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Inför Sweden Rock 2015: Intervju med Eluveitie

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Med 27 dagar kvar till Sweden Rock Festival fortsätter vi med serien ”Inför Sweden Rock 2015”. Nästa band ut är Eluveitie. Rocknytts Lisa Willman fick chansen att växla några ord med bandets grundare och sångare Chrigel Glanzmann.

Schweiziska Eluveitie (ell-vej-ti) har bland annat kallats för grundarna av New Wave of Folk Metal med sin mix av ”göteborgssoundet” och keltisk folkmusik med tillhörande instrument. Bandet, vars namn betyder ”Jag är helvetier” på etruskiska, startades av Chrigel Glanzmann 2002 som ett studioprojekt. Den självbekostade EP:n Vên sålde dock slut inom ett halvår, och Glanzmann beslöt sig för att satsa på en mer bestående banduppsättning som gjorde det möjligt för bandet att spela live. Under 2004 turnerade de med bland annat Amon Amarth, Finntroll och Korpiklaani. Bandet tog sedan en paus i sina liveframträdanden för att spela in debutalbumet Spirit som släpptes 2006. Bandets popularitet växte snabbt, och de fick kontrakt med Nuclear Blast. Första albumet på nya skivbolaget blev Slania, som fick ett bra mottagande och ledde till listplaceringar både i hemlandet och i Tyskland.


2009 uppfylldes bandets dröm om att göra ett akustiskt album, och det fick namnet Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion. Bandets hurdygurdyspelande Anna Murphy tog nu över en del av sången från Glanzmann. Även detta album hamnade på topplistorna, precis som den betydligt hårdare Everything Remains…As It Never Was som kom året efter. Bandets olika stilistiska element slogs sedermera samman och resulterade i Helvetios 2012. Det senaste album Origins kom ut 2014 och gav bandets deras första listetta. Eluveities spelning på Sweden Rock Festival är deras enda i Sverige under 2015.

First of all, welcome back to Sweden! Do you enjoy playing here?
– Thank you! We can’t wait to finally come back! The last time we played in Sweden was about 2 years ago, in Gothenburg’s Scandinavium arena, as far as I remember. We had a great time and so did the audience. But to be honest – we’re basically just some kind of music junkies. To hold our instruments in our hands, stand on stage and play our songs means life to us. And in that sense: We love playing, no matter where. We play up to 200 shows a year on every continent of this planet and we can honestly say that we love every single one of them. So I couldn’t pick one as my favorite. But yeah, playing in Sweden has always been good. Personally I love Sweden anyway. I’ve even been there for holiday some years ago.

I agree. That show in Scandinavium was a really good one! You have played in Sweden, but this will be your debut at Sweden Rock Festival. What are your expectations? Will you be able to watch any shows yourselves?
I’m sure it will be great and we’ll have an awesome time together with our audience! Usually we don’t have that much time to see other bands, due to our tight concert schedule. But never say never. I haven’t checked the festivals line-up yet, though.

Your music is an interesting mixture of folk music and melodic death metal. Which bands have influenced you the most over the years?
– Thank you! I’m happy and really appreciate that you describe our music as mixture of folk music and death metal, for that’s exactly what it is (not just some “metal with folk influences” or whatever we often read about our music)! If it comes to Eluveitie, I couldn’t name a particular band, which acted as a model or so. When I formed Eluveitie I created my own thing. But of course each and every single one of us has his/her own favorite bands, of which some also influenced his/her own style of playing. For me personally, my all-time fave band would be The Bothy Band – a traditional Irish music group from the 70ties. Paddy Keenan (their Uilleann Pipe & Whistle player) is my hero and his incredible style of piping definitely influenced me as a musician. My second all-time fave band actually hails from Sweden! I’m a big Entombed fan.

Well, that makes two of us! Going back to the start now; when did your interest in pagan music and the Gaulish language begin? Is it difficult to find relevant texts for your songs?
– I wouldn’t call it “pagan music” per se. I mean, “pagan” is primarily a (originally judaeo/christian) term to describe “non-christian” (resp. “non-jewish”). In that sense, most metal music is probably pagan music. 😉 Anyway, when I formed Eluveitie 13 years ago I basically wanted to fulfill my longtime dream to combine, to really meld the two kinds of music that I personally love most and played since so many years; which would be death metal and traditional Celtic folk music. Apposite to that musical concept, it was clear to me from the start, that I’ll make Eluveitie a band fully focused on Celtic culture, also lyrically and conceptionally. What we do is actually “musical narration of history”. And so it just makes sense to also have some songs sung in Gaulish (original Celtic) language. The use of Gaulish is rather artistic work to me though – it’s more about giving the narration of history some “flesh and blood” and breath some life into it (besides celtologists and some linguists no-one’s gonna understand it anyway, haha). The Celtic culture has just been a personal passion of mine forever. Being a Swiss band, it’s also standing to reason to be focused on Celtic culture, of course. Eluveitie is maybe a little bit like “dealing with our own roots”.

And no, it’s not difficult. On our “Evocation” concept albums (acoustic) we use original Gaulish texts (= which have been written down 2000-3000 years ago). But mostly I write our Gaulish lyrics myself.

 

The band consists of 8 people, playing not only traditional metal instruments but also some that you normally don´t see very often. Can you tell us a bit more about the different members and the present setup?
– If it comes to the instrumentation we have the same line-up since the start. Besides the usual metal instruments we play: Fiddle (Nicole Ansperger), Hurdygurdy (Anna Murphy), Tin & Low Whistles, Uilleann Pipes, Gaita & other bagpipes (Matteo Sisti and myself) and Mandola, Harp & Bodhràn (myself). All the instruments we use are just totally common instruments traditional Celtic folk music.

What is it like touring with an 8 piece band? Is it hard to get everybody available, considering that some of you have your own projects?
– Honestly, I would say it’s not that different than touring with a 4 piece band. I mean, living together and sharing the little space of tour busses, functioning together and getting along with each other, working together on a professional level – these are things you’ll have to learn anyway as a touring band. No matter if you consist of 4 our 14 members.

If it comes to the availability, I think this is basically a matter of commitment. To all of us Eluveitie is our main priority. This is our passion. And we love to be on the road.

At Sweden Rock Festival you are scheduled at the same time as Ace Frehley. Here is your chance; why should we choose Eluveitie over Space-Ace?
– It may make me a low-brow, but all I know about Ace is that he once played with Kiss. I’ve never heard his music, so I can’t judge. Also I’ve never attended an Eluveitie show (in the audience) unfortunately. 😉 So I can only judge after what people say and magazines write about them – which would be that Eluveitie shows are very energetic and powerful. If that’s true, it’s maybe also why we’ve won the Swiss Music Award 2014 (the highest cultural music price in Switzerland) as ‘best live act’.

Besides that: What you get on an Eluveitie album is what you get on an Eluveitie show. Our music is like ‘certified organic’ – everything is hand-crafted. And so we come on stage with shitloads of partly historical folk instruments. And cross my heart – when’s the next chance you’ll see a head banging hurdygurdy player or Celtic harp, bagpipes, fiddles, etc. in a fucking metal show?

Any questions? (Smile)

No, I think that pretty much sums it up (Smile). Thank you once again for your participation. I am looking forward to seeing you again in June!
– I have to thank you for the interview – and thanks to all its readers for their interest in Eluveitie! We’re looking forward to rock out with you again! See you there!

Eluveitie spelar lördag 6 juni 16:00 – 17:15 på 4Sound Stage

Sweden Rock Festival äger rum i Sölvesborg och det är 3-6 juni som ska markeras i kalendern. Klara band är bl.a Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Toto, Slash, Ace Frehley, Backyard Babies, Five Finger Death Punch, The Darkness, Ghost, Airbourne, Opeth, Meshuggah, Extreme, Hammerfall, D-A-D, Children Of Bodom, Gojira, Dokken, Michael Monroe, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Molly Hatchet och Lucifer’s Friend.

Mer info och biljetter: www.swedenrock.com

 

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