Hypocrisy - Interview
8 long years of silence passed and now Hypocrisy are back on the stage with their 13th album called "Worship" (review here). You can find the typical trademarks that define the music of the Swedes and also the topics Peter Tägtgren dealt with before like aliens and conspiracy theories. I took the chance to ask him more about all these topics and also about some things of the past (like about his side-project "The Abyss") questions were answered. Enjoy the interview.
Hi Peter, how are you doing?
Well, I think I am getting a cold but nothing too bad, thanks.
First of all, congratulations for the 30th anniversary of the band. I guess it is a question that many people will ask, why did it take so long to write and record a new Hypocrisy album?
Well, I've been busy as hell (laughs). Eight years went by – wooooof. I mean we constantly toured with End of Disclosure and I've toured with Pain and released an album ("Coming Home"; M.) and I've toured with Lindemann and released two albums ("Skills in Pills" and "F&M"; M.) so eight years went by fast.
I have listened to "Worship" now several times and I would call it the "missing link" between the older Hypocrisy albums like "Abducted" or "The 4th Dimension" and newer stuff. Tracks like 'Worship' or 'Chemical Whore' and your growling vocals are very old school. On the other hand there are a lot of atmospheric, slower songs on it. Would you agree with that?
I mean it basically is me writing songs and they will sound like me (laughs) and that's Hypocrisy. I mean my only thing was just to write better songs and a fatter production. That was my goal from the beginning, just to write as good songs as I can with Hypocrisy. There is no try to reinvent the wheel, it doesn't make sense to do that. I think Hypocrisy has a unique style and sound and I guess we should treasure that. And it's just natural, it is the way how I write music. I mean, Michael and Horgh contribute with a couple of riffs but mainly it's me who did all this, except that one which is Sebastians (his son; M.) but that's another story. When I write stuff, it becomes my style (laughs). It's really hard to say, I mean Michael has his certain style that he put into the band in the 90s but nowadays he doesn't write as much as he used to for the last two or three albums. It's just the way it is sometimes, some people can spit out riffs less they write, and some people really take a long time to do it but they do less but better. So, it's no big deal with that.
You have many different topics on the album. The first video that was released is 'Chemical Whore' where you accuse the pharmaceutical industry to make us all addict. Was the opioid crisis in the USA a major reason for the track?
No, this track was written in 2018 or beginning of '19. We did the video in September 2019. It's just about thoughts I have about the pharmaceutical industry, how powerful it is and how easy it is to get addicted to pills. Pills for everything (laughs). Pills for upfit and pills for downs. I've seen a lot of friends go really on this benzene shit because it's so addicting. Some people say it's making as addicted as heroin. It is pretty bad and these big pharmaceuticals they really make sure that people take the pills because they make more money. And the doctors get kind of percentage the more they put shit on people.
Of course, you also deal with some conspiracy theories like on 'Dead World' or 'They Will Arrive'. How much of these things do you personally believe in?
I believe a lot, in lot of things that I sing on the album. It's my thoughts, my theories and I've done a lot of research about things left and right so this is my story, but I believe it.
You always dealt with conspiracy theories. Do you think the internet is a threat to society now that everybody can spread some bullshit and make others believe it?
I think we live in a fucking society today where algorithm is the boss. The artificial intelligence is the boss for us what we can say and what we can do. If you say something wrong, they take you away, I mean on the net. It's a kind of frightening situation I would say, where the computer decides whether you are right or wrong. Of course, someone has to program it first but in the future it's gonna do it by itself and nobody influences the thing with it.
Just like in Terminator…
Yeah, exactly! It's a kind of scary thing. Of course, the other way is like people can spread stupid shit instead and disinform so it's a little bit of a give and take. When you open this kind of thing it will become like it is now because some people throw propaganda, idiots like politicians as you see (laughs). They're lying straight in your face and on the other hand you can't say what you want because otherwise you will be blocked on the net. I guess it's a natural development of how things are, unfortunately. So, it's both good and bad and talking about politicians, I wrote on 'Greedy Bastards', you saw yesterday the 'Pandoras Box' and the Panama thing, that's what I wrote about three years ago. It's my theories and my thoughts and my research that make me write these lyrics.
But of course, everybody had nothing to do with these revelations that were made yesterday. All the people refused….
Of course! All these politicians are just pocketing money and they're not there to speak for the people, they are there for speaking for their own pockets. I mean, of course everybody don't want to pay taxes, you want to keep that money. And today, I don't know what the taxes are going to because it's bullshit all the way. Taxes were an invention by some stupid idiot in the 17th century and all suddenly it was just a goal, so everybody pays taxes now (laughs).
How it all did start for you, when did you get interested in alien stuff and so on? For me it was Erich von Däniken whose books I read as a child and of course The X-Files (back in those days everybody laughed about conspiracy theories, right?)
For me it started in the 70s. Anything from watching "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" to the first "Alien" movie, things like that. In the 80s I got a lot of VHS with documentary series about all kinds of paranormal things and then I came really into it. These VHS was all before the internet of course and that was the only way to get it.
What were your thoughts when the US government stated that some kind of UFOs does exist and the report was released?
It's just a crack of shit. It's just the version for us to look the other way on things than what's really happening in the world today. They make you look one way, and they do something on the other side so to speak. And it's not called UFOs anymore, they call it UAPs. The thing is, why they call it UAPs is because they deny the UFOs in the past. Now it's if they're say there is UAP existence they didn't lie about the UFOs (laughs). I don't know – I will believe it when I see it. I think these Tic-Tac things were drones and that was actually 2004 from the beginning but it never made to the press. There were a lot of people who saw it before that and in December 2017 they went out with it on the New York Times, CNN and blabla…it's a propaganda thing to confuse you just a little bit.
Yes, we will see what will come out of it! I read that you wrote the track 'Dead World' together with your son Sebastian, besides some other tracks. How was it for you to write tracks with him?
Well, me and Sebastian started a father and son thing in 2017, just sitting and writing riffs together because we had so many riffs in our heads and I think we recorded about 11 songs, but they were more like skeletons in demo versions, no vocals no lyrics on it. We just invented a little bit and did something together and, in that session, 'Dead World' came out from Sebastian. He wrote that song and I wrote the lyrics on top of that and when we were done with these 11 skeleton songs in demo version, we talked about if we make it real now or if we should just move on and we decided to just move on. After a while when you write so much stuff and Sebastian jumped on his own solo thing, I tasted blood to start on a new Hypocrisy album. I always liked that 'Dead World' song he did and asked him if I could use it for Hypocrisy because it could work pretty well and he agreed.
You released two videos yet and they are very well produced. Why didn't you do such cool videos in the past (at least I couldn't find such almost short films on the internet)?
I would say….eh…. money (laughs)? It costs a lot of money to make these things and also my new manager is very open-minded and very smart. She had some contact with these two directors from the past, at least one of them and the other one she saw some stuff he has been doing for more commercial Russian artist and so we tried this. I had a party in my head with Andrey (Kezzyn; M.) who did the video for 'Dead World'. I liked the way he was thinking, and he was doing it and in September 2019 we did the Russia, Ukraine and Belarus tour and we came in five days before the tour started in St. Petersburg and the girl, Agatha, gave me the script what she thought about the song, and I liked the idea and we shot the video before that. It was cool to do, and everything was pretty much done in 2019. We did another video in April 2019 in America for other song that's gonna come out and did the photo shoots there and in 2018 I was doing the album cover. Everything was done many years before it was released to be honest. Usually it's the opposite – you finish the album, you have all the songs and then you go "oh shit, what are we do now?" We need photos, we need videos and this and that and with my new management it's great. They're always a step ahead which is good because I don't have the time to think about those things.
I read that the album was already written in 2020 but you held it back until you are able to go on tour again. How do you feel now it is possible?
I'm happy. I think it sounds good, we're not trying to reinvent the wheel with Hypocrisy. We just trying to make a great album with good songs. As I said, everything was written in 2018/19 and in 2020 I started mixing the album. Sometimes with the lyrics and stuff you think: "Oh, holy shit" (laughs). Some people think 'Chemical Whore' is an anti-vaccine song but it's just stupid because there was no Corona when the song was done but if they wanna talk shit about it, I don't care.
Do you have any tour plans so far? Maybe a special "Penetralia" anniversary tour next year? I saw that you're going to play on three festivals but nothing more.
It's because all the 2020 festivals were postponed to 2021. 2019 we did a lot of festivals and we thought that 2020 we're not gonna do anything because we were reworking on the new album. Therefore, we missed a lot of slots for 2021 because that's the 2020 slots (laughs). Let's see what we gonna do. I mean we have headline tour for America lined-up that we gonna come out with tour dates on I don't know yet when. We have that plan, but it will come out. And what we try to get is as many festivals as possible during the summer and then in Europe we try to get a headliner tour in September or October. It depends on how the venues are available. I'm sure there is a huge waiting list for all these venues because all the bands are out to play and some of them disappeared also and it's gonna be tricky but I hope we really can do the whole world before 2022 is over.
What do you think has changed in the band within the last 30 years and is there maybe something that you miss from the former days?
Good question. I miss the writing between all the members like we did in the 90s or early 00s. But that's something you can't really change. People take a long time to write things and you just have to accept it. But in the end, 'Chemical Whore' all three of us contributed with ideas for the music. That's pretty cool that all three of us did and it's not so many songs that all three have contributed to. There are some few songs like 'Final Chapter' or 'Eraser' we all three contributed for and those songs are really great. That's what I miss a little bit, but it always ends up on my shoulders and that's why in 1997 I wanted to quit (laughs). I just have to accept that, so there is nothing more to think about, I guess. I just go on with my raise and if the guys want to jump on it, let's do it.
Now one more question – are there any plans concerning Pain or my favorite side-project The Abyss?
Yeah "The Abyss" …no forget it! I can't play drums anymore, not that fast. I haven't touched the drums in I don't know how many years so it will take me a while to warm-up to play this extreme stuff (laughs). So that will not happen, and I need Lars and Michael because they were the main songwriters for that project. With Pain, as soon as I'm done with all the promotion, I will sit down and start writing some tunes for Pain because when the Hypocrisy stuff is done, it's always good to bring out the Pain stuff after that and just not sit and wait until the Hypocrisy stuff is done and then start writing for Pain because that would take even longer. It's hard to balance these things but I'm gonna try to start writing some shit now and let's see if it comes out end of '22 or the beginning of '23, I really don't know.
The last words are yours!
I hope that everybody enjoys the new album and I hope to see everybody on tour and festivals!
End Of Disclosure
A Taste Of Extreme Divinity
10 Years Of Chaos And Confusion
Into The Abyss
Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken
The Final Chapter
The Fourth Dimension
- Diablation - Allégeance - Dec 06
- Black Cilice - Tomb Emanations - Dec 10
- Stabbing - Ravenous Psychotic Onslaught - Dec 10
- Serpent Lord - Apocrypha - Dec 10
- Thalarion - Dying On The Scorched Plains - Dec 10
- Lhaäd - Below - Dec 10
- Inherits The Void - Monolith Of Light - Dec 10
- Catacomb - Back To Unknown Kadath - Dec 10
- Detest - We Will Get What We Deserve - Dec 10
- Otargos - Fleshborer Soulflayer - Dec 10
- Funeral - Praesentialis In Aeternum - Dec 10
- Cadaveric Fumes - Echoing Chambers Of Soul - Dec 10
- Reveal! - Doppelherz - Dec 10
- Vahrzaw - The Trembling Voices Of Conquered Men - Dec 10
- Intricated - Apocalyptic Metamorphosis - Dec 10
- Phrenelith - Chimaera - Dec 10
- Restless Spirit - Blood Of The Old Gods - Dec 10
- Pyrexia - Gravitas Maximus - Dec 10
- Rökkr - Rökkr - Dec 10
- Rat King - Santa Hipocresía - Dec 10