Tenth album is a milestone which not every band can pass. Primal Fear moved to this frontier with typical German methodicalness and intensity. They passed this milestone with pride as the album «Delivering The Black» is hell of an album! And again we got in touch with Mat Sinner who with a little help from Ralf Sheepers told us about the album.
This is your tenth album. Did you ever think you can reach this point when you started the band in 1997? Did your relationships changed since that time?
We had a vision and we’ve worked really hard to make this vision reality. I think we’ve made it. Well to be honest, we never thought about that amount of albums.
“Delivering The Black” is your most successful album in German charts so far. Is it because the band returned to the roots after a few years of experiments or is there any other reason in your opinion? Did those 4 promotional videos helped to this success?
The album has an allover great quality. I think world wide Rulebreaker has some better entries and was our first album in the official US Billboard album charts. But with Delivering we were going a consequent way from Unbreakable into the more heavy direction and people liked it. Of course the visual support helped. In these days you need all pro tools to promote your new music.
How do you view music business these days? It seems that no one knows what works and what doesn’t and record sales are unpredictable. Do you have some reliable methods of promotion, marketing etc. Can you share some of your recipes of what is worth enough to do if you want to be successful metal band?
Oh now, everybody should find out by themselves or pay me J — at least I have one advise: play every show with the intensity that it could be your last one, your fans deserve it!
Tell me please the story behind the song “One Night In December”. I heard it took almost 6 months to get it done. Why was what? What was the most difficult during writing and recording of this song? Is there any real story behind the lyrics? What happened that night in December?
We wanted to write a follow up to Fighting The Darkness, a long song with a lot of different tempos and parts. This needs a long time to make it interesting and satisfying us. I wrote the song with Magnus and we have at least 12 different versions of the song before we were finally happy with the arrangement. The lyrics are about the constant destroying of the earth and a warning for everybody.
It seems that your collaboration with Jacob turned out well. What did he bring to your music what was missed in collaboration with other producers / engineers?
We’re good friends with the Pretty Maids and they’ve worked for a long time with him and we were looking for a new influence in our sound, a guy who understands our vision. Jacob was the man. He made our overall sound more direct and powerful.
As far as I know you pushed Randy Black forward in his drumming and I think this is one of the best albums of Primal Fear in terms of drumming. What is your secret, Mat? What kind of motivation works better in your opinion?
I had a very good time with Randy in the studio and we worked super hard on the drum tracks. We did a very good pre-production, had everything done and arranged before the recordings. We’ve pushed each other. Randy was well prepared so we could concentrate on the details. That was the key in a great foundation for the album.
By the way, what if you see some things in a certain way but Ralf or Magnus or someone else tells you: “No, I don’t see a point to do what you are asking for. It’s better to do it the way I did!” Do you try to outtalk people or do you use your authority of a producer? Can you recall what songs were in debates more than others?
We discuss everything very creative and in peace. If there is a final decision it is my turn and the guys accept it. We had never a big problem regarding our music with each other and I hope it will continue in this way!
Mat, you are involved in many bands and projects and you keep on writing masterpieces for them. Once you said that when you write a song you keep in mind what the band it is. So what are the main elements or ingredients of Primal Fear? What makes a song sounding like a Primal Fear song especially?
A special kind of riff paired with the special guitar sound, Ralf unique voice and some certain kind of guitar and vocal melodies. This are the basic ingredients for a Primal Fear song.
Ralf usually records everything himself. What are your reasons for that? You don’t need anyone to tell you what is right or what is wrong or do you just need a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere to deliver the best performance?
Ralf: I can record whenever I want. It’s just peace and quality to start the recordings at any time I feel ok and not that a big studio, producer and engineer has to be paid from 9h in the morning. The quality of my studio is cool with everybody and I’m in contact with Mat at any time. Our pre-production is always the biggest step in melodies, lyrics etc.
As usual a tour in support of the album followed and it was the biggest one in your history. Would you agree to repeat it if there will be a demand for this? What countries, cities, places, venues are your personal favorites? By the way, have you ever been ripped-off by promoters?
Well, little correction – the RULEBREAKER tour was much more shows than the DTB tour. But it was a long tour anyway. Cities are changing always, it’s never 100% the same. Buenos Aires, New York, Tokyo were always great. Surprisingly Paris turned out fantastic on the last tour, Sydney, Mexico City, Quebec, Montreal – all really great places for Primal Fear. Ripped off? Yes, not only one time.
What is your opinion about the album today? What are his strongest and weakest sides?
Still see no weak sides. Happy with the songs, the energy and the production.
What are your best memories about shows in Russia and what are your expectations from the upcoming dates? What fans can expect from Primal Fear? Why a fan who is still thinking what show he wants to visit that weekend – Primal Fear or Children Of Bodom – must prefer your gig?
First I’m sorry that a fan has to choose between 2 shows at the same time, but that’s life. Primal Fear is in the best shape of our nearly 20 years career and we will set up a Best-Of show with 100% full power, energy and passion for our fans in Russia.
A lot of bands have played their entire albums to celebrate anniversaries of those albums. Do you have such plans about “Primal Fear”? By the way, Mat, don’t you want to come in Russia with Sinner and play the entire “Touch of Sin – 2” album?
No, we have so many great songs and a catalogue which is so many albums strong. It would be not in the fans interest just to play one old album. Primal Fear has grown up as a band, started with 4 guys from the same town, three are still there and join the passion for metal. We have more to say and yes, I would have liked to play with Sinner on the two shows, because there are already four of 6 people with OPF in Russia, but the promoter didn’t like the idea!
Imagine you were asked by a label to put out a best of album and you have to pick out only 3 tracks from each album. What track would you choose from “Delivering the Black” and why?
«When Death Comes Knocking», «One Night In December», «Road To Asylum».
Thanks to Eugine Silin (Alive Concerts) for making this interview possible.
Read interview with Tom Naumann about «Jaws of Death» here.
Read interview with Henny Wolter about «Nuclear Fire» here.
Read interview with Klaus Sperling about «Black Sun» here.
Read interview with Randy Black about «Devil’s Ground» here.
Read interview with Mat Sinner about «Seven Seals» here.
Read interview with Mat Sinner about «New Religion» here.
Read interview with Alex Beyrodt about «Unbreakable» here.
Read interview with Stefan Leibing here.