-- Mind Patrol gets shredded --
A week before Paul’s Metal Fest (August 1, 2015) at Kortrijk I introduced myself via the event’s Facebook page to see if the bands present would be interested in having a talk with me. Mind Patrol were the first to reply and so, after their gig that night, it was time for a face-to-face discussion about their very first major gig (providing support for Tim “Ripper” Owens nonetheless), their love for the Belgian metal scene and of course, the eternal battle between Belgian and Swiss chocolate!
BMS: So fellas, have you already done an interview before?Yves: No, you’re the first guy to interview us.
BMS: Then I’ll go easy on you (oh, the irony). Tell me, this has been one of your first concerts in Belgium, do you like playing here?Yves: It’s really amazing for us to play here. Christian and I have been visiting the Graspop Metal Meeting festival for a few years already and we noticed that the spirit of metal is much bigger and more intense in Belgium than in Switzerland. Tonight’s crowd, for instance, was incredible.
BMS: I see. Do you like our very own Belgian chocolate?Christian: We haven’t tried your chocolate yet. In Switzerland we have the best chocolate in the world (laughs)!
BMS (laughs too): Well, I suggest you try that delicious Cote D’Or Noir de Noir chocolate. Pitch-black, a bit sour and my personal favorite. I’ll bring some chocolate bars next time we meet!Yves: Sounds like a good idea!
The Mind Patrol lineup from left to right: Matthias “Mättu” Gsteiger (drums), Christian Pfister (guitars), Yves Nellen (vocals, guitars) and Emil Schuler (bass).
BMS: Could you describe Mind Patrol’s sound and your main influences?Yves: Originally we started off playing power metal because that was the subgenre we were listening to the most when we began Mind Patrol. We just mix up heavy metal with thrash metal and speed metal but we don’t limit ourselves to a single metal subgenre. We just make the music we want to make.
BMS: That’s great because I really hate putting every single band in subgenres. I only have two types of metal bands, those that I like and those that I dislike. And trust me, you guys are on the first list.All of Mind Patrol: thanks!
BMS: How did you got started with Mind Patrol? If you can recall that, at least?Yves: I believe there always is a day when a boy says to another boy: “hey, let’s start a band.” That’s how Christian and I founded Mind Patrol, five or six years ago.
Christian: We attended guitar lessons together but afterwards we kind of lost touch with each other for a few months. Then one day Yves came over to my house and we practiced together. And as I had expected, my parents yelled that we made too much noise so we decided to look for a band room. Once we had found one, we looked for a drummer and a bassist to complete our band and so Mind Patrol was born.
BMS: Could you tell me something about the Swiss metal scene? Like some other great Swiss bands we should all check out?Yves: Swiss thrash metal is certainly becoming more popular.
Christian: Batallion is currently one of Switzerland’s most successful metal bands, having played in locations like Wacken. We also have Celtic Frost and Coroner.
Yves: Another very popular Swiss metal band is Eluveitie. They play folk metal at pretty much every festival on every continent.
BMS: Do you guys have other individual interests aside from Mind Patrol? Like reading comics or watching movies?Yves: Aside from Mind Patrol, I work as an event technician. During my spare time I also enjoy visiting gigs and supporting bands such as your country’s very own Evil Invaders! And sometimes I play tennis.
BMS: Why not, Yves, you might become the next Roger Federer!Yves: (laughs) I don’t think so.
BMS: Your turn, Mättu, what are your other hobbies?Mättu: Actually my whole life is about drumming. I’m either practicing with the other guys in our band room or practicing at home, kicking the shit out of my drum set. I also attend the annual Fasnacht (Carnival in Luzern) event with several of my friends. We dress up, play instruments and let people laugh at us.
BMS: That’s great. You know, we here in Belgium also have some awesome carnival festivals like Aalst Carnaval, which takes place in February. Check it out when you’re in the area at that time. Ok, it’s your turn to talk, Emil.Emil: Well, I used to do karate. Now, being with Mind Patrol, I don’t have much time left to practice it.
BMS: Well, it’s just a matter of WAX ON, WAX OFF. Fine. Christian, tell me your interests.Christian: Not much else aside from listening to and playing music. When I don’t play with Mind Patrol, I go visit other gigs and meet big and small bands alike. Discovering and supporting metal music in general.
BMS: All right! Now, you’re working on your very first EP, Arising. Can you already provide me and the readers with a bit of hype?Yves: I believe most of our fans will be surprised with what we’ll eventually come up with. You know, until recently we used to have a female vocalist but that didn’t work out. People who saw us perform with her will probably expect some high-pitched pop music “aahaahaaah.” But since I replaced her, we play much more aggressively. Anyway, for Arising, we’re going to make each track feel unique and as energetic and interesting as possible.
Christian: Our work is mainly influenced by punchy thrash metal bands like Kreator as well as more melodic heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden. I believe that’s one of our band’s biggest strengths, we blend melody with speed and aggression and we love that.
BMS: I totally agree. I saw you play live tonight and it would describe it using the same words you just said. Do you guys have any idea when the EP will come out?Yves: We currently experiencing electric problems in our studio, but we’ll return in early September to finish the vocal and guitar solo parts. We hope to get Arising released around October or November.
BMS: OK. Since this has been your first international tour, are there any countries where you would love to perform?Christian: You know, Belgium was the first country outside of Switzerland where we wanted to play. Back in February, we attended the release show of the Evil Invaders’ Pulses of Pleasure and the atmosphere there was incredible, more intense and powerful than in Switzerland. Also Graspop is a festival enjoy going to. So yeah, we’re very grateful that we were able to play here in Belgium. It would also be cool to perform in Germany, since it’s near Switzerland.
Oh yeah, baby, they sure like it here
BMS: I see. And they speak German over there as well. So that will make things even easier. But don’t get me wrong, you all speak great English. You know, I’m really getting motivated to learn German again.
BMS: So, let’s talk about your plans after your LP has been released.Christian: We currently don’t have any big or special plans after Arising is out. We really hope to do another, larger European tour similar to this one. We hope to get a few gigs in Spain, Germany and of course here in Belgium.
Christian: We currently don’t have any big or special plans after Arising is out. We really hope to do another, larger European tour similar to this one. We hope to get a few gigs in Spain, Germany and of course here in Belgium.
BMS: I read that in August last year you had a gig at the Star Club venue in Switzerland supporting none other than Tim “Ripper” Owens (I'm very jealous). Tell me something about it!Yves: You know, that concert was actually our first gig with our current lineup! We all were horribly nervous but Tim was a very cool guy and overall the gig was fun for all of us. So that experience keeps us motivated.
Mättu: Before Mind Patrol, I actually played with another band. During the gig with Ripper I acted as a sort of replacement for Mind Patrol. I remember playing during that concert and I was like “oh my god! This is so much fun!” And so I decided to stay with Mind Patrol.
BMS: Great to hear that! Is there anything else you guys want to add for the readers and fans?Christian: I want to thank everybody who came to any of the three shows we did here in Belgium this week. Every gig was awesome thanks to the raw energy given by the audience.
BMS: And you, Emil, anything else to say?Emil: I’m actually a wizard. A few days ago we did our gig in Balen and after we finished we drove away in a black van with a strange man who brought us to his home and I asked him where I could buy a wizard hat. And he said “I have no idea, but I have this nice magical glowing hat.”
Mättu: Yeah, since then we call him Merlyn from the Wizard Mountain! Wearing his signature zebra pants!
And he wasn’t kidding, summoning Tom and Andreas from Speed Queen in a blaze of blue light! It’s a kind of magic!
BMS: And since you’re already talking, Mättu, what’s your final shout out to the fans?Mättu: To be honest, we’re all amateur musicians. We just go out, play our music and we’re having so a great time doing it! We are extremely grateful for the fans we have over here. We play at every single gig we can get our hands on. We’re also very active in writing e-mails to venues and promoters. Sometimes we get a response, sometimes we don’t.
BMS: Well, Yves, you’re last. What’s your last words for this conversation?Yves: First and foremost, a BIG thank you to all you crazy metalheads who showed up. The atmosphere during the gig tonight was fucking intense! We had circle pits, walls of death, crowd surfers and more! I’ll guarantee that we’ll be back in Belgium as soon as possible. We’re having way too much joy here with such friendly people that we can’t stay away for long. We hope to have another, bigger tour during spring next year, possibly with TurboWarrior of Steel once again as well as with other bands.
BMS: And I, for one, look forward to it! Thank you very much for this interview and I’ll see you all very soon!
Mind Patrol - Warfare