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22nd September 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: I’ve read you state in a recent interview that you’ve consciously decided to keep Theatre of Tragedy a more low-key, laid-back band these days rather than striving for huge success anymore. Has that emphasised the fun element of being in a band again in that there’s less pressure to achieve mass popularity.
HEIN FRODE HANSEN: We’re doing this because we want, not because we have to. That’s our main purpose. We don’t need to go out on tour; we don’t need to make another record, but we want to. I think that makes it more fun, you know. It’s always a really painful process to make a record with Theatre. There are six people in the band, and everybody wants to be the boss! Obviously that takes a lot of time, but you’re equally proud when you’re done with the record. We’re actually finished with another record; we’re done; it’s finished; it’s here; it’s recorded; it’s printed. I think it adds a bit more to the achievement, not to spew out one record each year but, actually, we work for it. But it’s completely on purpose to keep it a bit more low profile because we’re six people and we don’t live off the band anymore. We need to get time to have our families and stuff like that as well, and the older you get the more family you have, and the more tied up you are in everyday things. That’s just the way it is. To get all the schedules together to rehearse and that stuff, it takes a lot more time. So it gets a bit more complicated but, then again, when we meet each other we’re the best of friends, and we usually end up having a big party instead of rehearsing! [laughs]
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(Hein Frode Hansen on hoping for a UK date during Theatre of Tragedy's planned European tour in March 2010)
"I hope that it comes through because, as I said, it’s a good excuse to come to London and go to a pub and have a pint!"
Theatre of Tragedy - uncredited promo shot, 2009
Photograph supplied by, and used with permission from, Mike Exley at M.E.P.R.
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Theatre of Tragedy Website:
Official Theatre of Tragedy MySpace:
Theatre of Tragedy (1995)
Velvet Darkness They Fear (1996)
AFM Records Website:
Thanks to Mike Exley at M.E.P.R. for arranging the interview.
Aégis (1998)
Musique (2000)
Assembly (2002)
Storm (2006)
Forever is the World (2009)
Closure: Live (2001)
MD: A good way to be! Hypothetically though, if the new album really took off and sold two hundred thousand copies, would Theatre of Tragedy be prepared to up a gear to be ready for longer touring schedules, or would you be adamant and stick to your low-key plan and not bother to capitalise on that kind of thing?….if it were to happen…a very hypothetical question!
HH: It is a hypothetical question, but you’re not the first one to ask it! To be honest, we haven’t really discussed it. Obviously, if we got offered a huge tour…
MD: Like Nightwish!
HH: Yeah, even Nightwish would be fun for us to do. I think we’d probably consider it, but we’d need to get all the schedules together. But, obviously, if things took completely off and there’s half a million records sold, obviously we’re not gonna be a bunch of idiots, saying “oh no, I want to prioritise my everyday job”. We’re probably not going to do that. We’re not twenty years old any longer. We’re not that hungry and that obsessed by touring, and obsessed by making it big anymore. We’re just happy to be around, you know. It’s been sixteen years, and that’s quite a long time.
MD: I think there’s a lot of integrity in that mindset, so it’s nice to actually hear a band say that.
HH: [laughs]
MD: I checked out your profile on the band’s website when I was researching this interview, and it states you’re into ‘Black Books’ and ‘Spaced’…
HH: Oh yeah…[laughs]
MD: Is British comedy quite common on Norwegian TV?
HH: Actually, ‘Black Books’ and ‘Spaced’ I bought when I was visiting some friends in Cambridge. I actually have a great fondness for Cambridge. I’ve been there quite a lot actually. I’m not sure how many times, but it’s probably six or seven times. And I don’t know, it’s something about British humour and Norwegians. We just tend to really enjoy it. The same goes for ‘Monty Python’, and ‘Father Ted’ and…so many pretty good shows. I mean, ‘Black Books’…we keep calling our singer Raymond, he’s completely like that long haired guy…
MD: Bill Bailey.
HH: Yeah, we don’t call him Bill Bailey, but the character…
MD: Manny.
HH: Yeah, we call him Manny!
MD: In what way is he like that out of interest?
HH: He has the hair, and he mumbles a lot! [laughs]
MD: And Bill Bailey was in ‘Spaced’, of course, as well.
HH: Yeah, there’s a lot of the same actors. I mean, as I said, it’s something about the UK and humour that’s always been fascinated by us Norwegians, and not in a raving lunatic, Viking kind of way! [laughs]
MD: I also read you like cheesy, gory horror movies too…
HH: Oh jeez, yeah!
MD: What’s the last best horror movie you saw?
HH: It was a Norwegian movie actually; a Norwegian zombie movie called ‘Dead Snow’ and it’s hilarious.
MD: I’ve heard of that. It’s about Nazi zombies, is that right?
HH: Yeah. It’s hilarious from start to finish.
MD: I’ve seen a trailer and it looks pretty crazy!
HH: Yeah, it’s one of those films that gives you that good ‘Evil Dead’ kind of feeling. It’s all completely off the wall, but still it’s so fun. Apart from that, I’ve seen a lot of bad horror movies lately. One Friday night recently, when my girlfriend was out, I was trying to cover some horror movies because she’s not a huge horror movie fan, so I tried to cover as many horror movies as I could that night! I actually ended up watching not one single one finished because they’re all crap! I was like, oh my god, is this the best horror can do nowadays?! What happened to stuff like ‘Re-animator’ and ‘Evil Dead’?
MD: Ah yeah, a classic era of horror.
HH: I saw a Sam Raimi film recently though, ‘Drag Me To Hell’, that was pretty good.
MD: Yeah, I wanted to go and see that, but didn’t make it in the end.
HH: It’s recommendable!
MD: Was Bruce Campbell in that one? He seems to crop up with a cameo in just about every Sam Raimi movie.
HH: I think he was there actually. I’ve just read the autobiography of Bruce Campbell recently as well.
MD: ‘If Chins Could Kill’, that’s a great book.
HH: It is, yeah it is [laughs]
MD: Finally, what lies ahead for Theatre of Tragedy with the new laid-back approach to the band? Is there going to be any touring?
HH: Actually, I just talked about that with our guitar player yesterday, and I think we need to get off our asses and have not such a laid-back approach for the next few months, because we’re preparing for a tour in March; we’re gonna do a short European tour. So we need to start rehearsing for that. That’s pretty much it! We need to decide which songs to play and that’s always interesting with six people in the band, and especially when you have seven records out! You know, you suddenly have about seventy songs to choose from. It was easier in the early days when we had one record and eight vocal tracks on there, and pretty much played those songs! [laughs]
MD: Twice?!
HH: When we actually did our first show, we had to play one song twice because we didn’t have enough songs…which is quite embarrassing! [laughs]
MD: Will there be any UK dates in the European tour?
HH: There is plans for a London date in the middle of March sometime, yeah. Most definitely. I hope that it comes through because, as I said, it’s a good excuse to come to London and go to a pub and have a pint!
MD: Yeah, and try to visit Cambridge when you’re over here!
HH: Most definitely! I’ve been there several times over the past fifteen years.
MD: It’s a very nice city.
HH: It is.
MD: Right, it’s been great speaking to you.
HH: Yeah, the same, the same.
MD: I hope you have really good luck with the new album, and if you do come over to the UK, then hopefully catch you on tour.
HH: You do that, and make sure to tell Mike and get a backstage pass or a guest list place or something.
MD: Definitely, yeah. Hopefully catch you soon then.
HH: Okay, so I’ll hopefully see you in March.