INTERVIEWS

back to list / overview - Related Interviews: 02/2004
03/2005     Jens Pohl   Matthias Liebetruth     (German Version)


Hi, Matthias! Rogues En Vogue, the 13th and for you personally the 1st RUNNING WILD studio album, has been available in the shops since February 21st 2005 and has even entered the German album charts directly at position 39 from scratch. However, the reactions of the fan base seem divided. Most of the fans celebrate the new album and believe that this is clearly the best output since Masquerade and may even revive the spirit of some older classics. But many others strongly dislike the album, mainly because they think that the sound or rather the overall mix is bad. Do you understand these totally different opinions?

For me the thing is pretty simple. Each of us has his individual listening habits. And if the music you hear on your hi-fi - I mean the usual medium for consuming your favourite music - sounds somehow different, of course opinions will be divided.

In retrospective, do you believe that the final mix of the album, especially with regard to your drumming, might have added some more power and energy to the album, or are you absolutely satisfied with the final result?

Might have? I always say: Might's not mighty! If you listen to the final version of any album production, you always find things that you might have done differently. But during the production you simply do what you think is right in the time that you have at your disposal. And the experiences you gather will always benefit the next CD - this way the music grows and develops, that's what I think.

Why are the opinions so divided about just this album, an album that I consider even the best one since Blazon Stone?

Some people like changes, some simply don't. Fortunately, everybody can decide that for himself.

I know that you have your own studio, like Rolf does, where you recorded the drums. How exactly did the communication between you and Rolf work during the recording sessions of the new album? Did Rolf give you precise instructions how the drums should sound, or did he completely give you a free hand? Did you actually get any guitar tracks played by Rolf, so that you could add your drums, or did you give your drum parts to Rolf for his orientation?

We found the basic drum sound together very quickly, because our tastes are quite similar in a positive way. For the recording of the drums I got Rolf's pilot guitars (these are guitar tracks recorded in advance for my orientation, then they are re-recorded when the drums are complete). When I had played two or three songs, Rolf and Katharina Nowy visited me in my studio for inspection of the drum tracks. Here and there we changed some little details together, but 95% of my drum-compositions were kept (Yeah!).

Do you have a favourite song on the new album, which you would definitely like to play live on the next tour?

I'd love to see "Skeleton Dance", "Angel Of Mercy", "Libertalia" and "Draw The Line" in the live-set.

"Libertalia" is actually THE ultimate killer-track, and in fact it already belongs to the 'classics'! In this case, almost all fans agree that this is the best song Rolf has ever written, and we very much hope to hear this song on tour as well. Rolf told me that this song came into existence quite spontaneously. Were you able to record the drums for this one quickly, or did it take a longer while?

"Libertalia" is a song that got recorded very fast. I knew what I had to do immediately...the song created true emotions inside me (and still does).

How long did it roughly take per song until the drums were satisfactory, or rather completely finished?

Don't forget that you have to compose the drums first. Only then can you start recording them. The playing itself did not take very long, but for several songs I needed some time to gather the right ideas. "The War", for example, took me over a week until I finally realized what it was up to.

As a musician and drummer, what is your general opinion on drum-computers? Do you also believe that they are finally capable of replacing a human drummer completely, that they even may threaten your own job, or do you see things more elaborately?

I don't believe that the "human drummer" will become extinct. There will always be musical styles that demand a real drummer. In my opinion, this topic has been totally overrated for 25 years. I just remind of ZZ TOP's "Eliminator". This album dates back to 1983 - and the drums you hear are in fact a computer. Nobody has ever made a fuss about it, because the band and the songs simply kick ass. Who gives a shit about how it was done, as long as the whole thing blows you away!

Apart from your activities with Running Wild, you are also busy doing several other projects. For example, you were and are still working as a drum technician for the SCORPIONS' drummer James Kottak. And with Treibhaus you released an album that does not sound like RUNNING WILD, SCORPIONS or your former bands VICTORY and HEADCRASH at all. Instead, you move inside the field of Hard Pop, which can be compared to RAMMSTEIN. So the drums are truly your passion, but how do you manage working within such different styles of music? Isn't there the danger of wishing to transfer too many elements to other bands? Or isn't that any problem for you, I mean rethinking quickly, adjusting to the style of the band you are playing with at that moment?

That's no problem at all. I completely trust in my own musical perception ... and so far this works quite well.

And the final question: Where did you get that awesome T-shirt you were wearing at the release-party? Or is it a unique item with a special meaning for you, and if so, what is the meaning?

This is a question I really like. On the day of the release-party, I arrived in Hamburg a little earlier than I had planned. So I rummaged about in some clothes-shops at the Reeperbahn, and there I found this incredible shirt. It was indeed unique, but it doesn't have any special meaning for me.

Thanks a lot, Matthias!
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