DATE OF INTERVIEW:
29th April 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: The new album is great.
DANI EVANS: Thank you very much.
(Dani Evans on the wigged Irishman's legendary Eurovision commentaries)
"There’s nothing better in the world than listening to Terry Wogan get drunk while doing the Eurovision!"
Dani Evans backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, 29th April 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Alestorm Website:
Official Alestorm MySpace:
Captain Morgan's Revenge (2008)
Albums & EPs
Napalm Records Website:
Thanks to Hannah Sylvester for recording the interview.
Thanks to Andy Turner at Napalm Records UK for arranging the interview.
Cheers to Dani Evans for taking time out to be interviewed.
Black Sails at Midnight (2009)
Heavy Metal Pirates (2008)
MD: I think I rated it seven and a half out of ten in my review.
MD: Although, to be honest, I think I said the songs would most likely work better in the live environment. When you compose music, do you have the live performance in mind in terms of the big sing-a-long choruses and whatever?
DE: Yeah, I think listening to a band on album is all good, but I think songs shouldn’t be written to stay on an album. They should be written to play live. And with this new album, because we’ve been on the road so much, and we’ve been playing live so much - I mean, I think we’ve done over a hundred shows now this year already - so the songs have been written to listen to live; to sing-a-long to live. The album’s just a means of getting people to know the words.
MD: So you know what fans react to, so you think put a bit more of that in because…
DE: Yeah, definitely. You can tell what fans like and when fans sort of go, “errrr”. But, I mean, it’s just fun.
MD: There’s quite a slow to mid-tempo number on the album too, I can’t remember what it’s called…
DE: ‘To the End of Our Days’.
MD: Yeah, which is kind of cool as well.
DE: It’s something we’ve wanted to do because it’s just sort of one of those…we wanted a lighters in the air song, and it was just one of those. We were just sitting in the studio and Chris was writing the lyrics, and we were all having a massive laugh about the lyrics. I think it’s a great song. It’s definitely different from the other Alestorm stuff - some people don’t really like that, and some people go “yeahhh, brilliant!”.
MD: In isolation, maybe not so brilliant for me but, in the context of the album, like with the up-tempo stuff before and straight after it, and in the context of the album, it flows really well I think.
DE: It’s good, and there’s a lot of different elements on the album this time round, and I think it shows with the new songs, and with the new recording methods and stuff.
MD: I can hear a Skyclad influence on the new album, particularly the vocal style, like Martin Walkyier with a pirate dialect…kind of ‘Vintage Whine’ era Skyclad.
DE: Yeah, definitely.
MD: Is that a band Alestorm are influenced by would you say?
DE: Chris is a big Skyclad fan, and he listens to them and stuff like that. I don’t think it was an intentional sort of thing, but the way that his vocals have developed over the past year, they’ve sort of grown into that. He’s actually coming tonight, thinking about it. We ran into him at Hellfire in London and he said he’d come along.
MD: Oh, of course, yeah, because Sabbat were there, weren’t they. I heard he’s a fan of Týr.
DE: He’s a fan of Alestorm as well. We ran into him and he’s “ah, you’re from Alestorm”. So I was just standing there going “you’re from Sabbat! You’re Martin Walkyier!” [laughs]. We ended up sitting in the bar drinking with him, and it was great.
MD: I think ‘Keelhauled’ I described as a cross between ‘Penny Dreadful’, if you know the Skyclad song from ‘Irrational Anthems’…
DE: Ah, yeah, yeah.
MD:…and ‘Drunken Sailor’…
MD: …and a touch of Turisas’ version of ‘Rasputin’…
DE: Yeah, sort of the tongue in cheek part of it.
MD: Yeah, a proper good drinking song. Which is missing from Skyclad now since Martin Walkyier left.
DE: Yeah, true; very true.
MD: You’re filling that gap!
MD: The voice-overs on the promo copy I reviewed are perhaps the most amusing and inventive I’ve ever heard - is that actually Chris doing those?
DE: That’s actually Chris.
MD: How did that come about? Was it the label saying they wanted this?
DE: No. We got the email through saying, “we need the voice-over tracks”, and we were like to hell with doing these, “this is the new Alestorm album…”, it’s like piss off!
MD: Do Napalm always ask the bands to do their own voice-overs then?
DE: They ask the studio engineer but we were in the studio at the time, and we were like, come on, let’s do something excellent. And we had a few piss-takes with them. We had a few ones that weren’t used for very good reasons! [laughs] Some of them were quite, erm…
MD: “Oi you cunt, give our album a great review”…that kind of thing?!
DE: [laughs] Aye, that was actually one of those! Then Chris just went, “I’ve got it”, and did it, and we all just pissed ourselves with laughter; a good half hour just listening to it over and over. It was so funny!
MD: Some of the voice-overs are just “yarrrr!” and I couldn’t work out on first listen…is that part of the song because they happen over instrumental parts, so wondered if they were random “yarrrs”!
DE: [laughs] Yeah, they happen just over the instrumental parts so you don’t miss any of the lyrical parts.
MD: Did you watch the Eurovision Song Contest last year, and at what point did you decide to cover ‘Wolves of the Sea’?
DE: We weren’t in the country when the Eurovision was on so…Chris saw the video on YouTube, and he just saw it and went, “I have to cover this!”. And when he sent the composition he’d put together for it, I just fell in love straight away. It sounded like the greatest idea in the world, and it turned out to be one of the best songs!
MD: I saw footage on YouTube a couple of days ago from Hammerfest with Heri on stage with you…
DE: Yeah, Heri’s singing it with us now.
MD: He’s doing it tonight?
DE: He’s doing it every show now. So we’ve got a proper singer for it!
MD: Have you tried to get a copy of the song to the Latvian band who did it?
DE: They’ve got a copy of it. I sent them five or six EPs, so they’ve got them, and I sent one to the songwriter as well ‘cause he emailed me and, “ah, you did a great version”.
MD: So you got feedback and they liked it?
DE: Yeah, I was like, heeeey!
MD: Job done!
DE: Exactly, yeah, it’s great fun.
MD: So you didn’t vote for Latvia in Eurovision as an act of solidarity as fellow pirates?!
DE: I can't remember; I’ve no idea. I just watch Eurovision for Terry Wogan.
MD: No more though. This year is Graham Norton. I think they’ve gone for the slightly offbeat Irishman, like Wogan…it won’t be the same.
DE: There’s nothing better in the world than listening to Terry Wogan get drunk while doing the Eurovision!
MD: And he comes out with the same fucking comments every year! For every country, whatever new band they have, he’ll say the same stuff about them! He hated Lordi I remember too - that must’ve been a highlight of Wogan’s commentary career on Eurovision when they won!
DE: That was funny!
MD: He was antagonistic towards Lordi winning because he thought metal…well, hard rock…was mocking the whole thing.
DE: I thought it was great when Lordi won. I was expecting, you know, most of the countries to go in with hard rock. I was waiting for us to fucking turn up in it!
MD: For the first time ever, I voted that year, just for Lordi.
DE: That’s the thing. I think everyone did it, you know, that’s Lordi there, cool!
MD: I think every metaller and hard rock fan around the world must’ve voted for them that night! If you were ever approached to represent the UK in the Eurovision, is that something you’d ever consider? I seem to remember Nightwish were approached years ago and they turned it down on the grounds it would be bad for their career.
DE: Yeah, I’d fucking do it! It’d be great fun, aye!
MD: It’d be better than any of the shit we do put out!
DE: Yeah, we might actually have a chance of winning!
MD: Exactly! Start some kind of petition online.
DE: There is already one! It’s got something like eight thousand signatures.
MD: On your forum?
DE: No, I don’t know where it is. I know there’s a Facebook group for it, and I know that there was a petition online at some point. They’re determined to get us on there! It’d be cool as hell!
MD: We’d still get fuckall votes as everyone hates the UK!
DE: Ah, yeah, but they might just go, ah, but they’re good.
MD: You’d get some free beers!
DE: Yeah, we’d get some free beers, and free TV time, you know.
MD: Yeah. Okay, in a closing statement, you obviously like to say “yarrrr” a lot; what’s your favourite pirate phrase to growl at people?
DE: Growl at people?! I don’t know, I don’t really shout piratey things! Hmmm…what do pirates say? I don’t know, other than “yarrrr” there’s not that many! I don’t know…yarrrr-haaaa!
MD: Okay, thank you very much for your time.
DE: Thank you very much, it was good.