“God’s Equation” is your fourth album, and quite an impressive one, one that’s most likely will be our next album of the month. How has the response been on the album and what kind of expectations do you have for it?
Pagan’s Mind – Hi there, thanks a lot! It really makes me glad to hear that. We are extremely pleased with the result and all the hard work putting it together – both the last two years of song writing and the recording process this summer (we were totally pale and omnipresent to everything else) really were hard. Being in the studio is not always a fun thing. It’s hard, hard work and you don’t have time for anything else during that period – everything and everyone in our lives are completely on hold during that period. So greater is the joy when things turn out good – as we really think it did -)) So thanks again and yes, I am a proud man now – you know, it’s almost as having a newborn baby (I don’t have it though, but others in the band has so they really compare it) The response, and especially compared to our previous releases, has been tremendous. It seems that the media is picking up this album in a much more extended way than the other albums…
All reviews I have read so far has been top notch, all extreme praise – all stating that this is our best album so far. Maybe one or two reviews have been not so enthusiastic, which I would think has been reviewed by classic “metal heads” and craves more of the “standard” metal thing. Pagan’s Mind is influenced by so much more than metal music, and this album is maybe more of an experimental/commercial album compared to our previous ones. But everyone I’ve talked to hearing it thinks it is a great step forward for us (in the right direction), and so do we!
What’s the biggest difference between “God’s Equation” and your latest album “Enigmatic: Calling”? Personally I feel your new one is more complete and balanced, but both are awesome metal albums.
Pagan’s Mind – A process of defining our own sound more than maybe what we did in the past: being more inspired by bands like Dream Theater and such - I would say this is definitely a big step ahead. We already proved our skills on previous albums and on this one too. Everyone that listens to it says it’s a long mile ahead for us and that we really have defined our sound once and for all. And I must say I agree – shaping a characteristic sound is something that can take a long time. Grow up, really, if you know what I mean. We have put a lot more work into the songwriting process than ever before and we think it has given results! We are confident in what we do and have done this time, alas we know that the album is slightly different from the other albums, we really feel it is a step in the right direction. So, partly intentional but also natural for us!
If you had to describe your music to a complete musical ignorant – what would you tell him? Claus, who has reviewed it on our site, puts the label Melodic Progressive Power Metal – but how do you view your style?
Pagan’s Mind – We could of course just end up like some over-technical super-progged band and just play “psycho-jazz-metal” if we wanted – that would be no problem if that was our goal, the technical skills are most certainly there. But why should we do that just in order to convince? We want to play a mix, up between the styles we love and give the listener “something to put the coat on” – anyway, the overall importance in PM is MELODIES. Music IS melody, not just weird rhythm patterns, and without it I don’t get the point in music. Melody gives us something and the listener something. We believe that’s a great recipe combining what we want to do and at the same time reach the listener.
This band is at times a mix-up of very different personalities, all with the gift of "creative overkill", to be honest we ditched about 80% of the riffs and ideas before shaping and building the song structures on ”God’s Equation”. There are powers within the band (as for instance Ronny) that are educated professionally in music, and that helps out a lot. I don't think there are a lot of bands using a blackboard on the rehearsal studio, ha ha! We build the song structures up piece by piece and very little is coincidental. That really is the only way to make this kind of music work properly and sound good at the same time. If we manage to create in this matter and pace, it would be great, but I also believe you always have to work and try harder to maintain a good band and not "losing". I don't fear that at all in this band because like I said everybody has such good ideas all the time, and with the internal high sense of criticism upon ourselves I think we will be able to ditch and sort out the worst "used-before" riffs and ideas till next time as well. Having said that, I have worked hard of course with the vocal lines and the lyrics, and in my opinion that is the only way to make things work out good. We're really an ambitious bunch of guys, and no one is of the opinion that things ever come for free. Hard work and aiming the right goals, "thinking like a winner" makes this band inspiring and fun to be part of.
How important is the lyrically side of Pagan’s Mind – and what has inspired you on this album?
Pagan’s Mind – Lyrics are extremely important for the whole concept of Pagan’s Mind. It is really the base for a lot of it, and many fans are as much fan of the lyrics as of the music.
“God’s Equation” is our fourth studio album. It is partly a concept album – that is, not telling a story from A to B, but dealing about the same topics thoughougly, it deals not only with origins of mankind but the origin of EVERYTHING. It’s a most enchanting two words – first off was Albert Einstein talking about and releasing the “God’s Equation” though in the 1930´s – his theory about the ever expanding universe which was “God’s Equation”, he later declined his theory until recently scientists has proof that he was right. It’s mathematics, physics and religion all together. You know, everything in life is really mathematics – numbers and equations – which sows everything together. God’s Equation is also a real equation that explains the formula that everything organic and alive in the universe is built upon. Really true – and it really makes you think, because when knowing that all living things has an equal factor – that specific formula – how can you say that it is all coincidental? In addition, we think it’s cool and kind of provocative when the album title is “God’s Equation”, a manly entity grammar wise, but showing a FEMALE – a goddess! The “Mother Goddess” was what the old Pagan religions believed in long before the great religions of today. Nature people have always believed in mother earth, the nature and the universe. All that is represented in the Goddess on the front cover. She is holding several known religious symbols in her Shiva-inspired arm pairs, to illustrate that everything comes from the same source – the energy of life, which you can call God, Vishnu, or whatever. The same, original equal divine source….
I have to speak for myself when it comes to personal interest in these topics though, everybody in the band has different opinions on this and that, but since I write lyrics and concept, you will notice some of my own personal beliefs and ideas. I have been interested in different aspects of mysticism since I was a little boy, and think I always will be. I have experienced several strange episodes during my life, and some of those inspire me when I write lyrics. I am personally convinced that we can't see everything around us. We can't see electricity, but it exists. We can't see radio waves either, but that also exists. Either way I think these topics are a very exciting deep well of inspiration. Note that I personally prefer the "positive powers", though I can write and sing/express all aspects of them!
You have recorded a very good version of the old David Bowie song ‘Hello Spaceboy’, a song that fits right into your concept – was the song with that intent or simply because you love the original?
Pagan’s Mind – We have already been asked several times “Why Hallo Spaceboy? Why not a metal song?” – well, to answer that – Pagan’s Mind is influenced by all sorts of music – not just metal – and when we hear a great song, it’s great no matter what musical style. David Bowie is a musical genius, we all agree on that. “Hallo Spaceboy” on the original Bowie record version is really not much of a killer, but it was when we first heard a live recording of it where he had totally restructured it playing it really really heavy we realized that the musical colors was really close to Pagan’s Mind’s songwriting. It really has a lot of the nerve that is Pagan’s Mind. Along with the (slightly humoristic) lyrics which deal with space stuff, we really though it would be a new and crazy cool thing to do. Having played it live several times already people are raving mad about it, so we think it was a good choice. Above all, it is a great song. Last off, a really cool thing was that when our record label was applying for the use of it through the Bowie management, we received a personal greeting from David himself that he really enjoyed the version very much and gave his best of luck to Pagan’s Mind. That’s something -)
Tell us a bit about the album art work, the stargate is still an important part of your ‘signature?
Pagan’s Mind – God’s Equation is partly a concept album – that is, not telling a story from A to B, but dealing about the same topics throughoughly, it deals not only with origins of mankind but the origin of EVERYTHING. More like a red line throughout the album, this is. We wanted it to be a red line through the songs more than a pure concept album so that the songs can “live a life of their own” but on the same time walk hand in hand. “God’s Equation”: those are most enchanting two words – first off was Albert Einstein talking about and releasing the “God’s Equation” though in the 1930´s – his theory about the ever expanding universe which was “God’s Equation”, he later declined his theory until recently scientists has proof that he was right. It’s mathematics, physics and religion all together. You know, everything in life is really mathematics – numbers and equations – which sows everything together. God’s Equation is also a real equation that explains the formula that everything organic and alive in the universe is built upon. Really true – and it really makes you think, because when knowing that all living things has an equal factor – that specific formula – how can you say that it is all coincidental? In addition, we think it’s cool and kind of provocative when the album title is “God’s Equation”, a manly entity grammar wise, but showing a FEMALE – a goddess! The “Mother Goddess” was what the old Pagan religions believed in long before the great religions of today. Nature people have always believed in mother earth, the nature and the universe. All that is represented in the Goddess on the front cover. She is holding several known religious symbols in her Shiva-inspired arm pairs, to illustrate that everything comes from the same source – the energy of life, which you can call God, Vishnu, or whatever. The same, original equal divine source….and yeah, she’s still travelling through the Stargate, which you can see on the cover, I guess the Stargate has become kind of an “Eddie” for us….:-)
The production is very good; you have been working with Stefan Glaumann on this album, why did you choose him?
Pagan’s Mind – When hearing the latest Rammstein albums, we were totally blown away by the production of these. Knowing that Stefan Glaumann has stood behind several million-selling productions, we approached him. We luckily got booked, and the rest is history. He is a true artist and shaped the sound on “God’s Equation” in a fantastic way. No offense to other producers, but this guy is really outstanding!!
Any story behind your name Pagan’s Mind and why did you chose to call the band that?
Pagan’s Mind – The dream of creating a kind of sophisticated frame around a band, it being concept, music and lyrics had to have a name that suited it all. Pagan's Mind is an actually an ancient egyptian way of philosophy, (many books have been written about the topic) and this name suited the new concept in all ways we thought. So it was in no way coincidential. Pagan's Mind is a suitable name for a thinking man's metal band! :-) It creates the right framework for all that Pagan's Mind stand for, and for my lyrics. It's in general mystically orientated all in all the concept around this band, and is a personal driving force for me when creating music.
What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Pagan’s Mind?
Pagan’s Mind – There have been so many magical moments with this band – it’s hard to say. It seems everything has been going upwards all the time (when will it end ha-ha?), but of course playing in America at ProgPower is something special. Both in 2003 and even greater last year., Sweden Rock Festival 2005 with thousands and thousands of people coming to see us (we broke the limit for people attending a concert at that specific stage), along with our fully-packed arena Hometown release party gig for “Enigmatic: Calling” was something real. We live in a town which is fairly small, but we filled up the local football arena, and as the youngest attending the concert were 7, the oldest were 78. So you can say our local support is heavy, in deed!:-))
What are the strengths and where can Pagan’s Mind improve?
Pagan’s Mind – Our strength: Whatever we do, we will always sound like ourselves. The only thing we know, is how we work together, and as long as we stay together, we will always sound PM. Heavy metal is on the rise, no matter what genre. Of course the progressive metal scene as well. Who could have imagined a few years ago that a band from Norway went to the USA to do just a couple of gigs? That says it all, I think. Primus motors like Glenn at Progpower USA, and Rene at Progpower Europe, are the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, and they truly influence and bring the prog stage to its highly regarded standing that it holds today. There is also the ever demanding fan who craves new music in his ears. i.e. new sounds, new approaches.
Improvements: Work even harder, reach higher goals no matter what!! Also we are pretty strong personalities all of us, and even if we are the best of friends, we should adapt to each other as much as we can to keep the good spirit that has been there for all these years still up!!!! This band is my life...
What immediately tasks lay ahead of you, any touring plans?
Pagan’s Mind – First off is our tour together with Brainstorm and Powerwolf in Germany and some other European countries, in March. So let’s hope the reception is good and that it gives us the opportunity to do a headliner tour during the year. We work hard on doing a tour in the US, and there are some summer festivals to be done also. Really, 2008 is the year we have to work harder than ever promoting the album and doing what is in our powers to get his band to the next level. Because of the fans and people like yourselves, we might be able do reach our goals, so thanks a bunch!
Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Pagan’s Mind – My grandfather. He was a solemn and extremely intelligent and warm person. He has guided me the whole way with his philosophy and still do I strongly believe. He had visions and abilities above the normal and is directly responsible for much of what I do today.
Give me your shot at some albums you’d rip for your iPod if you were to be sent to the ISS space station tonight…
Pagan’s Mind –
#1 King Diamond ”Them”
#2 Dream Theater “Images & Words”
#3 Queensryche “Rage For Order”
#4 Iron Maiden “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son”
#5 Lost Horizon “Awakening the World”
Which album(s) have put a big smile on your face and has made you bang your head in the past year?
Pagan’s Mind – See above! :-))
I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?
Pagan’s Mind – ! Don’t drink and drive, be nice to each other, support the good things in life and what’s good for you and others. See through the dull surface of the “real” world and discover all the magic that lies behind. It is really there. Don’t believe the hypocrisy and believe in YOURSELF.
Interviewed by Kenn Jensen.