These Hallifax lads laid the foundations of the Gothic metal movement and what a time that must have been to be alive. What an exciting moment in history to be a part of. Their legacy, their lasting impression and their bright future, so bright it burns our eyes… Paradise Lost is stability. They offer refuge, a sense of hope. For thirty years they have been strong and with the global struggles of the COVID-19 virus, what other band could adapt so well? They’ve been adapting for thirty years, striving in fact. Creating a signature sound; an innovative and evocative mix that manages to evoke nostalgia and sentiment but at the same time shift and excel us to new heights. Our isolated Sentinel Daily crew member caught up with frontman Nick Holmes recently, to review the game plan established to promote the release of the bands sixteenth album, Obsidian.
“This is Nick from Paradise Lost and I am OK. Considering the circumstances things are going OK”. How is life on the inside Nick? “I’ve been doing some Skype promotion, which is new. Usually I would head to Europe maybe for a week but obviously we’re doing it all from home. So for the last two weeks this has been me. It’s solid and pretty full on”.
Certainly an extraordinary situation we’re all facing, obviously the band is also trying to get a product out and promote that product during these times – what challenges are you anticipating in releasing an album you may not be able to tour for a good long while? “Well, this is it. We’re writing the blueprint for this. Nothing like this has happened before. We’ve basically figured there is no point delaying the release. People can listen to the album wherever they are, so I think delaying the album was not necessarily a good idea. Also with bands delaying releases, results in an outpouring of albums hitting at the same time. I think if fans can get the music and listen to the music is a great idea. Touring and playing live [Laughs] well that’s an entirely different thing all together. I guess we’ve just got to sit tight and see what happens. The cancellations are climbing, every day I hear of another one gone. Everyone is putting their hopes into September but we’ll see”.
Being in the music business for over thirty years what effects do you see for the industry both short and long term? “That’s a tough one. The pause button on this is global, it’s not just affecting one country. We’re all in the same situation. We’ve all just stopped and will resume when we can. It’s probably not going to be the same. I don’t know the outcome. I think having large crowds together in a concert setting I don’t know how long that will take until it is OK and safe to do so. I wish I knew” [Laughs]
Well the first genre able to convene again would be doom metal fans, because I do believe they stand one and a half metres from each other on a general basis. “Yeah… [Laughs] we aren’t the most social creatures” [Laughs]
Enough of COVID-19…. Let’s talk about this new Paradise Lost album. Obviously a multifaceted approach and an eclectic outcome, take us through the creative process for Obsidian. “When we start a new album we use our last album as the benchmark. Where can we go from here. We just started writing, our first song written for the album was Fall from Grace. Very reminiscent of Medusa, in fact it could have gone on that album. Then eventually after a couple of songs the snow ball gets bigger and starts rolling faster and you start to figure where things go. I think we did want to make a more varied album this time. Our last was very much a doom-death album, we wanted this one to be a bit more eclectic so to speak so yeah, we just started running from there”.
What expectations did you have for this album in particular? “I don’t know really. It’s about fuelling our musical needs. Our passion for songwriting and music. Being true to ourselves. If people dig it, that’s great”. Where do you feel you excelled in Obsidian? “We definitely have our own sound. I think a lot of that is Greg Mackintosh’s guitar playing – he has a very unique style which is the backbone of the band and it’s certainly on show in this album. As soon as you hear a song you can just tell it’s a Paradise Lost song. I really like that you can identify our songs by this – I really like that aspect that the music has created”. Although you had assistance from Jaime Gomez Arellano, the album was primarily self produced so what do you like the most about self producing your own work? “Yeah, so the producer’s role is basically helping with the arrangement of songs, helping with the structure of songs. This work was already done before we went into the studio. We didn’t change anything when we went in. Gomez’ role for Obsidian was to get the sound; the guitar sounds, the drum sounds. Equally as important as the songs, it doesn’t matter how good the song is if you can’t find the sound. That’s where Gomez came in – we’ve worked with him in the past, he is also very passionate about the music, hard working, and wants to make sure everything is spot on and he has done a great job in that department. In addition he did the mixing”.
The album; I have been fortunate enough to give it a few spins today – it has a very nostalgic feel, and I guess a reflective feel. Was this intentional? “No, I guess it’s just because we’re all fifty years old [Laughs] everything we do by nature is going to be nostalgic, all we have is the past” [Laughs].
Is it important for Paradise Lost to keep some sort of connection to its formative self? “Yeah, I think anything we do, we’re always aware of what we’ve done, our high points and low points. Anything we have done, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret anything – the good or the bad. It’s always a learning curve, you won’t hit the nail all the time. The band runs alongside our normal lives… well for most of our lives. It’s always there and we do the best we can with it”. Paradise Lost has remained consistent for over thirty years, through many style shifts and style trends – what is the secret to the band’s longevity? “We are very passionate about everything we do, we care very deeply about it. We’ve also been very lucky. Being in the right place at the right time very early in our career – which a lot of bands didn’t have that luck. So many great bands who fell along the wayside because of bad luck. Passion is one thing but there is also an incredible amount of luck in all of this”.
Although not being able to physically promote the album, normally consisting of a fling through Europe, Nick is counting his blessings for the internet and managing all operations from his home. Sure he’d prefer to be travelling and conducting face to face interviews but in this absence of this Nick is confident they can still push it through and have a successful release. “You’ve just got to adapt”.
Obsidian will be released through Nuclear Blast on May 15th.