by LEGION magazine)
This was not the first time we talked to Peter Tagtgren. Since our last conversation he has managed to become not merely a world-wide respected musician of death-capella HYPOCRISY and a couple of side-projects, but also the most popular European producer of extreme heavy-metal… Frankly speaking, we wanted to boil our conversation down to just his studio activity, and believe us: there’s much to talk about. However, Peter never accepted such a “boiling” as having released the two new albums, he couldn’t but talk about them either.
As far as I know Peter, you have just quitted the studio. Am I right?
Yeah! I just have finished up AMON AMART, MARDUK and right now I am working on PAIN.
One of your projects?
The only project.
Really? What has happened to THE ABYSS?
We don’t think we can top that. So, we don’t even try.
Why did you decide to stop that black metal project? Black metal is not in vogue anymore?
The only thing is that we don’t think we can do a better album than the previous one.
So, no future for you as a black metal musician?
Well, it was fun to do, we were happy with the last album. But…The PAIN album will come out in September on Universal Polygram. This time the album is much more industrial, it’s not the same band anymore. It’s just me, sitting fucking around the studio, you know.
Your latest album was actually titled “Cloned”. Why have you changed it for “Hypocrisy”? It doesn’t sound too “modest”, does it?
Well, we saw that a few bands came up with this name and it was no sense for us to use it.
You say that each album must be better than the previous one for you. What is “better” in your thinking?
Er-r-r…As musicians I think we have grown much better. Also the writing process has also developed, ‘cos we think we write much better songs today than we did before. And we are happier with ourselves, because otherwise we would not do it anymore.
However, some of your fans think that your first albums were much better. What is “better” for you is “worse” for them. Did you ever think about this part of your followers?
I don’t know. Just look at how the albums were doing: the first two albums did nothing! We have to develop, we can’t just sit still. The latest albums are doing very good, and that proves that we are doing right. That proves that we are choosing the right way.
PARADISE LOST, TIAMAT… Are you talking about the commercial direction?
I wonder how you find time for HYPOCRISY, studio, solo projects?
I just go by schedule. I really have to plan my life a year ahead all the time. So nothing can come in-between. ‘Cos I have a family, I have a kid and I want to be sure that I spend time with them too. That’s how I do it.
By the way, how are things going on in your studio these days?
The things are going on pretty well. There are a lot of good bands recording in the studio. It’s super cool, couldn’t have been better!
Isn’t it a surprise for you that Abyss studio has become so popular and so prestigious among metal bands?
Yeah, for sure. I didn’t expect that! It’s a dream come true.
May I assume that the studio is your main occupations nowadays?
Yes. HYPOCRISY is just a hobby! It’s my studio that’s my job, that I care about the most.
Working with different musicians, with different styles means that you do have to know what each particular band wants from you. How does it come that you know what to give to each band?
Well, I don’t really sit home thinking what I should do with next band that comes in! It usually starts with drums and making sound for that. If the band is pleased with that, we try to keep on going with the guitars and so on. Each band has its style, so it helps to create a different sounding for every album.
What bands are the easiest to work with?
IMMORTAL are very easy to work with. They just come in, I come up with my ideas and they are usually totally into them, you know. We work very fine. I mean, it always comes to some differences when it comes to mixing. For example, should the guitar be louder or the drums should be louder. That was the case when we did DIMMU BORGIR album. Well, you have to be very stubborn and really know what you want.
Do you argue a lot with the musicians?
For example, you are sure that the drums should be louder, but the musicians want the guitars to be louder. What compromise do you come to?
Then I will go with the band. I do what they wanna do because it’s their money they pay for the recording. But I will still say “You shouldn’t have done this or that”. And sometimes, when they get CDs, they say “Yeah, may be you were right”.
Some musicians like to enter studio being drunk for some “inspiration”. Sometimes they make parties during the recording sessions. Is it the case with your studio?
No! Some bands have to work eight hours a day to record an album. Some bands have to work even at night. They do not have a lot of time for that.
Is your studio really expensive? I heard it is.
No, no comparing to others. My studio it pretty much acceptable for the most bands. Some studios raise their prices and then lose their customers.
Do you have the same prices for everybody?
Well, I just ask to pay me in advance, and then I knock off some ten percent or twenty percent, whatever. But usually it’s the same price for everybody.
Being an experienced studio engineer, what would you suggest to bands not familiar with studio work?
Bring a CD with you. The CD that you think has a good sound. And then you can switch between your music and the CD. Surely, it’s hard to get the exact sound, but I mean you have an example then.
What is the most common mistake that bands make coming to studio?
Well, some people freak out when they play wrong many times, but then I tell them to make it easy, we’ll get it done.
“The Final Chapter” album was supposed to be the last album for your band. Excuse me for my cynicism, but why didn’t you stop?
It was supposed to be, as I was kinda burnt out, tired of having done everything myself. But it changed for the better now. We took a very long vacation, everybody was sitting home and writing new songs.
So, are you going to continue HYPOCRISY for at least a few years more?