off I want to congratulate you on your new album ”Enigmatic :
Nils - Thank
you so much!
"Enigmatic : Calling" is your 3rd attempt to convince
music journalists, that high quality progressive metal can come
from Norway ... and do you feel you have succeeded?
Nils - To
a certain extent, yes. We have felt the feedback the last past 2
years more strongly than earlier in our career, and these days a
lot of musicians from Norway start to play melodic/progressive/power
metal because they have seen that we have gained success. Kind of
starting up a new trend, which I think is good since Norway always
have been known for Black Metal. Of course, there can always be
more success and we are not “there” yet of course, there is
still a long way, but things are certainly starting to get better.
We have received a lot more attention now than ever, which is good.
Hitting the official charts on #15 here in
was good. Only Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon did that before us.
I know artists don¹t like to put a label on their music - but
a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and
is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to
an alien from another galaxy?
Nils - An
alien asking what kind of music we do, ha ha maybe we would say
“This would be familiar to you guys, as we play Space Metal ha
ha!” No, I’m kidding but I really believe we have a
“celestial”/”heavenly” sound, that is taking the listeners
out on an “astral journey”. We are both lyrically wise and
musically wise kind of spacey , floating up there in the stars
with big emotions and a strong atmosphere, together with the
brutality and melodicness to it we make “thinking man’s
metal”, philosophically and deep intricate music for people who
look out, up to the stars and like to let their mind wander...:-)
the music of Pagan’s Mind was an emotion, which one would it be?
Nils - It
would be AWE. Ever saw the movie “Contact”? (Jodie Foster)
When Jodie in the last part of the film travels through those
wormholes in space, the probe stops for a minute and through the
walls she can see a beautiful scene appearing in front of her,
with galaxies, incredible colours and unmentionable visions.
She’s totally in “awe” when she sees it, and totally loses
her way of speech! Awe...
and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through a
song being born Pagan’s Mind style?
Nils - Movies
and books inspire me, the sound of wind in the leaves and braches
of trees, sound of waves, and a sparkling night sky, a strange
deja vu, fore visions, nature and dreams. And all kinds of music.
Usually there is an emotion starting off the process of a PM song
(which one or more in the band come up with), and then we start
working with it all together. If I get goose bumps when it’s
nearly finished, its right and we might keep it! A PM song to me
is a great puzzle and everybody in the band contributes putting it
together, starting off with one single brick coming from maybe one
person and the 999 other is made by the whole band together. I
always make the lyrics as the last step, as the melodies always
are the most important thing and shouldn’t come in second place.
The lyrics are more easily born when the emotions and “images”
I get in my head of the song already are there....
Science fiction seems to be very important in your lyrics, but
I do see a deeper idea behind your songs – and it is possible to
relate to the story on a personal level as well. Is it important
for you to have lyrics, which are open to the listeners own
Nils - Yes
very much in deed. And I am happy that you understand the lyrical
topics! They are a strong and important part of Pagan’s Mind.
The lyrics are made out from fantasy, personal beliefs, dreams and
visions and philosophy in general... Further I believe there is a
connection between all “spiritual” aspects, all phenomenons
relate to the same source – and it is in nature, above us, and
in the entire universe. So you might call it it science FICTION,
or preferably science REALITY, it’s all up to the individual but
myself I have strong belief in the “unknown”. What would
people 500 years ago say if they suddenly saw a TV or a computer?
Magic, fiction, you name it – they wouldn’t believe it was
true. 500 years of time is like a drop in the ocean in the history
of this planet, and science will discover further and reveal
“mysteries” one by one and bring humanity to a more wholesome
consciousness I believe.
Jörn Viggo Lofstad
done small wonders with the production, and I think he has really
managed to capture your songs greatly. The mix has however been
done by Fredrik Nordstrøm – why did you pick him? Listening to
the album now – is there anything you would have done
Nils - We
used Fredrik on our previous album “Celestial Entrance” and
were very pleased with his work. In just a couple of days he had
made a sound so powerful and clear so the rest of the mixing
process was just fun, and pickiness. We decided to go for him
doing the mix again, also because he has mixed and produced so
many great albums from before, and in my opinion he’s one of the
greatest when it comes to metal music in the world. He has also
become sort of a personal friend to the band. Jorn Viggo is a
perfectionist to his heels and we totally trusted him, knowing the
music even better than the other band member and has a talent for
musical understanding, sound and dynamic so great I would think he
could quit his day job and do music production full time, honestly!
Any future plans for touring with the new album? Perhaps we
will be able to catch you at some the festivals?
Nils - This
summer we have done gigs every weekend and done a lot of good ones.
A lot of festivals here in
, and last weekend we did Sweden Rock Festival. We broke the
audience record for that specific stage we played on, gathering
8000 people and we could notice that we have become more famous
than earlier since the whole weekend consisted of signings, photo
shoots and meeting fans. We are going to ProgPower in
in October, and will do a couple of gigs on the way down in
addition, one in
I know. We have a break in July to take care of families and stuff,
but august and the rest of the fall is packed with gigs. There is
possibly a great thing coming up when it comes to touring, but I
can’t reveal anything about that yet since nothing is 100%
certain....so you’ll have to wait and see – but if all goes
well you WILL hear about it for sure :-)
Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a
tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring
Nils - He
he, a lot of bands would be a dream come true to tour with, but of
course to draw the biggest attention in public numbers we would
have picked the biggest band. Maybe Dream Theater or Iron Maiden?
You are all from a small town – Skien – how has that
influenced the band, and do you see that as a strength? Have you
ever considered moving to
to further your career?
Nils - The
fact that we’re all from the same town is a great strength.
There is wonderful nature around the town here, which is an
inspiration – and we get to rehearse two-three times a week
together which makes up a tight band, and are friends on the
personal level and also hang out occasionally apart from the band
business. Of course this makes the band stronger, the chemistry
better and everything is just better and easier to plan when we do
gig, rehearsals and work in the studio. In fact I think it’s
pretty strange that we managed to find each other, all members
being such great musicians with the same musical goals and visions
in this rather small town (about 130,000 inhabitants).
is just one and a half hour drive from where we live, and we do
gigs there and I am often there to see friends and hang out at
concerts and stuff. It’s no difference if we live here or there,
we have done great in
and are one of the hottest bands right now, so it doesn’t matter
isn’t THAT big either... But I love the town, its great.:-)
Your debut album was re-released last year – and I was very
surprised just how big a difference there was between the original
and the Tommy Hansen version – I feel the album has been given
new life. But why did you choose to release it once more? And how
has the responds been on the re-release?
Nils - It
was Limb Music (our label) which wanted to re-release it, because
of the success with “Celestial Entrance”, of course they
wanted to sell some more records on our name. But we refused to do
it without a total refurbishing of the record, we thought the
original was way too bad. I did the vocals over again, we recorded
two bonus tracks (sure you’ve heard it), we clipped and edited
the songs and mixed the whole thing over again, and I agree, it
was surely given new life. But the whole thing was more like a
curiosity thing, nothing like a “full release”, and I think it
sold pretty ok, but more like giving the fans something while they
were waiting for the next album,. A lot of our die-hard fans
already had the original version also, so I don’t know if
everyone else understood that it was a re-release...cool thing
anyway to do because I was never satisfied with the original. Kind
of removed the “thorn in my pants” ha ha.
Over the last few years, a few very unique progressive metal
bands have emerged in
– why do you think that is?
Nils - Good
question. I think maybe it is a mix between different aspects. We
have our musical heritage from the great Norwegian composers (as
Grieg, with “hall of the mountain king” which a lot of metal
bands all over the world as used in their music), the whole
landscape, wild and harsh nature which creates strong emotions and
feelings. The cold winter makes a lot of musicians creative when
they sit inside a lot to keep away from the cold and you’re
“forced” to create. And I also think we have the ability to
create something from the bottom – not stealing too much
influences from everyone else and be “trendy”. It’s as
foretold a mix between different things, but Norwegians are a
special kind in many ways, and I think some of the attitude we
have comes visionary in our music.
And how do you feel about the Norwegian metal scene in general?
Nils - I
think right now a lot of great things are happening. More
power/progressive bands are starting to get out and most of them
are of really high quality. I mentioned earlier that maybe some of
our success has inspirited others. But we got inspired from
Conception, TNT and likewise. I think it’s excellent that the
metal world can relate to
by something else than Black Metal. A lot of BM is good, but it
would be better to show a greater musical width, convincing more
than just BM fans! I have to mention the Norwegian bands Circus
Maximus, Illusion Suite and Karma. Great guys with great talents,
look out for them! :-)
Any famous last words?
Nils - Don’t
drink and drive, don’t do drugs, be nice to each other, respect
and support art, music, philosophy and life in general. Love
someone. See through the dull surface and discover what’s
beneath it all. Look up in the sky and let your mind wander. Look
out for us coming to a place near you, and show up supporting Mind