HAMMER KING - Titan Fox on NEW ALBUM, touring, RTB band & more | INTERVIEW
Hello, all you Metal Pilgrims, and welcome to the new interview episode on the show with our today's guest Titan Fox of the german Power Metal band Hammer King, to speak about the band's latest self-titled release, the future of Metal and much much more. As always please do not hesitate to comment on anything you hear or see in this video, and I personally would love to see you back on the channel for more exclusive Rock and Metal content. But for now buckle up and enjoy it. Here you go! MP: Hey, Titan, how's it going man? TF: Very good, it's a very special time at the moment - this is the release of our first album with Napalm Records. I'm doing a lot of interviews, which is fantastic. Actually, where do you come from? MP: I'm from Ukraine - Kyiv, Ukraine. TF: Oh, very good, that's my first one for Ukraine.
MP: Although most of the subscriber base for the channel and overall our show is in the United States, but I come from Ukraine and I take pride in that. So whenever you have a chance, please make sure you come to Kyiv, man. TF: Damn it, I would love to. MP: Especially because you guys just released your self-titled album - the fourth one, on June 11th, and it seems like it was received extremely well by all the fans, both old and new. So Titan, could talk a little bit about the creative process behind it?Hhow did all of this form into this one piece, and when did you actually start working on it? TF: The legend says that all music and lyrics are given by the majesty the Hammer King, which of course means we don't do anything. We just sit on the beach and wait until the songs are ready, until we hear
the crack of the whip, and then we have to serve the majesty. The truth is out there, we are the kind of a band which normally, if not corona is putting some stones in our way, we are working in the rehearsal room all the time. We have rehearsals at least twice a week, and we are the kind of band that can play every time, because we're always prepared. And we also always
are arranging, writing, recording, whatever, with new songs, so of course we were writing new songs in 2000, damn it, what is it 21? 2019? I think and we finished all the songs on the album in February 2021 or March. I can't remember, maybe even April, somewhere around that. And we had booked the studio "Grey Wolf" from Charles for April and May. And that was around the time when this corona thing started. So first of all the music had been finished before that, and we had booked the studio, and in Germany it's the way - if you're a company, if your band is a company - you're allowed to work. If your band is a hobby -
you're not allowed to do anything. So gladly we are a company, and we were allowed to do that. So we entered the studio in April or May, and we worked there for five weeks roughly. And Charles had a new studio, he built a new place and the studio. "Gray Wolf" has moved, and
we really like the old one a lot, but the new studio sounds so much better compared to the old one. The room is fantastic, and therefore the drums performed at a pretty much higher level than before, because of the sound of the room. At the same happened to me with the vocals usually when you go to the studio recording vocals is pretty much like "Will I be able to nail all these high notes within five days or so?" And this time the first thing we recorded I think was the chorus of King of Kings, and I started singing and the room sounded like a cathedral. It was so large, I was singing like a maniac and Charles interrupted me and said: "Sorry I have to change all the settings, you're at least double as loud as on the first three albums, it must be the room". And yeah, it really worked very well, and gladly it seems, as you said that this spirit that we had recording the album seems exactly to be mirrored with all the people. Because
of course, Metal Hammer Germany is a very critical magazine, they are hard to conquer, but all the others are really like this. And the response is fantastic, so I'm absolutely happy with it. MP: Absolutely man, I have no idea whether it was the room or not, but definitely it was a huge step up for you, guys. I honestly really enjoyed the album. I'll be honest with you, I haven't heard the previous ones before listening to this one, and those are great albums, but this one is definitely on this next level for me personally. TF: The interesting thing is we had a small internal release party last Friday, where we got together and had a live stream in Facebook. And for the first time we played all our songs
through this Alexa thing from the computer. It was the first time for me to hear the songs mixed up, and as you said it was so strange. I know the old albums and I liked them a lot, but every time a song from the Hammer King album came I said "Oh, damn it, it sounds much better than the old ones," the vocals are better, the drums are better, the songs are better, the production is better, Whatever it was I hope it will happen again, because it was fantastic.
MP: But that's great, because the band has to move forward, especially because you had a huge step up in terms of the label also. And so for those who don't know, although for Hammer King it is the fourth studio album, it is the first to the album together with Napalm Records. So how does working with label like Napalm differ from what you did before? TF: In all the interviews, and I swear, I will always do it, I've always said that Cruz del Sur were a fantastic label. They were trustful and very friendly, and Enrique - that's the boss of recruiters, is a true friend of ours, so it was fantastic. We were very happy, but we kind of knew that for our style of music, for our style of Heavy Metal, which, of course, has a mass appeal, it's not an underground music, it's poppish, in a way. It's commercial in a way. So we always
knew that in order to reach a bigger audience, we would have to be on a different level. And ever since we started, we had the feeling that we would like to be with Napalm Records, because they seem to be exactly the company that runs music like ours. They have HammerFall, they have Glory Hammer, and the other - WarKings, and all the bands. And we said that this would be the perfect label for us, and one day we really had the contact and they seemed to enjoy the music . And then that was that was perfect, actually. And for me it was interesting when we started working with them. The first thing that they got us was a huge catalogue of questions we had to answer, like maybe 60 questions or something.
It was amazing. And the good thing is they are so systematic when they work, and I'm very impressed by that, because I like I always say: the more work you get from your label as a band - the better it is, because the more work around your band - the better it is for you, actually. Who doesn't want to work for his band? And that's the same with the promotion, I've been talking to many people now. I think I have done now more interviews for this album than for all the three albums together. And so I really like it. It's wonderful. I just thought this
afternoon, whenever you you're in contact with someone from a magazine from all around the world, in a way you're in contact with a spirit of these countries. It's almost a bit like traveling there, and it's fantastic. MP: 100 percent, man. And again, but this is okay for time being for now, but we would love to see you live inUukraine whenever you're able to travel. TF: I can't wait. I really want to. It must be unbelievable, once you really can do that again. It will be more than ever before. MP: I just traveled to the United States for the first time twice in the past month, and I was so happy to be just on a plane, going around the world. And it was just amazing, man. TF: Man, I'm looking forward to it, and if we can, we
will come. We want to play. That has been the dream ever, we don't write commercial songs to not play. MP: All right, man, coming back to the album though. What are some of the lyrical lines which are running through it? Is there an overall theme behind it that the the Hammer King sent you? TF: All of our albums... none of our albums have been concept albums , but all of them have been like a collection of songs or of stories to one topic. The first one was about the Kingdom, about the people that lived there, and worked there, and suffered there. And the second one was all about the war stories.
The third one was the sailing stories. This time, when we started working on the songs, and we always sort of improvised the lyrics when we do the new songs, and when I looked at it I said: "Strangely, all the songs seem to be very much about the person of the Hammer King this time," and then we thought "Okay, this will be the the point in time where we put the the Hammer King on the cover of the album," which we have not done before. And for the first time we did an album with Napalm, so they thought this might be an album where many people get in contact or realize that Hammer King is an active band for the first time. You heard this album and then notice that we've got three other albums, which will happen to many people. So we said, this is the moment where we say "Look, this is Hammer King, this is what we sound," and on the other side on the other side the lyrical content was already there, so we had all the songs about the King, so we said "Okay, this is the moment to do what we never thought we would do, just name an album after the band".
MP: Okay, makes senses man. And speaking about putting your music in front of new audiences. Is there one track from this record which you think you would recommend to a person who never heard Hammer King before? Just one standout one? TF: Well, I mean it's changing back and forth, in a way, but at first I would have said Hammerschlag, but then of course Hammerschlag has gathered players from tankard and has got Isaac and the Crusader on it. So it's not typical only us, it's more people. So if I really were to choose just one
track at the moment, I would probably say listen to Awaken the Thunder. This might be the song which is symbolic for us, and for the first time ever we have lyrics that live inside the Kingdom, but really makes sense for the outside world, or the real world, and this is something that I would like to do for the next album. I always write stories that make sense that happen within the Kingdom, but that really symbolizes things going out in the real world.
MP: I have to agree with you about this track, this was my personal favorite one from the record, at least at this point. TF: At the moment what I really like is that the riffing is quite brutal and a bit more modern. The vocals for the verse are modern, the bridge is totally classic, and the chorus is pop music in a way. MP: That's fun, man. And what's the usual writing process for Hammer King like? How do you guys divide responsibilities? Is it you responsible for most of the music? Or you guys share this collective thinking kind of thing? TF: In a way it's - the longer we do it, the less important it seems who really does what. We have agreed that the best songs have to be on the album the sooner the better, so we are working at high speed. We usually go like this: somebody has one idea
and we present it to the others, and of course it's very crucial what the drums will do. It's always the drums. Usually the people are sitting in the back and everybody does not see the drummer, but I cannot write a song without the drummer. It's so important, whenever he hits the right beat, the song will explode, and if the beat is not perfect - then the song will not go anywhere. So usually we have a part of music, and we wait what the drummer is doing, and when it really happens, when the song is happening, we will go as far as we can, which means sometimes it's only a small part, sometimes it's up to the middle of the song before the soul when we stop. And we usually record everything, and then we don't listen to it for some weeks.
And then when you replay it we'll probably say "Wow, it's really fantastic," or sometimes say "Oh, it's not very interesting," and then you just leave it and then you start working from that point again, and add something, change something, bring some new parts in, throw some parts out, or leave it the way it is. And then after a while you basically have 80% of the song, and once you have this, you can start really getting into the details. And that's usually the thing that I like doing. When we're to the middle of the song, I decide what what solo part could be interesting. Are we just taKing the verse or bringing in a completely different part? Shall we have a quiet passage with a choir, or should we have a short one and bring it to the end? So that that's something that I'm very effective with, so that might basically be the process. Somewhere in between all that I will start singing somewhere, and usually when something good happens, you just keep it the way it is. And sometimes you have to really look for parts for weeks and months, but usually we are quick, and the quick ideas are mostly the best. MP: I agree with you. And with the abundance of
Power Metal bands from around the world, and new music pooring in from just around everywhere these days - we have all these streaming platforms and everything, music is very accessible. What do you think makes Hammer King stand out, and why do you think your following is growing at a quicker pace than that of many other bands? TF: I must say, it's always very difficult for an artist to say that about himself, because basically you end up saying "I'm great" and that's not very original, but I must say: I think that probably our songwriting might just be better than that of most bands. I must confess that when you listen to Powerwolf for example, their songwriting is over the top. There's
no question why these guys are so amazing, because the songs are so clever. And I can really see that, but I think that our songs are very much on the spot - you can get into the songs easily, you can remember them right away, and on the good side most of the time you can listen to them for many times without getting bored. So I think these songs are very effective. And although we have this mass appeal or this this commercial appeal, we on the other hand never do anything for the sake of being commercial or catchy. When we think that it's
not good enough, not intense enough, then we won't do it, so I think we're totally in the balance of "this is catchy and effective" and "this is good music". So that is something I'm influenced by by pop Queen and pop Genesis, and each voice. On the other hand I'm listening to Cirith Ungol or to to Wishbone Ash, for example, so you have the balance of the music, and you have the balance of the approachability of the songs. I think that's effective, and of course the concept with the King and all this royal stuff, and on the other side the brutal stuff - that works. It's catchy. MP: And when it comes to vocals on this record, man, I gotta tell you, I gotta give you that man, you show an impressive vocal range. I loved it, I enjoyed it. So
is there a routine you follow on how to keep your voice in great shape? Or not really? TF: I just got asked this a couple of days ago and realized that I did not really know the answer. I always say that one of the most important things for me might it be sports or singing or practicing the guitar - if I think that I have to, I will pretty much avoid it and don't do anything, because I hate pressure, and I hate to do something because I have to. So I think the key for me is just to have music in my car all the time and to sing along with that most of the time, which means sometimes on a day I'm singing for two minutes, sometimes for three minutes, sometimes I'm singing for three hours. Whatever happens and I'm trying to sing different stuff. At the moment I've got in my car and try to sing all these... whatever this music is pop whatever... they do and I mean they've got different
vocalists ranging from from low stuff to very high stuff, the 80s American Rock music singers. And that's very interesting because most of the things are very difficult actually, and the best parts of the week, the best parts of my life actually, are always when I come home and can say that I sang this song for the first time today and it sounded like the version on the album not like somebody trying it, so that's something that I'm really doing, or I'm practicing: Paul Stanley's stuff from KISS, which is tricky, especially the 80s stuff is very tricky. And there was one day after we shot the video of Hammerschlag where I sang for five hours that day, the next Sunday I was driving in my car and singing all the 80s KISS stuff, I could never do this before, and it never happened after that, so that's something that I do. I want to enjoy the music and I want to go and sing all the stuff that I as a fan always wanted to do singing. Like Michael from halloween or something, there is a lot of high notes that I still can't nail, but maybe I can nail them in a couple of years, I don't know. And that's something that I try to do - I try to really never stop singing for a longer time, but never pressure myself into singing for practicing reasons. A couple of years ago I was doing some warm-up exercises every day,
and it was so boring that I stopped after a while. And that's not good. I want to enjoy it, and really the best thing about singing is you have to listen and feel, is this healthy what I do or is it just my head pretending that I can? Because if you force yourself, you will pay the price. So that's something you really have to be very sensitive, when you sing and you have to hear yourself, that is what I learned in the studio this time. When the sound is amazing you can sing for hours, because you will not do anything unhealthy , if you really can hear yourself, so that's the basic thing that I do. MP: And I know it's kind of early to tell at this point, everything is uncertain still, but are there any plans to support the album with the tour? TF: Of course, the good thing about Napalm Records is that they are partnered up with Napalm Events, which we are about to sign up with them as well. So that is fantastic that was one of the biggest points about the situation with Napalm, and we should have had a release show on last Saturday, which was of course pushed back again.
So at the moment I think it's July the 15th and 16th, or 16th and 17th. No, 15th and 16th, I think. So it will be two nights of a release show because probably it will be limited capacity, so we said if you can give us two days we will play it twice . We have not played for a long time, the more more often we can play, the better it is. And the good thing is you don't even have to change your setup, you can just remain in the club. That would be something that will come up if there is a chance for a smallish open air in the southwest of Germany, there is a show in the Netherlands, and I think they will do it, because they are different. They are a little bit more open, and there is another one somewhere in around Cologne, that seems to happen.
So these are the next things. Then of course we signed with Napalm Events, and hopefully... the market will be extremely full in the next month, because all the touring from 2020 and the touring from 21 will be happening at the same time, and therefore I can't really predict whenever there will be a slot for us, and whatever happens, but I know that we definitely want, and we are prepared to do that. And so whatever it costs, I will go there. MP: That makes sense, I don't want to keep you here for too long, so just couple of more questions if you don't mind. You started speaking about this already, partially, by saying what you sing along to in your carm but who are the biggest influences for you personally? Are there any bands which you can name as the most influential on your musical writing process? TF: I think so, as a vocalist it's it's Michael from Helloween, it's Eric from Manowar, which are very different.
And it's the Beach Boys in a way, because I learned these very soft high vocals from the boys, which are good to enhance your ability as a Metal vocalist as well. If you can do it softly, you can do it properly as well, so these might be my influences. As a guitarist I've been playing so long after a while you don't have an influence anymore. Of course there was Steve Stevens from Billy Idol, Steve Clark from Def Leppard, the guys in Wishbone Ash especially for all the twin leads that we do, it's very much inspired by them. And I used to be the vocalist for Ross the Boss, so of course Ross used to have an impact on me. And bizarrely he
is pretty close to my playing, although he's a real beast. I cannot do that what he does, it's amazing. But he said to me once "You really seem to play a little bit like me," I'm not, I'm the vocalist, I also play the guitar, but well, I like this out of the pocket Rock and Roll, playing the dirtier the better. That's what I really like. MP: Fantastic, and speaKing about Ross, I spoke to him on the channel... what what was that? like six months ago, he's a great guy. He's one of the funnest guys to talk to. Do actually guys keep in oh touch lately? TF: We really were in touch again when we were talking on and off.Uusually more often on there is absolutely no bad blood, but it's been many years, and he's doing what he's doing, I'm doing what I'm doing, but lately I think The Dictators released two single tracks, they're releasing an album. They were fantastic, and honestly
I think the biggest plus about The Dictators is that this Andy guy writes amazing songs, and whenever there's a good song, and Ross plays on it - that sounds fantastic, and that was the perfect mix. So of course there's always contact, and I think that we both would say that we love each other. MP: And speaking very briefly about The Dictators, the new songs, they sound like the 70s, but at the same time they are very modern, I enjoyed it - fun Rock and Roll. All right man on this cheerful note, the last one for today, and this is something we usually do to close the episode, and I'd love to hear it from you.
And you can name it from either Hammer King or any other band you played at. What is your one craziest story from your touring life? I think it must be it's not a Hammer King's story, but it's it's a Ross the Boss story, actually. We played a fest in Venezuela, I think in 2011, and it was a strange thing. We played in the baseball stadium, which was more or less sold out, and they had a security from people who looked like guerrilla guys, or something, with with pump guns in their hands. And I remember I said to Max the drummer "I hope I'm singing well this night , because I don't know what they would do if I don't," and we were traveling back in a small van, and at a certain point the van was speeding up like hell. He was driving through the worst kind of road you can imagine, but he was traveling
at full speed. And it was dark, and I and I said to Max the drummer "What the heck is this guy doing?" and I was writing a message to my former girlfriend at that point of time. And Max said what's happening, he said "We're driving through an area where usually there are people attacking everyone who's crossing it by throwing stones and burning stuff onto the cars and the vans, and that's why he's speeding up so that this will not happen". I'm not writing this now to my woman at home . So that was really so that was intense, nothing happened, all was fine, but it was strange. And other stories from South America, especially where most of the time everyone is having problems on the toilet, and I remember being in in Peru and in Ecuador. And everyone was suffering like hell, even the Peruvian guy
was suffering. And I didn't have anything, so that was fantastic. I don't know why. MP: You're a tough man. Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it. Any last message for the fans? Both old and new, who are going to be watching you? TF: First of all, I thank you for the time, for the questions, it was a fun interview. And all interviews are great, but this was really fun. And every support that we can have at the moment is really helpful, and help us building up the band which we would like to do. So my shoutout goes to everyone in Ukraine and to everyone who's listening from all the countries in the world: "Thanks for the support".
I will try to take you by the word and come to Ukraine and play shows there, ready for it. And we always finish everything by saying "God bless the King, may the King bless you". MP: Perfect, thank you so much tyrone for your time again. It was a pleasure, man. Just as a reminder - Hammer King's self-titled album, the fourth one, is already out on June 11th via Napalm Records. If you haven't yet, make sure you pick it up and check it out, it's a really strong Power Metal album, and I'm sure all the Power Metal fans will enjoy it. Titan thank you. TF: And have a stop at our shop at Hammer-King.com,
there will be lots of exclusive articles coming up soon. We will have a statue or action figure of the Hammer King, there's exclusive coffee, and there is gonna be cups, and whatever you need. MP: I'm gonna go check it out right now, man. Thank you so much for your time, man, keep rocking! TF: The same to you, stay heavy.