Interview with Kragen Lum, Prototype, February 2004

Hi Kragen – “Thinity” was released in the US late 2002, but why took it another Year before it was released in Europe?

Kragen - We tried getting a deal in Europe when we first shopped the CD to labels, but no one was interested at the time. We were receiving many great reviews for the album worldwide, but still had difficulty getting a deal. After we got a song on a Rock Hard magazine compilation and received a really good review for the U.S. version of the album, Massacre showed interest and decided to release it in Europe.

How well has your album done in the US and what is your expectations for the European market?

Kragen - Our U.S. label was releasing mostly death and black metal and putting their promotion efforts into those albums so it didn’t receive much attention. After “Trinity” had been out for a couple of months, the label pretty much folded and the promotion completely stopped along with our U.S. sales. With Massacre, things have been a different story. They have promoted the CD, sent out promo copies and gotten us reviews. We hope that “Trinity” is very successful in Europe and gives us a lot of exposure so that we can release the next CD to even more success!

Why have you desided to add 2 tracks to the European releases? And are those tracks new songs, that represent your direction now, or old songs re-recorded?

Kragen - The 2 European bonus tracks were actually taken from a demo that we recorded after Trinity was released. These tracks came out great, but they didn’t fit with the material that we’re writing for the next album. They did fit very well with “Trinity”, so we decided to include them as bonus tracks. Besides these 2 tracks, we have a lot of other material recorded that hasn’t been released yet. Hopefully we can put out an EP or release these as bonus tracks in the future.

I hear a lot of different influences on your album – from progressive rock (Rush), through powerful metal (Nevermore), some more technical metal (Queensryche) but most of all old school thrash metal (Forbidden, Metallica) – but what has inspired you?

Kragen - All of the stuff that you listed above has inspired us plus other bands and music. We’re all fans of Bay Area Thrash, Rush and Iron Maiden. We also like stuff like Meshuggah, Dream Theater Cynic and Watchtower. From death metal to jazz fusion to classical, everything is an influence. We like to incorporate ideas from different styles that we like and put them together into something that sounds new and original.

In me review I compared you with Damn The Machine and Into Eternity – 2 bands, that also incorporate a lot of different styles into their music, but sadly don’t get a lot of recognition (maybe because of their mixtures) – are you not afraid to turn people off by your very complex music?

Kragen - Our goal with Prototype’s music is to play anything that we think sounds good regardless of the sound. For us the artistic part of the music is a priority. We take these musical ideas and try to put them into a song that is memorable so people catch on. It is difficult to create something new and different because people may not understand it at first. But all of the bands that have been successful at doing that have lasted for a long time.

I really like the production on your album – very powerful and clean, who produced it and how long time did it take?

Kragen - Vince Levalois (guitars/vocals) and I produced the album in our own Utopia studios. We recorded and mixed everything ourselves with Vince engineering. We wanted to make sure that the production was clear so that the listener could hear everything, but still very heavy sounding. Since we have our own studio, we had the luxury of spending as much time as we wanted to on it to get everything sounding great.

What topics do you deal with in your lyrics and why?

Kragen - The lyrics deal with many different things like religion vs. science, questioning one’s faith and some more personal lyrics. A couple of the songs are also inspired by science fiction movies like Contact and Dune. Vince writes most of the lyrics and these are subjects that interest him and the rest of the band.

How did you end up being signed to a Danish management – Intromental?

Kragen - Vince and I frequent a message board that used to be called the Perpetual Motion Board (now called PM:X). I saw posts from Claus and Lars at Intromental and visited their website. It looked like the guys were really doing a good job for the bands they represent, so I talked with Vince about them and we sent them a package. They’ve been a fantastic help since we signed up with them and they’re good guys too!

I can see that you have just had a change in the drumming department – why?

Kragen - We seem to have had back luck with drummers… We always manage to find very talented people to play in the band, but sometimes things just don’t click. Pat was in the band for a few years, but in the end, there were issues that couldn’t be repaired. We decided it was best if we went our separate ways and started looking for a new PROTOTYPE drummer. Luckily, we recently found drummer Sam Aliano who’s working out great!

Being in a underground band, you must know how hard it is to get recognition – the internet is a very important source for many fans – how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other new bands?

Kragen - The Internet is an indispensable tool for the band. We used the Internet for most of our music promotion, concert promotion and general communication with fans at this point. It has almost totally replaced the old postal mail box that we have. Vince maintains our website and all of our official communication goes out through the site. Even our mailing list and press kit are now Internet based. I would guess that this is the same for most underground bands these days.

Can we expect to see you at some of the European festivals this Year – or is that only wishful thinking?

Kragen - This is really up to Massacre once they see how well the album does. If it does well, perhaps they will bring us over for some shows. We would love to play some of the European festivals or do a European tour. We played the Headway Festival in Holland last year and it was great! We hope to come back and play shows in all of Europe next time!

To finish things off – could you pls. make a all-time Top 5 or sort of the 5 most important albums in your opinion?

Kragen - This is going to be very difficult.  J Here are my all time favorite albums in no order:

  • Cynic – Focus

  • Forbidden – Twisted into Form

  • Megadeth – Rust in Peace

  • Ozzy Osbourne – Diary of a Madman

  • Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast/Powerslave (tie)

Thanks for the great interview!

A bit thanx to Kragen Lum for taking the time to do this interview and all the best for him and Prototype. Also a big thanx to Claus (Intromental) for setting up the interview.

Prototype - Trinity

Album out on Massacre Records

Click on the album cover to see more info on Prototype.