Interview with Pain’s Peter Tägtgren | By Christopher J. Harrington
“The first vinyl record I ever bought was KISS’ Destroyer, and the vision of what everything looked like in it was truly something,” explains Peter Tägtgren, the lead singer, guitarist, creator, producer, and multi-instrumentalist behind the industrial-symphonic metal behemoth, Pain. “It was like an enormous basketball arena, just really vivid. I think if you can achieve strong visuals in your music, you really nailed it.” Pain’s newest album, Coming Home—set for a Sept. 9 release on Nuclear Blast—does just that, tenfold. A feverishly catchy and dynamic slab of varying musical realms, the album achieves just about everything you could want a record to achieve: rip your face off, strain your neck, and make you run to your library to check into weird scientific happenings. Seriously, you’ll be humming these songs for weeks, raging down the streets, thinking forward and happy.
Tägtgren is also the founder, frontman, and guitarist for the death metal legion, Hypocrisy, as well as a world-renowned producer whose resume includes work with the bands Marduk, Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Sabaton, and Septicflesh, among many others. As a major producer, Tägtgren is the kind of artist who builds structures with a total vision in mind. You can feel the lightning slick quality throughout Coming Home: sparkling, dimensional, and whole. Songs move from Ministry-like industrial groove to gigantic symphonic balladry to punishing death metal fortitude. The album really positions itself in your mind: the technicality blows you away, while the lush songcraft invites you to experience the whole thing on your own terms.
“Coming Home is really about me coming home to myself, coming back to writing songs and diving into the challenge,” Tägtgren notes. “I brought the studio into my bedroom for this one and really took my time on everything. Particularly the vocals; I really wanted to sing on this album. A strong chorus is very important to me, and with Pain, I’m really moving further away from the music I do in Hypocrisy. When you work with other bands, they’re ultimately the decision-makers, and my job as a producer is to push the musician without getting them to crack. With Pain, I’m the musician, the songwriter, and the producer. I can push myself into different areas easier this way.”
Coming Home is futuristic in its themes, its production, and its overall mindset. Techno and industrial variances forge with the slickest of death and power metal to create a visionary work. Science fiction, the old American West, conspiracy theories, and self-reflection ring harrowingly throughout the swirling album, which showcases songs that really work—songs created with a bent toward the future, and with a refreshing nod to the history of musical structure. “I was amazed by the distortion you could get from a keyboard,” Tägtgren says. “It was fascinating to me that you could keep an eight minute song interesting with just that one instrument. When I first heard Fear Factory, it just blew me away; their stuff really mixed it up and showed a new form. I was inspired and have really kept at it all these years.”
The more you listen to Coming Home, the better it gets. The epic layers of intricacy reveal themselves as messages, as calls to perseverance, and as bursting revelations. Pain keep moving forward, progressing, evolving, and channeling the eternal. “I’m inspired to write good music,” Tägtgren admits. “Pain is catchy rock ‘n’ roll, kind of like Billy Idol in 2017. Something you like to play when you’re getting your night started. It makes you feel good, you know?”