Interview With Eluveitie
Headbangers India: How would you describe Eluveitie?
Chrigel Glanzmann: Musically we are a band of eight people mixing melodic death metal together with traditional authentic Celtic folk metal.
HB: What does it mean for you, to play folk music?
CG: Well, it’s just a passion. I have no idea where it comes from. It’s always been there, when growing up.
HB: Why sing in Gaulish?
CG: Most of our songs are in English anyway, the use of Gaulish in one or two tracks per album is just purely artistic. Conceptually, what we do in our lyrics is to sing about Celtic history and culture, in Gaulish, by narrating a story. I think it’s fairly common today, to use obscure native languages in metal. It’s nowadays common to talk about tribes, wars and history in black metal, folk metal, whatever you call it.
HB: Slania’s song is supposed to be patriotic about one’s kin, in a way?
CG: Yeah yeah yeah. The guy who wrote it, I must say… When we work with the Gaulish language, we always work with scientists. Slania’s Song was actually written by one of them, a professor of Celticology in the University of Vienna. It is kinda patriotic, but there’s also quite some humour in it. To be honest, I think none of our listeners know that, but scientists read that and laugh at it. I really like that fact about that [lyrics], because it mirrors the character of the people of those times, because they were peaceful and nice, whatever, but obviously thought a lot about themselves and talked a lot about themselves. So historically I think it mirrors them.
HB: Is this something that you think about independently, or is this something that you just research about for your band?
CG: Well, you could ask each member and you’ll get 8 different answers. For me, personally, it means a lot and I’ve viewed it intensely for many years. Not all of us are that much into it, but I have a big interest for ancient cultures.
HB: I’m sure that some of our readers would like to know; you said that you “stumbled upon” Slania’s grave. I was intrigued.
CG: Oh, I’m sorry about that. When Slania came out, in many many interviews I said that I found, I stumbled upon, I came across Slania’s grave. That was my bad English. I didn’t really stumble upon anything. In my language, whatever I said is only metaphorical so it was my bad language. I accidently found out that there was this tombstone found, with Slania written on it and I really liked the name.
HB: Almost overnight you guys became famous. I remember when Spirit was released; all of the sudden, there was this band Eluveitie that was famous. How did you react to that?
CG: That’s a question many people have asked me over the past few years. Usually people prefer Slania to Spirit. All we can say is that it doesn’t matter much to us. When I started the band, we were clear that we would work our asses off to get as far as possible. That’s what we’ve been doing since then and that’s what we are still doing. To us it didn’t feel like we were nowhere and suddenly jumping up. Of course, you don’t see those millions of little little steps and obstacles but it felt natural.
HB: What’s your personal musical background?
CG: That’s not necessarily the same as influence, right?
CG: Mostly metal. When I was growing up I started listening to metal really early, like when I was six or seven years old. For sure, death metal, good old school death metal as well. And of course, I did listen to some good traditional Celtic folk music. All of us are really open minded about music, though. We all have our own musical backgrounds.
HB: Folk metal?
CG: Oh hell no!! Not over my fucking dead body! We are big fans of Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas and Eminem. We really really don’t like folk metal. We like our own music of course, but we don’t really know much of folk metal. We know some of them because we tour with them. We know them personally, like Finntroll and Tyr.
HB: And you swapped musicians with them on tour.
CG: Yeah, a couple of years ago. To be honest, we don’t label ourselves “folk metal”. When we started the band, there was no actual “folk metal”. No scene or genre. There were some bands around that did something like that, Skyclad. When I formed the band, I had no idea of forming a folk metal band. I just love both styles of music and put them together. Suddenly, hundreds of bands came out of nowhere. We actually never noticed that scene because none of us listen to that music. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but we just don’t like it. And back to your question, we don’t like folk metal.
HB: How has the reception for the latest album been?
CG: When you look at the sales of records, it’s very good. We reached the charts in ten different countries. It was far beyond our expectations. In Germany, it reached four I think. It was with Katy Perry and all that. We seriously wondered, what the fuck is that?!? Much much better than we expected.
HB: What was your motivation to do Evocation? [acoustic album]
CG: I had the idea of doing something fully acoustic for years. We had no idea how it would sound like, but just wondered. We just wanted to create something that wasn’t purely traditional folk or the metal version of the same, but something in between with acoustic guitars. That curiosity brought out Evocation.
HB: We are, of course, Headbangers India. This is your free space, tell our Indian readers anything that you’d like.
CG: Oh hell! We love you and we are eager to come again and perform. We loved playing in India. We saw thousands and thousands of people lining up at our show. To be honest, we only expected some hundreds, but this was some of the biggest reception we’ve got at a show. It was more than some European festivals that people come to see many amazing bands. I was surprised that they knew all the songs so well! I can’t wait to come to India again. Namaste.
I do, however, ponder upon why they still refer to themselves as “new wave of folk metal.”