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INTERVIEW: Waltteri Väyrynen – Paradise Lost

Since forming in 1988, PARADISE LOST have changed the face of heavy music. Through their unique blend of doom and gothic metal, the band have become a giant in our world and now, nearly 30 years later, the band are still at the top of their game. Before a headlining performance at this year’s Damnation Festival we spoke with Waltteri Väyrynen, the newest member of the band, to talk about how he is settling in with the doom giants, performing at a festival like Damnation Festival and how the band has influenced heavy music.

So PARADISE LOST are headlining Damnation Festival today, what can fans expect from the performance?

Waltteri: Basically a ‘best of’ set, songs from most of our albums so there is something for everyone!

With Medusa coming out in September, was there an idea to focus on that album or did you want to cover every era of PARADISE LOST?

Waltteri: Well obviously the main focus is on the new album but we still want to cover older songs as well, there’s going to be like four songs from the new album in there.

Which is a good mix I suppose?

Waltteri: Yeah, it’s like when I go to see IRON MAIDEN and they play like eight songs from their newest album, I think that’s a little bit too much.

So with Nick and Greg doing double duty today…

Waltteri: Me as well!

So what extra preparation comes into a playing a festival like this? Do you sit down and focus on extra rehearsals?

Waltteri: Damnation Festival is in the middle of our tour, we’ve already done six weeks of touring in Europe so it is definitely more stressful, especially with VALLENFYRE as we haven’t played together since September. So it has been more stressful but I think it was a really good gig with VALLENFYRE. With PARADISE LOST it’s more of a routine, as like I said, we have already played like 30 shows.

With quite a few of you being involved in different projects, when it comes to the creative process does any of the influence from those other projects seep into the sound of PARADISE LOST?

Waltteri: It’s very much a separate thing, especially with VALLENFYRE. Greg wants to keep that separate and like he says, it’s like a weekend out, PARADISE LOST is his main job.

PARADISE LOST have always had a stable lineup apart from the drummer, and you are the newest member of the band. Since you joined in 2015, how do you feel you have settled in that band?

Waltteri: Really good! Even though we have like 20-25 of age difference you can’t even really notice it because we share the same sense of humour and we get on really well! Obviously they have more experience playing live and touring but yeah, it’s been really good so far.

Since you have been in the band, you’ve released Medusa which is the 15th studio record from PARADISE LOST. Now that record has been out for a couple of months, how do you feel the reception has been?

Waltteri: It’s been really good! All the reviews I’ve seen have been nice and positive, maybe one or two not so much, but that’s just opinions.

Coming into a band that is now on their 15th album, which is a milestone in itself, do you feel a lot of pressure going in to write an album?

Waltteri: I suppose. I don’t think Greg, who writes the music, I don’t think he thinks too much about it. He does whatever he wants.

What’s interesting, especially for you as the newest member, PARADISE LOST have this discography that is really well respected by fans, did you feel a lot of pressure to deliver the goods?

Waltteri: Yeah of course. It’s hard to tell myself how did I do? Was it good enough? But, like I said, the feedback has been really positive!

So next year is a huge milestone for the band, 30 years of PARADISE LOST. Do you have something special in the works to celebrate such a milestone?

Waltteri: There might be something, we haven’t planned anything as of yet. Right now, the main focus is on the new album but we might do something like a show or a series of shows but I don’t think we would do a full tour or anything like that.

I imagine as well coming into a band that is approaching 30 years, the guys must have a ton of experience they have passed onto you as a musician?

Waltteri: Oh definitely.

What would be some of their best tips they have given you?

Waltteri: I guess just to not stress too much about touring. It is what it is and every day is different. Different venues and so on, I just have to take it as what it is.

PARADISE LOST have had a massive influence on the genre of metal itself. How far do you think this goes? Do you see PARADISE LOST as a vital band within doom and heavy music in general?

Waltteri: Absolutely yeah! I mean I would say they pretty much invented the gothic metal genre. Originally I think Greg‘s idea was to mix together things like SISTERS OF MERCY and then doom metal and that’s how it became gothic metal.

So really just to round up, once you have done Damnation Festival you have a UK tour on the horizon. Other than that, what is next for the band?

Waltteri: Well we’re doing an Australian tour in December, mid-December, and then probably some festivals next summer and maybe another tour in the Fall next year. There’s always something coming up!

Well good luck for your future plans, thank you for talking to Distorted Sound.

Waltteri: Thank you.

Medusa is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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