Chris Slack - First off, what is the question that you are the most tired of hearing during interviews? I like to check so I can avoid asking it.
Chrigel Glanzmann – I don’t care, I really don’t care. Maybe a month ago I was like fuck, I can’t do it any longer. I mean it’s always the same when a new album is released all the interviews start and from this year from the beginning of the year until now I have had like 140 interviews about the new album. Probably something like “Can you tell me something about the recording process. A question like that which I answered 140 times. Like two months ago or something I was like oh god no,I can’t do it anymore, not one more time. But really I don’t care, there are no questions you can’t ask.
CS – Eluveitie has been doing their thing for quite some time. Over the past few years the folk metal thing has been getting a lot bigger. A lot of bands are getting together and doing a similar kind of music. What are your thoughts on that?
CG – I don’t care. To be honest I don’t think that much about it. For us in a way that good that this type of music is evolving and growing. I notice it is growing over here in the states in the last couple years. In Europe it’s kind of exploding in countries like Germany it’s the biggest metal genre of all. Pagan metal tours are the biggest shows, much bigger than death metal or whatever. So it’s good for us, but yeah, I don’t think that much about it. I mean none of us personally listens to that kind of music. I mean we don’t know much about the whole scene or whatever.
CS – I find it kind of interesting, at least with the bands that are starting up in the US due to us being such a young nation that people who are doing it don’t have any ancestral ties to that kind of music. It’s cool how they can get inspired by the music of other cultures.
CG – So there are many pagan metal bands from the states?
CS – Yes, even in the Pacific Northwest.
CG – Yeah I got an album from this band the other day but I didn’t know that there were many of them.
CS – The traditional Celtic music influence is apparent in your music. Is it the ancient Helvetian occupation of what was to become Switzerland or is it something deeper that creates your desire to blend the music with extreme metal?
CG – It’s probably a little of both I guess. When I founded this band it was like a dream I had for the longest time that I wanted to meld together the different kinds of music I love the most which is like death metal and Celtic folk music. On the other hand since we are a Swiss band of course it kind of makes sense since it is our own culture so it’s obvious to do that.
CS – Once this big North American tour is over you’re going to play what seems like every European festival which is a lot of dates. When that’s done are you going to take a break from touring.
CG – No, we’ll start touring again. It’s just being planned right now but we’ll probably start touring again in September.
CS – Are there any territories you are planning to play which you haven’t done before?
CG – Well there’s nothing confirmed at the moment but yeah, that’s actually what we want to do, we did some last year. For one we went to India just before we started touring this year which was quite nice, quite special and quite different.
CS – Did a lot of people come out for that?
CG – Yes, it was something like 25,000 people, an open air. So that was quite big actually. We are pretty sure we will play Latin America, Columbia, places like that. Maybe Japan or Australia but that’s not confirmed at all.
CS – I find it interesting that when bands go to India, even lesser known bands, seem to bring in tons of people. It’s like they are starved for music that isn’t their own.
CG – That India show was a complete brainfuck to all of us. We had no idea what to expect, we don’t know if there was a metal scene. When we got there we got picked up by an escort of ten cars at the airport which was nice. Then we saw that this escort was accompanied by two army cars with armed people. Then we arrived at the festival area or whatever it was then the brainfuck actually started because from that moment on we got treated like fucking superstars. Every one of us had our own personal butler who stood outside of our hotel room for 24 hours. They just stood there and waited for us to come out of our hotel room to as if we needed anything. Stuff like that was totally insane. Then we arrived at the festival entrance. We were only allowed to walk around with an escort of guys from the army with guns to protect us, totally strange. At the festival entrance there was this huge fucking sign like ten meters wide and four meters high with our faces on it. We were like whoa what is that? Sure we headlined the festival but still it was like fuck! The whole weekend was like that, complete brainfuck and really really strange. But yeah, I think they don’t get international music acts that often so when they do they are like superstars to them or something. They absolutely go crazy for it, it was mad, a total brainfuck. After we played and we were back in the hotel were were like “What just happened?”
CS - So are you happy with the sales of the new album thus far? At least in the US you’re doing pretty well, at least when compared to other extreme metal acts.
CG – Yes, it was way more than we expected actually. I think the album made the charts in like ten countries in really good positions. Obviously it’s our own country but we have been in the top ten on the official album charts in Switzerland which probably has never happened for a metal band. I mean you’re competing with acts like Lady Gaga and stuff. In Germany it was the top 20 which is kind of mindblowing as well. So yeah, it did way better than we expected. We hare very happy and thankful or course.
CS – The last album, Evocation 1 was a radical departure from what everyone was used to and Anna had a chance to really shine handling the vocals and all. When can we expect the followup and will it be in the same vein?
CG – Yeah, we will be doing part two of it but like two months ago we decided we will be doing it after the next album. The next album will again be a metal album and then after that we will start working out Evocation part 2 and yes it will be in the same vein. We will do English lyrics the next time rather than Gaulish ones.
CS – Without the harsher metal elements being present do you think Evocation 1 got you some attention in circles outside of the normal metal area?
CG – I don’t know, I’ve been asked that question a lot and since I don’t know who’s buying our CDs I don’t know. I mean yeah, what we noticed is that with that album we played more festivals, especially in Germany where they have this huge scene of medieval/gothic things. Buit other than that I really don’t know.
CS – Now that you’ve been through the states a few times and are touring veterans what are some of the differences between the audiences in the US and the audiences in Europe?
CG – Size. Besides that I don’t see that much difference.
CS – With the smaller venues do you think you can connect with the people a bit better?
CG – Not necessarily, I mean with the smaller venues you are closer. You don’t have these huge photo pits and every thing so you are quite a bit closer to the front row at least. But I think you can always connect to people no matter how far away they are.
CS – Are you able to perform all of the songs in your set fully live or do you use any backing tracks?
CG – Yes and no. I mean what we try to do is to really play live what you get on the album. Everything what you hear on the album is played live on the stage. But we are using some backing tracks for intros and soundscapes and things like that. We are using backing tracks for the whistles. I mean it’s not that we don’t play it as we do play it live but at the same time you do hear backing tracks. The reason we started doing that is that in most venues it’s quite hard to mix the whole thing and get everything heard. With the frequencies of the whistles its hard to get it through the loud guitars and everything. So we have the whistles played live and the whistles played on backing tracks. It makes it easier to get the whistles heard through the guitars and that’s why we started doing that like one or two years ago. But yeah, everything that you hear on the albums we do play live on the stage.
CS - If Eluveitie was a movie what move would that be?
CG – Fuck. Not “Braveheart” (laughs). Well, maybe. I don’t know, maybe the TV show “Rome?” or some really different French movie. Do you know “Amélie?”
CS – I do.
CG – Probably that one, it doesn’t have anything to do with mythology or anything, it’s just that the atmosphere is really arty and nice.
CS – What’s the heavy music scene like right now in Switzerland? Outside of you guys, Trypikon and Samael I can’t think of any other bands that are known internationally.
CG – That’s it. Actually there are a lot of bands and there are a lot of great bands. But the Swiss metal scene is like, I will never get it probably. I mean it’s really strange. We have tons of really talented bands but there’s usually this really strange Swiss attitude. The musicians think “We’re Swiss and we’re from Switzerland we can’t be good.” There’s kind of an attitude that everything that comes out of this country that is probably professional and good everyone hates it. If it comes from Switzerland it’s like “We just do it as a hobby, it can’t be good.” It’s a very strange attitude that I can’t understand. Most of the Swiss metal bands are just doing it as a hobby and they play shows for like ten years but just within their own city. It’s just a hobby, they never get outside of the area of city they are in. It’s a bit strange. So yeah, there are very few Swiss bands that actually do go out, like you said Samael and Celtic Frost. And if you do that the Swiss fans, and we do have a lot of fans in Switzerland but there are way more Swiss metalheads who actually hate us. If you’re from Switzerland and you start playing outside of Switzerland and growing a fanbase they start to hate you and call you sellouts. So most of the Swiss metalheads hate us for being commercial. It’s a bit odd and I will probably never get it.
CS – So when you tour the states do you ever get times to check things out or is it all playing and traveling?
CG – Yeah, that’s mostly what touring is. Sometimes you have time to check some nice places out but not very often actually. There’s simply not the time for that.
CS – What would you say is the single most difficult aspect of being in the music business?
CG – The fact that the music business if full of loud taking assholes like record company people, promoters, booking agency people. There are a lot of sharks who try to make money off you and don’t even care about you, they just care about how much money they can make off you. I think that would be it.
CS – If you could tour with any band, living or dead, what band would that be?
CG – Basically we don’t care actually. Usually we get along really with all the bands we tour with. Personally I would like to go on tour with Slipknot, I don’t even know why actually.
CS – When travelling between dates there’s a lot of time driving. What do you do to pass time from one city to the next?
CG – Drinking (holds up glass of wine). Basically that’s what we do, sleep and drink. Sometimes we read, actually we all read a lot.
CS – Outside of music what do you do for fun?
CG – Drinking. To be honest there’s not much time for anything else actually. At home I’m probably working between 9 and 15 hours a day for the band. That keeps me really busy. When I have some spare time I love to cook, haute cuisine. Do you know that expression?
CS – Yes, I do.
CG – Yeah, yeah, like doing some really fine dishes with truffles, stuff like that. It doesn’t happen that often though.
CS – Are you happy with your current underground status or do you wish that, like the Beatles, you were more popular than Jesus Christ?
CG – We don’t care, no we don’t care. But it’s different, over here we’re quite underground playing small venues but in Europe we are not underground at all. We play huge shows for like 15,000 to 20,000 people. But really we don’t care actually. It’s cool to have both though. We just look forward to playing because that’s what we like. As long as we can play our music we are happy.
CS – So your music is played in regular radio rotation on Europe?
CG – Yeah, especially with the new album charting in the top 10 we have gotten a lot of attention. Actually on the last week of this tour the Swiss television is flying over a reporter to be with us on the last week of the tour.
CS – Wow, you are getting pretty big then.
CG – We are from Switzerland, there is nothing big in Switzerland. Except for the mountains, that’s the only big thing we have.
CS – There’s banks.
CG – Yeah banks, fuck them.
CS – Any last words for our readers?
CG – No, just thanks for the interview and thanks to the readers for supporting the band.
More photos from this show can be found inj our Photo Gallery