PARADISE LOST singer NICK HOLMES hopes to complete songwriting process for next album in 2024
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: “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”, British gothic metal pioneers 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. In anticipation of the release, the band recently released the re-recorded version of the album’s legendary opener ‘Embers Fire’, including a lyric video.
Watch the original video for ‘Embers Fire’ below
Watch the previously re-recorded version of ‘Widow’ below
Watch the original video for ‘Widow’ below
“Icon 30” track listing:
01. Embers Fire
03. Forging Sympathy
04. Joys Of The Emptiness
05. Dying Freedom
07. Colossal Rains
08. Weeping Words
10. True Belief
11. Shallow Seasons
13. Deus Misereatur
This past August, PARADISE LOST shared photos from the vocal recording sessions for the new version of “Icon” at Arda Recorders in Portugal with co-producer Jaime Gomez Arellano.
PARADISE LOST frontman Nick Holmes previously stated about the band’s decision to re-record “Icon”: “Our specific record deal around the time we signed for the ‘Icon’ album meant we would never actually own the rights to our music or artwork, so going forward, to reissue the album ourselves for the 30th anniversary, it was necessary to re-record and completely re-do the album cover. Re-recording ‘Icon’ has not only enabled us to release it as a series of collectors editions on vinyl, but it was also great to revisit some songs from a lifetime ago. Nothing can replace those original recordings or ever will, they are a nostalgic part of all our lives but it has been a lot of fun revisiting those early [Music For Nations] days once again, and I hope the end result displays that!”
“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.
The album’s opening track ‘Ember’s Fire’ won an MTV Headbanger’s Ball viewers award for best heavy metal video of the year.
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.
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.
PARADISE LOST‘s latest album, “Obsidian”, was released in May 2020 via Nuclear Blast.
In 2008, speaking to Kerrang! about the album’s music, Nick Holmes remembered:
“We were pretty much the first band to coin the phrase ‘gothic metal’ so I don’t have a problem with that label. We’ve actually done gothier albums than Icon, but if people want to say that it sums up something that’s fine with me. At the time there was also black metal, thrash metal and everyone wanted to describe what type of something was so we went ‘Okay, we’ve got The Sisters of Mercy elements in our music, let’s call it goth metal’. We were getting better as musicians as well and I was hopefully getting better as a vocalist. When that happens you want to fine-tune what you’re doing. It’s also about not wanting to get stuck or pigeonholed into one particular musical place. We’ve kept the whole gothic thing going right throughout our career, but we did want to do something a little different. With the vocals, a lot of it was kind of shouting in key as opposed to just shouting, it’s okay singing like Beelzebub, but your voice can get into trouble if you have a big tour.”