Nick Holmes (vocals) from Paradise Lost
It’s been a bit over a year that I had an Interview with Nick Holmes of PARADISE LOST and we were talking about ‘Obsidian’, this outstanding that was released in 2020. In November 2020 PARADISE LOST played a livestream concert that was recorded and will be released in July 2021. Time to catch up with PARADISE LOST and talk about what happened since our last interview and about plans for the future. I reached Nick via Skype at home and he seemed to have a really busy interview schedule, but didn’t lose his humour over it.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: It’s been a year now, since you released ‘Obsidian’ during the first lockdown. How was the feedback of the fans?
Nick: It’s been really good; you know the days been gone when you got it on stage. Prior to the internet you could only tell how it went on the stage. But online the response has been fantastic and it’s gonna be nice to play the songs on a stage in front of the people again and I think that’s every band’s dream at the moment.
RoD: In July PARADISE LOST will release the live album ‘At The Mill’. Who made the setlist for the livestream?
Nick: I usually put the setlist together and then I get the OK from everybody else. Obviously, we had to play some new songs, so the new songs were the main thing and the other songs we played many, many times and a few songs we hadn’t played for a long time, like ‘Widow’ for example. So, it was a mix of the brand new and the old, I suppose. We got a lot of songs to choose from.
RoD: Why did you choose this rather small venue for the live stream and the recording of the album?
Nick: One of the main reasons is, that it’s downstairs from our rehearsal space. We didn’t have to go very far to move our equipment. But also at that time, the lockdown was really strong and that’s why you really couldn’t move around much. We weren’t sure where you were allowed and where you weren’t allowed and it was just easier to do it there, because the place where we recorded it is actually a music venue anyway. They use it as a live music venue, so it’s more an intimate, like an acoustic venue… We thought it would be easier to do it there and make it like a kind of “MTV-Unplugged” kind of thing. Which is something we haven’t done before.
RoD: You played several songs of the album ‘Obsidian’ for a live audience for the first time. How did you feel when you played a live show without seeing or hearing the immediate reaction of the audience?
Nick: It was a like doing a video shoot, really. I mean there were cameras there and it was quite stressful, because it was live. If you mess up, if you make a mistake if you play live in front of the people, it could be funny and not a big issue. But you concentrate a lot more when you’re playing live and it’s being streamed. The concentration was way higher up than normal. But other than that, it was like a video shoot and we’ve done lots of these, so we’re used to it.
RoD: I watched the live-stream and I have to admit that the sound was perfect. How many ties did you rehearse before the show?
Nick: We rehearsed quite a lot. We hadn’t played any of the new songs as a band before that. So, we had to make sure, that they were right. So, we went through them quite a lot the days before. We also rehearsed in the location we recorded, everything was there two or three days before, being set up, ready to go. We don’t live near each other, so when we get together, we have to use the time we have. We can’t just hop down to shoot, so we have to plan time to rehearse and plan the days we could do it. So, we went through them a lot.
RoD: What’s your favourite song on ‘At The Mill’?
Nick: Probably ‘Darker Thoughts’, because the changes on the songs acoustic section came very late in the writing and I still think it’s one of the nicest on the album. I love it, when things are repulsive and good ideas are repulsive, because sometimes repulsive ideas are not very good, but in this case, it worked out really well and I really liked the fact that it comes together like that. So, yeah, I think ‘Darker Thoughts’, but obviously I like all of them. On the top of my head I’d say, I like how ‘Darker Thoughts’ came together.
RoD: PARADISE LOST re-released ‘Symbol of Life’ on vinyl for the first time recently. Was this due to the fans requesting it? Do you plan other re-releases?
Nick: I think if you stay around long enough all your old albums get re-released (laughs). This one is a mastering issue, the old one is pre-digital stuff. You know, a lot of the albums I heard, when I was a kid, I wish they would be remastered. There are so many Death Metal albums that would sound so much better, if they would be remastered. So, it’s a remastering thing and if albums are remastered it gives them a breath of fresh air I guess, most of the time. Some people don’t like the sound because they get used to the old sound, but I think it gives them a breath of life again, so to speak.
RoD: The current situation confused the album release cycles of many bands and labels. Do you already work on songs for a new album?
Nick: No, we don’t actually, we’ve been doing a lot of things. We don’t feel like we’ve worked for this album (editor’s note: ‘Obsidian’) yet. So, we’ve to go on tour with it before we do another album. And we actually have a two- or three-years touring process and a year of writing process before. We’ve done that since we were teenagers pretty much. I mean really, we have to get out and tour this album, at least to some extend we have to do something. We don’t move on to another album and particularly now, that the response (editor’s note: to ‘Obsidian) has been so good. It’s important to us to get out and play it live.
RoD: You recently announce a tour in the UK in early 2022. Any plans for Continental Europe?
Nick: As soon as we know that there is an 80 percent chance that it will happen, then I guess. I mean everything that you schedule seems to be moved forward by a year, that seems how it is to be at the moment. I think it depends on getting closer to ‘Normality’, until the people are vaccinated that’s the way it’s gonna go. It seems to be the way in the UK at the moment. So, I think if once there are more vaccinations, things will perhaps be getting closer to ‘Normality’, but until that happens it’s gonna go to places, where we can play. But as soon as we can get over to mainland Europe, we will do. We’re going tomorrow, if I was asked. I mean it. We’re going to see what’s gonna happen.
RoD: Any Message for the fans?
Nick: Thanks for your support during this time. We’re looking forward to get out and play live for you. That’s the main thing, the goal. To get out and do what we do. I’m sure everyone will come and see live music as well. The sooner it happens, the better.
RoD: Thank you for the interview. I hope to see PARADISE LOT live on stage, soon.
Paradise Lost announced a tour in February 2022 in the UK:
05/02/2022 - Leeds / The Warehouse (Obsidian Album Launch Show)
06/02/2022 - Colchester / Arts Centre
07/02/2022 - Norwich / Waterfront
08/02/2022 - Brighton / Concorde 2
09/02/2022 - Stoke / Sugarmill
12/02/2022 - Glasgow / The Garage
13/02/2022 - Newcastle / Riverside
14/02/2022 - Wolverhampton / KK’s Steel Mill
15/02/2022 - Nottingham / Rescue Rooms
16/02/2022 - Manchester / Club Academy
17/02/2022 - Bristol / SWX
18/02/2022 - London / Electric Ballroom
All Pictures by Anne C. Swallow