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Hein Hansen & Nell (Theatre Of Tragedy)

Interview with Hein Hansen & Nell from Theatre Of Tragedy
by Michael Dalakos at 17 January 2006, 10:26 PM

Just before their show with Arcturus here in Athens, I managed to chat a bit with the lads from Theatre Of Tragedy. I had many questions in mind and one goal: to avoid asking any questions about their previous singer (Liv Kristine). However Hein Frode Hansen (drums) and Nell (vocals) had other plans in mind.

Last time I saw you was back in 1997 and your last album (Assembly - 2002) was also released a long time ago. I haven’t heard anything from the new Theater Of Tragedy…

Hansen: Indeed it has been a long time since we last came here. We will play three new songs tonight. After the show we can have hear some of the new songs here in this room. We can’t really give them away yet. They are top secret (Laughs). I can assure you that the new songs are really different than those on the last album.

We have been working on the songs for the new album for some time now. We had twenty songs ready but we narrowed it down to fifteen and we recorded and mixed twelve of them for the album. The rest will probably be used in some special editions. The new songs will be a lot darker, instrument based with lots of drums and guitars on them. We brought back a lot of piano from the old days and I am not talking about sounding like we used to sound back then, everything is on a 2005 base. It’s not going to be medieval or something, it would sound more haunting and dark.

When we started talking about what album we’d like to record we though of making a new Aegis (1998) album but when we started recording with Nell that wasn’t the case… that was my cue for you, Nell! (Laughs)

Nell: (Laughs) At first we thought this would sound like a heavier version of Aegis and more up to date but as time passed by we realized that it is not going to sound like Aegis but more like the album that should have been released between Aegis and Musique (2000) because there was a huge jump between those two albums.

Does the change in the direction of the music once again have anything to do with you entering the band?

Nell: Well, a new member always brings new influences. Liv \[Kristine - Leaves’ Eyes singer] had her way of singing and I have mine. I am not trying to copy her because I can’t. Every vocalist is different.

Most people assumed that after Assembly the new album would sound somewhat relevant. So this change once again…

Nell: I haven’t participated in the songwriting process that much. \[Nell sings] We’re in this together (Laughs). I play bass guitar…

Hansen: You suck at bass guitar! (Laughs)

Nell: Well, I play quite fast. I play the piano and keyboards. I live in Oslo and the rest of the guys live on the West Coast. We exchange the material back an forth lots of times and it was quite hard because we didn’t have all the time in the world.

Hansen: It was like a cool process where everyone participated and gave thought in all songs. That’s why we made so many songs from the start. We didn’t want to have any fillers in the album.

When will the new album be released?

Hansen: On the 27th of March. Its title is Storm.

How exactly did Nell enter the band?

Hansen: She called me every two minutes asking me to get in the band. (Laughs)

Nell:: …and I cried all the time. (Laughs)

Hansen: I used to have people calling, asking me to get out of the band. (Laughs)

Nell: Of course I knew the band. I was in another band called The Crest. Their previous singer \[Liv Kristine] had a wonderful voice but I don’t think we can be compared. I got a call from the guys and they asked me to try myself in a couple of the songs. I got a demo with a couple of songs. I don’t know if they liked it… (Laughs) Anyway, it worked out.

All these changes in your music…

Hansen: This has to do with the fact we never had a stable lineup. People came, people left. It was obvious that we couldn’t play the same stuff with different lineups. Plus we are not interested in being in competition with ourselves. Sometimes it goes this way, sometimes it goes that way. It is more interesting for us not to release an identical album at any time. We never also sat down and checked what album sold more than the rest.

Nell: Of course if we ever decide to do an album like Velvet Darkness They Fear (1996), we will do it.

Hansen: But we must have the feeling to do such an album. I think it is not fair for the fans to play all the time the same stuff. Our music it is not just Metal you know. The music you hear in our albums comes from our heart and that is what counts.

Are there any touring plans or is it too early?

Hansen: We will do 25 shows in Europe in April and then summer festivals and then we will see.

I heard that last night \[in Thessaloniki, Greece] you played a lot of old songs…

Hansen: Yes, we enjoy playing material from all our albums. We play songs from every album.

And what album brings out the best of you on stage?

Nell: Storm (Laughs)

Hansen: Well, it depends on our mood.

Are there any songs you love from the old days of the band?

Nell: Good question. I’ve never said this before but when I first started rehearsing I told the guys that I can work with you if we don’t do any of the growling songs (Laughs)… but then I kind of liked them. I love the old material; I find it amazing.

Thanks for your time. Any last words for our readers?

Hansen: Yes, where are the Liv questions? (Laughs) We came prepared to receive thousands of such questions but none is asking them (Laughs) You must be the most polite reporters in the world (Laughs)…

Ok, have you heard her albums?

Hansen: Yes!

Do you like them?

Hansen: No! (Laughs)

Liv said when she recorded the first album that this was the album you should have released after Aegis…

Hansen: I don’t think so. Liv has said many things to the press after the split up and to be honest we are really disappointed, not because they are far from the truth but everything has two sides. We can easily sit here and discuss every little shitty detail and all the reasons why but the truth is that nobody gets fired from a band if everything is ok. Everyone knows that. We can spend hours talking about all this but I won’t do so.

You forced me to ask these questions! (Laughs)

Hansen: No problem, you have been quite discreet about this matter. I always respect that. Most reporters force us for a great story but the truth is that behind Liv’s firing there is no great story to tell.

Well, thanks for your time…

Hansen: Thank you for your time. I hope that everyone will like the new album as much as we did making it.


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