Metal Life Exclusive Interview With Schmier From THE GERMAN PANZER
Hey this is Karila, I am on the phone with Schmier the frontman for more than just Destruction…we are promoting the beauty that is The German Panzer! How are you?
I’m doing great! Our debut album [Send Them All To Hell] just came out [except in the U.S.], and I just came back from tour with Destruction [in South America] so I have some days off to do some promotion for Panzer! And [as a side note], we put “The German” in front of Panzer because of legal issues. There’s some other bands called Panzer too, so we want to be sure we don’t get mixed up…We were originally wanting to call ourselves Panzer, but then some bands wrote us and started talking about legal issues. And then we were like you know what? All we have to do is put “The German” into the logo so everybody knows it’s the German version. [Editor’s Note: aren’t panzers inherently German? Stupid other bands…]
Well these legal problems are not going to get in the way of people enjoying your music. With you and Herman [Frank; Accept, Victory] and Stefan [Schwarzmann; Accept], making this amazing fusion of classic rock and heavy metal, it’s something every one of our listeners should give a try. Now obviously since the three of you have reputations that precede you, you all are predominantly known as a “supergroup.” Does this label bother you, and if so how?
Of course, because it’s the easiest way for media and the label to promote the band, you know? It’s not always good to be called a “supergroup” because expectations are high, and a lot of haters are already out there. The good thing about working with professionals [like Herman and Stefan] is that it’s so easy to work together because we all know what to do, and we have a certain procedure, we have a professional way to work together. For starters, we don’t take ages to write songs, and we know how the music world works. That to me is the great challenge of working with guys like them.
You know, a lot of those haters don’t seem to hate you, they just seem to be hating on the changes you make in this project. I think one of the biggest changes you’ve made so far is your transition to a cleaner style of vocals that are very diverse and distinct from your Destruction style. Is this melodic transition purposeful?
Yeah, that’s actually the greatest thing about it, you know? It’s like when you do your day job, that’s when you what you can do best, which is what I do with Destruction because it is my life and my dedication. But with Panzer, I can try new stuff and I don’t care what people have to say about it. For me this is great fun and a new opportunity to rearrange my vocal [styles] and to sing some higher and more melodic stuff that I would never do with Destruction. [Panzer] is a great opportunity to pay tribute to my roots, which is of course classic heavy metal.
You are no stranger to having other projects alongside Destruction. Does having a role in two separate groups mean you have multiple artistic presences, one for Destruction and one for Headhunter for example? Or is every musical project you take on simply your own method of songwriting no matter what band you find yourself in?
Well of course you have your old style, your own way to write stuff; every musician has their own different thing, you know? With Panzer, the writing has been very spontaneous; we love jamming and spontaneous ideas. We didn’t really care about originality and a [steadfast, new] direction. We didn’t want to be original, we wanted to do traditional metal and pay tribute to our roots. With Destruction, it’s a whole different thing. We are a very original band, and the songwriting has an incredibly different aspect. I guess I have developed multiple styles of songwriting, but it’s something that came slowly over time with this opportunity to work with Herman and Stefan.
And I think that you can really see all the ways in which you and Herman and Stefan have all developed as songwriters because you can’t exactly pin this as classic rock or heavy metal. It just feels like the culmination of some veteran musicians just exploded onto a record!
Thank you. Yeah, you know how you see these haters on YouTube who are writing “Oh my god, this is not original! Why are you writing stuff that’s not new?” Then you totally missed the whole point of [us] doing this! We wanted to mix classic influences together but make it sound fresh. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel of metal, we just want to have a great time. I mean, we invented the clichés. We started metal in the 80s! Those fucking YouTube haters can shut the fuck up and just listen to some real fucking metal!
Haha, damn right! Also, you seem to always gravitate toward working in trios because you work your ass off on both bass and vocals. Do you feel like you just wouldn’t be the same person if you gave up one of those two things while performing?
Well I’ve been doing [both of these] since I was fifteen or sixteen. I’ve been a part of shows before where I’ve been a guest musician where I’ve done just bass-playing or just singing. It’s not the same for me, you know? My life is all about doing both. Although with Panzer, we are thinking about taking on a second guitar player because there are a lot of harmonies. So maybe for the live situations, we are going to hire a good friend of ours on the second guitar, you’ll have to wait and see!
Shit, Send Them All To Hell isn’t even out in the U.S. until January 13th, and you’re going to leave me guessing on a second guitarist?! I’m definitely going to be spending all day thinking about this now.
Haha yeah! All in due time, you know.
So with 2014 wrapping up, what is at least one concrete goal that you have for Panzer in the upcoming new year?
Well we are definitely going to have the chance to play festivals, for starters. And then we want to tour. I think our band has the perfect live songs, our songs are built around being played live. So I guess that’s our ultimate goal right now is just to play everywhere live! Next year I will have the opportunity for the first time in my life to play on a festival twice! Destruction is still my life, it’s my baby and always will be so of course Panzer would need to take a step back before Destruction. But we aren’t touring 365 days a year, so it’s going to be a good opportunity to play some fresh tunes and to keep me from sitting at home. I’m a road dog at heart.
Send Them All To Hell has been released everywhere except for the U.S., where we can expect to buy the album everywhere on January 13. The songs are streaming wherever there is internet though, so I suggest giving these tunes a listen. They’ll knock you right off your ass! Thank you so much for your time with us on Metal Life, and hopefully we will see you on the road!
Yeah if you want metal that kicks your fucking ass, this is it! Thank you!
Editor’s Note: Check out our review of Send Them All To Hell HERE