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Matthias Kraft (Reaper)

Interview with Matthias Kraft from Reaper
by Sharon "Metal Chick" Bar-Or at 10 September 2012, 6:37 PM

After so many years of absence, another Heavy Metal band is trying to reinsert itself into today’s modern scene. There your have REAPER from Germany. Gathering their gear and experience towards a new album, this crew released, as a compilation, a selection of tracks from their early days under the name of “Fairies Return”, via Karthago Records. Metal Chick had a chance to have a little chat with Matthias Kraft, one of the band’s founders, about the band, the new compilations and their future. 

 Hey there, Matthias, how are you? I am thrilled to have this interview with you to the Metal Temple web magazine!

Hi Sharon. We're all fine and we're glad being interviewed by Metal Temple. Thanks a lot. Actually we're writing and recording songs for a new album which we'd like to release next spring.

 You've come a long way since 1984. What has changed?

Almost everything. We're much older now and maybe a bit wiser, too. We've gone through a couple of lineup changes. The most significant was when Daniel took over the vocals after our former singer, Benny, quit the band in 1993. This gradually changed the musical direction of the band as well.

 Usually Heavy Metal bands don't use the supernatural concepts to deliver their own music. Tell us about "Fairies Return". What was the concept behind it?

I don’t agree to that statement, there has always been a lot of fantasy stuff, as well as horror, or mythological plots in heavy metal. The story line of Fairies Return was a quite simple one, something like what if our childhood dreams came true? I think the title came up when Daniel listened to BLACK SABBATH's “Fairies wear boots”.

 It's easy to compare REAPER to bands like JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN. Would you agree with this statement?

Sure, this where we started and they're still among our favorite bands, the great old ones, they've influenced us a lot. There's a number of other influences as well, during the 90s we've become more and more interested in Death- and Black Metal for example, but these guys listened to IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST, too.

For your opinion, how important is the musical credibility looking when it comes to "Fairies Return"?

This is where we were in 1986. It's a document of our past not an actual release, you can sit back, enjoy and think of the good old days. Well, those good old days weren't that great really but it all looks good in the rear mirror. It's a kind of illusion that helps us to survive.

 Let's talk about the background vocals; it's unique, maybe mismatched but always harmonized. Tell us about the creating this unique vocalic system.

We're talking about “Ruling The Earth”, right? The album was recorded on a 8 track tape machine so there was only one track left for the vocals. The only chance for doubling the vocals was to have Benny and Daniel singing together in the same room having to use the same microphone. The problem was that Daniel sung much louder than Benny so he had to step back and back. They couldn't really hear the music and they couldn't really hear each other - this really did the trick.

 Which song from "Fairies Return" represents REAPER the best?

None of the songs of the "Fairies Return" EP. I would choose “Crawling Nearer” or “Fountain of Youth” which we recorded as demos for our third album a short time before Benny quit the band.

 What are REAPER's influences?

The ones mentioned above and lots of others like DISSECTION, BOLT THROWER, MEGADETH, DESASTER or ICED EARTH.

 Are there any other music related projects you are involved with?

I don't play in any other band but Daniel and Jan do. Daniel plays in a kind of a Rock N’ Roll band called BURNING HELLMET and Jan plays bass in a Death Metal band called HELLFORCE.

 "Fairies Return" (from 1986) is a self-financed album. Why did you decide to republish it?

Sasch Menschlof Mighty Monster Records contacted us and came up with the idea about the re-release. We thought why the hell …. but then we liked the idea of putting some unreleased tracks on the album as well. It's a kind of Greatest Hits Part 1 – The early years.

 28 years in the business. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

I suppose I'm part of the oldest Heavy Metal band in the world and of course we're millionaires then. Let's be serious - I just hope we'll be still alive and well and I think we'll still be playing music then.

 Thank you so much for your time, Matthias, and for a great an interesting interview! I wish you the best and good luck and looking forward for many albums to come! And finally, any message to your fans?

Like we've always said: Think for yourself and make your own mind about things. And of course stay heavy and listen to the best music in the world which is Heavy Metal.


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Edited 08 February 2023

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