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Interview: Chrigel Glanzmann from ‘Eluveitie’

Eluveitie Press Shot

For 15 years Swiss folk-metal legends Eluveitie have dazzled fans all over the world with their ferocious ethereal soundscapes rich with Celtic mythology and garnished with an orchestra of European instruments. But now the octuplet have dropped a major bombshell affecting the future of the band. Drummer Merlin Sutter, guitarist Ivo Henzi, and co-lead vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player Anna Murphy have announced their departure from the band due to personal differences. Fortunately it’s not completely over yet. The trio are continuing with the band for their Australian tour commencing tonight in Perth. We caught up with frontman Chrigel Glanzmann to discuss everything from their Australian tour, Celtic mythology, to the trio’s departure and the future of Eluveitie.

Hi Chrigel! Are you looking forward to coming to Australia?

Definitely, yes! We’ve only played in your country once and this little tour we had back then – I think it was a few years now, was amazing and Australia treated us amazingly. We just can’t wait to finally come back; it’s been way too long!

Are there any places you hope to visit while you’re down here?

Not that much, I mean we have a tight schedule and just basically play shows and go to the airport to fly to the next show. There isn’t much time for travelling around or anything like that.

What can fans expect from your shows?

We’ll play quite an extended set – our show are two hours. We’ll just pretty much take our audience by the hand and go through hours of complete choreography, almost. We’ll also perform acoustic songs and probably a track off our upcoming album, which is the second part of the acoustic concert album.

Do you have a favourite song when you play live?

Yes and no. I think if you’re composing and producing albums it’s like your albums and songs are a little bit like your babies. If you have kids you wouldn’t turn to one of them and choose your favourite; you care about all of them. In that sense, no but nevertheless there are a lot of songs really amazing to perform. Personally I love to play The Silver Sister off our last album – I just love singing that one line. But basically I love all of them.

I was deeply saddened to hear Merlin, Anna and Ivo leaving the band. Did it come as a sudden shock to you?

Not particularly. We’ve been around for almost fifteen years and we’ve toured so much together – we’ve actually spent a big part of our lives together. In such a long time of course people develop as a person and perceptions and ideas and everything evolve. In some topics, especially if it comes to the ideas of how a band works, we just kind of developed away from each other and that’s basically it. But nevertheless, at the moment it’s really tough to be honest. It’s really tough for everybody to handle especially since we’re all friends and we spent most of the time of our lives together. We’ve been travelling on the road almost constantly so yeah, it’s definitely a tough situation to handle on a personal level but nevertheless all of our shows will be good and we’ve looking forward to the future.

In the official band statement you mentioned you’re planning to take some time out to seclude yourselves after the trio leaves. Can you elaborate more on this?

At the moment we’re working on our upcoming album and we have quite a couple of shows confirmed for summer and autumn. We will not cancel a show. But what we’re doing is just not booking any more shows or tours for this period because we really want to draw back a little and carefully plan our new line-up – it’s all meant from that sense. That’s why we decided to look only for standing musicians for the summer festivals. What we really don’t want to do is be in a rush and look for new people and build a new line-up. We really want to have time and be careful to find our future band members. It’s not like we’re completely taking a break from everything.

What else can you tell us about the upcoming album?

As I said it’s the second part of the acoustic concert we released. Again it will be a full acoustic album completely in early Gaulish language, and conceptually it will be fully focused on Celtic mythology.

What first got you interested in Celtic mythology?

I don’t know, I mean I’ve been asked that question a billion times and I still know the answer today. It’s just fascinating but on the other hand it’s a part of our culture. If you grow up in Switzerland and go to school you hear all those stories, and it’s always been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

Do you have a favourite legend or mythological creature?

It’s hard to say; I think they’re all fascinating. On our last album ‘Origins’ we’re retelling Gaulish myths, foundations, origins, legends – stuff like that, and I love all of them. Probably the one in the song Celtos or the one in the song Virunus is one of my favourites.

You’re guttural vocals are incredible! How did you start singing like that?

Oh, thank you. It was back in the very beginning. Originally (Eluvetie) was a studio project and I was just looking for a singer back in the day and had a really hard time finding one that sounded the way I imagined. Whenever I worked on a new song I recorded pre-productions and would come home and sing myself, just for the pre-productions. After almost a year when I couldn’t find the particular vocalist, one of the band members just asked me, “Why don’t you sing? I mean you already do the pre-productions.” That’s how I started learning and getting educated in those kinds of vocals. That was back in I don’t know, 2004 or 2005 – something like that.

Are there any particular drinks or medicines you use to keep your voice in shape?

Um no. It’s probably a pretty funny cliché but usually I carry a pack of Ricola in my pocket – I don’t know if you know that one in Australia, you probably do. They’re Swiss herbal candies. But as for keeping vocal chords in shape, sometimes it can be good to warm tea or have a sour whiskey but usually it’s a matter of treating your vocal chords right and warming up the right way and practice a lot.

Last but not least, Eluvetie is such an unusual name and I’m sure you’re gotten some strange interpretations. If I’m correct it’s pronounced ‘El-vai-ti?’

That’s actually quite amazingly perfect! It is a weird name. We get all sorts of funny pronunciations and we’re kind of used to that. It’s actually quite funny. But ‘El-vai-ti’ is actually perfect. That’s what it sounds like!

Eluvetie 2016 Australian May Tour

The Capitol, Perth
The Zoo, Brisbane
Manning Bar, Sydney
Max Watt’s, Melbourne
The Gov, Adelaide

Get Tickets HERE