German power metal band MOB RULES are celebrating fifteen years as a band this year and have released their sixth CD, Radical Peace.
Speaking by e-mail, guitarist Matthias Mineur talked about the band’s lyrical topics, how they conceived their band name and their musical influences.
Mob Rules tackle some heavy subject matters on Radical Peace with songs “Children of the Flames” and “The Oswald Files.” Who comes up with the lyrical content and where do you get your ideas from?
The ideas are from all the things that we are interested in, politics, culture, different countries, economics, etc. When everything is well thought out I write down all the lyrics.
On “Children of the Flames,” it’s obviously about Joseph Mengele, but is the song loosely based on author Lucette Matalon Lagnado’s book, or did you transcribe your own interpretation?
Our song is based on different information that we have about this terrible man and his unbelievable crimes. Our statement is: never let these injustices happen again!
You are deeply rooted in German history, how important is it to convey this, good or bad, through your songs?
I think we are responsible that all these terrible crimes will never be forgotten. This is one of the main reasons why we sing about these topics.
How come it took three years since Ethnolution A.D. to put out new material?
We toured with “Ethnolution A.D.” for about a year (Europe, Scandinavia, France, Spain, England, America), than had a lineup change and started afterwards with the songwriting. It all took its time but we had no time pressure so we let it go.
Mob Rules keep evolving musically and lyrically with each recording. What do you hope to achieve with Radical Peace?
The aim is and always was to make the best possible album. That we successfully evolved has to do with our bigger experience and with new musicians who brought a new dimension inside of Mob Rules. All his you can hear on “Radical Peace,” I think.
The production on Radical Peace is quality throughout. Who produced the CD and what this exactly the sound you were going for?
We produced the CD by ourselves, with a little help from Markus Teske, who mixed the production. The aim was to evolve and develop our sound and reflect the bigger progressive attitude in our music. The songs are a bit harder edged and a bit darker as in the past, so we tried to transform this into the sound of the record.
You do have that familiar Mob Rules formula on Radical Peace, while still sounding fresh. What was your thought process leading up to writing and recording the new CD?
We never think about new songs, new sounds, new approaches, we always let it go and see if we enjoy it. It´s sometime hard work (mainly for the 18minute “The Oswald File”), but we are both proud and happy with the result.
Can you talk about he concept for the cover art and the artist who created it?
The cover art work and the booklet was made by our new drummer Nikolas Fritz, who is a student in arts. He did a great job and we feel very thankful to him.
As a German power metal band, how much praise do you give to veterans Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian or others? And were these bands a heavy influence on Mob Rules?
Yes, of course. We know about the legendary reputation of these bands, and in some cases – mainly in the past – Helloween was an inspiration for a few Mob Rules songs. Nowadays you find more of Queensryche, Dream Theater, Amorphis and some Iron Maiden in our ideas, musically as well as lyrically.
You are now celebrating your 15th anniversary as a band. How’s it feel to reach such a milestone and what’s your plan to last another fifteen years?
It´s a good thing to have survived and to be still fresh and creative. The plan for the next 15 years? No idea, maybe another six albums and a DVD. Would be great!
How do you plan to gain more popularity, especially in the States, where power metal doesn’t have the following it does as in Europe.
We have no plan, we just do our music, play the best shows we can and hope that the people enjoy it. That´s all a band can do, the rest is a business/marketing task.
With Mob Rules’ namesake, how much was Black Sabbath an influence on your band’s formation?
Less influence, more done by accident. The reason for the band name, when we were searching for it, was a cap on my head with the logo “Lynch Mob Rules” (the band from former Dokken guitarist George Lynch – I´m a huge fan of him!).
The band is still very guitar-orientated, and on Radical Peace, the keyboards seem to accentuate and pop up at just the right moments that add atmosphere and emotion. How do you balance the musicianship between the two instruments?
We compose with all band members at the same time in the same room, so there is a natural balance in the band, based on discussing and trying out every single idea.
Do you still enjoy the live setting and how important is it to the band to put on a great show?
I still enjoy, of course, on stage is as much important as in studio. It´s two shoes of the same pair, so we are focused on both aspects.
What are your tour plans to support Radical Peace?
The original plan was to tour with Ronnie James Dio, which was unfortunately cancelled (due to Dio being diagnosed with stomach cancer). So right now we are looking for alternative plans. Hope we have some other opportunities.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Any parting comments for our readers?
Thanks for your questions. Hope that everybody enjoys our new album “Radical Peace!”
By Kelley Simms