ASSASSIN is as a band that al should know of. Being second wave German thrash metal with bands like Exumer and Darkness this is a classic band that have a brand new album out now. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Assassin is a classic second wave German theash metal band. What did it mean for you guys that you
had bands like Sodom, Destruction and Kreator for the development of your sound?
Scholli: Sodom, Kreator and Destruction grew up the same time as Assassin and Sodom and Kreator live just around the corner and we are still good friends with them both. We made our sound just the way we wanted to, parallel to the other bands. Of course we sound a bit similar, ’cause we all are influenced by the same bands like Venom, Slayer, etc.
Assassin released two classic thrash metal albums but then something happened, or didn’t happen. What was that about?
Scholli: The end for Assassin came in April 1989. One day the band discovered the steel door of their rehearsal room was broken and most of the band equipment was stolen. The thieves were never found by Assassin or the police. The band had to pay back SPV/Steamhammer money that was fronted to them. On top the band members changed too many times without finding the right ones. In consequence the band coudn’t find the right decision which way to go in a musical way. Last not least the band’s morale was at an all time low so the band decided to take a hiatus.
What made Assassin take up thrash again? What prompted a new start?
Scholli: After the reunion 2002 the lineup changed once more and beside Robert and me the band couldn’t find a tough crew taking the long run. So the style of the album „The Club“ was influenced by the different musicians and it wasn’t a typical Thrash Metal album anymore. After we found Joachim on bass, Bjorn on drums and Michael on guitar Assassin could start again with a strong lineup and „Breaking the Silence“ shows that the band returned to their roots again. With the new album „Combat Cathedral“ we put it on top and tried to develope.
You got a new album to promote now. What can you tell us about that one?
Joachim: Most important thing to name is that Assassin has a new front singer Ingo Bajonczak. He gave a new influence to the band of course. We already saw in the studio during the vocal sessions that Ingo has a totally different approach in recording the vocal lines. He came in the studio with a lot of ideas how to arrange the vocals. He was experimenting with choir arrangements, shout and response arrangements and even involved the band members not only for the backing vocal lines to make them a part of the songs with their typical colour of voice. “Back from the Dead”, the opener of the new album is a good example for this working method, for example!
As I am no musician I have no idea how you write songs but is it important that the new ones have a vibe of the old stuff? That there is that easy to recognize feel to the songs? The Assassin trademark.
Scholli: The new songs are more elaborate than before. It was a very good production and the sound and the songs are a symbiosis of old thrash metal and new influences. Joachim: I agree. We didn’ t have any other choice than to walk new ways, because so many things changed. We tried to keep the balance between our roots that are definitely in Thrash Metal and to give space to new things that are naturally coming up with a new singer like Ingo who of course is a strong musical personality with a strong influence and impact on the music and the band.
Being a metalhead I feel that I am part of a world-wide community. But when you play in a band do you feel that you are connected to other bands?
Joachim: Of course we do. We are still in friendly contact with Sodom, for example. They are asking me from time to time to go on tour with them as a guitar and bass tech. And I always love to join them, because they are cool guys and friends! A couple of years ago Destructions were asking us to play the support for their DVD release show and it was a lot of fun to play with them. These are just two stories just to name a few.
It is my belief that digital downloading in the long run will kill music, both on record as well as live simply because people want it instantly and don’t want to pay for it. What is your opinion?
Joachim: I agree half and half. In the long run digitally downloading will kill music business but not music. There’ll always be bands and kids who want to make music. But we can’t change the times and we have to deal with the new circumstances that you can get music anytime you like, anywhere you like without paying a bloody dime. But it gives new changes of releasing new music especially for new bands too. Two sides of the same coin! Talking about this subject I have to thank all the metalheads out there, because with their attitude of still buying records, CDs, DVDs, patches, t-shirts and so on they are keeping the Metal alive! You guys rule!
Being in a band means that you get to tour. What has been the coolest experiences?
Joachim: When we were playing in Santiago de Chile during our “Doomsday Prevention Tour” Burn, our drummer and me had a crazy idea. While he was playing his drum solo, I had to invite a girl from the audience on stage to make her play the floor tom. Before I gave her the sticks I fell down on my knees in front of her and started to lick her all over, just for the show. And guess what, she liked it and joined me doing it! She was real crazy.
To me it seems that nowadays it is mostly package tours or festivals that is being arranged. Is it harder to set up a tour now and to get people to come if it is only two bands playing?
Joachim: This is a difficult question to answer. It’s always hard to work in music business. I’m a freelancing musician for sixteen years now and it’s a pain in the ass sometimes. But I love my job and I don’t want to change my way of live, although my mum told me to do something important. But to answer your question fundamentally you better ask a promoter, I think.
So what does the future hold?
Scholli and Joachim: Sex and drugs and Rock’n’Roll!