PARADISE LOST are playing their last show before the release of their new album 'Host'. We're on the 24th of May 1999, in Strasbourg, at the Artefact Festival, and while MANOWAR are hitting the stage, I've got the chance to meet Gregor and Nick. Gregor is quite cool and relaxed, Nick is very nice, but seems a little bit more stressed, and less talkative than Gregor...
You moved from Music For Nations to EMI, why?
Gregor: (Very very slowly) Be...cau...se....our....(laughs)
No, seriously, please!!
Gregor: Because the deal ran out, it's as simple as that! The deal ran out, so we decided to move on, sign with someone else, and EMI is as good as anybody else. It's more about having control on what we do than big advances, because you have to pay those back anyway, so...Just time to move on.
What are the singles gonna be?
Gregor: The singles? The first one is 'So much is lost', which is already out. What will we do after? We don't choose singles, because we're an album-band, and not a single-band. We like to write good albums, and then, record companies choose singles, and we have to approve it.
You moved from a Metal band to a more Pop oriented band. Why?
Nick: Because we have a massive amount of music, we use every type of influence in our music, in our albums. We like everything, and we don't have labels. If you like it, you like it, if you don't, you don't. It's not a matter of it's Metal, Pop, Rock...anything, whatever.
You use more and more samples and electronics. Is that essential to you?
Gregor: It's kind of became part of our sound, but it's not gonna replace anything, because I think, realistically, we are still a five-piece Rock band. All these things, that atmosphere...We just wanna create music that's very moody, very melancholic, and these things help us to do that. We don't try to become anything or reach an audience.
You marked the history of Gothic Metal and Dark Rock...What are your ambitions now?
Nick: Our ambition is...I don't know. We started the band to play music and we still do that. We have no other ambition, we don't have any high expectations. We just do what we do, and we're still here doing shit. So many bands of friends have fallen and are finished...Ambitions, I don't think about it. We have done a lot of good things, like Donington and all these big Rock shows, but we don't think like that, we're thinking day by day.
What do you think of the new generation of Rock?
Nick: I don't know, really. I don't know, we do what we do, and we don't care about anybody else. What anyone else is doing is not really important. We just do our thing.
What's your first impression of today's show?
Nick: That was alright, but the sun was shining when we played...It was OK, but there wasn't the atmosphere.
Gregor: I prefer to play more varied festivals, where there's different types of music going on. If it's the same, the same type of bands all the day, then it's boring. So, I prefer this kind of variation in the music, that was OK.
You recorded some tracks with a whole orchestra. How did you feel about it?
Gregor: That was great, that was the first time we've eventually done that, because we've done a few strings parts before on keyboards or with one violin. That was great to record with a full orchestra, and being in the studio with them. That sounds great, it sounds much better than keyboards. It's the first time we can afford it, so...
Do you plan to make some shows with them?
Gregor: Depends how well the album does! (laughs) If it does really well, then we can afford to take'em with us! We'll see!
Did EMI impose you new directions?
So, you're still free?
Do you plan to tour soon, and make about 5-10 dates in France?
Gregor: Yes, we should begin a European tour at the end of August or early September. So, I presume that at some time during this period, we'll come to France.
After 'Draconian times', what were the reactions of your public?
Gregor: For 'One second', it was really good! It did very well! We were risking a lot, but...For 'Draconian times', we couldn't have done it again, the same kind of things as 'Icon'. We would have been repeating ourselves, we wanted to do something a bit different. It was received very well, though it was a source of controversy. A lot of people hated it, but a lot loved it! It's pretty much a simple thing to carry on after 'One second'.
What' your favourite band on this festival?
Nick: It's not my thing...(after a lot of hesitations)...PROJECT PITCHFORK!
Gregor: THE CREATURES have a couple good songs, but...
You shared the same producer, Steve Lyon! Did you choose him because of that?
Gregor: No, it has more to do with his job with THE CURE. We knew what we wanted to do on the album, so we needed only an engineer.
Your album will be released tomorrow. How do you feel?
Nick: Fine! How are you? (laughs)
Fine too, thanks! No pressure?
Nick: Not really! What will happen will happen.
Last year, a tribute to PARADISE LOST has been released. What did you think of it? What do you think about the fact you're being tributed?
Gregor: I reviewed it for a French mag. Half of the songs are worthwhile, because they changed them to their own style, and half of the songs are just a little bit boring, because they've done exactly the same as the original. So, half and half! The best song is the cover of 'Mercy', I think. It's flattering that people make a tribute of your music, but ultimately, it doesn't make much an impression on me.
Your video clip for 'One second' is a live one. Do you plan to release a live video?
Gregor: We did it on the last show of the 'One second' tour. We played Shepperd Empire in London, that was planned to be a video, but we never released it, because we left Music For Nations. They won't make any money!
And what about that best-of, 'Reflections'?
Gregor: That was a cash-thing by the old record label. We chose the artwork and we chose the songs to go on, but we didn't want to put it out. It was something that Music For Nations planned to do, they were "we do it, if you like it or not". But we didn't want to do it!
Maybe you should have released a live album instead?
Gregor: I don't really want to release a live album. It's OK, but we've got too much in us to write. I don't see the point in a live album yet. Maybe eventually!
OK, thanks a lot! Do you have one last word?
Gregor: It would have to be "Keep an open mind", that's all I can say!
Check 'Host' out and see!
Nick: Don't be a sheep! Don't follow the masses, like what you like! Don't listen to anyone else!
And that's it! I had tons of other questions to ask, but the Painless had to leave, and with MANOWAR playing only a few meters away from us, this interview wasn't that easy to make!