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Schmier Destruction - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

MARCEL "SCHMIER" SCHIRMER

DESTRUCTION


Destruction

As one of the Big Teutonic 4 of the European thrash movement, Destruction have always been at the forefront of thrash metal. 33 years in and their latest album "Under Attack" shows no sign of the veterans slowing down at all, with rave reviews and fans around the world praising it as being one of their best yet. We speak to the frontman known as "Schmier" to discuss the album, the internet age, thrash metal and more.

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Andrew: Hey how's it going?

Schmier: Hey Andrew I'm alright! How are you?

Andrew: Yeah I'm very well! So how's things with the band at the moment?

Schmier: Actually this is like a last minute interview so sorry for the delay. But we're in rehearsal right now, we're leaving for Brazil tomorrow so it's really the last time to catch me before we take off.

Andrew: Well thanks for your time, it's appreciated. We've been listening to the new album for the last week or so and it's absolutely killer stuff so congratulations on it, you must be pretty happy with how the songs have turned out.

Schmier: Yeah we're happy, especially with the reactions. We always put a lot of effort in every album but this time has paid off and the fans react really great, the reviews are the best we've had in 15 years so I guess we did something right!

Andrew: [laughs] yeah well you guys have been around for such a long time so getting that kind of recognition in this part of your career must feel pretty good.

Schmier: Yeah I mean we've never really had many bad reviews but this time after 33 years, you don't expect the reviews to be that explosive. It's a big step compared to the last record review-wise so of course it's always nice to see that the old farts can still do it.

Andrew: [laughs] From what I have read, the process for this album was a little bit different, I guess you recorded this at various different studios. What was the idea behind all that?

Schmier: The idea was not to stop the live shows. Usually we take a 2 or 3 month gap for writing the album, recording the demos for the album and then the final recording process, another 3 or 4 weeks normally. So you lose 3 months of live shows and we said this time, let's find different ways to do it so we can still play live. And it worked well because once you come home from the shows, you have a certain energy like a push in your back from the fans and the live vibe is in your neck so going into the studio right away to record and do demos was a good idea because it was fresh. We also recorded all the ideas right away as demos so we kept all the ideas on tape right away so we could work on everything and we came back from the tours and it was very effective. Actually it was much faster than we thought.

Andrew: Obviously it's a bit early to even talk about another album but does that make you think about on the next album that maybe you will do the same sort of process again?

Schmier: Why not? The only problem is we gotta find a studio that let's you in for those 1 or 2 days that you always need. We went to the studio at least 5, 6, 7 times to record everything so we are lucky to have a studio here that is owned by a friend so we kind of always kept 1 or 2 days free every month when we came back. But I can totally see that, to do it again like this. It worked really well this time.

Andrew: You guys have always had a bit of a lively feel to your songs anyway but this time around it seems you really captured your live energy that you have on stage.

Schmier: Yeah it's thrash, it's all about the energy. It's very important to catch that vibe that thrash music has. People who have never seen Destruction live before are like, 'Yeah man I caught you live and it was great'. I think thrash works best live so a lot of fans are seeing us live and then buying the record also, especially when we play the festivals. We try to catch that energy for the album without making an album that is too messy, I mean nowadays for me it's important to have all those people to still say, 'Oh my god you don't sound like the 80's anymore'. Yeah because we were messy players. If you want messy players again, then listen to the 80's, sorry.

Andrew: Yeah exactly! Thrash metal has been around for such a long time and you guys have always been at the forefront so you are basically bringing thrash metal to the modern era, away from the old school 80's stuff.

Schmier: I think it's important to make a bridge to find a way between new school and old school and it's not so easy. We're still on our approach, we change procedures also because we weren't so satisfied with the last album soundwise because we wanted to have a little bit more of a live feel. A little more real and not so over produced. Of course nowadays it has to be powerful, all the kids grew up on the powerful production nowadays so you gotta go a bit with the flow to make a powerful album. But I think it was a little risky this time to do it that way but I think we did good.




Andrew: Well speaking of thrash metal, I know in the last 10 years or so, thrash metal has had a bit of a resurgence in popularity. A lot of the younger kids have started getting into it and a lot of new bands have started to pop up. What's your take on the whole thrash metal today compared to what it was back in the 80's?

Schmier: The thrash metal of new is pissed off and I think a lot of kids are pissed off today at society, at life, at a lot of things. It's how we started and I'm glad that thrash metal has something to say, it's not forgotten. We have our underground music here and we're talking about stuff that's not played on radio or on TV so it's a little miracle that this music has survived all those years and I'm very glad to welcome all those kids again. A thrash metal fan nowadays is not our age, it's more between 15 and 25.

Andrew: And speaking of people getting pissed off, there's a song on the new album called "Second To None" where you talk about people spewing their hatred and all that kind of stuff, cyber bullies, keyboard warriors...however you want to call it. What was the inspiration behind that? Was it something that happened to you on the internet?

Schmier: It's everything, I saw it all. We saw the stalkers, we saw the haters, we saw the death threats, we saw the bullying. Some stuff on us, some stuff on me personally, some stuff on my girlfriend, people around [us]. It's just time to say fuck off guys, what the fuck are we doing? Use your fucking brains! This is a metal community, why do we mop each other in the net? In the end it's just a mirror of society, people are frustrated, they are used to sitting in front of the TV or their computers and they spread their hate because they're not satisfied with their life. It's a mirror of society that just happens everywhere, of course it happens in the metal scene too. I like the metal scene as a community and it has to stay like that so I don't like to see that shit, especially on some forums, there's only hate going on with those bashers. It's like, dude, have a life. Stop it.

Andrew: Yeah exactly. Music and especially metal is supposed to be all about bringing people together and having a common interest so I don't understand that myself as well.

Schmier: Exactly! It's like an international phenomenon, people from all over the world who like this kind of music stay together. You don't need politicians or religion or whatever, we're having something to share and it's such a great thing what we have achieved for the metal scene without any promotion from the common media. It's precious so fucking don't destroy it.

Andrew: Do you think it's always existed though but just nowadays it's more common because it's easier for people to have their say on their opinion?

Schmier: Of course, exactly! Now every idiot has a voice, every idiot can go on the internet and raise his voice and bash the loudest and hurt the most. It's why they go in there, to scream for attention. It's all they want is attention in the end. So I guess there's nothing you can do but for me it was time to say something about it because it's kind of ignored and nobody's talking about it and it was funny to see that people call themselves Troll Of Hell as an email address. Because that's all they do the whole day and then they have on facebook under the hobbies header, like trolling and stuff...OK yeah, well fine. It was just time for me to say something, we knew we would get a shitstorm from those idiots but that was expected and it was to provocate, then maybe some people will wake up.

Andrew: As far as touring is concerned, I guess there will be some songs from the new album that you will be playing. Will "Second To None" be one of them?

Schmier: Yeah "Second To None" is already in the setlist, we already played it on the last tour and we're about to go to South America now and play a couple of songs off the record. The album is just out so we have to test which songs people like the most and which songs we like to play the most but so far we have 3 songs in the setlist and it will be maybe 3, 4 or 5 maximum I guess. It's a good album I think and people want to hear the songs, we're still going to put a lot of classics in the setlist but we have a strong album so 4 or 5 songs should be in the setlist.

Andrew: Yeah I guess because you have such a big catalogue of albums now that when you have new material to bring into the setlist, it must be quite difficult to throw away some of the older stuff to make room for it.

Schmier: It is. We usually have a good solution for this that at the end of the set, asking the kids what they want to hear and we have a big repertoire of songs so we can choose everything. Most of the songs people scream for we can play so that is what we usually do because every crowd is different, every night is different. Sometimes you want to hear really old songs, sometimes you want to hear covers or whatever so we usually act on the crowd. And yes it's difficult but we have a long show, usually one and a half, one hour 40 so it fits in a lot.




Andrew: Well it's been a few years since you've been to Australia so is there any chance you guys will be coming back down under for this tour?

Schmier: Yeah it's definitely going to happen, we're talking to some guys at the moment and there's a huge chance. We've been talking to some promoters but it's not so easy to come to Oz because the scene is rather small and it's far away so a lot of costs. So you basically got to tour in Asia before coming down under but this time we find a promoter hopefully that is willing to bring us, we're talking at the moment and hopefully the beginning of next year it should happen so I'm crossing my eyes [laughs].

Andrew: Yeah we would love to have you back!

Schmier: We would love to play Australia, great times the 2 times we were there. Very dedicated fans and lovely country so we really want to come back so I think it looks pretty good. Also the Oz metal press has been really good on the album so that's always an important step also. So it's going to happen, I'm pretty sure. Actually I'm 100 percent sure.

Andrew: Well it will be great to have you back in the country. Thrash metal is one of my favorite genres of music, I love thrash so it's great to see you guys keep going. After all these years, what keeps you going? Do you still love playing live? Do you still love playing the music that you do after all these years?

Schmier: Oh yeah live is the essence of everything. You compose in the studio and everything is great and when you have a new album, it's a fantastic feeling but playing live is the shit and also it's something that keeps you in shape. It's always a challenge and the energy is great when you interact with the crowd, it's very intense and there's no feeling in the world that's better than after the show. Whne the show is done and everything went great, the feeling you have is similar to after sex [laughs]. Just a little bit better! [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] Well congratulations on the new album, killer stuff and thanks for your time today. Really appreciate it!

Schmier: My pleasure!


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on May 23rd 2016