Destruction’s Schmier speaks to Terrorizer…

By on 29 July 2016

“A Thrash Band Has To Name The Problems Of Today…”

Terrorizer 271 is still available by mail order.

Terrorizer 271 is still available by mail order.

In Terrorizer 271, Terrorizer’s Kat Gillham interviewed Schmier, the frontman of legendary German thrashers Destruction. This is the full interview, with Schmier talking about the bands latest album ‘Under Attack’ released earlier in the summer by Nuclear Blast.

Terrorizer: Your latest album “Under Attack” is out now, this album from the get go is relentless in its intensity and aggression, what were you wanting to get out through this new material vibe wise, what kind of effect were you wanting this new album to have on the listeners? Any particular statement of intent in mind when penning this one?

Schmier: I guess we have achieved our goals when you tell me this mate…hahaha! as a band that is in the business for so long. my main goal is always to sound fresh, brutal and original! A thrash record should always be a slap in your face and the riffing should blow you away and surprise you …

What was the goal when you hit the studio, what did you really want to achieve sonically with this new album?

We have learned from the last years that we need an aggressive but more open production, no triggers, less compression – more pure and real! that was the main aim when we hit the studio, let the band sound like Destruction and not like the producer!

Would you agree it is one of the most vicious sounding destruction albums since the reformation with yourself? There’s a certain “fire” to this new material. How would you describe this new material yourself?

It’s maybe not as easy as people think to write new songs – yes the fire has to be there!  This time we took a bigger break, never stopped playing live not even during the production, it kept us more connected with the music, as thrash works best live. we all know that … we did a lot of albums, DVDs and even a live record in the last years, so we decided to let a bit more time pass before creating new material.  This time  one of the main keys to sound good that we were not in a hurry, we have no reason to rush, we can play anywhere in the world even without a new record!
And hey we are not getting any younger… haha… but the experience is a huge achievement that we meanwhile use in a more productive way!

“…all the hate in the internet, a sad progression of our way to communicate…”

Lyrically what inspired you to put pen to paper this time around? Please elaborate a bit about that and the album title itself? There seems to be some strong subject matter. “Generation Nevermore” has a very nihilistic and apocalyptic kinda ring to it.

It was never easier than now, to write about all this depressive circumstances! The threat is real. it has arrived in most of our heads. it’s not just the war and the environmental problems, it’s the way we interact with our own race, family, friends, partners and ourselves that is most scary to me!  A thrash band has to name the problems of today, at least in my book… some stuff already created lots of confusion, like the lyrics of ‘Second to None’, which deal with all the hate in the internet, a sad progression of our way to communicate…

The album cover is very striking, please tell us a bit about the background of that. it looks just as iconic as some of your classic / older album covers._and just screams “thrash”! I guess that was the whole intention? an album cover depicting total and complete global destruction?!

I wanted to do this cover for a while but now the time was right! Our skull as an exploding planet is s a very obvious idea, a warning, a wake up call and a very strong image for this kind of music. when you see the cover you kind of say “fuck yeah” on one side but it also makes you think about the world we live in at the moment…

“Routine is killing creativity”

You decided to record the album in various locations over a 5 month period, why did you take this approach instead of just booking a few weeks in a row at one studio? What do you feel this different approach in recording has brought into this new album?

Routine is killing creativity, that’s why we have chosen a different way to record and still play live every month. It worked really good for us because we had demos we could work on from day one of the production process. I would do it this way anytime again, it worked great for us! And no studio stress and time frame drama …

Why did you choose these specific locations to record “Under Attack”? What do you think this helped to achieve dynamically?

The studio in Switzerland is very close to our home, so no isolation in a studio abroad and Vo Pulver (Poltergeist, Gurd, Panzer) is a good friend, fantastic musician, a music fanatic and a great sound engineer, he recorded all basics and mixed the record with us, he understands the bands philosophy the best!  For the drums we wanted a big room cause we did not use any samples this time, so the Gernhard studio close to Cologne and its engineer Martin Buchwalter (drummer of the German band “Personal War”) was the perfect fit, we worked together before, and hey… a drummer that records a drummer is just the perfect constellation of percussion nerdiness!

There’s a Venom cover “Black Metal” on the new album, not the first time you have recorded a cover but why did you choose to record this one? It features a guest appearance too by Alex from Krisiun please tell us how that collaboration came about.

Two years ago we did jam “Black Metal” at Rock in Rio with our friends from ‘Krisiun’  – it was one of those magic moments on stage. unforgettable!  so we wasted not a second on doing any other cover than this classic from our childhood, a song of metal history!

How did the writing process come together for “Under Attack”? Do you write a lot and find inspiration for new ideas on the road these days?

I even have a recording app on my mobile phone – I learned to catch ideas when you have them. but best works for me at home, with a nice drink and some hours of silence. as i’m also writing a lot of the riffs, I have to make sure riffmeister Mike is impressed about my ideas, that’s always the best motivation! we select and write stuff together in the end!

It’s the 30th anniversary of “Eternal Devastation” this year, anything planned for that? Or are you mainly focusing on the new assault?

We will do three festivals this summer that will have a special! Eternal Devastation twist: Rock Hard Festival/Germany, Brutal Assault/Czech and Gefle Metalfest in Sweden! We will also headline europe and the world with this strong new record, starting in Latin America in May and Europe in September/October!

What are your thoughts looking back on that album these days in terms of production, songwriting etc…?

There are some of our evergreens on those records that I still love to play live, I have no problem to appreciate our history. some of the records don’t sound as good as they should but it was a magic time…

“…race, colour or belief doesn’t matter anymore when you hit the stage…”

Destruction are known for being quite hard touring, what aspects do you most look forward to about each album touring cycle? What motivates you after so many years active to keep hitting the road?

If you don’t like the live challenge don’t start a band.  You gotta love this shit, it s not always easy but all the great moments are paying you back. I love to see new parts of the world and realize that even remote places of the world host a lot of metalheads. And race, colour or belief doesn’t matter anymore when you hit the stage…

Are there any places you haven’t played yet that you would like to visit and play on the “Under Attack” tour cycle? If so where and why?

Some places we only played once like Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ukraine and Thailand would be great to go back. We would love to finally play in Georgia, New Zealand, Greenland, Philippines and Vietnam! A country I really wanna visit once more is Oz; Australia is the perfect mix between Europe and America with amazing friendly people… that would be a country (to which) I totally could emigrate…

“Thrash till death motherfuckers!!!”

With being one of the pioneers of the thrash metal genre do you feel like you have some kind of responsibility to lead and set an example to the younger bands of the genre? Do you feel like you still have something to prove 34 years later or…? It definitely seems like you haven’t mellowed out and became the complacent grandfathers of the scene as the new album has a certain hunger to it….like a rabid snarling beast that is still hungry for more….it sounds like there is plenty of life in destruction yet! So i guess there’s at least a few more albums in you guys yet!

We sure feel like we still have something to say! when i write a song it should have thrash vibes and still have surprises and magic moments.  We taught the kids back in the day how it works and we can still improve our own founded music!  Just repeating is very odd, even though we are always aware of our roots. it’s easy to pace down at a certain age but in the name of Lemmy, that will never be an option for Destruction!!! Thrash till death motherfuckers!!!

You have been incredibly proactive and productive since 2000 do you think it’s important not to just live on past successes and to move forward and create new music and release new albums as much as possible!?

Our  past is a gift and a curse in the same time. people will always rely on the early works of thrash! and i m proud and  i understand the importance. but for a band living in the now, the past doesn’t matter so much. I always look ahead and not back because us humans have the tendency to repress all bad stuff from the past and just keep the good in our minds… haha! Not everything was gold in the 80s – and maybe “under attack” will be a future classic for the new generation of metalheads. that s how I look at it!

Destruction 600

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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