Interview: The Trash Templars

Ever wondered who the Trash Templars are? Here is an interview done last year which was published in City Trash #45.

Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us who does what?
Ben: Hi, we are The Trash Templars from Germany. we are: Sven who sings, screams and shouts and also plays the rhythm guitar (occasionally - note from Sven). Max our bassplayer, Robin, he plays the drums and me, I´m on leadguitar. Max, Robin and me are singing the backing vocals as well.
Where and when did you all meet? And what made you decide to become Trash Templars?
Ben: I know Robin a very long time now, we went to school together and I think it was in the 7th grade when we first met. I just started playing guitar and he already played drums for some years. We decided to start some kind of "schoolband" but it never got to the point where you could really call it "a band". We had a bassplayer and another guitarplayer too and we tried to start a real band after school, but it was more like jamming around without a singer because we never found somebody who would like to join us. So the band split up after some time. The good thing is, that I met Robin these days and I can say that we are quite good friends until now. i met Sven over an old friend of mine, we had some "Teenage-Beginner Band" experiences too. And it was 2010 I think, I came up with the idea of forming a 60s garage band. I know Max from Sven and also from another friend of mine. In the beginning we had another bassplayer named Markus but he moved to Berlin so we asked Max then if he would like to join The Trash Templars.
Sven: Max and I know each other for about 8 years now. At first I didn´t like him, cause he seemed to be pretty arrogant. Turned out that he´s actually quite a decent chap! We´ve been making music together ever since. When Benny talked about forming a garage band I secretly hope (more like: expected) that i was gonna be the #1 choice for the singing part. So when he finally approached me about that I didn´t have to think twice.

From what part of Germany are you? And how famous are you over there?
Ben: We are from Bielefeld, that´s in the North-East of North Rhine Westfalia. Bielefeld is about 180km straight to the east from Arnhem/NL (if you have a helicopter like us..). I think we are not very famous here. We have some fans in Bielefeld who come to our gigs and I guess that there are some people outside of Bielefeld who know us and will come to the concerts as well when we are in town. We like to increase our popularity slowly.. To be honest: For me it seems that some people didn´t see us as a serious garage band. When they see our stupid Templar outfits, they didn´t expect that kind of show that we do. And so many bookers and owners of locations wouldn´t like to book us becuase of this strange costumes and the bucket helmets. Sometimes I think that we would have better chances if we wear some nice 60s suits or some shirts with black and red stripes, skinny jeans and some chelsea boots and do a photo shooting with a cool 60s car.... But then I think: No way! and that may be the reason why people first have to see us on stage before they book us. They see a picture of us and might think that we are still stuck in carnival...
Sven: Well, we are not famous. But immensely popular!
You are still in school? Or do you have a normal paying job supporting the other life that of a Trash Templar?
Ben: Oh, we didn´t know that we look THAT young! The only one who does something like school is Max, he studies in Bielefeld. Robin and me got a normal paying job that we do every day and Sven starts an apprenticeship next year.
Any of you play in other bands we should know about?
Ben: Oh yes some of us have other bands and musical-projects too. Robin and me are members of the "Braindead Dogs" maybe the funniest (and that means the best!) instro/ surf band you can find in Germany. Robin plays bass here and I do also the guitar but mostly the rhythm guitar, you should really check us out on stage. And i don´t say it only just because its my band.
Max is current bassplayer of the "Dukes of Hamburg". I think they could be well known in the "Neo Beat and Garage Scene". The Dukes of Hamburg is a 100% authentic beat band like all the bands who played at the Star Club in Hamburg in the 60s. They only play 60s vintage equipment, old Vox amps and old Echolette Vocal amplifiers for the ultimate vintage sound.
Max also started a completely different band with the drummer and the other guitarplayer of the Braindead Dogs (Lars and Tim) as I heard it sound like a groovy mix of rock and funk. This band is called "Dünamit" (note: thats how you call and pronounce "Dynamite" in German). Last but not least Robin plays also drums for the 50s Desperate Rockabilly project "Sir Nightingale & the Lover´s Curse" which plays old desperate rockabilly songs like Wayne Walkers "All I can do is cry" for example. On stage the band wears some scary werewolf costumes, perfect for Halloween. You should check out all of them.

Do you play a lot of shows?
Ben: Unfortunately not, because of the other music projects and our private lives we are not able to play every show that we were asked for. In the beginning I thought the Trash Templars would only be a side project because my "main band" is the Braindead Dogs. But over time, the Trash Templars got as popular as the Braindead Dogs (if we could call it "popular"..) and we where offered some more gigs here and there. But we try to play every gig that we were offered. The other thing is, that we mostly don´t ask for gigs ourselves. We just wait and do rehearsals and then anytime there comes a booking request. It also works good for us if we play a show and then, after some weeks or months, we get an email where somebody says "Hey I saw you at the XY Club two weeks ago and I´m planning a small punk festival, would you like to play?" and that´s how it works the most of the time. On average, the most of us play 1 show per month, with Trash Templars or with another band or project. I think it´s a good average for hobby musicians like us. Could be more but its even ok if its as much like now. and as I said we didn´t make any booking requests until now. The only thing I´ve done was to create some band pages on Facebook and other networks. An example: We played a show in November 2013 in Osnabrück together with the Sensational Second Cousins and some months later we where asked to play on the "Jerk Fest" a private garden party from the Sensational Second Cousins.. you saw us there and now we are in this magazine.. works fine! Next step should be a big booking agency who reads this magazine and will organize a stadium world tour for us, we are just waiting for it! (note: CT Mark K. ; it ends here)
I´ve seen your show and i can´t imagine there are no good drunken stories, tell us the most exciting things that have happened while playing shows?
Ben: We can´t also imagine that there are no good drunken stories but sadly there are none of these, or we don´t even can remember it because we were drunk. No its´correct that we drink some beers on stage, but not more than other bands do. And in most cases we can control ourselves over the gig. And the best things are always happen backstage..
Sven: Yeah. That´s when the pants drop and the action starts. We don´t look good enough for groupies so we have to do it ourselves. it might be a bit awkward at first but you get used to it. During gigs the excitement comes when the crowd is as drunk as we are. That always works out very fine.

What are your favorite bands, which ones were the greatest inspirations?
Ben: We all have very different favorite bands and a very wide spread music background. I know that Robin is a big Iron Maiden fan and he likes Queen as well but I think you´ll not find some metal or rock influences in our music. I like Queen and Maiden too but I´m also big fan of all these 60s garage and beat stuff and I like bands who bring the garage and punk music to the next level like the Hives. I think that the big part of influences for the music of the Trash Templars comes from my personal background. When it comes to music, we are all very open minded and our favorite music starts anywhere in the 50s and goes until today. But the big influences for the sound may come from the Sonics, the Mummies, the Hives... I really like the punching guitar sound from the Hives, that is definitely one of my biggest influences.
Sven: I also have a deep affection for female-fronted pop music. Other influences and inspirations are unicorns, the Powerpuff Girls and Hello Kitty. That´s why the band has such a soft, sensitive side.
You mostly play covers right? Are you busy writing your own songs?
Ben: Yeah, as I said we started the Trash Templars just as a side project. I always liked these whole Trash-Garage stuff from the 60s and wanted to start a crazy garage band, maybe something like the Mummies but without trying to copy them! We had the chance to play a Halloween show here in Bielefeld so I just asked the others if they would like to join the band and picked up some songs from all these garage samplers like Back from the Grave, Teenage Shutdown, Nuggets and so on and put together a little cover set because I know that we couldn´t write enough own songs until this show. For 3 years we only did covers because we had no real "Output" for songs, nobody had any ideas for a song and we didn´t want to write some boring garage songs like 70% of all garage bands do (just our opinion). I know its garage and its supposed to sound like the song was written in 5 minutes but that´s not our kind of song writing. Why shoulld we use the same song structure like 100 garage bands before us to write a "new" song that sounds like 30 other garage songs? So we decided to concentrate on covers of garage songs from the 60s we would also love to hear it live. But I can say that we have started writing own songs some months ago. Maybe one day we will have enough own songs to release the very first Trash Templars album with own songs only.
Sven: One day, we will have a truckload of own garage-stompers. And we will conquer the world. It might take some time, but we´re on our way. Stay tuned!

So far you haven´t released anything yet when can we expect the first vinyl with your names on it?
Ben: Thats true, we released a short 5 track EP on Cd in November 2014. Just to have something to show and for promotion. And also for people who like to take some music home from one of our shows. but a real album will take some time. And to release it on vinyl is very expensive, so if there is a label out there which would like to do a vinyl with us, just let us know. At the moment we could record a 7" EP with 4 own songs, but we try to write some more good songs and go for a 10" or 12" album. So labels, just feel free to contact us.
Are you religious and do you like to ride horse?
Sven: Yeah, we ride horses. But i personally hate them. The thing is, I get kicks in making these stupid disgusting buggers my obedient minions. Afterwards we make sausage out of them and worship the raw meat as our one and only savior. So in a way, we´re actually quite religious. Blessed art thou, almighty horse salami!
Some final thoughts for the City trash reader?
Sven: Please do not lock up your daughters when we´re in town. We´re desperate!