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Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray)

Interview with Kai Hansen from Gamma Ray
by Georgia at 20 April 2006, 3:54 AM

On a rare occasion, Power Metal veteran Kai Hansen (frontman of Gamma Ray), was going to be in Athens as guest at another online magazine's party. When the band released their latest album, review.asp?id=1114 (2005), we didn't really get to interview them concerning that release (I wonder why) so… I thought this would be a good chance to send one of Temple's newest writers, Georgia, on a quest to interview Mr. Hansen (well, it's not as complicated as it sounds). Kai Hansen who - as far as I always remember meeting him - is one helluva smiling chap, talkative and all… and of course a kick-ass musician! Here's what went on when Georgia got to her interview appointment!

You took a long break. Why did you have that pause?

We did not have a pause, we had actually been working; we did No World Order (2001), did a lot of touring for it and after that came the Skeletons In The Closet (2003). We had to rehearse all the songs, do the tour and then work on the mix of the songs. Plus, we had to do the promotion again, more shows and Iron Maiden support shows. We had another South American tour and so on. After that, we started working on Majestic and the process working on it took quite a while… And after that, again touring and touring the whole world except Greece (Laughs). We did shows in Japan, Russia, again South America etc…Here we are now! (Laughs)

Do you think that Majestic can quench the thirst of your fans?

It satisfies a lot of people, but I knew from the begging that some people would not be totally satisfied; mostly people that prefer Land Of The Free and this kind of positive, melodic style, would not find that much of it on Majestic once it is more aggressive, progressive and brutal. Majestic is not an album that sounds easy but we had to spit that out. The next album, though, is going to sound different again…

Your new album seems to have a lot of similarities with many famous Metal bands, such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Did you do that on purpose or did it just come naturally?

We always had influences from these bands and sometimes such strong influences somehow force you to transfer something of them in your own music. I don’t deny that these bands have affected, in a way, our music.

Last year we had releases from bands like Gamma Ray (Helloween and Masterplan). Do you think this fact helped the revival of Power Metal?

I don’t know! (Laughs) Is there a revival of Power Metal or not? It is very hard to say…

You have created a milestone in Power Metal with Gamma Ray’s Land Of The Free (1995). Do you think that creating such a masterpiece so early in your career was a blessing or a curse?

It is definitely both. It brought the band very high respect and it showed that Gamma Ray is a force. On the other hand, if you do such an album which everybody likes, people expect the next album to be the same. And of course you don’t do that! You don’t want to do the same thing again and again because people get bored and start to complain. Plus, it will be boring for you because you are a musician and you want to try different aspects of your music. Then, of course, you can’t just do that, because if you start doing that on purpose, it’s calculated, planned and it is not exciting anymore. The next album will be in that direction though… I spited out all my aggression with Majestic and now I feel like making positive music again.

No World Order was heavily influenced by Judas Priest, your favorite band. What did you do in order to create something different this time?


Well, it didn’t happen on purpose… and I don’t think that it is that influenced by Judas Priest. It is more a step back to the 80’s roots and the heavy, simple guitar riffing stuff. That is related to Judas Priest…

…and you love Judas Priest! (Laughs)

Of course I love Judas Priest! I could never deny that!

During the previous years, you used to participate as a specific guest in many, many records. Now, you’ve stopped doing that. What’s the reason behind it?

The reason I quit doing that, because I still get many requests, is that I’m not the musician for everybody’s album. So if I do it again now is most of the times because of friendship, like with Angra. They invited me to Brazil to join their show and I really wanted to go there because I knew I would have fun with those guys, they are friends. But still, I don’t want to be the promo item for everyone.

You played at Wacken Open Air with Helloween, on stage a couple of years ago. At that point there were many rumors about a reunion. Did Helloween ever ask you to participate in the new Keeper… album?

No, they didn’t. And I’m happy they didn’t.

Why?

Because for me Keeper… is strongly related to Michael Kiske’s voice; he knows that as well. Except this, a Keeper… album is something that I do or I don’t. I would never be a guest on a Keeper… album.

Was Kiske and his decision not to be involved with Metal at all the reason why we never saw a Helloween reunion?

A reunion means that old people get back together. Kiske is avoiding Metal… so who should we unite? It could happen with the rest of us and a good drummer…

What’s your opinion about Helloween’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys - The Legacy (2005)? Did you like it?

It’s not a bad album, but, I have my constrictions…

Do you think that the Power Metal scene, which seems to be moving in similar paths for many years, has still things to give to the audience? Should people expect something new?


Progression… yeah… That’s a tough thing. Some people, for example, want us to make another Land Of The Free album while others at the same time could complain about not making something new! You are pressed, wondering what to do in order not to get boring and not let your fans down! Well, we did what we feel with Majestic, we released all our energy. Some people liked that and some didn’t. Next album will be closer to the Land Of The Free. We do what we feel… some people will be disappointed and some people will be satisfied. We can’t do everything at the same time! I believe that if someone wants to listen to something completely different, then he should try a different kind of music and not expect everything from the bands.

Should people expect something new from you? Something you have never tried before?

No, not that different. All previous albums are different compared to each other, but they have the Gamma Ray style. So, yes there are differences but not that huge ones.

The last time you came here as a special guest for Rock On magazine’s party, in May 2004, you missed the flight and many other strange things happened. What do you remember from then?

\[Lots Of Laughter] Ah… that story became famous!… Well, I felt so bad when Sakis (Fragos - chief editor of Rock Hard magazine) called me asking where I was and I replied something like Home… why? and then he told me You should have been in Greece! And then I realized that I had misunderstood something! I got something from this story though… Every time I have to travel somewhere, I check the calendar and the flights a billion times in order not to miss something again! God! I remember I lost the ground under my feet that moment!…



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