On January 11th the wicked hordes of Zargothrax’s evil unicorns descended upon the Legend Club in Milano, and in this occasion I had the pleasure to have a chat with prince Angus and the king of Hollywood in person, with some intervention by the mysterious Heremit, also known as voice, bass and drums of GLORYHAMMER, Thomas Winkler, James Cartwright and Ben Turk. Here’s what came out!
Hello guys! First of all I want to thank you for giving me some of your time before the concert. I would like to start with quite a generic question: how did the whole Gloryhammer thing came to life? What put you guys all together?
Thomas: Well, as you know I came after, so I’ll let him answer this.
James: So, I lived with Chris, who first had the idea for the band. He asked me If I wanted to join it and I said yes. At first the band was supposed to have another name, Gloryhole; the lyrics and ideas were the same, but then we decided to change the name.
And what about the other guys?
J: Except for Thomas, if I am right Chris already knew them so he brought them into this project.
How did the overall concept of the band come to life? Where did the idea for Zargothrax, Angus and so on come from?
J: I can’t remember… I don’t know where Zargothrax came from. Ben, do you know?
Ben: Zargothrax? There was Chris’s friend who had a pair of giunea pigs I think, or something like that, and Chris named them Proletius and Zylothrax. Zargothrax is based on Zylothrax.
So you’re singing about guinea pigs!
J: Ahahah, yes. Paul’s a guinea pig… Paul’s a gerbil!
What were your main musical inspirations?
T: Rhapsody Of Fire!
J: Both me and Chris were into Rhapsody of Fire… I don’t listen to them that much anymore to be honest. But I think that me and Chris, one of the main reasons we went on as we met was that we were both big massive Bal Sagoth Fans.
T: ’90s metal, too.
Still talking about references, as a Dungeons and Dragons player I can see some similarities with it, not only in your songs but also in the characters that you bring on stage… I mean, we have the warrior prince, the barbarian, the mage. What were your main fantasy and sci-fi inspirations?
T: I thnk it’s a mix of a lot of different stuff. Chris is the real nerd here.
J: Yes, I think Chris is into Dungeons and Dragons.
T: Yeah, he plays Magic: The Gathering too.
J: I used to play Warhammer at a point…
T: Yes, Warhammer was probably one of the biggest inspiration for Gloryhammer things.
J: Is it?
Well it’s set in space, so it makes sense I’d say.
T: Yeah, Warhammer 40k.
J: I remember I was really young and I made my parents buy me loads of these expensive models and paints, and I think I just paid them real shit! I didn’t bother looking at how I was doing it or everything, I just did a real crap job and then I just got… bored.
Let’s talk about something else: your band has become pretty famous in the power metal scene. Are you satisfied of what you’ve achieved? Was it a big surprise?
T: I would never have expected it. When we were in the studio for the first album, the Facebook likes exploded! It was massive for me back then. Now I see we’re on tour and nine shows are already sold-out, out of twentyfour. It’s pretty huge, I wouldn’t have expected that. I hope that with the next album, that will hopefully be out at some point in the near future, we’ll probably make another step with the tours that we’ll have.
J: With this tour we proved a point. Before this tour it’d been like 4 years or something since our last headlining tour. I think out last headlining tour was with Twilight Force e whoever that Spear were…
T: Shear! It was 2014!
J: Shear, yes! And then it’s been 4 years of supporting slots and we always felt like a lot of people just came for us, and now we’ve done the tour and a lot of people have come. It’s pretty amazing.
What are the songs that you’re more proud of?
T: Well, “Universe On Fire” was one of the songs that I thought would be a bad idea to release as first song, because it’s very different…
J: I think it was me and you, like, we needed to pick a song to release first as a lyric video and there were Ben and Chris, I can’t remember on what side Paul was, probably he was neutral… I remember me and Tom like, messing each other probably going like “It’s gonna be a bad idea! It’s gonna ruin us!” Not that we thought it was a bad song, but I know what people are like. I see all the time when a band releases a new song you see comments like “It’s garbage! You’re not the same band anymore, I hate you!”
T: But I think that now it’s one of our most popular songs that we’ve released. Or at least people seem to like it so much. Of couse there are still some traditional metal fans who say “Naaah”. But now I think that also live, when we play this song, it’s always party time. And for the new album I guess we’ll try to remake this feeling, to reproduce more party songs. I think that’s a thing we should do more.
Is there something about Gloryhammer that you would change, whatever it is?
T: Well the story itself will change, it will develop, it’s all connected as you know. It’s twentyone albums that we wanna release, and the third album will be the continuation.
So you will keep the same storyline, is that right?
T: We’ll keep the storyline and develop it. The characters may develop as well, they probably will…
J: Well, you were a different character in the second album.
T: Yes I am already a successor of myself in the second album, the hootsman became “The Hollywood Hootsman” and he’s the king of California, Paul died (and became a mole guy!). There’s an idea for the third album, but we can’t tell anything yes.
So you’re already working on something new?
T: Yes, we’re gonna work on it very hard.
Who’s the main composer of the music and the lyrics?
J: Well you write quite a lot of lyrics, no?
B: But I think it’s mostly Chris, with everyone else participating.
J: We kinda give Chris things, and then he makes things, and then a song happens!
T: Yes, that is the idea!
B: Yes, he makes most of the lyrics and I do all the extra parts.
T: He does all the orchestral stuff, hich is really important for us, and Chris is the main songwriter I’d say, but als he creates the storyline but of couse with influences from all the band members.
Well, we are now to the final question: is it hard for you to balance the tour life and the life at home?
T: For me, yes, it’s not easy. It’s a lot of organization, because I run my own office and I often have to work while on tour, sometimes, i always make calls and write emails and stuff. But it somehow works, and I hope I can continue like that because both things are very important for me, not only financially but als because I like it.
And what about you?
J: Me? I quit my job!
T: He always quits his job when we go on tour!
J: I work for a while when I get home… It’s just that I get pretty bored of just doing the same stupid shit so I am like “Oh no, we’re going on tour, BYE!!!”
Well that’s definitely funnier that working! Well I think we’re done, thanks again for the time that you gave me, I hope I didn’t disturb you too much and thet you’ll have fun tonight!