Interview by NocturnalConcerto
From the South of Germany comes the dark fantasy folk act Elane that present a challenging project called “Arcane”, challenging because wants to merge literature and music with a hint of mysticism and ethereal vibes. See what the singer Joran and keyboardist Nico have to tell to us.
Hi Joran, thanks so much for accept the interview. First of all thanks so much! How are you?
Joran: Hi Miriam, thank you for your interest! I am fine, thank you. 🙂Can you introduce the band with a little of history of it? Joran: Elane’s members are Joran (Me) – vocals and flutes, Skaldir – Guitar, Nico – Keyboards, and Simon – Violin, Viola and Cello. Our sound is often called mystic folk. Well, the idea behind Elane was to start a soloproject, but soon the other musicians, Skaldir, Nico and Simon joined the band with their musical influences and ideas. The main mind was to create fantasy music… something that is very rare today. Your latest album is called “Arcane” and it’s based on the works of a Germany writer named Kai Meyer. First of all how it born this decision and who’s Kai Meyer?
Nico: Kai Meyer is a famous contemporary author of fantasy and historical novels in Germany. His books were also translated into many foreign languages, e.g. English, of course. I knew Kai’s works before we personally met. And this was indeed a coincidence. I recognized Kai in the crowd during one Elane concert, and from that day the idea of “Arcane” grew. Also why call the album “Arcane”? Does it to you have a particular meaning?
what’s represent the cover album? There’s this woman in the fog… Joran: Yes, the cover artwork tells us that we can always expect something really mystical in nature and our environment. As written in “Loreley” you find something arcane behind the things, thus you’ll find it in music as well. The lightsparks floating out from the hand lantern also symbolize the magic.
Did, during the composing of the lyrics, you have consult Mr. Meyer himself? And what Kai thinks about the album? Nico: Kai was a perfect consultant. First of all he wanted “Arcane” to be a pure Elane album, not a soundtrack nor an audiobook-like story collection. And so he said: “Whatever you want” Arcane” to be – it is your decision”. But, of course, we always asked for Kai’s advice about the music and the lyrics. And he often gave the right little adjustments or redirections. Working together with Kai is simply fantastic. He gives you so much respect for your own work.
Doing a simple research I’ve discovered that Kai Meyer has already published 50 books, from which of these stories/novels you have taken more inspiration and why?Joran: I chose “Loreley” and “Die Sturmkönige” (“The Storm Kings”) for two reasons. Firstly, I liked the settings of both books, because I always wanted to write something with oriental and medieval influences. And also because Kai signed a copy of “Loreley” for me with the words: “For Joran, who understands a lot of magical singin”. Nico: For me his Books around the turn of the century till the 1920s are of great attraction. So I chose “Das Zweite Gesicht” (“The Second Face”) for my songs “Masken” and “Goddess of the Night”. It is the story of Jula Mondschein, an early film diva of high society Berlin of the 1920s. After her death her sister Chiara comes to her funeral and gets into a maelstrom of intrigues and mysteries herself. Then I contributed lyrics to Skaldir’s song “Heart of the Desert”, dealing with Kai’s novel “Göttin der Wüste” (“Desert Goddess”), a magical book settled in former German colony of today’s Namibia around 1900. Also I contributed “Magdalena” (based upon “Herrin der Lüge” [“Mistress of Lies”]), which is a song about the girl Saga. She was exploited to lead a crusade of virgins into the promised land under the name of “The Magdalena”.
In the site in the banner appear in order, the following words : Mystic, fantasy and folk. Do you think that represent a sort of a band’s anthem? Can you explain, you point of view, of this words for you, Joran?
Joran: It’s almost impossible to describe a musical artworks style within just 3 words. It’s like the smell of a flower, you have to try it yourself to know what it’s like. But it is a small try to give just an idea or direction for people who don’t like us yet.Let’s doing a step back, what you can tell about the previous album “The Silver Falls”? Can you share with us some memories about the recording, writing process of it? For this album what was your source of inspiration? Nico: For us “The Silver Falls” was a break-out. The first 2 albums were pretty folky music, with mostly acoustic instruments with wide soundscapes and a fragile sense for melodies and instrumentation. But after the unexpectedly huge success of “Lore of Nén” we simply did not want to copy ourselves. First of all we wanted to give it a little try to do something different. And that is, what “The Silver Falls” was about. We used more distorted electric guitars than ever, had a studio drummer to make it sound a rock album with some mystic folk touches, but also some electronic sounds. And it was good to make your mind free for something different.
According to your site you are still signed on Curzweyhl label (and any news on the label site is present about “Arcane”, so I presume that you’re self produced) but I’ve noticed if I’m not wrong that “Arcane” is self produced, how’s it hard to stay alive in the music business? How you plan the band activity? And why this choice? Never thought to sign with a suitable label? Nico: We always produced our albums ourselves. Skaldir is a brilliant sound engineer (Simon, too, by the way), so why enter another one’s studio? And it was always important for us to decide about the music, lyrics, cover artworks and our future route ourselves. It is almost impossible to negotiate a record deal with a major label that allows you so much freedom of art. Regarding the music business it is indeed not easy to make the right decisions nowadays. It’s not a secret that Elane’s music is luckily able to refinance itself. But if we would not do everything by ourselves, this might look different. So, you see, there are no huge benefits for us, the composers and musicians. If you expect to make benefit with music, then stop doing what you like and start doing what the masses like. This is why we are happy about things being the way they are.
What are the next Elane projects? Joran: We are already writing songs for a second Kai Meyer-inspired album, because we had sooo many ideas. And for the future, we plan to continue doing what we love, without losing our roots. 🙂 So now I ask you this question, mainly my webzine promote metal bands, so really distant from your music genre but in some ways close in matter of ideas. If you should advice 5 celtic/ambient/folk album to a beginner, in your opinion what they are? Joran: Yes, Metal and Folk are somehow similar, they wear just another “robe” (I use to say). Well I like Loreena McKennitt, some albums of Clannad, and also some unknown Irish folk bands. Nico: I would advise the music of Dead Can Dance, Brendan Perry, ROME. I very much like Skyclad or recently I listen to Corde Oblique. But I don’t prefer to think too much in genres. You should simply listen to good music, never mind about the instruments it’s played with. Well, Joran, thanks so much for this interview hope you like it!! Love, Miriam x Joran: WE have to thank you, dear Miriam, for this interesting interview! Best wishes for you and your webzine. 🙂
Photos by R.Hartmann/Glenvore Art
Logo by Glenvore Art