– Hello, thanks for taking your time. You are currently on tour with SYMPHONY X; how’s going so far?
Hello there! We came back from the tour a couple of weeks and are yet again enjoying everyday luxury again hehe, the tour went pretty well although we had pictured that Symphony X drew bigger crowds. It was contrasts regarding the venues, some were shitty but some was very nice.
– First off, would you mind making some history of the band?
Formed in 2000, and the same lineup today as then apart from that we lost our friend and 2nd guitarist to cancer in 2007. the story is too long to tell here. It´s been a great journey and something that has coloured my life in so many ways. Would be better for anyone to read our biography on www.pagansmind.com
– Why did you pick «Pagan’s Mind» for the band’s name? Does it reflect in any your you thoughts and lyrics?
The dream of creating a kind of sophisticated frame around a band, it being concept, music and lyrics had to have a name that suited it all. Pagan’s Mind is an actually an ancient egyptian way of philosophy, (many books have been written about the topic) and this name suited the new concept in all ways we thought. So it was in no way coincidential. Pagan’s Mind is a suitable name for a thinking man’s metal band! 🙂 It creates the right framework for all that Pagan’s Mind stand for, and for my lyrics. It’s in general mystically orientated all in all the concept around this band, and is a personal driving force for me when creating music.
– Some months ago you released your latest effort, «Heavenly Ecstasy»; how was its feedback? And are you guys satisfied with the final output?
The reactions has been tremendous so far. The album has been “album of the month” in several important magazines, we have entered the charts at good positions in several countries, and the reviews all over is very, very good. We are so very much satisfied so far! Definitely a big step up ahead for the band, and finally with a serious record label to support us, the future looks brighter than ever before.
– In fact have been 4 years since your previous «God’s Equation»; what have you been up to during this time?
Yes it took a long time, I guess we were a little “dried out” on the creative side after “God´s Equation”. In addition we did a lot of touring after that album, and that takes up a lot of time and energy. I guess three year is what we needed this time around to put out a good album – we always think quality over quantity, that pays off in the long run. I guess about two years after “God´s Equation” we started to write again. Then the recording process took half a year, and we changed record company after that, so everything stretched out. But we are back with a bang!:-)
– This new album shows a clear evolution which can be also noticed in the artwork, quite different to some of your previous works. What could you comment on it?
I guess we really just wanted to try out something different. I myself have made the covers in the past – for all the records, but we wanted to do a twist this time and try out something else. So we were approached by Mr. Felipe Machado who did a lot of cool covers for band like Blind Guardian etc – and we are really happy with the result. I think it´s important for a band to try out different stuff and not get stuck too much with the „old recipe“, even if it worked in the past. Yes, it still speaks about Space and Sci-Fi, but also with erotic undertones.
– Sound-wise, how could you describe the new PAGAN’s MIND?
I would say it is a little bit more straightforward than the other albums. That fact really didnt come up because we decided „hey, let´s be less progressive“ – it was just a natural thing for us. And personally I like melody and strong songs over all so I think this is a good thing for us. We can already notice that this album is very successful, so as I was saying, happy days for us!
– Though this grab of time between each album can be risky (as some people could «forget» about you), it’s obvious during these years the band has been through a evolution that has made you more mature musically. Proof of this I think you guys have released your most mature and complete album so far. What are your thoughts on this?
There are a lot of bands popping up everywhere and a lot of them does not have “a sound of their own” unfornately. Of course I support every kid that tries to do it with music, but the creative level has seemed to drop the latest years. Power metal as a genre had it´s peak in the late 90´s, with a lot of very very good bands and releases, but the formula of the genre has seemed to bitten itself in the tail, repeating itself too much. It´s like “stop while the game is good”. Anyway I believe Pagans Mind has such a distinct sound that we would be remembered for it anyhow, our fans are very true…
– «Heavenly Ecstasy» is also quite varied, with heavy songs, some more progressive tunes, other tracks that sound more «commercial» but without loosing your usual trademarks. Was this dynanism something you aimed for?
The songs on “heavenly ecstasy” really didnt come up because we decided „hey, let´s be less progressive“ – it was just a natural thing for us. And personally I like melody and strong songs over all so I think this is a good thing for us. So no, no planning ahead, just a natural writing process.
– We could say this album has a really DYI attitude to it, as you guys made everything by yourselves. Are you more satisfied with the result this time? I mean, has work more as a benefit for you or the opposite? I mean financially, in terms of work for you guys, etc.
More work on an album always gives better quality, there´s no other way around it, and I think really this time all that hard work paid off. We are really proud of how it turned out, and of course big kudos to Jorn Viggo who really cares for every little detail around it, it wouldn’t be the same without. More work means better quality, as in everything here in life, music is no exception!
– Anyway, the album was (once more) mixed by well-known Stefan Glaumman; are you pleased with his work?
Working with Stefan is very interesting. He is an artist when it comes to sound, and instead of putting on “classic presets” onto everything, he mouldes the product in his secret little gauldron of a head, so that each band he produces comes out unique. He is very concentrated, intense and focused when he works. Without doubt one of the best music producers out there today.
– Own Jorn Viggo took production duties; how positive has been this for the own band? As I guess no one like you knows what sound you want to get, but maybe it also means more work for you? Anyway, production this time around sounds just perfect.
We all wrote the songs together, but Jorn Viggo has (as always) been “the conductor” securing the quality to the last chain of the production. He is the one in the band that puts the most blood, sweat and tears into this. We all contribute in our way and by our respective instruments to create an album.
– There are different formats of the album. For those interested, would you mind elaborating a bit?
The record company usually want to put out different formats so that fans can have something to choose from, which is a good thing. We are for instance very glad that we were able to put out our first LP, I can´t help it, I love that format. It´s got more spunk to it. Also the buyers get special treats by buying the limited versions, with more on them. All good things.
– We now know how was the production process like but, what about the songwriting? If I’m not wrong is a collective effort, but is it also a spontaneous effort? Has each band member the same saying in the songwriting?
This band is totally democratic and no one has more to say than the other and all are equal in the song writing process, with everyone contributing with almost the same amount af creativiness. This band is at times a mix-up of very different personalities, all with the gift of «creative overkill», to be honest we ditched about 80% of the riffs and ideas before shaping and building the song structures on God´s Equation. There are powers within the band (as for instance Ronny) that are educated proffesionally in music, and that helps out a lot. I don’t think there are a lot of bands using a blackboard on the reherseal studio, ha ha! We build the song structures up piece by piece and very little is coincidental. That really is the only way to make this kind of music work properly and sound good at the same time.
– I would also like you to tell us a bit about some of the lyrical ideas on the album and where do you draw inspiration from.
We´re inspired by mystisicm and “the unknown” – we always have on all our records, but this time the lyrics also deal with stuff everyone can relate to. Our lyrics is often metaphorical, which allows the listener to make up their own opinion on the words and meaning – and make it their own personal “story”. By making the music a little bit more “straight in your face”, this time so is the lyrics. Nevertheless, the “sworn Pagan´s Mind fan” is treated still – there are enough mystic stuff here to blow your mind;-)
– And how much input did you have on this decision? In these tough days for the music industry it’s always important to care about other aspects beside the musical one.
I write all the lyrics and it is a big part of our concept and really a big piece of what IS Pagan´s Mind so luckily enough no one has had the balls to come and pick into just that. The lyrics mirrors my heart, mind and soul and the day I have to sing some bullshit lyric written by some smartass, there´s nothing in this for me. Take away the lyrics and we´ll lose a lot of true fans…
– You have also shoot a video for «Intermission», could you please shed some light on this?
I guess that particular song is written with intention for radio/video play, even if it´s a „full blown“ Pagan´s Mind song. We have focused very strongly on melody lines this time around. Actually the main riff is something we have jammed on for many years, and finally it became a song out of it – and a good one I think as well! Our budget did not allow some million dollar production and something inbetween “trying” to make it look expensive can easily turn out cheesy – so we went for a simple “feelgood” video with footage from gigs all over the world. I think it´s a fun video that brings a smile to anyone´s face.
– Which such a successful career, what have been both the best and worst moments in your running?
Another difficult question, eh?;-) There´s been ups and downs all the way like all bands struggle with, but to be short I would say coming to USA for the first time in 2003, we were treated like rock stars and all that followed, it was a small taste of some sweet candy for us, and I guess that experience made us want to follow our dream. Worst moments, uh that´s a couple ones, but playing Bastard Club in Germany, no crowd, shitty venue, equipment sucked and no backstage in the middle of winter….I´d rather stay home and watch TV just then. Haha.
– And what’s left for PAGAN’s MIND to get?
– Finally, what does future have in store for you?
Work hard as always on reaching even higher goals. We´re a bunch of hard-working guys so I´m sure things are going the right way – it has been like that for the last 10 years all the way – progression if slow is good anyhow!
– That has been all from our side, thanks once more for your time. If you now want to add any final words, feel free to do it.
Be nice to each other, don´t drink and drive, support art, love and give yourselves time to wonder about life´s great mysteries every day!