Hi Paul, how are you?
"Exceptionally well at the moment with the new recordings and the book coming to fruition soon. Things are looking up for MASTER for sure brother. I have my health still so things are fine!"
Have you been playing a lot of gigs this year? Can you mention some gigs / places that stick out?
"Sure we are busy every year to be honest. MASTER has a rigorous touring schedule. Brazil was killer as usual, followed by 34 dates in the USA. This has been a busy year for the fold. The USA always sticks out for me as the scene has grown again and people are regularly visiting the shows on any given day and so in the end it is nice to return for the shows there. By all means I am also ready to leave when the tour is over to get home here in Czech. I certainly do not miss America."
How do you manage to keep up such busy schedule? Do you think touring conditions became better over the time?
"I am online every day of the year searching out new clubs and cities to play my friend. It's a full time job booking shows and tours and since this is what I live for, I am at it every day. Actually touring conditions rarely improve many promoters are dicks and give a rat's ass about bands across the globe to be honest. We do meet some great promoters from time to time but this is quite rare unless you are on a bigger tour supporting a bigger act."
OK, let's get straight to your new album "The Witchhunt". It hasn't been released officially yet, but it already keeps getting great reviews. This must be flattering, so what was different this time when making it? How long did it take to write and record?
"We approach every record the same way. I write riffs throughout the year and when it's time I have to sift through them and put songs together. I then go to rehearsals with Zdenek in the mornings and try out the tracks. We make the necessary improvements and then Alex is brought in. Yes, reviews have been exceptionally great this time around, I just hope the fans will buy the record. Downloading is killing MASTER all the time, but thankfully the shows and tours and merch work out in the end for cash. The arranging process was about 1 month. The record was recorded in 5 days and mixed and mastered in two more days. We are very fast always with the recording process because we practice often and make sure we are ready for the studio when the time arrives."
How was the writing split this time? Have you written most of the songs?
"I wrote 10 of the 11 songs this time around. I usually give Alex time to write 2 or three tracks per album, but this time he was working so I took over at the helm and wrote the majority of "The Witchhunt"."
You've also signed to F.D.A. Records for this release. Is it a long collaboration? And what's your take on the time spent on Pulverized Records who released the last two albums?
"We have signed a 1 album deal with F.D.A. and things are working out brilliantly. It always seems that German labels do the best job in the promotion department and this is the most important thing these days. The label and I will have a fruitful career together certainly. Rico, the label owner, believes in his bands and products, this is a fact! As for Pulverised they really didn't have a grip on things and I found myself waiting all the time for the products as well as the promotion. I mean they tried but they don't have what it takes to be a contender in the real underground scene."
What do you think about Nuclear Blast these days? Any hard feelings? Do you like their re-release of ABOMINATION in 2011?
"No hard feelings anymore this is water uner the bridge. Label boss Markus and I have come to an understanding and the label did an excellent job on the ABOMINATION re-release I must say. The label was offered "The Witchhunt" first but I never got a response until I read the killer review from Blast Magazine."
Your lyrics always reflect on the dark side of human nature and social injusticies. Where do you get your information from these days? Do you watch many documentaries, read books or basically take it all from travelling / surroudings? What lyricwriters do you like?
"Lyrics come naturally to me from the world around us. I read a great deal of authors, but mostly fiction with occasional non-fiction. We live in a world of turmoil with the super-powers at each others throats. Freedom is quickly becoming a thing of the past with the corrupt politicians and elected officials in general. The time has come for the youth of today to get organized and take the pork bellies from their political throne and live in a truly free society. People are dying in the streets of every country while these assholes wine and dine in the Whitehouse or Buckingham Palace for example. All this fuss about the third in line to be king was pathetic and to think these mindless people were watching and encouraging this fiasco while others are suffering because they weren't born in a better position. The needy need to be fed."
Let's get back to your first album made with current and longest standing MASTER line-up: "Spirit Of The West" (2004). Can you tell a bit how it came around?
"Sure, Christopher from KRABATHOR who recorded on "Let's Start A War" was leaving for the USA. His American dream was to become an American and today he has his green card so be it. I had my wife call Shaark Studios in Bzenec, Czech Republic, where we still record all albums and she told the studio I was in search of a new band. Studio owner Petr Nejezchleba recommended his brother Aleš and also SHAARK drummer Zdenek Pradlovsky. Rehearsals were difficult from the start as both the players spoke zero English. My wife interpreted for 2 practices and then left me to my own devices. I would play the riffs on the guitar for Alex like I still do today and then pick up the bass. The music did the talking for "The Spirit Of The West". Today things are easier as Mr. Pradlovsky picked up english rather quickly with all the touring with english speaking bands over the years and today communication is not a problem."
Was it difficult to record with a new line-up? Did you know the guys before?
"Yes. I met them once during the MARTYR "Murder X - The End Of The Game" recording with Petr Kryštof and Libor Lebonek from KRABATHOR!"
That album and the following "Four More Years Of Terror" have also recently been re-released. Can you tell how and why this idea came about?
"My associate Roger from the MASTER bangers Facebook website found a deal for me with High Roller Records in Germany and I agreed as the original CDs were only released on System Shock in limited quantities of CDs, so this was a chance for others to purchase the reissued CDs also the first ever issued vinyls. I have been re-issuing the entire back catalogue for the same reason, this is a chance for others who missed the original releases to get them at a reasonable price instead of being raped on eBay."
Recently your collaboration album with Rogga Johansson, "Suphur Skies", was released. How did it come about?
"Mr. Johansson contacted me about singing a track for his MEGASCAVENGER 7" a few years back and said he wrote the song specifically for me and after hearing it, I went in and recorded this for him. This year he wrote me and said he has a full album of 12 tracks that needed vocals again and asked if I was interested, and after one listen, I was hooked. He made it a challenge for me as well as he sent lyrics for 9 tracks in no particular order and I was to fit them in the songs that I saw fit. I also wrote lyrics for three tracks myself and he was pleased with these. I recorded three songs per week in two hour increments for four weeks in Bzenec again and the rest is history. We have since begun working on the second release which will follow with a tour next fall."
That is really great news! Are you always interested in doing other projects?
"If a project sounds good I will do it or if a friend asks for help I will usually do this."
On that note, I want to say that your work on three NAILGUN MASSACRE tracks was also very impressive. Do you keep in touch with those guys?
"Yes I am great friends with the fellas and wish them the best. We have known one another since a tour we did in 2002 with their band XENOMORPH. Metal is a brotherhood and my brothers and I keep in touch across the globe thankfully."
You've just played as DEATH STRIKE at the Kill Town Death Fest. Do you plan to take it on the road? I'm sure many maniacs would like to see DEATH STRIKE live mayhem!
"This was a one off show and will be continued in Austria on November 22, 2013 once more. I enjoyed myself once again as this is the second time that several of the tracks have ever been played live and this was a blast for me to finally get to re-live these songs live and share them with others as well."
Since you've been living in Czech for about 10 years now, but had spend most of your life in USA, can you tell us what the biggest misconception is that Americans have about Eastern Europe that you probably find amusing?
"It's that we are broke, use newspaper for toilet paper and have no future!"
Besides the new MASTER album, another big news this year is your upcoming book. Can you tell us about it, did you have to leave out lots of stuff, because I read that publishers were afraid to release it?
"Actually the first book in the series is a pictorial book called "Speckmann, Underground Survivor". The actual full text will one day be released as is, I assure you brother."
What's your view about is the whole free downloading thing going on? Some say it gives you a much wider exposure and true fans still buy the real CDs and LPs. How does it work for MASTER?
"This is an old subject, certainly we lose money ever year from piracy but there is essentially nothing that can be done about this."
Often mistakes are necessary for a person to grow. But is there a mistake regarding MASTER that you wish you hadn't made? Do you agree that moving to Czech gave the band a second life?
"Sure, not signing the first offer for MASTER from Combat in January 1986 and sitting around waiting for original drummer Bill Schmidt to wake up. If I had just signed the Combat contract and replaced him earlier on things would be different today. But on the other hand the journey has been worth it and I am happy and successful. Unfortunately Schmidt lives under a tunnel in Chicago, homeless. But we have to live with our choices, so be it! Moving to Europe was the best move I ever made, any clever musician will move to where the action is. Absolutely nothing was working for MASTER in America so I had to move to a world that appreciates original Metal."
Judging from your lyrics, you are not the big optimist regarding human race. Do you feel we still have a chance and what's your opinion about different growing awareness / information movements? Is this just New New Age or something bigger, as it starts to sink in that planet is getting raped beyond belief?
"Let's face it, there is no hope for the human race unless the kids get off the computers and go out and face the world head on. A revolt is in order for sure. The sooner the next generation makes the right choice then the world will be once again free from the tyranny of the USA. The bully must be reprimanded for sure. The USA has too much control over the world today."
Do you believe in saying, that what goes around comes around? Are we really the sole makers of our own destiny?
"Sure, I believe we create our own destiny. There are particular roads to take and several choices to make. You have to find the best path for yourself. You have to watch yourself because when you treat people disrespectfully you will get it back tenfold in the future. I have learned these values from many mistakes I made in the early days."
Are there any goals that you still wanna reach with MASTER? I mean, you've mostly invented the genre with DEATH STRIKE / MASTER but apart from that do you have any ambitions left?
"Sure I wish to play Wacken, With Full Force and some of the other biggest festivals one day. I have done what I was put on this earth to do!"
That's great, I really hope those festival organizers will finally wake up and put the real Death Metal on their stages! Thank you very much for your answers, it has been a real honour to talk with you. What would be your last message to everybody?
"Support the music scene, go out and buy CDs, vinyl shirts etc. I still purchase CDs from CD Wow all year every year."
Mindaugas 'Plix' Lapinskas
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