Eluveitie Interview

What does Eluveitie do differently than other bands? What elements set you apart most?

What sets us apart from other bands is mostly of musical nature. Of course, we are as far as I know the only metal band using the early-celtic language, Gaulish, in their lyrics. But that's in the end the same like bands as for instance Thyrfing do, they sing about their local culture's history and use their local language, Swedish. Luckily for them, Swedish is still spoken today, other than Gaulish, which died out in the middle-ages, as a living language. So, it's basically the music that sets Eluveitie apart from most of the other pagan/folk metal bands for two reasons. Firstly I don't know any other band that uses that number of authentic folk instruments. True, more and more you can find pagan/folk metal bands that use some folk instruments, a developpment that I appreciate a lot, but when we began, most of the other bands in that genre mainly used keyboards to imitate stuff like bagpipes, etc. But nevertheless, I still don't know a metal band with a hurdygurdy, a fiddle, two bagpipes, an Irish traverse flute and diverse whistles in their line-up. To us the folk music part is on equal footing like the metal part in our sound. And it's very important to us, that's authentically, traditionally played on traditional instruments. Secondly I think also our mixture of folk and metal is different. Mostly pagan/folk metal consists of pretty rough, old-schoolish metal which is ornated with some folky melodies. In our music, it's rather pretty modern-styled, ambitious melodic death metal, partly even with slight metalcore influences, which would remain, if you'd take away all the folk instruments. And I think it could stand on its own without being boring.

As a band how has Eluveitie grown between "Slania" and "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion"?

Hard to say. I mean, we grew as a live band, I'd say. Because we have been playing our asses off since the release of "Slania", haha! During the last 12 months we played closely 150 shows including 5 tours, so on an average this means a concert every 2,5th day. Quite a lot. So I guess, we got some good practise. Musically it's quite hard to say, because you really can't compare "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion" with "Slania", nor any other Eluveitie album. To us "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion" is more something like a project. We had the idea of doing an entirely acoustic album for a long time already. It was an idea that excited and challenged us and so we just realised it now.

What themes predominate over the entirety of "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion"?

The album is dedicated to ancient Gaulish mythology. Our idea with "Evocation" was, to create something like an "acoustic journey through the celtic soul". We tried to keep it as authentic as possible. That's also why we decided to do for the first time a whole album in Gaulish language. Even more, for most of the songs we took original Gaulish texts that were written about 2000 years ago. They have been found during archaeological excavations, inscribed in tiles, pottery such as plates or zinc tablets. The main content of the album is mythology, as mentioned. Some songs deal with certain topics of Celtic mythology, some others contain ancient magical verses and some even magical maledictions.

What does the title & the artwork of "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion" refer to?

The album cover shows a modern illustration of Cernunnos – a character in Celtic mythology. The cover basically expresses the title "The Arcane Dominion". Cernunnos symbolizes the power of nature, the force of life in all its inviolable souvreignity. In the end, nature wields an absolute and unfettered rule and dominion on us. But it's different than the human made reigns, it's not a dictatorship. Natures dominion is just there – souvreign, unimpeachable and vehement, but at the same time also subtle, gentle, silent, and arcane. This is what the track 'The Arcane Dominion' expresses. There's a short spoken passage in that, basically instrumental track, it's an original Gaulish text that was written about 2000 years ago and it more or less means: "Here begins the sanctuary in the forest. Welcome! May you find healing." Above that, the whole album is actually totally dedicated to Gaulish mythology. It is like a musical journey through the Celtic soul, as mentioned. So that's where the "Evocation" comes in. In its lyrics you can find an evocation of the arcane dominion.

Can you please talk about the creation of the song "The Arcane Dominion"?

It was one of the very first tracks I wrote for "Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion". It basically consists of an old traditional breton dancing tune, which I chose for this track due to its earnest and melancholic character. There are in a way metal elements, I mean the drum is played pretty metal-like and there are even screams in that track. It is about to musically express the powerful character and the souvreign might of "The Arcane Domion", the figure in Celtic mythology. In this track those somehow grave and heavy parts are twice superseded by subtle, vitreous, almost silent interludes with Annas vocals – which manifest the mysticism and "arcane side" of the "dominion". In the end of the song, both parts – the grave one and Annas vitreous vocals – get united!

I am very curious. What was the influence writing 'Slania's Song' from your previous record, "Slania"?

It's just a slower song and contains female vocals. Since our album "Spirit" it became kind of a tradition to have one more quiet song with female lead vocals per album. And it's a tradition we like and we'll pursue.

Have critics tagged you with any stigmas you would like to get rid off, perhaps by clumping you in genres you don't belong?

Don't really know. Maybe in the past there were things like that. But to be honest, we don't really care about such things. As long as there are not pure lies spread about us or something, we don't care. I mean, people can hear our music and form their own mind about it, no matter what genre we're clumped in.

Taking into consideration current economical times, have you noticed an increase or decline in the number of kids making it out to live shows?

Yes, unfortunately we did. Especially last autumn in the USA. Partly it was pretty crazy to see, how minds, habits, and behaviour of people changed over there. Of course it didn't only concern live shows, but all their lives in the end. Pretty tough!

What do you know & think about Romania?

We know Romania. If I'm not mistaken we played there two times so far. And well, we really loved it! Okay, I hear a couple of Romanian people telling me that Romania sucks as a place to live. Of course I can't judge here, but it was a really great country to play shows in! Cool crowds and very nice and sympathetic people. I'm looking forward already to play the next time in Romania.


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