Interview with Mat Sinner and J (Primal Fear)

MER: Congratulations on the successful release of your latest album ‘16.6‘, it’s debut on Sweden’s album charts at no. 52 is a formidable accomplishment in itself. How important are charts to the success of an album, and what significance if any, is related?

Primal Fear: Germany 46 and Japan 28 are two other important numbers. It’s not the final result, if an album is a huge success or not, but in these difficult times you really see in these results, that people are going into the shops and buying this album and not being the top band of illegal downloads.

MER: You produce the Primal Fear albums, Sinner albums, as well as a group of others. Is it tough to do ‘double duty’, to play as well as produce on the Primal Fear and Sinner albums?

PF: No, it’s a pleasure and if you can work with some of the top players of this genre, you can really work on the music and only reproduce the signals. As long as the guys in the band are satisfied with my work and decide for me as their producer, I will do this job with all my power!

MER: Do you believe that being a member of the band gives you an advantage or edge as the producer? Do you think it brings more to the table?

PF: No, it doesn’t matter for me. It’s all about the vision, the playing, enthusiasm, motivation, communication. I like to work with friendly people with the most possible fun during the recordings with enough seriousness to work out the best possible result. The targets must be crystal clear!

MER: Primal Fear’s music has primarily been riff driven. 16.6 seems to have the most eclectic material to date, and seems to deviate somewhat from the riff driven material that is typically found on Primal Fear albums. Is this the new direction of Primal Fear?

PF: Our target was to record the most interesting album of our career. We’ve recorded over 70 minutes of material and we finished the album at the point when everybody in the band was happy. It was important for me that we wrote and recorded more traditional Metal in the early Primal Fear way and still have some new exciting elements on this album, we’ve never recorded before. For the future I really don’t know at the moment – just let us play our world tour until the next summer, then we will decide, if we will record a bombastic album with an entire orchestra or a pure Metal album with just two guitars, bass, drums and vocals – we will see and this is the freedom we need to create our music!

MER: Is it fair to label you as a ‘workaholic’ ? Does it ever feel like your batteries won’t recharge anymore?

PF: So far, I’m feeling really good and doing a lot of sports to keep my engine working on this high energy basis. Metal and my friends are keeping me creative and excited about the entire metal scene and I’m still a fan of this kind of music!

MER: It is reported that on the Metal Gods tour, due to mismanagement you had to drop off the tour as a result to an approximate $20,000 (USD) loss. How difficult was it to pick up the pieces and forge ahead? How did the band overcome?

PF: To be honest, it was even more and people really promised us to get all our money back blah blah blah – well, every bad or serious situation gives you a new lesson to learn, but this was a tough moment in our career. But it’s a challenge too, if you’re lying on the ground, it’s the biggest satisfaction if you can survive this terrible situation.

MER: Do you have the same management, and if so why?

PF: God thank NO – but we were stranded in Manhattan, so it was a nice 4 day vacation in one of the cheapest places in the world, until we found a payable flight home to Germany!

MER: Primal Fear recently had to cancel their appearance at the ‘Unholy Fest’ in Czech Republic, June 29/09. It has been said that this festival was a fake and not a serious Metal event. Can you fill us in on the details behind this debauchery?

PF: Our agency is booking the flights for the band & crew as the advance payment arrived on their account. They received a legally correct contract from these guys, but never a cent. As some other prominent bands cancelled their appearance it was clear that this is a bad situation for the bands and of course for the fans. We have a very similar situation now, again in an east European country and we hope it will not be the same disaster!

MER: It would appear in recent history that there is an increase of bands having a vast array of problems with promoters’ integrity. Do you think that this is just something that comes with the current resurgence and success of Metal, or is some other unknown phenomenon taking place?

PF: No, there were always some criminals involved in every part and genre of the music scene, just to cheat fans & bands. This was 20 years ago the same kind of game and nothing new!

MER: You are the producer for Michael Kiske’s new album. In the past Mr Kiske has gone on record stating that he is not Metal anymore, and that Metal music is for people of lesser intelligence, and over all is just plain silly. Has he changed his views? If not, what was it like as a Metal musician, to work with someone who has turned their back on Metal?

PF: I think this is a big misunderstanding and just some words out of a 3 hour speech. This is not correct. Michael is intelligent and tolerant and if everything works out the way we see it, it will be a cool album that will please his old and new fans and surprise many people. Michael still has an unbelievable voice and we have some of the best players lined up for this album including the female voice of Amanda Somerville as you might know from the Avantasia albums.

MER: If Ralph would have been chosen to join Judas Priest, and not have formed Primal Fear in wake, where and what would you be doing now?

PF: I’m answering every useful question, but if I had three legs – would I win a gold medal at the Olympic Games? Well, I have two legs and no gold medal and Ralf is still in Primal Fear and we’re both happy about this!

MER: You played national league soccer (football), at the age of 14. Do you still play? Do you think you made the right choice to pursue a music career over a pro sport career?

PF: Once I made a decision, I accepted my situation – jobs, sports and even girls… in these days, I’m too much on the road to play in a real club anymore, but I play Tennis a lot and I’m running. It’s different, but I have fun! If my favorite soccer team has a match, I try to receive some pictures everywhere in the world. I’m still a soccer maniac if it comes to my team.

MER: The title of the new album ‘16.6 (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead)‘ possesses a secret/cryptic meaning. Has anyone figured it out yet? If not can you give us a hint?

PF: Yes, I could read some great postings on the net, but already most of the people are still asking us about the solution. As far as I can tell you, it has something to do with the band and still in the band’s future!

MER: What advice to you have for young European bands trying to break into the US market?

PF: Oh my God – we’re just working hard on our reputation there, but if it’s the US or Europe it doesn’t matter – great songs and musicianship, quality recordings, ambitioned performance and a great vibe in the band is important in my view. Give the people a concert of 90 min to forget all their troubles and problems for a while, then you’re on the right way!


  • Chaos

    Chaos was a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio. His Metal journey started in 1976 when his father (a popular morning FM radio personality) handed him an LP of KISS' Destroyer. One night in 1979 he woke up to his uncle's hand over his mouth, and the words "We're going to see KISS" uttered. Against his father's will he found out later. Sitting on his uncle's shoulders in the 2nd row for the entire Dynasty show, his life would never be the same. From there he moved on to AC/DC, W.A.S.P., and the three bands that would never let him down, Motörhead, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. He got into Thrash Metal early and tried to turn all his friends onto this new band, Metallica's first album Kill 'Em All.

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