Master are known to be one of the first Death Metal bands. Often critisized for going always their own way and not following any trends Master became an institution of its own with loyal fanbase still growing to this day and getting better with every year like a fine wine. Since the last interview with Paul Speckmann six years passed so it was time to catch up with the Master himself about the resurrection of the Speckmann Project, 30 years of Master and the new line up.
Sascha: Hello Paul. I hope all is fine on your end. How are you doing?
Paul: I am doing fine, just recuperating from the killer tour, it takes about a week or so to come down from the tour as well as the cold that usually happens for me afterwards. I am old you see, and it takes more time to bounce back than when you are say, 30 years old!Sascha: The last album "Vindictive Miscreant" was released by Transcending Obscurity but got recently reissued via "Awakening Records". What offers this reissue as extras?
Paul: Yes, Awakening Records from China asked me about a re-issue in 2020, and I thought it would be a more proper release to include all the tracks that were recorded during the session. They extra tracks were previously on a few 7-inches respectively, but i thought it would be easier now for the fans to get all the songs in one place!Sascha: Is Master still signed with Transcending Obscurity?
Paul: We never really discussed a 2nd release and communication is always one-sided with this label! It takes centuries to get a response from the label owner and creator Kunal! I think the label did a fine job with the release and the various products, only shipping from India to Czech, was very difficult and continually caused me many headaches! The label shows tremendous support for its bands, but at the moment is releasing too many records in my opinion, although I wish them the best in the future as always. We are now scheduled to release a new recording for Hammerheart Records scheduled for an early spring 2023 release most likely! Recording begins in September for the latest Master opus!Sascha: While the pandemic was raging you still have been active and putting out new releases (like the "Alive In Athens" by Master and "Germs Of Circumstance" by Johanssson & Speckmann). Are there any plans for a new Master album soon?
Paul: Answered in the previous question sir!Sascha: Metal Bastards Enterprises released a few live releases of your bands Abomination, Death Strike & Master which were not so well received by a lot of fans since they had kinda a bootleg character and felt like a fast cash in by the label. How do you feel about those releases in hindsight and would have wished the label would have done a better work on these?
Paul: Maybe it was cash grab, for those who don't know the reality of my bands and I, I am in this to make a living. Unlike many bands and musicians out there these days, it's only a hobby for them, for me it's a way of life. I live for and from my music. MBE did the best they could at the time, and I am sure these fans are supporting the other labels that are great friends with MBE? If they only knew? Labels are in it to make money of course!Sascha: When we talk about labels, I also saw Hammerheart Records starts a reissue series of Master. Can we expect also reissues from other your bands and projects through the label?
Paul: All releases from the original recordings will be reissued over the next few years as well as vinyl and special box sets repectivelly!Sascha: Correct me if I'm wrong but Master reaches soon its 40 years anniversary in 2023. Are there any special shows or releases planned?
Paul: Not at the moment, of course we will be touring but no one has asked about any special events yet, time will tell! Probably Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand on the horizon!Sascha: The album "Fiends Of Emptiness" is released under the Speckmann Project Banner. I thought it could be the sixth album under for Johansson & Speckmann. What was the reason for choosing Speckmann Project as name?
Paul: The reason is simple, Rogga suggested that if we release it under the Speckmann moniker it would have a better chance to be heard by the masses, and it certainly is working. Reviews have been quite good for the most part! Obviously, we like it, so in my opinion this is the most important thing. But the next recording in 2023 will be mixed by me this time!Sascha: All artists to strive to get better with every release. How is it on your end? Do you actually ever listen to any of your releases once they are finished up?
Paul: I rarely listen to a recording after it's done, usually once or after a few years to see if it was good or not! Many people spend months or years working on an album, I haven't the time, effort or money to do such nonsense. I prefer recording records quickly for maximum effect! You can only hope for the best as always sir!Sascha: In the last years I saw a lot of fans and bands referring to you and your bands as a big influence and as a origanizator of the Death Metal sound. How do you feel to finally get the recognition you deserve after all those years?
Paul: Makes no difference to me as I was there in the beginning and know the truth!Sascha: I saw saw on your facebook that Emanzipation records send you already your personal copies of "Fiends Of Emptiness". This is something rare happening nowadays. Most labels let a lot of their artists wait before they get their personal copies so they can have a big part of the cake. How do you feel about this?
Paul: This was a quite professional effort on their part. Nuclear Blast Records also sent the copies in advance back in the day. In my opinion, this is the essence of a professional label, not worried that the artist also gets their copies first! Smaller labels worry about whether or not people will buy their copies and not only the artist's copies.Sascha: After Zdenek and Alex left Master a while ago it was surprising to see Alex rejoined the band recently. What happened to the other guys?
Paul: Ruston and Pat chose to stay in the USA, where they can live and thrive in their own environments. Not everyone wishes to travel across the globe at the bands expense, some guys are happy in their native lands, so be it. Alex Nejezchleba rejoining the band as well as Peter Bajci, has been a blessing in disguise. I have to say that this recent tour across Spain and Portugal for 10 shows in 11 days was a memorable experience! Stress free for the most part. I was more relaxed on tour this time around than I have ever been. I never even thought of smoking a cigarette!Sascha: Master had recently its first tour since awhile. How did it feel to be out on the road again after the long lockdowns?
Paul: What an enjoyable experience to finally get out and play 14 songs in an hour and 20 minutes every evening. I really hope the world continues to open so we can keep touring!Sascha: Master also recorded a few cover songs over the years. Besides the Black Sabbath Cover you also did a Thin Lizzy Cover (Jailbreak), Nazareth Cover (Miss Misery) and Johnny Cash Cover (Ring Of Fire). Did you ever play any of these covers live on gigs besides the Black Sabbath one?
Paul: No, not really a fan of live tracks being covers. Black Sabbath is possible, but the others will never happen, we are not a Graveyard Classics cover band, sorry! This is Master!Sascha: A lot of people felt the pictorial "Underground Survivor" was a autobiography and then got suprised it wasn't. It gave a good insight but can't be counted as a autobiography. What happened to the planned autobiography?
Paul: The planned autobiography will be self-published some day when I retire. It seems people don't wish to publish the truth. All the publishers were worried about lawsuits after reading the manuscripts I sent out!Sascha: "Cadaveric Poison" released an awesome album in 2016. Can we expect something new soon by "Cadaveric Poison"?
Paul: It seems Mr. Seegel has disappeared from the scene, i rarely hear from him these days!Sascha: The lyrics you write often recapture the feeling of the nowadays situation in the world and should make people think about how things develop. What do you think about the gore topic that most Death Metal bands cover?
Paul: I don't!Sascha: Thanks Paul for taking your time for this interview. Any last words?
Paul: Sure, support the underground and your local chapters of Metal as without support, the scene dies. You can purchase products and support Master at speckmetal.net.