RockScribes recently had a chance to talk with the elusive Puppet Master of the electronic trio, Priest.
RockScribes: Before you released your first single, Priest had already built a cult following. To what do you attribute this following to?
Puppet Master: We used strong imagery in the first trailers and also used the rumour that some of the members had been musicians in Ghost, which actually is a fact. We used that as our trampoline to secure that at least they would listen to our first release. Now we have a lot of fans that don´t even know that connection, but instead found us through the goth/synth scene.
RS: Fans have been willing to travel great lengths to see Priest perform live. How does this make you feel? Additionally, are there any plans to travel outside of Europe in the future? (Americans are foaming at the mouth to see Priest live.)
PM: It´s an amazing feeling and we´re humbled that people feel so much passion that they´re willing to do that. We wish that we can visit them in their hometowns someday, in return. We´re working a lot in Europe right now, but when we get a good opportunity we will definitely visit US and other parts of the globe that we love.
RS: In the spring, you will be touring Europe with Aesthetic Perfection . (Daniel Graves speaks very highly of your stage show) How did this tour come about?
PM: He asked us kindly if we were interested in doing a European tour with him and we said yes. It´s a great opportunity for us to come out and maybe we can save some lost souls on the way. Daniel is an exceptional human being and a great artist, we´re also friends with other people in the band, so we´re excited to share the stage with Aesthetic Perfection in April.
RS:You use mixed imagery to create a sense of mystery on stage. You use of masks and head to toe costumes in all black greatly add to the anonymity of the band members. What is the thought process behind mixing religious imagery with BDSM?
PM: The current BDSM-designs was a statement taken from the underground. In cities like Berlin it´s connected with dark electronic music, since it´s played in dungeon-like environments where alternative events may take place, if you know what I mean. We also wanted to disconnect with the purely theatrical to get a more “true” feeling to it. We will of course change the concept with the next LP, hopefully early next year.
RS: How would you describe Priest’s sound to someone unfamiliar with your work? Is there a certain track that you feel is the best representation of who you are at this moment?
PM: Priest is a retro-futuristic electronic pop act that wants to touch the hidden depths within you.
I think the track “Obey” represents where we are right now. There have been some hardships lately but we´re getting through it. If you listen closely to the lyrics they may tell you that story. The best overall representation of Priest would be “The Pit” I think.
RS: Priest has collaborated with Alpha (formerly of Ghost) and Airghoul. Explain this working dynamic and how the collaborations came about.
PM: They are both very fantastic musicians and very easy going – it feels like we are on the same level. We can exchange ideas without too much disagreements and arguing and there´s a mutual understanding in what professionalism, loyalty and respect means. Everybody´s egos are staying in the hallway of the studio if you know what I mean. You simply feel safe in a room with them, and when you feel that, the collabs are without unnecessary pain.
RS: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
PM: Flood is a fantastic producer who we really want to work with. I think he can grasp the whole range of what we´re doing – everything from retro sounding industrial stuff to contemporary electronic music – with a larger than life-feel to it I think he also has a holistic and conceptual way of approaching a record. Hopefully we´ll get the opportunity to work with him someday.
RS: What music are you currently listening to?
PM: A lot of different music I would say. Harald Grosskopf, Brian Eno, U2, Vangelis, Autechre, Jon Hopkins along with a lot of Acid House and New Age at the moment. But it always changes. The next record is going to be somewhat spiritual, grandiose and of course technical, so I want to program my brain with similar music to be able to come close to that idea. I try also not to listen to music that will destroy that idea. I can go out from a room if the music´s wrong, and I think it´s harmful for your creativity to listen to poorly made music. I want to create a creative bubble in which you can thrive during the critical first part of the writing process.
RS:The new album, Obey , is scheduled to be released March 29th. The first single, “Obey”, was released on February 1st. Fans are raving about the new single. How does this reception feel?
PM: We are very proud of the song “Obey” and the whole EP as well It contains five quite different tracks since we tried to get a little experimental, but we are really happy with the receiving so far. It´s gonna be a blast to play it live!
RS:What are the major differences between New Flesh and Obey? How would you describe the sound of the new album?
PM: “New Flesh” was a dive into the culture we loved when we grew up. The movies, toys, comics and games of the 80´s had a certain feel to it, that we wanted to re-create.
With the Obey EP we wanted to have more influences from the 90´s alternative music. It´s a bit fresher than “New Flesh” but still has a lot of melody and weight. I see Obey more like a treat. The next LP will be the one we show the world to see what we´re really capable of.
UPDATE: Just days after this interview, Tom Åsberg announced via instagram that he and another member for Priest would no longer be a part of the project.