Tony Webster of "The Metal Command" radio show recently conducted an interview with frontman Ralf Scheepers of veteran German power metallers PRIMAL FEAR. You can listen to the entire chat via the SoundCloud widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the progress of their forthcoming new studio album, which is due sometime in 2020 via Nuclear Blast:
Ralf: "We're still recording. I have still two more songs to sing, actually. Mat [Sinner, bass] is also recording some bass still and we're mixing at the beginning of February with Jacob Hansen. Everybody is really looking forward to the final results. We're really happy with the final results. Most people say it's hard to top 'Apocalypse', but I say it will be topped. [Laughs]"
On PRIMAL FEAR's upcoming North American tour with SYMPHONY X and FIREWIND:
Ralf: "I don't know yet, but I know that it will be a good time. We know the musicians for many, many years. We never toured together, but in my opinion, it's a very good package for the fans. You have to do these kinds of things nowadays. There's so much competition. There always was, but now there is way too much to offer out there, and you have to do something to please the fans and have a good package together to get the people into the venues. Hopefully, this is going to happen. The pre-sales, maybe they're starting already. I don't know. Some people may have the tickets already and that's really good, it's a good thing. You're right. There are some really awesome bands, FIREWIND, and of course, we're all looking forward to doing that again, to come to America again."
On keeping his voice in shape:
Ralf: "I didn't do so much different than I always did. Maybe because I'm teaching, I'm doing my own exercises. [Laughs] I exactly do what I recommend to all my students and that really helps in terms of maintenance of the vocals. I can feel and hear the change of my own [voice], but people don't because it's very, very sensitive when it comes to hearing what's the difference in your voice. People hear that there's a difference since the GAMMA RAY times to now, but I also feel it's a good thing what happened because it's getting a more rough and crispy and raspy [sound]. That's a good thing in heavy metal. [Laughs]"
On the musical approach of PRIMAL FEAR's next studio album:
Ralf: "We're still on the track, the same level we had on 'Delivering The Black' and 'Apocalypse'. That's also a sign that we are all satisfied with how the last albums turned out in terms of sound and also songs. Basically, this red line is going to be continued."
On why PRIMAL FEAR's sound has remained so "consistent" since its 1998 self-titled debut:
Ralf: "The consistency is somehow sticking together and going through the thick and thin. That's basically what every band who is successful has to go through. There's up and downs, like [in] marriages. Whether you know what you want together or whether you don't, and you want to stick together — there's so many egos everywhere. I wouldn't say… every musician has to [have] some kind of ego, otherwise, he couldn't be a musician. That's a fact. But if you got five egos together, those egos have to work. Sometimes they do better and sometimes they don't, but basically, if you remind yourself why you're doing this, then you'll always come back to the same point that if you stick together with the guys, you'll have a strong team going on here. A team also means that you all also have to decide against somebody else's decision. After some years, when the years pass by, you find out these decisions were always good. If somebody's not agreeing to these decisions anymore, then we won't force anybody to stay with us. That's exactly what happened. We try to have no bad blood with any ex-member or whatever, but some people tend to talk and you can't change it."
On his relationship with co-founding member Sinner:
Ralf: "First of all, we get along personally really well. Then there's the responsibility that you have and this is what we really take very seriously, you have a responsibility somehow toward your fans. They've shown their face when they buy the album and they come to the concerts. Sometimes you have to somehow strip down your personal issues sometimes and think about what these fans out there want from you, and that's consistency and that's the band PRIMAL FEAR when they come to the shows. That's really the responsibility Mat and I have that on one term, this is a business, and on the other, it's fun. We've combined what we started out of fun when we still had jobs. Then, we combined with what we had later when we did this as a business. It's another story if you're doing this as a businessman, then as a hobby-man, but we were lucky enough to keep it going, still having the fun and also having the bad things of the business side."
On PRIMAL FEAR's recording process with Sinner serving as producer:
Ralf: "We know we can rely on each other. I don't know how Mat is working with other bands. I think it's easy for him with PRIMAL FEAR because we exactly know what we want. There's not so much discussion going on how things should be changed here or there. If you have 14 songs, maybe there are about two or three tracks that we talk over at the end where we have to change things, but basically, when we exchange demos and ideas and stuff, we exactly know which path to go. That's a good thing because we're somehow grown together for more than 20 years now and you can really hear that. I don't know how he's working with other bands, but PRIMAL FEAR, you can really say in the end we're all taking part in producing, but somebody has to have the final decision in the end and that's always Mat. That's a good thing because he exactly knows what, in the end, is the best for PRIMAL FEAR."
PRIMAL FEAR's latest album, "Apocalypse", was released in August 2018 via Frontiers Music Srl.
In September 2018, PRIMAL FEAR announced its return to Nuclear Blast Records.