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It's not often that a Lord gets the chance to interview a musician about two different albums of two renowned bands. But I got that chance when I picked up the phone to have a little chat with Tommy Viktor. A content Tommy picked up the phone on the other side of the ocean and he was more than happy to talk about the new Ministry-album and of course the upcoming Prong CD.

By: Frank D. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

band imageHello victor, first of you're a busy man. You played on the last album of Ministry which is about to hit the streets and here we ar talking about the new Prong album. Where did u get the time from?
Oh, you know, it wasn't that difficult. It was just a lot of travelling. I mean, Al lives in El Paso, Texas and I live in L.A. and all the Prong guys live in L.A. too. The main problem I faced was driving with my car through two desserts to get to El Paso. And my car in the sun in El Paso, ruining it, so.. hahaha. No, but it wasn't that difficult, because in El Paso you don't have a lot of distractions, you know. Out there, I'm just in the studio all day. You just can't do anything out there. They even don't have any sport teams. There's just nothing there. I really don't know how Al deals with that. The guy really loves it there. He has a lot of friends, but he doesn't go out that much..

How come?
If he does, he gets in trouble hahaha. When I was there, he was going like "Yeah, we're going out!". So we went out and we run into a bunch of football nuts and they wanted to beat him up and stuff. So after that I just said I wasn't going out with him anymore hahaha

Wasn't it strange knowing you were working on the last Ministry album?
Al knew that, but I never believed him. He kept on saying that it was really the last one this and that, but yeah… Because of the design of the record, he just had to let it known that it was really the last one. It actually did make things a bit strange. Al was very selective, you know? And that was difficult, because we tried so many different things. And in the end we just used the very best on this record, you know? So much got wiped and thrown out. Sometimes we would freak on something for a week and in the end he said "nope, not going to use it" and it was gone.

I think the new album turned out to be a lot less harsh than the previous stuff. Is that the reason?
Oh man, that's so different from our feeling. A lot of journalists say that. Al was going like "Are you sure it isn't to polished?" and I would reply that I thought it wasn't. I don't think it's polished at all. It's just insane! For me, this record is just way over the top. But hey, everybody is entitled to his own opinion, right? Hahaha

About your other band Prong, there're still people who are waiting for a new 'Cleansing' album. The reviews of 'Scorpio Rising' showed that very clear. Did that surprise you at that time? How do you feel about that in relation to this new record?
I don't care, to be honest. When I look at this new album it's style technically different from 'Scorpio Rising', but to be honest, I'm not that attached to it. Maybe I'm too distanced to it. I don't know. I just concentrate on the record itself, you know? I just focus on the lyrics and the riffs and the drumming… which I think is amazing on this new record. Just make sure, that all the parts are really good. I think it's very streamlined in that way, but I wanted to make it raw too. That 'Cleansing' album was done in a different era, you know? You just can't copy-paste that kind of thing. That doesn't make a sense to me. But to be honest, there're tracks on there that could have been on that album if I'm honest. But if you ask people out there, everybody has his own favourite album, so.. Each record has its own identity.

This album is due to hit the streets in September, what are your expectations of it?
I don't do expectations hahaha. No really, I'm just interested in getting the thing done, you know. You just do it and put it out there. After that, there's nothing you can do except for maybe take a bow or battle, but….

Just let it go?
Yeah, that's the way I operate anyway.

This new album seems be more accessible. Do you recognise that?
Hmm, I don't know. It probably because of the vocals. I'm a lot more aware of the vocals on the album than I was twenty years ago. When I first started out, we didn't have the benefit of digital technology. We had a four track and just did the tracks like we rehearsed them. Whatever that was, was what we recorded. Nowadays, I really pay attention to the vocal parts. I mean, why use vocals if you're not really using them, you know what I mean? And the riffs I use must have the catchy hook. When I hear a riff, I have to remember it, so that's the kind of riff I try to put in there. Like a marker. I don't concentrate on the most technical stuff or something like that. It's like the guy in the streets shooting some basketball has to hear the riff and go like "Cool!". That's what I'm looking and going for. I don't look for the complicated stuff, but I don't give a shit.

That last song 'Changing…." is full of anger. What's the story behind it? IS this a goodbye?
It's a bit apocalyptic thing. It's that little question mark in the end, you know. It just questions the whole thing. It's about just looking at stuff and laugh about it. I think a lot of people can relate to those lyrics, because instead of just looking at the problems you could also laugh about them. I mean "Oh, I run out of money!", Oh, my girlfriend left me!" "the politics of the world bring me down", it's all in there. It's like trouble mean the end of a faze and you're going to change by it. And change into what, you just don't know.

Wise words at the very end?
Hahahaha, yeah!

After your previous album I saw you at the Graspop Metal meeting kicking some serious ass. Can we aspect to see you again here in the Benelux?
Yeah, we're doing some concerts in January. We're doing Antwerp the 11th and two Dutch shows too, so hope to see you all there!

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