1-METALICOS-Hello there, this is Mauricio from metalicos.com in Costa Rica, thanks for this great chance! How are you doing?
Jørn Viggo/ Hi there, I'm just fine thank you. You are very welcome, and thanks for your interest in Pagan's Mind.
2-METALICOS-So it’s been almost a year since Heavenly Ecstasy was released, how do you evaluate the impact of the album and the reactions it triggered?
Jørn Viggo/ Well, looking back now I would say that the feedback has been great. We have gotten overall fantastic reviews. Several magazines have voted Heavenly Ecstasy album of the month. We got a gold single with "Intermission" in Sweden, and the album sales have been very good. We have done about 50 gigs all over Europe promoting it, and it seems we have taken a step up on the ladder.
3-METALICOS-Heavenly Ecstasy is not your regular metal album with 10-12 songs about hate and war and a cool front cover. There’s something else, it tries to communicate a meaning, significance; but that’s just my personal impression! What in your opinion, is needed from the listener in order to transcend the mere sonic experience and reach the true content of the album?
Nils/I’m brought up with classical metal, and the lyrics in the ”old” metal often had a positive vibe to it, pretty heroic and tales about the struggle versus good and evil. Now sometime during the last decade it seemed that the goal was to create even more gruesome things to sing about over the other, and the result in my opinion is that the whole effect and message disappears – almost like many metal bands try to come up with as terrible scenery as possible, without really standing up for it or have any idea behind it. The lyrics in Pagan's Mind are created from my own personal fantasy life and my beliefs in how the life and this universe is all connected together. It mirrors a lot of my personal point of views. And of course – the lyrics and music walk hand in hand. All of the music is created first, then I have to listen to it for weeks to get the right images in my head to create the lyrics out from. I tend to look away from the stereotypes in music and not to follow any other or get directly inspired textwise. Though I can “lend” phrases and words from books, movies and assembly guides ;-)
4-METALICOS-There’s a clear intention on Heavenly Ecstasy to bring up front a wider, but at the same time focused style, which in my opinion makes this the best Pagan's Mind album. How did you define the kind of sound you wanted for the album?
Jørn Viggo/ Thank you, I'm happy that you like it! :) Well first I would like to say that we always try to make the best songs and albums every time we write, but also we follow our hearts and therefore it's been a natural progression from album to album. For instance, we never sat down and said: We have to make a song like Through Osiris Eyes for every album just because that was the song that put us on the map. To follow our hearts and writing the music that inspires us at the moment we write it is very important for us. I think that's a big part of our success factor and that resulting in all the good feedback we got since releasing Celestial Entrance. On Heavenly Ecstasy we appear like a melodic metal band with progressive elements and not the other way around. Writing this album we had a big focus on the melodies and writing every song so it would fit Nils voice and range, making him shine as much as possible. In the past we also gave a lot of attention to the melodies, but earlier we also made a lot of music and fitted the vocals to that. This time the voice was always the number 1 priority. It would not be wrong to say that the basic of the songwriting on this album is the classic singer/songwriter approach. But of course Pagan's Mind is more than nice melodies, so we add the riffs and all other needed elements. Personally, I think that the songwriting on Heavenly Ecstasy is much more solid than earlier, that resulting in maybe our best album till now.
5-METALICOS-How would you describe the process through which Pagan's Mind has evolved up until keeping a writing capacity above the average?
Jørn Viggo/ Like I said we try to be very honest and we write the very best music we can and what inspires us at the moment. There’s is not much money in this business, so at least we take pride in always delivering fresh and solid albums, hehe. Also finding new procedures when we write helps us stay inspired. We try to avoid the same structure and system every time. At the moment we have started the process with writing new material and so far it looks promising. We might actually do two albums at the same time, maybe one as the natural follow up for Heavenly Ecstasy and one much more progressive/epic album. The material we got so far shows that this is something we might do. And that should be good news for the people who mostly enjoyed the more progressive side of Pagan's Mind as well.
6-METALICOS-A lot of subjects concerning introspection and the need to have positive views in life are present in Pagan's Mind lyrics. This makes me want to ask you, what do you think about the function of music and arts in general in a context reeking of motives for conflict and hate?
Nils/ It’s clear that the importance of a message in music and entertainment in general have a big impact on people. People get affected through mass media, music and all sorts of input. “The man in the street” will always pick up imagery of what he/her hears and sees and pass it on in some way, subconscious or not. Over the years I have been approached by people that have had hard times and getting through them more easily because of the message in Pagan's Mind. So I feel there’s a great responsibility in writing a message that the masses might pick up. Besides of that – hate breeds hate and good things make good things happen – it´s how the universe is built. It´s a giant mirror that gives you back what you sow and what you speak.
7-METALICOS-Your latest album shows a band going through a great creative moment. Did you ever think you would be capable of reaching this level?
Nils/ If you’d ask me four years ago I might have said “no”. I personally think that this last album was a step up and in the right direction for us and I’m very proud of it. People still blabber around the greatness of our second album “Celestial Entrance” which of course is very nice, but I think that if that album was our “Highway To Hell”, our last album is at least our “Back In Black”. Four years is a long time to put out an album, but that was really the time we needed to come up with something we could stand for.
8-METALICOS-Costa Rica is little by little appearing on the touring map of many great metal bands, so this question is mandatory in our interviews: how does the prospect of a Latin American tour look? Are you aware of having a following on our lands?
Nils/ We get fan mails from our South American fans and friends all the time, and we read all of them. We are aware that we have a fanbase at the other side of the pond, but touring is expensive business and even if we would LOVE to come over right away, it would have to be planned miles ahead. In addition, it’s always up to promoters to lure us over. So now I’ve rolled the ball….invite us, and we would most likely show up. It would be a blast!
9-METALICOS-When you’re not on tour, how much of your time do you dedicate to the band?
Nils/ Nowadays we write music for the up and coming album and touring/gigs are not top priority. We are not in our 20s anymore and everyone have families to take care of, in addition to regular jobs. It’s our dream to live off the music, but one has to be realistic also. But in general we use a lot of our spare time on Pagan's Mind.
10-METALICOS-Can you give us an insight on what are your plans for the rest of 2012?
Nils/ As mentioned above, we write music for our next album and hopefully start to record it this year. Doing a Pagan's Mind album is a big, big project that takes up a lot of time. In between we will be doing some single gigs and some festivals during the summer but in general the focus is at being creative and coming up with new stuff :)
11-METALICOS-This one is really important: will we have to wait another four years for your next studio album?
Nils/ NO! Hehe- that’s what were working for, to make the fans not having to wait another four years for an album. We are pretty good ahead at the schedule this time, but you’ll never know. Things take time with this band. Rome wasn’t built in a day;-)
12-METALICOS-What would you like to be remembered for?
Nils/ For high quality music all the way, for never thinking quantity over quality. For making music that could send chills down your spine and for a message that could move people and have an impact on their lives. In 40 years, people will remember the quality, not that there was four years between albums. Some bands ruin their reputation by putting our crappy albums because their label or their manager pushes them to put out stuff that stinks and that are not inspirational. I want to be remembered for high class products even if it doesn’t ever bring me a nickel or dime.
13-METALICOS-Ok, I want to thank you a lot for this great opportunity of bringing your words to the Latin American audiences. Please share with us your last words, cheers and good luck!!
Nils/ Thanks so much for your interest in the band. We really really hope to be able to do a tour in South America and Costa Rica within a reasonable time stretch. Don’t drink and drive, support love, art, music and the nice and true things in life.