Pagan (VO)

interview Pagan's MindThat made two years that your preceding album, the very good \'Celestial Entrance\' has been released. The fans got really impatient. What did you make during this period which was a bit inusual for Pagan\'s Mind ?
First of all, hello France and thank you for the interview! Due to an extensive gigging and the fact that making mew material takes a lot of time, we really needed the two year period to pull everything off. Although we are working on new songs all the time we wanted to make sure that the material was as good as we could make it, trying out every possible combination with riffs and parts in order to be satisfied. Hopefully we succeeded and the wait was worth it all. In the meantime we also re-released our first album \'Infinity Divine\' which received a facelift and a new mix and mastering, and we even added a couple of bonus tracks to it. Another point is that we do not go in studio before all the songs and all the arrangements are set and final. This is just the way we work.

On 16th may, you released your new album \'Enigmatic : Calling\', which is, to date, the heaviest (and thrashy) album that you ever realized. Is this evolution natural or did you decided to go in this direction, as some members (Jorn Viggo Lafstad, mainly) have like influences some thrash (Metallica) or power metal bands (Pantera)?
The evolution, as you perceive it, is progressive I find. Hopefully we evolve as a band, and you are right. The new album is more heavy, more extreme and even more progressive(when it gets progressive) than its predecessors, basically more \"in-your-face\". This was not done intentionally, but rather a consequence of the evolvement of the band, I think. All the songs for the new album are all a product of an ever ongoing process. This is not something we set out to do, we did not decide the sound of the album before we started writing. I Thank you for the comparison, though, reminding you of both Metallica and Pantera, the ultimate thrashriff kings! We are all influenced by whatever we listen to at any given time, and this time around it just seemed right, making out the structure of the songs as we did.

It is also possible to note that the songs are more progressive than in the past. The production is, it also, very different, clearer and sometimes making think that of Queensrÿche, period \'Operation : Mindcrime\'. The voice of Nils have lot of common points with that of Geoff Tate. What do you think about it ?
Very true, indeed, because when it gets progressive it tends to break off into something completely different, a change of moods. But I think it still sounds PM. Anyway, we can only sound as we do. Trying to sound different would be mere copying, I find. The entire flow of the album is much better this time around. Regarding the production, Fredrik Nordstrom and Patrick G Sten did the mix once again, and these guys have an incredible ear for details and power which we like a lot, grand but punchy. We all grew up listeni
interview Pagan's Mindng to QR and were influenced by them, at least me and Nils. It is an honour to be compared with such bands today. Nils is a big Geoff Tate-fan and as I said earlier, the melting pot we call PM is a product of all our influences, ranging from thrash/black metal to symphonic rock to commercial music which makes it more interesting to play and be a part of. I can hear some QR in our music, hopefully without us being copycats.



While speaking about Queensrÿche, does not you find that there are many similarities between your respective discographies? \'Operation : Mindcrime\' is the third album of the Tate\'s band, just like \'Enigmatic : Calling\' is your third studio realization. Even the titles of the both bands third albums show a certain similarity. Moreover, the production and the compositions are also very \"queensrÿchians\". And another thing : both are concept-albums. Then, coincidence or not?
Again, this was not done intentionally, I swear. By the way, OM was their 4th album if you consider their first effort(the EP) an album as of today. I am really proud of that comparison, though, feeling that we found our unique sound in this jungle of well-sounding productions. I can see your point but I find that we sound more up-to-date both with the production and the cover art. Our latest effort is in fact a conceptional album but we never went for that in the first place. This is just how it evolved. Nils is so clever with lyrics, and towards the end of the recording we found that there was indeed a thick red line between the songs and it was sort of woven together as a concept album, but so are all of our records really, dealing with the eternal questions dealing with the origin of mankind, etc.

\'Enigmatic : Calling\' is a conceptual album. As we can see the cover and according to certain titles, such as \'Enigmatic Mission\' or \'Entrance To Infinity\', one has the impression that the developped story is that of Stargate SG-1, series created by Roland Emmerich. Can you say us a little bit more about?
Actually, the film \'Stargate(a gateway to the stars)\' had a tremendous impact on all of us, as well as the movie \'Contact\'. We all grew up with sci-fi and the philosophy and intrigues of alien lifeforms coming to visit us, and we all found that quite intriguing growing up. Even books by Erich Von Danicken and his theories are still important today. But I have to stress the point that our music and lyrics are not religious in any way. We just flirt with the theses that we were put here by a highly evolved intelligence as part of an experiment. Quite intriguing, I find. All of our albums deal with the same thoughts, so in a way we could call all the albums conceptional somehow.



Which are your greater influences?
We all listen to all kinds of music, from jazz and pop to black metal and symphonic music. I have to speak for myself. I listen a lot to Mars Volta and Neal Morse these days. I grew up with a very ded
interview Pagan's Mindicated family which listened to everything from Beatles and Pink Floyd to Cabaretmusic and Jazz, so in a way I was lucky to be introduced to so many different forms of music. Earlier on I used to listen a lot to PF, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Yes, Maiden, ELP, Scorpions, Ozzy, Van Halen, Zappa, David Bowie, Chick Corea, Steve Vai, Return to forever, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orch, etc.

Any side-projects out of Pagan\'s Mind?
We just finished a new Jorn(singer of Masterplan) solo album which will be released in the fall sometimes. I am also involved in a project doing more bluesoriented heavy metal, release not confirmed yet. We all gig heavily with Jorn Lande, as well. Stian has his Firewind(drums) and Nils has just taken over the vocal works with Eidolon(Glen and Shawn Drover currently gigging with Megadeth) so you can say that we a re quite busy outside of PM.

What do you think of the current norwegian scene ? And of the power prog\' scene in its entirety?
Regarding the Norwegian scene, I have learned that there are more aspects to music deriving from Norway than black metal, which Norway is known for abroad. But it is quite hard for Norwegians bands not playing Black metal to have success abroad really, because we are well known and highly regarded abroad. It is damn hard coming from Norway and trying to make it big playing Heavy metal but we have experienced a boom in the non-blackmetal scene the last couple of years with bands like Circus Maximus and Griffin and even Octavia Sperati. I find that very positive indeed. There is more to us than meets the ears? We have highly qualified musicians here, but not being part of the EC makes it that more difficult for us going abroad, though. The prog metal scene both in Norway and abroad has evolved beyond my expectations and I find that very positive since there are in fact other artists and musicians coming out of Norway. .Abroad there seem to be only a few bands that make it, DT and Symphony X due to their high recognition as pioneers of the genre.

Do you have booked some concerts? Which band you will do the tour with? Are some tour dates in France envisaged?
No tourdates in France yet but the first chance we get to come and play in your lovely country, we will grab it instantaneously!! Please make us come and play?. We mostly have gigs lined up the rest of this year in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland. Next year we are going to play Progpower UK in England. This fall we are headlining Progpower Europe in Holland, which will be a blast. So far this summer we did a couple of major festivals here in Scandinavia and loads of single gigs. No band has offered us any support tour yet, but we still hope for that to happen?.

Do you have any last words for the readers of Spirit of Metal?
Stay hard, stay metal! Look to the sky, there might be more than meets the eye out there. What, me worry? What does not kill you, makes you stronger! Heinecken forever!!!!
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Interview done by MetalAngel

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