second interview  PARADISE LOST :  Interview with Lee Morris 

by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo__    07/06/2003    

organized by  GryphonMetal  and Northern Music


interview with Greg Mackintosh


                                                                                                                           LIVE REPORTAGE    

Lee and Dalia  -near the Transilvania Live stand, in  the festival area , during the interview           

 pic taken by Stefan Vogelaar



First question for Mr. Lee Morris. The new album, Symbol Of Life, seems to have electrified critics, and the motto recurring  in the reviews is mainly" Paradise Lost are back"! What did you think  when you and your band mates (please notice that  now Lee is ex PL) read "Paradise Lost are back"?

I don't think we ever went away you know. It's so much like I feel,  like we've sort of retired for two years and then come back, we've always been going but just in different forms. So when I say we're back it's like well,  we've not actually been anywhere. You know, I just think cause we've started using more organic sounds again like guitars a bit heavier in the mix, on our last couple of albums. I think you've sometimes got lazy journalism. I think people just lump you into a barrel and think oh well, they're back to where they used to be,  because they're playing heavy guitars again, instead of thinking their  usually normal sound electronic, as they're usually using, just put heavy guitars in as well. Just to balance it all out.
You know, cause i mean, we haven't gone back because this album doesn't  sound anything like Draconian Times or One Second you know. I don't think we've gone backwards. It sounds different to our old albums.

In your opinion, why do most fans like Symbol Of Life, cause they think it's more "Metal"?

It's definately a heavier record, but i mean in a traditional way. Because Host was an heavy record but we did that in a completely sort of obscure way. We did that more from a film soundtrack angle. You know we're really into sort of  things like "Schlinder's List" sort of soundtrack. And how heavy these albums were without being like heavy guitars cause, sometimes you can become very lazy, cause it's easy to make an heavy record. But we wanted to do it in a slightly different way and people just didn't understand that record at all. It's only now i think that people are starting to understand what we were trying to do with that record. But this it's definately heavier but in a more traditonal way you know.


Which gigs did Paradise Lost enjoy the most during the American tour and which during the European one?

The American tour was actually well, the whole tour was really good for us, cause, the first time we've been there since 1994 and it's my first time with the band being there in America.  It was such a nice situation to finally get to play there. Some of the venues there, we did like Chicago House of the Blues which is a really nice venue. We did the Trobadour   in Los Angeles which was like from the history point of view. That was a great venue to play cause if you look at the bands that have played there over the years. You know there's been some great bands, so you know. It's nice to play on a stage , some of your heroes have played themselves so...
I think that they are two of the ones that stand out for me. Playing New York was really good as well. It's hard cause Europe's always very good for us, so wherever we go.
The last tour that we did in Europe, nearly every night we sold out, so it's really hard to pick out which is the best shows. Cause when you're playing to a sold out show every night on a european tour, it's impossible to pick a favorite.

Sold out!  do you enjoy it?

No!  But it does have a bearing, if you are playing to like 10 people that are sort of not interested, i don't think it's inspiring you, cause when you're in a band it's a two way thing, cause you get off on a audiences reaction and they get off on how you play. So it has to be a two-way thing. I mean if we're playing  to 10 people that are just watching us , we're not going to feel motivated to want to give 100% you know. From a band point of view, it's actually better to look out and see a lot of people enjoying it than seeing 10 people not enjoying it obviously. Cause the kind of euphoria  that you get from 10 people going nuts and enjoying themselves, you multiply that by a 1000 people/700 people going crazy obviously it's much better you know. 


How do you choose the tracks for your new set lists?

We have a thing backstage with all the songs that we know. We put them in like a drum. (laughing). No, it's actually difficult, I mean , you never know cause you've got fans from years of Paradise Lost and we're trying to promote the new record and we also know we've got a lot of hardcore fans and the problem we have then is we want to play some of the older songs. You've got to try and make everybody enjoy the show.  We did Turkey then we did 3 shows, one in Holland, one in Belgium and one in France. And we did songs like Embers Fire that we'd not done for a long time. You know, we thought, OK, everyone keeps asking for that song, so we put it in the set and it went down like a sack of shit. Everyone had been onto us to play old songs and when we play old songs they don't go down for everyone. There's probably about 5 people in the audience that know them. We've played all these old songs for many years and it's boring for us to play all the old songs. You can't play them with the same enthusiasm than the songs you've just written, you know...

But the old songs are generally always welcomed anyway...

Oh yeah! You always get a small percentage of people that really like the old songs, always! always!


Do you think that Symbol Of Life has something provocative?

Yeah! We're a very sexy band, so yes  it's very provocative. (everyone laughs). Provocative, it's thought provoking. I think our records make people think. I think cause the lyrical  point of view, Nick,  it's very sort of, what's the way to put it? it's not exactly definate in what each songs about. It's very much open to interpretation, cause if you play one of our songs to 10 different people and ask them to sort of well, what does that song say/mean to you? They will all say something completely different. Whereas with some bands, it's very sort of straight forward what the songs about. But with our songs, they're very abstract and very hard for people to know exactly what they're about and they interpret them in their own way, and I think that's great you know for fans to be able to do that, you know.We all like bands that make a theme that states the obvious and you go OK, that songs about this story and there's the start of the story, there's the middle of the story and there's the end of the story. Our stories are like twisting/turning things that don't actually make much sense. It's just that to some people they do, you know.


Are you still sure that the track list of Symbol Of Life was the ideal one? Cause personally i think , (but  i'm not the only one) that songs like "Deus"  and  "I can hate you" should have been included  in the normal edition album.

I mean it's going to be difficult. Eventually we were going to put small town boy as a bonus track ,  but the record company  didn't like Xavier at all and said we don't want Xavier on the album basically cause they preferred Small Town Boy. And to be honest with you, there as live songs, Small Town Boy goes down really well and I think if we played Xavier everyone would fall asleep. Cause it's such a very good album song but I don't think it would work as a live song, you know, cause it's too slow ....I'm not sure it would work as a live song... On the last album we had the same problems. We asked for songs, some B sides on Believe In Nothing . Cause i actually preferred them to the one's that were on the album but it's always difficult. The record companies sort of, they have the last say, they've signed you, so they kind of get to say we'll put on what we want on the album but sometimes they will say: well, we don't want that song on the album, we want this other song. Personally i don't like 'Channel For The Pain' . I don't like that song.  I never listen to that song. Whenever I listen to our cd i always fast forward through that song. It's a song that I  personally don't like  because it's too straight forward, you know what I mean. It's very sort of one-dimensional and I don't like that, because I like our songs that are a bit more twisting and turning, where that one is a bit too direct and straight forward.


Do songs like "I Can Hate You" and " Deus", actually betray the new direction of the next album maybe?

Anyone who knows Paradise Lost,  knows that we never give any leads to what we're going to do next. Like our new album will come out and we're not going to give any clues as to what is going to come out, you know. Because we don't even know ourselves. I mean we just basically try to write some different songs for the last record and try to just experiment a bit more with some things.  You know, whether we'll do that, go down that particular road on this next record, we don't know. It's going to be an heavy record. I mean Rhys is definately going to produce it so, he wants us to do a really heavy record. So it'll be an heavy one but we're not sure in which way. We're going to make an heavy one. We might do a real heavy doom album, we just don't know. We shall see. It'll be something different. It'll be definately heavy.


Future projects, tours ...?

More or less the same. We're going to do the festival season then I think we're going to go back to America to do another American tour. There's talk of us doing a tour playing with Soil cause they're good friends of ours. There's talk of us touring with them, that should be really cool. Then I think we're going to do another European tour later this year, then sort of take in some of the places we didn't get chance to do on the last leg. Then we're just going to start writing I guess.  We've got a few idea's of songs already so.... we've probably got about 3 or 4 songs that are workable now. So we'll probably get together in the rehearsal room and lock ourselves away for a few months and see what comes out. It's going to be a busy year.


Was it difficult to play in front of  Opeth fans?

No! It's a challenge!, it's a challenge. I think sometimes you can get very complacent. When you're playing to a Paradise Lost audience, it does make it easy for you, cause you know that they're paying to come and see you, so it makes it much easier. So when you play to  someone else's audience, you have to try and win them over. And I like that challenge cause it makes you work that little bit harder. You go okay, we've sort of got 45 minutes here, we're going to try and convince you to buy our record in 45 minutes and you have to go in with that kind of attitude to try and win them over so.... It's always exciting to do that and I love supporting,  like today you know. There's probably people that have never heard of us before today and they think, 'I quite like that band, i'll go out and buy their CD. That's one other person that's got into your music so......


I have the impression that Paradise Lost play a bit with the English language, concerning  lyrics?

Probably yeah!

For example, Isolate --> i-so-late , or This Cold Life --> disco-life, Pray Nightfall -->Prey Nightfall. Double meanings?

...English grammar ... you can easily break up a collection of words and you can sort of interpret it to be like 3 different things. It is nice to do that and I think we do. I don't think we do it subconsciously do that. I think it's something like kind of,  Isolate is about loneliness, you know like I-sol-ate, it's like word play, which is fun to do. You try not to get too far into it  or you can be fucking people's heads up. Cause you can twist words around and completely change the whole meaning of the song. You can't do it too far cause people would say' what the fuck are they talking about?'  You've got to give them at least something that they can find out.

yes... death's alright---> that's alright....

Death's alright! Well it's going to happen to us all eventually, so it's alright you know. ( All laughing) we're all going to die so you know... All our lyrics are actually at least true because we're all going to die at some point. You can't actually play on that you know.


The video Erased....

That was cool

Some find it cool, some other's don't...

From my point of view , we had some really beautiful girls dancing round us with really tight leather clothes...

That's why it's cool!

We were just stood there watching them dance around,  these scantily clad girls, we just thought 'man!, I love my job!' Maybe some of the fans thought they didn't understand the video but video's are very boring to make. You're normally in a very cold place waiting around all day, then you'll come out to play for about 10 seconds, then go and you sit around and wait so.... That's the most fun we've had making a video, purely because of the content.

So, my question  about Erased!! Could Nick symbolize an inverted cross? Nick upside down?

We just find it funny because when you turn somebody upside down, the blood goes to their head and their face goes really red. And we just thought it would be really fun to turn him upside down, so his face is red. We didn't actually think of it making him into a cross, we just thought "lets do anything to make him uncomfortable". So we thought "let's just turn him upside down and make his face go red".
I think on that video there's loads of imagery, there's loads of different things. The upside down thing, I just think from a lighting point of view, it's really good cause, he did some shots stood up with his arms in the air then turned upside down and the strobes changed. I think it works really well.


Are you satisfied with the release "at the BBC"?

Yeah! It's kind of interesting to listen back, usually because at the time we thought it was really cool, you know. But when you listen back to it now, sometimes you think,  it wasn't as good as i remember it being but....  I remember doing that second session in Glasgow and at the time I thought that sounds really really good. I listen to it now, it was raw but it was really nice to hear because that was all live and no over dubs. We went in the studio and we played it live you know. It's nice to hear and I think for one take it was pretty good. I think it sounds good. Songs like sweetness and stuff like that. I really like that song. Yeah!


About producers ...Will you go on with Rhys?

Rhys is definately going to do our next record. We saw him LA and we were talking to him. He said look, he really wants to do it and we want him to do it. It's something worth it if you do a good album that you're happy with. We're so happy with Symbol Of Life, there doesn't seem to be much point in changing, cause i mean, you can try somebody else but then you're taking a gamble. But we know that Rhys will do a good job so....    I mean at this stage in our career it's best to sort of not play safe but go with someone who we found out is good at his job. We thought that John Fryer was going to be really cool but that was supposed to be an heavy record, but it didn't come out like we wanted it. It wasn't heavy enough and it was too one dimensional. It was too samey, every song had the same sound, we wanted to make it a lot  heavier. 


Why not  trying with Peter Tägtgren...?

Who is he?

(laughing) No one knows him...indeed! :D

Never heard of him, no!!

 In your opinion, is there more fair play in a football match or in the music industry?

The music industry is definately not fair, especially in England. It's so trend orientated  and I think to a degree the English are sort of told what to buy. Because music and media have such a strong power in England and basically if you play a song 50 times a day on the radio people will start to like it. It's almost like brain washing people you know. If you hear a song 50 times a day every day regards to what your musical taste is, you'll think, "oh!, I don't mind that song, I quite like it"  you know, cause it's familiarity. And in England to a certain degree the record companies kind of decide which bands are gonna make it big in England and they totally saturate radio, tv, everything else, magazines. I mean sometimes you get these bands you've never heard of on the front cover on these magazines and these bands have never been heard of. Then all of a sudden people think , "oh, they must be a big band cause they're on the front cover on this magazine!", you know what I mean. It's sort of manipulative I think with the English press so..... I mean, I'm not bothered about making it big in England cause it's such a big fucking...I don't know, I don't know what the word is erm....superficial marketing. It's not real, it's all about making money, it's not about art which what music is supposed to be about.
I mean a lot of artists that are big in England now, don't even write their own songs. They have these song writing teams that write the songs and they're just a front. You know ,there's like pretty people that look good and can dance and sing the songs all over. They don't write the songs, and people who take it seriously and want to write songs, it's a bit like a kick in the teeth you know. But at the end of the day that's the nature of the business so....
I think the football match is definately fairer than the music industry. The same token for us probably after going so many years you know, we've seen all these bands come and go and they've sort of come in for two years and get very popular then disappear. Then somebody else comes in for two years and they disappear. All these bands come and go and we just sort of keep wading through the middle of it. We've been given the opportunity to put out and play a lot of records, these bands have two records and then they go. They don't get chance to put much out.

Does the end always justify the means?

Er..., the end is inevitable. So how you get there, you know, you can take various routes to get there, so it obviously justifies the means. You can take  a very scenic route to a point or you can take a very direct route to a point. It's all about fun. It'll always get you to exactly the same place, it's just how you get there I think. I mean, we don't always go directly to the point. Sometimes we wave around and take in a few sites along the way and we always get there eventually.


From  the moment, it's the second time I interview Paradise Lost. I cannot  anylonger propose the Game Of The Tower. To every band we interview for the very first time, I introduce The Game Of The Tower. As it's the second time, there is  a new Game.

Ah! We've got a new game!

Stefan - Game of the Tower: ... a very high tower, 3 bands on top. We choose the bands, you just have to save one band and the other two (Stefan whistles) are pushed off.
Lee - Right, I have to save one band!
Stefan - That was the Game Of The Tower, now it's a new game.
Lee - The Game Of The Well, you have to push two people down a well.

 :D!! The Game Of The Emptiness!
The Game Of The Emptiness?

Yes!!  For you... imagine you enter the Chapel Studios,  completely empty. Which  thing would you put inside of it first?

Ah!...My drumkit!! Of course!! Nothing else matters to me. I don't need mixing desks or speakers, or guitars.... I don't need any of those, just my drumkit and me.

Stefan - you don't need speakers.... I know.... cause my  son started playing drums!!!!

You don't need speakers! Two pieces of wood and a drumkit and cymbals that's all you need. That was the first thing i'd put in it !!


Thank you so much Lee!! :))

Lee Morris , we of GM salute you! Best wishes for the future!! Fans will never forget all the years with Paradise Lost, and GM dedicates this interview to all your fans,  Lee!




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