|Eluveitie has toured around the US in February 2011. When they came to LA, SOM interviewed their lead singer: Chrigel Glanzmann. Check it out!!!|You guys have released your latest album around a year ago. How has this past year been to the band? Are you all satisfied with the results from this latest work? [Everything remains (as it never was)].
Busy! As you said, it was released in January or February, I don’t remember, something like that. Yeah, since then we basically toured almost constantly. I mean last summer we had some breaks - we played the summer festivals so we were at home during the week and playing some shows anywhere during the weekend. But besides that we have been on the road almost constantly.
So yeah, it has been a busy year. The album was received really, really well, much more than we ever expected actually. And also, the songs turned out to be really cool “live” songs. We really love to play them. The crowd so far seems to like them a lot. So, it’s been good.You have started this tour in US just after playing in Brazil. How was playing there? And also: do you have any other “new destinations” for this year?
Yeah it was extremely hot (laughs). It was pretty much a job for us because we just came there directly from snow covered Switzerland. Personally, I was struggling quite a lot, my hands got swollen up. I am just not used to those temperatures (laughs). But, besides this, it was amazing! We loved it! We really loved it a lot. We want to go back as soon as possible. It was really, really cool! The shows were great, the audience was great and promoters were really, really great. So, yeah… it was amazing.
Other new territories… yes, of course, always! We always want to. There is not that much concretely planned right now. We have some new territories coming up, like Turkey for example, we will play there in the summer. And yeah, we are just talking about the regular things like: Japan, Australia, Indonesia and all that. It’s been planned but not fixedly confirmed. And also, of course, more Southern America. Originally, we were talking about going to some other Southern American countries this time but for some reason it didn’t work out. If it’s not happening this year it will be for sure next year … next time.You are having a contest for fans to play with you on stage in most concerts of this tour. It started in Brazil and now it is continuing here in the US. How did you come out with this idea and also how have the presentations of these special guests being?
Well…it was just like, a spontaneous idea actually. It was our drummer’s idea. Yeah... We are always thinking about doing original stuff. We’ve always been a band, as well, that is close to the fans. Before and after the shows we go to the bar, get around with people and stuff like that. That’s pretty much what we do anyway.When we are on tour we always think about doing funny things or stuff like that.
So this was just a spontaneous idea. Especially since we are always getting lots of covers, cover versions of us. If you go to youtube and type in “Eluveitie”, you will find everything: from piano to whatever covers, you know? We thought that this was kind of cool. So this idea came up: to involve those people that play covers. So, why not let them play those covers on stage with us?
Yes, it has been quite a lot of fun until now. We had a guest almost every night. So yeah, it was quite cool! I think people loved it as well.How was the process of selecting the videos? Any interesting ones? Unusual instruments?
Not too much unusual instruments. Most of the people applied for playing guitars, obviously, which is kind of what we expected anyway since there are simply more people playing guitars than playing hurdy-gurdy or something (laughs).
But yeah… we got some really interesting things. In Atlanta there is a girl who will come with a viola. She did some really, really cool stuff. Yeah … I mean, we chose what we thought would be the best.About this tour, besides having the fans on stage with you, how has it been for you so far?
Really good… yeah… that’s pretty much all I can say. We are more or less in the middle of the tour right now and it has been treating us really good so far. It’s been quite a successful tour, which is something that we are very happy about since we were not too sure about the tour in the beginning, for different reasons. First of all the economy is not too … looking too bright over here. You really want to see those things when it comes to record sales and people attending shows. Plus the fact that there are actually three or four quite similar tours going on at the same moment [Ensiferum, Finntroll and Turisas]. We were like… ok… this could be risky.
Since the economy is not too good, I think that there are many people that simply can’t afford to go to all the concerts. So, they are gonna have to choose. So, we were like.. Ohhh which concerts are they are choosing?
But yeah, it has been really successful so far. We had only one show which was not really full. I mean, it wasn’t a bad show. It was still half-way full or something. For all the other shows, we always had full-houses. So, that’s really, really good. That’s more than we expected actually! So, we are happy about this.
And of course: we are also really happy about the package! We like and prefer those mixed tour lineups. The bands turned out to be really cool bands to tour with. The chemistry between the bands is good as well. So yeah… it’s been a good tour so far.This is not the first time you are touring with Holy Grail. Did you guys choose to tour with them or was it just a coincidence?
Yeah… basically we can choose them. I mean, it’s not … well usually… [Chrigel had a hard time finding his words in English]. Tour organizers can offer bands. They have a certain amount of bands that they know that will be available and would like to tour and stuff like that. And then you try to form a good package. And yeah… Holy Grail of course is cool.
[During the concert, Chrigel thanked the openers and asked the public for their applauses for them, one by one
. That’s not, but well, they brought me into metal.
. Really cool!]Shifting the subject a little bit… Eluveitie has been releasing albums in a yearly basis for the past 3 years (2008, 2009 and 2010). Is it a plan to have a new one released in 2011?
To record another album! We will not release it this year but we will record it.Still talking about the albums… since you release them in such in a short period of time and knowing that you have been touring a lot the past years… How do you find the inspiration to compose and also the time to write and record?
I don’t know! (laughs)Do you do it during the tours?
No, no… I tried this actually, many times, but it is not working. I cannot write music on tour. I don’t know why. I know that there are many bands that do that, “Lamb of God” or something. They write everything on tour. I don’t know how they do it. I couldn’t.
But, yeah… usually it doesn’t take that long to write. I mean, there are some songs that we were working on for a couple of months or something, which is like a long time! But there are also songs that have been finished in one day or something, like “Omnos” for example. It’s a song from our acoustic album. I’m sure we did a clip for that one. I started writing that in the evening, I finished around 5 o’clock in the morning and send it out to the band. It’s actually the last song I wrote for that album. It was just finished a couple of days before we entered the studio. So, yeah… it’s usually goes quite quickly.
And inspiration…I don’t know. From some free days you know? Back home and some days off. I just go like, walk around in the forest, go wondering in the Alps and stuff like that. That’s pretty much where I got inspiration from actually.Eluveitie is composed of 8 musicians. How do you guys work in a day-to-day basis? In the studio?
When we are in studio every little detail is actually fixed already. There is not much arranging or composing work or anything like that happening in the studio. When we go to the studio it’s always like working quick. Each musician goes in, press record, play stuff and leave. It’s pretty much like that.
As far as writing process: is basically myself and today is also Ivo, our guitar player. He was writing quite some things for the last album and he will for the next album.
The songs are basically completely written by one person for all the instruments and everything. I roughly record it at home. The instruments I don’t play myself I can write in programs. Guitars and stuff like that I can do myself. Yeah, I just roughly record myself at home and send it to the band and everyone can learn their line. Then start the refining lines for his or her own instruments. That’s basically how we work.You have released an “instrumental” album, which is even described in your web site as an “acoustic” album [Evocation I]. You have already announced that you will have a second part for the album. Are there any plans to perform acoustic concerts or tours?
There have been, yeah. We did it last year and the year before when we released the acoustic album. We played quite some acoustic shows but to be honest we are not the biggest fans of that. We didn’t know… we wanted to try it out but yeah, I don’t know. We enjoyed playing those songs but the shows themselves, I don’t know… we didn’t like it too much.
Maybe it has something to do with the… well, it’s not the audience but usually when we play acoustic shows its like, those medieval festivals or something like that. You know… all those gothic / medieval things you know? That’s totally cool with us, of course, but we just learned there that we can’t really compete with those medieval [bands]. I don’t know if you have ever seen bands like In Extremo and Corvus Corax: they come up on stage completely dressed up with those medieval things, they put out a hell of a show. It’s almost like medieval comedy or something like that, like they did hundreds of years ago. We didn’t know. We have never seen that… like: “Ohh what the hell is going on here?” Just, you know, the village idiots, we just came on stage, dressed as we are and play our folk music. People actually liked it but we always felt a bit odd actually (laughs).
But yeah, when we will record part 2 of Evocation for sure we will play acoustic shows again. Probably not an acoustic tour though. But, never say never, we don’t know yet.So, you guys are probably introducing Folk music to a lot of metal fans. Do you think that the “opposite” is happening too? That a lot of people who like folk music are learning about metal because of you?
Funnily enough that actually happens, from time to time. Actually quite often! Maybe it’s also a little bit a matter of the area where we are playing.
Especially in Switzerland, we have almost after every show, people coming up to us and like: “Yeah… they never heard metal, they really don’t like metal but they heard this like in the radio or something and they were: Ohh, this is cool and stuff”.
So, yes… sometimes we even have a little bit of older people, 50 year old guys or something, who are basically into folk music, coming to our shows. Not that often though, of course not, but yeah, it happens, from time to time.More of a personal question now. When you started to get into metal, which were your first favorite bands then and how do you think that their music influenced you and your music?
Ahh… I started to listen to metal quite early, when I was 6 years old, and my favorite band back then was Iron Maiden. Back than I thought that this was the only band playing music like that, I didn’t know that there was a heavy metal scene or something (laughs). I just got introduced to Iron Maiden and completely felt in love with it.
That band brought me to metal and that for sure influenced me. But, I mean, I don’t know… for sure they didn’t influenced the way I’m playing guitar or other string instruments
If you could set-up a “dream” tour, where would that be and which groups would be in there?
Ha… well, I’ve been asked this questions a couple of times actually. I usually don’t know what to say. Basically, we just love to play live. So, we are just happy when we can play our song and when we can be on the road. We don’t care that much about what other bands are playing.
Me, personally, I would really love to drive a tour with Slipknot once. I don’t know exactly why. I just kind of like this band… I think it’s a cool band somehow.
Since it’s a repeated question… let me know re-phrase it: Any bands you would like to see if you could like… go back in time?
Wow… if I could do that I would love to see the “Bothy Band”. I don’t know if you heard of them. They are an Irish folk band from the 70’s. Yeah… they are “my gods” (laughs). Obviously they don’t exist anymore but I would love to see a show. It must have been amazing.
Switzerland is not a “known” country for metal bands. How is the metal scene over there? Do you think that it was harder for you (or it is harder for other bands from Switzerland) to grow than it is for bands from Finland, for example? [I had asked a similar question to Finntroll and Ensiferum on another interview. I had to know the answer from a non-Scandinavian band also. Check the other interview. The differences in answers are quite interesting].
Yeah, I do think so, yeah. It’s basically for two reasons I guess. One reason is that metal music is, as you correctly said, not a very big topic in Switzerland. So that means that in Finland for example, or some other Scandinavian countries, metal gets a much stronger attention, for example, from media and also from the government. I mean, the countries’ governments and social institutions, stuff like that, They… ohh… how do you say this… they endorse culture, whatever it is. If it is like painting or theater or music, they don’t care what kind of music it is, you know? They just think: ok, they are young people, contribution to our country’s culture, so it’s worth helping them out, you know?
So, this is not exactly happening in Switzerland. I mean, it is happening if you have a pop band or stuff like that. If you are applying metal they are usually “Oh… what’s this?” you know? So, that’s, of course one thing that makes it a little harder.
But, the main reason, personally I think, it is that we are too rich [Switzerland]. Sounds stupid but I think, if you want to grow up as a band it means like a hell of a lot of sacrifices, and at one point you will have to sacrifice your financial security and your nice standard of living. Because, if you grow, you will get to that point where you play that much live shows and tours and you invest that much into the band that it’s not possible for you anymore to have a regular job. But still, in that time, your band is not famous enough to bring you as much money as a regular job does. So, if you “grow”, you will face this time. If you are lucky you are only talking about 2, 3 years which are really difficult. But for most of the bands, this can be 10 years, you know?
If you look for example, to America, I mean, the living standard is far not as high as it is in Switzerland, for example, and there are many, many young people that don’t have many chances in their life. I know that this sounds really stupid…
No it doesn’t! I’m from Brazil! I know how it is!
There you go!
For many of them, music is like, their only chance to really go and do something they really like.
So they gladly give up anything for that, work their asses off… this is not happening in Switzerland. There are many, many bands in Switzerland, hundreds of bands actually, some really, really good metal bands.
The problem for most of them is that they are … how can you say? Too lazy or they just don’t want to risk too much. They like their good living standard, they like their financial security and having a nice apartment, blah, blah, blah. They are not willing to give all that up, to have a band which is growing, getting international attention and stuff like that. But, you need to give those things up otherwise you will just have your little 50 people shows once a month in Switzerland. That’s what actually is the case for most of the Swiss metal bands. Unfortunately! It’s a bummer actually.
Yeah, I think these are the two main reasons why it is hard for metal bands in Switzerland. Yeah, as I said, they make it hard for themselves, you know?
Do you think that maybe Eluveitie will be open some “doors” for other Swiss metal bands?
I don’t know. It would be cool. Maybe … I mean, there have been famous bands around [from Switzerland]. There has been Celtic frost, Samael, Coroner… but, obviously they didn’t change too much the Swiss music scene so I think we will not change it too much. But maybe … never say never!
Where do you see Eluveitie in 3 or 5 years? What are your big dreams and hopes for the band? And also, you have already reached / conquered a lot of milestones. Any big milestones that you are still expecting to reach by the end of this year?
Not really. I’m happy when I can afford a pair of new trousers or something like that. We are just music junkies! That’s the most important thing to us. It means life to us, that we can play and record our music. That’s basically what we want to do. As long as we can go on doing that we are happy. Yeah, of course we have our goals, but it’s more of a constant process of like going on step by step. We are working hard on that. Yeah … but we don’t have much expectations or anything. We just go step by step and see what happens.
Thank you! Anything you want to say to the Spirit of Metal readers?
Yeah. Thank you very much for the interview and thanks for all the readers for their interest in Eluveitie!