Thomas Christian Hansen - Gaia Epicus - Back
Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins

After many lineup and name changes Norwegian metal band Gaia Epicus released their third album "Victory" in early 2007. Finding a quality metal band from Norway shouldnít be a surprise, and Gaia Epic is no exception. The band has molded their sound into the power, thrash, and traditional metal vain. Frontman, guitarist/vocalist Thomas Christian Hansen talks with us about the foundations of Gaia Epicus, their new album "Victory," their problems with an old record label, and much more. Get ready, its time to thrash around with Thomas C. Hansen...

Metal Fanatix: Hey Thomas! Thanks for doing this interview for us. I’ve been interested in Gaia Epicus for some time now. So, lets start!

I’ve read that Gaia Epicus has been through many changes over the years, including under many different names. Is it true that under the Rått kjøtt moniker, that you were once a punk band? How has the band changed and developed over the years? Any particular reason for all those changes?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Thanks for your interest in Gaia Epicus, and doing this interview is just a pleasure.

Yes we started as a punk band and the reason for that was that none of us could play our instruments so we had to keep it simple but still we wanted it to be hard music. Since then we have changed music style and band members many times. The music style has changed as a result of us getting better at playing, and the members have changed because it’s hard to find someone who is a 100% dedicated and has the same goal as yourself. A few members have also been kicked out of the band for different reasons. hehe

Metal Fanatix: Do you still see the band’s earlier sound in your music today?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Yes, I think that all the different styles we have played is still in the music I make today.

Metal Fanatix: Thomas, what bands/musicians are your major influences? Anything else influence your work? Like your environment, books, movies, folklore, etc.

Thomas Christian Hansen: My favorite band is Megadeth so I think they have some impact on my music, but I basically learned to play guitar by doing Metallica covers so that’s the band I am most influenced by. Besides that some of my favorite bands are Stratovarius, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Maiden, Masterplan, Rhapsody and I am sure you can hear some influences from these bands in my music also. I am not a book person so there’s not much inspiration coming from books, but from movies and from what’s going on in my life and in the world is good inspiration to make music and lyrics.

Metal Fanatix: When writing material for new songs, what do you like to start with? The music or the lyrics? Do you have any special way to write your material?

Thomas Christian Hansen: I don’t really have a special way for doing it, because sometimes I make the song first and then the lyrics, and other times vise versa. And sometimes I make them both at the same time. But I always try to make the melody be right for what the lyrics are about.

Metal Fanatix: Congratulations on your latest album “Victory”! I have found that each of your albums to better each of the previous works, and “Victory” to be your best creation yet. This is a great sign of a band evolving over the years. Do you see the band evolving in this way? Looking back now, is there any tracks that you wish you could go back and re-record or tweak a little?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Thanks, and I agree with you that each album we have made is better than the last one.

I am very happy with all the songs we have released so far but yes I would like to have done some fixing on our debut album “Satrap”. The sound production, the vocals and the guitars should have been done better on that album. I do hope that we can continue to make better albums each time, or at least just as good as our last one. hehe

Metal Fanatix: Can you tell me a little bit about the recording of your latest disc “Victory”? The recording and mixing only took 14 days? Anything unusual happen in the recording process?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Anything unusual? Hmm… well it took only 14 days, that’s unusual. Hehe

There’s always a lot of things happening in the studio with Gaia, and it’s to much to mention here. But once we decide to release a studio DVD from the recording of all our albums then you will see some of the crazy shit that happens. hehe

Metal Fanatix: What do you think of when I mention the following Gaia Epicus tunes?

Thomas Christian Hansen:

The Sign: Home is always the best place to be, and when you are out traveling you can always look to the stars and they look just like they do when you are at home. So by doing that you feel closer to your home and your loved ones.

Awaken The Monster: Serial killer who killed innocent people with no remorse.

Time and Space: Time travel back in time to fix the fucking mess that this world is in right now. And by taking this journey you can also see that humans make the same mistakes over and over again.

Cyber Future: Same story as "Time and space" but here we try to look for the answer in the future. But there is also another way to see this song without time travel, because this world is becoming more and more a cyber future every day.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have any particular favorite songs on “Victory”? Why?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Right now it’s Iron Curtain mainly because I love playing it live at concerts.

Metal Fanatix: Were there any other songs that were written that didn’t make it on the album? If so, are there plans to use them in the future?

Thomas Christian Hansen: No there was not any extra songs made for this album, but we did a cover song of a Norwegian pop band. The song might be released at one time but there are no plans at the moment.

Metal Fanatix: Thomas, I hope this isn’t too much of a touchy subject, but from what I understand, you guys had some problems with your old record label Sound Riot Records. Where you ripped off? Can you elaborate on what happened?

Thomas Christian Hansen: These people don’t know what the words TRUST, HONESTY and RESPECT means, and when you also don’t care about your bands and screws every band, then you don’t belong in this music business. You can read the full story here: http://www.gaia-epicus.com/aboutsr.html

Metal Fanatix: Is this what made you decide on creating your own record label? How has it been so far?

Thomas Christian Hansen: They showed us the bad side about the music industry yes, so that’s one of the reasons I made my own label. So far so good. :)

Metal Fanatix: Any advice you would like to share for upcoming metal bands to avoid a similar situation?

Thomas Christian Hansen: If you care about your music and what happens to it. And if you think that a record deal should be honored and you don’t like to be screwed, then my advice is this: Before signing a contract you should find out as much as possible about the label and talk to all bands that is current on the label and bands that has been on the label in the past. This way you get a better impression what to expect, and use Google to see if you can come up with any news that has bad statements about the label.

Metal Fanatix: Some bands consider themselves a live band or a studio band. What do you see Gaia Epicus as? Why?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Even though we don’t play as much live as we would like to we are a live band for sure. We like to be in the studio but there’s nothing better than to be on stage doing a show.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have any touring plans this summer? Are you going to play any festivals?

Thomas Christian Hansen: No plans for the summer since we are not a full line up in the band at the moment.

Metal Fanatix: If you could set up a tour to have any 3 bands from past and present to tour with Gaia Epicus, who would they be? Any particular reason?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray and Stratovarius. I think that would be a good show.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have a favorite place to play a concert? Like a favorite city or venue?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Budokan in Japan or Rock in Rio, or maybe Wacken open air festival.

Metal Fanatix: Is there any special way that you warm up before you play a show? Do you have any before show rituals, superstitions or tendencies?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Nothing special other than watch some concert DVD’s if we can.

Metal Fanatix: What is the craziest thing that happened to you or the band when on tour? Do you have any stories you can share with us?

Thomas Christian Hansen: At a festival we once turned the inside of a cabin upside down in 30 seconds, and that made a good memory. hehe

Metal Fanatix: Thomas, many musicians swear by the brand they use, what is your guitar of choice? Do you have any endorsements?

Thomas Christian Hansen: I play a Jackson guitar now but I used to play Ibanez. I am not so interested in what brand it is as I used to be, because now I just play what looks good, sounds good and is good to play. I don’t have any endorsements yet but I hope to get one.

Metal Fanatix: Do you have any favorite pastimes or hobbies when not working with Gaia Epicus?

Thomas Christian Hansen: Watching movies, making webpages, video filming, fishing and more…

Metal Fanatix: Before I ask my last questions, I’d like to thank you again for your time in doing this interview. Are there any last words you’d like to say to the metal world?

Thomas Christian Hansen: If you like melodic metal with good catchy songs that also has elements of power, speed and prog metal, then check out our new album! The worst that can happen is that you find a new great band to like :)

To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Thomas & Gaia Epicus check out the following websites:

http://www.gaia-epicus.com/ - Official Gaia Epicus Site
http://www.myspace.com/gaiaepicus/ - Gaia Epicus MySpace site

© Jeffrey D. Adkins May, June 2007 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.