Interview with Andreas Geremia from Tankard
First of all thank you very much, how are you?
Yeah, a little bit hangover from yesterday but ah, it’s getting better. I’m going to have another coffee, I mean it’s 11 o’clock in the morning and I know you have 6 or 7pm. Yeah trying to do a lot of promotion for the new album, I don’t know if you’ve listened to it already
I have, and it’s a powerful thrash metal creation, What was the intention/goal behind the album?
Yeah so when we go to the studio and yeah, we started very late with the song writing process. But we don’t sit together and think about how the next album should sound so we just started writing songs and we gonna see in the end what kind of result we have. So there is no really big master plan or something like that when we start writing songs. They just come straight from the heart and in the end we will see what kind of result we have.
Did you have any influences with this album?
Our main influences are still the new wave of British heavy Metal, we were growing up in the beginning of the 80’s and then later on the era of the fresh wave, Exodus, first Slayer, first Metallica, I also mention the first Exciter metal album Heavy Maniac is still one of my faves. These were our influences at that time but nowadays we still listen to metal music but I don’t think there is a special influence for that album.
Because I can tell while listening to the album you keep thrash metal alive throughout each and every song
Yeah so I agree with you in that the new album is a little bit more heavy than the last one and we worked together for the very first time with Matthew Buchwalter as producer and I think we were really satisfied with three albums before working together with Michael Mainx but we really thought to try something new, maybe to get a little bit different sound and little bit fresh blood. And yeah, we’re really satisfied with the result, I think it’s really heavy and yeah, I think it’s heavier than the R.I.B albums.
How did you find working with Matthew Buchwalter and did he influence you in any way?
Yeah so we know this guy since a lot of years, I mean he is the drummer of Personal War, a German band, I don’t know if you know them, a very cool German band, but yeah a very crisp time of course. He had some ideas, especially, we spent a lot of time doing the vocals but yeah it was really hard work and sometimes he had really good ideas, but right at the moment we’re very satisfied with the album.
Yeah well it’s a good album, I would be satisfied as well! Do you have a personal favourite from the album so far?
(haha) Thank you. Ah I have one, yeah the title track ‘One Foot in the Grave’. It’s still my favourite one at the moment. But I really can’t tell which one is my favourite one because, I really can’t find a bad song on them album….we never put a bad song on the album anyways (hahaha) we haven’t discussed which songs we are going to play live. I mean there is now released a lyric video for Arena of the True Lies I think that is the most melodic song on this album. I really like that song too, but my favourite is still the title track.
Yeah because I was listening to One Foot in the Grave, nodding my head up and down. I probably looked like I was crazy. You get to be in the middle of all this energy, could you describe the feeling of playing this sort of music in front of a crowd?
(haha) Yeah this is a very, intensive feeling because you give power but you get a lot of power back and this is the great combination. Getting power and giving power and yeah. It makes more fun than to be in the studio to record an album. I mean that’s a lot of work and it’s ok but we prefer to play live.
Definitely! Do you guys have a ritual you do before going on stage? Something you do together to get energised?
No, not really. We don’t have any ritual for that. We just go on stage and play….Maybe have a beer together! (haha)
I was about to say! Talking about beer, Secret Order 1516 is one of the only tracks that contains lyrics to beer. Was that a decision made by you or the band as a whole, to be a bit more serious for this album?
I wouldn’t say that this album is more serious because we always try to do good mixture of serious and funny stuff. Yeah you mentioned Secret Order 1516, this is somehow serious and somehow funny. I mean it’s about this kind of law from 1516 that you are allowed to put special things for brewing beer and so we did read a news on the internet that some beer brewers are against wrecking because wrecking poisons the underground water so we thought to write a song about that topic. So this song is about wrecking, it’s serious side but on the other hand very funny side of the beer. So it says in the lyrics ‘Wreck yourself’ but that’s very funny.
Syrian nightmare, could you give us a little background?
Normal people really have to suffer and nobody really cares what the song is about. A very serious one and I think with the most aggressive vocals on this albums
And so what does it mean to you to raise awareness about issues like this?
I mean we don’t want to tell the people what they have to do or something, but I think we have the right to criticise such things. To do it with thrash metal I think this is good combination. We don’t go with blind eyes through life, I mean we have a lot of humour and we don’t take ourselves too seriously but we also have the right to write about such topics.
In the song Lock em’ Up, it’s obviously directed towards the problems in America, for example ‘Grab some pussies and try to attack Trump and throw all migrants into jail.’ A great line. What are your thoughts about the current US president and what do politics mean to you?
(haha) Yeah! So that was my idea to write the song about that, before the election. Trump was talking to his supporters and then talking about Hilary Clinton, all the people were yelling ‘Lock her up, lock her up’ and so this song is about ‘if you’re not my opinion I’m going to put you into jail’. So yeah, we will see, it’s not really clear what kind of direction it goes and yeah. I think all over the world at the moment we have some strange leaders, if you go to Turkey or you see in Russia, yeah very strange times at the moment, so this song is also little bit ironical of course.
In regards to the tours you have planned for Germany, do you have any expectations?
I mean we have a lot of club shows and in Summer play a couple of festivals. We go to Wacken again after 16 years for the very first time and yeah we try to promote the album as good as we can. We all have regular day jobs and so we aren’t able to do a tour for 100 shows or something like that
Well you guys have played live for the best part of 35 years which is very impressive. Do you have any favourite moments on tour that you could share?
To travel to countries we’ve never played before. So for me personally, these are most exciting moments. I mean we played 3 years ago the very first time in Australia of 3 shows. Never played before in Australia, 2014 never played before.
Well I was going to say, is a return something we can expect?
There are no plans at the moment but we would really love to come back one day.
After 2017, what are the plans for Tankard?
Yes, we already have a lot of tour dates in 2018. As I told you before we try to play as often as we can but yeah. There is nothing really special planned at the moment. I was saying that One Foot in the Grave means it’s half time, now we have the first 35 years and now we’re looking forward to the next 35 years.
Now I read somewhere that you filled milk cartons with beer while you played a gig at school. If that’s true that’s amazing!
Yeah that’s true! That’s really true. That was our first show in the classroom of our school and alcohol was forbidden, so we put it into some milk bottles with the beer and yeah, that was really true.
Do you have any other legendary stories?
Yeah so another funny story was we played once in the Czech Republic in the 90s and our bass player Frank, he was a little bit drunk and he jumped into the crowd and yeah he kept on playing but he kept vanishing! He went on the wrong stage and (haha)that was very funny.
Please correct me if I’m mistaken but I believe you’re a big fan of football. Who do you support?
Right! I’m a big supporter of Eintracht Frankfurt, that’s our hometown and I try to go as often as I can to watch the games.
Finally, do you have any last comments?
Yes, I would like to thank you and thank the fans for all their support over the past 35 years.