The day of reckoning is upon us - Schmier speaks out.
German thrash legends 'Destruction' just keep on going, creating devastating albums one after another and there really is no stopping this power thrash trio. Both Mike and Schmier have continued to keep this band alive for over 2 decades, even when Schmier left the band Mike carried the name on for as long as he could until Schmier returned in 1999 and the album 'All hell breaks Loose' was recorded for Nuclear Blast. The band however recorded 2 more albums for this label before signing to AFM records and now the band have returned to Nuclear Blast with the forthcoming new album 'The Day of Reckoning' which is soon to be released in 2011. I can tell you that this is an awesome and typical Destruction style album, packed full of hard hitting thrash riffs and screaming vocals by Schmier. Well the man himself took time out to give me a call to talk about the new album and what the future holds. I Started by asking him about the last DVD that the band recorded at Wacken titled 'A Savage Symphony - The History of Annihilation', just how much fun was it recording and playing that show?
"Well it was really exiting to do, it was with 3 drummers and anything could go wrong on the day and it was a fucked up show anyway. There were so many little details and so many guests and so much fire on the stage that anything could happen. I'm never nervous at any show but for some reason I was at Wacken when we were filming the show. It was kind of a thrill but it turned out to be just great with 3 drummers and I think it was pretty unique to say the least. (Ed: The DVD is amazing, I just wish I had of been there to actually see the show). Yeah you really had to be there to actually see the show, we are better life as you already know, but Wacken was suppose to of been a surprise and a then these 3 drum kits appeared on stage was just amazing."
Did you actually rehearse with the 3 drummers before the show actually happened?
"Yeah we did actually, we actually met up twice before the show and rehearsed otherwise you just can't do it, it would of been chaos!!"
So I guess with the new drummer there will be another live DVD in the near future? I love to watch them but I don't like to do them because there no so productive and when you record an album you have more time to get things right. So when you work on a DVD you have a few people working on the end results, whereas on a album you have pretty much full control. On the Wacken DVD some of the camera's were not working so there were lots of black outs so we didn't have the full performance with the cameras and I was pissed off with it. I do however love the DVD with the way it turned out and I think DVD's should be out every couple of years."
Looking back at your previous albums, which ones stand out for you and why?
"That's difficult one to say really, it's like saying which is your best ex girlfriend?
"No not at all, not for the next 10yrs, it is not my favourite thing to be honest. Its like saying one sucks better than the other haha!! I have some highlights with such albums like 'Infernal Overkill' and 'The Antichrist' is one of the highlights of the new generation and I also like the new album a lot because has it has a lot of the same vibes as 'The Antichrist' which is more faster and aggressive with some great songs. You like them all somehow but not every album is the same."
As most people will want to know the reason why Marc left the band? Was he fired or did he just leave? Are you still friends?
"Well it was like if it doesn't work anymore it is over, this was the same thing with Marc. We had problems with him for 2 yrs and it was Mike and myself on side and him on the other side. It ended up been him not been a team player anymore and he wasn't standing behind the band and he wasn't happy with the sound he did and he wanted to play more progressive or more rock influenced & he was just drifting apart. At one point you just have to pull the plug and as it doesn't work anymore. We did that in 2009 and in 2010 we were not going to work with him again, he had to let him go for the sake of the band & to save the band from being destroyed. It was a tough year for us and he had to prepare for the next album and look for a new label. I wish Marc all the best for the future but it just didn't work for us. We are not really friends anymore, and I tried to make it a clean cut but I heard he was talking shit about me and I was pissed off about it and I tried to make a clean cut so everybody is happy."
So I guess after see in the band at this years 'Bang Your Head' festival in Germany you decided to have Vaaver as your new drummer, I know you were auditioning him at that time. So things have worked out for the best then?
"Yeah they have. He is actually taller than I am haha!! We did actually audition some other guys too, but Vaaver is from Poland and he did some shows with us and he plays the drums really tight and he is a really cool guy. He actually recorded the album and at one point we decided at have him in the band and he did a great job in the studio and after that we knew we had the right guy for the job. We had some great drummers auditioning for the band so thanks to them also. Vaaver is so reliable & a nice guy we knew he had the right guy for the band. He use to play drums for a band called '(Indukti & ex Unsun', which were progressive rock and he also played in a band with the former guitarist from Vader. We took our time finding the right drummer this time as we didn't want to get it wrong again & I hope he will stay with us till then end of our career."
So let's talk about the new album 'The Day of Reckoning', so why the title for this album? Was there any other titles in mind?
"Well 2012 about the end of the world and I think this really good for my lyrics. I believe that the world will come to an end if we continue to carry on the way we are doing so. So I am telling people this in my lyrics and it is typical Destruction lyrics and I think the lyrics go well with the title of the album. It's a very strong title for a very aggressive album. I think the world could end in 2011 as we have a lot of bad signs right now and things are fucked up and people don't give a shit about it, with more money and more greed and people just don't give a fuck! I guess maybe we all deserve all of this. Politics and the industry they work people into the gutter & as much as I love my rock & roll life it also makes you think sometimes. We had no other titles for this album this was the title for the album which suits our music. I came up with the name and I explained it to Mike and the title was perfect for this album."
Did the title have anything to do with the movie '2012'?
"Yes of course it did in some way, because a lot of people told me the film was shit & I expected a very bad Hollywood movie but it has too much of this Hollywood bullshit in the film which has some true and some fiction were the poor people will not know what's going on but it was defiantly an inspiration for the album."
So who did the art work for the new album?
"It was the last artist who did the last albums, he lives in Hungry and he is a total metal head. I would love to work with him again because he shares the same views as we do and you need the same guy who shares the same dark imaginations as me. I drive him crazy sometimes with all my crazy ideas but he does a fantastic job. Also the cover with the eye will continue in the CD booklet with more pictures and the mad butcher will be in there too."
I also read that the band logo will not be on the front cover why is that?
"Well the band logo will only be in the slip case but we left the cover on the ltd edition blank and there will be a slip cover around it with the eye catching demon with the snake which stands for all mankind. I think the cover is a real eye catcher and is really strong and today we did some designs for t shirts & and they look really strong."
So where was the album produced?
"Well we started the recordings in Germany & we recorded the demos first and we wanted to take our time with this record with playing festivals, coming back to finish some more of the album off and so we changed some of the arrangements with some details just to make sure we are happy with the end results. I think the quality of the songs are better and them we mixed the album in Denmark with Jacob Hansen (ex Invocator) and we tried to make this album more pure with no effects with the guitars, every thing is very clean and it is more thrash sounding and not so over produced. Jacob did a great job."
So why didn't you work with Peter from Hypocrisy?
"Well Peter is very busy with his band and also Pain as well as producing lots of albums. Jacob also did a great job on our last live album and he is just so easy to work with and I didn't want to chance the winning team."
Are you totally happy with the way the album turned out?
"Yes I am happy, like I said we have taken our time with this album and mix I just love the guitar sound on this record & I think it is the best guitar sound Mike has ever had since 1999. I think the bass guitar could be a little louder but we had some problems with the guitars so that's why the guitars sound so loud. We wanted this album to be guitar driven.
Was it difficult recording this album when you were doing festivals and then entering the studio again?
"Well our new drummer said he wanted to push with positive energy and after every recording we had a good party just to relax with good discussions and positive & creative discussions about everything. It was the most relaxing recordings we had ever had."
Does Vaaver still live in Poland or has he moved closer to the band in Germany?
"Well he still lives in Poland, but Marc was from Berlin and he was very close to Poland so it really didn't matter if Vaaver was living here or in Poland. The both have to fly in because we live so far south in Germany so it didn't really bother us too much. We don't practice too much as we are all professionals and we only practice for tours and special occasions & albums."
What are the songs about on the album and which ones stand out for you and why?
"Well that is fucking difficult to answer, I think that the 1st 5 songs are killer, I like the song 'The Price', because of the pure aggression and it kicks you in your face, it's the energy of the song and we have just proven ourselves that we can still write songs like we did when we were younger. Well basically the songs on the album are not very positive in a way of saying something nice or and I try to give hints or looks into my soul but I try not to make this into a too obvious way. So I wouldn't go in and tell people what my lyrics are about so its better to read them and then everybody can have their own opinion about them. Words can be twisted about in different ways but if you listen to the songs first and then you should not take everything that people want from you. The price is about not taking shit from your boss, or whoever you have to fight for the price."
Does this album feature any guest musicians like the last album?
"Yes this album features Ol Drake from Evile who helped out when Mike broke his finger on tour last year and he became a good friend of the band whilst on tour. He would be the perfect 2nd guitarist for the band and he fits into the band perfectly and he is a new generation of thrash guitar players so we had to invite him to play on the record because he is a huge Destruction fan. If he ever feels like joining our band we would love to have him in the band."
Will the band be doing a promotional video for this album? If so which song?
"Yes we are, we are talking about this right now, the label want us to record a video for the song 'Hate is my Fuel' which is a good title for a video I think. We have no concept ideas right now it is something we need to talk about with the director. Today video clips are not really needed because nobody is playing them and record labels really don't support them anymore."
So why did you leave AFM Records? and Why return to Nuclear Blast?
"Well we left AFM as our contract was finished and it was just time to return to Nuclear Blast as I was missing them and we had a really good time there with them in the past and if I had to look back at all the years I've played music I would say that Nuclear Blast has been the best label throughout my career. I left a lot of friends when I left that label so I asked the label if I could come back. They were very happy to have us back with them. yes I am still friends with AFM Records, nothing went wrong with the label and us, it was just the fact that the contract was over and N.B. are a bigger label and they have the best distribution that any heavy metal band could ever have. I need the best label so our fans around the world can buy my records."
Have you heard any Destruction tribute CD's and if you did what would you think of them?
"I have heard a lot of good cover songs so far, I sometimes go on You Tube and check out some cover songs that bands do of ours and find out which is the most played songs by other bands."
So looking back at the bands early material would you ever consider re-recording more older songs?
"Well I don't think we need to do another album like that, it's not really needed anymore. I have been told that we should re-do 'Cracked Brain' with my vocals on it as it was a great album pity I didn't play on it. We did a remake of the song 'Curse of the Gods' & 'Eternal Ban', so we did the album 'Thrash Anthems' for the young kids who wanted to check out the band, it worked out really well."
So where would you like to tour if you could?
"Well we have been to a lot of places so far but there where places that we wanted to go to but couldn't and I would like to play some more places in the far east and Asia like Singapore, Malaysia, Tai-land, etc....I would like to play Arabian countries as they are really getting into metal and they are crying out for shows out there. There's lots of places I want to play still."
So when does the next tour start and who with?
"Well the next tour starts in February with Over Kill and Heathen in Europe in March, and yes the UK is on there too in London. Then we go to South America & then festivals and then some headlining shows."
As always Schmier its always a pleasure talking and meeting you, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes thanks to our fans
for their supports, we hope you like the new album when it comes out next year
in 2011. Check us out if you can life and keep metal alive. See you in London
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