Protector - Interview
German-Swedish thrash legends Protector have lately released their 4th album after their reunion in 2011 (read review here) . It is the most mature album by the band so far and shows how criminally underrated it is still and also shows Protector don't need to hide behind big names such as Sodom, Kreator or Destruction. I had a long chat with band leader Martin Missy via Skype about the album and some other things concerning the band – just enjoy reading and check the album if you haven't done it yet!
Hey Martin, you were just on a mini tour, how was it?
It was great. We usually do weekend tours. If there is a holiday on Monday or Friday, then it can be three gigs and this time we were at the "Chronical Moshers - Festival" in Vogtland in Saxony. We were there a few years ago and it was exactly the same family atmosphere there again, that was really great. Then we went to Brno, Czech Republic and played a club gig there and that went well too. On September 9th we played in Wermelskirchen and on September 10th at the "Stromcrusher-Festival" in Bavaria. We had also planned a couple of gigs in November in Poland, but at the beginning of December our drummer will become a father, if everything goes as planned – good luck - and that was a bit too tight for us, when the baby comes a bit earlier, he wants to be there and not travel around the world. We have postponed this to next year as we have done with the current gigs. They were originally planned for 2020, then postponed to 2021 and are now being made up for. By the way, this was the longest time since Protector came back that we didn't do any gigs, over two years now.
Your new album "Excessive Outburst Of Depravity" got released in July. The reviews are very good. Are you surprised by all the positive feedback?
No matter what your feeling is, it's always hard to say how a record will be received by the journalists and also the fans. But this was the first time I had the feeling that it was really good. Of course, with the other records you also have such a feeling, we've always given our best, but this time it felt really great and you're happy that most journalists saw it that way. Now comes what is actually even more important, namely how the fans will see it. Some have already received the CD, which they ordered as a pre-order, I've already seen that on the Internet. That was only one or two who shared that, but they also thought it was very good.
I think that the new album is the strongest in the reunion phase, because it is much more aggressive than the predecessors and also somehow seems much more coherent....
Actually, we worked like we normally do. Everyone thought a bit at home about which riffs we had and some things also came together in the rehearsal room, which was then tinkered together. I live in Stockholm and my colleagues in Uddevalla, which is 500 km away from here and we send the stuff back and forth by mail. So Corona was an advantage, maybe the only advantage was that we had two years to work on the songs intensively. Otherwise it was always like that, that we did it in between. We all go to work and you always rehearsed between gigs where you could have written songs and now we had these two years of time, that's why we even did 11 songs, normally we always do 10. We also had two more, but we hadn't really polished them yet. In the relationship I think that we stayed concerned with the musical style, old-school thrash metal with a bit of death in it, the same, but had more time and more intense involvement with the songs and that has also paid off I think.
Also the production sounds much more powerful. In the last interview you wrote to me that you will work together with Patrick W: Engel....
Yes, this time we wanted to try something completely new and went to Robert Persson's studio here in Stockholm. He was among others with Nicke Andersson in the death metal band Death Breath. He did a great job with the recording and then this time we decided to let Patrick W. Engel, who usually did the mastering for our albums, do the mixing as well. Robert and Patrick are about the same age, a little younger than I am - but Patrick had told me before that he would know how to produce Protector if he ever had to do it, so he got the chance and I think he did a really great job. It sounds very much like the 80s, at least I think so.
You also changed the artist for the artwork, but I have to say that the cover is not much different from "Cursed And Coronated" and "Reanimated Homunculus". Did you give Patrick Tegnander precise instructions?
The only thing he had was the title of the record. We always have some kind of color scheme in the covers and I don't think I even told him that. We have blue on the first disc (after the reunion; M), the second green, the third red and he got a yellow tint in there this time. So it worked out in that sense, but a direct specification that I said it had to look like this and like that - that was the case with the last record, that's probably why the cover didn't turn out so great, because that was my idea (laughs), there was no such thing. This time we told the artist, "Do something." I stumbled across a painting of his on Facebook and then we talked about it and I think he did a good job.
What did you want to say with the album title?
There is no bigger meaning behind it. I wanted to have something that sounded cool. Something like "Pleasure To Kill." I assume that Kreator didn't want to kill people and that's why they called the record that, but because it sounds cool. I wanted to have something with tongue twisters and sounds cool, there is no deeper meaning behind it.
Lyrically, this time you put the focus on some historical topics like the Holocaust ('Referat IV B 4') or war ('Open Skies And Endless Seas'). This time it's much more obvious than for example on 'Crosses In Carelia'. How did you come up with the idea of the Gestapo department where the Final Solution was planned as the title?
The impetus was that we were in Poland on our last tour before the Corona pandemic and visited Auschwitz there on the way to Warsaw. Of course you know what happened there, but when you are there, it is something completely different. That's when the idea matured in my mind. But instead of writing about what happened in the camp, which is sufficiently documented, I thought I would write something about the background. Who organized all this and pulled the strings in the background? That's when I came across this office in Berlin and thought that would fit, to look at it from that angle. It's always difficult to write about such a topic, but I think it turned out quite well in the end. History interests me a lot and it was also always one of my favorite subjects in school. The first piece on the record is about Little Bighorn, Custer's last stand, so that interests me a lot. Fantasy, science fiction and stuff like that I've used in songs before. This time, with all the lyrics, it was new that our bass player, who had written lyrics before, contributed four lyrics to the album. He writes more of these socially critical, political lyrics. I don't deal with that so much, but he always likes to tackle such topics.
To what extent is it important for you as a band to make a political statement against certain trends in times like these?
With my colleagues I don't know that so much now, but to me as a German... I feel obligated to that, that one must at least never forget. There are still some dumbasses abroad who still want to blame today's generations, although the people who were really involved have more or less all died out. Although I just read in the paper that they put a 101-year-old concentration camp supervisor on trial. I mean, what's the point of that now? They should have done that 50 years ago. Now he's lived his life and that's it. But otherwise political statements - as I said, Matte, our bass player, likes to slap powerful dictators and the like on the wrist with his lyrics and I think that's good. He should let off steam; of course I read through the lyrics and couldn't agree with everything, but he doesn't do that either and that's why it always goes very well. Otherwise I wouldn't call us a political band directly, but if you ask questions - we don't stay out of public life. Everybody has his opinion about a topic and whether it's politics or not, of course you express yourself about it.
You have been in the scene for many years - what has changed the most? What do you find good, what is questionable and what do you perhaps miss?
Everything is a double-edged sword. Things that can be good on the one hand, are perhaps a bit negative on the other. For example, technical progress. If they told us in the 80s that you could carry around a portable phone in your pocket, where you could even talk by picture or like we're doing here now, I would have said, "Science fiction, Star Trek! That won't happen in 100 years!" But even that - being available at all times - good or bad? I turn off my cell phone sometimes, too. It's all positive and negative. A lot of people complain about the Internet, but it depends on how you use it. If you use it to put other people down, spread disinformation or sow discord - but that's like a lot of things in the world - you can do that through newspaper articles too, it's just on the internet it's more accessible when that happens. But I love Wikipedia, for example. That's where I get a lot of information, although to be on the safe side I always double check before I write anything that comes directly from Wikipedia. But a lot about "Unit IV B4" I pulled out from Wikipedia. There's an incredible amount you can learn about the Internet, but it's already lost a bit more of its personality. We used to hang out with people a lot more. Okay, it's also related to the job, but it's also been several weeks since I've met friends here in Stockholm. It used to be that you met up with someone almost every day and did something. Everything has its positive and negative sides and that's probably the biggest difference. The thing that has stayed the same is the fans. In the 90s I was a bit out of the scene, I must admit and then came back into the scene in the early 00s when I started singing with bands in Stockholm again, and went to concerts again. Also at our concerts, when you see people who were not even born in the 80s and still look like that - hair, battle vest, jeans, cartridge belt. They could get into a time machine from the 80s and you wouldn't know - if they didn't take their cell phone out of their pocket - that they are from the future. In that respect, I think it's cool that this lifestyle of metal fans hasn't changed. Internet also has the advantage that we can send sound files to each other and I can edit things on my computer. I have a microphone where I can test the lyrics before, what fits and what doesn't. Sure, you romanticize the old times, you are a bit nostalgic and think back to Slayer '87 and all the friends and parties we made, but every time has its positive and negative times.
When will you come to the Ruhr area? And for the fans from overseas, to the USA?
Gladly again, we were once in the Helvete in Oberhausen. Then we were in the Kulttempel, also in Oberhausen...I think we played almost only in Oberhausen. The Witchhunter Memory gig was also in Oberhausen. Maybe it works out with Dortmund or Gelsenkirchen or the Rock Hard Festival. I wouldn't say no to that either. USA, Asia or South America would also be great, but I have - and I worked that into one of my lyrics, 'Cleithrophobia' - a kind of claustrophobia and when I feel trapped, for example in an airplane, that's when it's most extreme, then everything spins for me and when I have to sit in the plane for 10 hours and you don't want to get high either, because otherwise you can't walk or stand properly for the next 3 days because you had to fight the fear. At the moment it doesn't look so great with overseas gigs unfortunately.
Excessive Outburst Of Depravity
Summon The Hordes
Cursed And Coronated
A Shedding Of Skin
Urm The Mad
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- Ryth - Deceptor Creator - Dec 01
- Written In Blood - Written In Blood - Dec 02
- The Bleak Picture - Songs Of Longing - Dec 02
- Shining Wizard - Tournament Of Death - Dec 02
- Heron - Empires Of Ash - Dec 02
- Hammers Of Misfortune - Overtaker - Dec 02
- Eisregen - Wiedergänger - Dec 02
- Imha Tarikat - Hearts Unchained - At War With A Passionless World - Dec 02
- Veilburner - VLBRNR - Dec 02
- Appalling - Sacrilege - Dec 02
- Dystopia A.D. - Doomsday Psalm - Dec 02
- Funeral Mass - Shadow Of The Raventhrone - Dec 02
- Nighnacht - Asking To Be Killed - Dec 02
- Ritual Death - Ritual Death - Dec 05
- Cult Of Eibon - Necronomical Mirror Divination - Dec 09
- Ceremonial Torture - Necronomical Mirror Divination - Dec 09
- Dehiscence - Colony - Dec 09
- Sacrilegion - From Which Nightmares Crawl - Dec 09
- Deathless Legacy - Mater Larvarum - Dec 09