Paradise Lost har hyllats i kör för senaste given “The plague within” och det med rätta. Utan tvekan är det ett av deras starkaste album på länge och visar upp britterna i fin gammal form. Rocksverige tog sig ett kort snack med den något fåordige basisten Steve, när bandet besökte Stockholm. Han berättade då bl a om ett klassiskt Spinal Tap-minne:
“There was the time when we got on the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm and it stops on the way. The drummer got off and didn´t have his coat or anything, but he then realized it wasn´t Stockholm and it was just an island in the Baltic Sea. We had to cancel the show and everything.”
You worked with Jamie Gomez Arellano on “The plague within”. How did that come about?
Steve: He´s a really cool guy and easy to work with. His studio (Orgone Studios) is great and we liked the stuff he did with Ghost (mastered and mixed first album), so we thought we´d use him. He has the same manager as us, so it was easy to communicate with him and we thought we´d try something different. We don´t like to use the same producer all the time. We used Jens Bogren for the last two albums and it´s always time for a change.
What did Jamie bring to your sound?
Steve: Probably a more organic, dirty sound and also much rawer.
Was there talk about using Jens again?
Steve: We decided not to use the same producer. We´ve done two albums with Jens and then we move on to the next one. Otherwise it sounds the same and, kind of. Producers also bring their own ideas and they´re different.
“The plague within” has gotten great reviews. Do you care about reviews?
Steve: Of course! If you see a bad review you get pissed off. You spend a lot of time doing these things and then if someone slags it, it´s disappointing.
When you started out and you recorded the first album, could you in any way back then, imagine that you´d be here still after all these years?
Steve: Of course not, because when we started we were just doing it for fun and before you know it, 27 years later, you´re still here. It´s kinda bizarre really. It wasn´t something we thought about. It just really happened.
What are your memories of that first album?
Steve: We were just guys playing, rehearsing and going to the pub. It was just for fun. We never thought about it as a career. We were just basically doing it for a laugh. We couldn´t really play. (laughs)
What was the scene like in Halifax and around that place back then?
Steven: It was a big scene. You could go to a concert every week in the town. A lot of bands and clubs and full of people. It was quite big then. The thrash scene was getting big around 86-88. These days it´s still there, I think, but the pub culture has kinda died in the UK now, so you don´t see much of that, but it´s still there. The big festivals are always sold out.
How do you feel about the record business changing so drastically over the years?
Steve: It depends. You can obviously get an album for free, but it´s good for getting your music out there. I think there´s probably too many bands around now. You can sit in your grandmother´s house and make an album. It´s just different now and I don´t know if it´s better or worse. The competition is bigger now, or it at least seems that way anyway. It´s a bigger scene and just more bands. It´s quite bizarre.
Who were your bass player heroes when you started out?
Steve: Cliff Burton, Steve Harris and Geezer Butler. I still like them bands and I´ve kinda stuck to what I liked when I was 12 years old. (laughs) When it comes to new guys, I like the guy from TOOL, but they´re not really new. Like I said, I just stick to the stuff I liked as a kid, but I try to not listen to music anyway, since it´s my job.
Are you nostalgic in any way?
Steve: Yeah, kind of. It always takes me back when I listen to “The number of the beast” (1982) or something like that.
What would you say is your favorite Paradise Lost album?
Steve: It´s probably “Draconian times” (1995). We were touring with Ozzy Osbourne in South America and felt it couldn´t get bigger than that. Ozzy was below us on the bill. A few years ago James Hetfield came to a show in Paris and that was quite cool. He just came backstage and said “Damn good gig!”.
Is “Draconian times” like a template that you compare other albums to?
Steve: Yeah, kind of. We obviously can´t rip it off, but it´s about trying to get that feel, I think. That vibe of recording and how it sounds. I just feel like everything happened by accident and it probably had to do with the producer (Simon Efemey) at the time. We don´t really decide what we´re gonna do before we go into the studio. Things just happen. For me anyway.
And your least favorite album?
Steve: Probably “Host” (1999). If we hadn´t done that one, we´d probably have done “Draconian times” 4 or something like that. I think we needed to do it, but we probably took it too far. But people like it though, but we just took it a bit too far. We learned from that album and you learn from your mistakes, which is a good thing. If you don´t learn from your mistakes, then you´re pretty stupid.
Any good Spinal Tap moments throughout the years?
Steve: Plenty of them. There was the time when we got on the ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm and it stops on the way. The drummer got off and didn´t have his coat or anything, but he then realized it wasn´t Stockholm and it was just an island in the Baltic Sea. We had to cancel the show and everything. (laughs)
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Josefin Wahlstedt