In June Paradise Lost and Nuclear Blast records announced their collaboration and you read about it on Last Day Deaf. One of the most influential bands in metal signing to one of the most significant labels in the genre is pretty big news calling for an interview with the band. One that Mr. Nick Holmes did with us and needless to say how honoured we feel that such a great voice and a direct, honest person, who has reached the top with the band, gladly answered our questions. After all, in almost 30 years, Paradise Lost have proved themselves to be original artists gaining the music industry’s respect and the metallic world’s applause—our record collections evidence their magnitude. No more words from us. We give you Mr. Nick Holmes!
Paradise Lost in the Nuclear Blast family! One of the most important and influential bands in metal signs to one of the most important metal labels. Reading both the band’s and the label’s announcements I felt that this was bound to happen someday and in mutual respect. What should we, the fans, expect out of this collaboration? What helped settle your decision —since every label in the industry would love to sign Paradise Lost?
Signing for Nuclear Blast is a new chapter for the band.
We were offered a really good deal, and it represents a new chapter for the band, things have been excellent on Century Media, and they are a great label. But it’s just time for a change.
Nick Holmes mentioned in 2015 (Isolation Grind interview) that with ‘The Plague Within’ you tried ‘… to capture the spirit of the old days…’. Signing now with Nuclear Blast, a label which represents the kind of metal you admire since the beginning, as you said in the relevant press release, can you say that somehow Paradise Lost’s sound is going to reach its optimal point?
Any “optimal point” is down to the listener. We try to make every album as good as we can; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. However for any longevity and successful touring, no band on our level can afford to become complacent.
You are in your third decade as a band. After all these years of glorification, criticism, and efforts of labeling in order to ‘fit’ somewhere in the metal scene and represent ‘something’, where do you see yourselves as artists now? Have you reached a desired purpose?
We keep doing what we do to the best of our ability, and we still really enjoy this life and feel lucky to have survived through many changes, and like I said above, complacent is something no musician can afford to be. With the exception of the AC/DCs and Metallicas, anyone on the top of a poster can be at the bottom within 2 years these days. It’s always been a fickle business, but it’s more than ever now.
For almost 30 years you have been creating new edges in metal, broadening the genre with amazing, complete works which have proved enormously influential and successful. Where is it all emerging from? Sure, enormous talent and hard work are evident, but what is it that inspires you to write music and lyrics? In addition, the context of your lyrics in many songs can be seen as beliefs, sort of social statements or just areas of interest. Do you consider yourselves as artists who see what others can’t and express it through your music or do you take what is obvious and turn it into art?
I regard music as a pure art form, and with that said, I get a little tired by the shackles of having to explain everything, sometimes something just sounds good, or words just sound right! No explanation needed. I personally don’t need that narrative for anything I hear. I either like it or I don’t. It’s nice to read lyrics that make perfect sense, but then I like ones that make no sense too. It’s all about a feeling I guess.
You are among the few bands that invented and then re-invented and refreshed high quality doom and gothic metal. You have also tried variations but you’ve returned to the doom core of it all. What about the future though— are we in any surprises? Is the band satisfied with being in the lead or do you remain restless?
The next album will be very heavy. But it will contain “songs”. Not just a noise. That’s pretty much all I can say at this point as we have only written about 4 minutes of music so far!
When you work and arrange your music, including the lyrics and the vocals, what is the sign, the token that a song is ready? Have you ever had any second thoughts about a song’s arrangement after it had been released?
Our songs can go through dozens of changes. But once it’s there, it rarely alters. I can’t think of a song I’d alter because when we record it, that’s just how it is. No point in regret! It’s all about being prepared before you go in the studio. These days we are real perfectionists when it comes to recording. We don’t mess about in the studio. We just get on with it.
From the cassette demos for ‘Paradise Lost’, ‘Frozen Illusion’, and ‘Plains of Desolation’, in the ‘80s, to June 2016 with the Spotify releases for ‘Host’ and ‘Believe in Nothing’. We fully understand keeping up with today’s trends, but do you miss those good old days? Don’t you believe that all these digital platforms are a much colder medium, even though the sound is much better, than the physical product itself?
I miss it in the way I miss most things from the ‘80s. It’s just a flash of nostalgia. Things are different, people are different, and you have to embrace it. Young people mocking older people for always talking about “the good old days” is something that happens to every generation, and it will happen to our children, and their children. Same shit, different gadgets!
Trying to be more anthropocentric, since 1988, Nick, Greg, Aaron and Steve have been together as a band. Apart from Matthew and, in general, the drummer, are the bonds strong enough not to break? Which are the main advantages, but also disadvantages, of working together all these years? Are there any tips for other bands to share or is everything up to chemistry?
We started the bands as friends. We have grown up together, and experienced all the highs and lows of doing this. You have to have mutual respect, know the boundaries and have tolerance for other people’s whims (which isn’t always easy after no food & 2 hours sleep). We have an enormous amount of fun doing the band, but juggling with home lives and children can be tough. The inconvenience of this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I don’t think any of us could imagine doing anything else.
What is your impression of the metal scene since the ‘00s? Are there any bands that you’d credit with moving the metal sound one step forward?
Sometimes a band comes along that I like, but that’s very rare. The black metal/ death scene doesn’t change much and I take comfort in that. Always hated all that Nu metal crap, so many of those bands seem happy to literally copy everyone else and it doesn’t seem to stop bands getting big these days either. It currently seems to be all about if they have neck tattoos.
Looking at your site for this interview, I found out that the first phrase in the band info is by Aristotle: ‘It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.’ I cannot resist asking if you are into Greek philosophy and which readings have inspired and/or influenced you most in music writing.
Don’t think that phrase came from any of us. Philosophy is something I occasionally brush with; it can be inspiring , but I’m yet to really dive into that world.
Feel free to end this interview the way you like and send a message to our readers.
Thank you for the support! 🙂
Photo credits: Ester Segarra
Mike Dimitriou – Christos Doukakis – Mary Kalaitzidou