1. Hello how are things going in Germany these days? Please introduce yourself to the readers?
Hi! It’s mostly really hot and dusty around here right now, climate change really caught up with us here it seems. We are Tobi (vocals and guitars), Sven (bass) and Henni (drums).
2. When did you first start listening to thrash metal and who were the first bands you discovered? Who are some current bands you are enjoying?
It started when we were around 13-14 years old. Much of my musical taste (Tobi) somehow passed on to my brother (Henni), so I guess that was quite an influece. Bands that played a big role early on were probably Sodom, Kreator, Slayer, old Metallica, the usual „beginner“ stuff. Most important for our music was and still is Toxic Holocaust though! Current bands from that genre that we really like would be stuff like Deathhammer, Division Speed and especially Nekroflith.
3. When did you first meet the other members of the band? And was it long before you all started Panzer Squad?
Well, Henni and Tobi are brothers so they met really early on already. Tobi moved to Osnabrück, our (now) hometown, in 2012 and started Panzer Squad with Sven and 3 others which left over the years. Henni only joined not that long ago in 2016 after also moving to Osnabrück, kinda by accident.
4. What is the current line up of the band? And for the readers who have never heard Panzer Squad's music how would you best describe it? Who would you say are the bands biggest influences?
The current line up is just us 3, though we were 5 when we started out with an additional guitar player and singer. Our biggest influences when it comes to music are probably Toxic Holocaust (!), Old Sodom, Terrorizer, Disrupt. Looking at the lyrics and overall feel, Nekrofilth are a big inspiration . You could probably describe it all as a mix of oldschool Thrash with DBeat Punk, Grind and a bit Blackthrash.
That was actually much easier than expected: We just contacted Dennis (Testimony Records) on Facebook, sent him the album tracks and asked him if he liked it. And well, apperently he did! So yeah, that’s the story. We knew the label already before joining it through our (now labelmates) Carnal Tomb (great guys!) though.
6. Does the whole band take part in the writing process or does one member write everything?
Earlier we used to write at home and rehearse only. Nowadays we write almost nothing at home. Instead, we meet for a few hours, get drunk and give i tour best (or worst). Ruins is a mixture of both, some oft he songs are already 2-3 years old while others were written just weeks before we recorded them. Maybe you can guess which are which when listening tot he album, that’s always hard to tell for us.
7. Besides the war and military themes does the band currently write about any other topics on the new release?
The overarching theme oft he album could best be described as a mixture of psychic illness, drugs, societal degradation and war. This includes songs like „Escapist“ which tell the story of a locked-in schizophrenia patient who is stuck fighting inner wars over and over again, but also songs like „Sewer Rat“ which is about a crazy drug addict living in the sewers and kidnapping people to kill and eat them there. All songs are loosely related as they tell stories of despair and madness in a declining society.
8. Besides the upcoming Ruins release is the debut still available for the readers to purchase? Besides physical releases does the band have any other merchandise available if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
The CD version of our debut is still available on our bandcamp page as well as some old shirts. We are currently waiting for new merch to arrive which will be sold once the album is out!
9. Has Panzer Squad gotten to play very many shows over the years? If yes what have been some of the bands most memorable shows so far?
We played quite a few shows over the years, many of those were awesome. We always experienced the greatest hospitality in Weimar at the Gerber 3, which has become a second home for us and our bands. A big s/o to the Trvefrykt crew, check out their print zine! The most memorable shows were probably those we played in Berlin, one in the Köpi and one in the Abstand/Rigaer Straße. Those were completely packed and even though hardly anyone knew us, people went completely berserk, knocked our stuff over and coated us in beer.
10. Are their any tours or shows planned in support of Ruins if yes where will the band be playing? And who are some bands you will be sharing the stage with?
We are currently planning a release show in our home town in September as well as a small tour in October. We will play a few shows with our buddies from Ratfeast and also hopefully a few with Gewaltbereit (Germanies best punk band right now!!) who we already once shared the stage with.
11. Besides playing in Panzer Squad do you or any of the members currently play in any other bands?
We have and had quite a few bands over the years. Currently active are Minenfeld (WW1 Raw Death Metal), Baerus (Sludge Doom), Forsaken Tomb (Speed Metal) and Misery Vortex (Oldschool Deathgrind)
12. Panzer Squad comes out of the legendary German thrash metal scene. What is your opinion of the German thrash metal scene over the years?
Since we are not that old, we can only share our opinion on the current scene I guess. Currently, most people around here are into Black Thrash and other occult/mystic stuff where it often seems like image and stage clothing are more important than the actual music (though we also love many of those bands!). Usually though, we play shows in alternative venues organized by DIY/ leftwing groups, so our actual contact as a band with the Thrash scene here is pretty small. Somehow, Punks and Crusties seem to like what we do more than most Thrashers I guess.
13. Who are your all-time favorite German bands and are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?
All time fav German: Sodom, Truppensturm, Kraftwerk, Audiokollaps, Yacöpsae, Also of course old Punk stuff like Schleimkeim, Vorkriegsjugend or Canal Terror.
Current bands from Germany that we really like: Implore, Indian Nightmare, Division Speed, Kriegszittern, Eremit (debut album coming soon), Ratlord
14. When you need to take a break from working on new music or band business what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
We have enough active bands so we are always busy writing music our playing shows. Otherwise Tobi build guitar pedals, we organize shows and of course go to a lot of shows and festivals. Highlights for this year will be Killtown Death Fest and Bloodshed Fest.
15. Besides thrash metal do you enjoy listening to any other forms of metal or music in general? If yes who are some of your favorite bands?
Well, we actually listen mostly to other stuff than Thrash, so absolutely yes. Favorite bands right now are probably Blood Incantation, Death Toll 80k, Undergang, Pissgrave, King Gizzard & The Lizzard Wizzard, Conan, many more…
16. Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
Thanks you for the interview, it was a pleasure! Readers: Go to concert, support your local bands, get drunk, die. Uagh!