Interview with Lord Tim
"When you think of Power Metal, you usually think of such continents as Europe or the U.S., but for 'Dungeon' we think of Australia, yes folks Australia. This country has some really good acts that still need to break out of their country and be heard by 100's of screaming metalheads around the world. This country has been the likes of Mortal Sin, Allegance, Black Steel, Taramis, and now Dungeon. Dungeon are a back that are not a new act, but a well established act that have 4 albums under their belt, and with the new album 'One Step Beyond' released through LMP Music in Germany the bands future is now looking more promising than ever before. This 4 piece act are a band well worth checking out, mixing melodic roots such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Queensyche, Helloween, Gamma Ray etc.. really does work well for the band. I spoke to guitarist and frontman Lord Tim about the history of the and and to talk about their new album. I'm also proud to be the first UK journalist to interview this awesome band, so thanx to LMP and Lord Tim. Here is what Tim had to say to the following and many more question. Before you formed 'Dungeon', what band were you in and what were they called?"
"Well Jason, Dungeon was the first serious band I put together. I had a few bedroom bands before that, but nothing special and we never did anything because they sucked!! Dungeon started just be accident when I was just 19yrs old."
Would I be right or wrong in saying that the line-up for the debut Dungeon release 'Demolition' was the same since Dungeon 1st started out?
"No we have had several different line-ups. We started with 4 guys and we lived where they filmed 'Mad Max' films, and that line-up broke 6 months after we started. We then changed about 3-4 times and then we ended up with Dale who stook around till the 'Resurrection' album. We recorded our first demo back in 94 called 'Changing Moods', which got us a deal in Japan for the 'Demolition' album. By that time the line-up had changed again. I think we had gone through have a dozen member up until the 'Demolition' release."
Was 'Dungeon' the first name that you came up with??
"(Laughing) Actually it was not and I have to say it is rather embarrassing, the first name was 'Dredd' after the Judge Dredd comic books, but we then realized that 'Anthrax' had taken the name. After that we changed it for a week to 'Rat Think', it was a stupid name, God knows why we choose it!! After a week or so the drummer at that time was into the dungeons and dragons thing and he suggested the name 'Dungeon'. I thought at that time it was a stupid name and we ended up doing a gig under the name of 'Dungeon' and after that it stook with us for 15yrs."
So the debut album 'Demolition' is actually just demos, right?
"Yes that's right!! We released it because at that time TDK Core were interested so much in our demo that they wanted to release it as it was, and we thought it was a really bad idea. So were along the line they managed to convince us to release it as a CD and we thought in the end it maybe a good idea. So, within 6 weeks of it's release in Japan we sold 6000 copies, which blow our minds away!!"
Who are you main influences within the band, what bands inspired you back then and now? Also would you say that your old influences combine well with the modern influences you have now?
"Well in the early day's we were inspired by by different bands as we all had different influences, but for me I would have to say that been the main song writer that I am influenced by Dokken, Leatherwolf, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Helloween. I think back in the day we were influenced by such bands as WASP, Twisted Sister, but in my heart of hearts I always wanted to form a more aggressive band but at that time when we started we were not into the heavier stuff. These days we are not scared to try anything new and when Stu joined the band he brought in the influences that I always wanted to do with Dungeon. We grew up listening too a lot of AOR and Hard Rock bands, and Thrash bands like Slayer, Metallica, Kreator, Over Kill. Now bands like melodic Death metal bands such as Soilwork, At The Gates, and we are not scared to try new things, there are no borders or bounders within this band. I would say we are now calling our band just a Heavy Metal band instead of been called a Power Metal band. I do think our old influences combine well with the modern influences. If you listen too the new album you can hear a lot of Dokken & Leatherwolf style harmonies, and you can also hear a lot of the melodic Death/ Thrash stuff such as Soilwork's, In Flames, and then again you can hear a lot of Progressive elements such as Queensryche, and also Blind Guardian as well.
Which album would you say is your official debut album, 'Demolition' or 'Resurrection'?
"Mmm, that is difficult to say really, if you speak to the Japanese, they would say it is the 'Demolition' album, but if you speak to Australian's they would say 'Resurrection'. Before all this started I was signed to BMG in Australia, and that is a big company, doing publishing & I was recording our 1st demo tape back in 92 in a studio called 'Nu-Town' which later went on to form a record company under the same name. I was in their 1 night and there was a techno artist called Jayne White doing a session who went on to form a band called 'E Adrenaline' who had some success with techno albums and they asked me to do some session guitar work for them. It was bizarre, but the royalist I was getting for doing this was unbelievable!! So when they signed to BMG they asked who the guy was playing guitar on the record. They told them it was Lord Tim and the label asked who the hell was 'Lord Tim', was he a idiot!! (Laughing). They asked me to send in some material that we had been doing and they liked it and signed us up on the spot!!"
So tell me a little bit about the 2nd album 'Resurrection', what was a good album, pity it has not been released yet over here, maybe LMP might release it!! Did that album do well for the band, been the 1st official studio album? Also which songs from the 'Resurrection' do you like and why?
"Yes it did pretty well, we had a extremely low budget and limit time to record the album. It's a good album but it had such a bad sounding album. Funny you should mention it been re-released, as we are re-recording it again and re-mastering it in May 2005. It was recorded just after we finished recording the new album, it we are very excited about it's re-release. The first version did well, it got us the exposure that we needed for this band and it got us some really good international supports with such bands as: Yngwie, Nevermore. I would have to say that I like the title track for this album and we love to play it live still too!! I also like 'Paradise', but I'm sick to death of it as we have recorded it 9 times, so if we play it again I'm gonna strangle somebody (laughing). I also like 'I am Death', because of the attitude to that song, it's good cheesy song hehe!! Live it fucking rips!! I think I like 'The Legend Of Huma' best."
The next album that came along for the band was 'Rise To Power', which was released only in Australia the 1st time around with a different cover and was then re-released on LMP Music with a different sleeve, why was that??
"Well we changed line-up again for this album (laughing), it was hard to carry at times as we did not have the media support over here and w had hardly any money and it started to take it's toll on the band. Dale had been in the band for 11yrs and in the end it really started to wear him down and it was like been in a marriage and after a while the relationship started to take effect. Other members also we not fixed strongly with the band and it started to show in their abilities when they were playing their instruments. So we did record the 'Rise To Power' album which came out in 2002 in Australia and it went ballistic & became the best selling traditional metal album of all time over here. We ended up sorting Doro, Destruction, Edguy as well as doing our own tours and playing with Mayhem, Opeth. LMP changed the packaging as they thought it would sell more copies to that of the Australian addition. I will let the cover speak for itself and I will say no more!!"
What songs from that album do you like and why? Any you don't like as well?
"Well I like 'Lost In The Light', because it is so over the top!! I also like 'Sanity's Fall', because it is a catchy song. There are so many songs on that album that I like. I'm very proud of that record. I would not say I dislike any of the songs, we had a limited budget so we could only record with what we had at that time."
This album also saw the departure of Dakk & Stevo, you don't seem to have much look with your rhythm section do you? Why did they leave? Also where did you find Pete & Grahame?
"Well after that album came out we did a lot of touring and played in Japan. We also released a CD called 'Rising Power' which was also a DVD called 'Under The Rising Sun'. (ED: Tell me more please about the DVD). Well 1st of all the 'Rising Power' was a Ltd CD which was compilation CD for the Japanese market, just to let them know who we were, because we were touring there in 2003. We filmed the show at a metal festival and we felt it was too good an opportunity not to release it as a DVD. That DVD is now released with the Ltd LMP Music CD of 'One Step Beyond'. Getting back to the question, Stvo & Dakk left because of the continuing touring started to take a toll on them. There were some personal issues as well which Stu and myself didn't like working with them anymore. We tolerated it for some time but we had to let them go in the end. After they left we ended up getting 2 guys from the band 'Infernal Leopard' to play our rhythm section. I'm still friends in a way with the Dakk & Stevo, but I wouldn't work with them again because I don't think it would work. When we see each other we buy each other drinks in bars, but on a professional level we can't work together. There great guys still!! Pete & Grahame, were in the band I just told you about and they were a melodic Death Metal band, and 1 of my favourite acts over here. So we played some shows and things turned out really well for the band. We felt also that some things didn't seem right so we did the tour and the album and parted ways whilst we were still friends. Actually Stevo played the bass on the 'One Step Beyond' album, but that is all. We are now looking for a new bass player and drummer right now."
Do you have anybody in mind as replacements?
"Well we now have replacements for the band, as we are touring Australia with Nightwish & Angra in a couple of week so we really have to find suitable replacements quickly that can do the job."
Moving on, you have recorded your own solo CD, please tell me more about this. I have heard soundbye's and they rock man!! Will it be released soon? Also what are the songs called?
"Well the production is very similar to 'Rise To Power', and I think the songs remind me of what we would of sounded like back in 93-94, which was more 80's Hard Rock/ metal style. It is old stuff that is very personal to me and everything on that album is special to me. The album is titled 'The Personal Journey' and it was released here in Australia on Metal Warriors and in Brazil on 'Hellion Records'. I am looking for international licenses outside of Australia and Brazil. The songs on the album are called: The Dreaming, Footsteps In The Sand, Freedom, The Traveler, Last Rites, Reflections, Journey Through Hell, One World, and a few more I cant remember.
I have to say this Tim and I really mean this, you are without doubt the best Australian singer I've so far, you really don't have a Australian sound to your vocals, more of a international feel. So who are your influences as a singer?
"Well thanx Jase, I recently was voted the best singer in Australian metal and Dungeon were also voted best live bands, so I'm really happy about that. I would have to say my vocal influences are Rob Halford, Geoff Tate, Bruce Dickenson, Don Dokken, Tony Martin, Joey Belladonna."
As this album is rather old, do you plan on releasing a new solo album, if so when? Any titles??
"Yes I do, the next album was actually going to be a concept album, but I don't want to sound cheesey, but everybody these days seems to be recording a concept album. I still want to record one, but I want to make sure it's 100% perfect before it goes out the door. I seem to be writing a lot of 80's metal stuff like Dokken, Harum Scarum, Firehouse and Leatherwolf."
OK Tim, lets talk about the new album 'One Step Beyond', why the title?
"Well a lot of things people don't know about this band is, when we record albums we come up with titles that reflect where we are or where we see our self's or Heavy Metal in general. The album 'Resurrection' came out when metal started to come back with such bands like Hammerfall. When we recorded 'A Rise To Power', the timing of that album was perfect and it did really well. So with the next album, the new one we wanted to take the album 'One Step Beyond'. We wrote the song and we didn't really think that the title for this song was going to be the title for the album. "
Would you say that the artwork for this album reflects within the title?
"Well actually no, we were planning on having the cover drawn and when we saw the finished artwork we were like 'Oh we see??' It was good for what is was but it certainly wasn't us. So, we were looking around and we found a site by a guy called Marc Sasso and we found this picture of a spooky asylum with a madman's face behind it. So we thought it could kind of relate to the thyme of the title track of the record. So we contacted him and asked if we could use the artwork and he agreed."
Could you talk me through the songs briefly, what are they about?
"Well 'The Power Within', was mainly a idea of Stu's and it's a no bullshit just play kind of a song. It's just straight in your face material and we thought about doing a orchestral type intro, but we decided not to as so many bands do that type of intro. So we wanted out album to kick ass from start to finish, and with the first song 'The Power Within' having a massive scream that kicks you in the nuts (laughing). It is a song which finds your inner strength from the heart and not to be influenced by any outside activities. 'Tarranno Del Mar', that means pirates of the sea in Spanish. This is another song Stu wrote the riffs for, which ended up been a total monster of a track!! It had a orchestra, a choir, and tons of multi lay guitar trax. 'One Step Beyond', is about the false and illusions that people see out there. Next is, 'Against The Wind', that is about depression. That is a personal song of mine, I have been through some tuff times in the past. 'The Art Of War', which is about a samurai that happened in ancient Japan, which is brutal and we play it live and the whole place goes into chaos!! Next is the semi ballad, 'The Hunger', it's about when you were young and you think you can do almost anything, like been a rock star, a rocket scientist and anything is possible when you're a kid. You have no pre-conceptions that you can't do anything until you get older and then you start to learn about reality's. So it kind of crushes your dreams and if you still have that innocence of a child and still believe that you can do these sort of things than maybe they may come true!! Next is 'Surface Tensions', that is a song about a guy who finally gives up and has had enough of everything, I guess there's people out there who feel the same from time to time when they have a bad day, you could say it is like the film 'Falling Down'. Next song is 'Under The Cross', that is about the rebellion on the Australian gold fields, when a munch of minors decided to fight the oppressive government of that day. They actually sworn allegiance to the southern cross and what they did changed the laws here in Australia. Next is 'Epilogue', which is just a guitar harmony and back in the 70's & 80's here in Australia they played the Australian Anthem when the TV stations would call it a day on every evening , which is the Australian National Anthem. So that guitar melody is actually the national anthem. So I thought it would be a cool idea to play it at the end of the album, similar to the TV stations closing down after each day had finished. We also have some bonus trax on the CD, they are 2 cover songs, the first is a song by Dokken called 'Til The Living End' and 'The Hero' by Queen."
I have noticed that you have recorded several cover songs in the past, songs by Queensryche, Iron Maiden, where can these CD's be bought?
"Well back in the day when we were looking for a studio for 'A Rise To Power', and we recorded 6 cover songs that we play live, they were 'Stand Or Fall' by Anthrax, 'Fast As A Shark' by Accept, 'Wasted Years' & 'Prowler', by Maiden, & 'Queen Of The Reich' by Queensryche. We recorded them at my new studio to see if my new equipment was up to scratch, which turned out to be just fine!! So these songs ended up on different releases. Some were used on 'Rising Power' and 'A Rise To Power'."
Moving on Tim, are you satisfied with the way LMP are promoting the band?
"Yes I am happy, I think there has been a few understandings when the 'A Rise To Power' came out, especially with the artwork for the album. The new album is doing great, they really are doing a great job for this release. I am hoping to have a really successful year with the band and with LMP. Our label in Australia and New Zeland is 'Metal Warriors' and there also doing a great job."
What sort of press reviews has the new album been getting so far?
"I believe it has been receiving overwhelming reviews so far from the media. We have been getting great reviews in Australia and Japan and also in Europe. I've not heard or seen anything about the press in the U.S.A., but I'm sure they will like it too!!"
So when will we expect to see the band touring this year? Do you also plan on playing any festivals in Europe, maybe WOA or 'B.Y.H'?
"We just played the biggest Australian metalfest, which went great!! We are also playing a festival in Brisbane, and we will also promote the album over here when we tour with Nightwish and Angra. We plan on doing a small tour over here and then we play Japan and also we will be coming to Europe this year!!"
What bands would you like to play with given the chance?
"Well I'd love to play with Doro again, also Maiden, Priest, there are so many acts out there."
Well Tim, thanx for taking your time out and for calling me, best wishes for the tour and the new album. Do you have anything to say to your fans reading this?
"Well it was a great pleasure speaking to you Jason, stay in touch. (ED: I will). We hope our fans like our new album, it is something that we are all very proud of, and we hope we can see our fans on the road very soon."
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