Destruction - Interview
After their latest album, "The Antichrist" the future of thrash metal never seemed to be so bright since the mid 80s. While all signs on the earth and in the sky indicate that was only the beginning in what might be the resurrection of one of the earliest and purest forms of metal, there's still a long road before it reaches the popularity of its early days. Is thrash metal really back? Schmier (bass & vocals) thinks that all required components are there and that they will do whatever they can to make it big but he knows that only the fans will decide...
It seems like last year was very good for Destruction.
It was really a very good year. It's amazing to see our fans all over the world waiting for our return and our music. Success was there but on the other hand we're still working on that. We have to continue working hard and not stand still.
What's going on with all those recalls of "The Antichrist"?
The most impossible thing is what just happened in States because "The Antichrist" is 80% about religious wars and fanatics. It's fucking insane that it just happened right now. On top of that a lot of things related to this record have been fucked and nobody knows why. Everything seemed to be perfect; recording session, promotion... everything was perfectly organized but when the album got closer to the release date everything was fucked. It's very difficult to me to give you all the details cause there were so many of them. It's just so many things that seem to be really strange. I just got a master tape of like the master CD because we have to print a new edition in Germany 'cause the first one is sold out, and again it has cracks on some songs. That's impossible. I actually talked to the guy from mastering studio and he said it's the first time that something like this happened. I don't know how it happened and why it happened but the only thing that counts is the fact that fans like the album and this is so fucking cool... reactions have been great so far.
Would you agree that working on "All Hell Breaks Loose" was more like putting everything on one card, whereas while recording "The Antichrist" I think you were more relaxed?
Exactly, I think you've said it perfectly. On "The Antichrist" the band knew the direction we wanted to go and we knew what our fans wanted to hear. There was not so much pressure anymore. Of course we find people that say the album sounds too classical, too much old school blah, blah, blah... we don't give a fuck anyway because it's us and our fans that we want to keep happy. I think we reached the point we wanted to and even though the album sticks to Destruction roots you can hear the band's progression.
Well, I can't imagine Destruction playing death metal and power metal...
[laughs] or nu-metal. Before you, I just had an interview with this guy that said of course the album is heavy, the songs are ripping but it bores the guy because it's a typical Destruction release and there is nothing new or special that could surprise him. I mean, what do you expect? It's just in your face music that's all we want. If you want some experimental music listen to Rush or Dream Theater. If you want a new wave of metal listen to Korn but don't expect this from Destruction. As musicians we know we can't satisfy everybody and we don't want to satisfy everybody. We do our shit and if you don't want us just fuck off and leave us alone. Don't listen to us, we are not meant to be for everybody. That's it.
In my mind you came from the ashes only because of old school fans that wanted to hear old school German trash metal.
Only because of the old fans. Many people I talked to didn't understand why Destruction came back. I didn't force this. It's been the fans that forced it for a long time. You are absolutely right.... But we also reach the kids under 20 years old too. It's actually fun to see the faces of not only the old freaks who are dying to see us again but also young kids for whom this music sounds fresh cause they've never heard it before.
Does "The Antichrist" reflect your view of the world or is it just a continuation of trash metal tradition with forbidding titles and covers?
I hate religions, I always did and I think that nowadays it's even stronger... it's growing. It's affecting me a lot more than in the past. The New York disaster is a perfect example of religious fanatics and those people are very hard to stop. Most of the wars that we've had were based on religious beliefs. It's scary. Maybe the better title would be "We Hate Religion" but we called it "The Antichrist" because it's more powerful and it fits the lyrics.
What's the story behind 'Thrash 'til Death'?
It's about believing in your music. I'm growing old now and I'm doing this music since I was 13 so, it's been like 20 - 21 years. After a while you start to see that things come and go, your friends change, the world change, everything... and I'm still dedicated to the music. Of course now I'm more open-minded than I was in the past. Before I wouldn't accept anything else but thrash metal where now I listen to the music in general... but thrash metal will always be the biggest part of my life and I love it this same way as I did when I started. And that's the inspiration behind the 'Thrash 'til Death'. It's straight from my heart and it's to show young kids where metal came from, where the revolution started... It's not about fucking baggy pants. It all started in a different way...
Can't help to notice that behind the serious topic of the album you simply had a lot of fun doing it.
Exactly, even though we play aggressive music and I put a lot of anger into it the most important thing is to have fun. When we practice or record an album it's just one big party. We're getting all the booze, the joints and we're smoking, drinking, having sex, what have you. I know a lot of bands don't like it or can't handle that but it always was a big part of Destruction life, life that is full of anger, aggression and full of bad habits.
I know you did a tour with Dimmu Borgir and for metal legends like you...
I know what you're gonna ask... Yes, it does, but as you know, the only thing that counts right now is the record sales and the king is a band that sells more records. But the great thing about this tour was that Dimmu Borgir are big fans of Destruction and they offered us to come with them on an almost sold out tour which turned out to be a big triumph. With a half-Destruction crowd and half-Dimmu responses were really great. Dimmu fans didn't disrespect us by screaming for them while we played or something like that which I thought was really cool and I have a lot of respect for them. Dimmu guys were really nice to us too. Every night they'd come to us and they were like "Oh my God, you're playing before us... we should support you!" They respected us and that was the most important thing for me. On the paper we played before them but by the way they and their fans treated us it didn't feel like it.
I don't think you'll have those problems when you hit the road this winter with Sodom and Kreator.
That's why we're doing it. I do music because I want to have a good time not because of all those hassles with tour managers and fucking crews that don't even know the people from the bands playing the show. I think this is going to be the ultimate thing for thrash metal this and next year and there is a big chance that we might also visit the States. We've got some first offers and everything depends on tour agents to make sure that everything is well organized because it's very important on three headlining bands' bill.
How did you get the final order in place, were fistfights part of the negotiations?
[we both laugh] We thought of doing it before each show to get a headliner but I don't think there would be much to see of our faces by the end of the tour. Right from the beginning we said let's see how it starts so, for at least first few shows we decided to rotate the order. After a while we'll see if one band, let's say doesn't feel comfortable playing before or after another, we can talk about it or change it. If one band will have the strongest response then this band will headline every night. Great thing about it is that we know and respect each other and we don't have to talk to the managers or supervisors about it.
You already mentioned the plans for the States, any dates though? What are the remaining touring plans for "The Antichrist"?
We're going to start touring in Europe in December shortly after Christmas and it's going to last until February. Then we play some single shows like in Greece, Japan and then there is a big chance we'll come to the States but it's not our decision, it's up to the record company and promoters.
Do you plan to re-release the old Destruction albums, re-mastered, with bonus tracks?
I would like to but we don't have the rights. We'll find out very soon... we still have some difficulties with our old company. I would love to release something proper for our fans but if it's not possible, we won't get the right to it, we'll try to find the best solution.
To sum it up, do you think thrash metal can make its comeback to the metal scene and be as popular as it was in the early 80s?
Everything looks pretty good right now and what's most important there are many good new releases that come up or will be coming up in the next few months. New Slayer, Destruction, Kreator, Sodom and a few more are definitely first steps in the right direction. We'll see, we can't force anything we'll just try do our stuff, our music and the fans will decide. Like death metal, thrash metal was never dead it was underground and now it's just a matter of young bands being influenced by that music again.
Definitely the main components are there, the greatest bands from the 80s are back and I can only wish you luck and hope to see you live.
Thank you. Like I said before there is a big chance we just need to find a proper agent because we don't want to work with unprofessional people anymore. I'm almost sure that sooner or later we will come over, maybe not at the beginning of the next year but most probably around summer or autumn...
It's been a pleasure talking to you.
Thank you, same here and thank you for promoting the band and for keeping the spirit of heavy metal alive in the States. I know it's difficult but it's going to come back, don't worry it's been this same in Europe.
I hope so.
Born To Perish
The Big Teutonic 4
Day Of Reckoning
Inventor Of Evil
All Hell Breaks Loose
The Least Successful Human Cannonball
Them Not Me
Live Without Sense
Release From Agony
Sentence Of Death
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