David E. Gehlke of Blistering.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ralf Scheepers of German power metallers PRIMAL FEAR. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Blistering.com: You guys are always so productive and it’s not like churning out subpar albums. Where does the work ethic and drive come from for PRIMAL FEAR?
Scheepers: Actually, we’re a good team. We have four writers: Mat [Sinner, bass], Magnus [Karlsson, guitar], Alex [Beyrodt, guitar], and me for this album and everybody has great ideas and we have a certain kind of “set” when composing a new album. We first sit together and talk about what we want to do and with this album, we wanted to get back to what we were doing on the first album, the PRIMAL FEAR self-titled album and “Jaws Of Death”, and some energy parts from “Nuclear Fire” as well. So this was in our heads when we started to compose the album. We wanted to get back a little bit.
Blistering.com: That’s what I was thinking, too, upon my first couple of listens. Because you have established your sound and have had it for so long, does that make it easier to come up with material?
Scheepers: It definitely does. It comes absolutely natural; you don’t have to be pretending something, you just go ahead and do what you love to do and that’s what’s happening. If Mat or Magnus come up with a song and I put some lyrics to it, it’s like they already knew what I was going to do with it. Over the years we’ve grown together as a great writing team, and I think it shows.
Blistering.com: You and Mat have been with the band since the beginning, so has your dynamic grown even stronger over the years?
Scheepers: Being friends over the years and spending time together, plus having trust…that’s the most important thing. We’ve been through the thick and thin over the years and the bad things with the business and internal stuff, we’ve grown together even more. We have a responsibility…to ourselves, to the music we’re doing, and also the fanbase we have, and that’s what we still keep in mind, and keeps us going. That’s the reason why we called the album “Unbreakable”.
Blistering.com: Your voice has held up remarkably well. If you put the new one up against “Jaws Of Death”, you sound pretty much the same. Any secrets?
Scheepers: I’m trying to be healthy; it’s not always easy. [Laughs] With trying to sleep, but always trying to enjoy my life. [Laughs] I think that’s a major key for any singer. Since I’m working in my home studio, I’m very self-critical, I’m always repeating until I nailed it. I remember times when we worked together in the studio, they always said, “It’s good, it’s good,” and I would go, “I don’t think so.” But they’d be “Keep it!” And being upstairs in my home studio, I don’t keep it; I just go for it until it’s perfect.
Blistering.com: What kind of things did you take away from being in GAMMA RAY?
Scheepers: A lot. I was starting to tour all around the world, apart from America. I had to comfort to not record everything in two or three weeks – we were there for three months for the “Heading For Tomorrow” album. You always collect experience and learn a lot, which is the most important thing. I still think nothing will ever change that fact that I have respect for Kai [Hansen] and all the other musicians of GAMMA RAY. We are great friends still. When we meet on the road, we have a good time. It was just time…maybe it wasn’t perfect anymore in the end. But two months later, we were sitting together and having a good time. And that’s why we got together to record JUDAS PRIEST‘s “Exciter”. It was a certain strange feeling for me, going up there again where I was five years for almost every weekend [laughs]. It had to be….everything sorted out in the end.
Read the entire interview from Blistering.com.
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