Interview With Mat Sinner of Sinner
Conducted by Erich Heintzelman
I was able to catch Mat at a good time between his busy schedule to ask him a few questions about the the newly released Sinner album TOUCH OF SIN 2. The album is a re-recording of classic Sinner material from the 80s that is now out of print.
Touch Of Sin 2 is an album of re-recorded songs from some of Sinner’s classic early albums plus a few new tracks. Could you briefly discuss the story behind this album?
The story started 15 years ago when Noise Records released Best Of album and I wanted to some remixes of the originals. I was told that the tapes were lost, even burned like many other bands original recordings in a fire at the owner’s house. In the meantime the rights of the original recordings has changed a handful of times and the current owner doesn’t distribute the albums anymore. If you find a CD, it will cost you around 100$. Our long time & current record company AFM Records had the idea of recording some of the favorite classic tracks in a new version and record a special album. Now was the right time to do it and we had a great time in the studio!
Sinner had a large pool of tracks to choose from. What was the process for choosing the songs that you would record for Touch Of Sin 2?
There are a lot of classic tracks in our actual live setlist. These songs are a must. Then we have only 2-3 places left for other classics. The background of the song was deciding for me how to choose them. For example “Concrete Jungle” was horrible produced like a pop song with a lot of keyboards and Shalala vocals. This was a great chance to show how we think should the song sound.
I have listened to the album quite a few times now and I have noticed an unmistakable vibe of energy and band chemistry on the album. Did you record any of the songs live as a complete band in the studio?
This was a very important factor for me. It’s difficult to record a new song, but it’s even a bigger challenge to re-record classic songs of our past, because everybody would relate the versions. Everybody was there and we recorded in the House Of Music studios near Stuttgart, my hometown. It was important to create a special vibe in the studio and I’m extremely happy about the result.
Regarding your back catalog, do you foresee any possibility of ever regaining the rights to those early albums?
We tried it, but the current owner isn’t interested in any cooperation at the moment. Well, that’s the evil part of the music business. You don’t have any rights of your own recorded music, only to re-record it and that’s what we did.
Many bands have re-recorded early material before but for Sinner, the situation is a bit different, as these early albums are very difficult to acquire. How important was it to Sinner to get these songs out there to fans that might never be able to get the original versions from the band?
As I told you – it was a part of the basic idea to re-record these songs. We still playing a lot of the songs in our live set and we’re still 100% behind these songs. These songs are a part of my career and a good part of my career. Now we can present the songs in a way we wanted the songs to sound and all people can listen to these classics with a cool production and the current line-up!
“Knife In My Heart” for instance, sounds fantastic! I honestly like it better than the original version. The vocals sound tougher and more appropriate. Was there a conscious decision from the band to not just offer these songs in a modern production but to try to make them better than the originals as well?
Of course it was our target to arrange the songs in the way we play them now and just re-record the original versions would be stupid. We have great and very originals players in the band. If I have André Hilgers behind the drums, I need to push him in a creative way to get a much better result as on the original. It is possible and that’s what we’ve tried with every part of the production! There are some new arrangements, guitar parts etc. – this is very important for the overall album!
Touch Of Sin 2 has 14 tracks on it with two new songs for fans and a Thin Lizzy cover, which is one of my favorite tunes on the album. Since these old albums are difficult to find, did you ever consider offering 14 re-recorded songs in place of the three new songs?
No, we wanted to include some special songs on the album. We need to make our life interesting and challenging too
Regarding the previous question, I feel the two new tracks blend perfectly with the rest of the songs. Were these written specifically for this album or intended for a new album?
These songs were written in the beginning of the nineties, but we rearranged them and make them sound like one with the others. I have still another great unreleased 20 tracks from these days.
Speaking of a new album, when should Sinner fans expect a new studio album from the band?
I’m very happy that I could produce this album and end another chapter. Now I’m focused on the new Primal Fear album, and in autumn I will record & produce the second Kiske/Somerville album. In December we will start touring with Primal Fear until October 2014 – a long time ……
Will you be playing any shows to coincide with and promote this album?
I will find the time to play some shows with Sinner between Xmas and New Years Eve in Germany, then we will play the mighty KIT Festival in April 2014.
Are there any songs in particular that you feel really stand out and benefited the most from being re-recorded on Touch of Sin 2?
My favorites are “Comin’ Out Fighting”, “Concrete Jungle” & “Knife In My Heart” but that’s very personal!
Mat, thanks for the interview. We are big fans of Sinner at Metal Rules and look forward to hearing more great metal from you in the future!
Thank you – nice too meet you & keep the faith!