Sons of Kain
PROTECTOR was formed already in 1986, the band has a decent history and their early recordings as 'Protector of Death' demo '86, 'Cain and Abel' '87, or '87 'Misanhropy' meant a lot at that time. Back then the extreme scene began to take shape with bands like POSSESSED, CELTIC FROST, DEATH, MORBID ANGEL, SEPULTURA, BATHORY and the like. Maybe PROTECTOR didn’t reach the size of these bands, but their quality has always been and will forever be recorded in the grooves of various media. True fanatics wear PROTECTOR patches on their denim and metal jackets long time, worship them as a cult band, their old LPs have their value. It is my great honor this band appears right on our site, as PROTECTOR were one of the first extreme Thrash / Death bands I've ever heard in my life and till now I feel shivers down my spin from their recordings! Interview was acquitted by their most classic Martin Missy singer, throat and personality so typical for PROTECTOR, also one of the founding members, who keeps this band alive till now.
Hello Martin, have you assumed during PROTECTOR split up, you will sometimes record a new album? Have you supposed PROTECTOR will be active again?
No. Until it really happened, I never would have thought that I would record an album with Protector again. It feels great!
How do you perceive PROTECTOR band? It is a cult band to many ones, also to me, as 'Misanthropy' was probably the first Extreme Metal recording I have ever heard early in 90s. What does PROTECTOR mean to you?
For me it's a more personal thing. The years with Protector in the 80s were a fantastic period for me. All the people we met, the parties we had, the gigs we played and the recordings we did...It was probably the best time of my (musical) life. But I have to say that I really enjoy the time in the ”new Protector” as well. My bandcollegues are really great persons.
Could you say what happened at the time when you left PROTECTOR? Didn’t you repent to leave such going band that already had a decent name? What is your view on the existence of the band during your absence when it was elaborately kept alive by Marco Pape?
At the time I left the band for the first time (early 1989) I was suffering from panic- and anxiety attacks, so at that point I didn't regret anything. When I left Protector the second time (in the end of 1989) my motivation and inspiration was gone, so at that particular point I didn't regret anything either. Years later I started to regret that I had left the band though. I sometimes thought what it could have been like to have continued with the band, to play gigs with them, and to record more albums. But that was all only speculation, and hey, I'm back with the band again about 20 years later! I like the recordings that Protector did after I left the band, especially ”A Shedding of Skin”. I think it was great that Marco was motivated enough to continue with Protector until approximately 2003, although they didn't play that many gigs and only released one demo (in 2000).
Current PROTECTOR line-up is stable since 'The Return of Thrash and Madness' demo in 2011. When did you move to Sweden? Why did you decide to move to this Metal country?
We have even played together in this lineup since 2006. Back then we started the whole thing as a Protector-coverband that was called ”Martin Missy and the Protectors”. Since 2011 we officially play under the name of Protector again. I moved to my mother’s home country Sweden in 1995 because I wanted to try out something new. I have a lot of relatives here, and I used to spend my summer- and sometimes also my winter-holidays in Sweden. I live in Stockholm (since 1997), am married (since 2008) and father of twins (since 2011).
Do you think it's possible some of the former PROTECTOR members will sometimes rejoin the band? Do you have any information, or you are in contact with former members? Doesn’t anyone of them have a problem you have revived PROTECTOR?
I have contact with all the former band members of Protector again since about 2001/2002, when I decided to do a Protector Tribute homepage. As far as I know the others are no longer interested in playing in Protector anymore. Hansi Müller for example hasn't played in a band since his time in Protector. And most of the other former Protector members have other bands that they play in now. I asked Hansi (who founded the band together with Michael Hasse in 1986) if it was ok with him that me and my Swedish band mates would start up Protector again, and he said that he thought it was a good idea. I asked our record company High Roller Records to send a LP and CD to every ex-Protector member (also Michael Hasses sister Marion). They all reacted quite positive to the release.
Let’s come to the new 'Reanimated Homunculus' album. Why did you name it just like this? Is that name associated with fact the PROTECTOR is here with the new album? Have the lyrics changed somehow after such a long time?
I chose the name because it symbolizes the return of the Golem (the title of our album from 1988), which stands as a symbol for the return of Protector. The lyrics have maybe changed a little bit. I don't write so much about politics any longer as I did back on Golem and Urm the Mad. Now the lyrics are more about fantasy, Science Fiction and horror.
How has the new album been creating? Can you compare working process on 'Reanimated Homunculus' with 'Golem' album for example? Was it just then quite a bit different or nothing changed at all?
The big difference is that my band collegues live in Uddevalla, which is about 500 kilometers from Stockholm. They write and arrange the songs in Uddevalla and then (another difference to the old times) they send the rehearsal recordings as mp3-files to me. Then I write the lyrics to the songs. We rehearse together 2-3 times every year, and then I try to sing my lyrics to the new songs to see, if they fit in as I have planned it when I wrote them. We wrote the songs for the new album in a period of two years, because we didn't want to write songs out of stress.
Are you satisfied with the new album in all its aspects? Do you keep track on the reactions of critics? Have you already met with some negative opinions or all the reactions are enthusiastic?
After every recording you always find some small things that you maybe could have done different, but overall I am very happy with ”Reanimated Homunculus”. I keep track of the reactions of critics. Most of them (I would say at least 80%) have responded positive or even very positive to the album. About 15 percent thought that it was an ok album / nothing special and about 5% of the critics were negative to the new album.
Hmm, I would like to ask the sound, I find the album is recorded digitally; it's probably your first non-analog recording. Don’t you think you should try again the analog recording? Of course, I really like new sound; it is old school like...
Our first thought was to do an analog recording, so we could keep it even more old school. But then we got in contact with Tomas Skogsberg, and we thought it would be really cool to record in his studio, because he's been around the Metal-scene for quite a while, and surely could give us a good, old school sound, even without an analog recording. And so he did. My band collegues and I are very pleased with the result. We will see if we chose to do an analog recording, if we should do another record in the future.
From my perspective, nothing special has changed musically at PROTECTOR, maybe drums are more sophisticated and modern, but the atmosphere, feeling, riffs are like from the good old PROTECTOR era, as if a natural continuation and development, do you agree?
Yes, and that was also very important to us. We knew that our fans expected songs, that were old school and in the vein of the old Protector recordings. Fortunately my three band collegues are, although they are younger than me, very old school guys, who mainly listen to Metal and hardrock from the 70s and 80s, so writing the new songs with the old ”Protector-feeling” was very natural for them.
How difficult it was to find new members in another country and achieve even that PROTECTOR sounded like PROTECTOR?
I have to thank a Metalhead called Jonas Svensson for that. I met him at a Nifelheim aftershow party in Stockholm in 2005. We talked for hours about old school Metal and also about Protector. That was when the idea of the cover band ”Martin Missy and the Protectors” was born. Jonas went back to his hometown Uddevalla, and he handpicked Mathias Johansson (also in Suicidal Winds and Axis Powers), Michael Carlsson (also in Rawhide) and Carl-Gustav Karlsson (also in Grief of Emerald) for the band. Without Jonas, Protector would probably not have resurrected, and I would probably also never have met Mathias, Michael and Carl-Gustav.
Is there scheduled some European tour for your new album? Could you write some famous places which would your trip lead through? What about great summer festivals? Have you already received some offers?
We will continue to do maybe just 4-6 gigs every year. My three band collegues have jobs and other bands they play in, and I have my sons to take care of, am looking for a new job (for about 21 years now) and also have another band besides Protector (its called Obrero). So there is not so much time / holidays left, so we could do a tour. It will stay with single gigs also in the future. At the moment we have booked two gigs at festivals in France (Chaulnes Metal fest) and in Denmark (Metal Magic festival) for 2014.
Ok, that would be all from me, hope I didn’t forget anything important. I wish you good luck with PROTECTOR and especially a lot of energy into composing, playing live sets and the like, thanks again.
Thank you for doing the interview with me! To our fans: Stay Metal and feel free to visit our Protector-Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Protector.666not777
Martin 30.10.2013 Mortuary