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A Dirty Dozen with KLAUS KÖNIG FOSSOR from THEM – October 2020

| 21 October 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “THEM’s debut concept album, Sweet Hollow, chronicles the bizarre journey of a man caught between unfortunate circumstance and unspeakable evil. Sweet Hollow was released by Empire Records (Belgium) on CD and limited edition vinyl in September 2016 and via all major online music outlets. In support of Sweet Hollow, THEM has performed throughout the USA and Canada in 2016 as direct support for Helloween and then as headliners in 2017 throughout numerous European countries including Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium and Austria. THEM released their follow up entitled Manor of the Se7en Gables on Steamhammer Records/SPV on October 26th, 2018 and toured through Europe in May 2019. The third album Return to Hemmersmoor will be out on October 30th, 2020.” We get Klaus to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

One thing the listener may not pick up on is that this latest album is a 3rd part of a story. Not a Trilogy but rather when all 3 albums are put together tells a single story. There are some hidden gems in the artwork but I won’t ruin what they are.  The music is always designed to be dynamic in nature but the heavy songs are designed to slam you in the chest while listening to them.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I started playing the trumpet at an early age. Despite the fact that I became a versatile trumpeter, my heart wasn’t fully into it. I loved music slowly being introduced to rock and then when I was around 13 was introduced to Iron Maiden. It was at that moment I knew my passion was Metal! Up the Irons! \m/

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind what is fully sucked me in. When I learned there was a different singer for Iron Maiden’s first two studio album I gravitated to those albums listening to them over and over again for months. The first two Maiden albums will always be special but my favs are Piece Of Mind, Number Of The Beast, and Powerslave. I would listen to all of these albums while I painted denim jackets with various Iron Maiden covers and renditions of their mascot Eddie. I would day dream of being in a metal band performing to large groups for people.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

As a vocalist, 5 influences of mine are: Billy Joel, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Original Metallica, and even Lenny Kravitz!

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Mike Wead from Mercyful Fate/King Diamond. I already had the pleasure of sharing the stage with him during my tribute days but that isn’t the reason why. Have we all forgot about his band Bible Black? I wasn’t crazy about the vocals but the music was stellar. I never thought Mike could write material that heavy. Boy was I wrong! Needless to say, I really enjoy singing over a heavy crunch! Nothing beats it!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Well, people compare our music to King Diamond constantly. In my opinion, it sounds nothing like King Diamond. It is heavier for sure. The labeling comes mainly from the high falsetto vocals that I spit out occasionally. I would describe our music as a cross between Slayer, Megadeth and King Diamond for people who have no idea but we have been compared to other bands such as Blind Guardian.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

When we toured the USA, I cooked but since most of the tours we performed were in Europe, either Ulle or Richie Cooks. MJ pulls out the guitar. Ulle and Richie are head bartenders as well! Heck Richie developed our own schnapps called the KK Spray!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

The time I met King Diamond thanks to my buddy Monte Conner. Monte brought me backstage to meet King at one of his shows in NYC supporting the Abigail tour when he resurfaced. Monte brought me over to King and said “Hi King. This is Troy who I have talked to you about before. Monte turned to me and said “Do it, DO IT!”. I then belted out a line from one of the most difficult notes to hit as King Diamond. I sang a line from “A Mansion in Darkness.” After I finished, King chuckled and said to me “Now try doing that every day”. The entire room filled with crew and the other members of the band then started to chuckle in acceptance of King’s remark. Too bad no one heard me reply “But I can… and do”. I then thanked King for being a master story teller and handed him several THEM songs on a CD taken from the album Sweet Hollow. I explained to King this was in no way disrespect as I am also a fan. He thanked me and put the cd in his bag. King has reached out on another occasion through our road manager stating “tell that copycat he isn’t half bad.” BUT… apparently King has no idea who THEM is when asked in interviews despite what I experienced.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Being a musician is not a job to me. It is a dream I get to live over and over again. My job pays my bills but my dream satisfies my soul!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I always wanted the interviewer to truly understand the concept of the albums and flow but it is very difficult because I know lyrics are not included. However for this time around a few interviewers surprised me and it appears they have done their homework! The answer is all 3 albums put together tell 1 story. Each album separated from one another have distinct endings. Each successor begins at the end of the last from a different perspective so the tale actually continues! The king diamond comparison questions get a little old but that will always be considering the name of the band, the roots of the band and the occasional falsettos. Just because we write a horror themed concept has no similarities plus the makeup is different. I also wear a facial prosthetic each show. That is not easy to perform in that!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

When I was in an up and coming thrash band in the late 80’s called Coldsteel, I wish there was something I could do to prevent the drummer from getting in his car 3 days before our demo “Dead By Dawn” was released. Dom Mincieli was struck by a drunk driver and died. He never enjoyed the success of that demo, I developed chronic laryngitis and it was a constant emotional struggle to continue back then.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Queen – A Night At The Opera. That record is sheer brilliance. I loved the vocal harmonies in Bohemian Rhapsody back in the early 80s. I would love to have just sat there and experienced the recording process for that album. That record is brilliant! Too bad Queen were heckled at some shows during that touring cycle. They were sheer brilliance!

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Meeting up with my band members in Germany, having some drinks and playing killer shows! Maybe one day we will be able to experience that all again! Be safe and be sure to get the new THEM album “Return To Hemmersmoor”




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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