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Powertryp's Frank Prilipp: "I don't think we are a special kind of oddity; we are just too "normal" for that. But maybe that is the oddity, nowadays"

Interview with Frank Prilipp from Powertryp
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 March 2022, 12:02 AM

It is like being shot back, by a cannon, to the golden years of Metal, where it was celebrated by so many around the world. Tuning up to the newcomer German Heavy Metal band, Powertryp, it was a sight, or signal, for sore ears, hard to comprehend that it wasn't 1985 anymore. Releasing their debut album, "Midnight Marauder", old school Metal surely received a fine boost to its revival process, and one would have to guess who took care of the sound. Steinmetal had a good talk with the band's bass player, Frank Prilipp, about how it was all done and what makes it special.

Hello Frank, it is good to have you for this conversation for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

I’m fine, thanks for asking. We’re happy and excited about the release of our Album. Finally.

Like a piercing arrow of fire, I got plunged by the old school spirit of your band, Powertryp. Even though we are currently still under the waves of revival of an 80s vibe of Traditional Metal, I never really knew what to expect. Always a good thing for me. Let’s go back in time a bit when the band was formed, in short what can you tell about its foundation?

We founded the Band in 2010, most of the line-up at that time had known each other for a long time and we all wanted to do something together, musically. It was clear from the beginning that we would play a kind of traditional Metal. So, we started rehearsing, played some gigs and recorded in 2005 our Demo, “Endless Power”.

Since you guys are traditionalists, as it sounds, and somewhat by appearance, what can you tell that is the Powertryp image? What makes your stage front special in view? What is in your opinion the trademark of the band?

Hehe, I don't think we have a real image, we're not KISS. Our goal is to convince with energy and music with our releases and at concerts. Gonzo (Lead singer) is quite a stage pig, that's very important live. We communicate with the audience and offer an honest, energetic show. But Gonzo knows how to spit fire, so maybe that's our KISS Factor, hahahaha. Of course, that only works on big stages, but we hardly ever play on them. At the Bavarian Metalheadz Open Air he did that. So, book us on festivals, then he will do that again, hahaha!

When the pandemic struck there was a lot of uncertainty, the future of many changed in a matter of months, including the music market. Tours postponed or cancelled, bands falling apart. Therefore, what helped Powertryp, as a band, survive, in particular with the lockdowns, the inability to rehearse I assume, and of course the lack of live appearances?

The lack of playing Gigs was very bad indeed. At least we kept in touch via Skype conferences instead of rehearsals, and of course we also concentrated on the production of the album. That way you never lose touch with the band, which is important. I think a lot of bands have used the time for songwriting and production, so there should be tons of great records coming out soon, haha.

We started the band to play music together. To rehearse regularly and occasionally play a concert. We're not the kind of band that sends mp3 files back and forth to compose songs, we write each song together, in the rehearsal room. The pandemic has only shown us even more how important this is for us. We hope that the situation with concerts will improve soon and then we want to play concerts again as soon as possible.

What can you tell in regards to the chemistry between the band members throughout the rougher edges of the pandemic, like in the lockdowns of the first variants of the virus that struck Europe massively? What kept you guys sane throughout all this time?

As mentioned, we kept all the time in touch. Depending on the respective regulations, at least two people could meet, so we were able to do recordings for the Album. That helped us a lot. We all stuck together during this time, the goal was to finish the album and play live again at some point. There was no trouble between us, we were all really looking forward to the first rehearsal together after the lockdown.

While the fog on everything remained steady, you were able to work on your debut album, along with signing with Rafchild Records in the process. About the signing, how do you find it? What are your expectations from the label going forward?

We are very happy to be able to release the album on Rafchild Records. We met Raf at a gig we played together with Mega Colossus (fantastic band), seems like he thought we were pretty good, so it turned out that we do the release with him. So far, we can't report anything bad. Of course, the possibilities of such a small label are limited, but he supports the band and has good contacts, that's the most important thing for a Underground Band with our status.

Following the spirit of the good old days, and you were active in the 80s in your local scene, so you were actually there to witness, you titled your debut “Midnight Marauder”. No doubt, a name that was forged in the fires of Heavy Metal, as the true like to say. Is the title just for kicks because it sounds great, or there is a deeper meaning that you have been keeping hidden all this time?

As you mentioned, it sounds pretty good and has this real Metal vibe. A friend of us came along
with half of the title, Marauder, in a different constellation. After finishing the album, we already did some new songs, and one is titled Midnight Marauder. We liked the title, so we used it now for the Album. The song Midnight Marauader itself will be on the second Album. Maybe we will go on with this scheme, hahaha.

Other than the music, which has the knack to be aggressively tasty, and let’s focus on the aggressive part, what can you tell about the philosophical end, the narrative that mutually leads the songs? What did you intend for the album to be about, even though it is not an actual concept?

It's definitely not a concept album, each song is lyrically and musically self-contained. The songs were created over a long period of time, for example the opener Brothers in Speed was the first song we ever made together. The lyrics are all written by Gonzo and cover a wide variety of topics. Classic Metal themes (Brothers in Speed), some mythology (Bastet), there is no uniform concept. Chapel of Steel is a small homage to a well-known US metal Band, you can actually tell from the title who it's for. For example, Gonzo has incorporated a few song titles from other bands here, which is to be understood as a little joke.

Even though you guys are German, from top to bottom, from the get go right until the final blasting punch of the drum, you feel and sound American. As if the ancient US Metal celestial being has been living with you all this time. Whether it is the attitude, aggression, and your need for speed, this is an enticing revamp. How do you view the band’s musical progress, and its form, following your work on “Midnight Marauder”?

First of all, thank you for the compliment! The traditional US Metal has and always had a very high value for me. Bands like Metal Church, Jag Panzer, Helstar, Omen, etc. So, of course this influenced our songwriting, I personally think that's good. Otherwise, of course, you anticipate any kind of music, which you listen to longer and more intensively.

The recording process itself always brings progress, you deal with the songs in more detail, and you listen to them countless times during the time of course. In the future, musically we won't make any big changes after Midnight Marauder. Our guitarist Cole joined us a few years ago, the song material on the album was already mostly written at that time. The new songs, which we have written with Cole so far, fit in seamlessly. Changes in style are not to be expected, we play the music we like.

We talked briefly about the revival of traditional Metal, and it has been going on since the beginning of the 00s. Truth be told, there are a lot of bands out there, whether newcomers, or comeback veterans, that have been sporting the old times. In your opinion, what makes Powertryp, which is a new band, yet consisting of some veteran musicians, to be a special kind of oddity within the vastness?

I don't think we are a special kind of oddity; we are just too "normal" for that. But maybe that is the oddity, nowadays. Especially younger Traditional Metal bands are often a bit over the top nowadays. But that’s just my opinion. I prefer the classic Bay Area Thrash Metal look, even though we don't do Thrash of course. But, as always, it's all a matter of taste, and if you want to perform like Vince Neil in 1983 in red spandex pants, be my guest. As far as the musical aspect is concerned, I think that our songs often offer a bit more variety overall. Many newer albums sound a bit too uniform, at least for me. 10 songs, most of them in the same tempo, same structure. I like albums that sound self-contained, but the individual songs still offer variety. Okay, I also like albums that are completely in one songwriting style, hahaha. Everything has its place.

Other than blasting with speeds, there is a fair share that is a true kickstarter for any heart that lacks a bit of juice, what other aspects of music, throughout your songwriting process, received additional attention in order to excel your abilities and performance on “Midnight Marauder”?

We are by no means a Speed Metal Band, as I said, there are fast, medium-fast and also two more solemn songs on the album. By my hand and Out of ashes could be called Epic Metal nowadays, in the old days they would been called slower songs, hahaha. We always try to get the best out of a song, for example we like to work with two-part guitar leads, which we can do very well with Stefan and Cole. As mentioned above, the songs were created over a longer period of time and have been refined over the years.

We talked about your experience as a musician, and you being an active one in the 80s. However, I believe that anyone, no matter the experience, can learn new things every day, especially being in a band. What did the ongoing work on “Midnight Marauder” teach you? What lessons of the past were implemented within the album? How did the process of the record perfect your skills as a musician?

When recording, you realize that you might be playing some parts a bit not precisely, this is already a lesson then. With today's technical possibilities, you can actually correct even the smallest imperfections, but you have to be very careful not to overdo it. Otherwise, the result sounds soulless, no longer natural, we wanted to avoid that at all costs.

Working with Harris Jones, I couldn’t believe it, I'd tell you. However, while listening to the record, and absorbing your sound, it took me back to the vibe that I heard in old school albums from the mid-80s. That power crunch, genuine sound of drums, it felt so good to embrace it in 2022. How was it to work with the guy that behind him stood so many classic albums?

It was an honor, and it was kind of a boyhood dream for me. When he answered to my request after a short time "I like your stuff, let’s talk”, I could hardly believe it, hahaha. As you know, the list of great albums he was involved in is endless. I think there is no Metal fan who does not have several of these records in the collection. The work with him was of course absolutely professional. You could just tell that he has an incredible amount of experience, there's probably nothing that he hasn't experienced or heard in the field of recording.

At the same time, he is a humorous guy, that sometimes shines through briefly, and very sociable. The collaboration was fantastic and we are very satisfied and happy with the result. Funny story by the way, Harris already worked with a band from our hometown, Erlangen, in 1989. He produced Lavatory's Glasshouse Fools back then. By the way, the record is absolutely great, if you like old school Thrash in the style of e.g. Nuclear Assault, you should definitely get it.

My neck was obliterated by a song, which I have no idea why, is an actual bonus on the record, “Nail Your Prophet”. Such a destructive force that I haven’t felt in a while, simply struck me without me being prepared. An awesome feeling I’d say. What is your appreciation of this track? Why wasn’t it an official part of the album in the first place?

Well, the song is "only" on the CD because the vinyl version, which will be released in a few weeks, would have been too long otherwise. There is simply a limit to the technical feasibility of a good sounding vinyl record, we therefore had to do it without one track for the LP. The alternative would have been double vinyl, what our label had also suggested. I'm a vinyl (and CD) collector myself, and I don't like these double vinyls with, let’s say, 12 minutes of music on each LP side. We wanted to make a single vinyl, so the song is on the CD as a bonus. It's a bit like the old days when CDs were more expensive than records, hahaha, long time ago. I also like the raw energy of this song, and especially the middle part with Stefan's solo.

The opening track, “Brothers In Speed, is how a speedy track should sound, back to 1985 we go, punishing without mercy with a living, and breathing, killing Metal song that is both vibe and class. The simplistic riffs serve the purpose, and the energies run wild. How does it feel to speed like that in an age of music where technical abilities matter so much?

Thanks for the compliment! The song is the very first one we wrote together as Powertryp. So, it's a little bit older, haha. Usually, we end our concerts with Brothers In Speed, it's the last song of our regular set. We thought it was a good idea to use it as an opener for the record, a little bang effect at the beginning of an album doesn't hurt. Brothers In Speed is simple and straight forward, the song should simply transport energy and joy. Positive aggression. We thought it was a good idea to use it as an opener for the record, a little bang effect at the beginning of an album doesn't hurt. Brothers in speed is simple and straight forward, the song should simply transport energy and joy. Positive agression. I'm personally a friend of simple structured riffs anyway. It's great fun to play it, whether in the rehearsal room or live. Live it's usually a bit faster, hahaha.

As the heavier, a little bit slower, hooking note of the record, there is “Hotter Than Hellfire”. Its tough nature, and style of singing, had me inspired. In your view, how does this track impact the magnitude of the album?

"Hotter than hellfire" was much slower at the beginning, but after a short time it developed to the up tempo. I think it fits seamlessly to the rest of the songs. Stylistically many of our songs differ a bit, but still each song sounds like Powertryp.

Slowly and easy, we might be back in business with live performances, what does your schedule look like? Are you cautious, or simply don’t care and just wish to perform?

Slowly it looks like the situation is finally improving, and concerts will probably be possible again soon. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear when and where we will perform again, but we definitely want to play live again as much as possible.

Frank, many thanks for your time, it was a pleasure sir. May you continue the band’s good effort on the debut, delivering the next punch in the face sooner than expected. All the best

Many thanks to you, Lior! All the best for you!



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Edited 10 August 2022

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