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Kai Hansen & Dirk Schlachter (Gamma Ray)

Interview with Kai Hansen & Dirk Schlachter from Gamma Ray
by Stathis Giannakopoulos at 21 June 2001, 1:00 AM

Gamma Ray came in Greece for Interviews and we were there! Kai Hansen and Dirk Schlachter speak for their new album in one of the most recent interviews of Gamma Ray. Learn before everyone else about No World Order and enjoy one of our best interviews. Kai and Dirk are great guys and this interview will prove it once more. Have fun as we did! Thanks a lot Kai and Dirk. You guys rock!

Hello Kai and Dirk. Since we are from an Internet magazine our first question would be what’s your relationship with the Internet?

Kai: I spend a lot of time on the Internet recently. I check my e-mail, our website of course and some other stuff. It’s very cool.

 So you use it often.

Kai: Pretty much yes. Like everyday.

Dirk: If you miss one day and you don’t read your e-mail you might lose some important information about the tour and stuff.

 Is your official site made by Mariana now?

Kai & Dirk: Yes!

 You moved, you had another official site and webmaster I think.

Kai: Yeah, I mean we had the German website first and the South American which was very good and the relationship was very good with Mariana and everybody else there so we said OK, let’s make this official website. It’s the best.

 Yeah of course It’s the best. OK, Kai and Dirk I’m sure that you’ve heard about the whole Napster stuff and the whole thing about mp3’s. We were wondering what your opinion is.

Dirk: Mp3?

Kai: Sucks!

Dirk: It sucks! The sound is not the same. The difference from CD to mini disc is OK. The difference from mp3 to CD is really big.

Kai: Of course we can’t be happy when someone takes our job and sells it for free you know.

 Do you fell ripped off?

Kai: Of course. Up to a certain part it’s OK. That’s because there was tape trading in the past as well. People who don’t have the money and want to have the albums they have no choice. The problem with the Internet is that it’s a worldwide thing. I mean no matter where it comes from you can just go and download it. Sure, we live on the music and If this is not possible anymore how can we do an album then?

 I think If someone wants to learn a new band it’s fine but Gamma Ray? Of course he knows Gamma Ray.

Kai: Yeah, that’s it. You know streaming things are OK. When the song It’s not downloadable. People can hear it before they go and buy an album. That’s OK and fair enough but for download when it’s not official authorized thing then it’s really bad and therefore we can’t be happy with the results.

 Would it be fine If people paid to download things?

Kai: Yeah, That would be OK. You know then it’s even much more fair because If someone says OK, from the new Gamma Ray album I only like three songs. It would be great If he could download these three songs and pay for them. Then it’s fine. It’s fair.

Dirk: He doesn’t have to buy the whole album then. That’s another good thing. That will make us to work even harder ( laughs ) and to be good at everything we do.

Kai: No more shitty B-sides! ( laughs )

Dirk: We never did that anyway!

 You know Heaven Can Wait EP had some awesome tracks!

Kai: Yes, actually it was album leftovers.

 OK, last Friday we had the chance to hear six tracks from your new album. Three of them finished and three of them in rough mix version. Can you tell us at which stage the recording are?

Dirk: Everything is close to the final sound.

 How many tracks have you finished?

Kai: Ten. All and all we have ten and still we have to do some recordings on two tracks. Mix another seven or eight.. No.. (laughs) whatever.

 From these 10 tracks some won’t make it to the album?

Kai: No, no everything we have record will be on the album in someway but of course Japan has it’s bonus track and we have a Thin Lizzy cover version already mixed.

 Which song?

Kai: Angel Death. This song will be out in a single. Something like a free give away single.

 Do you plan to release a single before the album?

Kai: No, nothing official.

Dirk: Again only in Japan it will happen. They really want it.

 Only Japan? What’s so special about Japan? (Of course we have nothing against Japanese people but they always get more :( )

Dirk: No, no there’s nothing special about it. The company ( As you may know they have different company in Japan) just want to do it.

Kai: On the other hand people might be satisfied about it because they won’t have to go and buy a single where they basically get the same tracks with the one’s on the album.. They don’t have to spend double money just because they want to hear a few tracks upfront.

 From the songs we heard, we saw that you have kept the Gamma Ray sound but instead of making a typical Power Metal album like everyone does today you have try to get more closer to the roots and to bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.

Kai: Yes!

 Why did you chose to do that?

Kai: Because exactly that was the point. Too many bands around that play this Power Melodic Metal thing. We have done that so far and we just belt to go back to a basic real Heavy Metal album. Where things are more close to where Heavy Metal comes from and we have this aggressive basic feel to it. We just felt right.

 You have six tracks till now. Can you tell us a bit about each one of them?

Kai & Dirk: Sure!

 OK, let’s talk about Solid’ first.

Kai: Solid was the first track I’ve written because I was doing some writing for Iron Savior and I did some work with Piet. Then I carried this idea to Solid. It was meant to be an Iron Savior track but somehow it felt more like a Gamma Ray song.

 That’s why you mention Aliens there and you said that you’re not gonna make an album about space and stuff.

Kai: Exactly. That’s the only one that has it. The lyrics were written about the Iron Savior theme but the again the words sound so tight on this song so I didn’t want to change it. I kept it the way it is. That was the plan of the first song.

 It reminds us a lot of Old Helloween plus Gamma Ray of Somewhere out in space.

Kai: Yeah, it has a feel of that absolutely.

 Now that you said that it was meant for Iron Savior. Yeah It sounds like an Iron Savior track…

Kai: A bit yes. I always compare this song to Save Us from Keeper two.

 Second is Heaven Or Hell.

Kai: Yes, Heaven Or Hell. It is a very classical, traditional thing for Gamma Ray. It has a traditional sound like I want out and stuff like that. It also has a new edge too. It’s hard to explain.

 ( Orpheus) It remains a bit in Powerplant.

Kai: Which track?

 Heaven Or Hell.

Kai: Oh, I don’t know because in Powerplant as far as I remember there was no song like that except Send me a sign maybe.

 (Stathis) It sounds to be something between Powerplant and Land Of The Free.

Kai: Yeah, somewhere between right. I would agree on that. Because of the melody and stuff. It’s very much like the Land Of the free melody.

 OK, let’s move on. New World Order?

Kai: That’s a track close to the 80’s feeling. Very basic, very down to the roots.

 (Stathis) The opening riff reminds me a bit of Black Sabbath.

Kai: Really? Oh, that’s cool I didn’t know that. ( Laughs ) The intro riff, I don’t know where I got it but it sounds very familiar. It sounds like from the 70’s.

 ( Orpheus) Influences are always in the subconscious.

Kai: Yeah, Sure you can’t deny that.

 Heart of the unicorn? ( the next track)

Kai: That’s a real aggressive track. I really love that one because of the screaming type of singing.

 This tracks had a double solo ( two guitars playing together) that remind us the 80’s.

Kai: The 80’s of course are in there.

 OK, the next is Damn the Machine. A real heavy track!

Kai: Yes, that’s a heavy track. Dan came up with this. Of course it’s very rhythmical and very good. He did a demo very rough and he brought it in the studio. There we worked on it and we came up with a lot ideas for this song. We gave another edge on it. It’s a really good mix between something heavy and basic and some real sing along melody on top. I really like this track.

 OK let’s move on. Eagle ?

Kai: Eagle was maybe the last song we finished so far.

Dirk: Yeah.

Kai: I just had the riff and the idea about the chorus and stuff and I wasn’t even sure if this could be a good album track so we got to the reheash room and play it.

Dirk: Eagle has this twin harmony thing. Like Iron Maiden and stuff.

Kai: When we played this song in rehearsal everybody put his idea and it ended up a great track. We love it.

 Which is your favorite track so far?

Kai: Eagle is one of my favorites

Dirk: Yeah, Eagle is one of my favorites too.

 Some people didn’t like Powerplant because it was very melodic and it was not so powerful and aggressive.

Kai: Really you think is not so aggressive?

 No, it’s just opinions I gather from the Internet.

Kai: That’s funny there are a lot opinions around because people told us that this album is very aggressive. More aggressive than Land Of The Free. Land of the free was nice and you know for some people Powerplant was too heavy too aggressive.

 In my opinion Land Of The free had a great balance between melody and aggression

Kai: Yeah.

 Powerplant was more melodic and Somewhere Out In Space more aggressive.

Kai: Well, right I think that the new album has both of it. We are on balance again.

 OK, let’s talk about the rest of the songs now.

Kai: OK there are four more songs on the album. One is called Follow me. It’s pretty much close to the direction of Send me a sign or Heaven or Hell and something like that. It’s written by Henjo. Then there is a kind of ballad type of song.

 And it’s called?

Kai: The title is not fixed yet because it’s one of the songs I still have to sing. We want to put the title when the vocals are done. This is really cool because it’s not like a typical commercial ballad.

 Usually you have Queen influences when you play a ballad.

Kai: Yeah.

 Are there any Queen influences on this one?

Kai: Mmmm, not really nope. When this song is finished you will see what happens them. It depends on the guitar work that still it have to be finished and stuff. Then we have a really fast track. The fastest track on the album and it’s written by Dan.

 Faster than Solid?

Kai: Yes, fasted than Solid. Much faster. It’s like in a way like Man on a mission? You can compare it to that in a way.

 Wow, faster or not?

Kai: Emm, no.. not faster. It’s the same kind of speed.

Dirk: A little bit faster.

Kai: It is? Really? ( laughs from everyone ). OK, it is faster!

 OK, and the last track?

Kai: The last track is called Fire Below. This is a real heavy riff groovy thing.

 About the lyrics now. Can you tell us a few things about the lyrics. What did inspire you and stuff.

Dirk: There a whole thing like conceptional background. A friend of called and told us that he is having some theories about where do we come from, where do we go and secrets and all that stuff and he was talking and it was so much that we ask him to write everything down. In the end he came up with a book.

 So is it a concept album? ( Editors notice : OK, from now on you have no interview. It’s more like an X-files episode :) )

Kai: No, no you can say it has a conceptional background because the lyrics we have on the album are reflecting the book and the other way round.

Dirk: He made some theories about these secrets and especially about Illuminati. He thinks like they still control ( Stathis: You know illuminati is a theory about a secret organanization with powerful people and maybe aliens?!! This organization is behind the goverment and things ) a lot of things, the money, the wars and stuff.

 Do you believe that story?

Kai: Well I do believe a part of it. I do believe that there is a strong force sometimes behind things. People that they have a lot influence and power and they really dominate things. So secret society’s. The Illuminati really existed it was there. It is proven. They come from the templars and free Masons. It is a society.

 Illuminati was supposed to be something that has to do with Aliens directly.

Kai: No, no no that’s not true.

 ( Orpheus ) I heard a version of that.

Kai: If you look it up the Internet you’ll find a lot of theories about the illuminati. It is so confusing. The books has some names in it. About people who were behind this.

 Any famous persons?

Kai: Yes! Of course.

( Here Orpheus, Kai and Dirk started a conversation about a politician from Germany who might have been behind Illuminati. Unfortunately Orpheus can’t remember the name and Kai is trying to guess. No results )

Kai: There are some people involved behind this. It is very interesting. There are some things on the book that even takes it to a spiritual level because all the secrets societies have a connection with spirituality. Even Adolf Hitler had that. Some people where connected with the devil and stuff. I have a website on the Internet where it connects Nazis , UFO’s and the Illuminati. You know there are wild things going on. If you really start digging it you can make your own truth about it. You can say I believe this is true or I believe this is bullshit. Maybe we get close to have the truth.

(OK, here the X-files episode stops and we get back to the Interview. I wish we could have all the day to talk about it with Kai and Dirk. They are cool guys and they know a lot of things. My theory that Kai is an Alien seems stronger than ever now. That’s why he is so great musician. Kai please stay in our planet forever)

What about the production. Have you done it again this time?

Kai: Yeah we did it together ( Kai and Dirk) again.

 Do you have any ideas for the cover?

Kai: Yes, we have a lot of ideas for the cover.

 Will you use your mascot thing? ( The Monster they have on the covers since Land Of The Free)

Kai: Yes of course. Of course we will use elements that have been used on Gamma Ray albums before but of course it should fit to the title and to the whole theme behind it. We have Derek working and stuff and we also have a French guy who works alternative on another one.

 You have kept the same line up for a third album in a raw. Do you think that you have find the right chemistry?

Dirk: Yeah this is it.

Kai: It’s a real good chemistry. Everybody knows what is doing and we communicate really great when we write music together.

 Kai do you think that you have made mistakes in the past with other members? That you were unfair to some of them..

Kai: Well, no not really unfair. Sometimes when I look back maybe I could have handle things differently. Maybe there were mistakes now that I look them from a different angle. However when when you sit alone in peace and you think how much you can give and how much you can take from the others you see that chemistry is all that matters. Sometimes is works and sometimes not. It’s like a relationship. You make mistakes in the way you handle people or so but you can only learn from that.

 Now about a tour do you have any plans for a tour.

Kai: Yes, absolutely.

Dirk: We start at the end of September. Two weeks after the release of the album.

 OK, as far as we all know you are not a member of Iron Savior anymore.

Kai: Nope.

 Piet gave us his own opinion with his statement. What about you. Do you agree? Do you have to add something?

Kai: Whatever Piet said should be right. It was like a point when Iron Savior should have been standing on their own feet without me in the background. I couldn’t always find time for Iron Savior because Gamma Ray was priority and this affect the friendship between Piet and me already because he was not really too happy when I was saying I cannot tour with you and stuff. It’s better now to separate Gamma Ray and Iron Savior totally and for me it gives a lot more freedom and peace.

 Kai do you think that Powerplant and Somewhere out in space would be better If you were working only for Gamma Ray that period of time?

Kai: No, I don’t think so. It didn’t really affect it.

 Are you satisfied with the sales of Powerplant and the sales of Blast from the past?

Kai: Yeah, of course always could be more but we are really satisfied. Especially from the Blast album. We didn’t except it to sell so much.

 Have you heard the last Freedom call album?

Kai: I haven’t heard the whole album yet. Only a few tracks.

 And what do you think about it?

Kai: It’s good.

 Some people say  Why Dan does the same thing with Gamma Ray and Freedom Call ?

Kai: Well, I think there is a difference.

Dirk: There is a difference.

Kai: I think that Freedom Call is more melodic more lala singing and stuff.

 That’s right you mentioned that one of your fastest tracks. He does soft and melodic things with Freedom Call and now he comes to Gamma Ray and he writes a very fast track.

Kai: Yes, right. He loves about being in Gamma Ray. Freedom Call is more melodic. Gamma Ray is more aggressive and Dan loves that.

 Are you aware of the latest releases like Judas Priest.

Kai: Yeah, I heard the whole album so far.

 (Stathis) What do you think of it? I know that you were a bit disappointed by Jugulator.

Kai: I’m not too happy with the new one I have to say. I’m a classic Priest up. I think that If you play one of these songs in a club you wouldn’t know who it was. You wouldn’t notice that it’s Judas Priest.

 ( Orpheus ) Not even Metal Messiah?

Kai: No I wouldn’t say. Not really. It has a lot of industrial influences. The chorus is of course very good but..

 (Orpheus) It’s a little bit futuristic.

Kai: Yeah. I would say if I didn’t know that it is Priest I would Is this the new Machine Head album? ( laughs )

 But don’t you think that they had to chance a bit. If they had made another album like Stained Glass people would say that they do the same things..

Kai: Oh, man you can’t get a ride for anybody. They did what they want to do. It’s just a matter of tastes. I would rather have an album like Stained Glass.


Kai: As for other new bands.. Oh well. We just won’t any new bands they are too many bands around ( laughs) I really like Children Of Bodom. ( Editors Notice: Of course you people who wait in the corner just to accuse others.. Kai is kidding OK?)

 How do you feel that everyone else is on the road this summer touring and you are in the studio?

Dirk: Yes, that’s a bit strange everybody else will be out doing festivals and stuff.

Kai: It will be pretty strange not to be on the festivals but last year we do many.

Dirk: Also is better not to show up in the festivals because we start our own tour in September.

Kai: If people see us in the festivals they might not go to our tour concerts. We prefer to do our own thing.

 OK, we are done! Would you like to give a message to your fans on the Internet?


Dirk: Fuck mp3! ( laughs )

Kai: Have fun on the Internet and DO NOT visit dirty pages! ( laughs ). Personally I never do..

 ( Stathis ) I know someone from here who… ( laughs )

 ( Orpheus ) Don’t look at me! ( laughs )

Dirk: Don’t spend so much time on the Internet.

Kai: Yeah, rather go out and enjoy the sunshine.

Dirk: There’s A REAL WORLD OUT THERE.. ( Laughs )

Kai: Yes! There’s a real world. It exists! It’s there! ( laughs )

Dirk: There are trees out theeeeeere!

 I think we took a nice lesson from you today ( laughs )

Kai: AND STAY HEAVY of course!

Dirk: Of course.

Kai: Don’t forget metal.


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