I remember sitting on the bus going home after having bought ARTILLERY’s “Terror Squad” back when it was released in the 80s. With Denmark only 20 minutes away this was like the coolest thing in the world. Now they have a new album out. Interview answered by Michael Stützer and Michael Bastholm Dahl. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You guys were the first wave of Danish thrash metal. What was it like to be a thrash metal band back in the 80s?
Michael Stützer -Very strange in the start in 1982 people called us a punky way of Motorhead and Venom and in 1984 people started to call us thrash metal! At that time there was only Mercyful Fate and Artillery who played the harder metal so yes we was a kind of the black sheep of the heavy family.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
Michael Bastholm Dahl -I don’t know really. I think we always have been met with a lot of interest since we’re from Scandinavia. But obviously we are not from some of the famous cities quoted as the birthplaces of metal, but I haven’t felt any difference towards us attitude wise.
When you release an album that get pretty good reviews how do you follow up on that?
Michael Stützer -We try to take in all the good, but also look at the bad with clear and constructive eyes. As long as we feel it is something that might be beneficial for us. But overall, I simply think that we all really enjoy good reviews, but we cannot be anything else than who we are at the end of the day.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album, to write the songs or to come up with really good songs?
Michael Bastholm Dahl -All of it I suppose. I don’t think we try too hard in the creative process. I think we are very natural about the whole thing.
Back inte days we only had vinyl and tape. Nowadays it is digital and Spotify this, Itunes that. How has this progress affected you as a band?
Michael Stützer -For one, we cannot make a living out of it! The whole industry suffers from the “non-value art” consumer’s view. But this is something that seems to turn for the better these days – hopefully I personally still by CD´s and Vinyls!
With a sound that was something new when you first entered the scene how has that sound progressed over the years? is it important that I as a listener can hear traces of “Fear Of Tomorrow” and “Terror Squad” in the new stuff?
Michael Stützer -I think you always can hear our roots in Artillery and even we had progress a lot I still think we are true to our roots from the early days and that’s also what people keep telling us.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
Michael Bastholm Dahl -I find it to be very important. Good lyrics can really an album together and give the listener a more conceptual experience with the whole thing. I want the lyrics to be thought provoking. I like them to be sharp, offensive and philosophical at the same time – if possible and fitting. We want to purvey freedom of thought, speech and to live as you want to. Politics and religion, especially these days, ensnare, discriminate and manipulates us in the most distasteful manner. I fear for the state of our planet, the environment and how our earth suffers from the abuse of mankind. I might be slightly misanthropic. I would like to think our lyrics made people think and hopefully be better to everything around them.
What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
Michael Stützer -The cover is the first thing you see. It must somehow represent what the album sounds like. So it is very important. Finding a perfect connection between the two is sometimes complicated though.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
Michael Bastholm Dahl -Yeah, we really can see we are getting out to more and more people and that’s really great, we still have many of the old fans and there is coming new fans joining us all the time. So we are very grateful for that.
What do you see in the future?
Michael Stützer -A lot of tours are coming up, a new record next year, hopefully a big support tour and a lot of fun!