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Eluveitie destroys Guwahati!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

An Eclectic Vibes and Blot exclusive with the Folk metal monsters-
2010 seems to be a busy year for the band. What’s on the menu for Eluveitie right now?

A: We’re just about to release a new album this month. So, there’s lot of planning going on with regards to that. Moreover, just after the album release we’ve got a lot of touring scheduled for ourselves. On the day of the release, we’ll start a European tour. Right after that we have another tour in America and Canada. Thereafter, we’ll be back in Europe for a few summer festivals-ones which are very similar to Alcheringa. And then, there is some more touring in the next half of the year.
So on the whole, the year that lies ahead of us will be spent mostly on the road.

Can you tell us, in detail, what ‘Eluveitie’ is about in terms of where you guys come from, the music etc?How would you describe the band best to someone who has not heard of the band?

A: Musically, I’d say it’s a mixture of modern extreme metal and traditional Celtic folk music. The whole concept of the band is all about the ancient Celtic cultures which is also the old culture of the country we come from.

Eluveitie’s music is mostly about Celtic/Helvetian History. How does ‘Metal’ as a genre (one that is mostly related with angst and rebellion) justify this portrayal?

A:  There is, quite a lot of aggression buried in mankind’s history, I would say. And probably that’s why metal acts as a good way of expression and justifies our portrayal of Celtic and Helvetian history,
However, personally speaking, when I formed this band, a couple of years ago , it was basically built on my dream of combining the two forms of music that I liked most- traditional folk music and modern extreme metal.

You have another band called ‘Branâ Keternâ’…

A: Yeah, I do. But, sad to say, it’s not very active anymore.

Have you ever made any guest appearances in other bands?

A: Yes, I have made many guest appearances in other bands. However, I’ve never done it as a vocalist.

Which brand of metal do you mostly admire or relate to?

A: All of us in Eluveitie are very very open-minded musically. So, what we personally hear at home is mostly everything…and really everything. Evidently, each one of us has very varied musical tastes and preferences. So, it would be real hard to mention a single band or artist over all of them.

What were your first thoughts and reactions when you heard that you were headlining a festival in India?

A: We were completely freaking out!!! (Laughs)Actually, when we got the news we were in the middle of a tour in America. We received a mail from our manager saying that we were supposed to play in India in a matter of two weeks or so and all of us just went “WOW!!!” over the Idea.

Have you ever come across any Indian Music?

A:  Yeah...We’ve mostly heard traditional stuff. But, since it’s our first time in India I believe we still have to discover the best from this beautiful nation.
Could you talk us through the evolution of the band from the release of ‘Ven’ right through ‘Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion’?

A: Well… we made the first two albums ‘Ven’ and ‘Spirit’ with a compact line-up. However, after that, we’ve had quite a number of line-up changes. That happened mainly with the growth of the band. With growth and success came increased commitment. The time that needed to be invested into the band just grew more and more. So, every member had to ask himself- “Can I still do that?” And eventually some members had to set their priorities straight saying- “Ok! It becomes too much for me”, because if you look at the last 2 years, we were on tour practically throughout the year. Moreover, the little time that we spent at home was consumed with recording albums which gave us very little time to concentrate on anything else.

Do you guys mostly have families?

A:  Not really. Two of the present members have families and some of us are in serious relationships.
We do not get much time from work, but as I said, it’s something that we have to just decide for.
What has been the most memorable moment for ‘Eluveitie’ so far?

A: Well…that’s really hard to say. But maybe, if I had to pick one for now, I would say-Coming to India!!!(Laughs)

What’s the common procedure you follow while making your songs? Can you give the readers in India an in-depth view into the song-writing process of Eluveitie?

A: Basically, it’s a really intuitive thing actually… Before I write a particular song, I do the concept of the whole album. I visualize the album from start to finish and then I write the entire piece. However, in the beginning, it’s more like a feeling, an emotion or an atmosphere that inspires me to write these songs.
When we enter a studio, each one of us knows beforehand what we are going to do. We never do any of our song-writing in studios. Everything is pre-arranged. We like working very intensely in studios.
How does the metal scene in Switzerland compare to the rest of the world and where does Eluveitie fit in?

A: Well, first of all, the metal scene in Switzerland is not that big. We have a dedicated fan-base which comprises mostly of young kids and teenagers. Conversely, the older metal scene kind-of hates us. This is because they believe in keeping metal as underground as possible. They do not like the fact that we’ve stepped into a commercial sphere with this Genre.

Have you ever faced resentment from cultural enthusiasts because of the fact that you’re portraying your history through the means of metal (a genre sometimes popular for depicting ideas like Satanism and negative ideas)?

A: No. we’ve never come across such a situation. First of all, when we make our music and write our songs, we strongly deal with history and we also work with scientists regarding lyrics. The way we are portraying our history is really very scientifically founded.
On the other hand, if there’s some point of view that isn’t considered valid or something, all I would justify it with is that it’s really hard to sit here and predict what’d happened 2000 years ago- because none of us have ever been there.
Furthermore, if ever, we do face resentment on that basis; my point of view would be- C’mon! What we’re doing-it’s culture, it’s music and it’s a way of narrating history. If you want to really deal with history, then go to a library or buy a book instead of listening to a metal cd. What we’re doing is art. It’s an expression. Don’t expect it to fulfill the purpose of anything else.

Where do you see the metal scene headed globally?

A: How am I supposed to know that!!!(Laughs). The only thing I’ve observed in the last two years is that Folk Metal has become of huge interest to audiences from places like America.

Have you ever noticed anything in Asia with regards to metal?
A: Not really. Sorry to say, in Western Europe, we rarely come across anything from the Asian culture. However, when we released our demo ‘Vên’ through a small Dutch label, we heard an Indonesian band which I liked a lot.

What do you think is the main motivating factor for bigger, more renowned bands to come to play in India or south-east Asia, for that matter?

A: Why shouldn’t bands come and play here?
It’s a pity that we don’t get to hear much about Asian music cultures in countries like Europe. And when we get to play in such countries, we get a chance to build a bridge between the two.

What are your thoughts on the fact that you guys have a dedicated fan base in India, with little or no exposure to slightly underground bands?

A: It’s absolutely amazing! But as of said, we didn’t know it. When we were coming here, we had no idea about what we should expect. We tried a lot to find out about the metal culture here but couldn’t come up with any substantial information. But once we got here, we found out that there’s a lot about India that’s “Metal”.(Laughs)

In countries like India, a lot of metal is unavailable and thus fans resort to downloading music off the internet. What are your thoughts on the subject of piracy and downloading music?

A: I basically don’t care about stuff like that. But I’d have to say that ‘Piracy’ as a phenomenon has it’s good as well as bad points.
Let’s say someone in Europe, who can afford to and has  access  to our music, resorts to Piracy, then I would certainly say that it’s a bad thing because the music is available there and it’s basically the money that helps us artists survive. But then again, if someone can’t afford to buy a cd and really wants to listen to us, then why not?

In the end, I would certainly say that it’s more of a good thing than a bad thing because had it not been for the Internet so many people wouldn’t have known our music.

Do you guys have an added-visual edge to your Live-set? If not, do you guys plan on such a thing?

A: Well, firstly we believe that if it’s done in a good way, it can be quite impressive and amazing. And we also know that it costs a lot. So, we don’t really think we can afford it! (Laughs)
Seriously though, we as a band just like to be natural on stage. Most bands in our genre dress up in ancient costumes and stuff like that but to us it’s just like- ‘We’re just a metal band…and so, what the hell!!!’(Laughs).
To simply put it, it’s just not our thing. We just want to move people with our music. The rest is unimportant to us.
In your last album- ‘Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion’ you have collaborated with many guest musicians. What is your take on the ‘influences’ that these collaborations bring with them?

A: The main influence that each member brings is just the sound of their own instrument or voice. They didn’t exactly form the music as such, because throughout the recording process I was telling them, more or less, exactly what to do.
For instance, we had one of our former members ‘Sarah Wauquiez’ play an instrument called ‘Zugerörgeli’, an old Swiss accordion, on the track ‘Gobanno’. When I was writing the song, I just felt the need of it. And hence, when we recorded it helped me flesh out the character of the song.
Do you see ‘Eluveitie’ doing non-metal projects?

A:  ‘Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion’ was mostly an acoustic album. But besides that, I don’t know. It’s really hard for me to predict how ‘Non-metal’ we could get as a band.
I’m pretty sure about individual projects though.
What do you hope to achieve with your next album- Everything Remains As It Never Was? What is the approach that you’ve put into this album?

A: We certainly want to break out from the Folk metal genre because we believe that way; our music becomes approachable by many other metal fans. We want to play pure Death metal and tour with other Death metal bands. We will tour in places like Asia, Australia and South America where we haven’t played in, until now. The idea is to increase and open up our horizons.

Which band has been the most fun to tour with and why? Any incidents in particular that you would like to share with the readers?

A: For us, Finntroll has been the most fun to tour specially because we’ve done a large number of tours together and most of us are very good friends. We’re just about to do a show with them in about two weeks or so.
On many occasions we get up on stage together and do a song or two as well. We’ve received quite a response while doing ‘trollhammaren’ (a famous song by Finntroll) together.

Where do you see Eluveitie standing as of now and where do you see it heading tomorrow?

A: I think, we’ve kind-of managed to do our own thing. Somewhere, down the line, I do not recognize ‘Eluveitie’ as a strict folk metal outfit. I think metal-wise we’re just a modern death-metal band like ‘In-flames’ or any other metal band in the present epoch. The only thing that separates us from the rest of the group is that we just combine it with traditional folk-music. Further on, the folk music that we play is also very old and dates back to about two to three thousand years. And hence, we think we’ve managed to do something original.
Moreover, this is how we want to go on. But in the process, we want to break out from being labeled as a part of a strict sub-genre. We just want to play metal and be appealable to huger crowd.
Right now, this Folk Metal stuff is still funny to a lot of the people in the metal fraternity. It’s almost like party music!!! We don’t to be recognized that way. What we do is serious.

Do you have a message for Indian bands and your Indian fans out there?

A: NO! (Laughs)…I’m definitely not a fan of messages because I think everybody should have his own mind and his own ideas and his point of view with regards to any issues. I don’t get the idea of bands preaching ideas and ideologies to people…I’m actually confused why they do that!

What is your gamut of influences? Musical and otherwise?

A: That definitely has to be the Buffy band. They were a traditional Irish folk band from the 70s. They had the best Bagpiper player ever!!! He’s my Hero!!!(Laughs)
But that’s really different from band-member to band-member. I think everyone has his or her favorites.
Do you think Folk Metal will evolve as a genre? Do you think it has a future?

A: Yes…maybe. At-least, that’s what it looks like. But, in the end, I really don’t care. That’s not the reason, why I made this band or why we make music at the first place. But in the end, it’s our love for the genre that makes us play it- Not the trend!



a.barsha said...

this is so perfectly done....

it must have been real fun taking the interview!


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