The band: Hell Patröl
Interview by Vpower
Today we talked with a band from Germany who has edited an EP this year (reviewed in this blog already), Front Row Speedbanging Madness, an exotic title that helps very much to guess that they make fast and technical Speed Metal. And they are funny too, here is the proof...
How was Hell Patröl born?
Hell Patröl: The idea of forming an old school Speed/Thrash Metal had been going through my head for a couple of years, and I started working on songs for such a band. At some point about two and half years ago, when my other bands both weren't that active, I finally to take action and asked some friends of mine what they thought about the idea: Nico, with whom I had already played in my very first band, Flo, of whom I knew he could handle those drum-duties from his other band Battlemage, and Christian, who is an excellent musician not only on the guitar. They all liked the idea, so I brought them together, and we all got on extremely well from the start. Christian did actually have some songs in that style in his drawer, too, so we kicked it off pretty quickly from then.
How do you define your music?
It's fast, goddammit! That's always the underlying principle. On top of that, we try to vary things a bit: Some songs are leaning more to the thrashy side, others are more melodic, and there's always the odd up-tempo NWoBHM number... but it's gotta be fast!
Yes, and excelent and pretty delicious mix. What cds from other bands you have in your night table, beside the Terminator and Alien dvds, lol? Influences, to say it shortly.
Delah, my friend. Their name is Legion. But to try to name a few: I think it's mostly the old Teutonic guard: Early Blind Guardian, Helloween, Rage, those guys. And we're of course also bleeding for the old Speed Metal gods, that is, Agent Steel and Exciter. Some Judas Priest and Motörhead as well. From the newer wave, Enforcer would be the biggest influence. And of course some German thrash to top it off, Witchburner, Sodom, stuff like that. As I said, there's loads. This list is certainly not exhaustive.
I understand, probably you will be touring with some of them in teh short time, if you continue this full speed ahead. This is EP is a great presentation for Hell Patröl, but why not a LP?
We had been going without any recorded material, not even some lo-fi demos, for almost a year, so our main objective was to get something to show to people, and quickly. And there was production cost to be considered as well, so we settled on a four-track-EP, which we were able to record quite quickly. We also wanted to know how well our music gets across from CD, opposed to the live situation, which was all we had before.
Well...I think the try has resulted quite seccessful. But, you have not signed by any Label, why?
Well, as I said, these are our very first recordings, so we had nothing to show the labels why they should sign us. Besides that practical aspect, I really don't think being signed to a label isn't important for a band in that still early stage we're in right now. We're still building a fanbase in our own region and Germany, and for that we can rely on a pretty strong underground scene and personal contacts. And with the internet, it's easy to set up a small online shop to cater to those from farther away who discover us by chance. Once we can't handle these demands on our own anymore, we'll see. But for now, we're doing fine without.
Very true. What are your goals for the future?
The biggest short-term goal is definitely getting an entire album down, more on that later. Beyond that, expanding our fanbase in southern Germany and beyond, play shows with cool bands and cool underground festivals. Beyond that... who knows? The sky's the limit ;-)
Yeah, be positive, good attitude. What is more important for you, a legion of fans screaming as hell in a live show or 100.000 sold copies of your next successful release?
A legion of fans, a hundred thousand strong, screaming as hell in a live show, who have all bought our next release ;-)
Hahaha, good answer! So, when can we expect to get the complete picture, this is, a whole LP?
As I said, that is pretty much our next set goal. We're currently in the final stages of songwriting and we intend to start with the recordings pretty soon, but alongside playing gigs, so that's going to take some time. After all, the EP was released only two months ago, so we're not that much in a hurry. Of course, it also depends how soon we can make the money needed for a larger production like that, and we'll also have to think about formats. There will be a full album, but I really can't say if it will be released on vinyl as well (as a true LP). As to when... don't nail me down on this, but I think the end of next year sounds more or less realistic. Fingers crossed!
It would be great. There are many bands nowadays into the Speed and Thrash scene, some kind of revival wave. But your songs offer something more, they have that funny and party sound that make them special. How did you get that approach?
I'm a fun guy who likes to party! ;-) I can't really say, that's nothing I put in there on purpose. But of course, when I write a song like F.R.S.B.M., which is about an underground metal show, I try to get across how much I love those shows and the energy they give me, and I think that's something you can even hear on the record.
Yeah, pure energy. Tell us about the lyrics
I've always thought about Hell Patröl as a band by fans for fans, so that's what most of our lyrics are about: stuff we're fans of, which is mostly Heavy Metal and books/movies. On the EP, there's two of each: Blitzkrieg Mania is, when you get right down to it, nothing but more or less meaningless Heavy Metal phrases thrown together and somehow turned into a song. That's probably our least serious (or most funny) song, and of course to be taken as self-mockery. F.R.S.B.M. is a more serious, but still party-proof celebration of a Metal show, in the vein of Exodus' Bonded by Blood or Metallica's Whiplash. The other two are based on books: Sword Day - of course - on the Ride of the Rohirrim in The Lord of the Rings, and On the Edge is about a certain insane supersonic train in Stephen King's Dark Tower saga. In our live set, there are some more songs about similar stuff: The Hobbit, A Song of Ice and Fire, Hamlet, and of course more Heavy Metal!
I see, a very wide group of themes. Metal in Germany is very alive, with hundreds of shows and festivals around the country, a paradise for the common metalhead. What is your paper in those shows? I mean, you are already playing in some fests or you attend then as fans so far?
The scene, especially when it comes to festivals, is very much alive here, and that's a great thing, both for us as fans and for us as a band. As a band, you can reach a larger audience than with your usual small club-shows, and the people are from all over the country or at least the region, so you're able to spread your name further. On the other hand, you have to hold back on the booze at least until the gig is over, to be at least a bit coherent on stage. But given our status at the moment, we usually play in the afternoon anyway, so that's not so hard. And afterwards, it's pretty much like attending as a fan: lots of beer, lots of Metal, lots of like-minded people. What more could you want?
Yes, the best of both worlds. Do you have the expectation to reach other countries with your music?
For the moment, we're still concentrating on our region in Germany, but with the internet and everything, you're getting noticed. This interview is the best proof of that ;-) And the French border isn't that far away, either. But we'll see. That's still something we might only consider in the long-term view. Should the opportunity to go abroad present itself, that would be another thing. But at this moment, I don't see that coming. Yet.
And the last, but not least, be sincere with all the fans, what role have the amazing German sausages and beer had in your music?
Jawohl, ve are ze Germans and ve eat lots of sausage viz sauerkraut and drink lots of beer! Well, the beer part is definitely true. Sausages not so much, but beer, oh yes. I'm having one right now. As a matter of fact, the very first thing I ever said to Flo was asking him to bring me a beer. I don't think we could stand each other without beer. Hmmmm, beer...
Hahaha, yes, beer and Metal and party all the way. Thanks a lot, and if you wanna add something...
¡Muchas gracias por promover nuestra banda en España! Other bands kill - Hell Patröl speed!
Gracias a vosotros, chicos! Efectivamente, si algo tienen estos Hell Patröl es velocidad a tope! Thank you very much for your attention and I hope we meet soon again, maybe with a debut album under your arm. Best wishes!