It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings
CoC Interviews Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy
by: Adrian Bromley
Is it actually over? Many people had been calling the Swedish metaller's latest LP _The Final Chapter_ the final chapter in the band's successful career. Was this true? Was there to be no more Hypocrisy? Fear spread amongst the metal masses. In search of the truth behind the band's supposed end and the latest LP, Chronicles of Chaos tracked down Hypocrisy front man, guitarist, and mastermind Peter Tagtgren to find out the real truth about where Hypocrisy was headed.

So Peter, is this the final chapter? "Well, sort of. This right now is the last full-length Hypocrisy effort. Who knows? That might change [note: Tagtgren plans to continue on with his solo industrial-driven outfit Pain]. But what we are planning on doing this summer is releasing a leftover album of songs from different albums that never made them onto record. Demos and older stuff from like 1985 [Peter's earliest material] will be there. Lots of goodies for our fans."

When asked about the new Hypocrisy material, Tagtgren replies that "I have already started to write some new material for the band. We'll see if it makes the light of day."

He continues to shed more light on the possible continuation of the band: "After the success of playing Milwaukee Metal Fest this year and doing some shows in the U.S. and Mexico, I think we started to feel a turning point for us and our music. Before doing those shows, we hadn't played together for like a year and a half. I was mad at that point a few years back 'cause I was the only one writing songs and it was pissing me off. I was angry 'cause I was doing all the work for Hypocrisy and playing all the instruments. The others [bassist Mikael Hedlund and Lars Szoke on drums] had a hard time keeping up with their instruments because they don't practice enough. So the whole thing came about this being the last album 'cause I was like, 'Fuck you guys! Fine...this is the last album for Hypocrisy.' But things changed for us, and we had a blast at it and decided to continue on... well maybe?"

Maybe? "Yeah... it's funny. I am still into doing this Hypocrisy stuff but I don't want to do it solo. Every time I talk to the other guys I say, 'How is the writing going? I hope you got some ideas that we can work on. I can't do this alone.' We'll see if it works out. I am into doing this by myself if I have to."

On the music of _TFC_, Tagtgren explains that Hypocrisy has tried to never give into following predictable styles and sounds with each of its releases. "It's funny about this album 'cause people thought we would have more softer songs, much like the last song on _Abducted_ ("Drained") and we didn't do that. We came out flying from the gates; fists pumping and an all-out metal rage. If we do ever follow with what people are expecting us to do, where would the fun be? You gotta be unpredictable in this profession or you don't get far."

"I think this record captures the best performance we have ever been able to capture from the band. It's so rough and raw and in-your-face. But we also mixed in the clean vocals and the harmonies as well. We kept it diverse and I like that. I like the variety."

I mentioned that people have compared _TFC_ to their last effort (1996's _Abducted_), and he also sees the similarities. "I would say that this record is a development from that last record. This is the next step. We didn't want to have too big of a leap from what we had done with _Abducted_, but we still wanted to keep it a step ahead of what we had done before. I think honestly with the other works that we have done -- _Penetralia_ (1992), _Osculum Obscenum_ (1993), the Ep _Inferior Devoties_ (1994), and 1994's _The Fourth Dimension_ -- there is a big gap between records and people get confused. People start wondering what we are thinking. I really didn't sculpt my music for this LP around what people wanted to hear. I wrote and recorded material that I wanted for this LP and music that I would like if I were to put this record on to listen to it. This record rules in my book. The rawness of it alone gets me going."

On the direction and multiple styles of Hypocrisy over the years, Tagtgren accounts, "I am always trying to do a lot of different things as we went on as a band. We were getting better as musicians and I was trying to bring that out in the music we were creating. I was twenty-two when we did the first LP and now I am twenty-seven. The thought that goes into music at that young age is far different from where you are when you get older. That maturity in song writing and thought of what I am doing obviously carries over into the music. It's interesting to see where we go as the years come along."

Did Tagtgren ever previously imagine he would be in this situation when he was twenty-seven? "Not really... I never really knew where I was headed but it was always a dream for me as a kid to be here. I always manage to do the things I want to do, the way I want, and that brings out results. It's in my life and in my music. A lot of the things I have dreamt about have come true and that is a good thing. I feel good about that."

"All I am looking for in this industry is respect. Respect is success for me," he notes, "Respect can be measured by several things, most notably album sales and positive reviews too. Those give you respect in this industry and you can continue to work on that success if you are true to what you do. We believe in the band and where we are headed. I don't really care much about album sales. I like to read the reviews and see how people interpret our music."

How do the bad reviews affect Tagtgren? "Um... I think they don't really affect me much. I am proud of what I do and that is all that matters. If some journalist rags on the record saying that it is shit I can only feel sorry for them. I am a firm believer in what I do and that stands above all good or bad reviews. I made the music, and I live with my decisions. I put all the sweat and hard work into it, and that's all that matters. To put it simply: it's not what the album is made up of or how it carries itself to me, it is more important on what went into the recording of the album to make it what it is."

When asked about the state of music nowadays, Tagtgren answers with a pause. This seems quite funny because, for a guy who does so much with so many bands, whether it be in the studio or on tour, Tagtgren is pretty much out of touch with the music industry. And he's the first to admit it. "To be honest with you, I really have no idea what is in or out with metal music nowadays. I only hear music nowadays from the music that I work on in the studio -- be it my own or bands I am producing in the studio." He adds, "In terms of the way music should affect people, I think people should just go out and create music, and if it makes the creator of the music happy, then keep it that way. Keep it simple folks and don't follow trends."

Since Tagtgren has no real interest or contact with what is transpiring outside of his studio, is his music affected by the material of bands he works with? "Yes," says Tagtgren confidently, "Of course I am. I think it just grows on you. For doing all of that work on specific songs or arrangements, there is no way it can't have an effect on you. Sometimes I'll be working on material and it will work it's way into my music and I will have to figure out where it came from. I like working with bands 'cause they not only create a situation to deal with, but also nurture your intellect of music and how people go about morphing it."

(article submitted 1/1/1998)


CHATS
8/12/2005 J Smit Hypocrisy: Spreading the Disease
9/1/2002 P Schwarz Hypocrisy: Ten Years and Still Humble
7/7/1999 D Rocher Hypocrisy: The Hypocrite's Arising Realm
3/14/1996 G Filicetti Hypocrisy: Hanging With the Hypocrites
ALBUMS
7/23/2005 J Smit 8.5 Hypocrisy - Virus
1/25/2004 J Smit 7 Hypocrisy - The Arrival
4/12/2002 A McKay 10 Hypocrisy - 10 Years of Chaos and Confusion
8/12/2000 D Rocher 8 Hypocrisy - Into the Abyss
7/7/1999 D Rocher 10 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
6/15/1999 A Bromley 9 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy
5/19/1999 A Bromley 9 Hypocrisy - Hypocrisy Destroys Wacken
11/17/1997 P Azevedo 9 Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter
5/10/1996 A Wasylyk 4 Hypocrisy - Carved Up
2/9/1996 G Filicetti 8 Hypocrisy - Abducted
GIGS
10/20/2003 J Smit Dimmu Borgir / Hypocrisy / Norther One Step Closer to Armageddon
7/3/2002 P Schwarz Immortal / Hypocrisy Northern Darkness Descends
7/3/2002 P Azevedo Immortal / Hypocrisy / Holocausto Canibal The Night After the Night Before
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