Producer focus: Tommy Hansen
Legendary Danish producer Tommy Hansen is most famous for his work with Helloween - and especially the band's two groundbreaking "Keeper of the Seven Keys"-albums. But there's a lot of more great and interesting metal and hard rock history in his catalogue for sure!
Like many great producers, Tommy Hansen is a musician. In fact, he has been in the music business for over 50 years! His main instrument is the organ and some of his early bands in Denmark were the cover band Jack & The Rippers and the progressive hard rock band The Old Man & the Sea.
Hansen's fascination for studio work came early. A quote from his studio website about when he walked into the recording studio for the sessions of The Old Man & the Sea in the early 70's: "I was hooked immediately!" Hansen started a studio in his home town Horsens in the middle of the 70's where he produced a lot of local artists in many genres for about a decade.
His first successful heavy metal production came with Pretty Maids's debut album "Red, Hot & Heavy" in 1984. This also gave him the chance to work abroad and his real breakthrough came with German power metal band Helloween. The two legendary "Keeper of the Seven Keys"-albums were both produced by Hansen and his namesake Tommy Newton. Those two albums from 1987 and 1988 were truly significant in establishing the power metal genre that grew popular in Europe in the mid 90's, with classic tracks like "Future World", "Eagle Fly Free" and the 13-minutes long title track.
On a side note, one of the other interesting albums Hansen produced in the 80's was Heavens Gate debut album "In Control" (1989). This was the band of later power metal super producer Sascha Paeth (Angra, Rhapsody of Fire, Kamelot, Epica, Edguy, Avantasia).
After the success with Helloween, Hansen built a new studio in his home town. In Jailhouse Studios he has recorded and produced hundreds of Danish and international bands and artists.
Hansen also continued to work with Helloween. He actually produced all of the great band's "comeback" albums from the 90's, when the band reclaimed their status as kings of power metal: "Master of the Rings" (1994), "Time of the Oath" (1996) and "Better Than Raw" (1998).
Many of Hansen's other productions have also been in the hard rock and metal department. The list of bands is long and impressive - and naturally Scandinavian bands dominate. Hansen produced albums for the famous Danish hard rock bands D.A.D. and Pretty Maids but also for progressive bands Beyond Twilight and Wuthering Heights, power metal band Iron Fire and thrash metal band Hatesphere.
He also produced several great Norwegian bands ranging from hard rock to progressive metal such as TNT, JORN, Pagan's Mind and Circus Maximus, as well as the Swedish progressive metal band Seventh Wonder. Outside of Scandinavia, Hansen worked with several power metal bands, like Heavenly from France, Skylark from Italy and Armored Dawn from Brazil.
Tommy Hansen keeps producing music in his studio in Denmark and we're very proud that he found the time to mix the power metal song from our metal history project:
Selected hard rock and metal discography (not bad from a man who's favorite band is The Beatles):
The Old Man & the Sea: "The Old Man & the Sea" (1972)
Pretty Maids: "Red, Hot and Heavy" (1984)
Helloween: "Keeper of the Seven Keys, part 1" (1987)
Helloween: "Keeper of the Seven Keys, part 2" (1988)
Heavens gate: "In Control" (1989)
Helloween: "Chameleon" (1993)
Helloween: "Master of the Rings" (1994)
Helloween: "Time of the Oath" (1996)
Pretty Maids: "Spooked" (1998)
Helloween: "Better then Raw" (1998)
Jorn: "Worldchanger" (2001)
Beyond Twilight: "The Devil's Hall of Fame" (2001)
Heavenly: "Sign of the Winner" (2001)
Pretty Maids: "Planet Panic" (2002)
Wuthering Heights: "To Travel for Evermore" (2002)
TNT: "My Religion" (2004)
Manticora: "8 Deadly Sins" (2004)
Pagan's Mind: "Infinity Divine" (re-release, 2004)
Circus Maximus: "The First Chapter" (2005)
Hatesphere: "The Sickness Within" (2005)
D.A.D.: "Scare Yourself" (2005)
TNT: "All the Way to the Sun" (2005)
JORN: "The Duke" (2006)
Seventh Wonder: "Waiting in the Wings" (2006)
Beyond Twilight: "For the Love of Art in the Making" (2006)
Skylark: "Divine Gates Part III: The Last Gate" (2007)
JORN: "Lonely Are the Brave" (2008)
TNT: "Atlantis" (2008)
Seventh Wonder: "Mercy Falls" (2008)
JORN: "Spirit Black" (2009)
Iron Fire: "To the Grave" (2009)
JORN: "Dio" (2010)
Manticora: "Safe" (2010)
TNT: "Engine" (2010)
Triosphere: "The Road Less Travelled" (2010)
JORN: "Bring Heavy Rock to the Land (2012)
JORN: "Traveller" (2013)
Armored Dawn: "Power of Warrior" (2016)
Savage Machine: "Abandon Earth" (2018)
TNT: "XIII" (2019)
Check out this playlist for some of Tommy Hansen's great work: