A Legacy Of Brutality – Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost

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Pleasant, unassuming with an endearingly laugh and a dry wit steeped in self-deprecation and sarcasm. Paradise Lost frontman Nick Holmes is the complete antithesis of a rock star asshole.

Early spirit in modern setting: “It was about catching the simplicity of how we worked in the early days. There is a temptation to overcomplicate things with technology unnecessarily. I think we have produced albums with lots of layers over the years, and we wanted to take a step back.”

It was nice to make things a bit simpler and capture the spirit of the old stuff.” Nick recalled. “There was a time when we were on EMI that it was all about writing singles, but we have always been an album band. As soon as you have to think about what is on MTV, it kills it. It’s nice to not worry about that anymore. We just worry about creating an hour of great music not what is going to get more rotation. At the same time we learnt a lot about songwriting. Not everything has to have a verse, bridge and a chorus.”

One moment on the new record which stands out as different is ‘Cry Out’ with it’s almost stoner rock feel. Nick explains how that one came about. “It’s got a more Sabbath vibe but then goes more melancholic. Greg (Mackintosh) has a truck load of those kind of riff but we don’t use them because they sound a bit too happy. It’s straight from the Tony Iommi School of metal.”

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The new Paradise Lost material is certainly in the spirit of the hallowed Draconian Times (Music For Nations) era, yet the Yorkshire act has dabbled with electronica and experimented with different styles which has received much criticism from some fans. Much in the way Metallica were for every post Black Album (Electra). Does Nick still stand by all the creative decisions PL have made? “When you start a band you emulate the music your idols play before you find our own sound. I don’t have that much hindsight with our albums because they are a reflection of where we were mentally. Everything we did made sense at the time. Everything that has happened in our own lives has had an impact on this band. It would kill me to make the same records throughout my career that would be so boring. In terms of Host (EMI) if we did it now it would definitely be as a side project. We were really into that stuff at that time so it made sense. I still think it’s one of our strongest albums sonically and has some great songs. One Second (MFN) is our best-selling album but that had a lukewarm response from some areas. Host was too much too soon for some people. We needed a change from the metal thrash mania after touring Icon (MFN) and Draconian Times for so long.”

These days artists changing their style or image can still be controversial to some but back in the nineties this was tantamount to treason! Recalling the reaction to the fan backlash he received at the time, Nick remains proud of the ‘Host’ record while being disarmingly honest when it came to the follow up. “People were outraged that I cut my hair and we wore eyeliner but I wear more eyeliner with Bloodbath than I ever did with PL! I didn’t think Host was weak but Believe In Nothing is a shrug album. We didn’t know what we were doing or where we were going. It’s just as well the internet was in its infancy around the time of ‘Host’ as that would have crashed our forum!”

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Over the course of their history, bar the drum stool little changes in line up. Nick spoke about how important it has been to retain such a stable line-up throughout their career. “We all get along. We are all mates and were friends before we started the band. We don’t hang out much outside of band time because we don’t live close to each other now. We came together from a mutual love of music when there was no one who loved extreme music. We still have a great laugh. You can’t get bored when you have thirty years of anecdotes!”

For the longevity of any relationship humour can play a part at keeping things together. This was no different for Nick and his comrades “It’s just how we are. We have similar upbringings and backgrounds. When you’re in a professional band as long as we are it keeps you young. It’s a respite from the rest of life. It takes us away from the horrible stuff. You can go to a gig, get pissed and feel better. We all look decrepit but we’re young in spirit.”

Taking of line-up changes Finnish drummer Waltteri Vayrynen will be filling in for Adrian Earlandsson on the bands UK dates next week. According to Nick, it was an easy choice. “Adrian has been very busy with At The Gates. Waltteri replaced Adrian in Vallenfyre and he’s a big PL fan so it was a great fit. He’s only twenty years old and such a great player for his age. In ten years he will be on the top of his game. People do many different bands, drummers especially. That’s how it is these days.

 

ROSS BAKER