- Hello, Paul! You just released your new album, "An Epiphany of Hate". First of all, how could you comment on that title? How does it reflect the main album's message?
- In all honesty, I have had an Epiphany and it's not a good one. It seems everyone hates one another today and jealousy runs rampant among the masses. We are headed on a downward spiral and the future is bleak my friend. The album as always deals with the situation we are in this particular place in history, and it's certainly not a pretty picture brother. Violence is the magic word as people die every day fighting for their silly religious beliefs. If people would learn to believe in themselves then this crisis would end!
But religion has been and always will be a problem among the masses, all the weaklings will be led to the slaughter soon enough!
- It's already your 13th album with Master, is it getting harder to compose the new tunes, without repeating yourself every time? Do you think you found your own "Master formula" to compose the tracks or is it always a challenge for you?
- I actually counted the Master releases on the website last night just to be sure, and if you count the releases there are only 12 unless you add the demo release of the original recordings. As for composing, I write and arrange the songs the same way I always have, with the exception of a digital hand held recorder as apposed to the micro cassette record I used to use. Obviously it's the same technique, I pick up the acoustic guitar once a month or so I guess and write riffs. I mean if and when they come naturally, it's always the best. Then when the time comes for a new record I go through the riffs and put them together accordingly. Most of the riffs are shit or take a while to understand. But in the end I found for example this past time, around 22 songs worth of material. I then go to the practice place and the drummer Zdenek and I play the tracks, make a few changes sometimes, and we are off to the races. I then teach the tracks on the guitar to the guitarist Alex and then it's practice time. On the latest masterpiece we rehearsed for about a month, three times a week. So the Master formula never changes my friend!
- While working on the new songs, what are usually your intentions like? To be faster? Heavier? Different? What is the other band members' contribution to the final version of the songs?
- The songs come naturally so there is no thoughts of any of these things. I have found that letting nature take its course is the best way for me personally to write songs. The drummer basically shows me the various ways he can play a beat for each individual track, and sometimes tells me there is no beat possible, and after the argument is over, he figures out what to play. It's funny because Alex finally brought in a riff for his only contribution to the album this time, the track is called, " Just take my right arm," and at first no one could understand it but him, in the end it is a killer track on the album and some critics favorite already, so thank Alex for this great track brother!
- What could you say about the new material? How do you feel about the new tracks? In comparison with your previous release, "The Witch Hunt", what would be the main difference? And in the contrary, is there anything in common in these 2 albums?
- To be honest, I rarely listen to the recordings after they are finished, because by the time the album is finally mixed, mastered and released, I am sick of the tracks and ready to move on. So comparing releases to one another is a waste of time in my eyes, because we put our heart and souls into recording each and every album and nothing really changes in the process! What's to compare, both albums kick ass, and of course Master fans only want to hear the first two albums, so it's never ending battle to get the people to listen to the new albums which are the best in my opinion. There is no comparison in the sound as the technology today has improved and the new recordings sound the best of course.
- In the last interview we had, you said that you wrote 22 new tracks. So how many of them did you include in the new album? And what is going to happen to the rest of them?
- 10 songs were to appear on the album, but FDA Recotz wrote me and said the studio made a mistake and 12 songs appear on the digipack, I beg to differ as I made it clear that 10 songs would appear and 2 tracks would be for a later release, but regardless these days, people often make mistakes and we are forced to live with them, so be it! The other tracks will disappear most likely or maybe one or two will resurface on the next recording. I am not sure at the moment as I have already begun with the next song for the next album, and in the year or so to follow, I will write many more songs as always, no writers block going on the in Master camp.
- Mark Cooper performed the new art for you. How do you like it? Did you negotiate the whole concept with him together or was it his own vision of this album? And in general, how do you work on the new covers for your album? Do you already have a clear vision or do you let the artist to do his job?
- Great question and the answer, is no this was not a concept album, FDA owner Rico sent me the cover several months before the recordings and asked if I like the cover. I said I thought it was ok, and the wife over here, hated it, but usually if she hates something then it's great. I asked the fellas in Master their opinion, and they loved the cover, so we went with it. Mark has done the last two covers and really has his shit together, so hopefully he will want to work with us in the future and create another artistic masterpiece for the band! The last concept, quote, unquote was Faith is in Season and everyone hated the record! So no more concept albums, it's not a book of fiction, it's reality!
- It's going to be your second release with F.D.A. Recotz, so what can you say about those guys? Do you think you get all the support you need to promote properly your CDs? How could you evaluate today's role of labels for the bands? In comparison with the old days?
- I love this question as it gives me a chance to kiss the ass of the label and continue our relationship!
F.D.A. Recotz is doing a great job with the promotion, I mean obviously within their means as they are still a smaller independent label. So we are happy, they also help with a few festivals for us every year and this is a great thing, but, but nothing ha ha, I hope they stay at this particular point for a while, because as the labels get bigger, then the bands become smaller in a sense, as the promotion must then be spread over a larger clientel!
- Will there be any following European Tour in support of the new album? Do you still like touring? What do you do to stay in form and perform in the best possible way?
- I am waiting for our new agency Alpha Omega Management to give me some information on the next European trek, so hopefully soon I will have the answer to this question my friend!
We have just signed to this agency last week so time will tell where we go from here. But yes, hopefully we will tour soon! We just returned 1 month ago from Japan and also a South American trek, so yes we are always busy, every year. As for touring yes I still enjoy it under the right circumstances, sometimes it can be quite difficult, but this is my only real means of income so I have to like it, or stay home right? Retirement is still far off, or maybe I should say I am retiring and sell more records and get shows for the farewell tour right?
- Let's have a few questions regarding other your projects, and Johansson & Speckmann in particular. It's an international project, tell us about the band. How did you come up with that idea? And why didn't you choose any regular name, but decided to go with simply your last names?
This idea is an idea from Rogga completely, he approached me via the internet a few years back and said he had written a song specifically for me, and asked if I would be interested in singing the track for a project of his. I was interested immediately after hearing the song and I took it from there. Then 6 months later he asked if I would be interested in singing a whole album for him. We are going to begin the third installment very soon! Rogga writes all the music and lyrics for a few tracks and then leaves the rest to me. I sing the songs here in Czech and send it to him. Today with the internet things are very easy and it makes projects like this possible. Rogga also came up with the name and the rest is history as they say!
- Last year you released your second full-length, "Mask of the Treacherous". What can you say about this album? How different is it from what you've been doing with Master? As I understand, you didn't perform any bass guitars, but just vocals, right?
- It's Rogga's vision so it sounds nothing like Master, obviously anyone can recognize my voice but that's about it.
I also am working with another outfit in Germany called Cadaveric Poison, and the same goes there. I write all the lyrics and sing them, this is all. The songs are killer check it for yourself brother!
- In 2012 you re-animated Death Strike for some live shows. So what is the current status of the band? Do you plan to continue any activities?
- It's just the current Master lineup playing songs in the old style, and yes we will do another show this year in Czech. I have a blast playing the old songs and this is great because the original lineup only went as far as recording the demo before splitting up!
- If we mentioned Death Strike, I can't help asking you about Funeral Bitch and Abomination. Would you like to create something new under those titles? Or is it already in the past and forever?
- I only concentrate on Master my friend.
- Are there still any musicians you would love to cooperate with? If you had to create your own all-stars band, who would you hire? Keep in mind that for this band you will need 2 guitars, bass, vocals and drums. So what your choice would be like?
- Dave Suzuki, Tony Iommi, myself on bass, Vinnie Appice, and Ian Gillan on vocals.
- How is it going with your pictorial book? Is it still available? How can people get in touch with you to order their copy? Do you have any similar plans for the future?
- The book still sells but it could use a push in the marketing department. I mean you know there is a problem when it takes the company nearly two weeks to send an order to me.
But life goes on, the book can be ordered directly from me at my personal accounts, more info can be found at master-speckmetal.net, we accept Paypal only!
- I also wanted to ask you about 1985' Unreleased album, that you put out in 2003. So what was the story behind this album? Why did Combat Records didn't release it on time and how did you decide to finally release it? And why does it have 2 different titles, "Unknown Soldier" and "Funeral Bitch"?
- This is an old story my friend that I have repeated ten million times. We were offered this record contract in 1985 and we blew it, the drummer was afraid of his own shadow and at the time was in charge of the band until my final successful takeover. It's a shame because with him at the helm, things plunged into the depths of hell and we split up and Abomination began, Schmidt can be found in Chicago living under a bridge or mooching off his latest victim at some poor souls home! You can find a bio somewhere with more details my friend, but I am through with this story now as I live for the future of the band, not the past!
One version was released in 2003 on Displeased Records, another on Vic Records and also here in Czech again on Doomentia Records, obviously people are still buying it so it will be re-released forever as will the first two Master releases.
- It's also worth mentioning another your band, Cadaveric Poison. Tell us about it, what are your current plans? Is it your studio only project, or do you plan some live performances as well?
- The new vocals for the album are finished, and the album will be released very soon. We may play some shows, time will tell my friend. Johansson-Speckmann may also play some gigs soon.
- And the last question. You've been living in Czech Republic for the last several years. When did you actually move? How could you explain this change in your life? And how do you like living in Europe?
- Actually brother, I have been here for about 16 years and originally I moved here to join Krabathor, this incarnation of the band lasted 4 years and I just stayed here permanently!
This was the best change I ever made. I have been touring and playing gigs across the globe since making the move. Europe has been good to me as I have found more freedom here period. No one bothers me and for the most part, people show respect for an aging Metal guy, and this is all that one can ask for. I had to leave the USA to get respect, but I am sure others must also say this. A true musician will travel anywhere to perfect his craft!
- Thank you for this interview, Paul! would you like to add anything in the end?
- Rock on my friends!