Peter Tagtgren will be a name familiar to many, as the mastermind behind not only Industrial Metal heavyweight project Pain, but also Blackened Death Metal act Hypocrisy, a collaborator with Till Lindemann, and producer of bands as varied as Carach Angren and Sabaton. But his first Australian performances will be with Pain, and he shared his thoughts on the upcoming run for late May.

The last time Tagtgren was in Australia was promoting the Lindemann project, and he recalls the country fondly. “That was the first time I was ever in Australia, so I was really blown away. I mean, we didn’t do too much sightseeing, but we were definitely checking out places left, right and centre. It’s a beautiful country. A lot of poison stuff, but you have to trust the people that live there you know, and don’t go out on safari by yourself as a foreigner.”

The most exciting aspect of coming back to Australia for Tagtgren is, of course, “To play for Australian people. We tried many times before, you know, and it always went to hell somehow, either with Hypocrisy or with Pain. So now it’s a definite gig coming up, so that’s good.”

As for future touring, Tagtgren muses, “We tried to get up to Japan as well, or New Zealand, but it was hard to get it together, you know? Pain is not that big in those regions, so they didn’t really dare to bring us there. But maybe next time. I’m always open. I’ve been to Japan with Hypocrisy, 2013 was the last time we were there. 2002 as well. So I think we’re going back there again next year, I hope. It’s really crazy, really weird. It’s Tokyo and it’s Las Vegas, these cities are out of the world. It feels like you’re on a different planet, you know? It’s insane how they built Las Vegas out of nowhere.”

Tagtgren’s son Sebastian has been on the drums for Pain recently, and Tagtgren says enthusiastically, “It’s great. I mean, the first couple of gigs we did together were amazing, just to look back and see your own kid sitting there banging the shit out of the drums, you know? And not doing a half-good job, he’s doing an excellent job. He’s like a drum machine, this kid.”

Looking back on Pain’s most recent album ‘Coming Home,’ Tagtgren explains how it fits in the band’s progression. “I think this one was more experimental. I wanted to try even very slow, soft songs, but very dark, of course. I would never write love songs, you know? That’s not my cup of tea. But really dark and slow, and a lot of acoustic guitars, a lot of orchestra shit, but still also some good, heavy Pain songs, of course. It was more experimental, but people really liked it, so that’s really good. It’s both a party album and a funeral album, it depends what song you want to listen to.”

Sabaton vocalist Joakim Broden appeared as a guest on ‘Coming Home,’ and Tagtgren recalls, “I started making the album and then I had to take a break in March and April because I was doing the new Sabaton album, and when we were done I just said, ‘Hey, you wanna throw on some lines on one of the songs?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, sure, which one?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know,’ so we just listened to the songs I had, and we decided on Call Me because it was different. It’s not really anything that sounds like Sabaton, you know? That was a cool thing to do.”

Pain’s association with Australia does have some history, as the video for Absinthe Phoenix Rising was created by students at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. “It was actually through the record company, the students asked if they could do a song first, and I gave them Pain in the Ass, but when they started looking at the lyrics, they had some problems,” he laughs. “So we said, ‘Okay, let’s do something totally different, where you’ll get a different point of view of the album,’ because it has so many different kinds of styles. So we decided to do Phoenix Rising. It’s really about drinking absinthe and getting hallucinations, you know? So I’m really happy, they did a great job. I really like it.”

Despite being involved in so many projects, Pain is a unique avenue of creativity for Tagtgren. “This one I can tell you, anything can happen. With Hypocrisy I stayed more in the boundaries of the more Death, Gothic, Doom Metal, or Blackish Death… I mix it all. With Pain, I can mix everything; not only Metal, I can mix anything from Bowie to whatever, you know? It all depends what I feel like. There’s no limits.”

As for what’s next, Tagtgren reveals, “When this Australian tour is over, I’m going to start writing and try to complete the Hypocrisy album, and also hoping to get some stuff from Mikael and Horgh as well so I don’t have to do it myself again. So I’m looking forward to that, to get that stuff together. We’ll do four festivals this Summer with Pain, but that’s just because I need time to do this Hypocrisy album, because it kind of needs to be done before October when the tour with Kataklysm starts and stuff like that, so we have some time to change things that need to change. And then hopefully get the album out next year at this time I would say, before the festival seasons in Europe.”

With regard to the future of Pain, Tagtgren assures fans, “This time I’m going to try and not wait five years for another Pain album, but first I have to concentrate on the Hypocrisy stuff so we have some good shit to go out and hopefully come to Australia, also. You know, if this works out great we really want to do something so I can come over one more time with the other band. There’s definitely people who want us to come there and finally do a show, so we’ll do our best. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

“I’m just really excited, everybody’s super excited to come over there and play. We’re going to be all wired up,” he laughs. “And we’re going to give 100% for sure.”


Pain tour poster