Pagan's Mind has long been a powerhouse in the Progressive Metal and Power Metal worlds. As a longtime favorite band at ProgPower USA, the band recorded their latest CD/DVD, Full Circle- Live At Center Stage from their performance back in 2014. A couple months back, I had the distinct honor of sending guitarist/backup vocalist, Jorn Viggo Lofstad a few questions to help promote the new release:
That Drummer Guy: First of all, as one of my, all time, favorite bands, thank you so very much for taking the time to do an interview. This fanboy could not be more excited!
Jorn Viggo Lofstad: Thank you very much, I’m happy to do this interview.
TDG: So just a few weeks ago, your newest live album, Full Circle: Live At Center Stage came out. Are you happy with the final product?
JVL: Yes we are happy with it. It’s live and it is what it was that evening in September 2014. The audio mix came out really good, the thing that took the most time was the editing of the film material, but that came out pretty good as well.
TDG: Having just started going to ProgPower this year (very late to the game, haha) Center Stage is an ideal place in sound and atmosphere for a live album. And with this being the 2nd time you've recorded a live release from ProgPower, would it be safe to assume that down the road that a 3rd live release from ProgPower is possible?
JVL: With Pagans Mind this is the first official release from the ProgPower USA festival. We had a couple of songs from PPUSA as bonus material on Live Equation but that’s that. But the Jorn release Live In America was also recorded at this festival in 2006 so for me personally it was the second one. Pagan’s Mind first played this festival in 2003, then 2007 and 2009 and then recording Full Circle in 2014.
TDG: At this point in the game, is it hard picking out what songs make it it into a particular set? Are there any songs that you love to still play and any that you dread?
JVL: Well this particular evening we could play as much as we wanted, so in addition to playing the entire Celestial Entrance album we did a “best of the rest” plus some surprises as for example the song “Full Circle” which is a 15-minute-long instrumental containing a mix of really cool parts from PM songs we normally do not play live. When we do a standard 1,5 hour gig we do have discussions of what to play, hehe, our personal favorites are not necessarily the same songs. But we try to keep it fresh and the songs differ a bit from gig to gig.
TDG: Now that it's been almost 5 years since the release of Heavenly Ecstasy, is there any plans on a new album in the future? And if there is, is there any details you can share about the direction that it will be going in?
JVL: Absolutely, we have been working with new material for a long time already. But we have also had longer periods with less focus on the song writing. Now we have decided not to play gigs for a while and use the time we have together on the songwriting instead. We hope we can release a new album in 2016. The album will come when we have 10 killer songs to put on it ;)
TDG: ProgPower is very understandably a 2nd home for you in America. And by the reaction of the crowd every time you play it, the fan base grows bigger and bigger. Do you enjoy making ProgPower an occasional appearance to the states or is there any chance of another Pagan's Mind tour in America down the road?
JVL: We did tour the US in 2009 and it was a great experience. We do want to tour the US again and as we actually are making plans for 2 album releases we will tour the US after one of these releases.
TDG: With ProgPower being a very true sign that Progressive Metal and Power Metal has a very loving and loyal fan base in the USA, does playing something such as ProgPower have the same effect as something like a Summer European festival?
JVL: Playing at a festival in front of 10,000 people gives any band massive exposure, but I think playing PPUSA also gives you the same effect even if its 1000 people and not 10000. The reason is that at PPfestival the fans are so dedicated that If you as a newcomer play this festival you will see that hundreds of people already have spent time checking out your band before you come and play there.
TDG: With 2015 about to come to a close, do you have any favorite albums of 2015?
JVL: I was about to say Sonic Highways with the Foo Fighters, but I think maybe that album came out in 2014, lately I’ve been listening to the new Symphony X album, the new Muse album, the Ryan Adams album from 2014, latest Leprous album and much more. I listen to so much different stuff all the time, I get tired listening just to one album again and again and again.
TDG: Thank you once again for taking the time to do this interview, it has been a tremendous honor. Before we are done, is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven't brought up yet?
JVL: Thanks so much for having me here and I hope to see you all out on the road after the release of our forthcoming new album. And at last: My thoughts go out to all the people that one way or another have been affected by the recent tragically events in Paris.
Pagan's Mind- Full Circle: Live At Center Stage is available NOW via SPV/Steamhammer!