» Mat Sinner - Primal Fear
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Mat Sinner, the mastermind behind 2 of Germanys strongest metalacts Primal Fear and Sinner, is constantly present in the scene. Now when the time is soon here for Primal Fear to release their first Dvd - The History Of Fear - we decided to feel Mat a bit on the pulse concerning the new release and his view on metal in general.

Tommy: First of all I have to say it is an honour to be talking to one of the most "metal" men in the business, if you ask me. You have been producing one killeralbum after the other for almost 20 years now. Can you for the readers who sadly are not so familiar with you and your work first tell tell a bit about the early years and how it all started for you and how you came to enter the metalscene?

  • Mat: I just listened to Deep Purple's Burn at my brothers stereo - that was the start. I thought, that this was so cool - heavy drums, screaming vocals, nice melodies - I really liked it against that pop shit. Then I started to learn how to play guitar and took lessons. My first known band was called "Shiva", then already I started with "Sinner" and our first album was released in Oct 1984 - Danger Zone by Noise Records, today Sanctuary!

Tommy: I know that there sometimes are different information circulating, so could you for the confused readers once and for all straighten out how the situation is for the 2 bands you are running - which one do you actually consider your "mainband" and how do you feel upon the work with them both? Is there any difficulties holding them apart so much that they feel like two separate units?

  • Mat: My mainband is "Primal Fear", we put a lot of work in this band and touring all over the world. A new album will be recorded in the next couple of weeks and another tour is waiting. "Sinner" will be there forever. It's just a bunch of great buddies, who are exited to enter the stage and rock. PFs music is straight metal, based on riffs and Ralf's high vocals. Sinner's compositions have no boundaries. Even if a song is 10min. Long or only 2 minutes - orchestral parts or just drums, bass, guitar - everything is possible!

Tommy: Primal Fear are in these days about to release their first Dvd including - among other stuff - the full Wacken 2001 performance, a lot of concert and festival footage and a bonus 45-minute live CD. Can you tell us a bit about the work on this release? To me it sounds like we are looking forward to a real monsterpiece. Are you satisfied with the ready material?

  • Mat: It took me ½ years work to go through all the parts, to cut the concerts, mix the sound, work on the menues, the cover & the booklet. Only people who have this process done for themselve can imagine how much work is to create this DVD. I'm really looking forward to record the next album. But anyway, I'm proud of the DVD - there are 5 chapters. Chapter 1. is the Wacken Concert of 2001, chapter 2. is one of our Black Sun European concerts ion Oct 2002, chapter 3. are our video clips, chapter 4 is special report & interview of Wacken 1999, chapter 5 is a special bootleg sections with clips from 1998 till the show in New York 2003 with funny backstage stuff and a lot of different continents, chapter 6 is the live CD - that's it so far. We have added a nice Digibook package and a picture packed booklet!

Tommy: Do you think playing, composing, rehearsing and recording are just as fun now as in the beginning of your hungry years? You are always current with something on the market around the year and as soon as the release and tour of one band and album ends you start on the other. Are there never times when it feels too much?

  • Mat: To be honest, I'm just doing this for fun. I wanna be surrounded with great musicians, who can kick my ass and force me to play well. I just want to do the music I'm feeling great with and I like to compose. In the early years, everything was a bit to rushed and too forced. Now, the world looks a little smaller. I try to take the nice parts out of this business for me - not only push and push! The next big thing is our new album and I'm really looking forward to the recordings 'cause I know everybody will be totally dedicated to the songs and the music!

Tommy: How do you see upon the metalscene of today compared to what it looked like when you began? Are there any of the new bands that you like in particular, and in that case why? What are they bringing into the scene that has been missing before, if anything?

  • Mat: The fans are more splitted up in different kinds of metal. In the beginning, there was just a bunch of metalheads, listening to all metal bands & music out there. Today I miss a little more tolerance between the different styles of metal. But as always - humanoids are the cruelest animals. I would love to see one metal community, but it will be different. That's the nice things on European Open Air festivals - you see every kind of metalfan having a good time!

Tommy: Along with guys like for example Kai Hansen, Rock'n'Rolf and Chris Boltendahl you can be considered to be a pioneer and a strong symbol of the early years' metal in Germany. How do you look upon those mentioned bands' music of today?

  • Mat: These guys are still around and delivering great music. Kai was playing on our first album - we were touring together with all of them - yeah, I think Germany can be proud on a lot of metal musicians and bands. Can you imagine how cool it could be to send these four bands on a tour? Aside of all the business questions, it would be a fantastic evening for the fans!

Tommy: What element(s) in your own music do you feel are developing the most from year to year? What area are you working most on to improve, if anything? Or does the thoughts not go in that direction but instead just go out there and deliver good, plain metal from the heart?

  • Mat: I think, we are working hard on the songwriting. I still belive that the songs are the key to everything. Then the sound and the production is a very interesting factor. With every new album, you can prove that you have something to say lyricwise, instrument & melodiewise. The are enough challenges for a musician. If you have the power - rock!

Tommy: It is clear that you get a bit harder and heavier for each year unlike many, many other bands that usally go the other way after as many years. Has that been/is it a planned direction or has it just developed that way by itself over the years?

  • Mat: We let the metal and the music flow - we always write about double the amount of songs we need to record and sort out the best concept and bunch of songs we see. Maybe the next album has a lot of more melodies, than the one before - we will see. This is not planned or a kind of angryness.

Tommy: How is the workload divided in the bands? How much is your work and how much do the other members contribute with? The amazing riffs that are somewhat of your trademark and are not beaten by many of today - who are mostly resposible for those?

  • Mat: It's really different - all the guys came up with great riffs in the Primal Fear days - not only the guitarists, even if their input in the riff section is a lot bigger than, the others, but even Ralf has written some killer riffs during the last years! Everybody is involved in the lyrics and so on. Overall it's a cool collaboration and this time we reached the peak so far!

Tommy: How does the work look from a newborn idea to an album until it is recorded and ready to be pressed? Could you describe the normal procedure of how a Primal Fear album is born? Do each members write pieces on their own, and you gather for rehearsel sessions every 2 months or are you working more tight together along the way?

  • Mat: Every member has a little recording studio at home and collects parts over the year. Then we sit together and sort out the best parts and start to think about a song, melodies and the lyrics. We meet in our practise room with a PC recording system and start the pre-production with programming the drums & recording the instruments over the drums. Then we record the voals and we have at least 15 songs in the can. Again we're going through the parts and change some spots and then we go with the final 12 songs in the real recording studio and start recording the album.

Tommy: Are you currently involved in any producing jobs for other bands or anything similar on the side? Is there even time for that? If not - is that something that you would like to spend more time with in the future? Where would you like to see yourself in 15 years from now - still metal to the bone on stage, or producing? Or something completely different, perhaps, by that time….?

  • Mat: I don't have the time for this at the moment. July & August were killing months for me. I'm happy I've survived all the festivals, shows and other business dates. Now I can look forward to the new PF production. Since the pro-tools stuff is already everywhere and cheaper than a huge studio complex, it could be possible, that bands didn't sign recording contracts anymore and release their albums for download on their own pages - we will see!

Tommy: I presume that it is possible for you to live of this alone, or do you have any kind of income on the side? How has the situation been along the years? How hard/easy is it for a metalhead of your caliber to make a living from this nowadays?

  • Mat: I have no problems with that, I'm even a part of Nuclear Blast Records and love to be!

Tommy: We are closing in to the end of this interview - do you feel like listing your 3 all time favourite songs regardless if it's Primal Fear or Sinner?

  • Mat: Primal Fear: Tears Of Rage, Under Your Spell & Angel In Black - Sinner: Born To Rock, Judgement Day, Higher Level Of Violence

Tommy: What is your best musical memory so far in your career? And what really special dream do you have that is still waitig to be fulfilled?

  • Mat: There are some - the European Tour with Sinner & Mr. Big was a fantastic enjoyable tour. The Sinner tour with Deep Purple was even more great. What a bunch of great guys. We had such a good time. With Primal Fear, we had a lot of nice festivals & tours so far - but the show in Sao Paulo in Dec 2002, will be forever in my heart, as the show in Tokyo in Dec 1999!

Tommy: I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with - a tip, a recommendation or a thought for the future?

  • Mat: I'm really looking forward to record the new album. I think we've written the strongest songs so far and I can't wait to work on the production. The European tour starting in March 2004 looks like a killer package at the moment - let's check from time to time our homepage for some great news about this!


    Keep the faith,

That was all I had for now, Mat - the staff at metalcovenant.com wish you all the very best for the future, and we sincerely want to thank you for keeping the spirit of Metal alive!

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