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N.Holmes & G.Mackintosh (Paradise Lost)

Interview with N.Holmes & G.Mackintosh from Paradise Lost
by Yiannis Mitsakos at 12 July 2001, 1:00 AM

The best treat a Paradise Lost fan could have is the following extensive interview with their leading members, Nick Holmes and Greg McIntosh. Read our chat about the internet, mainstream music, their future plans, their past memories and their point of view about the past and future of this band.

First of all I would like you to tell me your opinion about the Internet.

Nick:  Internet? I love it. Yeah! I use it.

 Do you think it helps the band?

Nick:  Yes I do. I think it is very good for bands cause it gives you the chance to interact with your fans and they can tell you what they think about the band. Yeah I think it is great.

 Do you use it often?

Nick:  I use it every night.

 Every night?

Nick:  I use it constantly. Yeah! I love internet.

 So would you like to tell me more on the MP3 subject?

Greg: You mean the Napster thing?

 Yeah, especially after the fuzz with Metallica and other bands like Offspring and the company prosecution.

Greg: Napster is good for fans maybe. It’s not good for the music industry and the bands  It’s good for onside bands and really that’s about it. If you haven’t heard a band and you are interested to listen how they sound like that’s ok as well. People should be aloud to hear the music first before they buy it.

 And about the countries that your CDs are hard to reach ? Would it be ok then?

Nick:  Yeah, but you know the thing is that it costs money to make music And we’ve arrived to that limit as well as anybody else. So it ’s… well… I mean when the whole album is being downloaded all the time. Bands at our level would not be able to afford to even make a record, would not afford to record it or anything so it just kills bands like that. It would just stop in the high end, Elton John, Madonna, Metallica, it would just be bands like these left and that’s it. It would just be that.

Greg: I think there was some kind of subscription thing that was arranged to use it .I mean it has to be controlled. I mean I can’t understand any band that is doing a career or is professional in any way whether it be higher or kinda small, or whatever, any band that says that Napster is good. That can’t be true. Because it’s not good for the music.

 Do you think that bootlegs are good for music? For a band that starts right now?

Nick:  Well you mean having your music bootlegged?

 You know, spreading around bootlegs.

Nick:  It’s free bootlegs.

 I say this because many people compare what Metallica did in their beginning. It’s a band that based it’s creation on bootlegs. And they compare it to what Napster does now. That’s from the people who take Napster’s ,point of view. And they say that Metallica hunt down the same thing that helped them become famous…

Greg: I prefer not to have bootlegs, because maybe it a gig that was not particularly good and someone just takes an album and presses it. It’s only for people who make it to make money.

Nick:  You mean live albums?

 I mean bootlegs from new bands that people don’t get a chance to listen to.

Nick:  It is a demo. Nobody has the right to charge for a demo. If you are making an album it costs quite a million pounds to make. And you got money to make back and people can have it for free so it’s like Ok we can’t do it anymore!

Greg: Yeah, we don’t want a quarter million debt and then just split off! I mean making records, it only kicks bands like us in the ass. Because we are not millionaires, we are professionals it is really bad for the little guys. I mean, new bands, ok, it’s a platform there

 Do you think that metal fans use Internet often?

Nick:  Yeah! I’ve use Napster enough. I don’t think I do anything superb. We do have a good site, and there is a new site currently open for promotion.

Greg: Our album was out months before the release.

I know that.

Nick: Even the original mix of the album was out. We don’t know how. We didn’t even had a copy of that!

Greg: It’s kind of mystery

 You really didn’t know that?

Nick:  It could be copied anywhere. At the studios, from DJs, anywhere! I was so shocked my self, I was like, what the fuck?

 How long before it was released, was it on Napster?

Greg: Easily three months before

Nick:  Cause I remember I went to get some.. I wanted to download some of these jokes for kids for my little girl, like \[*beep* I won’t say the name of the band] I promised to burn a CD for her which is… illegal (laughs). Well it is not an album. I would not buy that fucking thing anyway. I think people are gonna but it anyway.

 So if someone downloads the album, listens to it before buying it you think it is ok?

Greg: Yeah! If he downloads some of the songs, listens to what they are like and then buys the album. Fine.

Nick:  But I think getting the whole album it’s not good. I am a musician but I can’t understand musicians who say it is good.

Greg: CDs are too expensive.

Nick:  They could stop Napster if they bring CDs down in price. They can half the CD prizes and still make a profit. They cost nothing. You know how much it costs to buy a blank CD. They cost fucking nothing to make. They are not as expensive as they used to be.

 So you think that sells would increase after that?

Nick:  Well People wouldn’t have to try to get things for free cause they could afford to buy that fucking thing. I think the CD prizes are ridiculously high to buy I really have to like something to buy it. I am not paying 50 pounds if I don’t like something too much. I’ve got to be a real fan to spend money to buy a CD. But it is business isn’t it? It has nothing to do with us, we just make the music

 

Tell me something about your new album. In Host you worked with Depeche Mode producer, right?

Greg: Did he produce Depeche Mode?

Nick:  Yeah. Leon. He did the engineering. Yeah I think he worked with them.

 Tell me something about the sound of Host. Was the change a bit too much?

Nick:  For a lot’s of people but it wasn’t a new direction. It was one album. It was very, very experimental. We were trying different instruments different sounds all the time you know and a lot of people find it incredible hard to swallow. But we expected that.

 Was Everyone in the band happy with this album?

Greg: More of the Lost.

Nick:  I personally, I mean I don’t play any instrument but I can appreciate some things. I mean if it sounds better done on something else I won’t say You have to play it If something sounds wrong I’d rather hear it on the keyboard perhaps or vise versa. I don’t think that anything should be done for the shake of it. In a band I mean you nearly never agree on anything .

Greg: With Host at first the idea was to make the most miserable dark album we possibly could even if it missed the strings. We just did it to keep it as dark as possible but some people missed the point and said that we are trying to get away from rock or whatever. It’s still a rock album. It’s just different.

Nick:  This made our new album stronger. It made the album sound more sincere, gave a lot more energy to it.

 You once said that Host was the album that Paradise Lost always wanted to make. After all this time do you still believe that?

Nick:  It’s A album, it’s one album we wanted to make. And we’ve done it.

Greg: I still believe that. Yeah! Definitely. It is a bench mark in our career. Same as the Gothic album where people don’t get it straight away but afterwards they look back and say Right, ok, yeah

Nick:  I think you have to be in the mood It’s a real mood album. To me is like a Pink Floyd record. I mean 90% of the time I wasn’t like listening to Pink Floyd. But sometimes there’s a time when I feel like really listening to them . I think Host is such an album. Cause when we recorded I was listening to it all the time. But now I just don’t. But sometimes I’m in the right mood for it. I mean it works. But the new album it’s kind of different, you can get a few drinks and listen to it.

Greg: Totally different touch of albums.Host everyone who is really fan of really dark and melancholic music should look the Host album really. Cause that’s it’s essence, that’s what it is! And the new album is more fit for a rock concert . Cause when we played Host live it was like alright it is Host but some songs didn’t work in some songs like So Much Is Lost it sounded fantastic live. Sounded really good live, really dynamic so we thought we should make another album, similar to Host, more splashy and live sounding )like we sound on stage or on rehearsal, that’s why we did this album.

 So you think that Believe In Nothing is closer to Host than One second?

Greg: I think it has got elements of the last three albums.

 The last three? And Draconian Times?

Greg: Yeah! Maybe elements! I think it is written with elements of Gothic!. You can tell it’s the same band that made the Gothic album!

Nick:  Because it is the same people writing it and the same people playing it. The strongest part for me it really doesn’t sound like anybody else. That was one thing I really wanted to get across at this time. Was just like Who are you going to compare it with now? Cause you can’t! It really doesn’t sound anyone else’s work.A few people have tried their best to compare it to other things, they had some ridiculous ideas. So as an artist I really feel proud for this unique record. We never cheered success. We never followed fashions. We just do what it feels right .We do it as real fans of music and we do this all the time. The fact that some people said that with the Host album said we wanted to chase a pop career. No way. You cannot change and expect just to gain success and bullshit. That doesn’t work. We never chased success. We just do what we want. And we please some people, some times, then we please other people at other times, then we piss them people and them people  I mean it’s not intentional, it’s just that if you’re band that does your own thing and decide we’ll just do what we think right

Greg: We’ve been pissing people off since we started the band. Gothic was called a sellout when it came out! We started the band cause we wanted to make our own music, and we still have the same attitude, it’s not different  you know, but then all of a sudden you become a public property when you start selling records, and you have to do what your public wants, I don’t like that  You know we started the band because we want to make the music WE like.

 Tell me about the music you like besides metal. Things that have influenced your work. Including metal perhaps.

Nick:  There is not much for me, any metal anymore. I mean I do like to hear it, but it’s  for example bands like Rammstein. I find it very inspirational. For me they are like a new …they have a feeling that reminds me of being a young teenager. Excited about listening to Metallica or Slayer, they make me feel the same, you know. They have a real kind of angry feeling which I like. I find it really so attractive.

Greg: I find it hard to describe our band especially with the new album, someone who has never, ever heard anything from our previous work, he will just say Black Sabbath , Sisters Of Mercy (laughs). I don’t know, it’s because we play lots of different types of music. Each under a spectrum, there’s metal, there’s goth, there’s classical, there’s pop, rock, dance,
lots of different things, it’s really wide. But if you want to describe it if your mother asks about it, say yes, Black Sabbath and Sisters there they are, it’s the easy choice of words. Personally i like strong, sad melodies. For example the Dido album. I liked it because there are very good melancholic songs in it , it’s like Fleetwood Mac, I really like them  Some of their tunes, really nice. You can take some influence from something completely remote from what we do, you can take elements of the tune and turn it perhaps into a guitar tune and then build around that, no one will ever guess. So you can get influenced from some bizarre songs, and things like obsolete music, and some really famous music. All music plays its part, everybody gets inspiration from somewhere. It’s just a case of changing and creating it and recreating it in a way, mostly guitar parts for me, I like the string arrangements, but I prefer to use a mass of guitars instead, that’s why me and Aaron virtually never play the same thing, we are always doing different things, but it’s part of the same song.

Nick:  I think to copy another metal band is totally a failing object to me. I mean it’s more interesting to influent from something far more remote from your own style and recreate that in your own style .

So there is no way you are doing a mainstream album in the future?

Greg: It depends what you mean by mainstream? Because Nirvana were mainstream and they were a metal band. It depends on the definition of mainstream. We are played on MTV but we don’t choose to do it. Someone else decides.

Greg: If you mean mainstream like Bon Jovi?

 I mean mainstream by selling more and something that you don’t like.

Greg: We’ll never do something we don’t like!

Nick:  No, never!

Greg: You can’t just do that by trying to chase success. We’ve seen that over the years. We’ve seen bands trying things because they see other bands do it and they think they are big, we will get big by doing it

Nick:  It’s like if we suddenly started playing the Limp Bizkit kind of music  How people would feel? How insincere is that? It’s just an example, I mean Limp Bizkit are mainstream, completely mainstream, you know, we hate fashion anyway, we fuckin hate fashion.

Greg: Mainstream to me can be any type of music but it’s written with business first and the music after. Backstreet boys and things like that, it’s always thinking about getting the cash first and then about music. That’s mainstream. No i won’t do that.

 Would you like to do a project besides the band? I mean do you like classical music? Would you do something with a symphonic orchestra?

Nick:  I’d love to do it. Really miserable music with full orchestra. Yeah, I’d love to do that.

 You would do that as Paradise Lost or as another project?

Nick: I don’t know.

Greg: It has to be another project.

Nick:  I know but we did Host. (laughs)

Greg: Yeah,I know we did Host.(laughs)

Nick:  I don’t think it’s out of the question. I know that Metallica did that thing.

Greg: But not with guitar, it would sound cheesy with guitars and the big symphony orchestra all the time for a full album. You either use one or the other or just do it on the odd track.

Nick:  It kind of worked in the early 90’s.Remember November Rain-Guns ’n’ Roses thing. It was good for that time but it’s kind outdated now. I would like to try it some time later

 In the future perhaps?

Nick:  Who knows? You know…I mean there is always gonna be something … I really like acoustic stuff.

Greg: It’d be funny to separate all our influences into different songs on an album. So the the first song can be all strings and the second coming out like Bathory, the next song like Sabbath, next song completely electronic. If you blend it all together, you know

Nick:  In my car I could have a Bathory CD or an R.E.M. CD, I can appreciate both equally.


Still I think that Believe In Nothing is much heavier than Host. Did you release that perhaps for the fans who were disappointed?

Nick:  No, no, it’s for us. We did the thing with Host and that was that.

Greg: Another Host, if we did Host again, that would be boring. There’s no point in doing that again. So we keep on moving.

Nick:  Plus we wanted to do a lot more live, we wanted to really be able to play the full album live and make it sound like it is in the record, and live it is superb to play, it is great, there are a lot of Host songs that really don’t work live,

Greg: Certain tracks do. So Much Is Lost, Permanent Solution sound great live, sound very similar to the new album when we play it live.

Nick:  It’s really the thing with the Host record, I mean when we play So Much Is Lost and Permanent Solution live the songs go down as well as anything else we’ve ever written.

 I’ve heard a lot about the live performances. I mean most people said they could listen to some songs in Host but when they listened to it live with guitars they loved it, they said It’s another song. So is there any chance you would release a live album with these songs?

Nick:  If we did a live album we’d definitely do songs from this album. I mean they do come alive a lot more, live and I could appreciate that. So yeah, without a doubt.

 Any plans in the future?

Nick:  I don’t know. I don’t know about what’s happening with our record company. I’ve been asked to do a DVD, you know, to release one DVD before we die.

Greg: Are you ok? (laughs)

Would it contain songs from Shades Of God for example, or just the latest?

Nick: Well, probably As I Die would be in there, but that would probably be the only song. I mean I am not too keen on doing the growling thing, I don’t think it works, it doesn’t sound right. The music sounds fine, but singing it, new fans would be quite shocked

Greg: It would sound a bit strange in a set if you do a full 1 hour and a half concert and you have two or three songs like

Nick:  And a lot of old fans are not even there anymore, so you know

Greg: We had people shocked in Eternal  We played it, and there were two guys, or one guy headbanging and like 5000 people going What the fuck is this?

Nick:  It kind off ruins the shows when the band plays too old songs. Most people we speak to are probably very older fans and they go like Why don’t you do Gothic? blah blah blah, and it really it’s like OK, but when you play it inside, nobody knows this. You got to think about the whole thing, not just one guy, he can go play it in his house, you know. (laughs). So yeah, we don’t go too far back.

 So which albums do you include in your tours? The three latest ones?

Nick:  Everything from the Shades Of God and on.

Greg: Icon, Draconian Times, One Second, Host and Believe In Nothing.

Nick:  Everything but the first two

 Don’t you think that Icon would sound strange to people who like Host?

Greg: I don’t think so, because the stuff on Icon is basically the same as on Host only the guitars, the distortion, and maybe there is bit of a keyboard part instead of a bass line or something.

Nick:  If we thought it would be a problem we wouldn’t do it.

Greg: I think since the Icon album we’ve always done the same type of songs, but we’ve just approached them in different ways trying to find out what works best.

 So you think that someone who is used to So Much Is Lost style would listen as well to True Believe?

Nick:  Yeah!

Greg: Possibly. There’s a lot of people who loved the Host album and they don’t like the new album.

Nick:  It’s too heavy.

Greg: Yeah, we told them to pretend they don’t hear the guitars (laughs). A lot people adored Host, then got back to One Second then got to the heaviest stuff, because it is half Host, half Draconian Times maybe kind of blended together, sort of keeps the door open to the heaviest stuff. The new album is basically the ideal, it’s more like a live sounding album after having two studio albums we were like Let’s do something, a more live sounding album.

 Tell me about your upcoming tours. Where will you go?

Nick:  Well We are going everywhere.

 Is it a world tour?

Nick:  I hope it’s a world tour. We didn’t tour very long with the Host record. I hope we will make it to Greece this time.

Greg: The problem with Host tour was just promoters. Last time we couldn’t come to Greece because of promoters. So we couldn’t come over. There’s big interest from promoters on this album, so yeah, we’ll be there.

 And the rest of Europe i suppose?

Nick:  We did that tour with Sisters Of Mercy, it was great. It was sold out, very nice, about 6.000 people, wicked. There’s not a great deal of bands we can really play with but they are unique band, very commercial, he hasn’t released a single record for over 10 years and he is still very busy, that’s quite an achievement. It was great.

 America?

Nick:  Well the plan is, we do a UK tour, then we do some summer festivals, we’ll try to go through Russia. We are going to Russia and lot further in. And yeah we are definitely coming to Greece cause we got interest this time, and then we just see what is happening after that. We’ll play in most places in the world. We could get to China and Africa. You know most things get bootlegged there, they can’t control it because of the mafia. It’s an enormous market. If they could control it that would be the biggest market in the world, enormous.

Greg: First trip in Russia a few weeks ago, a great experience. It’s interesting to see how much it changed. When we played there a few years ago it was like I imagined it to be. But you walk down the street in Moscow today, it’s like walking down Time Square, or somewhere in Las Vegas, there are all these big Pepsi signs and all. (laughs) And there’s a big Rock market there.

 Any other places you would like to play? Besides the usual ones?

Nick:  We were going to play in Johannesburg many years ago. But it did not work out, though I was looking forward to it. I wanna play where electricity exists. I also wanna play in India.Everywhere.

Greg: Iceland is a place I would like to play! It’s an experience, you don’t live forever you know, trying to see what you can .and die (laughs)

 So besides the beer what else is best on touring?

Nick:  Well, I don’t drink. I’ve stopped drinking in tours long time ago. I am a good boy now, I go to bed early. I don’t know really, cause with my new health plan I cannot go smoking or drinking on tour, ok, perhaps drink a little bit, but nothing like  I want to be at the best of my capabilities when the show starts. It doesn’t matter if I want anything else, it might be boring going to bed at half past nine. So what? At least the show was cool and everyone in the venue enjoyed it. That’s my kind of attitude now, I kinda grew up.

 So you just tour for the feeling, for what?

Nick:  If you put in a better show the crowd likes it, it’s coming back at you and you are feeling good about it. You know the whole thing is

Greg: In some years gone by we were all just as pissed off as we possibly could on stage, thinking it was great to come up and get people to say you didn’t even play the right song  (laughs)

Nick:  We can be incredibly unprofessional some times , we still feel like kids (laughs).Labels like to manufacture bands, because we go in bed very early, we do what they tell us etc. Real bands like ourselves are really hard to find just in England, it has become a thing from the past. It’s hard to find real bands.

 In which country did you have your best memories while touring?

Greg: Uhm, we got some interesting memories, I think the first time we played in Israel was interesting. It’s the ones where you get culture shock and you go like This is so different from where I’m from!. We played in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and first time we went there it was bizarre you know, the security men from the stage held machine guns, it was… (laughs)

Nick:  When it comes to Greece it’s always associated with holidays so it’s  I love it. I mean even here, even if I am in a hotel room all time it feels like a holiday, I can sleep tonight, it’s quite warmer, it’s like a holiday to me.

Greg: We played in a weird little club in Thessalonica a while back, that was quite bizarre.

 A last word for your fans?

Nick:  Check out our new record, you might like it. Thanks for your support all these years it’s very much appreciated.

Greg: So Keep it open minded.

Thanks a lot guys.

(many thanks to Maria)



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