This week sees the return of the mighty Primal Fear to Australia. The first time they toured, just a couple of years ago, they were amazing, destroying venues in their wake; despite the venue in Sydney not being any larger than a public convenient cubicle, but let’s not harp on that again. The band were amazing last time, extremely tight, engaging and crushing, song, after song, after song. This time the band’s founding bass player, songwriter, producer, the one and only Mat Sinner, is bringing his own band Sinner, as special guests. Now Sinner are not only a German heavy metal staple, but they were also an originator of the scene in the country, forming in 1982, and releasing no less than seventeen studio albums to date.
I was lucky to catch up with Mat ahead of the tour next week and I had a chance to talk all things metal.
Mat what are your memories of your first Australian tour just two years ago, and how does it feel to be coming back?
“It was wild, good audience and good fans and a nice experience for the first time in Australia. We have good memories and have tried to expand and do other shows in Australia and to try and build on this and keep coming back. It was a great experience and we can’t wait to get back there.”
How did the bill come about, bringing over Sinner as well?
“It was a big wish from the Japanese promoter to play the shows with both bands. We actually did this nineteen years ago in Japan and it was so successful. So it was an easy choice we do the same in Australia. It will also be nice for the Australian fans. We are really excited to make this happen.”
To focus on Primal Fear for a bit, the new album Apocalypse, is very impressive, it is totally PF, but it is very fresh and strong, how do you go about writing material in this band?
“It is a process over a year, so many writing sessions from time to time, but this is not happening if I am on tour, I don’t write on tour. So I have writing sessions with Karlson (Primal Fear studio guitarist) and my other writing partner, and we write songs all over the year and if it comes to producing an album we look at what would work for a new song and go from there. We always write a lot more material than what makes it on the album.”
You have been working now with Ralf (Scheepers, Primal Fear vocalist) for over twenty years, how did this partnership come about?
“We were living in the same city, Ralf quit Gamma Ray and he auditioned for Judas Priest and missed out on the gig. He was actually going to quit the business totally at this point. From here we started writing songs to have Ralf sing and a label in Japan paid for the whole experience to this point and it really just went from there and we haven’t stopped.”
How about your work with Alex Beyrodt, as you have worked with him in Silent Force, Voodoo Circle, Rock Meets Classic and Primal Fear, where did you guys meet?
“It was I think when I recorded a solo album in 1990. Alex was a huge talent and people talked about him a lot. We met and discussed music and he played on this album and this was nearly thirty years ago. We play together, we write together and we are great friends. It is like an old couple Alex and I.”
Focussing now on Sinner and thinking from Wild n’ Evil right up to Tequila Suicide, how are they both Sinner albums and how are they different in your mind?
“This is a question we could talk about for a whole evening. Of course in 1984 we were kids, and so now over thirty years later, it is a very different status. You know every period has good and bad sides throughout a career, but now it is much more peaceful and creative than in the early days. Back then we were really wild and it was hard to be creative all the time.”
An album you played and worked on in 2004, Joacim Cans solo album Beyond the Gates, what is your recollection of this project, I love this album?
“We were good friends and we had worked a lot with Hammerfall. So when he was to record a solo album he asked me to play on it and obviously I said yes. Joacim is a really nice person and he is a great guy to play with and be around. It is a great album.”
To focus now on Rock Meet Classic, and your role in this as musical director and musician. How did this concept come about, and what legends have you enjoyed playing with the most?
“That is a long list. Well in 2009 my long-time partner, a promoter, had the idea in Germany and he wanted to bring it on the road and he needed a musical partner and it became me. So for a rock musician to work with a symphonic orchestra, it is a challenge and I really just wanted to do the best I could. From 2012 it was really established and so from here it has been modifying. In terms of who I have worked with, I would start w Alice Cooper, Joey Tempest, Ian Gillan, The Sweet, Paul Rogers, Thin Lizzy, Rick Springfield and the list can go on. It is really a huge challenge every year and a big event.”
Thinking about all of the projects, and all of the amazing musicians you have currently played with, who is missing from your list, who would you like to play with in the future?
“Well it is another long list, David Coverdale, to Sting, to Robert Plant and there are so much more. But you know it is always a business question are they interested in such a project, are they available and is it possible.”
To finish, where to from here with Mat Sinner, and what are your musical priorities into the foreseeable future?
“Well I decided some months ago I would concentrate on Rock Meets Classic and Primal Fear and if I have the time a new Sinner album. Everything else I will skip a little bit back from because sometimes too much is not a good decision. But at the end I am going to save my energy for my own projects. We have just signed a new deal with Nuclear Blast with Primal Fear so the next album for this will be huge, it has to be.”
It was an absolute pleasure, and a privilege, to be speaking with Mat Sinner this evening. He is an icon of the scene, and such an important contributor, but even more important than this, he is a great bloke, without any ego or arrogance. It is so refreshing to know that we have people like Mat in our scene. If you haven’t purchased tickets for Primal Fear and Sinner this week follow the link below and make sure you can sleep easy with no regrets…
Interview by Mark Snedden.
Primal Fear – Apocalypse In Australia 2018
with Sinner and Horizon’s Edge
November 16 @ Max Watts, Melbourne
November 17 @ Max Watts, Sydney
Horizon’s Edge 8.25pm
Primal Fear 10.30pm