July 1, 2022 Interview – Peter Tägtgren Talks The Return Of Hypocrisy
Being prolific is not easy. In fact, many artists will remain active for years, but producing little material in that span of time. Then you have those like Peter Tägtgren, a Heavy Metal icon who has not only been around for thirty plus years, but has been as active as anyone to ever grace this planet. The best part is, pretty much everything he puts his fingerprints on is of the highest quality.
From his longest running band Hypocrisy, to his alter ego project Pain, to his teaming with Till Lindemann of Rammstein, to his lengthy list of production credits, there is just no stopping this creative force. Recently igniting the flame of Hypocrisy once again with the 2021 album Worship, Tägtgren recently took the time to chat about everything and anything.
Cryptic Rock – Last we spoke was all the way back in 2016. A lot has happened since that time, including the latest Hypocrisy album Worship which was released in November of 2021. How would you describe the last six years of your musical career?
Peter Tägtgren – I actually started to take it a little bit easier, to be honest. I released a Pain and Lindemann album over the last six years, but it has been a lot of touring with all three bands. It’s been hectic in a different way, but mainly it has been the touring that took the energy. I’m working on a new Pain album right now. I’m trying to slowly start again to write some music.
Cryptic Rock – That is good news. It was a surprise when a new Hypocrisy album was announced because it had been a while. What many people do not realize is that Worship was written prior to the pandemic; they just assumed because of the lyrical content it was written during the pandemic.
Peter Tägtgren – Exactly. We wrote and recorded the album in 2018 and 2019, but I didn’t mix it until 2020.
Cryptic Rock – Right. So what was the inspiration behind Worship?
Peter Tägtgren – Just getting a bloody tooth again from not writing a lot of Death Metal for a while; 2013 was the last Hypocrisy album. It took four years to get into it again. It was me and my son who started to write music together and it was more in the Death Metal genre in 2017. It gave me a bloody tooth to start writing again for Hypocrisy. That is how it started.
Cryptic Rock – Well the album is very strong and a great listen. You have never pulled any punches with your lyrics, you have always told people how you feel and they can take it or leave it.
Peter Tägtgren – Yea, it has probably been like that for my whole life when it comes to things about me, take it or leave it. (Laughs) I am not really preaching, I’m just telling you from my point of view how I see things.
Cryptic Rock – Most certainly. With the lyrics of Worship you cover a lot of the matters that are plaguing the world. When we spoke in 2016 you mentioned we will see how things pan out. You mentioned how you felt a lot of things would come to light. What do you think six years later? It seems things have gotten worse, not better.
Peter Tägtgren – Yea exactly! I think I also said that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. A lot of things have changed, even over the last three years with the whole pandemic, the war with Ukraine/Russia, and all the inflation that hits every country in the world. Maybe some people thought we had it too good so they tightened the screws on us to not enjoy our life so much…I don’t know what the hell is going on to be honest.
Cryptic Rock – That is a very interesting point. Your band is named Hypocrisy… it’s right there in the name – it is what has and always be going on. (Laughs) Needless to say, you have always been very astute to what is going on. Is it frustrating when people around you do not see what is going on in front of their eyes?
Peter Tägtgren – Yea, that is a very personal thing. I think it’s also about how we see things. Everybody is different from each other. You can’t blame people for not seeing certain things and you can’t blame them for seeing other things. It’s really individual ways of seeing things. You can only try to open people’s eyes to think for themselves a couple of times before they make decisions. There is always a hidden agenda in things.
Cryptic Rock – Completely agreed. So let’s get back to the music. Worship sounds like a Hypocrisy record from start to finish. What was it like recording this album?
Peter Tägtgren – It was pretty relaxed because I didn’t put any time limit on it. It was more slow starting in 2018…I think we had half the album with lyrics written then. Then we had the other half written in 2019. After the Lindemann tour I thought I would go start mixing the album, but when the pandemic hit, and I took a break for at least a half of a year. I really needed to recharge my batteries so to speak.
It really didn’t make sense to release anything during the pandemic, because it would have killed itself. You need to go out and tour the shit you release. It’s really hard to tour an album that is two or three years old, people are not so excited as they are at the moment when the album is released. Right now I feel we were still a half of year later to go out in America, but it is not as bad as two or three years later.
Cryptic Rock – Very true. The last time Hypocrisy did a one off tour in America was in 2019, but you have not been to the North American region with a new album in a very long time. How excited were you for your recent return in 2022?
Peter Tägtgren – We were jonesing. We really wanted to go out, America and Canada are a great place to tour. We really rearranged the set list too. There were a few songs we had to play of course, but then we really rearranged a lot of songs in there. We put in a lot of old songs that we never played before, or old songs that we may have done a tour on in 1996 or 1997.
Of course we are playing some new songs from the new album, but we do not overdue it, we want to play one song from every album. We have a lot of albums, so that is right there over one hour to take one song from each album. We did a complete the set with another song from one of the albums and two or three songs from the new album. We really tried to refresh our repertoire.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like it is a very balanced show. You are talking about over thirty years of Hypocrisy! Have you ever stopped to think about that sometimes? When you are busy, you probably do not, but time really does fly by.
Peter Tägtgren – Yea it does. The older you get the faster time flies. It is what it is so to say. We will take it step by step. Hopefully people will like what we put together. We will do some summer festivals, we will go to Europe and do the same thing, and hopefully we can do South America after the European tour. We just want to go out to every place in the world with the new album. After that, I don’t know, maybe it will be the last tour we do in America. I have no clue.
Cryptic Rock – People were very excited about Hypocrisy’s return to North America. You spoke about working with your son. What was it like working with him?
Peter Tägtgren – It was great to see it from his perspective. He is a diehard Death Metal fan as well; both old generation and the newer generation. He wrote the song “Dead World.” I told him that the “Dead World” song was really good and asked him if I could use it for Hypocrisy. He said sure.
Cryptic Rock – It is a great song. You also have some really interesting music videos to go along with Worship as well.
Peter Tägtgren – Yea, it’s a little bit different from what we normally do. In the past we really didn’t care about videos with Hypocrisy, it was mainly just to get the music out to tell people there was a new album coming. The last couple of albums we started to think about videos, so for this album it was very important to do something special with it.
Cryptic Rock – It works well! You mentioned about some new Pain music that is coming. It was always a dream of yours to bring Pain to North America, and you did! What was that experience like?
Peter Tägtgren – It was great and we had a very good response. I didn’t know where we stood. Now next year sometime maybe we will come back to America and headline. I know it’s not going to be a huge tour, but we will bring our led screens with us, because there are a lot of things to watch while you hear it. I think that’s the way to go, even if you play for three to seven hundred people.
Cryptic Rock – That would be great to see. Is there a time table for the release of the new Pain material?
Peter Tägtgren – I don’t even dare to say. I still haven’t really written that much material right now. It all depends on how much time I have in between all the tours and summer festivals. Maybe, if I’m lucky, September of October of 2023 the album can be done and out. I really don’t want to say anything I can’t stand behind. That is what I’m hoping…let’s see what reality will say.
Cryptic Rock – Understood. It seems like you have a busy schedule coming up after taking some time off. For decades you did a lot of production as well. Would you say you have slowed down in recent years with production too?
Peter Tägtgren – For sure. For the last five to six years I had three bands going. When all three bands started to tour as well, there was so much more stuff you had to put time into. The last thing I produced was Possessed 2019’s Revelations of Oblivion. I went to LA, recorded it with the guys, and I think we did a great job with that album. After that I only did some mixing…I just did The Troops of Doom’s Antichrist Reborn album which is really good. Other than that, I really didn’t have time to do anything for other people. Let’s see what comes up this year.
Cryptic Rock – Hopefully you find the time amidst everything else. You mentioned how you had the bug to create Hypocrisy music again. As someone who has such a broad repertoire of things that you do, where do you find new inspiration? Sometimes it is hard to find inspiration.
Peter Tägtgren – It is, I know. With Hypocrisy I think it’s a little bit easier. We don’t really want to leave our ground so to speak. I don’t really want to change any styles, it’s more to concentrate on doing good songs in the same vibe as Worship. You can feel a little bit of ’90s and some 2000s in there too.
The whole point is really to be, when you listen to the song for two seconds to say, “This is Hypocrisy.” I think that is the most important nowadays for a band that has been around for thirty years. I don’t want to hear AC/DC to sound like Guns n’ Roses. (Laughs) I’m sure Hypocrisy fans want Hypocrisy to sound like Hypocrisy…with new songs.
With Pain it’s just endlessly trying to find different things. It’s always been experimental with Pain; no album sounds like the other one with Pain. That is my ego trick – try different things and not be afraid of being stuck in one place.
Cryptic Rock – That is what is great about having a separate creative outlet like Pain. Speaking of trying new things, would you say that 2002’s Catch 22 was the most experimental you went with Hypocrisy?
Peter Tägtgren – Yea definitely! It was something we needed to do. I think any band that has a career over fifteen or twenty years make this kind of album, and then come back to do what they are supposed to. It is something that maybe you have in your system that you need to get out.
Catch 22 wasn’t so different from anything else though, except for the production was weird in a way of being Hypocrisy. The snare was something like Lars Ulrich stole from me afterwards. (Laughs) I was just into that mood, I wanted it to be more punky and shit. The attitude of the lyrics were also pretty much fuck everybody. It was therapy to write and record the album with the other guys. Like I said, all these bands that have a career over fifteen or twenty years try to do something different on one album.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, and that album sticks out. It’s a good record for sure.
Peter Tägtgren – It wasn’t so positive when it came out in the beginning. People said, “What the hell is this?” Afterwards, ten to fifteen years later, people say, “It’s my favorite album!”…yea, but it wasn’t. (Laughs) Like I said, it’s very important to do. Everybody needs to do different things.
Cryptic Rock – Most certainly. So let’s talk about the first song we heard when Hypocrisy returned, “Chemical Whore.” This song hits home for a lot people about a major problem that is going on. This idea that we are constantly medicating and pharmaceutical companies are constantly pushing a new drug. In America, there are pharmaceutical advertisement every other commercial when you are watching television; it is exhausting and aggravating.
Peter Tägtgren – Yea! It’s like a mafia. They want to convince you that you need all these products, because they make shit loads of money on it…but what does it do to you? Who knows. For me it was, instead of going to therapy or getting into the root of the problem, hey, take a pill. It feels like they are saying take a pill, it will pass, we will make a lot of money from these pills, and we don’t give a shit about you…as long as you buy our pills.
Cryptic Rock – It certainly feels this way. It seems like this problem is getting worse, doesn’t it?
Peter Tägtgren – Yes and nowadays the world is not so positive, so I guess some people want to numb themselves because they can’t stand what they see. It’s different for everybody. Of course there are really pills that help you survive, I’m not talking about those pills. I’m talking about all those other pills that no one really needs – the pills that cause more damage than helps you. It feels like they want you to be in a cloud so you can’t see reality.
Cryptic Rock – Very valid point. That goes back to the idea of master of puppets…as if someone else is pulling the strings on us. That in mind, do you feel people are awakening from this lengthy slumber of the conscience?
Peter Tägtgren – I think it grows a little bit more when people open their eyes. It’s never really what it seems to be. You think it’s a certain way, but it’s not. It’s something that has been going on for hundreds of years to manipulate us to believe in one thing; look at this in this way, but we will do something else on the other side so you are missing it by concentrating on the wrong things. This is an individual thing though…people have to recognize it themselves. Of course I’m a conspiracy guy…I see everything in different layers. I don’t see things the way we get them from the press. I like to dig into things and see – is it really like this or could it be something else? That makes it more interesting.