Power Metal as a genre is a fickle mistress. Having two different camps there are varying levels of seriousness taken when you’re singing about wizards fighting dragons. Taking the more tongue in cheek aspect of Power Metal and well and truly running with it, Gloryhammer are no doubt onto something. As we hand you back over to the hazy summer memories, now but a long forgotten memory in the cold times of winter we look back to the absolute gentleman that were Paul Templing and Ben Turk as they talk us through the Gloryhammer ethos and their allegiance to the Power Metal genre.
If you fancy listening to our chat you can check out the unedited Soundcloud file otherwise for an audio transcript check below!
I’m here with the two dudes from Gloryhammer! How are you?
Paul : Good! Enjoying the sunshine!
Not really something that you hear from England a lot is it?
Paul : No its weird, I think something went wrong! Somebody has reprogrammed the weather computer wrong and its ended up being sunny.
I think its payback for Download.
Paul : We did quite a few festivals this summer and to be honest.
Ben : We actually got rained off stage, literally in Slovenia. Our equipment literally got flooded and broke. We got three and a half songs in and got rounded off stage while they covered the power stuff. It was in the mountains, there’s nothing really much you can do if the weather changes.
Paul : When it rains up there it really rains.
Ben : It was raining horizontally, the stage was covered.
Paul : The rain was coming in and he was getting wet, about five metres back.
Ben : I was wet! The drums were getting wet, to give you an idea.
Christ! What was it like playing Bloodstock main stage?
Ben : Personally I have always wanted to play Bloodstock. Well me and Paul, our old band, we played here in 2008 on the unsigned stage. Back then this was a big thing and we thought “One day I want to play up there” and it was nice! Actually have a crowd at 11:45 in the morning!
Paul : That was the main thing that impressed me. How many people actually got up.
Ben : We almost, I was impressed that we got up! They were all drinking no doubt so we were happy!
Paul : Last night I was considering, “Oh I shouldn’t have another beer, because I’ve got to get up early!” but I guess everyone else at the festival is going to be like *makes drinking noise*.
Ben : The weather worked in our favour. If it rained it would have been dead.
Have you guys been to Bloodstock as punters before?
Ben : Oh plenty of times!
Paul : It was actually my first festival that I attended when it was still in Derby Assembly rooms, when I was sixteen years old. I saw Children of Bodom and Sonata Arctica and it was amazing. Back in the day!
So what have you guys been doing from the beginning of the year up until now, roughly?
Paul : Lots of festivals!
Ben : The Blind Guardian tour…
Paul : Oh of course!
Ben : Blind Guardian on the UK leg of their European tour. We played the Forum, Scotland and Manchester so that was interesting. Then we did festivals.
Paul : We played a festival on top of a mountain in March!
Ben : In March, yeah that was the first festival we did. We played 1500 metres above sea level, it was very cold. It was also very wet. It was Full Metal Mountain. It was the first one they’ve done and maybe there were a few teething problems. Practicalities about playing on a mountain.
Paul : It was the first festival I have ever been to where we didn’t need a smoke machine because we were literally playing in a cloud. You couldn’t see anything more than 20 metres that way.
Ben : The whole audience was in Ski gear and stuff.
Paul : Everyone was a lot more comfortable than we were. To watch us you had to either take a ski lift there or ski down from another point further up. People would be there in their normal ski gear, I would be there in my normal costume, trying to play. When its so cold, your vocal chords constrict, your muscles tense up. Your fingers on the guitar really hurt. I didn’t expect to have to actually walk through snow to get to the stage.
Ben : But that’s what makes festivals memorable! Get some crazy locations.
Paul : Its the stuff that doesn’t go right that you don’t expect that makes it.
Ben : If everything goes normal, it would probably be boring! Play the show, drink a beer. Keep surprises.
What made you decide to have the costumes?
Paul : That was the main idea from the start wasn’t it?
Ben : I think from the very beginning, Chris probably said “We should have costumes!” I don’t think anyone’s ever really done that. Having individual costumes for each individual person. Everyone’s got a colour, everyone’s got a look that is identifiable. Rather than a unified band image, I quite like that. I think its just a good way to stand out! It seems an obvious thing to do if you’re a Power Metal band. You make the costumes, the whole suspension of disbelief aspect as big as possible. Do the most ridiculous, fantastic outlandish thing that you possibly can. If you just turn up and you’ve got a shirt and jeans, I don’t think that anyone is going to go mad.
Paul : The costumes should be making people say “I can’t believe that they are actually doing this.”
Ben : I guess with the videos and everything, I can’t believe somebody did this! I can’t believe somebody would dare do this because its so ridiculous.
Paul : Have the sheer nerve to do it.
Ben : We have to try and out do ourselves. Which is good!
Paul : It gives people license to enjoy it! They’re fully aware of how silly it is.
Ben : That can be a problem. Power Metal, if you don’t present it in the right way, everyone’s got to been bought into the whole, I’m listening to a band playing songs about dragons and that’s fine but for us its ok to laugh at it, that’s allowed. If you’re laughing at it you might end up getting into it. I know there are some bands, even Slayer, I remember the first time I heard “Angel of Death” I thought this is the funniest thing I have ever heard. After a while I was listening to it because I liked the song. I got into it on another level, I still found it kind of ridiculous but its cool!
I remember the first time I heard “Angel of Death” I said to my mate before his scream came in. “Imagine if he did this really high pitched and then just heard waaaah” It was hilarious!
Ben : Craziest thing ever.
How did the costumes start out like? Were they always a grandiose or was it like egg cartons and stuff like that?
Paul : I dunno, they were pretty naff to start with.
Ben : They’re pretty naff now to be honest!
Paul : Yeah to be honest they are. The wizard costume that Chris wears you can just buy from your local fancy dress shop. The original he did actually buy from a fancy dress shop.
Ben : Which is good because you can buy your own Gloryhammer costume! I saw another Power Metal band where their bass player had that costume as well so its very, very unimaginative. The rest of it was assembled by parts…
Paul : I think for album two, we tried a little bit harder with costumes.
Ben : Well you’re a hologram! That’s pretty impressive.
Paul : There’s not enough CGI to make me transparent in real life.
Ben : Replace you with a hologram. It could work with Dio.
Paul : That’s good point actually! You could record me playing once and then just have that.
Ben : That’s what we do already! Your guitar is switched off, did you not know?
Paul : Oh shit!
It sounds like you guys are quite big fans of concepts, have you got any particular concept albums that are your favourite?
Ben : That’s an interesting question!
Paul : There’s a band called Bal Sagoth, they’ve got a few excellent albums. There’s Battle Magic, that’s a really good album all of their albums have different, really grandiose concepts. Its kind of where we get the whole silly narrative of actually having a narrator in a deep voice.
Ben : Well and Rhapsody as well!
Paul : Of course and Rhapsody as well.
Ben : There’s a Swedish band called Dragonland who did an album called Under The Great Banner which I quite like. It hangs together quite nicely as a concept.
Paul : If you’re doing a concept, you’ve got to kind of commit to the concept. A lot of bands that sort of dip into it but then the story doesn’t make much sense but we really plan it all out so that its a narrative.
Ben : We’ve all got the costumes for the characters for the story so its all very joined up. Very linked in together.
So what about plans after Bloodstock then?
Paul : We’ve got a couple more festivals to do.
Paul : We’ve got a couple of shows in America.
Ben : We’re playing Hollywood! Which will be intersesting, if our visas get through to them.
Paul : Then what?
Ben : We’re playing Hamburg, I think that its quietening down for the rest of the year and then who knows!
Paul : We need to maybe do a tour somewhere next year.
Ben : On the moon maybe?
Paul : I could do the moon…
Ben : I’ve heard good things! Well I mean there’s not much competition.
Paul : Metallica have already played Antarctica so we have to one up them.
Ben : Exactly if we don’t get there before Iron Maiden I think we should do the moon.
He would probably fly them to the moon.
Ben : To be honest I could imagine Iron Maiden, I remember actually somebody commented on that video for Metallica in Antarctica. My favourite comment on a YouTube video of them doing that was somebody saying, next Iron Maiden should be the first band to play the moon and I thought yeah, Iron Maiden are the band I can most imagine playing on the moon. I’m sure people have done underwater gigs. Its probably quite difficult.
To finish up, you can either answer this together or individually but what has been something that kind of grabbed your attention in the last six months.
Paul : Like new albums?
Any albums really!
Paul : I don’t really know, I’ve been regressing back into cheesy eighties pop so I’ve been listening to a lot of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel. What else have I been listening to… I don’t know, I’ve got a whole playlist that is on repeat at the moment of the most cheesy eighties pop you can imagine.
Is A-Ha on there?
Paul : A-Ha is not on there!
Ben : What’s it called?
Paul : Its called White Guy Classics. Everything is very straightforward. Straight eighths, something that you can enjoy with a stiff gin.
What about you?
Ben : Its a really hard question actually because I tend not to listen to albums much at the moment. I mostly just look up things on YouTube. I most listen to all kind of weird stuff like Renaissance Choral music and twentieth century Classical music and then some EDM stuff. There’s a guy called Zylon who makes really cool ambient, Dub steppy sort of stuff there also Seven Lions. He was a Metal guy but then ended up doing EDM. A lot of different sounds, different possibilities.
Have you heard of The Algorithm?
Ben : I don’t think so?
Check that out! Its sort of Electronic music but its more polyrhthmic.
Ben : I like that kind of hybrid stuff, Babymetal is quite cool, I haven’t listened to the album. I like, not the gimmick so much but just the lets put two completely different things together that shouldn’t work and it actually works. Which I think is amazing!