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Tragic Idols: Paradise Lost At 25

Monday, 28 October 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Paradise Lost are everywhere. You may not think it, but they are. Over the course of their sprawling, turbulent 25 years as a heavy metal band, the Halifax doom crew have influenced many a band. You could talk Septicflesh or Katatonia. Hell, even HIM and the Gathering draw heavily from Paradise Lost's musical blueprint. 

On the brink of their 25th anniversary tour, which kicks off on October 30 at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall, we picked the mighty brains of vocalist Nick Holmes and guitarist Greg Mackintosh to discover what the band’s next move might be.

This 25th anniversary tour is quite a spectacle. You're topping a bill that includes Lacuna Coil and Katatonia, and it all culminates with a massive gig at the Roundhouse in London. What does this milestone mean to you?

Nick: Well, we've known the guys in the other bands for years, and we've pretty much known them right from the start. We've been going a bit longer than they have, but the fact that all three bands have managed to stick around this long to celebrate our 25th is something. It's a milestone, and it's really cool to celebrate that with these two bands. We're friends, so it's going to be a great tour.

Greg: Personally, it's just another number. It's not a huge milestone for me, it's more for the people surrounding the band. It's not a huge thing, you get to 10 years, 20 years, 25 years. But the opportunity for this tour came up, and it's good that people who class us as an influence and who are our peers want to tour with us and celebrate this. I think it's a brilliant bill and I think it'll make for a diverse audience and a successful run.

Is there anything special you're planning for fans as part of the tour?

Nick: Well, we're going to try change the setlist up a bit; we're planning on doing some songs I don't think we've ever played live. So we're going to mix that up a bit, and we're starting work on the visuals too. Sometimes when it comes to visuals, you don't always get the chance to do what you want, so hopefully we can get something a little different out of that too.

Greg: The setlist is completely different to what we normally do. In the space of an hour and a half, we're trying to cover every point in our career to some degree. We're going to play some songs we haven't done for many, many years, so  it's going to be very interesting.

Who are the best band you've been on tour with and why?

Nick: Well, there's not one band, there's been so many! As long as they can have a laugh then it's like a touring party. Y'know, you can hang out and go into each others' dressing rooms and there's no weirdness, you can have a laugh on and off stage. Bands like Opeth. We don't have many negative experiences. There's been a few dickheads but they're far and few between.

Greg: Weirdly, it's always the Finnish bands we have the best time with and stay in touch with. I don't know why. The Finns have a similar sense of humour to us northern English, so we just get on. It'd have to be a Finnish band. Maybe 69 Eyes or HIM. They've all got a similar sense of humour and outlook on life to us.

Paradise Lost have been knocking about for a while now. Looking over the scene today, what are your opinions on newer gothic and doom bands? Do you have any favourites?

Nick: Not really. If you're talking about our genre specifically, then Type O Negative were always a massive influence on what we do, right from day one.

Greg: I do like a lot of new stuff, but the more recent stuff I like is on the more extreme side. Extreme bands are the ones not playing by the rules and doing something different. In more mainstream metal and the stuff that's classed as death metal or doom metal, it all sounds the same to me. They're all using the same producers, the same recording techniques, they're all focusing on sonic perfection rather than the vibe. So it’s bands on the more extreme end of the spectrum that interest me.

For 'Tragic Illusion 25: The Rarities', you recorded a new track, Loneliness Remains. Where does this track fit in regards to the Paradise Lost album arc?

Nick: We were just told we had to do a new song for the 25th Anniversary so we just wrote it! It wasn't left over from 'Tragic Idol' or anything, we just did it in a couple of weeks. I can't even remember writing it now, it was just such a fast process. I remember we'd written something else, then decided we didn't actually like it so just changed it at the last minute. It's the result of being under pressure, so it's a bit different.

Greg: Century Media [record label] approached us with the idea of the rarities album, which we thought was...okay, as a collector's sort of thing. But then we got involved with it and started re-recording some of the old tracks, because a lot of people got into the band later and maybe aren't aware of those tracks. The new track is basically a transitional one - it's good to bridge the gap between the last record and what we're going to do later this year. It's a taster, really.

What's next for Paradise Lost?

Nick: Well, we're doing this 25th anniversary thing, then around Christmas I think we're going on tour again, but apart from that we'll just be writing and tracking for a new album. That's the main thing. I want to start writing new stuff. So we're just going to be very busy for the next year or so.

Greg: We're going to sit down and plan what the next record will actually be like. So we're going to do that and hopefully get in the studio for June next year. We want to do something a little different to the last one. We want to do something that'll keep us on our toes.

Paradise Lost UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows

Wed October 30th 2013 - WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall
Thu October 31st 2013 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Fri November 1st 2013 - MANCHESTER Ritz
Sun November 3rd 2013 - LONDON Roundhouse

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