20 Questions with Burkhard Schmitt from Hate Squad

Great things come out of Germany. The VW Bug. Chocolate. Fritz Lang. Rock am Ring / Rock am Park. Bratwurst. Hate Squad. Indeed, Hate Squad released their newest album Katharsis via Massacre Records on January 17. Based out of Hannover, Katharsis is their sixth LP to date and it's a frakking killer! I recently chatted with lead singer Burkhard Schmitt and this is what he has to say.

KD: What was the process for writing and recording the new album?

Creating a new HATE SQUAD song means, there is always the music first and then I add the lyrics and the vocals to the music. Mainly the music for all the tracks on Katharsis are composed by Mark Künnemann (Guitar) and Helge Dolgener (Drums)...and the lyrics were mainly written by myself. The album has been recorded again at the Rape of harmonies Studios (Heaven shall burn, Maroon, Fall of Serenity etc.) and recordings and mixing all in all took 4 weeks.

KD: What was the inspiration behind the lyrics for the new album?

I don’t like really to explain my lyrics that much in general. I prefer that every listener makes his own thoughts and reflects his own life and situation and what the lyrics could mean to him in his very special way. To make it short, the inspiration behind the “pissed” lyrics includes subjects like: life, struggle, pain, hatred, anger, corruption, frustration, revolution, war, child abuse. The inspiration behind the more “positive” lyrics came from: friendship, good old times & friends, hope, cleaning the soul & victory! 

KD: How was the recording process for Katharsis different from Deguello Wartunes and H8 for the Masses?

The recording process for “Degüello Wartunes” and “Katharsis” was very similar, because it was the same producer, the same studio and the same people in the band. Just the tuning on both albums is different and we used different mastering studios, and the Katharsis album we recorded in summer, “Degüello Wartunes” in winter... but in my opinion Katharsis is a logical follow up to “Degüello Wartunes”. The “H8 for the masses” recordings were totally different from the last 2 albums for several reasons.

KD: What does A.P.A.B. stand for?

A.P.A.B. stands for “all politicians are bastards”. It’s a “clone” from A.C.A.B. (“all cops are bastards”), which is a well known slogan in the worldwide football (soccer) ultra/hooligan scene, also used often in the Punk, Hardcore and Oi Scene. As the idea came to my mind, I searched the whole internet, just to find out that obviously nobody had this idea before and so I definately had to use it as a title and write lyrics to it. A.P.A.B. was also the first song that I wrote lyrics for and it is also one of my favorite songs from the album!

KD: How do you describe the sound of Katharsis?

Katharsis is the logical follow up to the 2008 album “Degüello Wartunes”...in my opinion a good mixture between Death Metal, Thrash Metal & Hardcore and everybody who loves those music styles should check Katharsis out! ;-)

KD: With almost twenty years as a band, how do you keep it fresh and exciting?

We have a new 2nd guitar player in the band now, his name is Marcel Griese and he is the youngest guy in the band now, so we all hope that this keeps us all fresh (and young) for the future...hahahahaha...and about the excitement I can only say: we are all still good friends after all these hard times and all the years of struggle and low success... isn’t this excitement enough??! ;-)

KD: What is your touring schedule for the new album?

We want to play more live shows again, but so far nothing is confirmed...sorry!

KD: Is there any where you'd like to tour that you haven't been and why?

Definately North and South America...would love to destroy stages in the US, Canada or Argentina, Chile or Brasil! I personally like America a lot and it’s still one of my biggest dreams to tour there one day! Cross your fingers that my dream will come true one day...!!! :-D

KD: What is the most unusual gig you've had?

The “H8 for the masses” album release show in 2004 was very special & unusal! The show was in Sondershausen (Germany) in an old mine, 800meters below earth’s surface!! Maroon & Heaven shall burn were also on the bill...all concert visitors and also all the bands & equipment needed to use an elevator to get down there...it nearly took 5 hours to get all the people and equipment down there! It was really exciting and very special...it was an impressive view from the stage inside the cave with all the people in there, but the sound 800meters below earth’s surface really sucked!

KD: What inspires you to keep making music?

Music is simply my life and helps me to keep my inner world in balance. I need music like the air to breathe! It’s also the best way for me to let all my anger and frustration out without hurting anybody. To let everything out is also the main theme in the lyrics to the title track Katharsis (“let it all out, cleaning my soul from all the dust, spit it all out...Katharsis”.

KD: What is it that you do different as a band that keeps your fans loyal, coming back for more and bringing friends?

Guess we are just cool and friendly guys, hahaha...no serious I think we are a down to earth band, we are honest and love what we do...and the people could feel and see this. We also took always good care of our supporters...by the way, we just started a special HATE SQUAD supporter division website, everybody is welcome: http://www.hsosd.com  ...would like to see many new faces there...it’s 100% free to join! We also have 10 special supporter division cities in the US (New York, san Francisco, Atlanta, Miami etc.) and the people can download badges for every city to show their support. Check it out if you like HATE SQUAD...as soon as I have the time (since I do all the HATE SQUAD internet stuff by my own) I will upload full audio HATE SQUAD shows, free to download for all HSOSD members ;-)

KD: Other than music, what do you like to do with your time?

Taking care of my dog and my girl. Sports (Muay Thai, Running & Soccer). Collecting different stuff (music, mainly vinyl records and also special toys!) and taking care of my small 1 man DIY agency Violent Propaganda and all the many many websites and social media profiles I have to take care off regarding, HATE SQUAD, Violent Propaganda and myself.

KD: What is the best thing about being in Hate Squad?

I still living my dream and no end in sight...HATE SQUAD is my baby and will keep me busy in this or another way ‘til I die! It also helps me to handle my anger and frustration, pain and sadness better than anything else could!!! And the guys in the band still belong to the circle of my best friends and we have a good time together and still have the privilege to record albums with our music and don’t have to pay for the studio and CD pressing...what can I ask more for??

KD: If you weren't in Hate Squad and doing music full time, what would you like to do?

I don’t really know...maybe I would end up in jail, because I couldn’t let out my anger on stage or in studio then and would probably kill somebody... LOL J I don’t know, maybe I would fight more active against animal abuse and would risk my life to free some cute furry animals somewhere...or maybe I would get totally lazy and listen to music the whole day and do nothing important.

KD: What is the best prank that has been pulled on you or you pulled on someone else on the road?

Sorry, I can’t really remember...there are many stories from tour available. Hey, but I can remember that on a tour with Kreator and Grip Inc. in the 90s at the last show on the tour, the soundguy gave his best to pitch my voice as high as he could to let me sound like Mickey Mouse the first 2 songs from our set...I was really shocked the first minute...but finally it was really funny...sounding like Speedy Gonzalez on Speed, hahahaha...

KD: What achievement, personally or as a band member, are you most proud of?

Huh...as a band member I have many achivements I’m proud of. Proud that we have played Dynamo 10th anniversary (was the biggest and BEST Dynamo ever!), Wacken, With Full Force festival...also proud of the tours with Kreator, Grip Inc., the summer metal meetings with Sodom, Exodus, Kreator, In Flames etc., also proud of the Full of hate festival tour with Death, Gorefest etc., also proud of supporting Sepultura on the “Roots” tour in our hometown Hannover. There are many things I’m proud of...especially the 6 albums, the videos, also that we were voted “best Newcomer 1995” by the viewers of VIVA TV (German MTV), leaving Fear Factory and Korn behind us in the ranking list! Proud that many young bands from Europe covering our songs (for example “Not my God” covered by Heaven shall burn, covered by Kaizen, covered by a dozen other bands...) and name her bands after our songtitles, like bands as “Dishonesty”, “I.Q. Zero”, “Bastards” or “Mindloss” did. Personally I have also lot of things I’m proud of in my private life but that would be all in all too much to tell for this interview.

KD: Which is your favourite Hate Squad album and why?

Difficult Question....hhhm, but I would go right now with Katharsis (and also Degüello Wartunes), because this is the first album on which my voice really sounds like I wanted it to sound or that I wanted to sound like a vocalist in general. On the other records it was more difficult. During the recordings for the “Pzyco!” and the “H8 for the masses” albums I was really really sick and also had only 2-3 days to finish the whole albums. On the “Theater of Hate” and “I.Q. Zero” albums I was young and had no idea really what I’m doing there in the studio and was not experienced at all! But finally in my opinion every album has it’s moments and magic songs...if I would be forced to choose one, I would go with Katharsis right now!!
KD: Why should people buy Katharsis?

Because it’s a real aggressive & honest album with good songs, good sound, good cover ...and good vocals, hahahaha :-D Just check it out, if you like bands like Sepultura and Machine Head, or bands like Napalm Death and Bolt Thrower or also bands like Biohazard and Hatebreed...I guess fans of those bands could also like songs from the Katharsis album, I’m sure!! ;-)

KD:  If 2012 is indeed the end of the world, how do you plan on spending the year?

We would try to play as many shows as we could ‘til everything is over finally. But we will try to do so anyway. I personally would take much care of my beloved dog Ben (he is also on the album at “Old Times...good Times”) and probably would try to listen to my whole music collection for a last time...but I guess I have too many CDs and Vinyl records in my collection, I definately would need more time to listen to everything...hhhm, maybe I would try to robb a bank and would burn the money in public later, hahahaha...

KD: What are 10 Reason's why Hate Squad is better than Zombies....

In my opinion one reason should be enough:



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