by Cameron Edney
Guest Staff Writer –
Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes Talks Soundwave, Recording and Drinking!
Nineties death/doom metallers Paradise Lost are about to embark on their first Australian tour in more than fifteen years. Hitting our shores later this month as part of the traveling Soundwave Festival, Paradise Lost are sure to make up for lost time playing a fantastic set to suit fans all of eras of the bands past.
Hailing from Halifax, England the band knew early on that they were creating music that would change not only their lives but the life’s of hundreds of thousands of music lovers around the world. Releasing albums like ‘Shades of God’, ‘Draconian Times’ and ‘In Requiem’ showcased just how talented and phenomenal this band really is!
In April Paradise Lost will release their twelfth studio album titled ‘Tragic Idol’, an album which sees the bands return to the heavier and darker sound they are known and loved for portraying. I had the pleasure of speaking with Paradise lost front-man Nick Holmes to talk about the bands long over-due return to Australia, their upcoming album ‘Tragic Idol’ and no longer partying like a “Rockstar” on the road… here is what Nick had to say!
Hardrock Haven: Nick, thanks for speaking with us tonight, how’s everything going?
Nick Holmes: Really good man, we finished the album and now we’re just going to hang around and wait to start the tour. We start off in Australia and then we’ll carry on through Britain and the rest of Europe after that, we’re really looking forward to it.
Hardrock Haven: I thought you guys actually just finished a run of shows….
Nick Holmes: We did a lot of festivals but we’ve been writing the album over the last year so we haven’t done too many shows recently. We’ve done the odd bits and pieces but the full tour is going to start when we kick off in Australia.
Hardrock Haven: You were only recently added to the Soundwave Bill, you must be really excited to finally get back to Australia for some long overdue shows?
Nick Holmes: I think we’ve done five more albums since we were last down there; we have a lot more songs to choose from! We’re going to do a good proportion of ‘Draconian Times’, we did a special tour where we only played that album and it was really successful; we know that people really appreciated that album so we’re going to do a few songs off that one. We’re going to do a brand new song; we’ve got a hell of a lot more songs to choose from since last time. I’m not too sure how long we’re going to play for so we’ll just do a best of type set.
Hardrock Haven: Fans have been waiting a long time for your return and it’s great to see that you’re on the Soundwave Line-up, how did you become involved with the festival?
Nick Holmes: I don’t know… there was a lot of talk about it ages ago. The thing about Australia is that we’ve wanted to come back pretty much since we left fifteen years ago. There’s always something that gets in the way or something that falls through, luckily it seems like its definitely happening this time so we’re absolutely thrilled, it’s great!
Hardrock Haven: When you look back on your previous Australian visit what comes to mind?
Nick Holmes: Last time I came in early and did a charity bike ride through the outback. I did that for a week prior to the tour so that was already like a holiday; it was absolutely brilliant. I have such good memories from that Australian tour it was probably one of my favourite trips, I’m really looking forward to coming back!
Hardrock Haven: One of the great things about festivals for punters is that they are thrown into one place with many bands they’ve never seen, never heard of before and there is always plenty of curious music fans wanting to discover more great music. For those people how would you best describe the band live?
Nick Holmes: Well it’s not sunshine rock that’s for sure [laughs].
Hardrock Haven: [Laughs] you can say that again [laughs]. Nick whilst on the road who’s given you the best advice and what was it?
Nick Holmes: Um I don’t think I’ve heard any [laughs], I always give advice to people. I’ve probably had advice from other people that I’ve ignored and now I give advice to other people who probably ignore me [laughs]. If there was any advice I was probably too drunk to remember it anyway [laughs].
Hardrock Haven: Do you still enjoy a drop or two whilst on the road?
Nick Holmes: I think drinking and being a travelling musician is the worst combination on earth! I discovered that in the last ten years, it just doesn’t work. I think drinking and staying awake is a bad idea, I just can’t do that anymore, I can’t do a show the next day. In my early twenty’s it wasn’t a problem but now, forget it, I try to be semi-professional! The whole rock n roll lifestyle is a bit of a mess really; most people I know, they don’t party as much as perhaps they’d like people to believe.
Hardrock Haven: I’ve always been curious to know how bands deal with living together on the road, I mean no doubt at times it can become frustrating when you share buses rooms for weeks sometimes months at a time, how do you personally find the best way to deal with other members on the road especially during those harder not so pleasant moments that occur?
Nick Holmes: It’s just a matter of putting your headphones on and switching off. Everyone knows everybody else’s tolerance levels so you can see an argument coming very early on. Usually it’s me and Steve [Edmondson] our bass player that argues, it’s usually when we’re tired too so when we arrive in Australia we’ll probably be bickering then [laughs].
Hardrock Haven: Mate you’re certainly great vocalist and as we know vocalists usually do less interviews on the road, don’t party as much, stay out as late etc to keep the voice in great shape, when travelling do you do anything specific to keep your instrument in the best shape possible?
Nick Holmes: Just don’t talk, which is annoying because I do like to talk. I’ve started to listen to audio books cause when I start, I get engrossed in that and I won’t start a conversation.
Hardrock Haven: I want to talk to you about life in the studio also, in 2009 you released a great album in ‘Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us’ and the follow up will be released this year, what can you tell us about that?
Nick Holmes: The new album is called ‘Tragic Idol’ the album has ten songs on it. I think that people seem to think that we’re going into a more Gothic direction, but it’s a very “Metal” album! I think it’s a lot more metal than the last one to be honest; it’s very dark, it’s got to be expected, we’re not going to do anything out of the ordinary. We’re really pleased with it, I was listening to it last night actually… I can’t wait for people to hear it and let us know their thoughts.
Hardrock Haven: Tragic Idol… I love the title; tell us where that came from…
Nick Holmes: ‘Tragic Idol’ is about how if someone is put on a pedestal and they somehow start to believe it, really they’re not. With the internet and the way that media are now at the end of the day we’re all human beings nobody’s better than anybody else some are smarter but that’s about it! In England people love to see people fall from grace, the bigger people get and the more successful that people get, people like to see them fall! I find that to be really sad, people help to get people to where they are and once they get there they just want to tear them down! It’s a real Northern England thing in particular, everyone wants you to fail in Northern England, and you never get encouragement for anything in your life.
Hardrock Haven: Having recorded twelve studio albums now, I would imagine the creative process in some cases would be a breeze and yet it must at times be a nightmare to come up with fresh material!
Nick Holmes: It’s weird… I found this album quite hard to write. Lyrically I quite enjoyed writing this more than some previous albums; overall though I didn’t find it all enjoyable which is a weird thing.
Hardrock Haven: Nick since first forming, Paradise Lost has been able to achieve many great things, what do you feel are your greatest achievements to date…
Nick Holmes: Well we always say this but when we headlined the Dynamo Festival in Eindhoven in 1995 there was one hundred and twenty thousand people there. Headlining that was a pinnacle moment for the band professionally, that was a real high point!
Hardrock Haven: There’s no doubt as time goes you’re always learning more about all aspects of the industry from touring to recording and the all-important business side as well. What do you feel has been the single most important lesson you’ve learnt to date?
Nick Holmes: To never take it for granted! If you start to expect people to like your music or people to stay with you then you can just forget it cause it doesn’t work like that. You have to work hard, I’m going to go into a Kiss song if I don’t keep quiet… ‘God Gave Rock N’ Roll To You’, that song is really quite inspirational, the lyrics in that song are true, you don’t get nothing unless you work for it and I think that’s good advice for life really.
Hardrock Haven: It certainly is… Just before we wrap up, you will be back in Australia later this month for the Soundwave Festivals; ‘Tragic Idol’ is out soon also what other plans do you have in place?
Nick Holmes: We’re looking into going to America this year and were long overdue to go to South America as well so we will be touring most of the year. Like I said it starts in Australia and we’ll carry on through from there and see where the touring take us!
Hardrock Haven: Well Nick I wish you all the very best with it and hope you have a fantastic time back here in Australia. Do you have any last words for our readers?
We’re looking forward to coming and playing, I hope that everyone comes out to see us and enjoys it!
© Cameron Edney Feb 2012. Not to be used without written permission.
Currently writing and shooting for: Hysteria Magazine, Junior Magazine, Reverb Magazine, Disciples of Metal, Wicked Pix, Loud! Online, The Metal Forge, This is Rock Magazine, Utopia Records, Hardrock Haven, Rock Confidential