We’re growing up! An Interview with TANKARD

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Want more Rockharz content? Find my reports on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 here. 

German Thrash Metal cannot be described or understood without mentioning TANKARD. They are now coming back with their latest album set to be released in September. Reason enough for me to ask singer Gerre some questions! Find out what you can look forward to in the new album and which band hasn’t answered Gerre’s letter!

The pics, as always, were made by lightinmirror.de! Thanks a lot for that!

TANKARD @Rockharz 2022; Pic by lightinmirror.de (c) 2022

Shieldmaiden’s Voice: What makes TANKARD unique?

Gerre: That’s a funny starting question! I think it’s our special combination of Thrash Metal, our humor and us not taking everything so seriously. One might have to add that since 1987, since our second release, we’ve had a mix of serious and funny texts. The serious side of TANKARD is nothing new. Some people, who don’t really look into us, like to reduce us to the Beer-Thrash-Fun-corner. That’s a bit annoying sometimes, but we did a lot to earn that image in the beginning, even naming a demo Alcoholic Metal. Albums like Chemical Invasion and Morning After contributed to that as well. The really unique thing about TANKARD is the combination of hard Thrash Metal, hard music and the fun we have playing it.

SV: What is something you wish more people knew about TANKARD? You just talked about the reduction to the Beer-Metal-corner, but is there something beyond that, that people ought to know?

Gerre: People already know a lot about us. I’ve been asked a lot recently why it took us five years to have a new album ready. The people should know that an album isn’t just created with the snap of your fingers, but that it takes a lot of input, work and sweat instead. We invest a lot in that, but people tend to forget that!

SV: In September, you’ll release a new album called Pavlov’s Dawgs. What is something your fans can look forward to the most?

Gerre: A new cover and 10 new songs! [laughs] Basically: If it says TANKARD, then you’ll get TANKARD. Compared to the last album, sound changed a bit, especially the bass sound. It has gotten a tight sound, you can hear very well. The guitars also kick ass. We invested a lot of work into the vocals too. Here and there you might be able to hear some melodies, especially in the refrains. Overall, there is a lot of TANKARD inside. The fans can look forward to a loaded production and in the end everyone needs to decide for themselves whether they like it or not. You won’t hear me say „That’s our best album ever!“ because it’s important that we’ve given our all and are satisfied with the outcome. All the better, when fans and journalists end up liking it. 

SV: How did you come up with the album title? Is there a deeper reason behind choosing a title that can be associated with mindlessly following instincts and running saliva?

Gerre: That was, once again, the idea of our amazing manager Buffo, who always comes around the corner with album titles and covers quite early in the process. For TANKARD these things are decided first because of that! The Pavlovian dogs, which are conditioned to have their saliva drool at the mere sound of a bell, have been processed in a manner typical for TANKARD.

SV: Between this album that you’re set to release and the one before that, there is the pandemic. Which influence did that have on the album and the work on it?

Gerre: It didn’t really influence the working process. The album was supposed to be released two years earlier, but in 2019 we only had one and a half songs and we realized that we wouldn’t be able to make it. When your working on an album, you’re always working under immense time pressure and stress, but we decided to rather postpone it than go through that. The album would’ve been released a year later if everything went the way it was supposed to go. In the beginning of 2020, however, the pandemic started, everything was cancelled and we took that as a sign to just take a break. That really benefitted us and in 2021 we continued the songwriting process where we had left of in 2019.

SV: It’s going to be your 18th album already…

Gerre: Yes! We’re growing up!

SV: Exactly! What changed the most in the Metal scene since your first release?

Gerre: We’re children of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) from the ende of the 70s to the beginning of the 80s. I remember how I went into the record store and bought albums based on their cover. Sometime later, I had the first magazine from Holland that featured Metal bands. That was like the 8th world wonder. It was just a different time. The technology changed, it’s easier to record something. The structures changed a lot too. Clubs and distribution systems were created, magazines were published, concert organizers appeared, everything just became more professional. The love for the music however has remained the same. 

TANKARD @Rockharz 2022; Pic by lightinmirror.de (c) 2022

SV: During Rockharz you played your song Ex-Fluencer for the first time. Are picking up on the rising numbers of influencers in the Metal scene with this song?

Gerre: It’s a story about a female protagonist who loses herself completely in the social media world and who only lives for Instagram and platforms like that. Her only goal is generating of clicks and that has nothing to do with reality. She manages to find her way out of there so that the song has a happy ending. Everyone gets kind of lost sometimes in their own smartphone, but young people are especially lost. The song is looking critically at just that.

SV: Would you like to travel back in time to where this didn’t exist?

Gerre: That’s hard to say. Our song Memento focusses on something similar: Indulging in memories even though not everything was better in the past. The communication possibilities have vastly increased. Back in the 80s, I sent a letter to the EXCITER fan club in Canada to which they never replied. Today that would have been done with one e-mail. Keeping that in mind, I wouldn’t want to go back in time…

SV: What does it feel like for you and the band to be back on stage again?

Gerre: The situation reminded me of the middle and the end of the 90s, when Metal wasn’t that popular and Thrash Metal even less so and we only had a handful of gigs per year. In 2020 we had three gigs and in 2021 we only had five. It feels like we’re back to normal now and it’s an amazing feeling. To be able to give energy and get it back is just the must incredible thing in existence. 

SV: I have one last question: What is something you always wanted to say in an interview but never had the chance to?

Gerre: I like ask a question myself and no one has been able to give me a good answer so far. Why are new albums always released on Friday?

SV: I think that this is connected to the charts. They are closed on Thursday evening and published on Friday. If you release an album on Friday, it counts longer for than the charts than it would on a Thursday. You are able to use the full week.

Gerre: Thanks for the answer! I learned something new!

It’s really a rare occurrence for me to be asked a question… But a welcome change nevertheless! If you want more TANKARD, make sure to preorder their new album Pavlov’s Dawgs set to be released on 30th September and make sure to see them live!

In the coming weeks you’ll find new articles and interviews that I will draw up during the Merseburger Rocknacht. Stay tuned!

TANKARD @Rockharz 2022; Pic by lightinmirror.de (c) 2022

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