Legendary thrashers Protector are going to release their sixth album ‘Cursed And Coronated’ (you can find the review here), in three days. Metal Invader and Vassilis “VJ” Savvakis contacted Martin Missy and discussed with him about the Protector’s two different eras of action and discovered some details of the upcoming album.
Greetings, what news from the Protector camp?
Well, the biggest news is our new album “Cursed and Coronated”, which will be released by High Roller Records on the 26th of february. We recorded it at the Sunlight Studio last year. The artwork is from Kristian Wåhlin.
There were two decades of silence before the band released “Reanimated Homunculus” in 2013. What was going on during this period, musically and otherwise?
In 1994 the band decided to take a year off, and to continue the work again after that. Two years later only the drummer Marco Pape was still motivated and interested in starting up the band again, so he did just that, together with three new band members. They played a few gigs and recorded one demo (“Resurrected”) which was released in 2000. Their final gig was in 2001 on the Hell on Earth festival in Austria. After that, first the guitarist and then the bass player left the band. Marco never official broke the band up, but he didn’t recruit any new band members, and around 2003 it was quiet around Protector. In 2006 I started up a Protector cover band called “Martin Missy and the Protectors”. Five years later we decided to write new songs and officially release them under name “Protector”. We released a 4-track demo in 2011, and in 2013 we recorded and released “Reanimated Homunculus”.
Germany has given birth to many thrash metal bands and not only. Do you consider yourselves as one of the pioneers – classics, since you were there when it all started?
I don’t know if I would refer to us as pioneers, but I think that we definitely had some impact on the extreme Metal scene back in the 80s. “The big 4” (Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and Tankard) were the first wave of German Thrash Metal. We were in the second wave.
How was the decision to form the band again taken?
It all started at a Nifelheim aftershow party in Stockholm in 2005. I met a Metalhead by the name of Jonas Svensson at that party. We sat for hours and talked about Metal in general and Protector in particular while all the others were falling asleep around us. During the conversation the idea to form a Protector coverband came up. Jonas went back to his hometown Uddevalla and recruited Mathias Johansson (bass), Michael Carlsson (guitar) and Carl-Gustav Karlsson (drums) for the project. We played some gigs and after five years together in the same lineup we decided that we wanted to write some new songs, and to reanimate Protector officially again. I talked to Hansi Müller, who had founded the band together with Michael Hasse in 1986, and he liked the idea. We recorded a demo (“The return of Thrash and Madness”) and continued under the name Protector.
Being a band that has lived through the late eighties – early nineties as well as today, can you explain the differences, pros and cons of having a metal band back then in comparison to the 21st century?
The main thing that has changed is, of course, the technical possibilities that you have today. Back then we recorded the songs on cassettes in the rehearsal room, so I could write the lyrics to them. Today I get mp3-files, which makes it much easier to write lyrics. And the internet makes it much easier to make contact with fans and promoters and to stay in touch with them. When it comes to the music, the gigs and the fans, it is almost the same, I think. At least if you go to concerts with bands who sound like bands did in the 80s / 90s. The fans who attend these gigs look exactly like we did back then with their jeans, vests and bullet belts. Often it feels like taking a time machine back to the 80s, when I walk through the venue and see all these oldschool Metalheads of all ages. It’s great!
Since old-school metalheads tend to be overly focused on releases up to a certain date and don’t follow the newer material of bands, what would you have to say to them about your new albums?
Well, fortunately a lot of our old and new fans like our new recordings, probably because we didn’t change the musical style, but tried to reconnect with the music that Protector did in the end of the 80s.
Your new album “Cursed and Coronated” comes out next month. Why that title, is there a concept or it just sounded nice?
I would say it’s a bit of both. The title (song) is about Urm the Mad, who we already had written a song about back in 1989, and who I did revive for our new album, just as we did with the Golem on our last album.
What changed since your last record?
Nothing. We still write songs in the same Thrash Metal vein (with some Death Metal in it), we recorded the album in the same studio, the artwork was again done by Kristian Wåhlin, the songs were again mastered by Patrick W. Engel and we’ll release the album on the same record label as the last time.
What was the composing – recording process and how much time did you spend in the studio? Do you find it easier now that you have experience?
Well, that is maybe one thing that has changed since we recorded “Reanimated Homunculus”. We did a pre-production tape this time, so we could listen to the songs at home, in the car, and so on, and by that get them into our heads faster. We recorded the album on three prolonged weekends in approximately eight days. I have the feeling that it all went easier this time in the studio.
I have to congratulate you specifically for your album “A Shedding of Skin”, because it has helped me personally and I consider it one of the best metal albums of the nineties. Do you have any memories from the recording sessions or a funny story to share?
Unfortunately I wasn’t a member of the band anymore, when it was recorded and released. I left Protector in 1989 and “Shedding” was released in 1991. I also like that record. It has a lot of really cool Death Metal songs on it. And the sound (done by Harris Johns) is really great. We also play some songs from that album when we play live.
Protector plays fast, and close to death metal territories. Do you label yourselves as “teutonic thrash”?
In my opinion we are a Thrash Metal band, yes. But of course you can find some Death Metal vibes in our songs too.
As a thirty year old band, where do you draw your influences from?
I would say our biggest influences back then, as well as today, were / are the early recordings of Slayer, Kreator, Sodom, Possessed and Destruction.
Where does thrash metal stand today, in your opinion, compared to other metal subgenres and the music industry in general?
I think that Thrash Metal still is something of “the little brother” of almost all the other subgenres like Death Metal and Black Metal. At least that’s the feeling I get. It feels like there are more Death and Black Metal fans out there, than Thrash Metal fans.
Are there any plans of touring and promoting the new album? Could Greece make it to the list of locations?
We don’t play any tours, we just do single gigs (I have a family, the others all have regular jobs and also other bands they play in). We will probably continue to play about 5-7 gigs every year. To play in Greece would be cool, although it would be very, very difficult for me to get there, because I don’t fly (I have claustrophobia). So probably that won’t happen and we will mainly continue to focus on the northern and central parts of Europe.
Thanks for your time, the last words are yours!
Thank you for doing the interview with me. And to all the readers out there: Stay Metal and feel welcome to visit our facebook page www.facebook.com/Protector.666not777
Pic Credit: Soile Siirtola