In a new interview with Jorge Botas of Portugal’s Metal Global, PARADISE LOST singer Nick Holmes spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to the band’s 2020 LP “Obsidian”. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “We started working on some songs. Then we started the summer festival season, and it just got kind of lost in the festivals. It’s nice to allocate a period of downtime when you can write because it’s hard to keep your head on one thing when you keep having to pack a bag and then get on an airplane and go and do a gig and you’ve gotta rehearse for the shows. It’s just nice to scratch some time for that. So hopefully at the beginning of next year, we can have a few months downtime so we can actually get working more on the album. But we’ve got a few songs done. I think we’ve got a few songs done; we need to review them. So, yeah, we’ll hopefully write an album next year, anyway. Whether it’s gonna be recorded [next year], I don’t know, but hopefully at least written.”
Regarding how the songwriting process in PARADISE LOST has evolved over the decades, Nick said: “The writing process is 100 percent different to how we used to write when we were younger. I mean, it’s completely different now. We never meet up. We don’t discuss things necessarily. Everything’s through file sharing, e-mail and we don’t write that way. It’s equally as productive, I think, but it’s just — maybe you’re kind of more fussy. You can listen to things more than maybe you would do in the old days. Like I said, again, it goes back to the spontaneity thing. There isn’t an element of that as much now, I don’t think, but then you get there in the end anyway. There’s a lot of ping-ponging ideas backwards and forwards, and you have more time to dwell on things and think, ‘Well, is this right? Is this wrong?’ Blah, blah. Whereas years and years ago, you think, ‘Well, it’s kind of shit, but we’ll see. It might be all right.’ There’s benefits of both ways of writing, I think. Like I said, you can have too long and you can have too short. And some songs come together in no time. And then other songs can take months. We’re just not the kind of band who can just kind of throw out a song and it’s just brilliant. Well, people say they do that. I don’t necessarily believe that’s true, but I guess you can pretend that you’re spontaneous and you just can throw out a genius song in about 10 minutes. I don’t think that really happens with many people. But yeah, like I said, the songwriting, how we do it, has changed dramatically to where it was when we started.”
When Botas noted that the different songwriting approach is something that was developed through experience, Holmes said: “When you start writing something, and if you spend a lot of time on it, you can spend a full day thinking, ‘This is fantastic,’ and then you can wake up in the morning and you think it’s rubbish. You can get too locked into something. And then sometimes you have to take a step backwards, which is always really important, having a step backwards and maybe let someone else have a listen. I mean, we always get there, and when it comes together, it’s great. That’s the nice part. That’s the rewarding part, I guess. It’s like any kind of art. Once you’ve gone to the top of the hill and you’re coming down, that’s a nice feeling. It’s not always easy getting there, but it’s always fun when you go there.”
Asked if he can still trust his instincts when writing music, Holmes said: “Yeah, absolutely. Gut reaction’s pretty much… I mean, you could hear something that’s not necessarily you think, ‘Oh, hang on, this is strange.’ And then you’ve gotta listen to it and then get into the… I don’t instantly dismiss something — I would never do that — but I’ve gotta give it a few [listens]. And if I still feel the same way after a few listens, then I would trust my instinct on it, yeah. But I don’t instantly dismiss things ’cause I don’t think that’s really a positive thing to do. But, yeah, definitely, you’ve gotta go with a gut reaction.”
Asked if he can write a whole set of lyrics without music or if he needs the music to get some like melodies in his head, Nick said: “I prefer the music as a springboard to write lyrics to. And I always like how lyrics, how words sound on certain parts of songs. And that’s always something I’ve admired about certain bands over the years. I’m not particularly interested in hearing stories in songs, although sometimes it’s nice to hear that, but it’s more about how, particularly metal, for me, it’s more about how the songs sound at a certain time, how the lyrics sound at a certain time and the words. I mean, I can write without music, but I prefer to have something to kind of bounce off, really.”
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of their fourth album, “Icon”, PARADISE LOST recently re-recorded the LP for a special new release. There will also be “an extra special vinyl” version of the album, both of which will be made available on December 1.
“Icon 30” is a totally re-recorded version of “Icon”, and PARADISE LOST once again worked with longtime collaborator and producer Jaime Gomez Arellano.
PARADISE LOST recorded the vocals and drums for “Icon 30” at Jaime‘s new studio Arda Recorders in Porto, Portugal. The rest of the album was completed at guitarist Greg Mackintosh‘s Black Planet Studios. “Icon 30” also features brand new artwork created by Scott Robinson and new liner notes from Kerrang!‘s Nick Ruskell.
“Icon” marked a departure from the death-doom sound of PARADISE LOST‘s early work and was the last album to feature Matthew Archer on drums.
In February 2018, “Icon” was inducted into the Decibel “Hall Of Fame”, with the magazine naming it influential to the development of the gothic metal subgenre.
This past March, PARADISE LOST welcomed Guido Zima Montanarini as their official new drummer.
In September 2022, Finnish drummer Waltteri Väyrynen left PARADISE LOST to join OPETH. At the time, he issued a statement saying that his decision involved “absolutely no bad blood or drama whatsoever.”
PARADISE LOST‘s latest album, “Obsidian”, was released in May 2020 via Nuclear Blast.
PARADISE LOST will embark on the “Icon” 30th-anniversary tour of Europe in December.
Formed in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in 1988, PARADISE LOST were unlikely candidates for metal glory when they slithered from the shadows and infiltrated the U.K. underground. But not content with spawning an entire subgenre with early death/doom masterpiece “Gothic” nor with conquering the metal mainstream with the balls-out power of 1995’s “Draconian Times”, they have subsequently traversed multiple genre boundaries with skill and grace, evolving through the pitch-black alt-rock mastery of 1990s classics “One Second” and “Host” to the muscular but ornate grandeur of 2009’s “Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us” and “Tragic Idol” (2012),with the nonchalant finesse of grand masters. The band’s “The Plague Within” (2015) and “Medusa” (2017) albums saw a much-celebrated return to brutal, old-school thinking, via two crushing monoliths to slow-motion death and spiritual defeat.
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