Hypocrisy Story by Kevin Stewart-Panko Meet the "Mayor" of Parlby, Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren When the call came from Nuclear Blast proposing a story about Hypocrisys Peter Tägtgren being both owner and mayor of a small village in Central Sweden, we checked our calendar to make sure it wasnt April 1st. While a story about a metal dude owning a fucking village should practically write itself, Decibels more cynical side wondered if the labels nudge-n-hype was an elaborate ruse to exact embarrassing revenge for our tearing the last Dew-Scented album a new one. Things seemed a little too good (or surreal) to be true and, realistically, they were. While Tägtgren does in fact own the village of Pärlby, he decries the mayoral tag and views himself more as a glorified landlord. If anything, the musically prolific Swedes side gig isnt so much indicative of a future career in municipal politics as it is the eventual likelihood of seeing Peter Tägtgren Housing Corp. on a business card. Then again, with his not-so-veiled references to a heavy-handed rent collection style, dont be surprised to see Peter heading up the Swedish mafia post-Hypocrisy, whose Virus album, Id like to remind, was given a positive review by your truly in issue #12. DECIBEL: Okay, exactly what the hell is going on here? PETER TÄGTGREN: Well, I own a town, but its not a big town; its more like a small village with a population of 120-130. Its called Pärlby and is about three hours northwest of Stockholm and close to nothing. Its nice to have your own place to kind of control; Im able to keep the freaks out. Its harder to get into my town than it is to be a member of a golf club. I like living here and I like coming home from tour and not being surrounded by idiots that are going to freak me out. Its not a dream location for most people because its so remote and there are no jobs anywhere. Start from the beginning. How did you end up in Pärlby? I grew up about three kilometers from here. After World War I, the main building here was made into an asylum for elderly mentally retarded people. Its a huge six-story house in the middle of town. Then, there are the few houses where the hospitals employees lived. Everything in town was centered around the hospital. At the end of the 80s, the government closed the hospital down and re-built it to make apartments for refugees; there are ten apartments on every floor. It was a refugee apartment for three years. In 94, the government started selling and renting out the smaller houses to anyone. Me and my ex-ex-wife were renting a place and Abyss [studio] was in the place they used to have the patients woodshop. For the longest time people have said this place was haunted. There have been a few books written about this place and even the people who worked here in the 20s and 30s claim they saw ghosts and stuff. Ive also had bands come to record say that they cant sleep because the spirits or whatever wont leave them alone. The guys from Dimmu Borgir and Marduk have told me stories and the singer from Dark Funeral refused to sleep in the building. How did you end up buying the entire village? First, I had the studio and I was renting an apartment in one of the houses. After a while, as we started to expand the studio, I found myself paying more studio rent. So, I took out a loan and bought the house that the studio was in. I eventually bought a house in town and, after that, there wasnt too much left [laughs]. It was actually owned by a company who own huge condo complexes in Stockholm and shit, and this, for them, was a big hassle, so they were like, If you want to buy it, buy it. They got me a really great deal on it. So, how much are entire Swedish villages going for these days? Not as much as you might think [laughs]. Is that how it works in Sweden: buy a village, become the mayor? Mayor?! I dont know about that; I wouldnt say that, but I do decide whats going to happen, and if you dont pay rent Ill be knocking on your door with a baseball bat. Its very simple. But, this is more like a hippie community; were always having barbecues, playing football and stuff. Everybody takes care of everyone else, but I take care of all the bills, taxes and all the electricity and water for the houses. What happens when you go on tour? People used to contact my ex-wife, but next time I go on tour, Im going to give everyone a phone number of one of my friends and theyll contact him, hell call me and well solve the problem over the phone. You mentioned earlier that you control who can live there. Given the size and remoteness of the village, Im assuming you dont have a police force. Are you responsible for law enforcement? I mean, no criminals can find this place [laughs]. There isnt a fence around this village with a sign reading Arbeit Macht Frei or anything; its just a small road that leads to a big clearing and a lake. My biggest problem is collecting rent; some people dont understand that, so you take matters into your own hands and solve the problem. One time, I had to throw out this guy and it took two trucks to empty his two-room apartment. It was fucking madness! He must have been on a permanent acid trip because there was paint and dismantled lawnmower engines everywhere. I have to deal with stuff like that sometimes, and spending $30004000 to clean the place after the guy hasnt paid rent and is such a loser that even if you broke his arm, you wouldnt get the money anyway. Are you enjoying this side of your life? To be honest, not really. But on the other hand, its nice to have your own place where you know whats going on and the people. Thats the positive; the negatives are the bills and the shit you have to deal with, like people who just complain about everything no matter what the fuck you do. Sometimes you want to bash them in the head, but you cant. Theres a lot of stress, plus I have a studio to run and two bands to maintain. The funny thing is when I say Im going to slow down, it gets worse. But, this is my Florida for when I become a senior citizen, yknow? Its funny, because I get daily papers and stuff wanting to talk to me because they hear that a rock musician owns a village and I get calls from the government sometimes, checking out whats going on out here, but its usually no problem, because what they see is what they get and theres nothing really going on here. ^^^That is pretty fucking awesome, and hilarious.