Interview with Torben Lysholm - Pangea, May 2010

I am sure not all of our readers know you - could you please introduce yourself and tell a bit about your background?

Pangea - Well, greetings to all. Pangea is a trio from Denmark that has existed as a band since the mid 80's in various formations leading up to our consolidation as a trio in '92. We wrote a heap of songs, got a production deal and started recording what would become our debut album The First over a couple of years, releasing it first on JVC Victor Entertainment Records in Japan in '95. We released our second album Manchild in '97 and followed it up by playing concerts here and there. A couple of videos were made but it was hard to really get the ball rolling when we didn't actually go to Japan and Southeast Asia on promotion tours. We then decided to give it a serious and ambitious go in '99 and we recorded a very expensive album while trying to get some promotional stuff up and ready for the far east territory. Then the financial disaster struck in Japan and with it's ripple effect through the business globally we simply couldn't get the album out. Suddenly the studio and production company closed down and was sold and all we had left was data backups of the stuff that had been dumped from the production tapes on to harddisks. Long story short (or is that too late now?) this was followed by years of nothing really going anywhere and after having split up we're now back together picking up where we left off.

What kind of hopes and expectations do you have for ‘Retrospectacular’?

Pangea - Obviously we've been away from the scene a while and we feel we've been waving this "never released third album" around so we really owe it to the fans to at least release that before going on with new stuff. We know that there are fans that have been waiting for it and we worry that some may have lost faith and given up on us. But we're back and it will mark a new beginning if we sense that we still have an audience in the world. 

This new version of the album isn't completely like the first version. Songs have been left out because they didn't stand the test of time as far as we're concerned and I wrote a couple of new songs as replacements for a couple of them. So when this album is launched we'll release some more stuff online for fans to enjoy. Hopefully we can start this whole thing up again and reconnect with the fans.

How does the final result compare to the idea you had going into the studio?

Pangea - Quite well actually...better than the first time around. We don't sound like the other bands in the genre. Well, there are parallels of course but none intentional. We strive to give each song it's individual time and space. That's how they sit in our minds and we try to get that across. I believe this will be our last big sounding album for a while though. I think we'll go for a more..."trio sound" next time. That'll be fun too. I love those passages where I have the chance to solo over just the drums and bass hammering on.

You have produced the album yourself, why did you choose to do so?

Pangea - It has to do with vision, I think... It's not that we wouldn't like to "be produced". It's just that we have our minds set on specific ways of doing it and we don't really wanna sound like anyone in particular. We don't have a specific producer's "fingerprint" in mind as something we'd like on our albums. I know it's becoming a cliché of sorts to talk about the "brainchild" of this or that artist, producer or whatever but we always have a very strong sense of where we wanna go with what we do. I think that's an important factor for us. It is for me... 

Can you give us a brief introduction on the lyrical concept behind ‘Retrospectacular’?

Pangea – Well, I can only comment on my own lyrics on the album. Martie Kolbl who wrote a handful of songs will have to answer for herself. My own work is a combination of my usual approach of just writing from an idea and juggling with that and this time I tried to do some free association as well. Little By Little for instance... What's that about? Well, your take on it is as valid as my own. I get a lot from listening to it myself and I can relate to it in two ways myself. One way is the manner of a social comment and one is on a more spiritual personal developing level. Feel free to read something else in it. 

You are releasing this album on the Finnish Lion Music label – how did you hook up with them and do you see this as an advantage?

Pangea – Well, Lion Music is one of the more active labels out there. Apart from being very happy with the way they conduct their business and how they present both us and themselves to the public, they're also very professional to work with behind the scene. Always updating us on everything that's going on and you feel appreciated as an artist. We just hope that the album is well enough received to make everything worth the while for them up there.

2010 has just begun, but which albums impressed you in 2009?

Pangea - I've been working hard all the way through 2009 and haven't bought a single new album all year. Ask me again next year.

Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?

Pangea - Thank you! It's my pleasure to give this interview. Not really a rant per se but I hope the rockers out there are able to tell that we put a lot of heart into Retrospectacular. We're proud of it and hopefully you'll rock hard to it! And let me just say thanks to and all others who stay true to the genres of hard rock and metal! You guys rock!

Interviewed by Kenn Jensen

Pangea - Retrospectacular

Album available on Lion Music