Interview by Rachele Valente
Shortly after the last Italian date that took place in Bologna as headliner for the Paganfest, Eluveitie comes back to Italy, but this time as the support act for the Swedish band Sabaton with the Hungarian band Wisdom. On the occasion for the release of the new album (compilation), “The Early Years”, Chrigel and Anna gave a little appetizer about it, remembering something of the early beginning of their musical activity. Here you are with our interview!
Today Femme Metal has the pleasure to welcome to Chrigel and Anna from Eluveitie. Hi guys, how are you doing?
Your last show in Italy was last year in Bologna, as the headliner for the Paganfest. Now you’re coming back in Milan, supporting the Swedish band Sabaton. Why did you decide to be on tour with them?
Chrigel: Because we’re masochist No, they were just looking for another band to join this tour and we’ve been asked and we thought “Yeah, it’s just a great opportunity for us to expose our music to a completely new crowd”, because in this tour a lot of people are coming for them and it’s like a really different crowd. I mean: most of the people like classic heavy metal and stuff so we just thought “It would be cool to present our music to people that maybe don’t know who we are”… so… that’s why we decided to join this tour!
This is the first tour without your own guitarist, Simeon who has recently left the band and you’re playing without Päde, who’s coming back in a couple of weeks. Can you explain what happened?
Anna : Well, Päde died unfortunately, that’s a sad thing (she jokes with Chrigel). No, he has to do a work-shit and so he couldn’t join us and Sime left for a personal decision. We didn’t get any fight.
Chrigel : He was actually thinking of it since a year or maybe more… I mean: he just wants to reach some personal goals. He was thinking about it for a long time actually, so yeah, the time has gone.
After the great success of “Helvetios” you released with Nucler Blast “The Early Years”, a collection containing “Vên” completely re-recorded and a remastered version of “Spirit”. Why did you decide so?
Anna: ‘Cuz it’s cool
Chrigel: Yeah, I mean: both albums have been sold out since a quite long time and many people were still asking for them so many people actually told us “Yeah, you should release them”, like management and the record company. Everybody told us “Yeah, re-release it, seriously!”. Everybody wanted that, but we thought “That’s cheap to just re-released it, it’s not that cool, we don’t want to do that!” and then we had the idea to completely re-record “Vên” which sounded for us at least like an amazing idea, because, you know, those songs are about 10 years ago, those songs are kinda developed together with us and we just thought “It would be cool to re-record it again and just see how the songs sound today”, so yeah, that’s why we decided to do that!
Just before the release date of “The Early Years”, you published on your official Youtube channel a lyric video for the song “Lament”. If I don’t get wrong you said you had completely revised the song. What can you tell us about this choice?
Chrigel: To be honest, I wasn’t too happy with the old lyrics. I mean: the original lyrics were written from a point of view of today looking back to the time of Helvetians and I actually made the exactly same thing but with the time switched and the lyrics now, the new version, are also looking back to the Helvetians but just from 2000 years later. Helvetians were already Romanized and stuff and it’s written from that point. That’s a different version but I prefer it!
“Vên” was released in 2002. At first, there was a song more you couldn’t finish to write. Now, in 2012, this song is finally completed: “Divico” will be part of your own edition of “The Early Years”. Why in Nuclear Blast version of the album the song will not appear?
Chrigel: One reason why we did this now is also because of our 10th anniversary and we just thought that it would have been cool to do something special as well and also to give people something that just comes directly from us. It’s like a personal birthday present or something like that! That’s also why we did this own edition because every little detail about the album is done by ourselves, I mean: everything is done by ourselves. We wanted to have something special on that too so that’s why!
Can you tell us something about “Divico” song?
Chrigel: That’s cool! I like it!
Anna: Yes, I like it too.
Chrigel: It’s just a song about a character of Celtic history which played an important role in the Gaulish Wars and the history of Helvetians.
You have changed some lyrics too. How did this decision come out?
Chrigel: We revised them, the lyrics basically are still the same, especially the Gaulish part in the lyrics, I’ve just corrected, you know, because it was 10 years ago and my Gaulish back then was “very little” and very bad, especially the song “Uis Elveti”, the lyric was catastrophic, if it comes with the grammar and everything it was really, really bad! Today I know much more about the Gaulish language and I’ve just corrected. I mean: the lyric is still the same, it’s just in a better Gaulish
If I’m right you’re planning a big show in Zurich, this December, the second edition of your own festival “Eluveitie and Friends”. Can you tell us something about this show?
Anna: That’s a great opportunity to make a own festival and invite bands and friends of ours even if something arrive many people that we ever known that’s pretty cool.
Chrigel: That’s actually a kind of “special guests”, we basically invite bands from somewhere, bands we toured with and then there’s always a kind of “special guests”, it could be anyone.
Anna, let’s talk about your upcoming solo album. Why did you decided to work on it? Are you excited about it?
Anna: Yes, I’m very excited! I decide to start on my own stuff like, I don’t know, two years ago but in between I did stuff… It just kinda happened and I don’t plan anything. More people behind me pushed me to do it… It’s a lot of kind of developing.
In these years you have joined many side-projects playing different instrument and singing. How did you manage to do something? What are your personal plans now?
Anna: I don’t really think about what I gonna do in the future, what I doing in the moment is just music, music and music and not really anything else. I’m really happy about this and I have to be proud of it and Eluveitie is always first of course and so everything else is just filled around…
What are your future plans?
Chrigel: Pretty much as she said. I mean: right now we’re on tour until next Spring or so… I mean: I’m pretty sure we’ll work on new material for a new album, to be honest we’ve already started but yeah, we don’t have many plans exactly.
Thank you for your time. Would you like say something to our readers?
Anna: You’re awesome! Thank you!
Chrigel: Thanks for your interest in Eluveitie!
Interview by Miriam C.
For the second time we give space to one of the last metal sensation of these years : Eluveitie. We asked to the singers and instruments players Chringel Glanzmann & Anna Murphy some news about their recent new album “Helvetios” and his concept behind. Enjoy!
Hi Chrigel and Anna, how are you?? I hope all allright!!! And thanks for reply at our questions!
Anna: Hey there! Fine, thank you. And that’s no problem, thank you for the interview.
Ok, let’s get delve into the brand new album “Helvetios”. How was the genesis of this album, when you have started to compose it?
Chrigel: The idea of doing a concept album about the so-called gaulish wars we had quite a while ago. Somewhen in summer 2010 I started working on the concept for the album. I started composing the single songs somewhen in winter 2010, but most of the songs actually emerged in spring/summer 2011 though. I worked closely together with our guitar player Ivo. He’s an amazing composer of awesome riffs.
First of all what’s means the word “Helvetios” and is related to the lyrics inside the album?
Chrigel: “Helvetios” is basically the name of the celtic tribe that inherited the area of todays Switzerland: The Helvetians. The album tells the story of the gaulish wars – from the Helvetians perspective.
How’s recording an album with a great legend like Tommy Vetterli? Is like a mentor, a friend or a little despotic (XD I’m joking now hahaha) ?
Anna : If somebody would have told me 7 years ago that I’d be talking to Tommy Vetterli on the phone on a regular basis I would have freaked out, haha. I’ve always been a huge Coroner fan so I was thrilled and a little nervous at first to record an album with him. We were quite overwhelmed by his perfectionism, the guy has insanely good ears and you can imagine that that can create quite a problem for him when dealing with tons of folk instruments that simply aren’t perfectly in tune all the time. But soon enough we could work together really well and we got to know him as one of the nicest and funniest guys we’ve ever met. We’re still good friends and spent some fun times on the 70’000 tons of metal cruise together. And more importantly, “Helvetios” is our best sounding album, I’m sure we will be faithful to Tommy for a while!
I really liked the historical in-depth explanation that you have published on Facebook and get me to assumethat “Helvetios” is a concept because I’ve seen quite a connection between the 2 lyrics. Who were the Helvetians and firstly when you have decided to focus on these topic? Also are a lot of historical infos that you have provided, where did you got it? You should have an encyclopaedia at home!
Anna: “Helvetios” tells the harrowing chronic of the Gaulish war. But it’s not just a chronological account of this terrible war, the album tells the story from the viewpoint of the Helvetians, a Celtic tribe. This wasn’t a very simple task, since history is mostly written by those who triumphed in war which in this case was the Roman empire, Gaius Julius Caesar to be exact. Most of what we know about the Gaulish war nowadays stems from Caesar’s transcripts and that these do not convey the full truth is pretty obvious and also confirmed by historians. His scripture “De Bello Gallico” is political propaganda for his benefit to a great extent in which home and family defending Gauls become “belligerent barbarians” and sheer genocide over Gaulish tribes become “glorious battles” that were fought by Roman legions “heroically to protect the Roman people.” So you can see it’s not an easy undertaking to portray the Gaulish war as Helvetians (Gauls) would have. We still tried and cooperated with scientists to question historiography and let historical and archeological findings influence us in writing the album. But we also just let simple emotions and feelings speak by imagining what it really must have been like back then.
I’m getting so really curious about the various goddess and god workshipped by the Helvetians. Excluding Epona, who totally hit me, are you able to give us more cultural insights about this population?
Chrigel: First of all we have to face the fact that we don’t know too much about the Celts religions today. All we can base on are historical literature on one hand (which is partly very vague) and archeological evidence on the other hand. The existence of diverse gods (such as Epona) is documented by the latter. All across Gaul there were small Epona temples found. Regarding this goddess there’s also one note in historical literature, stating that there were usually fresh cut roses or rose petals offered to Epona in those little temples (that’s also where the song title comes from, btw).
According to Facebook – “Helvetios is a concept album about the gaulish war (58-50 B.C.), the story of the war being told in a chronological timeline.” – can you, somehow, explain the chronological timeline referring to the songs titles’?
Chrigel: To be honest, I seriously think that this would break the mold of an interview – it would be a bit too much (unless you’re planning to publish an 8 page Eluveitie feature, haha ;)). But yeah, the story of the gaulish war is actually well documented and publicly accessible. So, just check a good scientifical book on the gaulish wars. If you’re familiar the story of the gaulish wars, the song titles will make a lot of sense.
Talking instead about the cover album is really simple, white and black a badge. What’s stands for? Who representing? And why opt for so simply cover? (You know, that badge remembers me a lot the Aurum from the 1984′s “The Neverending Story” film, never watched it?)
Chrigel: Haha, yeah I’ve seen the movie, when I was a kid. Well, the album cover just shows a traditional helvetic ornament, which has been found through archeological excavations (it was chased in a golden fibula). So, it basically represents the celtic tribe of the Helvetians. The black, simple cover forms kind of a “book cover”, you know. The inside of the (btw quite extended) booklet pretty much elaborated. The idea behind the album artwork was to create something like a volume of art photography. You know, to create pictures as they would have occurred if a gifted art photographer – such as Andre Kertesz or Henri Cartier-Bresson – would have been there, 2000 years ago, and documented the events of the gaulish wars photographically.
Now for Anna only, which are the vocal part that you have enjoyed recording the most on the latest Eluveitie album? Also, not so time ago, you have joined Nucleus Torn, how happened and how you’ll manage it?
Anna: That’s a difficult question, I enjoyed everything of course. But in a different way, maybe. “A Rose for Epona” is probably the most difficult (and high as f***) thing I’ve ever undertaken, so my singing was taken one step further just by recording this song I’d say. “The Siege” is something completely new which was a lot of fun, but made me lose my voice completely for two days, haha. I guess I still enjoyed “Alesia” the most though, because I probably improvised more than half of my parts in the studio and Chrigel and I were still working on arrangements right before recording them… I really like doing things spontaneously. Yeah, Fredy asked me quite a long time ago if I’d like to do some guest vocals on his new album. We noticed that we work together very well and have similar tastes, so it came naturally that I joined as an official member. We’re going to compose new stuff together very soon and I’m looking forward to it! I’ll manage somehow, of course Eluveitie is Nr. 1, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be creative with other projects, I just don’t have all the time in the world.
Chrigel, running down the list of the line-up and the instrument played I notice that you’re playing the gaita too. I’ve never heard of it, can you explain its peculiarities?
Chrigel: Hmmm, check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galician_gaita The gaita is just a bagpipe. We’re using diverse kinds of bagpipes in our music and among others also the galician gaita. It’s a rather simple bagpipe. But really love it’s sound and also the way it can be played (it allows much more “emotional” expression than a scottish bagpipe for example).
The band started as a merely studio project, Chrigel, when have you “understood” that Eluveitie was evolving into a proper live metal band?
Chrigel: To be honest – the only reason I formed Eluveitie as a mere studio project at first, was because I couldn’t find dedicated fix members for a band back then. You know, back then the combination of folkmusic and metal was not common at all, there was no folk metal scene or something like that. It was new, unknown and most people considered it a pretty weird, crazy and pointless idea. But yeah, actually it has always been my wish and idea of have Eluveitie as a proper live band – which was possible later then, fortunately.
In your opinion(s) where lies the differences between “Everything Remains as It Never Was” and “Helvetios”? What is the step towards a musical evolution that you have accomplished on this last album?
Anna: I don’t know Chrigel’s opinion on this one, but I would never think about differences between albums. We just write music, do what we feel sounds good and if it sounds different from the last album, well so what? We don’t care or think about these things. At least I don’t, haha. I mean, our music has always been very diverse, though still creating a solid entity. That’s what Eluveitie is.
Will be a an “Evocation II” in the near future?
Chrigel: There will be “Evocation II” for sure. But I can’t say if it will come in near future or not (well, regarding the fact that we’re just about to release a full studio album and thus we just started a world tour that will keep us on the road for at least 12 months, it’s actually not very likely that “Evocation II” will happen in NEAR future ;)).
Anna, can you talk more about ThruByRed and Fräkmündt I must presume that are some other bands beside Eluveitie and Nucleus Torn. And by the way congratulations for being so diverse in your tastes, for being so really young (me and you we have tha same age hahaha) you rock.
Anna: Hey cool that you checked out my other projects, thanks! Well, Fräkmündt is my other band. It’s Swiss traditional folk music, but still has a rather dark, atmospheric and sometimes even modern touch to it. We’re all really good friends and do exactly what our music sounds like, we hike in the mountains for hours or days and then go get wasted somewhere and talk for hours from philosophical debates to complete and utter nonsense. I play the hurdy-gurdy, flute and acoustic bass, do some vocals and composing. ThruByRed started shortly after I joined Fräkmündt. Christoph Ziegler (who is also in Fräkmündt and apart from that the man behind Vinterriket, Atomtrakt, Nebelkorona etc.) and I really hit it off when we got to know each other and pretty much immediately decided to start an electronic project together. The plan was for it to just sound completely weird and have all sorts of musical elements and confusing lyrics in it. I think we managed pretty well, ThruByRed was born!
Well, guys I think we’re at the end do you have any last consideration about your next projects?
Anna: We’re touring our asses off this year to promote “Helvetios”, that’s project Nr. 1! Then, I guess we’ll see what’s next.
Chrigel: Yeah… couldn’t add anything to that.
Just greet as you want your fans and our readers. Thanks so really much for everything! Hugs, Miriam x
Anna: Cheers to our fans and readers! You guys rock! And thank you Miriam for the cool interview and your interest!
Chrigel: Yep! Thanks! And see you on the road! Cheers
Photos by Manuel Vargas
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Tony Cannella
In the burgeoning metal sub-genre of Folk Metal, it doesn’t get much better than Eluveitie. If they are not at the top of the Folk Metal Mountain, then they’re pretty damn close. The Swiss band returns with their fifth album “Helvetios”, and from the word go, this is a relentless aural assault that pretty much is unyielding until the end comes after about 59-minutes. “Helvetios” may be Eluveitie’s most complex work to date, as the band has gone all out to raise the bar a little higher. The opening narration of “Prologue” sets up the story as the band blasts into the intense “Helvetios”. From the opening intro it is easy to discern that “Helvetios” is a concept album, you can read online what the story is about – it is far too long and complex to describe here, but as far the songs and the music goes, this is one merciless album from beginning to end. The choruses are forceful, memorable and delivered with genuine authority. Eluveitie comes at you with a powerful blend of their trademark folk-metal sound combined with Thrash-Metal like intensity. The bulk of the vocals are handled by Chrigel Glanzmann whose style is aggressive and harsh. Female vocals are present mostly for background and they really do enhance the songs, but the females in the band Anna Murphy and Meri Tadic make significant contributions besides on the vocal end of things as they add such non-traditional metal instruments as the hurdy gurdy, flute and violin, so their contributions should not go unrecognized, they are a big part of what Eluveitie does. After “Helvetios” next up is the phenomenal “Luxtos”, this is a perfect example of a song with an unforgettable chorus and one of my favorite songs. “Santonian Shores” has an upbeat, faster tempo and quickly became another favorite. Once again, a great chorus is present on this one. The female vocals are given the full spotlight and allowed to shine on “A Rose for Epona” and “Alesia”. “Alesia” in particular is phenomenal. It starts off slow like a ballad before getting heavier and the two different vocal styles (the female and male) duet on this one and it sounds just tremendous. The whole story is wrapped up nicely with the ending “Epilogue” drawing “Helvetios” to a close. Yes, Eluveitie do get mentioned in the Folk-Metal genre quite a bit. Maybe it’s deserved, maybe it’s not. There are certainly some Folk-ish elements in the songs, but that is just a part of what they do and why they are so effective (in my opinion). They don’t flaunt their Folk moments like ‘Look what we can do’; rather they utilize them when needed. “Helvetios” It is just a great album that – in my book – sets Eluveitie far apart from other bands in the genre.
Rating – 95/100
- Santonian Shores
- Scorched Earth
- Meet the Enemy
- A Rose for Epona
- The Uprising
- The Siege
- Chrigel Glanzmann – Vocals, Mandola, Mandolin, Tin & Low Whistles & Bagpipes
- Anna Murphy – Vocals, Flute & Hurdy Gurdy
- Meri Tadic – Vocals & Fiddle
- Ivo Henzi – Guitars
- Simeon Koch – Guitars
- Kay Brem – Bass
- Patrick Kistler – Tin & Low Whistles & Bagpipes
- Merlin Sutter – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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