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Interview with Sodom | Tom Angelripper: «Thrash metal will never die»



Hi Tom, I’m Elena, how are you?

Tom Angelripper: I’m good thanks, how are you?



Fine, thank you. So let’s start. You always release extra material for your fans, how people react to that and does it get you closer with them?

Tom Angelripper: Yes, first I have to say that we have a new EP out tomorrow called “Out of the Frontline Trench” and that’s because we wanted to wait for a new album until the next year and people wait for new staff so we wanted to show people that we are working on new stuff, we have some shows and we know what the fans like listening to and that’s what they expect from us and that’s what they are getting.




According to your statement “Out of the Frontline Trench” is forging an arch between past, present and future. Bombenhagel is on the album that marked the change of sound of Sodom and Agent Orange is on the album that establishes the band and is the last one with Frank Blackfire. Has the choice of these songs have a symbolic character?

Tom Angelripper: Oh yes, I think so. First of all, the 3 new songs on this EP reflect exactly what we are gonna do in the next album. And also Frank Blackfire has a very special kind of songwriting, if you listen to Down On Your Knees it’s completely different to Genesis 19. But I am so glad that Frank is back on the band, we have the 30 years anniversary of Agent Orange and we want to show the fans that we play the song exactly as the original and I know that a lot of bands that will play a song 1000 times live, they change it but we don’t, we want to keep the song the same, we want to show the people that Frank is the best guitarist for the song because he played exactly like the original. Also we have the live version of Bombenhagel which we recorded in a big arena, it was a great experience. But you have to realise these 2 songs are free for the fans, if you put 3 songs on an EP or 5 it’s the same price. But it is important to show the people that we keep the spirit of the 80s, the spirit of Sodom. When Frank came back in the band we rehearsed some old songs and he had the same sound as the original. That was so impressive. In the end I’m just happy that we have 2 guitars in the band, I am satisfied with the line up and what we are gonna do with the songs. Everything’s fine!



Down on your Knees and Out of the Frontline Trench, are these songs working as a time bridge?

Tom Angelripper: Yeah, when we chose songs for the EP we had a couple more finishes songs. These two are dealing with World War 1. Last year I saw some old photos and some old letters of my grandfather who fought in World War 1. I remember when he was telling stories about the war and then I saw some documentaries and read some books and that was very impressive. It’s a hard thing to write about the war but this is what we got to do all the time. But these things happened and it was an inspiration to write lyrics. Like Genesis 19, is about the bible, the destruction of Sodoma and Gomorra. I used this theme in other songs too, there are great stories in the Bible. I don’t believe in God but it’s very interesting reading the Old Testament, or the New Testament to write lyrics. But I think World War 1 is a great theme for Sodom songs.




You already answered my next question about your inspirations. So, how much has the new line up affected Sodom’s dynamic?

Tom Angelripper: I think that there is a lot changed. With the second guitarist we are now able to play songs that we never played before because they were written for two guitars. I had the idea of adding a second guitarist a couple years ago, but the others were not very interested in adding a second axeman but now if we want to play songs live that we never played before and Frank is interested in that also, so now we want to change the setlist from show to show and I have asked the fans to send me emails with the songs they want. That’s interesting for the Greek fans too, because every time we play there the fans seem more interested in the old stuff. It’s hard to choose the setlist because we have so many albums, over 100 songs, and 90 minutes of show. Husky our drummer and Yorck our 2nd guitarist who were also big Sodom fans came up with ideas about this and that song because they have the perspective of the fan. We don’t want to leave fans disappointed because we didn’t play that song or this song but on the next show we want to play some other stuff.





Tom, are there plans for visiting Greece?

Tom Angelripper: Yes, we are in contact with the promoter in Greece. Next year we want to do more shows in general, and playing in Greece are always like coming home because the fans are so enthusiastic and they like the old school stuff. We want to come back, sure. I think Greek people are the best in Europe, like South America. We like playing in small clubs, we are not rock stars you know, we are metal fans who like to have a party and get together.




Genesis at first place seems like a part of a story. Should we expect a concept album about Genesis?

Tom Angelripper: No, it’s not a concept album, it’s just one or two songs about it. The next album will have a theme, I wrote some lyrics about the situation in the world these days. In my opinion it is not political, it seems to me that this world is running out of control, and Im not scared about myself, I’m scared about the next generation, my kids what will happen in 50 years. The new album will be a mixture of everything of what is a trademark Sodom lyric. Genesis will be there, but it’s not a concept album.




Is there any chance of a live album in 2020?

Tom Angelripper: I hope so! That’s my dream, make a really good live album, not a DVD. You can find that in youtube anyway, the next day of the show. We want to record a live album, I don’t know if it’s gonna be next year, we are looking for a special place to record it. We don’t want to record just a show in Wacken, for example. So, we want to record a classic double live album. No exact plans though.
Have you noticed any new bands in the thrash genre, and what do you think of the future of thrash?
Thrash metal will never die. But first we have to talk about what is thrash. For me it means to do what you want, in my opinion heavy metal music has to be as hard as possible. There are some metal bands that are not so metal you know. There is a new generation growing up, interested in classic bands like Sodom, there are new bands asking me what can they do to make thrash metal. For me, Sodom is not so much a thrash metal band. I think Exodus and Destruction are more thrash metal than Sodom, we have a more black influence. This kind of music though will never die, no matter what name you call it, because this is something really special, I know that heavy metal is getting more and more commercial and I remember when we starting making heavy metal, it was like a revolution, we wanted to shock our parents and our teachers, nowadays you can’t shock anyone anymore. Other bands can try to keep the spirit of heavy metal though.



If a thrash metal band were to start now what would you recommend to them?

Tom Angelripper: I know there a lot of bands and musicians that ask me ‘what can I do to become a rock star?’ (laughs). Nowadays, it is impossible to make it to the music business, it has changed so much. When we started in the 80s it was just a handful of bands who did that music, but today if you read a magazine you realize there are hundreds of bands who do this. So, I can just tell you, don’t give it up, and if you are lucky you’ll get a good record contract. If you are 16 years old and you have a band, you need to go to school too, your parents have to support you. And if you get an offer for a contract check everything before you sign.



So you believe that today it’s harder than 20-30 years ago

Tom Angelripper: Yes, because there are so many bands. You have to try to do something special, don’t try to copy other bands. You can be inspired by other bands like Sodom or Kreator or Slayer but try to xreate something new so that the fans will realize you are something special and different. Find some trademarks like Sodom has, if you listen to a solo, or my voice you know it’s Sodom. It’s interesting to find something new, you need to spend money on a good production. I can’t give you any tips on what is the right way to do it, just make music from the heart. This band is not about the money, it’s about the music.





And I think the fans respect when it comes from the heart. So, at the recording procedure you seem to avoid the recipe of digital production

Tom Angelripper: We recorded digital in our last EP but we used microphones too. We wanted to do it like the 80’s. We used microphones in front of the drums and in front of the speakers and the amplifiers. It was like there was magic between the speaker and the microphone. It made the production much more like the 80’s in my opinion. On the next album my dream is to record in a digital way but mix it in an analogue studio, in a real studio with a big desk. I hope we are gonna get a better sound. If you record everything digital, you get the same sound for every band. Same drum sound, same guitar sound. You can record guitars at home with a digital studio, it’s good for the price, but I don’t want that, I want to be with the band in a studio, together and recording everything, and talking about it. I know that if you want a professional studio, it is very expensive. But if you have a good record deal you will be satisfied. So, in the next album I want it to be more analogue than digital



Tell me after all these years, how do you feel that people still love the band?

Tom Angelripper: It’s a long time, I am so glad that we are still in the business. We don’t have any special plans for the 40 years, I don’t like it really, because we want to keep on forward. I don’t know if the record company want to bring something out, we just want to do new songs and bring out new albums and after 40 yeard I am so proud we are still able to do this kind of music. As long as we stay healthy and creative we want to make music but sometimes the party is over. I don’t want to end like Lemmy and Motorhead, if you get sick it’s gone, I don’t want to die on stage, I want to die on bed (laughs). I don’t want to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Maybe the 50 years we celebrate, that’s something (laughs).



Do you have plans for the future?

Tom Angelripper: The next plan is a new album. Maybe a live album as we talked before. I don’t have a 10 year plan. As long as I stay healthy, as long as I am able to perform on stage, or write songs and lyrics I’m gonna do it because it’s a big part of my life. But sometimes you have to go, you have to leave the stage for some other band who’s coming. But I never think about the end you know, I just think about the music.





Tom, do you want to say something to your Greek fans?

Tom Angelripper: I Love you! I hope to see you malaka!! (laughs). I always remember the first time we played in 87 or 88. Sodom were the first thrash band to play in Greece. This is what I never forget. From that time we played every 2 years. I hope the promoters will get us there and I’ll see you as soon as possible. We always have a good time there, so many fans, loyal fans. The fans are paying the price and keep the band alive and many musicians forget that. Without the fans there is no band, especially the Greek fans, always keeping us alive and supporting.



Chris Mouskos, Andreas Zeis, Elena Manta



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