A couple of hours before they visit our country for 2 blasting shows in Thessaloniki and Athens, we talked with Tankard’s drummer Olaf Zissel about “One Foot In The Grave” and their upcoming shows…
Hello, this is Elpida and I welcome you to Metal Invader! We’ve talked a lot in the past at your gigs in Greece, but now it’s official, haha! So, to start with, is everything alright? Are you getting ready for you Greek invasion?
We are all well and happy about the season start in Greece. It’s been a little too long since we came over the last time.
Last June, Tankard released via Nuclear Blast their latest album “One Foot In The Grave”. Considering Tankard has been around since 1982, where did you draw inspiration from, musically speaking and what process did you follow in order to write and record your album?
There is no masterplan how an Tankard album has to sound if it’s done. We just collect ideas from whatever is around us, put some songs together and record it. Sometimes we hardly forget that we booked a recording studio one year in advance and so the last weeks before the sessions start are very busy for us to get it down.
Why “One Foot In The Grave”? Whose is that foot? And what’s up with the grave?
There was a Punk band once called OFITG with members aged around 80 or something like that and we had in mind that we can end up like them if we never gonna quit. We will see….
As far as I know, Tankard changed their producer. You collaborated with Martin Buchwalter for this record. What led you to this decision and were the results what you were hoping / aiming for?
We tried somebody new because we liked what he did in his carrier so far and we also knew him well from a few shows with Perzonal War in which he’s playing drums.
At the end of the day we are happy with him. He catches all the Tankard trademarks and didn’t tortured us as much as some others did.
Listening to “One Foot In The Grave” one can understand that your approach this time was heavier, more dense. Did you want to shake things up, do something different while staying in character?
As I told before, there was no plan behind how this record will be. That just happens.
Tankard have kept a quite balanced lyrical approach between funny and serious themes and subjects. For this record, strikingly enough, you dealt with the Syrian war in the track “Syrian Nightmare”. Why did you choose to speak about it and what’s the message you tried to convey?
During the time we prepared for the album was a huge discussion about how many refugees Europe can deal with and specially in Germany (which was hardly involved in two world wars) many voices won’t let them in to be saved. But if you imagine you are in the middle of the chaos you have to try to find a way out. No matter who is to blame for the shit.
On a more general level, what keeps Tankard motivated? What’s that thing that makes you who you are and we all love?
We are just “normal” people who love what they do. We don’t have to make a living with the band because we all have regular day jobs and we just do what we did ever since we remember.
Now, a couple of questions I always ask to the bands I interview. Tankard is one of the most historical and consistent bands in Thrash Metal, no doubt. Being around all this time, means you’ve drawn some conclusions about the scene. What has changed and what has remained the same in the music industry, the attitude, the labels etc?
Things changed on the one hand since the record sellings are going down not only for metal bands but on the other hand there are new bands growing up all the time which can deal much better in this online times but luckylie we have a history that keeps us up to travel around the world. We also had no lineup change for years and never ever had a break for a few years. We thrashed trough the mid to the late 90’s when nobody cares about Metal but we couldn’t change a thin. Nowadays we earn some kind of respect for never hang up.
On a personal level though the same basis, throughout those 35 years of discography, what has changed in Tankard and what remained the same?
We are still the same crazy guys but have some more responsibility for family and kids and all the stuff but once we are on the road it’s like it is. We will miss it if we don’t do it.
When you first formed the band, did you ever think you’d still be here in 2018, with that long catalogue and all those loyal fans?
Never ever. We thought cool we can record an album….
Staying on the fans’ subject, Tankard have the best possible relationship with their fans. It’s actually astonishing when you come to think about it; your fanbase has been following you with all their hearts for three decades. How can this be achieved? What’s the secret?
May be because we are the same kind of persons like them? I don’t know for sure but we are great full to have these people and we are never to old to meet them around our shows and have some words for almost everybody who’s asking for. This is maybe also a kind of power that keeps us going on to see some more of them in every corner of the world.
You share a special bond with us Greeks! Your every visit is carved to our minds; hopefully the same goes for you! What have you prepared for us this time?
Some old stuff and some new like always and a big appetite to get some real Greek food again and hopefully we “one foot in the grave” won’t disappoint anybody who shows up.
Alright! Thanks for taking the time to answer everything! Truly appreciate it. More to come in Thessaloniki, haha! Looking forward to seeing you again! Any message to your Greek fans?
Check us out if you have nothing better to do. We are looking foreward to Greece.