DATE OF INTERVIEW:
12th November 2014
METAL DISCOVERY: You worked with Coroner’s Tommy Vetterli once again to co-produce the album with him… besides the technical side of the production, did he also inspire you artistically in any way in the studio?
CHRIGEL: No. Basically, he engineered the album and we usually produce. This time, I actually mixed together with him. But he’s just a very good friend…
(Chrigel Glanzmann on Eluveitie's new violinist, Nicole Ansperger)
"...there’s just a lot of raw energy in her playing and, yeah, getting her in our band was like winning the lottery!"
Chrigel Glanzmann on his tour bus, Manchester, UK, 12th November 2014
Photograph copyright © 2014 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
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Thanks to Sophie Penrose and Sarah Valentine for arranging the interview.
Live @ Metalcamp 2008 (2008)
Official Eluveitie Website:
Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion (2009)
Everything Remains as It Never Was (2010)
Live on Tour (2012)
The Early Years (2012)
MD: …and a very good guitarist!
CHRIGEL: He’s pretty fucking good, yeah! But, how do you say… never change a winning team. We work with him and we understand each other, and he knows our band, and he knows our instruments. Yeah, it’s just good to work with him.
MD: Why change what isn’t broken, kind of thing.
CHRIGEL: Exactly, yeah.
MD: Do you ever foresee yourselves not using Tommy in the future, and trying someone else?
CHRIGEL: No. Well, there’s also… I think it’s normal that when you record an album, you then listen to it, and then you give it a break and listen to it again a year later, you hear a lot of things that you would actually do differently, or where you think, “oh, come on, that wasn’t good”. I think that’s normal. We also talk to Tommy about this and, before the production of ‘Origins’, we had a few meetings with him and told him, “okay, this time we really need to do this, this and this different.” And he also adapts and we work together very closely.
MD: You’ve been singing ‘The Call of the Mountains’ in different languages throughout the tour… were you surprised people chose the non-English option tonight?
CHRIGEL: No! Actually, it never happened on the tour, neither in North America, nor in Europe, that they ever chose English!
MD: That’s kind of cool. So when translating the lyrics into different languages, was it hard to keep the meaning and the rhythm of the words?
CHRIGEL: I wouldn’t know! I suppose it was, but I didn’t want to do it myself because I suppose, if you write lyrics of a song, you need to be really fluent in that language. But it’s even a lot more like that if you translate the lyrics because you need to keep the meaning, you need to keep the metrics and everything, and I could never do that in French, for example. I speak a little French but, Jesus Christ, I could never do something like that! And I wouldn’t even speak Italian or write it! So we got singer-songwriters from the four parts of Switzerland and asked them.
MD: It sounded good tonight.
CHRIGEL: When Anna sung it tonight, it was our mother tongue, so that was easy! [Laughs]
MD: ‘Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion’, your lighter side, appeared five years ago now, so can we expect ‘Evocation II’?
CHRIGEL: Sure, of course we will do that, but we still haven’t decided when, to be honest. We’re still really excited about it and really looking forward a lot to do that but, yeah, we’ve just not decided when.
MD: Nicole joined you last year as your new violinist, so did you choose her for how her playing style already fit your music, or by what new dimensions you thought she might be able to bring to your style and sound?
CHRIGEL: Yeah, it definitely did, I think. She joined not that long before we entered the studio and she just kept on blowing us away.
MD: She’s great live.
CHRIGEL: Yeah, she’s played the fiddle since she was a little girl and she’s been playing Celtic folk music since so many years; a lot longer than Eluveitie would exist, for example. And there’s just a lot of raw energy in her playing and, yeah, getting her in our band was like winning the lottery!
MD: You won the ‘Best Live Act National’ in the annual Swiss Music Awards in March this year and that’s the first time ever that a metal band has won that award. So was that an honour to be representing metal in that kind of prestigious way in your home country?
CHRIGEL: Yeah, if you put it like that, yeah. To be honest, to us, personally, without wanting to sound disrespectful or something but, come one, an award is like a piece of concrete that is now holding some books on my bookshelf and what the fuck, you know. That’s not the reason why you play music. But, at the same time, what you just said, it still made us proud, in a way, because it was the first time ever that a metal band won this award. That’s actually, also, what we said publicly – we didn’t win this award and we didn’t get it for us; we won it for metal music and we won it for the metal scene in Switzerland. To all the mainstream newspapers and magazines, since a couple of years, we are kind of mainstream in Switzerland but, nethertheless, metal music is just not a topic in Switzerland. It’s really not. So, in that sense, it was really cool to get that and to get in the spotlight with that kind of music.
MD: Out of interest, with eight people in the band… actually, there were only seven of you tonight…
CHRIGEL: Yeah, seven tonight because Patrick, our bagpipe player, was forced, due to personal reasons, to leave the tour for a while. But, yeah, we’re basically eight.
MD: So with eight of you, have you ever encountered space restrictions on any stages around the world?
CHRIGEL: Yeah, sometimes, yeah. Luckily enough, not that often anymore. I mean, today, we are able to play clubs that are really comfortable to play in. Like tonight, for example, it was a pretty small stage but you can always make it work. As for tonight, we were just not able to put on much of a show because you can’t run around on stages like that; you’re basically forced to stand where you are.
MD: It was still a very good show.
CHRIGEL: Yeah, but there was not a lot of movement on stage.
MD: But the music spoke for itself.
CHRIGEL: Thank you very much! But, yeah, that’s basically what it changes. The music is always the same but, sometimes, you’re just unable to move much.
MD: Final question… what’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt from studying Celtic mythology that you see as important and relevant in today’s society?
CHRIGEL: Oh my god, I wouldn’t know… well, don’t eat too much! Actually, I think today’s society could learn a lot from that mindset because being fat was regarded as a shame or something. If you had a beer belly, you were not very popular in Celtic culture. They had common, regular sizes for belts and if you exceeded that size, if you needed a custom made belt because your belly was too big, you actually got a fine. You were forced to pay a fine. It wasn’t very high, of course, but, still, you were forced to pay a fine for being too fat! [Laughs]
MD: Do you think they should bring back that law in today’s society?
CHRIGEL: I think it could be healthy to us someday!
MD: Could be a little controversial, but…
CHRIGEL: Yeah! [Laughs] It’s healthy in a way, but it’s just funny. I think what impressed me was their respect and understanding for nature. And it always sounds weird if I say it like that because, today, sometimes, we look at everything and there’s humans and there’s nature and that’s just like, how? There’s just nature and we’re just part of it. But, for example, the Celts had this tradition – they had a certain divinity, a god, which we don’t know the name of anymore, which was responsible for animals in the forest and hunting and everything. And in forests where, usually, they went hunting, there was always a shrine for that god. And there was a pricelist next to that shrine for each kind of animal; like a rabbit costs that much, a deer costs that much. So if you went hunting and you shot a deer, you were forced to actually pay a certain amount of money and you put it in a wooden box. You know, “okay, I’m taking a life and I’m taking something from that forest; it helps me survive, it feeds me, and that’s worth something so I’ve got to pay for it.” And that’s the right thinking, in a way. So that’s something I think people could learn from.
MD: Very good closing words! Thank you so much for your time, really appreciated.
CHRIGEL: Yeah, likewise, thank you.