Reborn Through Hate... Sven Ludke & Nikolas Fritz Speak Out.
Symphonic Power Metal band 'Mob Rules' are no strangers to the underground metal world. Formed in Wilhelmshaven (Germany) back in 94 by Klaus Dirks (vocals) and the only original member has continued to carry the band ever moving forward.
The band signed to LMP Music based in Hamburg and they released their debut album 'Savage Land' in 99. This was a pretty impressive debut album that captured some hints of Helloween mixed with their own brand of Symphonic Metal that works great for the band. In 2000 the band released their 2nd album 'Temple of Two Suns' and in total the band have released 9 studio albums. The band released their current album 'Beast Reborn' through SPV and recently toured the UK with Eden's Curse.
I managed to catch up with the band when they played at the Yardbirds Club in Grimsby (UK) to talk about the new album and the tour. Here is what Sven Ludke (guitars) and Nikolas Fritz (drums) had a catch to the following questions. Here is what they had to say.
Hi guys, it's been a long time since I interviewed the band, so I think it's about we caught up to talk about the new album and what's been happening since the last interview some years ago. So how long have you both been in the band for now?
(S) "I have been in the band for 15 yrs now."
(N) "For me it is 10 yrs. Bloodstock open air was my 2nd gig with the band and it was an amazing festival and my 1st show was in Spain."
So how does 6 people fit on such a small stage like Yardbirds?
(N) "My seat is safe (laughing), I think there will be a lot of hugging on stage. I will be use John's kit tonight, I have brought my own snare drum, pedals and cymbals with me."
Looking back at all the albums that Mob Rules have recorded do you have a favorite one and why?
(S) "Well that is a difficult album to choose, I guess you could say the new one 'Beast Reborn'. Before I entered the band I would have to say 'Hallow be Thy Name' for me as I like the mood of the album.
(N) "Same for me I didn't know too much about the band. I met Klaus at the Rock Hard festival in Germany and we talked a little bit and I did a gig with them with a former band and we did a gig with Mob Rules and a year later they called me and asked if I would like to join the band."
So Sven what band was in you before joining Mob Rules?
(S) "I was in a couple of bands, one was a semi pro band called 'Murder One' with the drummer from Gamma Ray, we were Power Metal."
How would you best describe the bands music, there are so many categories of music these days.
(S) "Yeah the categories are stupid these days, for me it's not even Power Metal and we like big melodies and big arrangements, for me it is classic Heavy Metal music. We grew up with bands like Maiden, Priest, Saxon, Savatage, Queensrcyhe, Dio, and we like great melodies without been to cheesy with the melodies on top.
(N) "So we write the album like a good movie and we have to start slow or fast with a bang and then come down with a climax."
So why did Mattihas leave the band?
(S) "Well he was one of the founder members of the band and it was down to musical differences. He wanted to go in a different direction more of a Rock band he wanted to slow down a bit and we wanted to stay more of a metal band."
So I am guessing that the band name came from Black Sabbath's 'Mob Rules' song?
(S) "No actually it didn't, it came from the band 'Lynch Mob', our former drummer came up with the name along with Matthias that is the story we were told as we were not in the band back then."
So what is the biggest selling album that Mob Rules has made to date?
(N) "We are not sure but I think it is 'Temple of two Sons' released in 2000 because back in the late 90's and early 2000 album sales were doing really well. (Ed: Do you have any favourite albums that you play live from the bands past releases?) For me it is 'Children's Crusade' from the new album & 'Black Rain' as it is a heavy and classic sounding song. (S) We have to be into the new songs because it is the newest album and you were there whilst they were created. From the past albums for me it would have to be 'Somerled' from the album 'Tales from Beyond' album as it is melodic and it has this futuristic elements and I like the power of the rhythm."
The band in the past have only ever recorded 1 live DVD, why is it taking so long to record a new DVD?
(S) "Well we made a 20th anniversary of 'Time Keeper' which at the live set from 'ProgPower' festival in Atlanta 2011 is was a nice package that contained re-recorded songs with guest musicians, well worth checking out. The older songs had changed over the years with Nikolas been a totally different drummer to that of Arved was and he is way more powerful more of a metal style drummer and Arved was more like a hard rock drummer."
Moving on let's talk about the new album 'Beast Reborn', who produced the album?
(N) "Well it was done by ourselves. The vocals however were done by Marcus Teska, the album was done in South Germany and it was all done with the internet so easy sending files. I think it was my idea to come up with the album title and when we split with Matthias which were at the beginning or end of 'Tales from Beyond' album and we felt it was like a new start for the band with a more fresh approach and Matthias wanted to slow down and change the direction of the music and has he left we were free to make more Power Metal.
I also made the artwork for the album as I work at SPV been a digital designer. It was basically done as a drawing at home and made it as a photo on photo shop and I have a degree in digital design and graphics. I make sure all the artwork for our bands are correct and I sometimes make posters."
How long did it take to record the new album?
(S) "There were 3 processors , the writing process which takes the longest time and then recording process which was pretty fast as we had deadlines and then the creative stuff around the music and recordings. Our keyboard player Jan Christian writes all the lyrics he writes really well. When Matthias left the band he was the one who wrote the lyrics, we had to think who would write them after he left the band, so Jan is a great lyricist and he reads a lot and he is a smart guy."
What songs from the new album do you like and why?
(S) "I like the song 'War of Currants', because of it's length and it has a very moody atmosphere, and I also like 'Revenant of the Sea' because it is dark and because of the great lyrics. It is a story that is told for many generation in the north of Germany about seaman dying and after 4 generations they come home as dead men and visit their families as ghosts, it is a very creepy story. The music and lyrics go hand in hand with the song
(N) "All of the them (laughing), I really do like them all to be honest."
As you are supporting Eden's Curse tonight just how many songs will you be playing from the back catalogue of the band?
(N) Most of our songs are more than 5 minutes long so we are only playing for about 50 minutes. I think we will do about 8-9 songs, about 3 of them from the new album."
How well has the tour been going for you so far?
(S) "It has been going really good so far, the last 2 days have been a little stressful as the stages are very small. After this tour we will do some small festivals in Germany as headliners."
Do you have any new songs wrote the next album?
(N) "When we get home we will start working on new stuff and we have ideas for things this year. We did a tour with Brainstorm in January and we all have days jobs so this tour is a holiday for us. (Ed: Working for SPV must be a great help?) Yes it is but it sometimes can be difficult for me, so I have the band on one side and my working partner on the other side, so I have to balance them out."
Well I'd like to thank you for the short interview, best of luck with the rest of the tour and the future of the band. Do you have anything to say before we finish?
(N) "Yes thank you to our fans for coming to the shows and supporting our band."
(S) "It was great meeting new and old fans on the tour, thank you for buying our music and merch and thank you for the interview."
Thanks to Sven, Nikolas, & the band and Roland @ Work Hard.