Interview with Schmier (The German PANZER)

Casper had a killer chat with SCHMIER from The German PANZER regarding the upcoming release of their album SEND THEM ALL TO HELL.

Danke schoen mien lieber freund for your time. It is an absolute pleasure to speak with you 

Firstly congratulations for the debut album of send them all to hell, it is an absolutely brilliant album. I wanted to ask you first if I could about the cover art, can you please describe some of the elements of your panzerkampfwagen

S: hahahaha you mean the cover artwork? It is a tank and like the most massive one ever because of course it has been done before and it’s not the first time a tank has been on a heavy metal album so ours had to be super intense and super evil so that’s why we chose all the little details with the little devils on the side and the little fire throwers and of course the guy who is in charge of the tank is a fucking clown,  an evil clown and that represents all the leaders of the world or for people who lose their mind and have a power trip. It was also important to show how big the tank is so we have the little victims in front of the tank that is suffering and it is a very nice cliché heavy metal cover and that is the way we wanted it to be.

It is indeed it is terrific. I get more out of the album every time I listen to it, it’s one of those albums I can’t stop it at the last song, I have to put it on again. Did you and Hermann write most of the tracks?

S: yeah we wrote some stuff together and some stuff separately. Of course, Hermann being the guitar player, provided a lot of riffs, he is like the riff machine and I am mainly a songwriter so we worked very well together in the songwriting process. We had to fulfil a certain time frame to get this album done but I am sure for the next time it is going to be interesting to see what we get out of it, because this is just the beginning so I think there is alot of potential, and like you say you get more detail every time you listen to it

Indeed, I was lucky enough to spend some time with Hermann and Stefan here is Australia over the last few days while touring with Accept they are obviously great to work with. 

S: These are great guys, I mean I have known them for a couple of years, Stefan I have known for years and Herman…. I mean one of my first shows ever was with ACCEPT on the Restless and Wild tour back in the day when Hermann just joined the band so it was a big honour and a great thing to work with friends and people that I like musically and that is in the scene as long as me or even longer. It is a great collaboration because everyone is so experienced, we know what we want and we know what we don’t want, so it’s an easy game we don’t go into this with the danger you have of doing this with the younger fellows who don’t know what the business is all about.

Most certainly, and that type of experience is invaluable. I wrote a review about the album and one of the things I noticed was your sound on the album, it’s like there is 6 or 7 people playing, it really is a shock to realise there is only three. 

S: hahaha I guess everyone knows their sound and everyone has a distinctive style of playing. So together it sounds professional. Sometimes in the studio, if you’re not experienced then it would be hard but we have been in the studio so many times so it is a fun thing to do. Many musicians are afraid of the studio recordings and all the buttons that for us it is just a great thing to nail down the tracks.

Is there an essential difference between this album and your previous work with Destruction and head-hunter? 

S: What is really different this time is you been working from different cities and you have to travel a lot, some stuff is from just sending like Hermann will send me a riffs and ideas over the internet and of course this is a different way than we work with Destruction. And we work very spontaneously also like when Hermann sends me stuff and I say “that’s good lets go for that riff and let’s make a sing out of this” or the other way around where I write some songs and send to Hermann and he confirms the ideas. It was very spontaneous. This is a rock n roll project, we have ideas, we nail them down and we record them and that’s a different way than recording with Destruction where we take more time to write songs. Of course as well, the chemistry is great between us so the spontaneous work worked really good, we all come from different backgrounds but in the end it is all rock n roll.

You and Hermann along with Stefan must have such a commanding presence on stage being such big guys 

S: I guess why that’s why Hermann asked me to do the job, hahaha, all the time I see him he is like “what the fuck, your even taller than me Schmier, one day we have to do a band together!” and I was laughing the first time he said this to me, but now it has finally happened. I asked him if he remembered that and he said “yeah yeah sure you’re the only guy who is bigger than me”.

Is there any chance of seeing you in Australia? 

S I hope so, we definitely going to play festivals next year. It will definitely be the first of Panzer shows next year, when Accept is back from tour and I have done all my destruction duties than we are going to play festivals which have already been booked and I know Australia has some festivals too so hopefully some people will recognise this great album and book us. Australia is obviously such a difficult place to play because it is such a long travel but I have been in Australia with destruction twice already, and I am always looking forward to coming back. I noticed more and more shows lately and the scene is still healthy. I know it is not the usual in Australia but a very dedicated one.

Do you have a favourite track to play from the album?

S: It is difficult because there is a lot of little anthems on the album but I think maybe the one I like the most because of the history and it was the first song Hermann wrote for the album. Firstly I wrote one album and then Hermann writes one. So the song Herman first wrote for the album was Death Knell. I think it is my favourite song, it’s the opener it so much like a mixture of Judas Priest and something a little thrashier. It was the song I heard the most on the album because it was one of the earlier ones and we also we just recording a video clip for this one.

Your voice is so unique you bring such a fresh new sound along with the work of the other members, it is such an astonishing new sound and when I looked at all the tracks and listened through I could not pick one favourite 

S yeah it is difficult I think it has definitely some real nice tracks that sticks to your ears. Even if the album has a certain brutality a certain attitude, it is still melodic enough to be catchy and remembered. That was a hard task to achieve and now its brutal and really metal and at the same time it is mellow and not cheesy.

I agree wholeheartedly, it has such speed and ferocity I am prompted to ask, why is Heavy Metal your chosen genre? 

S: Heavy Metal, how did it happen? It was so long ago. I think when we started there was no thrash and no Black and no whatever, there was just metal and I came into metal because I come from the countryside so everyone at the school was listening to this cheesy music and I liked rock n roll. I liked Status Quo and my fathers Elvis records and shit. That school never really caught the spirit of rock n roll. I couldn’t realise why all these people are always listening to all the same shit, like on the radio. And these same people actually had an urge to listen to all the same music and for me rock n roll was different and it stood out and I really liked that fact. Because I was never guided to go with the masses. To me rock n roll is a part of freedom a part of standing out, a part of not following all the trends and stuff, that’s how I found heavy metal when I started listening in 1979, I think was my first real heavy metal record, it was Judas Priest’s Unleash in the East. The whole thing just made my day, the outfit, the sound, the whole look of the album and when I heard this I was like “this is the music I would die for. And ever since when we started with destruction for me this album was always there.

Listening to all of your albums and music it seems to me that Judas Priest had a big influence throughout your entire career would this be correct? 

S: Judas Priest? Yes yes they, out of all heavy metal, at least for me, is the most “metal” band ever.

That would be cool seeing you guys playing Soundwave next year right next to them 

S: Oh that would be excellent, we are up for it hahahaha

If you could have your choice of anything and money was no object, what would you like provided for you backstage? 

S: Oh my god if money was no object? I think I would like one of those beamers that they had on the Enterprise, so Scotty can beam me anywhere and I don’t have to fucking fly the next morning at 4am to play at the next show. Hahahahahaha I actually think that would be the best invention for a rock n roll person. Then you don’t have to worry about getting no sleep and shit because of travelling all the time hahahahahaha

Well it was terrific to meet Stefan and Herman in Sydney last week and I can’t wait to finally catch up with you, you are such a revered in Teutonic metal. Congratulations of “Send them to hell” it is a magnificent album and we can’t wait to see you hopefully in Australia. 

S: I am proud of how people have reacted to this record and I do hope to tour and see the world I think it is a fresh heavy metal album and if you are really true heavy metal fan you have to really enjoy the type of music that we play with Panzer. Would be a really great experience to play at your festivals. And HOPEFULLY the people from Soundwave hear about it and book us, I think maybe there is a good possibility for this.

I am not expert Schmier but I did put on the bottom of my review, that this album belongs in every heavy metal collection. 

S: Alright Yah!!! PERFECT!!!

Thank you very much for your time Schmier and am very much looking forward to catching up with you very soon

S: Thank you!  And hope to see you soon in Australia if not with Panzer then maybe with Destruction.