Name: Paradise Lost
Members: Nick Holmes, Gregor Mackintosh, Aaron Aedy, Steve Edmondson, Adrian Erlandsson
Current Album: The Plague Within
Labels: Century Media, EMI, Music for Nations, Peaceville
Musical Recommendations: Bloodbath & Vallenfyre.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
Started making music around 1987. We were always very passionate about the first wave of Death and Thrash metal
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
Exactly like that, we basically copied our early influences, but we were also aware that bands who sound like other bands don’t stick around too long. So we strived for our own sound pretty early on
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
Any challenges were relative. Things weren’t digital, so we used tape, but that’s all there was, so it was fine. Same with writing, we used tape machines and 4 track recorders, whereas now its Pro Tools etc.
Tell us about your studio, please. What were criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence the creative process?
After 14 albums , its all about just getting on with it. I think preparation is the key and can save a lot of time and money. Arriving at a studio unprepared sucks on every level, and just lets everyone else down as well.
What are currently some of the most important tools and instruments you're using?
I may use a keyboard to find or check a melody line, but I don’t play any instruments. In a way that helps me be unbiased towards what I'm hearing. A lot of musicians tend to hear their own instrument first over everything else - and that doesn’t always benefit the greater good.
In which way do certain production tools suggest certain approaches, in which way do they limit and/or expand your own creativity? Are there any promising solutions or set-ups capable of triggering new ideas inside of you as a composer?
Having samples of huge orchestras, drum kits and every musical instrument at the click of a button is useful and can certainly inspire a “mood” and help the creative process that can lead to a good song, but it will not write it for you. Being clever on a computer doesn’t mean much if the song is bad. Most good songs can be performed on an acoustic guitar.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where do ideas come from, what do you start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas?
No isolated idea springs to mind, Sometimes ideas develop over months, sometimes they are spontaneous. The spontaneous ideas are usually the best, but they are few and far between, I think 90% of song writing is about gut feeling. If we like something, then there's a good chance our fans will.
With more and more musicians creating than ever and more and more of these creations being released, what does this mean for you as an artist in terms of originality?
Originality comes very often in the playing style. Metal music has a roof on it as far as ‘creativity’ is concerned and fans tend not to like too much experimentation as well. It's got to do what it says on the tin. For me, it's all about the songs really. I just like to hear good songs with strong verses and choruses. Guitar gods or vocal gymnastics etc have never really interested me. Good songs will always prevail.