Vên - EP (2003) and Vên - EP (2004)
Fear Dark Records (re-mastered) / (2008) Twilight Vertrieb (re-release)
Interview with: Chrigel Glanzmann
1. Tonight we are pleased to be speaking with the amazing band Eluveitie. Chrigel looking back to 2002/2003 Eluveitie was a mere studio project. What made you decide to move it to a full band?
Chrigel: I guess I'll have to put it the other way round – why only a studio project first. Actually I wanted to form a real band from the very beginning. But back then it was literally impossible to find musicians to form a band like this (I started trying almost 10 years before Eluveitie finally got founded), at least in Switzerland. Back then, in the mid-nineties this kind of music was not established at all. There was no „folk metal“ scene or anything like that. Even though there were some „exotic“ bands around that did something like folkloristic metal (such as Otyg, Skyclad or later Amorphis). If you were checking the scene for musicians to form a death metal band, it was easy. But as soon as you mentioned that you're planning to also involve fiddles, flutes, bagpipes, ect. people considered you a crazed weirdo or so, haha.
So yeah, I had several unsuccessful attempts to form a band like Eluveitie back then. After the turn of the millennium, when I was almost about to definitely give the idea up, I tried it as a mere studio project (that was kind of my last attempt). I thought it would be easier to find musicians this way, because none of the involved musicians would have any obligations (like they'd have in a real band). They could just come to the studio, record their shit and leave again. And lo and behold, it really worked out that way. Finally.
This is how our first release (the demo mcd called „Vên“) was produced: I wrote the songs for that release, recorded everything roughly at home, gave a CD to all the musicians I asked (so they could practise their lines at home) and told them, when to come to the studio. There was no band rehearsal or anything before the recording. The involved musicians didn't even know each others. The only time everybody met (for the first and for some also for the last time) was during the band foto shooting, haha.
But well, after that mcd was released (self-release and self-financed; I plunged myself into depts for it, haha), it was sold out in a very short time and got amazing reviews in the music press. So, I kinda had to decide again. But at that point it was easier to find musicians. Firstly because it was already 2003 and „folk metal“ was something many metalheads had at least heard of. And secondly I had a release in my hands I could show around and I could also proof that it works. So yes, that was the point when Eluveitie turned into a real band – some of the musicians involved in the studio project joined the band and for the others we found new members.
2. Since that time the band has stayed busy. In 2006 we see the album "Spirit" released. Tell us about this album and what was the feeling among the band when it was completely recorded and mastered.
Chrigel: Oh... damn, that's a long time ago, haha. We released 3 albums and 1 live album since then. Well, as far as I can remember, we all were really happy about the album, when it was finished. It was the bands first full-lenght album and also the first proper recording („Vên“ was a very low-budget production). We all still like the album and we still play quite some songs of it live.
3. 2008 brought us the album "Slania" then "Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion" in 2009. Both very powerful and impressive records. What are your thoughts on these two records? Tell us about the writing of the two.
Chrigel: We also like these two albums. They are also much better than „Spirit“ prodction-wise. The writing process for „Slania“ was pretty much the same as for „Spirit“. Mostly it's me who writes all the music for all the instruments. This changed with our recent album „Everything remains as it never was“. Since 2008 we played hundreds of live shows and drove many tours. So, we heavily grew together as a band – of course personally, but also musically. And so we're also working together more when it comes to arranging new songs. Also I'm working together with Ivo, one of our guitar players, when writing the songs of Eluveitie nowadays.„Evocation I“ was a bit different there. To us it was more something like a „project“. The idea of once doing something completely acoustic we hand in mind for a long time already. It was just something that kinda challenged us, something we really wanted to try out. And we like what came out from that experiment! We're also planing to record „Evocation part II“ one day.
4. When Eluveitie starts the writing process is there a certain approach and does the band write as a whole?
Chrigel: Well, see above. Mostly it's me to write the concept for an album and I'm also writing most of the music. Today I'm also working together with Ivo a lot. When a song is roughly finished, it's handed over to the whole band. And we refine and arrange the songs together as a whole band.
5. Obviously the band uses a variety of instruments that are not used by many other bands, does this complicate the writing process at all?
Chrigel: Hmmm, actually not at all. Not to me, at least. It feels very natural to me. And when I'm writing our songs, everything kinda „falls into place“ for all the instruments. Our songs kinda „grow“ quite naturally and out of intuition.
6. The world of Folk Metal has been constantly growing and developing since it's inception, yet Eluveitie definitely has it's own sound. What do you think is the biggest difference between your band and the many others out today?
Chrigel: I think it's important to have an own sound as a band. And there are many bands in the folk metal world that are quite unique. Finntroll for example. Yes, they've been copied a lot, but until today, there's still just one real Finntroll! Or listen to Thyrfing! I don't know any other bands that sound like them.
If it comes to us, I think it's the combination of traditional folk music and melodic death metal. Both is equally important to our music. It's 100% traditional folk music merged with 100% metal. And also the use of all the traditional instruments might be a part of this. Even though there are several bands today using some folk instruments. But I guess there are not too many playing with the amout of folk instruments we come up with.
7. Eluveitie has played all over the globe. After this tour is complete, how many countries will the band have played in?
Chrigel: Oh damn... no idea, haha! I know we played on three continents so far. It might be around 50 countries or something like that. I'm not sure.
8. You recently played in Atlanta, I was unable to make the show but I have heard it was amazing. Tell our readers who have yet to see you live what to expect from the show.
Chrigel: Hmmm, hard to say. I mean, I never watched an Eluveitie show myself, haha. But I guess our live shows are always very energetic. That's at least what we read in the press and hear from fans. Also we're always keen to give the crowd 100% of what they get on our albums. So that means, we come on stage with a fucking load of folk instruments (depending on the songs some of us also change their instruments during the set).
Chrigel: We don't have a kind of „archetype bands“. But certainly the music you love and listen to personally also influences the music you're playing and writing. But here you would get a different answer from every bandmember – each one of us has his/her own musical favorites. One of my favorite bands ever is The Bothy Band – an trad. Irish folk band from the seventies. We're very open minded musically, which means we're listening to pretty much everything – from metal to folk to pop to drum'n'bass to hip hop to classical music to country to movie soundtracks to whatever, haha!
As cheesy as it might sound: When I'm writing music, the biggest influence comes from nature though. You know, from the breathtaking sight of the snow covered alps, the sense of serenity you get, when you wander through deep forests, and so on. Such emotions and experiences are very influencing to me.
10. Playing your own music is a true gift and is the ultimate form of expression. What does being in this band and presenting your ideas musically to the world mean to you personally?
Chrigel: We're all just really addicted to music. Playing our own music, that means life to us. We could hardly do anything else!
11. With so many depths and layers to the music of Eluveitie, is there anything you would like to incorporate into the bands sound that you have yet to try?
Chrigel: I'm always curious to try new things out, when I'm writing our songs! Right now I'm learning to play the bardic harp and I'll probably also play it on our next album.
Chrigel: Well – thank you all very much for your interest in Eluveitie! See you on the road! Cheers!