Eluveitie’s have just released the sequel of Evocation, so when I was offered to email a bunch of questions to Eluveitie mastermind Chrigel Glanzmann I found the opportunity to ask him about the new album, the new line-up , once again the hurdygurdy, and many many other things!!!
Your previous acoustic album was 8 years ago, and the truth is that the fans asked about it a lot. Why did it take you so long to make a new acoustic record and how much do you think you evolved, musically speaking?
For the first question, I absolutely have no idea, haha. I’ve been obviously asked a lot about it. After the first one we said that we would not put any pressure to ourselves for the second part, that’s what feels ok for us. The decision was made while we were producing our previous album “Origins”.. It just felt right to put it out now. As for the musical evolution thing, I don’t know too much. I think, musically, is a combination or a follow up to the previous, “Evocation I”, which was also something pretty important for us to create, but other than that, the main difference between them is the eight years in between when we have been practicing and playing a lot, so we just play better now. That’s the main difference for me. But it is definitely a follow up.
Tell us more about the writing procedure. Which is your favorite track of the album?
Oh, I can’t say that. When you write music, your albums and songs are like your babies in some sense and when you have kids you don’t pick one as your favorite because you love all of them so I can’t decide. The writing process was actually similar to every other one. The difference this time was about the topic, the content of the album. We look at the album as a journey and every track a dedication to a Celtic god or goddess and we didn’t want to only write about them in the lyrics, but to express those characters musically, so we were focused on that. In some way, it was a spiritual experience, almost. There was a lot of “working together” this time. We had a big lineup change about one year and a half ago which made us grow a lot. There was a committed atmosphere this time. We probably hardly ever worked together as a group of people as committed as this time. It was a dedicative and creative atmosphere and we left room for some teenage thing, so the album grew very organically. Basically, three tracks came up from just jamming in the studio! That was also something different this time.
From the announcement of the new lineup, there has been a lot of promotion from Nuclear Blast that lasted for months. The fans have been wondering if the band had anything to do with this whole promotion thing or it was just a matter of the label?
Actually the label did not have anything to do with that. It’s how the business works. The label is there to release your albums, so anything else we do comes straight from us.
Six new members entered the band. Why did you choose so many new members? What is the feedback that you get for those new members?
First of all, I have to say that it’s not exactly like that, haha. It’s three people that left the band, so three new people. We kind of decided to go back to the roots with the fourth new member and be a nine member band as we were in the beginning. It’s something we are really thankful for. We feel very warmhearted from the way the fans welcomed the new members. Of course there will be people who don’t like change and think that everything should stay as it is. To be honest, I’m a little bit like them so I understand. But I feel very thankful from all this.
How is your life? Tell us about the ups and downs from the life on the road, any funny stories you would like to share?
Downs. Hahaha. Honestly, touring is pretty much everything. You rather focus on the good things than the bad, or you go crazy. Obviously, it can be tough. We all really love it, music is our life and passion, and as long as we hold our instruments in our hands is cool. We love every single show we play. It’s obviously tough though. We tour a lot. Sometimes we play about 200 shows a year, so we are away for six or seven months straight. Think about the past eight months in your life. It’s not always about good days. It’s the same when you’re on tour. Physically, you get easily ill. These things don’t matter though. We wouldn’t cancel a show if someone is ill or something. It doesn’t matter if someone is good or not, healthy or not. You might be sick and have a terrible day, but we will still play the show. It’s a part of tour life. That’s something you can’t overcome, it makes you stronger.
How often are you asked what a hurdy gurdy is?
Not that often anymore! Years ago it was a lot, but now is more established. Any medieval rock band includes it nowadays so it’s a little more common.
So if I ask you what’s your favorite Eluveitie album is, you wouldn’t answer?
As I said before, I wouldn’t be able to pick one. I love all of them. It would not be good, it would be terrible if it wasn’t like that. It would be like I did an album which I was not feeling good about, so I wouldn’t give my best.
You’re a very successful band. Does it reflect on your album sales?
Yes. I mean today, we sell a lot more albums than 10 years ago.
Three members of the band left. Tell us the whole story behind it. Did it leave your with bitterness, or was something inevitable?
It was obviously not something easy, was very tough because we had been together for 10 years and as I said before we tour a lot, which means we have spent most of our time together those years. A breakup was not something easy to deal with. It was a rather tough decision for everybody. As a band it was difficult for the band, but for a personal level too. We had been close so many years. Last year was tough for everyone. One thing we said back then, is that things like that might be difficult, but will be a chance. So we’re going to try this. One year and a half later, everyone agrees that it was agood chance, and this makes me both happy and proud. As tough as it was, now looking back I can say from all my heart was something good for everybody as many good things rose out of that. I’m happy and thankful.
Those members have created a new band called Cellar Darling, who pretty much have the same sound as you. Did you check their debut?
Of course I did. We even were in the studio when they were making the songs so we have already heard them a long time ago. I really think it’s an amazing album and I’m proud of them because they managed to create something very unique. I don’t think they have a similar sound with us, I see something very unique in their sound, something that has never been before.
What got you into music and what gave you the idea to incorporate so many instruments like pipes and mandolins into metal music? What are your influences?
I couldn’t name influences like any other band honestly, I’m playing metal music and it’s a long time since I created my first death metal band in 1991. All those years I also loved traditional Celtic music and culture in general, so I started playing those instruments a long time ago. Both kinds I love, they’re my passion. I’ve had the feeling that those two go together and I wanted to bring them together for a band. Not a folk influenced metal band, but both kinds in one band. The instruments are because I played a long time ago. It was clear which instruments would be in Eluveitie from the beginning.
You are very successful, why is that in your opinion?
I don’t know! Something I experienced is that folk is something that speak to many people because it’s not artificial. It’s always been people’s music. Poor people, single people. Musically speaking is something simple on the one hand and deep on the other. Goes straight to the heart. It’s probably that. Attaches the heart of many people and that’s why it still exists. One of the oldest kinds it is. In some way it alays has been there.
What do you listen to at the moment? Any new albums?
No. It’s many years since I bought an album and I don’t even know why. I don’t have too much time to check out new music. My record collection is pretty small and has all the shit I have been listening to the past 25 years. Clandestine, At The Gates etc. Good old classics and folk music.
How is the metal scene in Switzerland?
Nice. It’s pretty huge. It’s surprising to hear that because there are not any big bands from Switzerland that are internationally known but it’s because typical Swiss people are somewhat lazy and like the good life and comforts. Swiss people are hobbits, if you have read the Lord Of The Rings. We are a little bit like that, so there’s this consequence where people are not willing to sacrifice their comfortable way of life, their comfort zone to be able to tour a lot and stuff like that. It doesn’t mean that there are not many bands, just not that many. There are amazing bands there, it’s a cool scene.
How do you find the economic and political situation in Europe? Does this affect you?
Honestly I think that there is a lot of scary development, not only in Europe but in the entire world. Of course, America plays a big role in this, but yeah, what can I say, to be honest I often get the impression that we cannot focus on the consequences rather than on the original problems, that’s the scary part of it. If you see Germany, they have shitloads of political dangerous developments and problems for years now and I think that everybody is focusing on these developments and pointing fingers on people, so people tend to forget the main problem, why this things happen in Europe. This is something scary and dangerous. In lot of places there should be some political changes, they should rather act than react.
What’s next for Eluveitie? Looking back, what do you think of your accomplishments?
I don’t think about it that much, we just do what we love to and are hapy about it. Don’t look about achievements and stuff. There are plans, we are busy at the moment. On late september we start our new tour and we are also working on some differents but I can’t say too much about it yet, but I can tell you that there are a lot of surprises.
Are we seeing you again in Greece?
Definitely, we would love to come to Greece again!
So we’re gonna see you soon?
It’s being planned at the moment. The first leg of the tour is already announced. I don’t think we will come back within the next 6 months but will definitely be back.
The last words are on you. Any message to the fans?
Thank you for the occasion, the interview and thanks toeveryone who’s reading it, you guys rock!