Fawkes: Hi, Mattias. First of all I want to send respect to you and MOB RULES. You have 10th anniversary of playing together this year, don't you?
Mattias: Yes! Thank you very much!
Fawkes: So, the new album "Among The Gods" is out on next Monday. Let's imagine for a moment that I did never listen to MOB RULES but you much eager to make me go and buy "Among The Gods". What words would you use?
Mattias: OK, on a new album we try to combine strong melodies, good guitar things, colorful keyboards, good vocals and a kind of interesting and moody atmosphere. I would say that the music is traditional melodic metal but it's not a cliche. It's entirely our own style - a mixture between melodic metal, progressive metal and traditional hard rock.
Fawkes: OK. What does the title mean? Saying 'among the gods' do you mean some certain gods in whatever fantasy canvas or is it a metaphor?
Mattias: It's a metaphor! It's a kind of headline for the whole album, for ten songs where we write about different things from the perspective of God. God is sitting in Heaven, looking down on earth and he sees absolutely different things going on. Wars, destroying of nature, things that a church does, few things from history and also private and very intimate stories.
Fawkes: Wow, a good idea. The most of melodic metal bands are concerned about fantasy stuff: dragons, swords etc. I must say that this is a strong side of you music!
Mattias: Yes, I also think so!!!
Fawkes: And there is a song on your album called 'Black Rain'. It must be about destruction of nature, that you mentioned?..
Mattias: Yeah. The black rain means the poisoned rain. The poisoned rain comes from different things. From atomic wars, from nuclear bombs, from industry, from different kind of mistakes the mankind is doing. Black rain is a symbol of destroying the earth. It's a kind of warning to the people to stop destroying that what they are living on…
Fawkes: I know you have shot a video for 'Black Rain'. Does it just show you playing your instruments or does it have a kind of screenplay, a short film, you know?
Mattias: Yes, it is a short film. You can see the band playing and in the same time you see the things that lyrics are dealing with: bombs falling, black and thick smoke, fire burning, you see the ocean rising from year to year because the temperature is rising. There are many apocalyptic things in a video as well.
Fawkes: And a strange mechanism on a cover of your album, is it connected to all that?..
Mattias: Yes, it's a sun-clock. And it symbolizes that our time on earth isn't eternal. There would be one day when life will be ended and to make it clear, to explain this to people, the sun-clock symbolizes that we must be careful with our lives and planet earth, we have to be careful with the nature and we have to be careful with people that we love.
Fawkes: In the past you've been inviting some renowned guests like Sacsha Paeth, Roland Grapow, Peavey Wagner. Did you invite somebody to participate this time?
Mattias: On a new album Roland Grapow of MASTERPLAN is playing solo again. He's a close friend of ours and we asked him if he would like to do it again. There is also Ian Parry, a singer from HAMMERHEAD who was playing with VENGEANCE and ELEGY in former time. And there was a guitar player Stephan Lill from the German prog-rock band VANDEN PLAS, who has done a one solo also.
Fawkes: And do the guys from MOB RULES play on the albums of other metal bands?..
Mattias: Sometimes we are invited, we are asked for. But in the past we had no time for it. We were working really hard on a new album. We made three tours with the last album. I went on Wacken Roadshow, we played with SAVATAGE, we played with HELLOWEEN and RAGE. And between that we had no space, no break, no free time. All the time between the tours we were working on new songs. And every time in the past when we were asked for play on the other albums we just had to say, 'Sorry, we have no time for that. Maybe in future…'
Fawkes: What do you think why Germany and Italy became a world wide center of power metal scene?
Mattias: To be honest I have no idea. Maybe the reason is that Germany is a strong metal market in general. I mean there is a big metal thing in Germany. There are hundred and hundred of really good metal bands. There are some really strong melodic metal bands. MOB RULES is one of them. I can also name GAMMA RAY, HELLOWEEN, RAGE, EDGUY. And the same is true for Italy - there is RHAPSODY, there are VISION DIVINE, LABYRINTH and many others…
Fawkes: What a crowd! Every time I see you making guest appearances on the albums of each other, I start to think about German power scene as a big family…
Mattias: Yes, it is a big family!
Fawkes: And as every normal family it must have its father and mother…
Mattias: This is a good question. I think we have a lot of fathers. That is obviously SAVATAGE. Those are HELLOWEEN and IRON MAIDEN (huh, another renowned Germans:) - F.). I think maybe those be our forefathers. There are also four of five mothers and a lot of brothers. I cannot name only one father or one mother.
Fawkes: OK. Then the Italians must be your cousins and nephews, hehe… Well, I know that the making of the debut album has taken quite a long time for you. About five years…
Mattias: No, it hasn't taken five years. We had five years from the beginning of the band to the first record deal. And when we got the record deal it took one year for debut album.
Fawkes: And from that perspective what do you think about the power bands started to play recently due to melodic metal has become vogue. As I see, they gather together, rehearse for a month or two, then go to studio where lay down a demo and - oops! - they've got already signed to whatever label…
Mattias: The task is hard for the new bands. It is more difficult than when we started. We had five years of playing every club where we could play. We did few demos in the first years with the band. Then we recorded a six track EP and sent it to different record companies. And from that we got a record deal. I know that right now this is really-really difficult for young bands to get a record deal. It was difficult in our times, but now it is much more difficult. You must have a lot of luck, a lot of good friends and good supporters in industry if you want to get a record deal...
Fawkes: And do you support these young bands?..
Mattias: Yeah, we often play with younger bands. We make many shows with MOB RULES here and there and if you would like to come with us and play as a support band we never say 'no'. We try to support younger bands as much as possible.
Fawkes: A big family, indeed. Elder brothers mentor younger ones…
Mattias: Yes. When we was the little brothers, the bigger bands helped us. In the old years we were little brothers and needed help of bigger brothers. So now we're among bigger brothers and we help little brothers. This is a natural way of progression of metal scene…
Fawkes: Why do singers of many power bands sound so similar to each other?
Mattias: I think there are few singers who sound like the others. But I think that the reason is that this kind of music needs a really strong and melodic voice. So I think that people who like MOB RULES and like FREEDOM CALL need a typical melodic singer in that bands.
Fawkes: And who is the most talented typical melodic singer?..
Mattias: The most talented or the best one?
Fawkes: OK, name the best one…
Mattias: I think that Timo Kotipelto from STRATOVARIUS is a great one. Bruce Dickinson is perfect. Rob Halford is perfect. But I like Zachary Stevens from SAVATAGE and I really like Geoff Tate from QUEENSRYCHE.
Fawkes: All are rock veterans. I think that you all - I mean MOB RULES - are much in this classic rock stuff. Even the name of your band taken from the title of BLACK SABBATH album…
Mattias: (cuts) No! That's wrong. The story of the band's name came from the band LYNCH MOB, the one of the former DOKKEN guitarist George Lynch. So I brought a cap to this name and derived LYNCH MOB RULES. MOB RULES!!! This is a cool name. We chose it from that - not from the BLACK SABBATH album.
Fawkes: It seems like you have been asked of this question too often…
Mattias: Yes! In former days people even thought that we are BLACK SABBATH's cover band. As you know we are not.
Fawkes: You've toured a much with such bands like OVERKILL, SAVATAGE and even SCORPIONS. The last are maybe the most cherished German rock band here in Russia. They are true mega stars. How did you deal with them?
Mattias: As you mentioned before, our scene is a big family. Even bands like SCORPIONS, OVERKILL or SYMPHONY X are like brothers to us. So that's it.
Fawkes: One friend of mine has been to Germany two years ago and has been hindered there by a terrific flood happened that summer. And every year terrible things appear to happen more often. What do you think - do these disasters precede a biblical end of days?..
Mattias: Of course. This is the reason for songs like 'Black Rain', 'Among The Gods', 'The World Symphony'... It is the bad signs for the whole world.
Fawkes: But do you consider this in any religious aspect? Are you religious?
Mattias: I'm not religious, but I believe in a power that is bigger than mankind.
Fawkes: Have you already seen 'The Passions' movie?
Mattias: No. Did you?
Fawkes: Yes, I watched it.
Mattias: And you like it?
Fawkes: Is it still me interviewing you?.. It pulled me in half-shock indeed.
Mattias: I imagine this… But I haven't seen it.
Fawkes: Maybe got to see?
Mattias: No. As I said, I am not religious. Maybe but I couldn't say sure.
Fawkes: Why so? What way is it religious? I think it is about suffering and redemption and human pain and where frailty and inequity could lead us to…
Mattias: But the story is based on the Bible! So it is a religious story.
Fawkes: Hmmm… OK, let it be a religious story. Last holidays we had a celebration there dedicated to the 59th anniversary of the depraving Hitler's nazi regime. From a point of a German man, how do you feel to these pages of your native history?
Mattias: (with gloom in a voice) It was a crime! It was a biggest crime that a country like Germany could do. Moreover, it is the biggest crime that ever was done. And I'm really pissed off about what was going on from Germany during the First and the Second World Wars…
Fawkes: But I also know that nazi parties still exist in Germany…
Mattias: It's a shame!.. It's a shame for Germany. I know that this kind of parties exists in all countries: in France, in Italy, in Scandinavia. They are restricted everywhere but they meet in secret places. It's a shame!.. People are too stupid to learn from the history…
Fawkes: "What did we learn from history lessons? - How to sit quite in the back of the class…" /M. Walkyeir (SKYCLAD)/ Thank you Mattias!.. Hope to see MOB RULES here with a show!..
Mattias: We also hope to visit Moscow this time! Thank you for interview!.. Bye-bye!..