They named themselves after their home town of Königswinter. Kings Winter was originally formed as a side project by the married couple Jule and Tobias Dahs. At the time, they were still members of the German Melodic Death Metal band Leviathan, which has since changed its name to Living Abyss, in 2019. This was probably also when Jule and Tobias left the band. Kings Winter have since grown into a four-piece band. The band’s second album, “The Other Side Of Fear“, was released in January 2024. It’s time to ask the two masterminds about it.

MHF: Hi, I’m Rainer and I write for the Metalheads Forever Magazine. How are you doing?

Jule: Hello Rainer, first of all, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! We’re doing really well at the moment and we’re looking forward to finally drop our new album to the Metal community.

MHF: You have just over 1200 followers on Facebook. So you’re still more of a newcomer. Please introduce yourself briefly.

Tobias: That’s definitely true, because we haven’t been around that long with Kings Winter. Basically, the band has been around since 2018 and after Jule and I had already been active in other bands, we wanted to create a project in which we could live out our preference for more Classic Heavy Metal. Thanks to a lot of positive feedback from our first EP, the idea of taking Kings Winter much more seriously in the long term quickly emerged. We now have a full band line-up and will be hitting the stage in autumn.

MHF: What was the reason for founding Kings Winter in 2018?

Tobias: Ever since I set up a home studio in 2018, I’ve always wanted to work more on my own musical ideas with Jule, primarily focussing on clean vocals. When our drummer in Leviathan/Living Abyss was expecting his first child at the end of 2018 and we had to take a short break as planned, Jule and I suddenly had the time to realise exactly this idea and bring Kings Winter to life.

MHF: At that time, you were also still playing with Leviathan. The sound of Kings Winter is very different from Leviathan. Why did you decide to play Heavy Metal/Hard Rock?

Tobias: As I just mentioned, there wasn’t necessarily much room for this side of our musical preferences in Leviathan, because we were much more at home in Melodic Death Metal. But it was also a very conscious decision to put a bit more distance between the two bands with this musical direction, because we didn’t want Kings Winter to sound like an offshoot of Leviathan, but to have a clear and independent identity. On the new album in particular, our Melodic Death roots find their way back into the sound of Kings Winter, which is reflected above all in heavier tracks such as “Shadow Of The Cross” or “Sonic Thunderstorm”.

MHF: One year later you left Leviathan. Did you want to concentrate fully on your previous side project?

Jule: Kings Winter was actually not the primary reason for our split. It was much more the case that we had very different goals and ideas about how the band should continue with Leviathan. While Jule and I wanted to produce and record new music, this topic was lower on the list of priorities for the other members. At a certain point, we were simply so far apart in our goals that we decided to concentrate primarily on Kings Winter from then on.

MHF: Your first EP “Forging The Cataclysm” was also released in 2019. How did the recordings go back then?

Tobias: The recordings were actually still somewhat improvised back then. At that time, this project was still more of a vague idea, which is why I first just wrote and recorded songs. We then gradually added vocals and just saw where the journey would take us. When we finally had five songs together, we started thinking about a release for the first time. Back then, the recordings were anything but the classic process that you usually imagine or that you know from various “making of” documentaries of famous albums.

MHF: Your first album “Edge Of Existence” was then “a child of the corona pandemic”. So it was certainly an advantage that the recordings and production took place in a close family circle?

Tobias: This circumstance was of course helpful, but in general our way of working is not much different today. As we’re all quite busy with jobs, families and other bands, it’s still the case today that each member primarily records their parts at home and we then share the files with each other. In the end, everything comes together at my place and I assemble the various recordings into the finished song. Of course, the enforced “break” in our everyday lives created a lot of free space in which we were able to make much faster progress with the songwriting than is the case today, for example. From this perspective, “Edge Of Existence” would probably not have been written quite as quickly without corona.

MHF: Another year later, you released an EP with an acoustic session. What was the inspiration for “Sonic Silence – The Unplugged Sessions Vol. 1“?

Jule: “Sonic Silence” could actually be described as a child of the coronavirus pandemic, because the idea came about when we missed making music in the rehearsal room during the first lockdown. So we just grabbed an acoustic guitar and a microphone and recorded two songs live in the rehearsal room. While we were working on these new versions, we immediately came up with the first ideas of how we could do it even better with more instruments and in a few months, we created the five unplugged versions on the EP.

MHF: The addition “Vol 1” gives hope for a successor. Are you already planning another acoustic EP?

Tobias: There will definitely be a sequel. The topic came up during our first rehearsal with the full band line-up and some of the new members have also expressed interest in playing concerts in this unplugged style. However, there is no concrete time frame yet, because we don’t want to push the idea too far. But after the next regular long-player, it could well be that we’ll go back to unamplified instruments for a while.

MHF: The second album “The Other Side Of Fear” was the first time you didn’t just record as a duo. Did the way you recorded and produced the album change from its predecessor?

Tobias: There were indeed some changes. On the one hand, Christian of course contributed some solos, the bass and also a few growls. He recorded all his contributions himself in his home studio. His input was also particularly noticeable in the mixing, as he has years of experience and provided a lot of important suggestions when it comes to the bass sound, which is why “The Other Side Of Fear” is definitely Kings Winter’s best-sounding album. And apart from that, it was also super helpful to have another pair of ears with us in the form of Christian, whose feedback allowed us to refine many things.

MHF: Are you pleased with the result?

Jule: It sounds like the typical cliché, but “The Other Side Of Fear” is not only our best album to date in terms of sound, but musically the record is the closest to the vision we had for this band. We are very proud of the record and can’t wait to share it with you all.

MHF: How have the reactions been from fans and the press?

Tobias: Of course, it’s still very early days and the fans haven’t heard the full album yet, but the reactions to the two singles so far have been great. And the press response has also been extremely positive so far, which is why we hope that the record as a whole will be well received by our fans.

MHF: What musical differences are there between the two studio albums?

Tobias: I think the biggest difference is that with each release we dare to explore the heavier edges of our sound. Especially “Sonic Thunderstorm” and “Shadow Of The Cross” have a slight Melodic Death flavour and are much heavier than anything we’ve done before. At the same time, a track like “Destroyer Of Worlds” emphasises the epic side of our sound a bit more and is also our first real long track. All in all, we’ve managed to emphasise the strengths of our sound even better this time.

MHF: You are now a full band. How did you find your bandmates (Christian Schmitz and Hendrik Franke)?

Jule: The contact with Christian actually came about primarily through a SINERGY cover that we recorded with musician friends as a tribute to Alexi Laiho and published on YouTube. As the song has two solos, we really wanted to get another guitarist involved and as Tobias and Christian already knew each other through previous bands, he was the obvious choice. When it became clear that we were also looking for a guitarist for Kings Winter and Christian expressed an interest, the decision was quickly made, because you could already tell what a professional Christian is and how much fun it is to work with him when we were working on the cover song. We have known Hendrik for a long time because he was already in my former band Skadika and later also in Leviathan/Living Abyss. After initially trying to avoid too much overlap between the two bands, we soon realised that Hendrik was simply the right man for the job and so we brought him on board at the end of last year.

MHF: Will the four of you now be presenting your new album live? And also outside your federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia?

Tobias: That’s the plan. We’ve also found a drummer, who we hope to be able to officially announce soon, and from September we’ll go on stage as a quintet. Due to our family situation with our little daughter, we will limit ourselves to a few selected gigs for the time being, but of course we want to reach as many fans as possible outside North Rhine-Westphalia with our shows in the future.

MHF: I would like to thank you once again for this interview. Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans at the end?

Jule: Firstly, of course, we would like to thank you for the interview and for your support throughout our career! We would also like to thank the many fans that we can rely on for every release, who have supported us so diligently with their CD purchases and thus made it possible for us to turn Kings Winter from a former project into a real band. We hope that we will be able to meet as many of you as possible in person at one of our concerts soon!

Kings Winter are:

Tobias Dahs – Bass, Drum programming, Orchestration, Guitars
Jule Dahs – Vocals
Christian Schmitz – Guitar, Bass, Vocals (Growls)
Hendrik Franke – Bass


Forging the Cataclysm – EP 2019
Edge of Existence – Album 2021
Sonic Silence (The Unplugged Sessions Vol. 1) – EP 2022
The Other Side of Fear – Album 2024

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