Interview with: Torbe Lysholm (Pangea) (Vocals/Guitars)
Myglobalmind: Hey guys thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions for our Webzine!!!
Torben L: Not at all, it’s our pleasure. We’re proud to be featured in your great Webzine!
Myglobalmind: For readers not familiar with Pangea, can you tell us a brief description of the bands sound and history?
Torben L: Pangea is a hardrock trio from Denmark that has existed as a band since the mid 80’s in various formations leading up to our consolidation as a trio in ’92. We were probably inspired by Van Halen as far as the energi we wished to put into our songs and such but we don’t really feel we sound like anyone in particular. Reviewers like to compare us to Mr. Big and Extreme but we weren’t really introduced to those bands until some time in the middle of producing the first album and by that time we were too far into our own stuff to suddenly start adopting stuff from new bands. We got a production deal in the summer of ’92 and started recording what would become our debut album The First over a couple of years, releasing it first on JVC Victor Entertainment Records in Japan in ’95. We released our second album Manchild in ’97 and followed it up by playing concerts here and there. A couple of videos were made but it was hard to really get the ball rolling when we didn’t actually go to Japan and Southeast Asia on promotion tours. We then decided to give it a serious and ambitious go in ’99 and we recorded a very expensive album while trying to get some promotional stuff up and ready for the far east territory. We had experienced some real progress and gained some territory and felt the time was right to draw the big guns. Then the financial disaster struck in Japan and with it’s ripple effect through the business globally we simply couldn’t get the album out. Suddenly the studio and production company closed down and was sold and all we had left was data backups of the stuff that had been dumped from the production tapes on to harddisks. Long story short (or is that too late now?) this was followed by years of nothing really going anywhere and after having split up we’re now back together picking up where we left off.
Myglobalmind: How does it feel to finally release an album which was suppose to have been released some time ago and due to some unfortunate circumstances that never was the case, can you talk a little bit more about that?
Torben L: To be absolutely honest it hasn’t been that fun. First the disappointment of not having it released at first, then the frustration of feeling stuck not only with a master we couldn’t place anywhere but also with a huge studio bill, then the heartache of seeing time pass with the album just sitting there and the band slowly losing faith…and then the whole desicion whether or not to redo all that was lost wasn’t that great either because there was so much good energy on that album and could we repeat that? We wouldn’t know until after redoing the whole thing really. Then a somewhat bad conscious about redoing it and thereby ditching the master and thereby the bill to one of the guys behind the production company. I don’t think he ever expects it to be paid and with the way things are today we are forced to be very “professional” and all business about it, so he’s probably right. All in all it was his/their gamble and we haven’t done anything wrong regarding our contractual obligations or anything. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a conscious about it. All that is also considered while we’re of course super thrilled that the album is finally coming out. In a different version now, but still essentially that is the album. So we’re turning a page and looking ahead.
Myglobalmind: Your new record “Retrospectacular” is said to contain classic Pangea sound, can you explain what type of sound that is?
Torben L: That’s a very good question. Let me answer it as best I can. the thing is that I’m probably too close to the picture to completely see what everyone else is seeing, but we have certainly thought about this from our own perspective. Primarily I think what makes it stand out in a crowd sonically is most likely my voice and my guitar sound. Not to toot my own horn, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that those two ingredients are something we have discussed a great deal internally in the band. Prior to recording our first album, that is… At some point we kind of agreed that I didn’t actually have the kind of voice that we wanted as the lead vocal and we did try other singers. Then we felt I wasn’t flashy enough as a guitarist and we tried other guitarists… At some point I decided that the reason I was doing both was because I wanted to and if I couldn’t get that ambition fulfilled in this band, I would at some point start another band to get it. And we really just wanted to play together so the others actually decided, ok, we’re “just” gonna go with Torben then. Hehehe So it’s actually something we’re very aware of. I have probably developed a bit more in the direction of the traditional vocalists… I don’t know really… I can only do what I do and hope it sounds ok. Having said all that about me, make no mistake, there’s another factor that has become very clear to us that’s certainly not all me. We never considered our songs or what we do to be very complicated. We’re not super technical about it but we have of coursed had to consider the fact that many people say that it’s very detailed and the first many times you hear a Pangea album you’ll discover new stuff you didn’t notice before… And what we sort of discovered ourselves is that we have a very polyrhythmical approach to how we play our songs. You rarely hear a riff that’s on the same rhythmic notes as the drums and the bass usually has a defined roll and is not just limited to provide low end backing for the guitar. We absolutely LOVE each and every piece of the drumkit, the bass and amp, the guitar and amp and the vocal side including backing vocals. Nothing is accidental with us Everything is a conscious choice and we’re very conscious about the polyrhythmical approach being a strong factor when describing what we do when arranging the music. And I’m sure that has a big impact on the way our sound is perceived.
Myglobalmind: How did the band manage to regroup in the end to finally finish your 3rd record, even through the adversity?
Torben L: Well, it was a brief decision process when we all set our sights on it and we’re aware that we’re now at a vulnerable point in our relationship. However, Pangea is not something we choose to be a part of; We are Pangea. Even when I was out for a while, I was still part of it and so was the other guys when they were out at some point. That’s why we always ended up together again. It wasn’t about deciding whether or not to regroup and how. Only about when…!
Torben L: I think that’s really a question for Lars Erik Mattsson whose own commitment and his committed staff is the force behind Lion Music. But I will say this. We are proud to be signed to Lion Music and in a time where there’s a lot of whining about economic crisis and all that crap that we all suffer under, Lasse (for short) marches on and Lion Music is an unstoppable force and sets a cool standard for conduction straight business. And I think they’re just into good music really…
Myglobalmind: Some of the influences I noticed while listening to the new album was some classic melodic hard rock retro early 90’s I was thinking Talisman when I first heard it, any primary influences come to mind on this record?
Torben L: I think the most retro stuff on this album is Hold Your Fire which is true classic hard rock….with a twist…but still classic. But at the same time, I think that this album is probably the most “Pangea” of the three in the sense that we truely didn’t have any other bands or songs in mind when writing or recording it. Previously we could find inspiration in other music for instance…like…the attentive listener might be able to see the parallel between the main riff on “All Worked Up” from our first album and the main riff in “Wicked Sensation” from the Lynch Mob album. Changed it and made it my own, sure, but the inspiration is there and detectable. On Retrospectacular there isn’t anything of that sort. Inspiration for this album would have to our whole musical upbringing and eachother.
Myglobalmind: It was refreshing to hear some vintage Melodic Hard Rock influences in your new record, are there any recent bands that you guys are currently listening to that you like to work with in the future?
Torben L: Well, there is obvious influences from the genre as such but as I mentioned, none specific in terms of other bands og songs. We love the swing, the boogie, the jazz, the heavy metal, plain rock, the power ballads, flashy stuff and all that hard and heavy rock stands for so I’m sure we all have bands and artists in the genre that we like to listen to, but to work with….hmmm…dunno…
Myglobalmind: What deciced the band on naming itself “Pangea”, is there a story behind the name?
Torben L: That was my idea after having read an article in the Danish Science Illustrated in ’87, I think, about the mother continent, Pangea, starting to drift apart some 200 million years ago. I had this idea about music being a universal force that can pull the world back together to sort of a musical Pangea. We were looking for a new name and the only other name on the table was Ragged Edge. I didn’t like that very much at the time, but in retrospect I can relate to what Carsten Neumann wanted that name for; A reminder to push ourselves to the limit always in music. Neumann and I was always very philosophical about everything back then and Tony would often say: “Oh shit, there they go again with their psycho crap…!” Man, he hated that…
Myglobalmind: Member Torben Lysholm left the band at what point to produce and mix for acts such as Acacia Avenue amongst others, what did the band do when music was at the back burner and, did you guys stay active in the music industry?
Torben L: First of all, I have to say that I didn’t produce the Acacia Avenye album. I sang two songs on it and I did the mastering job on it. Torben Enevoldsen is a good friend and I don’t wanna take credit for his good work on it. But I did work with him on other projects. Just not that precise one. And allow me to answer for Tony and Jan. They started over with the band when I was out. I handed them all they wanted of the material that they wanted to use, but it didn’t work out so they were actually the ones to finally call it quits….until we picked it up again of course… They both went on to other projects but not ones that was released commercially.
Myglobalmind: What is next for Pangea? Any future plans for touring?
Torben L: I don’t think we’ll set up a tour for this release, but let’s see how the fans react to it. We’re starting to talk about what we’re gonna do on the next album, but it’s too early to say anything about it. We’ll see have to see what potential Retrospectacular will prove to have now and then we’ll take it from there.
Myglobalmind: Any last final words for fans of the band and reader of our Webzine?
Torben L: Yeah, thanks for checking us out! Get a copy of Retrospectacular for something trur to the genre but definitely not sounding like everything else out there. Something spontaneous and still firmly rooted in what was and what will be forever. Oh…and try to sit still while listening… I dare ya!!
Please visit http://www.lionmusic.com/cd/retrospectacular.htm