Interview with Jan Christian Halfbrodt of Mob Rules

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Congrats on the new album, “Tales From Beyond.” Can you tell me a bit about the underlying theme of the album and it’s tracks? It’s not a concept album, but the music feels connected.
Thank you very much! It was not planned to do a concept album and every song stands for itself, but the thing that connects everything are mostly the lyrics, that are about different “tales”. Most of them are inspired by books or historical persons and lead the listener into a journey “beyond” his world! So there you have the title of this album! The last three songs are a connected trilogy that is inspired by Andy Weir’s “The Martian” and the artwork is also focused on that theme.
Stylewise, “Dykemaster’s Tale” sounds like a lost Iron Maiden track and many of the songs have a very epic feel to them. Was that a conscious decision?

We did not try to copy the sound of Maiden, but I think it is hard to deny that everyone of us really likes this band and our guitarist learned to play guitar in his youth by listening to the Irons and others of that time. But we just do the music we love and in the end, I hope it all together sounds like “Mob Rules”, that found their place between all this bands we get compared with.

How do you all feel “Tales From Beyond” stacks up to the rest of your amazing catalogue?
First of all, again thank you for using the word “amazing”! I think “Tales From Beyond” is a good successor to “Cannibal Nation”, in which we created a more edgy and straight sound and also our “Timekeeper”-Box, in which we re-recorded some of our older songs. Maybe we caught this spirit of the past and mixed it with the way we started in “Cannibal Nation”, so this is how Mob Rules should sound in 2016, I feel.

You’ve been labeled as a power metal band and I’ve never understood that label. How would you describe the sound of Mob Rules to the uninitiated?
We do metal with focus on melodies and catchy refrains but also try to add some progressive elements for the sake of the tension inside the song and instrumental passages. We have Hard Rock-elements as well as powerfull and fast Metal-riffs. The keyboards include a lot of orchestration, as well as some organ-work (dont forget the Mellotron!) to support the riffing and making it more epic. We also try to tell stories with our songs and invite the listener to deal with the lyrics. We sound like a German Metal band with some British or Celtic influences. And you are totally right: Labeling a band is a hard thing!

Let’s talk about influences. Who are the bands biggest influences? And I have to ask if any are within the realm of prog?
Of course they are! Me and Sven have played in different Progressive Metal bands before Mob Rules, by the way. We all listen to a lot of music out of many directions or genres and every member has its own favourites. It is surely no surprise if I say Maiden, Queensryche, and Savatage, but we also love bands like Evergrey, Sieges Even, Dream Theater, Symphony X. I could make this list endless long, and I think this is the important thing: You have to be open minded and look far beyond the borders of your genre, because there is so much to discover!

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Mob Rules has been together since 1994. How do you guys keep going with the music business being as it is?
In my opinion, it is getting better! No question, the times have changed since the 80s and the download-era really made a huge damage to the business during the 2000er years and of course this did harm us as well. But now things are in change again, vinyl is back in the market, it is easier to listen to songs “legal” on Spotify than download it on some crappy websites. That does not mean that I like the business-model of Spotify and Co, but it is a new way and in comparison to the last years, it feels like times are changing. Our label is a great partner and we got so much support like never before since that “old days”, we are very happy about this and excited about the future!

As someone who loves the music, why the hell aren’t you guys massive? haha!
Haha, good question! It would be strange, if I could give you a wise answer to this, wouldn’t it? But wow, thank you again! If a lot more people like you share this opinion, maybe that’s a good start!

We should mention the upcoming tour. What are your upcoming touring plans?
Oh yes! In April we tour through Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Swiss with our labelmate “Axel Rudi Pell”! We cannot wait to be finally back on stage again after this long time inside the studio! Hope to see some of you guys there! For the rest of the year, we have no concrete further plans, but surely will play a couple of shows in Fall 2016 and hopefully visit some festivals. It is time to bring “Tales From Beyond” on the road!

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions!

Thank you Rob and to your readers for this great support! Cheers and rock on!
Jan Christian

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About progmanrob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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