Interview with vocalist Martin Missy
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: July 3, 2019
German thrashers Protector have been around since 1986 and even after many tours and several releases, they are still out there making new music (the band split up between 2003 and 2011). The band's seventh studio album, Summon the Hordes, was released by High Roller Records on April 26, 2019. Expect nothing but pure, unadulterated '80s Protector, which has been the goal since they returned in 2011.
We here at The Metal Crypt took the opportunity to contact vocalist Martin Missy to ask a few things about this new Protector album, their gigging plans this year and so forth.
Luxi: How were your two shows in Germany on April 5 and 6, 2019? Crowded?
Martin: Both gigs went very well. There were maybe 150 metalheads at the show in Hannover, and about 200 at the show in Kaiserslautern. The gig in Hannover was special because Hansi Müller played the song "Apocalyptic Revelations" on guitar with us, and Olly Wiebel sang "A Shedding of Skin" with us on stage.
WEHRMACHT OVER EUROPE
Luxi: In 1989 you toured Europe with Wehrmacht and Mega Mosh, covering Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Did your recent gigs in Germany bring back good memories?
Martin: When the Wehrmacht/Protector tour took place in March/April 1989, I wasn't a member of Protector. Olly Wiebel sang in Protector on that tour. Later that year I returned to Protector, recorded Urm the Mad, did one more gig with the band, and was once again replaced by Olly Wiebel.
Luxi: Have you heard of anything "unusual" or even "bizarre" that happened on that tour, even if you weren't a part of the band back in those days?
Martin: I can't tell you much about the tour because I wasn't in the band during that time. What the others had told me was that both bands drove around in a minivan together and mostly slept at youth hostels.
Luxi: High Roller Records is set to release the band's seventh studio album on April 26, 2019. The album was recorded at two different studios, one in Sweden and another in Germany, during October 2018. Is there a reason why you decided to break the studio sessions up and not use just one studio for the recordings?
Martin: My band colleagues recorded their instruments in Berlin with Harris Johns. I don't fly (I suffer from claustrophobia), so I decided to record the vocals in Stockholm, where I live, instead of going 1000 kilometers by car or train to Berlin. Harris flew up to Stockholm for the recording sessions and spent one night in my family's flat in the south of Stockholm.
GOAL: TO SOUND LIKE EIGHTIES PROTECTOR
Luxi: Summon the Hordes is the title of your new album and it unmistakably sounds like a genuine Protector record. It's fast, raw, filthy and old-school sounding. Was your plan to create an honest and sincere Protector album without thinking about changing your sound?
Martin: Our goal on all the three albums we have released since the restart of Protector in 2011 has always been to sound as much like the "80s Protector" as possible. To change the way we sound, or write new songs in a Metal style other than Thrash/Death was out of the question. We want to give our fans as much of the "original Protector" as possible.
Luxi: Would you say that this new album lives up to the musical legacy of the band?
Martin: I would say yes, but in the end it will, of course, be up to our fans to decide, if we have achieved this, or not.
Luxi: What role did each of you take in the songwriting process of this new album?
Martin: On the first two albums since the reanimation of Protector in 2011 (Reanimated Homunculus from 2013 and Cursed and Coronated from 2016), our guitarist Micke and our bassplayer Mathias wrote all the riffs (with the exception of one song per album, which were written by me, and a few that were written by our drummer). After that, I then wrote the lyrics to all the songs. The difference on Summon the Hordes is that I have written the riffs to three of the songs and Mathias has written the lyrics to two songs. So, we all have been more involved in everything regarding the songwriting process.
ABOUT THE SONGS ON S.T.H.
Luxi: You have a song called "Two Ton Behemoth" on this new record. Is that a two-headed monster, one head looking like Putin's and the other one Trump's? ;o)
Martin: That would surely have been an interesting inspiration to this song. The real inspiration to this song is totally different, though; A hippopotamus, which is said to be one of the most dangerous animals on earth. But, of course, it is also written with a "wink of an eye".
Luxi: Also, "Glove of Love" has pretty interesting lyrics, to say the least. What inspired you to write the lyrics for this song?
Martin: The idea for this song came up on our long journeys to our gigs all around Europe. When we talked about crossing the border, we talked about a friend who once had a cavity search performed on him, because the border patrol suspected him of smuggling drugs. This topic came up on almost every of our journeys, and in the end we decided to write a song about a "cavity search".
Luxi: "The Celtic Hammer" has a more rock vibe to it, reminding me of Motörhead and Usurper in some peculiar way. Do you subscribe to these band connections in this song?
Martin: This song is dedicated to Celtic Frost.
Luxi: Since Protector reunited in 2011, you signed with High Roller Records and have done three studio albums for them. HRR is a very high-profile label, so do you feel lucky to be on their roster? What do they do better than other labels, from your point of view?
Martin: We are very happy that High Roller Records has chosen to release our albums. They have done fantastic work and not just our new recordings, but also the re-release of the complete Protector back catalogue. Working with them is very easy as well. When I have a question and send an e-mail, they usually answer the same day, often even after just a couple of minutes. They have a great layout guy and an amazing producer who does most of their mastering. The fact that we now are releasing our third album on the same label probably shows that we are very happy to be on High Rollers roster.
Luxi: Do you have any plans to shoot a video or two to get the new album promoted?
Martin: No such plans exist at the moment. We would need proper equipment for that and someone who can edit the video, and we have neither. To get a professional company to do the video would probably be too expensive.
TOURING STARTS FROM SEPTEMBER 2019
Luxi: At the end of September 2019, you'll start your own "Summon the Hordes" tour in Kassel, Germany. How east was it to arrange this tour? Are the venues on this tour familiar to you already or are most of them new?
Martin: Some gigs on the tour were very easy to arrange, some were harder. The original plans also had a gig in Austria. I contacted about 10-12 organizers and clubs all over the country but there was no interest in doing a show with us. Some of the clubs didn't even bother to answer. I guess we don't have an especially big fanbase in Austria. We are very happy that we will play our first gigs ever in Hungary and Slovakia though, and we have never played in Warsaw, so that's new as well. The venue in Wolfsburg (Protectors hometown) is actually the only one on the tour that we have played before.
Luxi: How does the rest of the year look for Protector, gigging-wise?
Martin: There is only one more gig this year; the release gig for Summon the Hordes on the 3rd of May in Uddevalla, Sweden.
Luxi: Protector has more or less, belonged to the second division of German thrash metal along with bands like Mekong Delta, Assassin, Living Death, Minotaur, etc. that never made it big in the same way Kreator, Destruction and Sodom took off. Do you think Protector is perhaps a bit too "underground sounding" for many, and that's the reason why it's been tough to make your living out of this?
Martin: I think the main reason is that we started too late. If Protector had released its debut demo in 1983 or 1984, instead of 1986, when there already were a lot of good Thrash/Death Metal bands around, we would have had a bigger chance for success. And yes, probably our music does not have the same "mainstream capability" as the music of other extreme bands.
Luxi: Do you consider the band's A Shedding of Skin and Heritage as "true" Protector albums even though you weren't personally a part of their creation? They were definitely more technical and Death Metal orientated albums...
Martin: I think all of Protector's recordings (EPs, LPs and demos alike) have their rightful place in the history of the band. Protector just went through different phases over the decades, due to the musical preferences of the musicians that were part of the band at different times. In the beginning we were kind of Black/Thrash. On Golem and Urm the Mad, we were a Thrash Metal band. Leviathan's Desire was the transition from Thrash to Death, and on Shedding and Heritage the change to Death Metal was completed. At the end of the '90s and early 2000s, Protector played technical Thrash/Death. And today we are back to Thrash Metal with some Death Metal influences again.
Luxi: The band has been around a long time, since 1986, even though there have been some on/off periods along the way. Do you still feel the best is yet to come no matter how old or grumpy you may be at this age and time?
Martin: Very difficult to say. I'm having a great time at the moment and don't think too much about the future.
Luxi: What's the thing you'd still like to achieve with the band?
Martin: There are a couple of festivals that I would like to play with Protector (Sweden Rock and Rock Hard for example), but otherwise I'm happy with what we've achieved already.
Luxi: Well, that is all at this time, thank you for your time, Martin, and let your road be smooth and successful for Protector. If you still want to add something, then be my guest... ;o)
Martin: Thank you for doing this interview with me, Luxi! Stay Metal!
|Other information about Protector on this site|
|Review: Reanimated Homunculus|
|Review: Summon the Hordes|
|Interview with vocalist Martin Missy on April 28, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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