By Meghan Player
Forming in 1997,German power-metal band PRIMAL FEAR are still alive and kicking at the forefront of the genre. Their new album, ‘Unbreakable’ was received with rave reviews from critics and fans alike. Upon the news of their impending ‘Metal Nation Tour’ next month, Meghan Player chatted to bassist, Mat Sinner about the new album, artwork and bringing the band to Australia.
-First of all, thanks a lot for taking the time to chat to us today – yourself and the band are no doubt keeping busy at the moment?
I just came home from a month of touring with Rock Meets Classic with Ian Gillan and Steve Lukather – only good memories. But now, I’m back to the business of preparing Primal Fear and finding a new cool set-list. Then we’re in the middle of the pre-production for Voodoo Circle’s third album – always busy!
-You’ve kicked off 2012 to a good start with your new album ‘Unbreakable’ – and both media and fans are really enjoying it – are you happy with the reaction it’s received so far?
I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the feedback – we’ve charted in 9 different countries and have gotten the best response so far in the history of Primal Fear. We couldn’t believe it as the news came in day by day, but who wouldn’t like this situation? We’re very happy. Thanks to all our supporters and fans out there for giving us a never expected start in the new year!
-This is your 9th studio album, was the process for writing and recording this album different to previous albums?
Yes it was different, but after all the touring in the past two years, we had a different strategy and wanted to go back a little bit more to our start with Primal Fear – regarding the riffs and the melodies. Magnus and I were writing the basic ideas (two with Alex Beyrodt) and then I worked with Ralf on the vocal lines & lyrics. It was all a very nice creative and peaceful progress and everybody was 100% focused on the recording sessions. Ralf did a killer job on some melodies this time – really cool stuff!
-You’ve been together since 1997, and experienced line up changes throughout the years – how do you keep the band style/sound fresh and relevant?
November 1997 to be correct. I think the key is passion and love to our own music – so far is really doesn’t matter who’s playing guitar and some people have told me, that they are really surprised by that. Now Magnus & Alex share the guitars on the new Primal Fear album, and both are worldwide respected guitarists. In the end the album sounds like a 100% Primal Fear album and not a mix of Allen/Lande meets Voodoo Circle. The second key is the strong friendship & partnership between myself & Ralf. We found the right mix in working together and we’re still hungry – we have the ambition to deliver the best. It’s important to entertain your fans and give them the concert they want!
-It’s been said in previous interviews with Ralf that this album was written with ‘different themes and personal experiences’ in mind – do you find that this style of lyricism connects the best with your fans?
The lyrics are very various and it always depends who’s writing the lyrics. In my view, the lyrics must fit to the song. Even with some songs when we’re talking about typical “metal” things, there are songs with much deeper content. Same with the music, it’s what makes our lives interesting.
-With that being said, is it easier to draw on personal experiences when writing an album?
Not for me – I love it spontaneous, and not really constructed. If I write – doesn’t matter if it’s the music, melodies or lyrics – it needs to be immediate and smooth. Everything else is not my style of writing. I can really write a song about the future and part time fantasy, next song about religion or fake politicians – whatever, as long as it is spontaneous I’m ok!
-Science fiction seems to also play a large role in your lyrics – is that something that constantly influences/inspires the band? What was it about this subject/idea that the band likes to come back to?
This time we came back to our roots riffs, melodies and lyrics. It was important to catch the vibe of the first albums, but I really don’t know what the future holds – maybe the next album will be a concept album or has totally different content – we will see!
-Cover art has always seemed to be important to the band – is this something the band is conscious of when your writing a new album? How involved is the band in the cover artwork?
We have 100% control and that’s important – if you look at the covers of Sevens Seals, New Religion or 16.6 and you now see the Unbreakable artwork, you realise immediately that the eagle and the entire artwork is very much like the early PF albums – that fits totally to our mood and vibe of the music!
-You’ll be kicking off your ‘Metal Nation Tour’ at the end of next month – is there somewhere you are looking forward to playing at most?
No – not really. We’re totally excited about going on the road again with such a great new album released. We will play a totally different set list than on the last tour – with a lot of new songs and some real surprises. Only a handful of real classic PF hits will be make it to the new set list. We will have a nice stage set and we’re really ready to go!
-Are there any plans to bring the tour further abroad, and grace our Australian shores with your presence?
Australia is one of the few countries we haven’t played so far. You can imagine that it is a real target for us, and we will work hard this time to bring our show to Australia. We want to come to Australia this time. We played in Colombia, Peru or Bolivia but not Australia? We need to change this!
-How will the rest of 2012 shape up for the band? I can imagine touring the new album will take up a large part of the year?
That’s right. After Europe, we will play a lot of summer festivals, then South America, probably North America, then a second tour in Europe. Aside from the new Voodoo Circle album, I’m sure I will be producing 2 more albums with other artists and preparing for the Rock Meets Classic 2013 tour.
Thanks to Mat for taking the time to answer our questions. A special thanks to Chris from Riot Act for allowing us time with Mat. More information about Primal Fear, including their upcoming tour dates can be found at the bands website: http://www.primalfear.de/