Pain Of Salvation interview (03/2007)
|With:||Johan Hallgren [Guitar, vocals]|
|Conducted by:||Jeff (in person)|
Pain Of Salvation
Jeff: - Hello Johan nice to meet you, let's start this interview ok? So, you have five studio albums, Scarsick will be the sixth, you have one DVD, one live album, do you need something more? Do you want to do something more? (laughs)
Johan: No we're done! (laughs) We will never do anything again! (laughs) This is the best album that we have ever done you know… no I'm just kidding (laughs). No it's cool. What I really want to do now is a real DVD, I mean from a real show. Maybe we will do that this year because this is the 10th anniversary of our first album, which was released in 1997. But we have a lot of ideas and stuff, so after Scarsick we will do a lot of other things you know. In which direction? We never know because we like to surprise ourselves. We really try to do the music that we want to hear.
- I suppose that you'll agree with me if I say that Scarsick is your most special and different album? Is it like an achievement for you?
Yeah of course, I agree with you and the reason is that…we have to do it! We had to write the lyrical concept of this album. A lot of people ask questions about America and Disco Queen which are different. It's just…you have feel the lyrical concept of these two songs. If you take Disco Queen as an example, you can see it in two different ways. Just like an old Disco vinyl record with funny music or it can be something a lot more serious if you read its lyrics. And of course Disco is a very sexy beat that we all know so…you just have to feel the concept of the music and you'll understand. And of course it's really funny to play this song.
- Will you play Disco Queen live?
(Really seriously) Yeah of course!!! For the first time you'll get the progressive fans in trance and they will dance...that will be great (laughs)
- I had a question about Disco Queen actually. Are you afraid of the reactions of the Progressive purists? I like the song but…
Yeah, well that's weird. I think that we expected more resistance but actually during the seventeen or so interviews that we did this week, every time that we ask what their favourite song of the album is, they always say that it's Disco Queen. So we're surprised and of course it's really nice. But on the other hand, as a band we just want to do music like we want, we don't really expect something negative or positive, we just play music. It's a symbiosis between the music, the lyrics, and the artwork of the album. And you know what? We needed to have a song like Disco Queen on the album because even if it's an easy, silly disco beat and even if it's not progressive, we can do such thing on a progressive album. And if you check the song you'll see that it's serious too. It's a very nice song to play.
- You have a lot of different influences on the last album, even Hip Hop…
Yeah of course, Scarsick is the introduction and put some "flames" on the album. Spitfall, well there are a lot of lyrics in it. It's just that we wanted to say all what we wanted to say. Actually with a basic Heavy Metal song it was just impossible to do it. Also, Spitfall is about old Rap stories. Hip Hop is good music and I like it but it has lost its meaning, I mean at first it was coming from the underground and talked about the problem of the society in America, and now, it's just business and money. They have five, six Mercedes as well…
- Well I don't have the lyrics but as well as I understand Scarsick, like your old albums, is also really… how can I say, engaged?
Of course! "Be" was about the relations between humans and religions and this album is more about the relation between the society and the individual person. It's a very big contrast because alone we have some feelings and ideas but collectively we tend to think the opposite thing. So of course, we bring a lot of serious topics, stuff that everybody thinks about everyday. The "problem" that you had in Paris for example (Jonhas is talking about the problem of homeless persons in the city), it's a really good thing to bring these problems to the surface, with these tents; at least people can see that some other people have nothing.
- Yeah I understand. Let's talk about the band now, last year you lost your bassist, and it's now Daniel who plays the bass on the new album. Are you looking for someone new or will he play the bass forever?
No. We have a guy, Simon Andersson, he will join us on tour and he was one of the candidates. The reason why we chose him was that he was free first but also because we needed the energy that he brings into the band and of course he knows our catalogue and all our albums. He knows mostly all our material. Well, he will have to work on a lot of things of course, but I'm sure that he will be able to make great stuff with us. And at least we have someone instead of no-one. Of course, Kristoffer is a big loss, definitely. On the other hand if he hadn't been Daniel's brother, I think that he would have left the band much earlier because we had a lot of "social" tensions. The main reason why we took this decision is that it wasn't so easy to record the previous album. He was in Holland with his family and had to come back here, it wasn't so easy and it was too complicated for us. If Kristoffer is still in the band, the problem will remain and we will lose the energy as the band, we must be a band and be together. When we took that decision we said to ourselves, "it's cool to have the entire band here", it was necessary unfortunately.
- Unfortunately, we have to hurry. You'll be in France and do a big tour, are you planning to do some summer festivals too?
Hoo yes, we will do some festivals. Graspop in Belgium but also Hellfest in France, but we're waiting for some confirmation. It takes a lot of time anyway you know but we will play here and there (laughs)
- Ok Johan, I have a last question, is not a question about POS but about music in general.
- You probably know that "bands reunions" to do some big tours is a trend nowadays, so I will give you some names and you'll tell me what do you think of those "potential" reformations ok? So first name:
- Queen… without Mercury of course…
Who is the singer?
- A British guy, I can't remember his name right now…
I heard about it too… Well, you know Freddy was the band… I heard some rumours in the past with George Michael, it was really interesting in my opinion. But this new guy… he will have to be really good… it will be Queen not the real band but of course I would like to see them yes.
- Second one, Genesis…
Is it without or with Peter Gabriel?
- That's the question… I'm not sure…
With him, that would be really interesting… they took different roads, you know what Phil Collins does now but I think that it could be great yes, if they don't think about something commercial first. Well I don't think so; they all have the money that they need already (laughs). But so far, that's probably the one that I'm the most interested in.
- Next, one… Police. They will do some concert apparently…
Hoo yeah… yeah…. damn… Sting is one of my favourite singers ever. I hope that they will still have this punk and rebellious attitude even on stage. You know their lyrics are really good with important topics. Hoo yeah, I want to see it (laughs).
- Last one, it's a pure supposition but here again, we talk about it… Pink Floyd…
Humm…. It's hard to say… They've done so many good things. It's hard to think that they can do something else a step further. They're already perfect. But of course, I would like to see them live again; of course I'm really interested by this rumour too. But, for a live performance because of an album our expectations will be so big that it could be deceiving in the end. The best was already done with them.
- That's all Johan. Thank you very much for your kindness and let me tell you that I will be there to see you in Paris in March.
Thanks a lot too, see you in Paris in March then.
Many thx to POS, Johan and Daniel, and to Olivier and Roger @ Replica Records for this interview
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