Martin, Mathias, Michael and Carl-Gustav of
Protector is back....what was the main reason that this happened under the old banner ?
Martin: In 2006 three swedish musicians (Carl-Gustav Karlsson, Michael Carlsson and Mathias Johansson) and myself formed a Protector-coverband called "Martin Missy and the Protectors". The first years we focused on playing old Protector-songs live. In 2011 we decided to write new songs, and not to release them under the name of the coverband, but to reactivate Protector officially again, and release the songs under that name.
„Reanimated Homunculus“ is the title of your new album. As far as I know is a homunculus an artificial being, not human. Maybe a created monster by mankind. Does this album title reflect your comeback in a symbolic way ?
Martin: The reanimated Homunculus is the Golem, that comes back to life. That also stands as a symbol for the return of Protector.
As I see there are three of the new bandmembers coming from sweden. Only Martin as original vocalist keeps the german banner high. For that was it the right decision to reunite under the name Protector ?
Martin: Yes, I think it was the right decision. We had been playing together in the Protector-coverband for over five years, in the same lineup, so the guys are really devoted to the whole thing. They are totally oldschool, and it feels just like in the good old days when we write songs or rehearse together, or when we play live.
You all played over years in the Protector cover band „Martin Missy and The Protectors“. When did the idea grow to write new songs and publish those under the old Protector name ?
Mathias: Well we had played together as MARTIN MISSY AND THE PROTECTORS since 2006. After alot of years we finally got some ideas for some new tracks so we put 4 songs together and recorded them in the rehearsal place. And I think the result was really pleasing. I think Martin asked the old members of PROTECTOR if it was ok to use the PROTECTOR name, and when they said yes we changed the name.
Carl-Gustav: The idea grew between the live gigs when we felt that the reactions from the fans just started to get more and more enthusiastic. We also sometimes jammed in the rehearsalroom, and I think it was one day that Michael and Mathias just jammed one riff and it felt like a Protector-song directly. We then started to piece together riff after riff and we understood after a while that we couldn’t just waste the material on something else.
Let's talk more about the new album.....I think it's combining the old Protector spirit with new elements caused by the better musicians like in the old years.
Mathias: Well I think the album sounds as albums did back in the 80s. And I am very happy with the result of it. Well i think the musicans before us like Hansi, Ede, Olly, Marco and more where brilliant on their instruments, so I don't really agree about that we should be better than them. My hopes are that people will hear no difference from the albums from the 80s. It sounds as PROTECTOR and that was really important for us.
Michael: Yeah, the album turned out great! Cool that you say the old Protector spirit is there. Of course some changes has happend because three of us didn't play in the "old" Protector, but maybe Protector changed less than many other bands that have their original lineup and had to change the music style instead to find "new blood"...
Carl-Gustav: Thank you so much for the compliment. The present lineup are all listening to oldschool music. Thrash Metal comes from combining Punk and old Heavy Metal so I think we've just been really lucky that we just have the same influences, and we probably have the same approach as they had in the 80s .In my opinion, I think the new songs blend in with the old songs in a really good way. And regarding the musicians of the new Protector: We are not better or worse than the musicians of the old Protector were.
The songs are brutal, they are fast and are at the border from Thrash to Death Metal. Is that the music style that Protector has to play ? I mean it didn't change over all those years....Or do you think that people and fans expect this kind of music if they hear your name ?
Mathias: Well PROTECTOR has always mixed those styles to their own style. And that's really cool in my opinion. We of course hope that all our old fans will like the new works as much as they liked the old albums. Thats really important for us, so you will never hear som modern shit influences in our music, thats a promise!
Michael: If we "tried" to play in any kind of style it would be horrible and worthless music, we write and play the music that we think sound good and that we like to play. Like WE want it to sound!
Carl-Gustav: Protector has always been harder and rawer than the other Thrash bands from Germany that’s true, but this all happend -and still happens- very naturally. The sound comes mostly when we structure the songs. The tuning of the guitar plays in as well. And how the mix in the studio turns out. It’s all probably about influences. Michael Hasse, Olly Wiebel and Marco Pape had probably common influences and one of them was Death Metal, so the music of Protector was also influenced by this. And Michael Carlsson, Mathias Johansson as well as myself have these influences as well. However Protector will sound in the future, I can promise you there will never be any modern sound. We will keep the oldschool-banner high.
Martin, you live in Sweden now for years. What was the reason to move to this northern europe contry ?
Martin: My mother is from Sweden. We always talked a lot of swedish at home, and we went on holiday to Sweden a lot of times. So when I decided to quit my job at a bank in Wolfsburg in 1995, I thought it would be interesting to try how it is to live in Sweden.
Listening to the album I am glad to hear that there are no influences of all those swedish Death Metal bands. The album sounds more like your 80's albums with more technical know-how. Would you agree with that ?
Michael: Yes I agree, and thanks! Thats about how we want people to feel when they hear the album. We are more inspired of the swedish Death Metal bands then trying to sound like them. That's not why we chose Thomas Skogsberg to produce the album, it was because we knew that he was the one who could get our sound right and keep it oldschool!
Carl-Gustav: Yes you are right and that was our intention as well. We talked with our producer Thomas Skogsberg and said that we wanted it to sound old school. And he agreed with us and said that he had a plan for us and we shouldn't worry...and it turned out great. Also the mastering -that was done by High Roller- is a very important part. The whole concept with Sunlight studio and High Roller Records is a perfect combination.
You signed to High Roller Records. Why High Roller and how did it come to catch this deal ?
Martin: We were looking for a label that would release the new album also on LP. The drummer of Desaster (Tormentor) gave me the tip about High Roller. Their LP-releases look and sound really great. And we also got a really good contact from the beginning as well. That's why we choose High Roller.
As I read on the promotional flyer the songs of „Reanimated Homunculus“ aren't all new ones. There are some older tracks on it new recorded. Tell us how the songs made it to the album....
Martin: There are three songs from our comeback-demo from 2011 on the album ("Road Rage, Birth of a Nation and Deranged Nymphomania). There is also a song from a split-EP on the album (Lycopolis). We put these songs on "Reanimated Homunculus" so they could be available on CD as well (they had only been released on LP before, with the exeption of 50 copies of the demo on CD) and also to have songs from the whole timespan 2011-2013 on the album. We also did a coverversion of a Protector-song („The End“). This song was recorded and released by the last Protector-lineup that had existed before our new lineup. By this we wanted to build a bridge to the "old Protector".
Martin told me that there will be probably a little tour in 2014. But not more than 5 or 6 dates. Why can't we await more touring coming up ? Is it crossing your civil jobs or are there some other reasons why there will be no bigger tour ?
Mathias: Yeah, we all have daytime jobs and Martin has 2 kids. So i think what Martin says is really true, its better to do like 5-6 gigs every year. Its also more fun to do it that way. To be on tour for 4 weeks is not possible at the moment. But I'll guess we should never say never, ha ha.
Michael: Everyone has their own stuff going on with other bands, jobs and families so its hard to be away for more than we do. Even though we wish we could..
If we look back....the Protector album's like „Golem“ or „Urm the Mad“ are all Thrash Metal classics now. Why didn't they earn the success like other bands in this scene ? Destruction, Kreator and Sodom for example....
Michael: Because the underground scene needs their heroes I guess, he he...
Mathias: I think one big reason was that Atom H was not a very big label outside Germany. Here in Sweden their releases were not easy to get. I got them on tape trading tapes back in the days, ha ha. I think the label had a very bad distrubution if you compared to labels like Noise, Steamhammer and Roadrunner. Also DESTRUCTION, SODOM, KREATOR were formed some years earlier, and the bands that were formed in 86 and forward never reached the sucess that those bands got.
Carl-Gustav: It's always a question of being in the right place at the right time. Through the years all of us have struggled in other bands without really getting anywhere. Often you need to be one of the first in the genre, get lucky and have a good record company in the background. Much advertising and the right contacts. Nowadays you have to get on the right festivals, play with the right bands and it's not easy if you do not have a good record label that has that ambition. We are incredibly grateful that we are where we are with Protector at the moment. And that there are fans that listen to and like our songs.
If one of those „bigger“ bands would ask you about playing some dates with them, would you accept this or do you think it's a better thing for your fans doing your own little headlining tour ?
Martin: It would be cool to play with one (or more) of the "Big 4", but headlining is also ok. I think it doesn't matter. We do both.
Of course there are some excellent festivals in Germany for more extreme bands....you know ?
Mathias: Yeah of course we know about that Germany is a really cool Metal country, and has the best audience of all countries in my opinion. We have played at some of the festivals allready, and I'll guess you will see us on some german festivals next year as well.
Carl-Gustav: Yes, I have heard about Party San and Summer Breeze. I have also visited Wacken in the years 1997-2000. Great bands and awesome atmosphere! I would love to have the chance to play at most of the german festivals because of the Germany Metal fans, who love the music so unconditionally.
Now that you decided to work again under the Protector banner.....can we await some more works soon ? What is coming next ?
Michael: Yes, we have plans for a new album! A few songs are allready done and we're starting to write again next year. So maby late 2014 or the beginning of 2015 there will hopefully be a new album out.
Last question is again about the new album.....the cover artwork. I really like it...the horror scenery in blue...who did it ?
Michael: Thanks!! We really like it as well! It was Kristian "Necrolord" Wåhlin, a masterpiece!
Mathias: Yeah, the front cover by Kristian Wåhlin is really cool. Kristian used to be the guitar player in GROTESQUE and LIERS IN WAIT back in time, and has done alot of frontcovers during the years. I think he has done covers for DISSECTTION, DISMEMBER, TIAMAT and many more. A really cool artist.
Thanx Protector for this interview.