Mat Sinner, bassist & vocalist with (among other things) Primal Fear and Sinner, talks to Metal as Fuck.

Mat Sinner; the patience of a saint...

Have you ever tried ringing a phone number over a 100 times in an hour? If so, then you’ll probably understand that it gets a bit annoying after a while. The best I’d managed so far was a ten second connection where Mat Sinner said “I can’t hear you – please call back...”
So I did and eventually I got “I can hear you, I can hear you.” Hoo-fucking-rah. So it's time for a chin-wag with Mat, the vocalist and bassist with Primal Fear and Sinner.

Admittedly, Mat turns out to be a most charming interviewee, brushing aside my apologies for the technology failure with an understanding response; “You don’t have to be sorry – it’s my job...and I want to come to Australia!” He’s got an awesome Germanic accent and a solid, deep voice – it’s the kind of voice that should be reading the news or something; he tells me that he’s “Just getting bombed with interviews right now...I’ve already done six interviews and still people are waiting for me.”

Bugger! We’d better get to it then. So between your work with Primal Fear and Sinner, do you actually have any spare time? “Of course! I play in Voodoo Circle; I do a Rock Meets Classic tour every January with a big orchestra and really, really legendary singers and I’m doing some productions with some other artists – it’s really my passion and my job and I have no problem with working hard.” But what about other things going on in your life; or is it all about the music? “No, I have a nice girlfriend and a great dog – it’s an Australian Shepherd, not a German Shepherd!" Whallop! That’s German humour, right there.."I’m interested in soccer, German soccer is very popular here and I like good movies and I like some TV series; I like good food.”
I ask what team he supports but it’s such a crazy name that despite extensive research, I’ve been unable to find out the name, although it does sound a bit like ‘Schialganoofia’ – anyone got any suggestions? (try Schalke 04 - football-loving Ed.)

I ask Mat about the creative process. With so many projects on the go, how does he decide which song is for which band? “When I write, I’m very focussed on one artist. So if I’m writing a new Primal Fear album, I only think of Primal Fear. I’ve only really been focussed on Primal Fear and what Primal Fear is doing, and in the last 20 years it’s never been a case where I’ve had a song which I said ‘Oh fuck! This song is better for Sinner’ and I don’t use it for Primal Fear; this has never happened. I’m very, very focussed on who I’m writing for.”

The last I heard Primal Fear’s latest album Unbreakable was at 31 on the German charts and 27 in Japan. What’s the reaction to this? He’s reasonably prosaic about the whole affair; “We’ve always been in the German charts with all the albums and we’ve always been in the Japanese charts with all the albums so this is not the big thing; the big thing was for us to be, for the first time, in the charts of countries like Finland, Austria, Switzerland and even America - where we’d never before appeared in the charts. We’re in the official album charts of these countries, including Sweden, so this for us is the big surprise this time, that maybe our touring and our hardworking schedule is now a nice thing for us.”

Primal Fear and Sinner both have that old school metal sound, indeed both bands were ‘up there’ with such 80’s greats as Accept and Helloween, what’s your take on the newer genres such as djent or mathcore? “I was always listening to all kinds of music that you can imagine and the thing is, I love all kinds of music that touches my soul, I like the melodies or whatever arrangements so for me all these metal genres and different kinds of metal, for me, it’s just metal, it’s one metal and some I like more and some I like less.” One metal, I love that...

We move into tour plans for Primal Fear. “We’re starting at the end of March and doing the first European tour [first for this year, not first one ever]; it’s about a month in various countries and after that we’re gonna play some festivals when we go to South America; we’re negotiating with America and Russia. And then we’re waiting for a good offer from Australia because it’s one of the few countries we’ve never been to so we have to do something here.” You heard him, Aussie promoters – get your shit together and get Mat and the Primal Fear boys out for a tour.

You’ve had an incredibly long career - is there a moment that you look back on and it still blows your mind? An extra level of warmth comes into his voice as he explains “There are a lot of these moments; for example last year we had one of the best shows ever in Buenos Aires in Argentina – the fans were so unbelievable! It was insane what was going on there, this is one show that I will remember for the whole of my life. For us, Brazil was great, we had good shows in Chile and Columbia, we’ve been in Peru and we’ve been in Mexico, we’ve been a lot in these countries but Argentina is always very special, very, very special.”

And who’s the best band you’ve toured with? He makes a kind of ’Pwhaaar’ noise, which I take to be the German equivalent of’ 'Gosh’ or some such exclamation, “I’ve been on tour with so, so, so many bands but there was one tour I really remember; it was the coolest tour for me and that was Deep Purple, because they never do long sound checks [always a bonus], they are gentlemen and always, every day, it was fun to go on stage.”

And what song would you like to have written? There’s a massive pause and then ”Wow.”, he’s obviously giving this the thought that the question deserves...“Let It Be from The Beatles. It’s very old, it’s not a new song but it’s a song that has followed me through my whole life.”
And finally what haven’t you done yet that you still want to do?

There’s no pause this time. “Play in Australia.”
Mat Sinner’s Primal Fear and Sinner (among other things), check ‘em out...