Paradise Lost Interview
Paradise Lost hit Manchester at the end of the month (Academy 2 with Tribulation & Lucifer, 30th September) so we sit down with the “Gondoliers of Gloom” to talk about rain and being miserable Northern buggers.
How would you describe new album The Plague Within to anyone unfamiliar with Paradise Lost and the legacy of great albums you've produced over the years?
A grim dawn, pouring rain with the odd clap of thunder followed by silver lined clouds . . . then more rain. Northern style.
The singing on this release sees a return of the gruff death metal vocal style from earlier albums like Gothic and Shades of God. Would you say this is largely because of Nick Holmes recent work with Bloodbath and Gregor Mackintosh's work with Vallenfyre?
I think his singing with Bloodbath warmed him up nicely for it! But I think as you get older you often hark back to what you loved when you were a teenager musically and thankfully it’s helped us write an album we’re all very proud of and love.
27 years and fourteen albums! Congratulations! Is it difficult to maintain the creativity and deliver something that is still essentially PL and yet pushes the style forward?
Thank you very much! We've never been a band to rest on our laurels, we could have thought after 1995’s Draconian Times “That went well, let’s copy it a few times!”, but that, thankfully has never been the ethos of this band, we started a band to make the music we wanted to hear, it’s continually been the way we've approached everything over the years, it’s why we’re still doing it and thankfully, we’re enjoying doing this more as a group than ever! Being honest with your music crosses over to the listener and more importantly, you can truly be proud of what you've done.
To my mind you've been one of the biggest risk takers in metal music. Draconian Times in 1995 seemed to propel you into a new league of popularity, I witnessed a particularly superb performance at Monsters of Rock in 1996, and yet with follow up One Second you seemed to change direction. Was it a fear of becoming mainstream?
I think a little bit maybe subconsciously, but truthfully, we had spent a lot of a 4 years period for Icon then Draconian Times most of it out touring and playing and we had just grown tired of that style and to keep it fresh for ourselves, we evolved and tried to freshen it up by broadening our horizons. If we had stuck to the Drac. Times formula and treat it as a corporate rather than soul following change decision, trying to replicate that record x 4 or something, we would have split up years ago. Music at its core has to be enjoyable and that’s the reason we still do it. The day we don’t, we’ll stop.
Do you ever get sick of being known as 'miserable bastards' or do you accept the label as a consequence of writing music that isn't all 'happy clappy'?
How could we get sick of that tag, we’re Northerners, it’s a badge of honour! Haha .. My favourite ever was by the wonderful, Malcolm Dome who once called us “Gondoliers of Gloom”, brilliant! Who wouldn’t be happy with that!
But seriously, we have the best laugh as a group of friends, but the veil of misery that surrounds the image suits us just fine, Nick has been in the past labelled as the Victor Meldrew of Metal (Which is funny in itself!), but in fact, he’s like having a comedian on tour! Very funny chap.
We're miserable bastards for the most part at Manchester Rocks and, ironically, we're quite content with that...
Never run away from who you are, but have the best fun doing so!
So, you play Manchester at the end of the month, do you have any particular memories when you've played this city in the past?
Manchester has become over the last 15 years or so, one of the best places to play live for us, certainly in the UK, such great energy and passion from the crowd. I love playing concerts, for me, it’s the best thing about what I do, so I go on stage to enjoy myself to the full and Manchester is an audience that love to join you for the ride. Can’t wait to play there again!
If there are any people out there unsure if they want to get down to the show or not, how would you convince them to do so?
Well, our new stuff sounds immense live, come and check it out! We also have 2 great bands supporting, Tribulation (Great) and Lucifer (Also great!!). Please come down and support live music, we’d be happy to see you \m/
Thanks for your time guys, see you soon!
Thanks too .. See you in Manc
Words & Interview: Paul Cooke & Phil Weller