Induction – Spreading the FireThursday, 1st December 2022
It’s helpful to have any leg up when entering the metal scene these days. For Induction, this power/symphonic metal act possesses guitarist Tim Hansen within its ranks – the son of legendary Helloween/Gamma Ray musician Kai Hansen. Establishing themselves with a self-titled album in 2019, they’ve revamped their lineup and come back all guns blazing for Born from Fire. Versatility on the performance and songwriting front makes this record a standout – melodic, dynamic, traversing a host of styles from death to power, traditional, and symphonic landscapes, the band appears confident in satisfying wherever they wish to go song to song.
We reached out to Tim on Zoom who was very happy to provide insight into the new record deal with Atomic Fire, lineup changes, challenges in establishing themselves in the scene, what it’s like to have Kai Hansen as a father while putting your own stamp on things through Induction, thoughts on everyone needing therapy to make the world a better place, plus future plans including already getting to work on album three.
Dead Rhetoric: Born from Fire is the second Induction album – signing with Atomic Fire Records after releasing your self-titled debut album independently in 2019. Where do you see the development of the band stylistically from each record – and how did the songwriting/recording sessions go for this set of material, were there any surprises, obstacles, or challenges to overcome?
Tim Hansen: Yeah, for sure. Overall, the development compared to the first album – well, the first obvious change is now I’m the only songwriter. On the first album there was a lot of influence from Martin Beck and Peter Crowley our orchestra composer, whereas now I’m writing the songs with one exception, which was a collaboration between the bass player and myself. Otherwise, the rest of the songs are fully within my hands. The approach was also different. On the first record, we took the approach of finishing everything up before the vocals, including the orchestration. So the full instrumental sections were finished, putting us in an awkward situation because the most important element with the vocals, they were put on top of the songs. You can hear in certain sections of the first album it gets kind of busy, whereas now I took great care to include the vocals within the writing process. I think we have an amazing singer with Craig Cairns, we wanted to make sure that he really has the space to shine on this record. I believe that anyone who has been following him as a singer for a bit longer will know or realize on this album it’s going to be the best that you’ve ever heard him, he pushed it to the limit. Took every last drop of magic in the studio, and made it come to life.
Dead Rhetoric: How did you gain the interest from Atomic Fire? I know they have a lot of familiar faces who previously worked at Nuclear Blast that started this new label, are you happy to be on this upstart?
Hansen: Great question. Originally, I was dealing with the idea of going to Nuclear Blast, that’s the obvious reason. It’s an A level label to me for metal. When I was asking about it, they told me to wait a little bit, they would be in touch. Then I got the news about the new label Atomic Fire. I knew that was the one. I know what can happen when you go to a massive label, you are still small. It can happen quickly that you could go under. That was one of the worries I had about Nuclear Blast. I know they would have taken care of us, obviously. The start of Atomic Fire, I felt that was where we should be. I was dealing with Markus the founder, I sent some of the references of what we’ve done. They liked the fact that we had an album already released, a little bit of a track record. Then what took it home is I sent them some of the new songs, they were extremely impressed. We started a deal, and we are here. I couldn’t be happier. Atomic Fire for me is the best label you could have for a metal band. At least for us with Induction, for a band our size.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider some of the essential qualities that have to be a part of Induction when it comes to the songs and performances, which help you especially stand out against the sea of other bands developing a symphonic power metal sound?
Hansen: That’s an interesting question. One of the big selling points we have with Induction is that the way I picture the music always, is on the big stage. When you listen to it, the music really represents this stadium feel. I could never see it in small clubs, that’s the vibe I get. As in qualities what’s really nice with our music is that we have a full movie orchestration, it covers a lot of different elements. Every song that we have, it’s not copying ourselves. There’s always something to discover and it’s very diverse, without being too confusing or losing a direction of sound. This is a very hard question to be honest – because it’s like you are selling yourself, tell me why you are so special. Man, I don’t know – people should just listen, and if they like it, they like it.
I am not planning to reinvent the wheel, and I am not. I believe I make really good music, and I believe that many people will enjoy it if they give it a chance.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve had some significant lineup changes between the records – what circumstances took place behind these shifts, and do you believe that these musicians share your vision, work ethic, and goals you wish to achieve now for the band?
Hansen: After the first album and the tour that we played, we sat down and thought about where we wanted to go, what are the goals or vision for Induction. As it turned out in that talk, the demand and the attention that Induction required and still requires with time, just couldn’t be met by everyone. We were thinking of what to do, we had to make the tough call and go our own ways. On the other hand, that enabled me to go out during the COVID pandemic which, it sucks that it happened, but it was the perfect timeframe for us because I was able to take a lot of time and care to find the perfect people to support the goal and meet those requirements.
With the new lineup we have just the right people to get everything started, which is great. Lineup changes can always change things, no one likes having them. People shouldn’t forget that the bands, they want to be stable. Sometimes it’s better for the band to go a different way.
Dead Rhetoric: Did you know right away which songs would be perfect to release as singles/videos for the record? And how do you feel about the visual medium when it comes to promotion for the band – do you believe this tool aids the reach of the band through all the social media platforms available?
Hansen: I didn’t know right way which songs would be great to release. It turned out in the process. The reason why we chose “Sacrifice” as the first release, was logistically, the song was already done. We used it during the auditioning of the different singers as a test to see how the singers would do this, how it would be. We sent it to Craig, and he wrote the early version of how “Sacrifice” is today with the vocals. We then started working it out together, from this first draft. That’s why we chose it as the first single, it’s a great segue from the first album into the second. It being a little more progressive like the first album but having some newer elements into it as well.
As maybe you noticed, we’ve released three singles now and for each of these singles there has been at least two videos. I’m a big fan of social media, I believe it’s important in connecting with the audience and reaching out to people. I love nothing more than being in touch with the fans, seeing their reactions to things. One thing we did with “Sacrifice”, some of our biggest supporters we did a private listening session a few days before, hung out with the band and them and connected. I really believe in the value of music videos and this kind of contact, people they want more. If you can deliver good looking, quality content, I believe it pays back.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the major differences between Induction in the studio versus on stage? Do you have a preference for one versus the other – or enjoy both equally for different reasons?
Hansen: Honestly, it’s hard for me to answer because now with the new lineup, we’ve never played out live, so it feels like a big experiment on this upcoming tour that we will play when the album is released. Live, it’s going to be more fun than being in the studio. The studio is incredibly fun too, but in the end, it comes down to connecting with the people – and you only get that live. Practicing the songs and playing them is a totally different thing than playing the songs in the studio. The songs are tough to play as well, it’s a super challenge to have things as tight and fun as can be. Right now, we are hoping to do the best show that we can.
Dead Rhetoric: Being the son of Kai Hansen, do you believe this aspect puts added pressure or expectations on who you are as a guitarist/musician because of his accomplishments and presence within the metal scene? Has he given you any special words of wisdom or advice that you’ve been able to apply so far through Induction?
Hansen: Well, pressure not at all. People ask me this question (a lot), as if I am carrying the torch for power metal. Yeah, that’s awesome, it’s cool that you think like that – but I don’t do this because people like it, I do the music because I want to, and I feel like it. It has nothing to do with me trying to fill some spot. It’s me doing me. That’s why I believe it’s such a great thing. The way I see it, I’m incredibly privileged to have a father like him. I believe of course that subconsciously it’s a reason why I do what I do. In the end, people are more inclined to give me a chance to see what I am doing.
If I do bad music, people might give it a listen, but they aren’t going to stay. Hopefully they will stay because they will like it. I embrace the fact that I have this advantage in a way, but I’m not trying to exploit it or be known as the son of Kai Hansen. Quite frankly, it’s my own thing I’m doing and building it on my own. My father gives me his two cents when he can, and usually he doesn’t (laughs). Usually I don’t even want it, I want to do my own thing.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider three of the most important albums in the metal realm that helped shape your outlook, playing, or songwriting philosophy – and what has been the best concert experience that you’ve had in your life, purely as a fan in the audience – plus what made that so special to you?
Hansen: Dude, you are asking the hard questions! Hmm… for me it’s hard to say which are the most defining albums when it comes to metal. For me personally, one of the very early ones that got me excited was Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East. People jokingly say unleashed in the studio; I don’t know how much is true on that. It shaped my early idea of heavy metal. Beyond that, Children of Bodom has been a big inspiration for me. It’s hard for me to name a particular album. As a whole they have been great. A third… it’s hard to tell.
I really enjoyed because they had such a cool impression on stage, The Contortionist, a prog rock/jazz/heavy music. The way they play live, it’s so mesmerizing. It’s totally different, very trance and psychedelic almost. It blew me away. Other than that, I saw Priest live, Helloween live quite a few times. It’s hard to choose one, it’s always the case.
Dead Rhetoric: Being a younger, up and coming band, what do you consider some of the biggest challenges that you face in order to establish yourselves and build a bigger, stronger following?
Hansen: The biggest challenge is financial, with the cards on the table. Especially now, after COVID, everything got extremely expensive. The music business suffered under this. And this is actually what Born from Fire is actually about. Artists and people coming back from hardships and the lockdown with more power and inspiration than ever before. We are trying to build it in a way that is sustainable. I want to do this for real, but I have to make sure I am able to do it in a way that I’m able to do it at all, you know? That’s a really big challenge. If money weren’t an issue, most of my stress and worries about issues would be far, far smaller.
The rest, I have an idea of what has to be done. The good music is there. I have ideas for promotion, involvement with the people. It’s just the challenge of, how much will it cost?
Dead Rhetoric: What would surprise us to learn about Tim the person away from your work as a musician? Do you have any special hobbies, passions, or interests you like to pursue outside of music that are inspirational for different reasons?
Hansen: Yeah, funny that you are asking. Myself as a person, I’m incredibly boring (laughs). Music is 95% of my life. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t go out so much. The only other real activity that I do is climbing, free climbing. I love it a lot with friends, going up walls and figuring out routes. This is fun to me, and something I really cherish. I’m very much focused on Induction and my work. Social contacts come short for me. Nonetheless, I enjoy being with people – it just happens rarely because I prefer to be working on something.
Dead Rhetoric: As a guitarist, what do you consider some of your strengths as a player – and where do you continue to put more time, effort, and energy into as far as improvement?
Hansen: Technically I am very advanced, and I also feel my feel is very good. Where I need to improve is my consistency. I play something right the very first time I play it. I’ve been struggling with and putting more time into the live scenario – I have only one shot. It’s only one chance you get, and I still have to work on that more. There are so many things that I want to and need to work on. I’m quite a perfectionist, so I guess I will never be happy. I’m continuously challenging myself with new things that I am learning, and that’s very nice.
Dead Rhetoric: What worries or concerns do you have about the world that we live in today? Where do you think people of your age group/ generation should put more focus on to improve the state of the world?
Hansen: I think I’m sad about the fact that, everyone is fucked, you know? There are too many problems, and for some people, too many problems that don’t even matter. The fact that we are talking about so many things that are not really an issue, means we are doing very well. We are able to have problems that don’t matter, it’s a privilege. The state of the world obviously is bad. I like to look at a lot of the positive things, I’m a very positive person. What I would change about the world, everyone has to get therapy at some point. Just talk more about their mind and feelings, reflect. This is something that we lose a lot. You are always occupied with some activity, like your smartphone, reading something. When was the last time you were able to sit down, and do nothing? You don’t do that at all, anymore. We have to try to be more conscious of this, and I have to be more conscious of this.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the agenda for Induction over the next twelve months to support this release?
Hansen: For next year we are focusing on getting the album out, playing the tour with Serious Black. We want to book a lot of festivals for next year, we are looking at a lot of the bigger ones now. People in Europe will be seeing us there. Beyond that, we want to arrange one more support slot for a bigger tour. We want to do everything we can, it’s just a matter of finances. It has to be doable and feasible. Simple as that. Rest assured we will try to be everywhere we can.
There will be more singles released next year, and work on the third album has already started. We are pretty deep into that process as well.