I knew I had achieved my victory
when I spoke with Thomas Christian Hansen
after Gaia Epicus had just performed their amazing live set on their first
ever visit to the states. Thomas and the rest of the band were exhausted
after the show in Minneapolis; so we decided it would be better to do
an e-mail interview after he returned home and got himself settled. Wendy
& I searched our heavy metal hearts, and chose to seize the day, follow
the sign, and give in to the hand of fate; so that we may awaken the Norwegian
monster of mettle who crushes the fortress of solitude. I turn us into
inquisitive minds musing over miracles and melodies; as we dive inside
the storm of Thomas' symphony of glory, and his surprise of the empire
Star Wars toys, which we bought for him and Joakim. Their new CD still
has no release date; but once Gaia Epicus is signed these megapower thrashers
will bring deth in their wake!
MettleAngel: How well did you enjoy your
first trip to America? what was the best part of your visit?
Thomas: We enjoyed our trip very much, and
we all had a blast. The best part? Well, it's hard to say, because
there was alot of good parts; but playing for the American audience
would be the best, I think. We enjoyed meeting alot of great metal
friends, bands, and of course journalists that brings toys :) he he.
MettleAngel: Besides the obvious technical problems when you performed
live, how did you like the concert, overall? Do you feel that you received
a decent crowd response? What band were you most excited about seeing
perform in Minneapolis?
Thomas: Yeah, we had problems with both guitars
and our playing was affected by this. The band has done much better
concerts than what we did in the US, but I think no one else noticed
that; because we have been getting great live reviews, and the people
we spoke to said we were great. In fact many have said that we were
the best band on the festival, and that means much to us. While playing
I did my best to connect with the audience and I think we did well.
The only band I was looking forward to see was Tankard, and they delivered
the goods, but there were alot of great bands playing at the festival.
MettleAngel: Is the line-up you currently have the definitive assemblage
for the music which you are now creating? How long has this line-up been
Thomas: Yes, I think we are playing great together
and with some more live shows we will become a great band, for sure.
Hans (bass) joined last summer and Ole (drums) joined the band last
fall, so this line-up has been together for one year now.
MettleAngel: How did you find Hans &
Ole? Do you think they truly add to the Gaia Epicus sound? Hans is quite
a bassist...how long has he been playing? What about Ole, I just received
his other black metal band Tremor which I'm excited to hear; well once
he sends me some English translations?
Thomas: I got contacted by Hans through an
e-mail where he asked if we were still looking for a bass player.
At that time I didn't know who he was, but he also sent me a link
to a bass solo he had played live many years ago. After seeing that
video I was totally amazed by his playing skills and he got the job
very quick. I can't remember how long he has been playing, but it's
been a few years I think. We now had to find a drummer and Hans gave
me some names of drummers, I could check out. We ended up with trying
out Ole, and it worked great so we took him aboard. Ole actually has
many bands/projects so it's hard to keep track of all of them... hehe
MettleAngel: Briefly explain the frustrations
you had with Sound Riot Records. What exactly are you searching for in
a new label?
Thomas: To put it short: they have screwed
every band that has been signed to their label. This time they screwed
the wrong band, and it backfired at them. A new label should first
of all be honest, and then know how to run a record company. They
should understand that to sell albums (make money) you have to spend
money. You must promote an album to let people know it exists, and
if the company is having some trouble or whatever, let the bands know
about it. Good comunication is important!
Why do you feel that so many labels like Nuclear Blast & Dockyard1
have turned you down? You are so much better than so many bands being
signed these days? Why can't these labels think of the fans and not their
Thomas: Hmm... this is hard to answer! All
I know is that as long as we have made music and played the music
for people, they all like it! Even people that don't like the music
style we play think our music is great; so we must be doing something
right I guess :) hehe If you take other bands in the power metal style
like Stratovarius and so on...they are, of course, great, super bands
and it's not strange that they get signed at all. But, we are not
a super band and we are not as great musicians, and like I always
say, "I am not a great guitar player, but I know how to play
guitar, and I am not a great vocalist, but I know how to sing, I am
a great song maker and that is what it's all about, music! at least
it should be." I do believe that with a great label and good
promotion we could become a much bigger band.
MettleAngel: I totally agree with you on
this account. Did you and Joakim form the band? Were you both in the other
bands like Theater of Pain or Eternal Flame? How long have each of you
been playing guitar and keyboards?
Thomas: I formed the band back in 1992 and
Joakim first joined in 1996. In 1998 he left the band and didn't return
until a year later. So, yes, he was a band member during Theater of
Pain and also Eternal Flame, but not as active as before. We did some
shows where he didn't play; but ever since 2001 when we changed name
to Gaia Epicus he has been big part of the band. I started playing
drums some years before I started this band, and my plan was to become
a drummer. So, when I started this band I was going to be the drummer,
but since our guitar player never came to practice, I took over as
guitarist. In other words, I have been playing guitar since 1992,
when the band was formed. I play a little keyboard too, but I am not
very good at it. I think Joakim started playing one or two years after
MettleAngel: What made you decide on such
a cool name like Gaia Epicus?
Thomas: We had changed band names a few times
before, and sometimes we changed because the music style changed,
and a few times we had to change because we found out there were bands
using the same name, already. So when we had to change the name in
2001, I wanted to make sure that no other band would have the same
name. I also wanted to have a name that was different from other band
names, and I wanted it to be a little mystical too.
MettleAngel: Tell your fans what Gaia Epicus
means and what the name symbolizes for the band, in general.
Thomas: Gaia Epicus is put together by one
Latin word and one Greek word. The word "Gaia" (in Greek)
means "earth", and the word "Epicus" (in Latin)
means epoch. So to us, the meaning of Gaia Epicus is "New World
That's why I so love your name. I'm a scholar of Antiquity, and I love
the way you combined the etymology of Greek and Latin terms together.
Why did you finally decide to play power metal when the other band incarnations
leaned more toward thrash?
Thomas: Well... as you might know we started
by playing punk music. At that time we wanted to play something that
rocks; but since we didn't really know how to play our instruments,
we ended up playing punk music with Norwegian lyrics. As we got better
in playing, our music changed and got better too. We now play power
metal because that's the music we most like to listen to, but I still
think we have some elements of thrash and other styles in our music.
MettleAngel: Absolutely, there is definite
thrash and speed metal elements to be found in the music which you have
written. Besides Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Megadeth, & Tankard what
other bands influneced the Gaia Epicus sound? I hear early Angra,Viper,
as well as Heaven's Gate in the mix.
Thomas: The bands that have influenced the
way I make music are Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray, Helloween,
Metallica, Rhapsody, and Stratovarius. I think these are the main
bands that have affected my music.
MettleAngel: I just reviewed the new Maiden,
and it's my favorite release of the year next to new Tankard, whom I just
interviewed. Gamma Ray's Majestic was my favorite CD last year. I still
need to play new Rhapsody of Fire, and I'm very excited for the new Megadeth
CD coming out next month. I'll be seeing them this weekend at GiganTour
2. I find it a bit risible that Redkey who are members of Heaven's Gate,
were signed by Dockyard1, but they denied your talent. What is Piet Sielck
thinking? What label would you really like to be signed to in, say a perfect
MettleAngel: If I had gone to ProgPower
in Atlanta this week to see Savage Circus, I would have confronted him
over this; but sadly I was too sick. We all know you are serious Star
Wars fans..those DVD versions of the originals just came out. My three
year old son wanted us to buy "Empire Strikes Back" for him;
somehow we could not explain to him that we already had it; but our version
was the other one from 2004 with the added footage, and different cover
art. We ended up purchasing the "Empire Strikes Back" from Wal-Mart
with the collectors comic; and the tin box set of all three movies from
Best Buy. My son is becoming a big fan. I even got him a Darth Vader mask
for Halloween. Now on Satrap the song you wrote called Star Wars is amazing!
For the Victory CD, you have written another Star Wars song, called Rise
Of The Empire. Briefly tell fans what the new song is all about.
What's your all time favorite Star Wars toy? Have you seen the interactive
talking Yoda which predicts the future like a Magic 8 Ball and still has
moving eyes and ears. Next time you are in the states we'll have to get
Thomas: An interactive talking Yoda which predicts
the future like a Magic 8 Ball and still has moving eyes and ears,
Oh man!!! I must have one :) "Next time you are in the states
we'll have to get you one", damn... I am flying over there tomorrow!
My favourite thing of my collection would be the light sabers and
my Darth Vader helmet. ( Oh yeah, and the new Darth Vader transformer,
MettleAngel: We'll keep an eye out for the
Yoda for you. Did I forget to mention that it also talks and regails stories
from all six Star Wars sagas? This is an awesome toy for my son. Back
to the band, who did the artwork for the new Victory CD. What does the
cover art symbolize for the band? It seems we are moving away from Gamma
Ray style into Iced Earth & Running Wild territory, given the imagery.
Thomas: J.P Fournier who also did our first
album cover "Satrap" made this fantastic picture. Like our
previous albums, we try to have a picture that symbolises the album
and what it's about. This time the album, it's very personal, and
full of aggression, and the main theme of the cover is that we should
all stand together and fight for justice. A quote from the lyrics
of the title track Victory is "Brothers of Metal unite, It's
time to stand up and fight!!!".
MettleAngel: What can Gaia Epicus fans expect
in the future. Any big tours coming up, soon?
Thomas: Expect a new album which will rock
your brains out!!! We had a one week tour in the UK lined up in November;
but sadly it got cancelled. Next week we start a Norwegian tour, and
after that we hope to take on the world! It's hard to make things
like this happen, so we must just be patient.
MettleAngel: What is your favorite metal
website..and why? If it's not Metal Covenant..you can still answer the
question...but we know how much Joakim love's us right?
Thomas: My favorite website would be Blabbermouth,
because it has news updates several times a day. Besides that I enjoy
Metal Covenant, and also a few Norwegian metal sites, alot. But you
are correct, Joakim has Metal Covenant as number one!
MettleAngel: My favorite metal site is Metal
Covenant; but perhaps I'm a bit biased. Any questions which you may have
MettleAngel: Alright then I want to thank
you so much for taking the time to indulge me, and stay mettle...may the
force be with you too...
also: review of the
album Victory »»