"The Rock Writer's Ramble" podcast recently conducted an interview with vocalist Ralf Scheepers of German power metallers PRIMAL FEAR about the band's forthcoming "Apocalypse" studio album. You can listen to the entire chat via the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether it's becoming more difficult for PRIMAL FEAR to write new material with 12 studio albums under their belt:
Ralf: "We don't put ourselves too much under pressure, actually. We are, somehow, five writing members. That's a big advantage here. We are experienced and have been doing this for many, many years now. We are really packed with a lot of self-esteem here when it comes to writing songs. We have 15 songs this time. We were choosing, somehow, in our opinion, which would make a lineup on the album. The other three which didn't make it on the album will be used, of course, because they are good composed songs. Basically, we are in a good position. That's a good point to start from. It's a good start."
On whether he can detect early on which new songs will translate well both on record and live:
Ralf: "We have a good feeling about that. That really is what happened in the studio already: 'This song is getting on really well.' I can only speak for me right now. When I sing the songs, I have a good feeling and I get these goosebumps when I sing the songs, that's a good sign. When you hear it during recording and when you somehow, 'witness' the process of recording it and also put harmonies on it, it's just amazing how it still gets you when you have a good feeling about the song. I don't want to talk about whether it can be live. First of all, it's important to get it good yourselves in the studio. Then, of course, we're always talking about what we're going to do live as a team and then we rehearse. Some songs are going better in the rehearsal studio, some don't. These arguments and these factors, they have to be somehow played through. Yeah, it's actually, that's a good procedure to start from."
On PRIMAL FEAR's every-other-year release schedule and whether they've ever thought of taking a break in order to recharge their creative batteries:
Ralf: "We also keep kicking each other's asses. Somehow, whenever, of course it's hard when you just came back from a tour and have already a deadline of possible new album. Of course, sometimes, you might think, 'Well, I need some more time.' You know, also as being a pro, you have your off-time and you have the time to recharge your batteries. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes it's only hours, sometimes it's only days. It depends on the condition you're in. Then, of course, it comes back straight back in terms of being creative and also in terms of being ready for me to sing again."
On PRIMAL FEAR recently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their first self-titled album:
Ralf: "First of all, it's really interesting how quick that was. It was so fast. I really didn't think it was 20 years already. But that's also because we were in different bands before. I was in GAMMA RAY and SINNER was there in the scene already and still is. We started late with PRIMAL FEAR. In 1998, I was 33 already. Anyway, to answer your question, yes, I mean, we are somehow, guys who are not looking so much back. We always look forward. Like I said, it was really quick now and now while it's 20 years, yes, we have to celebrate it somehow and that's what we'll do on this tour, which is offer the fans a different setlist this time. Of course, we always change the setlist for the next tour, but we think about a little bit more about playing some old songs which we haven't played in a long time or never played and also, we also have to think about the album, the new album, we also have to promote that one and we'll play a lot of songs from that one that too. As you would imagine, it's not so easy anymore to put together a setlist. But, in the end, you can't please everybody. It's the same as when you release an album, people bitch about this or that. You can't please everybody."
On PRIMAL FEAR's growth and development over the years:
Ralf: "I would never say we had difficult times. That always happens in every band. It's just like a relationship to a woman: there's ups and downs, like in marriages. You always have this, but in the end, I'm always a guy who thinks, 'Well, this is too precious to just call it a day.' Whenever you had a bad time or whenever things are, maybe there is quiet times here and there sometimes, but you always somehow, sort it out because we are also grown-up people and we can always speak about everything and if not, then, of course, yeah, then there are some people maybe not somehow agreeing anymore to what is going on or how things are handled. But, this never happened to Mat [Sinner, bass] and me because we knew this PRIMAL FEAR baby is a very precious one and we always want to keep it. It's also the reason I have this [tattoo] on my arm. It's the reason why you're tattooing a band name on your arm. People ask me 'How can you do that?' But I knew from the beginning that will last from until I stop, until I die. [Laughs]"
On the lack of new metal vocalists in the vein of Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN), Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST) and himself:
Ralf: "I don't know — I can't answer because I'm not so much listening to too many new bands anymore. I try my very best to do so. Yeah, when I hear bands at festivals, I totally agree with you that there's a lot of growling coming up. There's also a lot of combination singing, like growling and singing beautiful. But, to answer your question, yes, I mean, there are not so many out there anymore who are singing the '80s style of power metal. It wasn't even there, power metal, it's just an expression of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. It's just a label we're talking about. It's also not an easy way to sing. I can speak for myself only again, I use two registers: I use the chest voice and I have the belt-to-head voice, the shrieking, loud screams. That physically, it's not healthy. Every teacher, every classical teacher would tell you, 'You're wearing your voice out.' Like I said before you can somehow do a lot of maintenance work around it to keep it in shape for a long time and this belting and screaming is a very hard way to sing. As I can hear on Bruce's singing, he's lifting up his chest voice pretty high, same [Ronnie James] Dio did, he had a very high chest voice and just a phenomenal support from the stamina from the diaphragm. That's all a very important thing."
"Apocalypse" will be released August 10 via Frontiers Music Srl. Production of the record started at the end of 2017 and was wrapped by spring 2018 at Hansen Studios in Denmark with producer Sinner and engineer/mixer Jacob Hansen.
PRIMAL FEAR lineup:
Ralf Scheepers - Lead Vocals
Tom Naumann - Guitars
Alex Beyrodt - Guitars
Magnus Karlsson - Guitars & Keyboards
Francesco Jovino - Drums
Mat Sinner - Bass & Vocals