Chelf | MHF | August 2019
It was 4pm.
Perfect timing for a thrash metal, afternoon, tea-party.
I invited Schmier of Destruction for cream tea and cake.
It was David’s idea, my CEO who was clearly joking, but learned his lesson not to give me any crazy ideas.
Schmier was happily surpised.
‘I don’t want to crush your party’ he said.
‘No, no, it’s our party’ I explained and assured him we have coffee, tea and pancakes.
Blueberries! I love blueberries, very healthy and low in sugar! He said, excited.
You are in Greece? He asked.
Yes, but the magazine is based in Canada I explained.
Our metal crew is scattered around the world, doing interviews, working with bands and covering events and shows, I assured him.
Very international! Well done! He said.
I love Greek coffee, he added. Which is good to know ‘cause next time we’ll meet we’ll definitely brew some.
This sounds like a very different interview, it sounds great he said starting off with such a happy, positive vibe.
You have a new album coming out in August and you have already released a guitar play through video for the second single ‘Betrayal”. This is a very typical Destruction song. But somehow it feels fresh and new at the same time. How do you manage to find that balance between old and new?
I think you know the holly grail for everything that you do in life, is to be inspired and enjoy what you do. We still enjoy music, we love what we do, we still enjoy thrash, and even if we are doing this for a long time it’s so exciting. As long as you can express yourself this way, and as long as you have something to say. Same goes for everyone, like athletes or anyone at all. And it’s the biggest compliment to hear you say that, as a band of 35 years, to hear that you sound fresh is all you want to hear.
It’s true, their sound is new but still so distinctive, you listen to a new song, you know it’s them, period.
Some people might say it’s boring, you know. To me, to make new music and keeping your own signature style, to reach that peak, is an achievement. You know, if you look back in history a lot of amazing bands they have created their own, identical, original sound. Some people might say AC/DC is boring, cause they always sound the same, or Rush sounds boring, they just repeat themselves, but it’s an achievement to create your own sound, not many bands have that.
Well, those people are not invited to our tea party, Schmier!
Kick them out he said with a burst of deep loud hearty laughter.
I most definitely will. My party, my rules!
The soundtrack of the party is their latest “Betrayal”
Speaking of betrayal, let me ask you this:
Lots of young musicians out there are trying to from new bands and they end up disappointed and frustrated. Because you know, having 4 or 5 creative individuals in the same room, working long hours on the same project is not always easy and all sorts of trouble occur. What would you advise them?
Oh its hell he said!
I think it’s very difficult, he pointed out. Too many cooks spoil the meal. What’s usually good in a band is to have a leader, someone to take care of the important stuff, and everybody has a part in the band. Someone to be in charge of arranging the shows, someone to take care of the technical issues, maybe the guitar player and the singer to do the writing, someone to take care of the money as well. Everyone has a specific role and that should be clear. Otherwise, if everyone wants to do the same thing and having too many egos in the bands it’s not going to work out. Of course someone will always shine brighter than the others. Most often the singer stands out more than the drummer so you have to understand how it always works. I see this all the time, especially with new bands. Great musicians with a great future and then they start to fight. About stupid things. Then they quit the band, or the band will never be the same anymore. It’s really not easy, there’s a challenge for sure. There’s also the element of brotherhood in a band but you have to understand that you don’t have to marry the guitar player you know? Just get along when you are writing together or when you are on tour. This is how Destruction stayed together. We all love each other, we are a family, but also when we are not on tour I don’t see the other guys that often. You have to find that balance. And then be excited to see the other guys again and work together. Find the perfect balance between sugar and cream!
As a chef I can totally get the analogy. Then all of a sudden we started talking about food. Schmier and I are not to be trusted with food.
You know my favorite place here in town is a Greek restaurant he said. I love the food there! And I had to explain that even though I’m Greek I specialize in French gastronomy. I have a long tradition with Greece he said. Holidays and so on. And I live by the French border here so we have the best food here on that part of Germany, from France, Switzerland, and Italy…Great food influences!
If you let us we could go on and on about food, but the clock was ticking so I had to move on (still thinking of massive bowls of Italian pasta)…
The music video of Betrayal which was released a recently has a very unique and interesting visual aesthetic. And it’s very meaningful as well, it’s not just about the aesthetics. It’s inspired by the existential portraits of Francis Bacon, and it represents the archetypal forms of betrayal, like deceit, back stabbing and infidelity. That’s deep. Especially for a music video. Do you think it’s important for metal to convey a meaningful message, beyond just good music?
I think for Destruction is was always an important part to bring something across. We grew up with punk rock, back in the day, and the message of questioning certain things and keeping the tradition alive. When it comes to the video, we found a great director, he is actually a Greek guy, he is an artist and he came up with great ideas and of course we know that not everyone will understand the video at first but it’s a video you can watch several times and discover different elements each time. And betrayal is something that everyone can relate to because us humans, are all betrayers at some point we either betray someone or get betrayed and this song really means something to us and we want to convey that message.
You know what I realized it that women appreciated the video more, women understand the video regarding aesthetics and then men got really into the lyrics, even though there are no tits and blood.
Speaking of women, if tomorrow you woke up as the opposite sex, what’s the first thing you would do?
Oh my god! Hahahaa! I guess I would try to have sex because I guess it feels so different as a woman I guess!
I thought I take advantage of the tea party situation and get some beauty advice from Schmier.
You are covered in ink, you have amazing sleeves, and I was wondering, do you take care of your tattoos, and if do what do you do?
Oh, some of my tattoos are really old and what I do over the years is to maintain them. Meaning I redo them when needed. Also what’s good for tattoos is to maintain your skin hydrated somehow. Another thing with tattoos is the amount of hair you have on your body. When you have lots of hair your tattoos won’t look as good. Luckily I’m not a very hairy guy. I’m lucky to have very good skin too, and I’m lucky that my girlfriend is a tattoo artist so we can redo them if needed. My first tattoo was done in 1988 so it’s basically 39 years ago.
Her name is Liné Hammett, she is a Norwegian tattoo artist, tattooing in Germany Switzerland and Norway on a regular basis. I checked out her work which is indeed amazing. If we ever happen to be on the same part of the world I’m definitely getting some new ink.
So, what’s the last thing Schmier does before he goes to bed at night?
Good question. Besides brushing my teeth right? When I was younger I used to sip a glass of wine before I went to bed, but I kind of stopped this with my growing age, you know, now I kiss my girlfriend, maybe smoke a little joint or something like this. I have a very good CBD pipe that helps me sleep well. But of course kissing your girlfriend is the best way to go to sleep.
What a better way to close that interview with this wonderful man!
Thank you Schmier for having tea and blueberry pancakes with me, it was such a delight!
Thank YOU for the very positive interview and the very positive vibes!
See you on the road!
Until the next one,