by Ryan Meehan
Artillery was formed in Copenhagen in 1982, and released their debut album “Fear of Tomorrow” in 1985 and the follow-up, “Terror Squad,” in 1987. Afterwards, the band saw a turbulent time with line-up changes, but by 1990 the band released the much acclaimed “By Inheritance” record. Artillery released their final effort with singer Flemming Rønsdorf in 1999 called “B.A.C.K.” Fast forward to 2007: the band reformed with singer Søren Adamsen and released “When Death Comes” in 2009 and was followed by “My Blood” in 2011. The year 2012 saw a change in line-up, when founding member and drummer Carsten Nielsen decided to leave, shortly followed by singer Søren Adamsen. Two new members were recruited in late 2012; with Josua Madsen being the new drummer and Michael Bastholm Dahl the new singer. The band headed off to Miami to perform at the Barge to Hell metal cruise. Work on new material was already underway and after a successful European tour in May 2013, the band entered Medley Studios with acclaimed producer Søren Andersen at the mixing board. With the new album recorded in June 2013, the band stands strong and ready to unleash their metal upon the world. A US tour is booked, as well as a South American tour, so the future looks bright and big plans have been made. Artillery is coming your way and ready to embark on a new chapter, and founding member Michael Stutzer from Artillery is our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You started out playing thrash metal in Europe during the early eighties…At that time in America there were the group of bands known as the “first four” of American thrash metal, being Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica, and Anthrax. What was the European take on American thrash metal at the time? And if you had to compile a list of the “first four” of European thrash metal bands, what artists would be on that list?
MS: There was a lot of German Thrash acts, some English and a little Danish band! But if i have to pick the four biggest European thrash metal bands it would be it will be Destruction, Kreator, Sodom and Onslaught. There were also bands like Celtic Frost, Tankard, Living Death, Coroner and Buldozer around at that time!
RM: Let’s talk about the new record “Legions”…How was the making of this record different from the previous two releases? And what has it been like working with (new vocalist) Michael Bastholm Dahl?
MS: Recording Legions was in no doubt the fastest record we ever have recorded. Once again we did it with producer Søren Andersen in Medley Studio. Due to a lot of touring the 2 last songs were first really written in the studio one of them was Doctor Evil. 2 of the songs was recorded 1 and a half month before Anno Requiem and Dies Irae! But recording so fast has really giving the song a lot of nerve and freshness with a killer production! Both new drummer Josua and new vocalist Michael Dahl Bastholm is very dedicated to what they do and it has been a pleasure to work with them as they are very down to earth people!
RM: The video for the title track “Legions” shows a woman on a couch recoiling in horror as war footage is shown on a television in front of her…What is the meaning of that imagery and how does it relate to the lyrics of the song itself?
MS: The title song is about a woman who returns from war and have post-traumatic stress and can´t get rid of all the scary things she has gone through during the war! When seeing some war scenes again she can tell if she is still in war or if it’s a nightmare. So the story is that she never really leaves the war and have to deal with that the rest of her life!
RM: You recently played on one of those metal cruises entitled “Barge to Hell” which departed from Miami in December of 2012. Why do you think the live music cruises are gaining popularity and what was that whole experience like for you? Do you have any advice for anybody who is going to embark on a nautical entertainment journey with a bunch of metal fans?
MS: It has been one of our best experience with Artillery so far. Imagine a boat filled with great bands and dedicated fans, great food, beer and playing on the top of the deck with sunshine and looking out over the sea while playing for some dedicated fans. It was amazing. Also seeing a lot of great bands like Exodus etc. was a great thing! I don´t think there was so many non metallers onboard, but if any want to go for a nautical experience I can only say try it you won´t regret it – it’s a big party!
RM: Over the course of your career, we’ve seen Artillery have two separate seven year hiatuses. As an artist what, what was it that you learned about yourself during each of those breaks? Was it more difficult returning the second time knowing that (longtime vocalist) Flemming Rönsdorf would not be involved with “When Death Comes” and “My Blood“?
MS: No it was to be honest a big relief because we knew that this time we could get out there to play as much we wanted, because all in the band was keen on playing a lot more shows this time! One thing we learned is that the dedication and the chemistry has to work if you really want to do it in a serious way! And believe me in Artillery’s case it has not been easy!
RM: I see that you often play a BC Rich guitar…What’s your live amplification setup, and what do you like to use in the studio: A half-stack or a full stack? When you are recording, do you favor a click track or do you like to go live?
MS: Yeah my BC Rich has followed me since 1988! In the studio both Morten and I use Marshall JCM 800 for the rhythm parts and Marshall 2000 for the solo and harmonies both half-stacks, we both use Ibanez tube screamer and Morley Wah Wah pedals and have done that since Back! We always enter the studio with one guitar and click recorded at home and Josua records the drums after that!
RM: How does the band usually prepare for road gigs? In other words if you get to the city you’re playing in around 4PM and you don’t get on stage until 10 or 11PM, how do you pass the time while still preparing for the show?
MS: That depends on how much time we have, we like to see the towns and countries we are visiting, sometimes we try to relax a little on the hotel and sometimes we stay around and check some of the bands who also playing and catch a beer with them! There is a big difference if it is at the end of a tour or a festival or just some few concerts!
RM: What’s up next for Artillery in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MS: We will play in both South America and a European tour both with Onslaught. We will go to Russia and Romania to play some few gigs. We will be doing a Danish tour as well! We will play festivals like Metaldays etc. and at the moment we are working on during USA/Canada in November 2014! So there is really a lot going on!
Official Website: http://artillery.dk/
Artillery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK
Artillery on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtilleryMetal
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