INTERVIEW: Schmier – Destruction

With the release of their new studio album, Under Attack (read our review here), Distorted Sound got the chance to sit and have a chat with DESTRUCTION‘s front-man Schmier. Prior to the record’s release we discussed the album, the state of our planet and the new generation of thrash metal.

How are you today?

Schmier: I’m okay! A little bit stressed out because tomorrow the album is coming and we have a festival coming up so we just had a rehearsal and we have a lot of guests tomorrow. Some of the old members are going to join us on stage, which means it’s going to be quite a nice show tomorrow at Rock Hard Festival. Of course it’s coming with a lot of action and a lot of stress but I’m looking forward to the show and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s big release date! We’re all excited!

Press have already been praising Under Attack as your best yet, do you think that you improve with each release or that each is just as special as its predecessor?

Schmier: In the end, it’s the fans and press that decide what they think about the album. We did the best that we could and we took a little bit more time and effort in the album which we always do. I think this time we made the last stuff right, here and there it’s a touch better than the last releases and it seems that yeah, the press so far really likes it! I’m satisfied with how it’s turned out and let’s hope the kids out there are going to dig it as hard as the press do.

You have always released your records in short amounts of time, minus The Least Successful Human Cannonball, did you feel that with Under Attack you needed to take a different approach in terms of time?

Schmier: I would say we’ve changed procedure but we’ve been very busy recording, even between recording the album we’ve had DVD’s and live recordings, so we felt like it was the right time to change the procedure, take some more time for the actual writing and for the whole thing. There’s no pressure on us, we just realised that we can take as long as we want and of course the fans want an album but I think these four years now have been worth the wait because it’s definitely going to be great when it comes out now.

Under Attack has a couple of conceptual ideas mixed in, with your lyric video to Second to None on cyber-bullying, can you explain that for me?

Schmier: In general, it’s about the vicious mess that is on the internet nowadays, people are more rude and we all know about people who couldn’t take it anymore and killed themselves or were hospitalised. As a musician, it’s normal, I’ve been doing this for 33 years now but on the internet now, there’s more people bashing each other and I just think it’s a sad digression what we have going on here. For me, metal is a community and we have to stick together but I always see a lot of portals where people are hating each other and hating music, come on guys you know! Why do you have to hate with all of this fucking negative energy! I think it’s important and it wasn’t that hard to write a song about all of this bullshit that’s been going on in the internet. It’s starting with the bullying and then to all the haters and then we’ve all had stalkers before. I had a stalker before from a crazy fan and it’s a new quality to harassing, the internet is. I just think it wasn’t hard to write about because it’s an actual, real topic.

It’s refreshing to know that it is being taken a lot more seriously nowadays. One of your other topics was based on the artwork for Under Attack, you previously stated on how you feel the Earth is genuinely under attack, is that something you feel strongly about and where does it stem from?

Schmier: I think we are all under attack, it all starts with our mobile phones and our computers, I grew up in a different time you know. Of course when people go out nowadays, it’s under a lot of problems, so I think Under Attack is a perfect title for the general problem that we have. We are a hi-tech society, Under Attack was such an easy title, a perfect title for showing the state of the earth, we’re definitely going to have a lot of problems in the future if we don’t wake up soon and chase some stuff. We always change stuff when it’s too late! We always wait for something to happen and then we start to change stuff, it’s the same with politics. There’s going to be a time when this planet is fucked and there will be nothing left but hopefully future generations will make a change.

Well, I agree with you there, I think a lot more people are coming to their senses about what we’re doing to the planet now.

Schmier: Of course!

You’re going to be touring Europe in a few months to support Under Attack with some brilliant thrash bands, do you think doing 100% thrash tours are the best for you, or do you prefer a little bit of change in genres?

Schmier: We’ve kind of mixed the genres a little bit, we have ENFORCER who are more of a classic new wave of British heavy metal in the new costumes of the year 2000’s. I think this is a good mix because when you mix too hard it’s not working, we’ve been playing tours before with CANDLEMASS which is a classic band but are like doom metal, and that and thrash just didn’t work. In fact the tour was actually pretty terrible for fans you know because it’s too different. I think that this tour we’re gonna have is very flawless, it’s from the classic heavy metal to the thrash and the new thrash, it’s kind of a nice mix I think, I’m very happy to have all of the bands with us because I like them all.

How do you think that the new album is going to be perceived?

Schmier: I don’t know, so far we’ve been surprised that the reviews are so good, like people are saying “Oh my God! It’s much better than their last album”. I don’t think the same way, I think we did a great job on the last album too but this one maybe is better for sure but in the end, we do the music for our fans and they’re all excited to see what it’s going to be like and they’re all interacting.

As one of the leading thrash bands that has been around since the ‘80s, what is your view on the thrash scene nowadays?

Schmier: It was difficult for a while for thrash bands, you come back in ’99 and there was few thrash bands left and in the last few years there have been younger thrash bands and it’s great to see that! Of course the old bands are the role models, they have to deliver, it’s important that DESTRUCTION, KREATOR, SLAYER are still producing good albums and I think in the last years, especially this year there have been a lot of great thrash albums coming out. I think it’s important because thrash is never something that takes your fucking money, it’s an underground kind of music so it is kind of difficult to keep alive but I’m really grateful that the genre of music is now stronger than ever. Of course there will be young bands in the future hopefully, taking our direction and spreading the word and spreading music hopefully to future generations. I think that they have a good chance and I think it’s important for the old bands like DESTRUCTION are at the end producing good albums again, so that the young bands can follow.

I think that’s it for today, I said I wouldn’t keep you too long as you’re busy! Thank you for taking the time out of your day and I will see you on your tour!

Schmier: WAIT?! Did you listen to the album, did you like it?!

I did really enjoy it, I have only managed to listen to it once yet but I do like it!

Schmier: It will grow on you! I promise! Thank you for your patience.

Under Attack is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

DESTRUCTION will be touring the UK in October, for tour dates click here.

Like DESTRUCTION on Facebook.

Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.