Hammer King’s Titan on Crafting Catchy Anthems and High-Energy Performances

Hammer King's Titan on Crafting Catchy Anthems and High-Energy Performances...

Interview by: Shadow Editor

 

What was the inspiration behind your upcoming album, “König und Kaiser,” and how does it extend the homage to the formidable Hammer King storyline?

Titan: Hey, it’s a pleasure talking to My Global Mind! I apologize for being belated and shorter than usual, but we are in the middle of a tour and we are super busy! As always, thy majesty, the Hammer King, ordered us to praise him some more with another album worth of stories from his impressive life. This time, the King has crowned himself to also be an Emperor, so he is “König and Kaiser” now. As we were already invited to be part of the tour with our label mates WARKINGS, we knew that it would be the perfect match to promote the new album!

What distinguishes “König und Kaiser” from your previous works, and what musical style and themes can fans anticipate from this new album?

Titan: We have always tried to make the most concert-oriented album possible, saying that we always aim at getting super-catchy songs that you can easily use on stage and get any audience into them, make the people part of the show. With some albums, we have been closer to that, with some farther away. We believe that “König und Kaiser” is one of our very strongest albums as it is very catchy. We have played three of the new songs so far and it works, absolutely killer live. What makes the album essential to us is that we have combined the heaviness of 2022’s “Kingdemonium” with the melodic and anthemic approach of 2021’s “Hammer King”.

How did the recording process for “König und Kaiser” differ from your past albums, particularly with the involvement of Charles Greywolf and Jacob Hansen?

Titan: To be honest, not at all! This is our sixth album with Charles Greywolf and our third with Jacob Hansen, so the team is running full force ahead and we have been able to record it in less time than before. We will not change working with Charles and Jacob as they are the best guys for us. Wonderful people and bloody amazing masters of their profession!

Photo Credit: Anne Swallow

Can you shed light on the songwriting process for this album? How do you craft memorable sing-along choruses and fuse them with high-energy instrumentals?

Titan: We were super-fast writing the songs this time. We worked in groups of two or three most of the time and therefore, we were able to double-check on the progress as there was always somebody who did not take part in the previous session. We have also modified the formula by writing the instrumental tracks separately from the vocal section. Therefore, we added whatever vocal lines to the songs and ended up having songs with lots of power and passionate singing combined. There’s a snag to it, as the new songs are really to replicate live, especially for me, being a singer and guitarist at the same time…

The album includes guest appearances from renowned artists like WARKINGS. How did these collaborations come to fruition, and what do these guest features contribute to the overall album sound?

Titan: When we started with HAMMER KING, we categorically decided against guest performers, but during the Covid-madness, all these all-star sessions came together. So, we asked Gerre from TANKARD about doing a duet with me, we also added The Crusader from the WARKINGS and Isaac Delahaye from EPICA to the song “Hammerschlag” in 2021. It was such a joyful experience, hearing other people interpret our song that we knew we would continue that way under the condition that it happens organically. Therefore, we had ROSS THE BOSS on “Guardians Of The Realm” in 2022 and now – with the tour approaching – we liked the idea to have the WARKINGS’ voice on our title track. It was a match made in heaven, what a strong and majestic duet it is! We also have Dee Dammers from U.D.O. playing lead guitar on “Fire Hammer”, the vinyl exclusive track. So, for everybody who gets the vinyl, you will get some real stunt guitar playing!

You’re gearing up for a European tour with WARKINGS in spring 2024. What’s the excitement level like for hitting the road again, and what can fans anticipate from your live shows?

Titan: The level is 10/10, and we are extremely motivated! This is the best possible tour for us; the clubs are mostly sold-out, and we play to a fantastic crowd every night. We are having the time of our lives, and we cherish the opportunity for sure!

Continuing your collaboration with Péter Sallai for the album artwork, what was the artistic concept behind “König und Kaiser,” and how does it complement the music?

Photo Credit: Anne Swallow

Titan: When we had the title track, which proclaims the King now also being promoted to being Kaiser (emperor), we told Péter about that. He immediately had the idea of how to transform that into a visual artwork, and he gave us the finished artwork within a couple of days. It blew us away, as always with Péter’s work! He is the perfect artist for us, it matches our music so well!

How do you envision “König und Kaiser” fitting into the current metal landscape, and what do you hope listeners glean from the album?

Titan: Haha, honestly – I am not sure if I still know enough about the current metal landscape! I mean, being a completist and a fanatic collector, I spend so much time listening to albums I already have, that it’s hard to follow all that’s going on around us. But I believe that with the people of Charles Greywolf, Jacob Hansen, and Péter Sallai, we have been able to deliver an album that has the typical HAMMER KING style and is very much up to date with today’s state of the art. It feels fresh and powerful, melodic and massive. The reaction is amazing so far!

Are there any obscure or underground acts that have significantly shaped your musical approach but may not be readily apparent to the casual listener?

Titan: I am afraid, now I am about to give my most unpopular answer ever: No, really not! I believe after all the years of listening to Metal, also to music outside of Metal, there are no direct influences anymore. It is all inside of us and everything has an impact on what we write and play today. But we truly are writing HAMMER KING songs when we write and that is all in our DNA.

In light of the dynamic evolution of the metal genre, how do you perceive Hammer King’s position within this broader landscape, and how do you navigate genre mutations and trends?

Titan: I hope to be right when I say that we are up and coming. We have delivered a string of strong albums over the last couple of years, and we were blessed to talk to many people from all over the world, to play shows, to tour and to get in touch with many fans, promoters, and people from behind the scenes. We cherish all we can have and never take things lightly; therefore, it seems that we are able to build the band up step by step. If it is up to us, we will not stop and end up playing everywhere and all the time. We are a festival band anyway – plus, we will enhance the show more and more to give the people a real insight into the Kingdom Of The Hammer King.

Balancing fidelity to your musical origins with exploration of new sounds and themes, how does the band navigate this in each album release?

Titan: We have had the pleasure of playing the first three shows exactly when the album came out, and so we could present it the way we had always envisioned it: Live on stage! We had released three video singles before that, and there was a great comic over one week, functioning as a prequel to our “König und Kaiser” video. The amazing Tiana “the wicked” Wicke did the comic for us, and she did a fantastic job.

Looking forward, what are the future plans and aspirations for HAMMER KING?

Titan: We will play 11 more shows with the WARKINGS; after that, there will be festivals galore, we will probably have a comic video in the summer and some club shows as well. If all goes perfectly, we might be given another tour in autumn. The KING will stay busy and strike while the Metal is hot! Thanks a lot for the wonderful talk; see you on tour someday in the future – God bless the King, may the King bless all of you!
 

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