PROTECTOR – Interview
When it comes to the history of thrash metal genre, the band PROTECTOR has its place well deserved . Being a fan of this band since the early ’90s, it was a pleasure to be able to have an interview with the band in METAL MANIACK pages. Answers to my questions were given by Martin Missy, who takes care of voices parts in the band, and the band’s bassist Mathias Johansson.So,enjoy it!
Hello and welcome to METAL MANIACK. Would you like to tell us a brief history band for those who are younger and do not know it yet?
Martin: PROTECTOR was founded in 1986 in Wolfsburg / West Germany. That same year the band recorded a two track demo. I joined the band in March of 1987. Shortly after that we got a record deal with a record company called Atom H. In the years that followed PROTECTOR recorded two EPs and four LPs. The band also went through several lineup changes (I left the band in 1989 for instance). The band took a two year break in the middle of the 90s and continued after that until about 2003. I moved to Sweden in 1995 and in 2006 I formed a Protector-coverband called ”MARTIN M ISSY AND THE PROTECTORS” together with three swedish Metalheads. In 2011 we decided to write new songs and to release them officially under the name Protector. I talked to founding member Hansi Müller about this, and he said he thought it was a cool idea. We released a 4 track demo in 2011 and two split singles in 2012 and 2013. On the 13th of september 2013 we released Protectors first longplayer in 20 years, ”Reanimated Homunculus”.
Have you played in other bands before PROTECTOR and which would they be?
Mathias: I play in the Death Thrash band SUICIDAL WINDS and we have done alot of albums. And we’ve also played gigs in Germany, Holland, and more. We have actually a new album on its way. I have also recorded 2 albums with AXIS POWERS, a Death Metal band.
Martin: My first band was a hardrock band called SPITFIRE, but if I remember it right i only sang in that band for a couple of months back in 1984. I also sang in a Hardcore / Metal band called GOLGOTHA around 1985. The band I was singing in until I joined Protector was called INZEST (Speed/Thrash Metal). I never recorded any demos with any of these bands though.
How and when you enter the metal world and what bands you like in that times?
Martin: I started listening to hardrock in 1980. My first LP was ”Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. For about 2-3 years I only listened to AC/DC. In 1983 I borrowed ”No Sleep til Hammersmith” by MOTÖRHEAD and ”Black Metal” by VENOM from a friend, and after that -and until the beginning of the 90s – I listened to almost everything in Metal, that I could get my hands on.
Mathias: Well i listen to alot of music in the Thrash genre. I’m into bands as SLAYER, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, KREATOR + alot of other cool bands as VIOLENT FORCE, LIVING DEATH, MUTILATOR, NECRODEATH and more. I’m also very much into the early Death Metal scene with bands as NIHILIST, MEFISTO, MORBID, NECROVORE and more. In the Heavy Metal genre there is also alot of cool bands as JAGUAR, TYGERS OF PAN TANG, SAVAGE, BLITZKRIEG. I could probably say 1000 bands more since i have been a metalhead for a very long time.
When and why did you break up and how did you decide to reform the band PROTECTOR? For me it was more than a pleasant surprise when I heard that you have reunited!
Martin: The band actually never ”broke up”. It just kind of faded away. I had been out of the band for a long time, when Marco Pape (who’s drumming on ”The Heritage”) kept PROTECTOR alive with new bandmembers. They played some gigs and recorded one demo (”Resurrected”, released in 2000), and after that first the guitarist, and then the bassplayer left the band. This lineup of Protector did it’s last gig in 2001 and in 2003 there were only Marco and the singer Jacek Zander left in the band. I don’t know why they didn’t try to find new bandmembers for PROTECTOR. Maybe the motivation and energy was gone.
What album do you think is your best one, of course outside of the “Reanimated Homunculus” ,which I think is great?
Mathias:Well i like Misantrophy most of all old PROTECTOR albums. That was the first one i heard and i think all the songs are damn cult. Also Golem is an extremely cool album, The Urm the Mad album also has some really cool songs on it. The Shedding of Skin album is also very cool. The title track of that album is one of my fave PROTECTOR tracks. Yeah I am of course also really happy about the new album.
Martin: My favourite recording with Protector is our first EP ”Misanthropy”, because the songs are so raw and brutal, as well as the sound.
When have you started to write songs for the new album, and where it was recorded?
Mathias: We started to write the first songs for the album in 2011. It has taken some time to put it together, but it is better to do quality songs than do them in a rush. The album was recorded in the famous Sunlight studio by Tomas Skogsberg, a really nice and great man. I would love to record in his studio again, since he is so damn easy to work with.
What were the reactions you have received so far for your new album?
Martin: Most of the reactions have been positive, as well as from fanzines, as from the fans.
Would you like to make a brief description of each of the tracks on the last album? I also would like you to tell us which subjects you treat in your songs.
Martin: ”Sons of Kain” is about our fans and us. ”Deranged Nymphomania” was originally released on our comebackdemo from 2011. The idea to this song came from Mathias. It’s a song about sexual perversion. ”Holiday in Hell” is inspired by the american movie ”Deliverance”. ”Reanimated Homunculus” is about the return of the Golem, which also stands as a symbol for the return of PROTECTOR. ”Birth of a Nation” was also on the demo from 2011. It’s about what happended in german history about 65-80 years ago. ”Lycopolis” is about PROTECTORs hometown Wolfsburg. ”Road Rage” was the first song we wrote for the ”new Protector”. It was also on our demo, and it is -as the title indicates- about people who go crazy in traffic. ”Antiman” is inspired by an episode of the british tv-series Doctor Who. ”The End” is our coverversion of a PROTECTOR-song, that was on the ”Resurrected”-demo. By this we wanted to establish a connection to the lineup that had existed before the current lineup. ”Calle Brutal” is a ”fun song”. Something like ”Spacecake” on the Golem-album. ”Calle” means ”street” in venetian and the nickname of our drummer is also Calle, so I built the lyrics around that.
The last album released by the band was 20 years ago. How did you feel to compose and record again after so long?
Martin: Of course I was a little bit nervous as we wrote the new songs. I asked myself: ”Will our fans accept these songs as Protector-songs?” Fortunately most of them did. The actual writing process was not that difficult, because I had been writing lyrics for four other bands, that I had been singing in between 2001 and 2013, so I never lost the feeling for writing lyrics. A new thing was that I also wrote the riffs for two of the songs, allthough I can’t play any instrument.
How’s your live activity now that you have a new album? Have any European tour plans so far?
Martin: My bandcollegues all have jobs, girlfriends and other bands that they play in. I am married , have two sons (two years old) and also sing in another band (called OBRERO), so it is very difficult to get the time for a tour. We will continue to do maybe 4-6 gigs every year.
What are the most important bands that you played along time and with which you felt best playing with?
Mathias: Well we have played together with many cool bands and nice people. Some of them are SODOM, DESTRUCTION, DESASTER, ENTOMBED, NECRODEATH, GRAVE, UNLEASHED and of course many more. I think its always cool to talk with people from the other bands and its really cool to always meet new metalfans in new places.
Martin: If you by important mean ”biggest”, I would say SODOM, DESTRUCTION, TANKARD, ONSLAUGHT and ENTOMBED. Regarding the question which band(s) felt best playing with, that’s difficult to answer, because we’ve played with so many bands, and most of them were cool guys and good to play together with. If I have to say one band, I would say SODOM. It’s a great band and Tom is a really nice guy.
What was the best concert that you’ve had so far?
Mathias: The best gig we have done…well that was a hard one, hehe. I think our first gig in PROTECTORs home town Wolfsburg was a really cool evening. The Witchhunter tribute gig in Oberhausen was also damn cool, with nearly all the people of the old german Thrash scene there. That was cool as hell. We also did a really cool gig in Würzburg with AT WAR, ONSLAUGHT and DESASTER, so there are many cool ones in my opinion.
Martin: Also very difficult to say. But I would say the gig on the ”Way of Darkness” festival in 2011, when we announced the return of PROTECTOR was our best one. But the Chris Witchhunter tribute festival -which we played at with ”The Protectors” in 2009- was very cool as well.
Have you ever played in America or would you like to play in the future? Where would you like to play ?
Martin: PROTECTOR has never played in America. It would be really great to play there, but unfortunately it will probably never happen. I have extreme claustrophobia. If I sit in a plane I get horrible anxiety- and panikattacks.
I would like to know which was the most beautiful moment in the history of PROTECTOR?
Martin: There were a lot of moments that were great and beautiful, but I think I will have to say the moment we signed our first record deal, and than later when our first EP Misanthropy came out. It felt so amazing and somewhat also unreal to have a record deal and to release something.
PROTECTOR’s first album that I listened to was “A shedding of skin”, album that won me from the first listening. How was it to play back then, and how is it to play now?
Martin: When ”A Shedding of Skin” was released, I had already been out of the band for two years. To play live today feels as great as back in 1987/1989, when I was a member of PROTECTOR for the first time. Mostly because of the fans that come to our concerts. They all wear vests, bullet belts, jeans…it feels like back in ”the good old days”.
How do you think the music industry has changed in recent years? Is it better or worse than before?
Martin: I don’t know actually. I never paid so much attention to the music industry. I have always focused more on writing songs, rehearsing and recording them, and performing them live.
Mathias: I think the music scene has changed alot during the years. I think there are just as many fans as in the past but I’ll guess the downloading has killed the record sales for many bands and that is not to cool in my opinion. There is still alot of cool bands out there, so acutally I think the scene is quite alive and kicking. In the 80s the music was not as popular as now. More underground. It is different times now, but I like both the 80s and now to be honest.
Do you earn your living only from music, or do you have regular jobs? How do you spend your free time?
Martin: PROTECTOR is ”only” a hobby. We can’t live from the music. Carl-Gustav, Mathias and Michael have regular jobs, I’m unemployed at the moment. In my free time I look for a new job, take care of my two sons and do stuff for PROTECTOR (like playing live, writing lyrics, taking care of the Facebook page, answering interviews, and so on).
What are the future plans that you have for PROTECTOR?
Martin: We have no plans actually. We just take it easy and see what the next months / years will bring. It would be cool to play some festivals next year, and also to record a new album in about 1-2 years. We will see…
In the end, I would like to thank you for this interview and I would like to ask if you have anything to add?
Mathias: Thanx alot for the questions. I would like to tell you all out there to check out our new album Reanimated Homunculus. If you are into Thrash Metal I’m sure you will love it. Stay Thrash, 666!
Martin: Thank’s for doing this interview with us! Stay Metal you all!