Eluveitie Front Man Chrigel Talks New Album "Everything Remains As It Never Was"
Swiss metallers Eluveitie are the new kids on the folk metal block, but they've already made a big impact with releases such as "Slania" and their recent all-instrumental disc "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion." The band has now released a new Celtic themed death metal experience in the form of "Everything Remains As It Never Was." While the album keeps up the epic folk elements, it focuses more on the human tales behind the stories of legend.
Front man Christian "Chrigel" Glanzmann explained, "When you are dealing with history you get hard facts like this war started then and ended then, end of story. Stuff like that is very dry but I think you should always keep in mind that in the end its people like you and me who stand behind such historical incidents and write history. That is the strong focus of the lyrics." Chrigel recently spoke with me about the many different recording studios used for the album, their recent use of an electronic bagpipe for live shows, and his own surprising taste in music.
xFiruath: Let’s get started with a history of the band for anyone who isn’t familiar the folk metal outfit that is Eluveitie.
Chrigel: The band was founded eight years ago I think it was. It was more of a studio project but then our first self-financed release back in 2003 was received extremely well. We were offered a deal from a small Dutch record company. We signed and decided to go on as a real band. We started playing live and working on new albums. That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing since 2004, recording new albums and touring our asses off all over and having a great time doing it. In between we got a new record deal with Nuclear Blast records.
xFiruath: What made you guys want to go entirely acoustic on your last album “Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion?”
Chrigel: Doing something completely acoustic one day was an idea we’ve had for quite awhile already. It was something that kind of challenged us. We really wanted it try it out and last year we did. It was almost more like a project. It was like a special release we wanted to do.
xFiruath: Let’s talk about the new album “Everything Remains As It Never Was.” Where did you do the recordings?
Chrigel: We recorded in different studios. A couple of instruments and the vocals we recorded with Tommy Vetterli in Switzerland, which was our first time recording in Switzerland. He was with Coroner and Kreator and now he’s a producer and engineer and is doing a really good job at that. Fiddles we recorded at a small but good studio in Lichtenstein, which is a very small country. The bag pipes and stuff like that we recorded at my own little studio here. For mixing the album we went to Whales and then later on it was mastered in London.
xFiruath: You’ve got quite the multi-national album going there.
Chrigel: It’s always been like that. You just have to pick the studios that fit the best for what you want to do.
xFiruath: Who did you bring on this time as guest musicians?
Chrigel: Inviting guests for an album is something kind of cool we like. Almost every album so far has had a guest musician. We have Brandan Wade, who is an Irish uilleann pipe player, he’s a producer and we know him from the folk music scene. He’s playing on three tracks. Then we have actually quite a young girl who just finished some studies, she does the narration at the intro of the album, and she’s actually from Scotland. We also have guest vocalist Thebon from the Norwegian black metal band Keep of Kalessin.
xFiruath: There are some bands in the folk metal genre that are very focused on not using any sort of electronic reproduction of the traditional instruments. Do you guys stick to that traditional form or do you branch out for live shows with the keyboards and synthetic sounds?
Chrigel: We have modern style melodic death metal and really traditional, authentic Celtic folk music. It’s played on traditional instruments and its quite important and the main part of our sound. It’s just not the same otherwise. What we did lately though is we starting trying out playing with electronic bagpipes for live shows. It makes things a lot easier because you already have quite a lot of problems with the traditional bagpipes. It’s a great instrument but it’s a wooden instrument and the reed that produces the sound is very thin. These instruments just simply aren’t made to play these huge metal shows. They are extremely sensitive to temperature and humidity. If the crowd in front of you is moshing all the time it can be a problem. Traditional bagpipes will get terribly out of tune. About a year ago a German bagpipe company developed a new electronic bagpipe. We got an endorsement by them and were trying it out. The sound of course is not exactly as good as with a real bagpipe like what you’d hear on our albums, we only use real bagpipes for those, but the good thing is that it’s not just like a keyboard or something. It’s a real bagpipe so you have to play it the way you would normally. If you can’t play bagpipe, you couldn’t play this electronic bagpipe. That’s why we agreed to do that, but all the other instruments are the real traditional instruments.
xFiruath: What kind of lyrics will we hear on the new album?
Chrigel: Lyrically the album consists of a collection of stories from ancient Gallia. Historical narrations like for example individual destinies of historically important people or stories of Gaulish tribes and their wars. These are typical topics for our band. When I was writing the lyrics this time I tried to mainly focus on the human and emotional aspects behind such historical incidents. When you are dealing with history you get hard facts like “this war started then and ended then, end of story.” Stuff like that is very dry but I think you should always keep in mind that in the end its people like you and me who stand behind such historical incidents and write history. That is the strong focus of the lyrics.
xFiruath: You released a video for the new track “Thousandfold.” Tell me a bit about the recording of the video.
Chrigel: That was recorded in Poland actually. That was mainly because we were working with a Polish video company. It’s a young company but a very talented video company. We didn’t know them before but we saw some of their latest work like the “Ov Fire and the Void” Behemoth video clip. It caused a bit of controversy and we saw the ones like the latest Amon Amarth clip. We wanted to work with them because we think they are very talented.
xFiruath: What sort of music have you been spinning lately?
Chrigel: To be honest unfortunately I don’t have too much time to enjoy records that often. When I listen to music, which is seldom, I listen to mostly whatever is played on the radio. I liked the last Black Eyed Peas album a lot, which I guess isn’t very metal.
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