NOTE: This is NOT the Paragon cover band that plays in the Midwest USA! The real Paragon hails from Germany. \m/
Declarations by: JAN Bünning, bass & backing vocals of PARAGON
Band location: Germany
Interview by: Valgorth | Date of publication: May 18, 2003
Hello Jan! How are You! First off! Please tell me how is going the making process for the new album, "The Legacy"? Could You anticipate me the general ideas of this album, what the compositions are going to deal with? For Your comments on the site it seems to be a total Metal armaggedom!
I am afraid that it could be the most stressful month of this year for Paragon as we are recording the new Album ("The Legacy" is only the working title - I almost sure we will change it to "Dark Legacy") as well as doing four important gigs - one even takes us to Sweden for a big festival. At present we are finished with all the basics and also most of the lead vocals. We also have to record some of the lead guitars and all the choir stuff before mixing.
How are You seing this album if You comparate it with previous ones?
As it seems now this album could be our "Britsh Steel" as all is even more basic than on the last releases and also very aggressive. Sometimes it even reminds me of our "World Of Sin" Cd - we even have a remake of "Into The Black" (which was on WoS) on the new album.
I also think we got two or three untypical songs on the new CD like "Eye of the Storm" which sound slike a real anthem in the vein of "In Union We Stand" or "Blood Of My Enemies", the opener "Legacy" which is very melodic (but yet aggressive) for us and one yet untitled song which sound like Slayer or Exodus!!!
The album release is going to be on July follow by a presentation party, right? By the way, how was the last gig on the Headbanger's Ballroom?
I am sure that we / Remedy Records will do a Release Party at the Headbanger?s but I don?t know if we will also play live as we already played last friday and we will play some shows around Hamburg at the time of the release. The show on friday was very funny and also kind of "other" Paragon gig because we had no gig for a longer time and we are in the studio at the same time a lot of emotions (mosley positive ones...) were set during the show. We and the crowd really enjoyed ourselves and I am sure everyone went home satisfied.
Other future concerts You would like to be announced?
Yes of course - here are our future gig dates:
11./12.07.2003 Brande / Hörnerkirchen - HEADBANGER`S OPEN AIR 2003
26.07.2003 Hamburg / Schiesssportanlage Neu Wulmstorf bei Hamburg. Wulmstorfer Strasse.-
METAL BASH 2003 (with Twisted Towwer Dire, Stormwarrior, Dark Age, Solemnity, Goddess Of Desire, Gun Barrel, Holy Moses, Mephistopheles, Torment & Special Guest)
Which was the best show so far?
That's not really easy because I have to say that almost all Paragon Shows so far were very ok in my opinion because all bandmembers work very professional. I love the playing in packed small clubs and getting a more personal reaction from the crowd but I also love to play on big stages and get this really big reaction from the people. The best one was perhaps on the tour with Gamma Ray when we played in front of 1800 crazy Spanish Metalheads in Barcelona - the really went mad and afterwards it was really sex, drugs and Rock'n'Roll.
Do you prefer to play in a big festival with many bands or it is better to play in a good and small venue with just 1 or 2 bands or it is not very important where and for how many persons you play?
As I said in the question before - I like both because you can't really compare one to the other. Festivals are another thing again because there it's more a big meeting and party for more days where I also meet people and friends from the business which I normally don't meet.
Personally, I would like to see Paragon with Wizard - 2 days, that way both of You can end the gig. I think that would be awesome!
We will play the Wizard Release Party at the end of the month together with Majesty and another band. I think that will really be fun and I have to admit that playing with Wizard is always special because the have the same attitude towards Metal as we have.
What is most important for You: the perfect show or the perfect album?
Both is important - but yet again in different ways. You will listen to a CD more than one time. So sound and playing have to be perfect and you should be able to listen to the CD on different stereos and still have a good sound on all of them.
Live all the people will have the same sound and also the show is important - otherwise you can listen to the CD!
I prefer to play live but I am also always proud when I have a listen to the finished CD after we recorded for three weeks.
Returning to recordings, You completed the Manowar version of "The Gods Made Heavy Metal". I understand it is going to be part of a tribute album released by Nuclear Blast. Originally, You were going to perform "The Oath". Why the change or why not both songs?! ;)
Why not both songs is very simple: To go into the studio for just one song is always very expensive and we also recorded one song (Eye Of The Storm) for an Picture 7'' we will release prior to the Release of the full CD. So we had not enough time and money for another coverversion. After we decided to cover THE OATH we had another listen to it and found out that money guitarparts are not really audiable - we couldn't figure out what Manowar are playing and we didn't liked the very long lead part. THE GODS MADE HM always runs at the Headbanger's here in Hamburg - kind of a hymn of the club - and we also thought iot would fit better to us as THE OATH. SO we just took it! I think it turned out pretty good.
There is a Paragon version of "Metal Invaders" (Helloween), Fighting for the Earth (Warrior), other from Exicter "Violence and Force", Saxon too and maybe I am forgetting some... what other bands are an inspiration for You and what other covers would You like to perform?
We played "Rapid Fire" of Priest a few times live. Influences are of course (old) Judas Priest, Iron Maiden (first two CDs), Metal Church, Agent Steel, Overkill, Savage Grace, Accept, Merciful Fate - it's an endless list. To be honest we only did coverversions on our last records because we didn?t wanted to "sacrifice" one of our own songs as bonus tracks because we love all of our songs. At present we don?t have any plans for new coverversions.
Could You briefly give me a short review of the previous Paragon albums separately?
INTO THE BLACK MCD: First (more or less) professional release of Paragon. We (or better the old line-up) put it out themselves. There are only five songs on it and it's very rare because there were only about 500 pieces printed. The vocals are terible on that (sorry Kay!).
WORLD OF SIN: First "real" professional CD with still with the "old" lineup. The songs are very good. Also Kay's vocals are much better AND the sound is really good. Tha guitars are also very good - Martin is the only remaining member of the line-up. The style is a little bit different to what we play today but you can still find influences of the "old" days in our sound. On the new album Dark Legacy" we even "covered" "Into The Black" of "World Of Sin".
FINAL COMMAND: The "new" Paragon only existed for about two or three month when we recorded this album. For this time of rehearsing the CD turned out fine but if we would record it today it would of course sound better, also because our singer Bushi had a bad cold and there are some vocal tracks which were not supposed to end on the CD.
CHALICE OF STEEL: Much better from our playing - sadly enough the mix was very bad (sorry Harris)! The guitars have so much low frequencies you don't hear the bass-drums anymore. Vocalwise it's also a big improvement and the songwritng was also better.
STEELBOUND: New label, new producer and a new beginning for Paragon. I still like the "older" albums (we still play many of the songs live) but STEELBOUND was a kind of new beginning for Paragon because it was the first time everybody seemed to take us seriously - mostly we recied good to very good reviews in the magazines and also our fans seemed to love it. For the first time we had a sound we always imagined and made the previous CDs almost sound like demos. The first time I had a listen in the studio to the full songs I had gosepimples all over my body when I hear dthe choirs!
LAW OF THE BLADE: Everything we made right on STEELBOUND we made better on LAW OF THE BLADE. It's a very perfect album which had a very good pre-production and a very aggressive but also clean sound. The reviews were just amazing - we also won some soundchecks with it.
Personally I love Steelbound. Not to mentioned the cd and its entire black design. That is one the coolest and heaviest thing I have ever seen man! Are You planning something special for the new album?
No black CD again - but this time there will be our logo and the title of the CD etched into the CD (like on old vinyls - I never saw that before on any CDs except the Remedy releases!).
I read You use to design some Paragon covers and layouts, right? What is Your favourite design?
I only did the layout for Steelbound - it was the first professional layout I ever did. For that it is ok. I like of course the las one (Law of The Blade) but I am very sure the next coverart will be even more impressing - Dirk Illing of XMD get?s better and better.
Besides those artworks, did You work in other publications?
No - I only make some webpages for friends and of course the Paragon webpage.
How did You start in the musical field, and which was the album that introduced You into the Metal world?
I started about 1983 in a Punk band and had to play Bass because nobody else wanted to... But before I joined that band I already listend to Metal - if you call AC/DC and Kiss Metal. But very soon I turned into more aggressive stuff - I didn't care if it was Metal or Punk. I had a listen to Exciter as well as Discharge and tthen came Slayer etc.
What kind of bass is yours and how many time do you excersise with it?
I have a Music-Man 5-String Bass which is the only Bass I play since years because no other Bass can beat the sound. I also own a BC Rich Eagle and a Warwick FNA which was made especially for me. To be honest I am not a very skilled Bass-Player and I never rehearse at home because I got no time. But I know WHAT I can play and at what I play in Paragon I am very good. I guess Big M and I are one of the heaviest Rythem Sections in Germany. We really POUND Metal...
Usually, Metal receives a negative image in normal society, why do You think the reason for that is?
I think because "normal" people just don't understand it it but to be honest I don't care because I am Metal as long as I listen to music (23 years) and nobody will ever change me.
What means Metal for You?
See also above! To play the music I like, play for our fans and some Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll after the shows or at parties. It's my way of life where I can just have some fun and leave all troubles of "normal" life behind.
Many times, we see record companies, magazines and other institutions and persons infecting the scene with political bullshits. Did You suffer of this situation on the past? This also leads me to the next subject that is: how do You define a difference between commercial Metal and non-commercial Metal?
Yes of course we still suffer from this. Even though we sell a lot of records (when you keep in mind we are on a very small label), reciever very good reviews all over the world it's still very hard to get on the big festivals or get fair payments for our live-gigs. It seems also impossible to get high positions in the "big" magazines because we are not on a “big” label - even musically and on the live-front we blow away many of the so called bigger bands. This also answers your next question because we will not change our style for ANYONE - not for any magazines, labels, festivals and also not for thes so called "Metal-Underground-Police" which thinks we are commercial because we sell more than 500 CDs...
What is the supreme goal for Paragon?
To make a good album with great reviews and than go on world tour for a few month - just sold out shows of course... - hargh, hargh...
Besides music with other elements are influencing on your life.
Books (Biographies of extreme people like LeVay, Jim Morrison,Charles Bukowski, Phil Lynott and also Mötley Crue or American Psycho, Videos (I prefer gangstermovies like Once Upon A Time in America, Bad Lieutant, Casino, The Godfather or good SF / Horrormovies), some workout and to photograph my beautiful girlfriend Katrin which is the most extreme Metalbabe I know.
In terms of merchandise, how a foreign Metalhead can obtain a T-shirt or something from Paragon?
The best posibillity is to contact the shop of our label Remedy Records (www.remedyrecords.de) or www.bullshirt.de.
Good material for menchandise will be "Paragon weapons" like battle-axes, shields with skulls, swords, etc. That would cool, don't You think?
To be honest I would prefer a Paragon underwear line for nice girls - they could then send us the photos with wearing the stuff or even nothing at all if they like (send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org - yo man…)
Ok brother, I really thank You very, very much for taking the time to answer this man. After some complications, we finally could manage this interview. Last but not least, give the warcry to the Legions of Metal out there.
Thanx as well for making this interview with us. To our legions:
Just be prepared for another sonic assault of PURE FUCKING HEAVY METAL when DARK Legacy is unleashed at the end of July on Remedy Records! Metal is the Law!