Interview with Drone vocalist/guitarist Moritz "Mutz" Hempel
by EC

Over the years I have talked so much about the proverbial "passing of the torch". As we see our icons and heroes fade from the stage lights I often wonder who is going to fill those shoes. I think Germany's Drone have put in their reservation as a possible successor. The aptly titled "For Torch And Crown" is the newest release from the band and one that sees Drone leap miles in front of the competition for their chance at metal superstardom. From the bombastic thrash elements to easily accessible melodic hooks this new album is certainly going to make the best of lists for 2012. I had a moment to catch up with Drone's guitarist and vocalist Moritz "Mutz" Hempel to talk about the band's history, new label and this impressive new record.

Maximum Metal's EC - Mutz, the new Drone record, "For Torch And Crown", is an absolute masterpiece. Riffs, melody, production...it all came together so well for this new album. Are you pleased with the end result and do you feel this is the "crowning achievement" of the last nine years?

Moritz "Mutz" Hempel - We are very happy with the result! "For Torch And Crown" represents our way of becoming an established independent band in the genre. Of course we get compared with bands all the time, but I mean, who doesn't? I believe we manifested our own style on this record, with all its songs and different sounds. It is still the old DRONE but definitely more its own.

"We're no fucking one hit wonder or fired into the metal cosmos by a big ass major label rocket."

EC - The band has released three albums thus far, "Head On Collision" in 2007,"Juggernaut" in 2009 and now this new album in 2012. Over the course of those records where do you feel the band has grown the most?

Hempel - I think the release in the US with "For Torch And Crown" was a big step as we belong there somehow. I feel it. The airplays underlined it and that's why we planning on coming over in 2013. Besides that our progress is kind of the same. Always slowly growing, but as we truly work hard on our career and on spreading our "sexmetal" over the planet, the people get our effort and start paying respect. We're no fucking one hit wonder or fired into the metal cosmos by a big ass major label rocket. We seriously have to make sacrifices for still playing in a band on that level. No kindergarten.

EC - I have really enjoyed the modern thrash elements of the band but I've also appreciated the injection of melody and more simple arrangements. Songs like "Theopractical" and "In The End" from the debut were very melodic and had you clean singing more. You also included some vocal melody on "Juggernaut", most evident on the song "Closing Credits". Right from the start the first two cuts on the new record show more vocal melodies. What has allowed you to be a more diverse vocalist over the last five years? Are you more confident in your abilities?

Hempel - Absolutely! Through the years my voice got stronger by playing a Hell of a lot of shows and drinking booze. I mean...take look at Mr. Hetfield. The difference from "Kill 'Em All" to the "Justice" record. Touring and drinking. OK, seriously. I had to work on my techniques. On the other hand "FTAC" was written to be entertaining and we totally had an eye on leaving enough space for clean lines and strong hooks. The whole songwriting process was different. We decided to keep things more simple and direct. Therefore the record comes along a tad more modern compared to the "Juggernaut".

EC - As we mentioned earlier this is the third album from the band but also a third different record label. "For Torch And Crown" comes by way of Metalville, an up and coming German label that seems to have a loaded roster of enormous talent. How did Drone get involved with Metalville?

Hempel - We met (owner) Holger Koch and talked about our goals. Somehow we had a good connection right from the start. We decided to work with Metalville as these guys are experienced and young at the same time. They do not just sign you and that's it. We work together in many ways and that's what makes this special.

EC - Over the summer Drone had the opportunity to play the Wacken warm up party with another Metalville band in Perzonal War. How did the fans react to the new material there?

Hempel - Although we had not conquered that territory yet the people totally hooked with the music. I mean we are a live band and need to be on stage because this is our biggest weapon. That's where we get to people. We're no super evil, stiff metal heads who take themselves too serious. We have fun and do weird stuff on stage but totally have a blast with the music. We enjoy playing and that's what fans want to see!

EC - It looks like your band will be very busy in January of 2013 with a half dozen shows booked with Bloodwork. Is there a chance next year that the band will play outside of Germany?

Hempel We are working on that.

EC - Mutz, I think modern thrash bands like Perzonal War and Drone are perfect examples of everything that is right with metal in 2012. Where do you think the future lies with the genre of heavy metal? This is the fifth decade of its existence and we've already seen trends ranging from rap-rock, nu-metal, metalcore and even retro movements back to the 70s and 80s with thrash and glam. What do you think the next trend will be?

Hempel Electronic metal like Korn did with "Skillex". All the scenes collide. You see metal heads on electro events and electro kids at Wacken. I believe that the borders of this ignorant thinking will drop. Don't get me wrong. I like old school and am a kid of the 80s and 90s and its music, but I stopped hating everything besides metal. The old dinosaurs will cease and there has to be shit afterwards.

EC - Mutz, thank you so much for your time and for speaking with Maximum Metal. I hope the new record is a huge success and we are expecting more big things to come out of the Drone camp in the coming years!

Hempel - Be prepared and thanks for support guys! See you!

Drone Home - www.droneband.de / www.myspace.com/dronemetal
Metalville - www.metalville.de

Moritz "Mutz" HempelEric Compton3/29/2013

For Torch And Crown
Eric Compton11/13/2012

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