Hello-hello! It’s good to talk to you!
Firstly, please tell me, how can I pronounce your name correctly, Schmier?
Yeah, Schmier is perfect!
Welcome you at Kronos Mortus metal magazine! The fun fact is that your band, Destruction is older than me, I’m 30 years old… What’s the secret of this constant success?
I think the passion for what we do is the main thing. We love the music, we love what we do. We have a big pleasure doing this kind of music and that’s, I think, like everything in life, you know, if you enjoy what you do, you can deliver a better quality. I mean that’s the secret behind us. We have gone, like everybody ups and downs and difficult situations. You have to get up, stand up and enjoy what you do and that’s all we always did and I feel all of this years of experince now I think we can enjoy much more than we did before.
I see. As we know, 2 new musicians joined the band and I want to ask you, what’s your opinion about the new guys?
We got two guys and we knew them for a long time. Randy Black, who played in Primal Fear before for many years and he’s also a cult drummer for a long time. And our new guy, Damir on the guitar, he’s maybe not such a famous guitar player but all he’s into the music since he was a little kid and he’s well-experinced also. And we’ve got the guys in the band 100% focused on Destruction and focused on the music. And we are professionals, you know and it’s not so easy you know, when you have personal life also, decide between music and woman and kids. It’s not so easy to do all this because we play a lot of shows every year and you’re looking for two guys willing to come and tour with us, invest a lot of time in the band and being professional musicians. Both guys are friends, both of ours and we know them for many years, so that’s of course another important thing if you get along with them, you know what to expect.
What the new guys’ role, creating the new album?
The songwriters are Mike, our rhtym guitarist and me, we’re writing songs together. But we are giving a chance to contribute to the other guys as well. Our drummer, Randy Black contributed with drum ideas and patterns, structures to the songs. He came out with some beat stuff so we recreated that songs later on. Our guitar player, Damir, he’s a really good guitar player, so he took care about the lead guitars and solos and all of that on the album so he contributed with lot of little details on the record which make the album really special. Me, as the singer really cared about the shredding and the melodies.
Let’s talk a bit about Born to Perish. What was in your mind right after finishing this new album?
Every album is like a birth of a new child, you know. You wait eagerly to come out, to be finished and you don’t know what comes out at the end! Because you create something but don’t know at the end what comes out but this time I’m really satisfied about what we’ve done on the recordings. We went smooth at the writing process, we had very good cooperation between the band members and all the new ideas worked out well. Also there was during the writing period sometimes a bit of disagreement but at the end everything went out smooth, so very are very happy about the new members. They’re felt very welcomed and comfortable. They contributed a very good way to the album, so I was very happy when I heard the album first time and I’m still that! You know, this album was recorded since March this year, so it’s already six months old. I’m still very proud of it, sounds still great to me. I like the songs, we’ll play the first of those songs live in the festivals and it feels really good to play those songs live on the setlist.
That’s really cool! Where the recording had been taken?
We were in Switzerland in a little creek. We live in Germany but we live at the border of Switzerland and the studio was like only one hour away from here, so we recorded the steps in between concerts and then we took two months off in December and January when we focused on the writing and recording of the album. You know, studio and engineering needs a lot of craft and you know, people who we worked with in the past before, we developed a new level in working with them together.
What are the main characteristics of the new album?
On one hand, I think the album represents the ’in your face’ school, it’s fast. On the other hand, musically it’s a dark but also catchy album. So it sticks to your mind when you hear it a couple of times. The lyrical content is also an important part of the album because our lyrics are dealing with the topics of life and death and we’re criticising the society and the system on it. As a trash band, it’s an important part of the music, too.
As I know, cover art made by the well-known Gyula Havancsák. How was your work with Gyula?
Gyula is a fantastic artist and we’re working with him for many years. The first time we worked with him was in 2006. Yeah, we work with him for 13 years now and he’s a fantastic artist and also a musician! So, he is a musician and a painter at the same time. What we do is that we sent him the songs and lyrics before he made the cover so he could understand what we’re doing. And then he give me an idea of the cover, a sketch if we loved it and then we thought we wish to see it live on our record and this album was different because we wanted it to be darker and more like a coat of arms, like a patch, an emblem kind of album cover. At the end, our album cover got great reactions from the crowd, fans fell in love with it, so it turned out to be a really good approach.
Is there any special meaning behind the cover art?
Yeah, it actually looks like a bird of prey if you look at it but it’s a vulture. A vulture with two heads, you know. And for me it stands for the greed of mankind. And if you see those symbols, there’s a baby of course that stands for being born and symbols of death like skulls, guns and stuff that brings death, also. You see religious symbols and other that stands for the majestic mankind. We put a lot more details into the cover that has a very strong image. But if you look at it deeply, these details are hints on the lyrics of the album.
There’s a video clip for Inspired by Death. Who was the creator and what can you say about the video clip itself?
I wrote that song when one of my friends passed away. When he died, it was a really bad period for me, at the end of last year. I was really upset then and I started writing the lyrics. It is about mourning of my friend who died and the sad feeling that you feel when somebody among your loved ones, dies. It’s about the feeling of being not able to do something when this happens, you know, because he left this world alone and you couldn’t say goodbye to this person. So the lyrics written for as a goodbye to my friend, basically. But the song itselt is very important because it’s a song about enjoying life, you know. It’s a song about death in one way, but in the same way it’s also a song about enjoying life and we wanted a video that expresses it. It expresses the sorrow of death but also expresses the feeling of being alive that you have to enjoy it. I think it’s a very dark video and it’s a very fast cut video with a lot of cool images and for me it’s also a big tribute to those people who died, they also named at the end of the video.
Being part of the metal scene for 30-40 years is quite a long time. What’s your opinion about nowadays trash metal bands and trash metal scene, compared to the 80’s-90’s?
Music goes to ups and downs, you know. I was there when heavy metal was born, in the beginning of 80’s. I was among the guys who created trash metal and it’s a very special moment if you are a part of it. But I was also there when everything died in the 90’s when techno came and metal scene was dying basically, all the bands was splitting up, trash metal was also in a very difficult situation. Destruction split up, they were without me for some years. All the other bands were also in a similarly difficult situation, you know. So I’m very happy that the scene had had a big comeback in the last 20 years. We created trash metal scene’s big time, also the heavy metal scene of course. And I’m very happy to see that there are young people coming to our shows nowadays. A whole new generation of bands, and they also play trash metal again! Trash metal is an unconvential music, it’s very far from the mainstream, you know. So it’s not so easy to put it from generation to generation and this is for me a fantastic thing to see because I’m kind of a godfather of trash. So we would not know if this will survive but I can see the scene is going on, the torches giving to the new generation. And that’s great to see, you know. Of course the old bands delivering good albums, it is important, but it’s a new great mix of generations now.
Among the so far released 17 albums, what are most popular 3 ones among the fans?
The most famous album, it’s of course, from the beginning, maybe our first or our second album, since our very first output was a mini album. Yeah, Infernal Overkill is one of our most successful albums because it was the beginning of trash metal. It was a strong record and still have a lot of songs from that album we’re playing on our setlist live, so these are just good songs there, like trash metal anthems. And I think another important album is definitely The Antichrist album when we came back. We needed a come back album with me in Destruction in 1999. We could call All Hell Breacks Loose which was an important album but the album afterwards that called The Antichrist, this is the album that really brought Destruction back as one of the scene icons. It has very strong records because it has a lot of good songs and brought Destruction back to the table basically. In that time trash metal wasn’t so famous anymore. So I think this is our second very important album in our career. And I have to say now, Born to Perish is a very important album for us because there are two new members in the band, it’s a new fresh wind in the band that will hopefully carry on for the next 10-15 years with us and it was another important album for us to carry on the next years, you know. Because it’s not so easy to maintain a career. So I think Born to Perish was a right album at a right time. New line-up, very strong album and very good feeling about this album that Born to Perish will be a next classic in the future.
What are your favourite three ones, personally?
I just said my favourite albums are Infernal Overkill, it definitely goes to my favourite album personally. Another favourite of mine is Live without Sense which is our live album from 1989 because it catches the band at its best time in the 80’s. It’s a very good reflection of the 80’s and it’s a good choice to come back and listen to Destruction how it was back in the 80’s, you know. And I think for the new generation albums we like the Trash Anthems albums which are our best of albums. We re-recorded old songs with a little bit of twist and with better recording and better playing. Every song is like a baby for you, you know. So when you’re a mother and you have 10 babies and you’re asked: Which ones are your favourite babies and you say: No, I love them all! So, it’s similar with music. I love all my music. Not every album is as good as the other one but every of them made with heart blood, made with passion. So every album is always a special album for us. I mean, we did so many albums for so many years, it still means something because music means memory, means emotions.
I think your new album will find its way in the row and in people’s heart also. How was the album reception so far?
It was actually outstanding. I mean, we knew we have a good album, we knew we’re going to have good reaction from the press people also, but fans’ reactions from Saturday on the net are outstanding, amazing! These are the best reactions we had in 20 years for a new record. People are really excited, everybody is posting pictures with the album, people are recommending it everywhere. Also I saw today in German Top 100 charts of the last weekend, we hit the nr. 12 on Friday. To be in Top 20 in Germany means you’re in the big scene of heavy metal bands. So receptions are amazing. I think it’s the best reception we’ve had in the band’s history. And it’s of course a very tough moment because when you’re doing something and you’re doing it for so long, it’s not so easy anymore to get to maintain this passion from the crowd because people are used to the band and it’s very great to get the honor that people has such a special reaction on this new album because it’s an important album for us as I said before. With two new members it was a kind of launcher album and it will basically define the future of the band, also. So I’m very happy that we have such a great reaction.
I can just congratulate to this new born baby! As for the live shows: you’ve played recently in Party San Open Air. How was the show about?
It was very great! Especially the Brutal Assault Festival on Friday! And on Saturday we played on the Party San Festival. Both shows were really crazy with its big audiences, there was great to the band to perform in the weekend because we reached a lot of people, we could perform the new songs to big audiences and we had a good time both places. Party San was a great show but I think in the Czech Repulic was a bit better at Brutal Assault. We got no problems on stage there. At Party San, we had some microphones and guitar amplifiers that were broken. So there were some technical difficulties on the show but it was still great reactions from the people for both concerts.
That’s good! What are your plans for the future?
I hope we can do this as long as possible, you know. The music time’s so rough, it’s a whole new break at the moment, everbody is taking over the swimming, you know, and the physical sales are going down. So, I’m just hoping that the music scene will survive, Destruction would still be able to survive the next 10-15 years to play music. I really enjoy this, we have a great time touring the world and I hope we can do this much longer!
At the end of our talking, could you tell us a bit about yourself? Do you have a job or hobbies, apart from the music, for example?
No, when you’re a musician, it’s a full-time job, you know. I’m doing nothing else besides the music. We’re 24 hours working, living and breathing the band, you know. If you wanna be successful in this business, you have to do it a 100% or you’re just a hobby musician, you know. So we’re doing it with a 100% dedication for the band. So, when I’m not playing with the band, I’m basically promoting the band or I’m doing the interviews or I’m doing social media stuff for the band. I’m also managing the band, I’m working with the booking agent together to make all the concerts happen, so it’s 24 hours music for me. But of course if I have some time, then I like doing some sports, I like to go to the gym, riding a bicycle, I love football… I used to play football when I was a young kid and football is still a very important thing for me, distract from the music craziness. But besides that, we play a lot of tours and shows and for me that’s not so many other things for hobbies that you can do when you’re a musician. Basically, you have to step back from a lot of things, because you’re on the road all the time.
It was nice to talk to you and I wish all the best for you and for the whole band for the future!
Thank you very much, it was a big pleasure! Which country are you from?
I’m from Hungary, like Gyula Havancsák!
We’re going definitely to play in Hungary at the Rockmaraton Festival. We’ll be there for sure!
That’s really good to hear!
We’re looking forward to come back to Hungary!
We’re waiting for you here! Thank you for the interview! Good bye!
Okay, have a nice week! Bye-bye, Zsuzsanna!
The interview was taken with Schmier on 12.08.2019.Contributed by: Zsuzsanna Muszka