Photo by: 1073 Studio
Eluveitie recently released their 6th studio album titled, Origins. The album takes the band further into the art of blending folk music and metal, an art that Eluveitie has flawlessly perfected since the band’s first album back in 2006. This time around, the band goes deep into Celtic mythology, as the album explores complex myths and stories within the Celtic tradition.
Origins, comes of as a mature album than it’s predecessor Helvetios. This because the story behind the album gets deep, but also because musically speaking it’s heavier, more progressive, and complex as the division between folk music and metal get more and more blurred. Origins, also presents the début of their newest fiddle player, Nicole Ansperger, who replaced Meri last year.
Recently, The Age Of Metal had the chance to speak with Anna Murphy, vocalist & hurdy-gurdy player of Eluveitie. We talked about Origins, her solo album, and their upcoming North American tour.
The Age Of Metal: What are the main ideas behind Origins? And how do you describe the place of Origins within Eluveitie’s discography?
Anna Murphy: The album deals with Celtic origins. Pretty much all cultures have origin myths and tales. Either about how the culture itself came to be or myths about how the whole world was created. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information left to us about the Celts beliefs and mythology because they hardly wrote anything down.
But Chrigel worked hard researching and again worked together with Scientists. I guess you could call the album a kind of concept album as well, not in the same sense as Helvetios, because that was chronologic and completely intended with a concept. But still, on “Origins” somehow all the songs are connected as well.
Soundwise we’re going a step further once again. The songwriting has become even more complex and elaborate than on Helvetios.
TAOM: Aside from Mari leaving and Nicole joining the band, What happened in Origins that didn’t happen in Helvetios?
AM: We again had lots of different ideas, progressing from the usual Eluveitie songwriting. Ivo wrote much more songs than he did on the previous albums, which kind of makes him and Chrigel the two masterminds of “Origins”. The rest didn’t do as much as on other albums, also due to the fact that a lot of the songs were written very shortly before or even IN the studio.
TAOM: I noticed the same narrator featured on Helvetios was used in some tracks of Origins. Is there some sort of concept (or idea) that bridges between these two albums?
AM: Not intentionally, no. Helvetios tells of the Gaulish war, in chronological order and in the viewpoint from the Helvetians. Whereas Origins goes a bit “deeper” and explores Celtic origin myths and legends. There was a bit more “artistic freedom” in the lyric writing here I’d say. But of course our lyrics and our music are built upon one concept, being the Celts and their history. So in that sense every album is absolutely connected lyrically!
TAOM: For Origins, Eluveitie worked with a children’s choir for the first time, how was that experience, and where the idea of including a children’s choir came from?
AM: I don’t know how the experience was because I wasn’t there. It was Chrigel’s idea as well as him who worked with the kids. But I think it’s really interesting, gives a nice sound and they especially did a very good job learning the Gaulish lyrics.
TAOM: How has been the transition between Mari and Nicole? And how has been the experience of working with her so far?
AM: It’s been going pretty well! For me it was hard, because Meri is a good friend of mine. But I see her in private and we still have the same relationship we had before, so it’s ok. Nicole is a very talented and very good violinist, I think she was a good choice.
TAOM: Last March, Eluveitie won the award for ‘Best Live Act’ at the Swiss Music Awards. What is the meaning of this award for the band? And is this the first time they recognize your music in your own country?
AM: Well to be honest, nothing has really changed for us since the award 😉 We play a lot of shows live and we write the songs we write, awards aren’t going to do anything except look nice. BUT of course it’s a huge honor for us, especially because no metal band has won such an award in Switzerland before! So you could say we kicked some pop-music ass in there!
TAOM: Last September you released your first solo album ‘Cellar Darling’, how has been the response from the fans to that album. And what are the main ideas behind it?
AM: They’ve been surprisingly good! I didn’t except that so many Eluveitie fans would dig my sound. Because it really is something completely different… but I’m very happy and every compliment I get really lightens up my mood. There are not many ideas behind it to be honest. I’ve been writing my own songs since 3 years and I just decided to collect them and release them. I felt the need that I have to do this now, and when my intuition tells me something I usually work very hard to get it done.
TAOM: Also you went on tour around Europe last March/April supporting Anneke Van Giersbergen, how was that experience?
AM: Yes! It was amazing, one of the best things that could have happened to me. Anneke is an amazing artist and it was a huge honor that she personally wanted to have me supporting her. I was really lucky that Eluveitie didn’t have any tours going on at that time and I learned a lot on the tour. My singing improved from doing it so much every day and it was also refreshing to tour with some different faces.
TAOM: Besides Eluveitie & your solo project, you also are in a band called Lethe. What can you tell us about that band, and when we will see new material from them?
AM: Lethe is a project founded by Tor-Helge Skei (of the norwegian band “Manes”) and myself. We are basically the core of the band, but there are many other people who help us out and write some parts here and there. The most important addition is Eivind who also has multiple projects going on at the same time. What to tell? Ummm we met through the internet looking for collaborators, wrote some songs and that was that. We released “When Dreams Become Nightmares” and there is already new material waiting to be released, let’s see how long it takes 🙂
TAOM: Going back to Eluveitie, what is next for the band?
AM: We’re rehearsing for our North American tour in September. Then there’s a shit-ton of touring all over the place for the next half-year or so. And then we’ll see 😀
TAOM: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, do you have any message for the fans of Eluveitie & Anna Murphy out there?
AM: Thanks for your support and your interest! You rock & please watch out for Batman. Because he’s somewhere out there. Thanks for the interview!
Origins World Tour Part I: North America
with: Tyr / Metsatöll
09/19 – Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage
09/20 – Charlotte, NC – Chop Shop
09/21 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
09/22 – Tampa, FL – The Orpheum
09/23 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
09/25 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
09/26 – San Antonio, TX – Tequila Room at Backstage Live
09/27 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
09/29 – Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
10/02 – Los Angeles, CA – House of Blues
10/03 – San Diego, CA – Ramona Mainstage
10/04 – Sacramento, CA – Assembly Music Hall
10/05 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Metro Opera House
10/06 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater
10/07 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
10/08 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw
10/10 – Edmonton, AB – Union Hall
10/11 – Calgary, AB – MacEwan Ballroom
10/13 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick
10/14 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
10/15 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
10/16 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrews
10/17 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Theater
10/18 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
10/19 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial
10/21 – Boston, MA – Royale
10/22 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza