Three months ago the Dutch Heavy Metal band PICTURE released its ninth full-length album, “Warhorse”. As said in the review (see here), this band has been around since 1979. Since this newest release was my first encounter with PICTURE, I was curious to know a little more about them, what caused the split, the reunion, and so forth. Vocalist Pete Lovell took the time to answer the unanswered questions.
Let’s begin in the past: PICTURE has made a very long career so far (1979-2012), but there was a split in 1987. What happened? Musical differences, other obligations (work, family, …), other interests, …?
As far as I can remember it was mainly pressure from the record company trying to push the band in a different musical direction that was the start of the problems. That led to internal problems and eventually the band split.
You guys got back together in 2008. Was the passion back? And was everyone ready to continue the adventure?
Jan, the guitarist, posted old clips on YouTube and we got lots of good reactions from old fans. Then Sweden Rock festival asked us we could reunite to play at Sweden Rock. That’s a great festival so we decided to do it. When we started rehearsing it was just like old times and the band was pumping again. We had such a good time we decided to pick up where we left off.
Between 1987 and 2008, how was this period filled? Did you play in other bands? Or was this a personal period, where nothing band- or music-related happened?
I played for a while with EMERGENCY and recorded an album, “Martial Law”. After that I formed a band with my son Tim, who is a drummer, and a friend of ours Johan Kerkhof. We were called DEAD LEGACY.
When you look back, what are you most proud of (in the context of PICTURE)?
This new abum is one of the things I’m most proud of . Also “Eternal Dark” that was the most successful.
When the reunion took place, did you learn from the past? Or was it more like “we’re ready to make music again and we’ll see where the ride takes us.”?
Both I guess. We’re not as green now, but we still make mistakes. Most of us didn’t stop making music, but we continued on our own separate ways. The reason being simply the love of Heavy Metal.
Having such a long career also means you made several albums. Which one(s) stand out for you?
“Eternal Dark” because that was the first PICTURE album I worked on and “Warhorse” because that is the first album we produced ourselves.
When I look at that list on Metal-Archives.com, I saw a lot of singles. Was PICTURE a lot in the picture on the radio and tv back in the day?
We were released in about 50 countries simultaneously in those days, so the exposure we got was large. Also various countries made their own PICTURE albums on licence. There were also a lot of imports.
Your song “Eternal Dark” was covered by HAMMERFALL. Did they contact you for this? Also, it must feel very good to have another band pay hommage to you, right?
It was of course a great honour for us and it breathed new life into the name PICTURE. The deal was arranged through Warner brothers because they were our publishers and held the rights to the music.
In 2009 “Old Dogs New Tricks” came out. How was it to go back into the studio after all those year?
I’ve been in and out of studios the whole time, just not with PICTURE. To be back in the studio with the boys again after so many years was great. It was like traveling back in time. Nothing had changed… only the hair color !! hahaha
I think we started writing mid 2011. All the songs were brand new and written especially for “Warhorse” and we recorded every song we had completed. There are, however, plenty of new ideas for a follow-up album.
How did you work on this album? Did you jam to create the songs? Did everyone contribute with ideas?
Some songs were written by the whole band, but in some cases Peter came with the guitar parts and we worked it out with the band. Then I wrote my vocal lines and lyrics. Generally it’s a collaboration.
Any favourite tracks on “Warhorse”?
I like them all, but my favorites are “Warhorse”, “Battleplan”, “Killer In My Sights” and “Shadow Of The Damned”.
You also re-recorded “Eternal Dark”. Any special reason for this?
We play it much heavier than we used to and in a different key. We wanted to let the fans hear how it had evolved over the years. Also we wanted to record it using the technology available today. It comes out much more aggressive on “Warhorse” than the original.
Are the new songs connected to each other or a certain theme? Or are they all stand-alone?
No particular theme. I write my lyrics based on the pictures in my mind that the music conjures up.
Where do you draw inspiration from, lyrically?
I write about things I see around me and things I see on the news as well as life experiences. “The King Is Losing His Crown” is specifically about Mugabe and his suppressive regime, then the uprising of the people. However, not all lyrics are so deep. “My Kinda Woman” is about my girlfriend. “Edge Of Hell” is fantasy, about the darker side of life. Inspiration comes from many places and some lyrics are quite abstract and can be interpreted in different ways. Some are full of metaphors and it’s not obvious what the song is about.
How are the reactions so far from webzines, magazines, friends, colleagues, family, …?
Mostly good. Some love it, some don’t, but generally everybody seem to like it.
You’re signed to Artist Station. What kind of label is this? And how was this deal arranged?
They are really great to work with. Their philosophy is that the artist has the final say in all decisions. They are a company built up with artists so they know what it’s like from the musicians’ point of view.
Was there interest from other labels as well?
We were planning to release it ourselves until we were approached by Artist Station. We didn’t even try any other labels.
Any tour plans in the making? Or separate gigs perhaps throughout Europe and abroad?
We played Italy and Spain and are off to Sweden next month. We’ve of course done gigs here in Holland and are at the moment negotiating with a booking office for Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Keep an eye on the website pictureofficial.com for the dates.
A typical issue regarding albums: what do you prefer? CD, mp3, LP, streaming (like Spotify, for example), … And what’s your opinion on these various options?
I guess CD. But I dont really know, I dont have a CD player or record player. I never listen to music outside of PICTURE. I don’t even know what Spotify is !! hahaha
Being in a band demands time and effort, but do you still have time for hobbies?
No, the only hobby is PICTURE!!
That’s it from my part. Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer. All the best with this new album and of course the gigs. If there’s anything you wish to add, fire away.
I’d just like to say thanks to you and everybody who has shown interest in the new album. Then we know that all the hard work wasn’t for nothing. Hope to see you soon on the road sometime and “Keep the faith in Metal”.