Singer Rob Lundgren – Mentalist
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica PR for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Pride and Joy Music for the promo pictures of the band.
Legendary drummer Thomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian, Savage Circus etc.) is back with a new band called Mentalist. Based in Saarbruecken Germany, the band has a Swedish singer in Rob Lundgren making the band a German/Swedish alliance. At the end October the band will releases its debut album titled FREEDOM OF SPEECH, a slab of melodic heavy/power metal.
I was fortunate to have a very short talk with Rob Lundgren about the band, what it’s like being in a band with only German musicians, working on the debut, the guests on the album, as well as a little about the band’s mascot “Mentalist” created by Thomas Ewerthard (Avantasia) and seen on the cover. If you like melodic heavy/power metal or if you’re a fan of Thomen Stauch, then Mentalist is something to check out. Enjoy…
Hi Rob, it’s really nice to talk to you today, I hope everyone in the band is doing well.
Rob: Hi Anders, we are doing great thanks!
Mentalist was formed by Peter Moog and Kai Stringer about 2 years ago, when did you join forces with them?
Rob: I joined Mentalist early 2019 and it didn’t take long before I felt like a long-time member. They’re very welcoming guys and we have become great friends as well.
When did drummer Thomen Stauch and bass player Florian Hertel join Mentalist?
Rob: Both of them had joined maybe a year or more before I arrived.
What’s it like to be in a band with only German members, do you ever feel left out because of the language barrier?
Rob: Haha, I’ve been in many different language speaking bands so I’m used to it. But German and Swedish have many similarities so at times I still understand what they are talking about, maybe I’ll learn German one day…or during a tour, haha
Where does the band name come from and does it have any special meaning to the members?
Rob: Peter registered the name already back in 2005. He liked the mystical meaning and already planned to enchant the world in the future with magical power metal.
Debut album FREEDOM OF SPEECH
When did the band start work on material for the debut album, and did you use only newly written material?
Rob: Most of the songs came from Peter and ideas he had years back. We changed things up and wrote new material as well. Kai, who’s heard these songs before, told me he was very pleasantly surprised how they turned out.
What’s the song writing process like? Who writes the lyrics and what are they about?
Rob: Same here, Peter wrote a lot of the lyrics on varying topic. They’re mostly personal things that people can relate to hence the title, FREEDOM OF SPEECH. We are deep thinkers in the band and we want to spread a positive message to enhance the quality of living while other songs are just about having fun and enjoying the music
Freedom Of The Press (Official Lyric Video)
Why is the song “Whispering Winds” featured twice on the album, one version is a strictly orchestral version?
Rob: An awesome outro, don’t you think? As well as a great place where people can enjoy Mentalist without my voice, haha
What are the longest songs “Belief” (8,31) and “Run Benjamin” (8,12) about?
Rob: “Belief” is about the power to honor your own inner force and not just follow what others want you to do. Deeper answers can only be found within, so if we wanna go beyond the shallow, believe in yourself and then ultimately understand the self as just another mask on top of the true divine and who you really are. No one can tell you what that is. When you want to know, you will know. “Run Benjamin” is a fictional story about war. Simply Metal!
I think the music of Mentalist is melodic power metal but how would you like to describe what kind of music the band plays?
Rob: That sounds like a good name for what we do. I don’t care too much for labels. If the music moves the artist and listener both physically and mentally, I’m happy. Music is a vibration. Metal is sharp and hard. Maybe that’s another genre for Mentalist: Sharp Hard Music… Rock on!
Are you happy with the cover art work made by Andreas Marschall? Also, why did you choose to name the album FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
Rob: Great art, Andreas nailed it! The title FREEDOM OF SPEECH is linked to the opening song, “Freedom of the Press”. We all have a voice that is meant to be used. If you want to say something, say it. Some people like to control and manipulate others due to different reasons. This is 2020, we should know better already. In time we will ofc. Let’s talk about it, or shall we bring out the caveman clubs, what is the better solution…
Daniel Heiman (ex- Lost Horizon) and Oliver Palotai (Kamelot) make guest appearances on the album. How did that come about?
Rob: We are huge fans of Daniel Heiman so it was an honor to have him on board for a duet. I’m sure there will be more cool duets with him or others in the future. Mentalist also have good contacts in Kamelot so it was a natural direction to ask Oliver to join in as well. Amazing stuff from them both!
Belief (Official Lyric Video) feat. Daniel Heiman & Rob Lundgren
The bio states that fans of Iron Maiden, Helloween and Blind Guardian will enjoy Mentalist’s music. Do you agree with that and do you think the band have any musical similarities with the bands mentioned above?
Rob: Absolutely! Ofc we are also building our own unique sound but fans will hear influences for sure, not to mention that we also have a former member of Blind Guardian in Mentalist. Maybe I should start calling Thomen the Mental Sentinel, or Mentinel, haha
The band even has a mascot created by Thomas Everhard (Avantasia) on the album cover. Besides being on the cover he is also going to show up stage. Tell us who the mascot is and who came up with the idea of creating a mascot for the band?
Rob: The Mentalist is the man behind the scenes, the illusionist that can be the voice in your head, good or evil…a magician, a thought, maybe even the creator of the universe, a symbol of intention. The message between the lines. I think The Mentalist will show himself in due time. I just thought of a new name for him as well…Mysterio, haha
Past present and future
Do you think having drum legend Thomen Stauch in the band will bring a lot of fans to Mentalist? What’s it like to work with him?
Rob: Stauch is the man! Creative and crazy in all aspects! A great friend and I’m happy to be playing alongside him. He has fans and they are all Mentalists, for sure.
The band had plans on touring during 2020 but COVID-19 put that on hold. Are you eager to head out on tour and have you done any live stream shows for the fans so far or is it anything that you like to do?
Rob: We are talking about the live side of things and there will be live shows in 2021 one way or the other. Nothing decided yet, but it will happen.
Are you going to begin to work on material for the next album soon, do you think?
Rob: The 2nd album is almost done! Haha, not yet but the song ideas we are working on so far are awesome! Can I hype things up? We are taking things to the next level!
Life (Offcial Lyric Video)
What would you like to say to those who haven’t heard Mentalist’s music yet?
Rob: You are missing out! There is music in your life you have not heard yet… Check it out, the Mentalist will trip you up!
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy FREEDOM OF SPEECH?
1 – The Mentalist need money to buy a new shiny Silver Robe for the 2nd album cover.
2 – Thomen needs money to buy a coffee.
3 – Wait a minute…can freedom to speak be bought? I thought it was Free?? Am I missing something here…
Well, that was all for me and Metal-Rules.com this time around. Thanks for taking the time for this interview. I wish you and the band all the best, stay healthy and safe! Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
Rob: Thank you for helping spreading the word of Mentalist! It is growing and one day it will be big enough for all the world to see. So will you, keep growing and never limit yourself. Watch the thoughts in your mind, who is watching and why do you believe whatever it is saying. Just go wherever enthusiasm leads you and remember to keep Mentalist in you headphones while you are at it. Rock on everybody!