With a new album out in July, R13 caught up with 'Fear My Thoughts' vocalist Mathias ('M') on what fans can expect from the German metal outfit, juggling jobs and the rigours of touring.

R13:For those who may not have heard Fear My Thoughts give us a brief introduction / history.

M:We started off in '97 as an old school band. Through getting more skills and widening the musical horizon, we remembered our metal background. This way of progression can be seen and heard in our various releases. We always tried to mix all the influences that we have to create something that seems unique to us.

R13:You have a new album out in July 'Hell Sweet Hell', as you are a band that continually tries to progress how do you think it differs from your previous albums?

M:The structures are more clear, the songs are catchy, yet still deep, the production is much better than it was on 'The Great Collapse'. Apart from that, I'd say that we all grew a bit wiser and we were more focused on what we are doing and where we wanted to go.

R13:Most of you have other jobs away from the band, how hard is it trying to fit recording and gigging round your jobs?

M:We all have jobs away from the band as we can't live on it. Sometimes it really is so annoying. For example, we got the opportunity to tour with Napalm Death but it didn't work out because of one single person who had to work, but on the other hand we all have bills to pay and as long as they can't be paid by playing shows, this has to be our way.

R13:The band has been together with much the same line up since 1998, do you think that's a factor in the evolution of the sound of the band?

M:I think that this is definitely one of the factors. Apart from that we consider ourselves not only as a band but mainly as a bunch of friends. We hang around a lot of the time besides the band. So it's sort of natural that we do have the same interests, the same expectations and the same imaginations how our music should sound like. Furthermore it's quite cool to know the others that well, as we sometimes have something like a non verbal communication. This is very helpful if one is kind of stuck in the creation of a new song. The others know where one wants to go and can continue the process.

R13:Having said that you have recently changed drummers, how's the new boy settling in?

M:This was basically the worst point in the FMT history. We've been making music with Alex for more than seven years ( I even had my first musical experiences ever with him in the first band I played in) apart from that we've known each other for almost 15 years. Splitting after such a long time was very hard for each of us (especially because of the friendship / blind understanding thing I mentioned before) but fortunately we were able to get Norman to play the drums. At first I have to say, that it definitely was strange for us /me, to have a 'stranger' sitting behind the kit, coming to the rehearsals, the shows. Luckily he's a person who gets on with others very well and we tried to make him feel welcome too. So in the end everything worked out fine. I can say that he's already totally integrated and we all feel very comfortable with this.

R13:The album is having a launch night in the UK (Peterborough Planet Of Sound 22nd July), have you played in the UK much and what kind of reaction have you had over here?

M:So far we only played there three times (twice in London and once in Leeds) the reactions were quite cool (which means that the 10 people attending the show didn't throw bottles or other things on us) ( <= German humour!). I have to say that I really appreciated it a lot, especially the shows in London. There was one guy who really went totally crazy and had a lot of fun playing 'air guitar' with a brush. It's things like these that make a show special for me. Hopefully we get more chances to play in the UK. There are so many places I want to go.

R13:When can fans next expect to see you in the UK?

M:I hope as soon as possible. I still need your latest soccer tricot (and they're so very expensive over here). So far I know nothing about plans to tour the UK. But be sure to be the first to get the information! When we come the next time make sure you all bring brushes along! We'll have a huge brush guitar competition! Yeah!

R13:What's the metal scene like in Germany? Has it been a hindrance or a help in getting your music heard by a wider audience?

M:We played a few shows with two 'real' metal bands. For the audience it was very strange. The 'metal' part of the audience didn't know how to take us, since we had short hair, weren't wearing any leather etc, but they stayed, listened to us and cheered a lot. So this is OK for us. I think that they just have to get used to us. A problem for them seems to be our merchandise, the designs that we offer don't really go with their taste but these are problems that can be coped easily, I guess.

R13:Do you find it annoying that in order to become internationally recognised, bands are forced to sing in English? There are some great German bands around, for example 'Such A Surge', that probably won't get the recognition they deserve because they sing mainly in their native tongue.

M:Of course one can always express better in the mother tongue. But on the other hand I don't want to limit myself on only the German speaking audience. There are so many cool places / people cultures to meet. And since there's nothing like an ESPERANTO yet, we'll have to speak a language that is spoken everywhere. Besides that I do like English very much.
Another problem I see with singing / writing in German, you really have to be able to write good lyrics. If I write them in English, I can always blame my lack of English knowledge for my bad lyrics haha!

R13:You're playing quite a few festivals this year, what's it like playing to such big audiences and do you prefer that setting or the intimacy of a club venue?

M:Both has advantages and disadvantages. Festivals are fun to play because of the huge audience and the whole atmosphere. But on the other hand there's very often a crap sound. The club venue, as you already said, is very intimate and personal. I like this a lot. (It's maybe the hardcore side of me) but the huge disadvantage of clubs is that you very often have no air or a very bad air in there, this is very hard (since I'm not the youngest anymore, cough, cough).

R13:When you toured Europe last year I believe you encountered some major problems / trouble, what was the story behind that and how did you manage
to turn it around?

M:There was only one major problem: the booker! He was more than incapable of setting up shows or getting anything organised. I wonder how he manages to live! He basically fucked up everything. In the end we always had to book the next shows ourselves (but thanks to a lot of friends we managed to do so), we had to organise a van, sleeping places, the money from the promoters etc. The most ridiculous thing was how he organised the tour, we were supposed to play one show in Rome, the next show after was somewhere near Hamburg, the show after Hamburg was near Munich (you get the idea?).

We never got hold of him, his mother said something that he had to go to Berlin because a friend of his was in hospital with cancer. Later we found out that he lied to us with everything he said, maybe we don't even know his real name? In the end it wasn't too bad for us but Herod from the States really got into deep trouble. For them it really was a financial disaster, as far as I know they left with a 4000 Euro debt.

Somehow we then got hold of his van. We first thought about selling it to get the money but thought of the other bands that depended on the van and therefore didn't do it. One of these experience things again!

If you're in Europe over the summer you can catch Fear My Thoughts at numerous festivals but failing that, the album 'Hell Sweet Hell' is set for release in July.