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Mat Sinner (Primal Fear)

Interview with Mat Sinner from Primal Fear
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 September 2007, 9:37 PM

New Religion marks a new beginning for PRIMAL FEAR; what an exciting album. These German metallers have just released one of their finest efforts to date and bassist Mat Sinner was eager enough to share a few thoughts with us regarding the band's perspective in the past/future. And, yes, I do think New Religion is better than Seven Seals!

Mat, greetings from Metal Temple magazine! Congratulations on your latest album, New Religion, I must state it’s one of the best PRIMAL FEAR (so far) releases!

Thank you very much – good to hear!

I can’t keep but ask: how did you eventually ink deal with Frontiers Records. This – fine, anyway – Italian label is famous for its AOR/Melodic Rock/Hard Rock roster and I must say I was a little bit worried ‘bout how the new PRIMAL FEAR would sound like. How did you come in contact? Is your contract valid for more albums in the future?

After 6 albums, 1 DVD and 1 ’best of’ album on Nuclear Blast we all felt that we need a fresh breeze of air in our sails! We’ve negotiated with at least 10 European record companies and in the end we had the feeling that Frontiers gave us the best vibe, motivation and offer. It doesn’t matter if they’re selling mostly melodic bands. It matters, what’s they vision for the future and they’ve signed Rob Halford’s latest solo album, too, and I’m sure there will be more Metal acts signed in the future. The contract was worked out for a longer period!  

I guess the New Religion album title has to do with the new PRIMAL FEAR ’home’ or (to extend) with a kinda rebirth for PRIMAL FEAR? You have an old mate in the band again - Henny Wolter - so we can consider 2007 to be a new beginning for PRIMAL FEAR?

For us, the new decade has just begun. It’s a resurrection for PRIMAL FEAR – new label, new partners all over the world, Henny Wolter’s comeback. This is an exciting moment! On the next cover artwork, I can promise that the eagle will fly high again!

I’m sure but this! Whatever happened to Tom Naumann, anyway?

He turned his back on us in the studio and wasn’t happy with anything at least with himself. It is a sad story and I keep all the details for myself. Tom has his great moments in PRIMAL FEAR and we thank him for the past, but we had no other chance and have to change something.

OK…What was the process for the new album? Did it take you long enough to compose the new tunes? In addition, how was the recording/mixing process? You cooperated with Charlie Bauerfeind, right? You must be rather satisfied form his work, so as to choose him again, huh?

We started the songwriting 6 months before we started to record. We worked with Charlie again because we worked on the Seven Seals album for the first time and it was cool to work with him. We worked very well as a team and especially the drums sounded unbelievable again. For the mix we moved to the Galaxy Studio in Belgium to work with award-winning engineer Ronald Prent, who has worked with RAMMSTEIN, MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN and a lot of other fantastic artists in the past. We’re very happy about the production and the final sound! It has all the typical ’root’ segments of PRIMAL FEAR and added some new elements. For us it’s cool, because we won’t stand still anymore!

Do you feel PRIMAL FEAR is a band that should experiment/broaden its horizons from album to album? I’m saying this since many fans would like the band ‘stuck’ in its highly-performed classic Heavy Metal style while some others will applaud songs like e.g. Fighting The Darkness or Everytime It Reigns.

Well, nasty people called us the best JUDAS PRIEST cover band in the world, then we’re working on new vibes and different horizons exactly these people telling us to stay with one style of Metal. I think, the musicians should decide for themselves and we’re looking out for new challenges, elements we’ve never used. Metal is overall so colorful, that we don’t want to focus on just a little part of the entire possibilities!

Speaking about this two specific songs, I can’t keep away but ask who’s idea was it to include a male/female duo for Everytime It Reigns. The Simone/Ralf dual voice attack surely is impressive but – do not misunderstand it -  I found the song to be kinda ‘mainstream’ for an –in-your-face band like PRIMAL FEAR.

We love that fans and people are surprised. You have 11 tracks on an album, why should there be no space to try something exciting or even stupid? I don’t know an album where I really admire all tracks. Ralf and I had the idea to try out something we’ve never done before and we’re really pleased about the result. Simone and Ralf did both a phenomenal performance on the track and delivered a new color to the PRIMAL FEAR sound. We will be a Metal band forever, but from time to time we will do some crazy and controversial stuff for sure! That’s the salt in our soup!

As for Fighting The Darkness in specific: it was great to shoot a video for this majestic song. Did you have in mind to choose this tune for a video from the very beginning?

This is a very special song for us and it was one of the top contenders, even if we shot a second clip for Sign Of Fear. But the atmosphere and the vibe on Fighting The Darkness is positive/different, too. The story overall is dark and mystic. Ralf delivers a very special performance with 100% dedication. I’ve never heard Ralf that exciting before!

Really, do you feel it’s worth the money – and time – to make a video in our days? Is this still a good ‘promotional’ tool?

Of course it makes sense, for all the fans who couldn’t catch a PRIMAL FEAR live show for example. And it’s a bonus track with a lot of worth. We release the video clips on the limited edition of the album in a very nice embossed cover artwork. Well, this artwork and the video clips are really worth to get one of these limited edition packages!

The lyrics themes are a strong ’bonus’ for PRIMAL FEAR, I feel. Still, I have the impression limited fans pay attention to lyrics in our days. Do you share this opinion?

You’re right, sometimes it’s a shame. You’re working very hard on the lyrics and some fans didn’t even recognize the basic themes and how important the lyrics are for the song. But anyway, the lyrics were always a very important factor for PRIMAL FEAR and our view in composing!

Is it difficult enough – as the PRIMAL FEAR discography grows on and on – to find inspiration for ongoing new songwriting? I’m asking this because it’s rather interesting to see what resources the band uses for writing new melodies in a somehow strict ‘Metal’ field.

That’s why we’re always on the search for new elements and inspirations. Maybe the next album will be a totally different 100% ’metal & steel’ album. You never know…I’m personally listening to every kind of music that touches me. If this is classic, jazz, pop, classic rock or Metal – there are always bands and artists in every genre that are something special for me.

It was good news to see PRIMAL FEAR heading on tour with the living Metal legend Udo Dirkschneider. The tour will be a co-headline one, right? But you’re also heading to USA for this year’s Prog Power Festival VIII plus some Japanese dates. Three months on the road! What’s your expectations for this tour? How important is for the band to play live? Don’t you feel ‘fed up’ sometimes, being on the road continuously?

We know that it is a long tour and we will continue playing South America, US, Canada, Russia and even more dates in Europe next year. We will give this album 100% our support. The tour with U.D.O. will be a double-headlining tour plus a third band as special guests. I think it’s really useful to have two headlining acts on one bill. It’s more interesting for the fans and the music of both bands fit very well together. I can’t wait to be out there!

PRIMAL FEAR surely is a hard working band. So far, do you think you’ve received the same amount of recognition for your work? The band surely is a ‘top’ act in Europe but I was wondering what’s going on in the USA and Japan the last years.

These are our 3 biggest markets. The sales of Seven Seals were quiet equal. Nice, we could clearly improve our sales with the Seven Seals album in the US, Canada & Japan. This time we will tour everywhere as headliners, even in the US and in one year from now I really hope to say that we could match the Seven Seals sales overall!

In the era of Internet, exchanging files and webcast it is rather weird (but nice!) to see vinyl issues still pressed. As a vinyl addict, should we expect an LP format of the new PRIMAL FEAR album, too?

I don’t think that Frontiers are vinyl specialists, but if many people are asking for a vinyl edition they would be stupid not to release it. But I can’t promise anything!

Mat, thanks a lot for your precious time. Hope to see PRIMAL FEAR onstage soon!


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