Interview with Eluveitie — “At the end of the day, everything will be a bit more extreme.”

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We met up with Chrigel Glanzmann and Fabienne Erni of folk metal act ELUVEITIE for a brief chat during Tuska Festival to catch up about their arrival in Finland, shows, their new single “Aidus,” and any upcoming material. Watch the interview here and read the complete transcript below…

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview!

Chrigel: Thanks for having us.

How was your travel to Finland?

Chrigel: Early.

Fabienne: Early, but smooth actually. We arrived in the afternoon, so we had some time to explore the city, which was very great.

Was it the first time you were able to see the city a little bit?

Fabienne: For me, it was the first time. But for you probably the second. 

Chrigel: I have been here many times. 

Fabienne: [laughs] But I actually never had the chance to walk around in Helsinki. We went to the beachside and to this amazing… We actually went to the same restaurant right? But not at the same time. Oh no, not you. You went to the Junky Vegan place.

Chrigel: Junky Vegan! It was awesome. Actually, there are a lot of vegan restaurants in Helsinki. It’s awesome!

Yeah, I’m from Western Europe and it seems like we’re still a little bit behind on veganism. There are a lot of them here!

Chrigel: It’s awesome, amazing.

Fabienne: There were many many places.

You just played your set and you opened the festival; how does it feel to be back on stage after such a long time? 

Chrigel: Good

Fabienne: Very good. Didn’t know what to expect here, but it was so nice, very nice [and] welcoming, people went quite crazy for the afternoon, I would say. They were rowing and running. It was great. I love the rowing, seriously. I love it when they sit down and start rowing, whatever they do. It was cool.

If they do that here, it means you had a really good show, because they’re usually a shy audience. Anyway, you recently released a new single; how have the reactions been so far?

Chrigel: Amazing actually. Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to suffer, but I was honestly surprised. Because it is somewhat different, our new stuff, maybe more extreme and the lyrics are challenging. We were curious, let’s put this one out and see what happens, and honestly, I did not expect that kind of a reaction. Everybody is going crazy about it. It’s more than we expected.

Nuclear Blast also stated that the album shows a side of ELUVEITIE that we’ve never seen before. So I’m quite curious about what the upcoming album is going to sound like. Is it among the lines of the first single?

Chrigel: I guess, yes. I mean ELUVEITIE is still ELUVEITIE, obviously. We still have this very versatile range and all that. At the end of the day, everything will be a bit more extreme, a bit more earnest, a bit darker, and lyrically more challenging, less straightforward stuff, let’s see, I’m super curious how the world will react. 

Considering, it’s more extreme, do you feel like you had some coped-up anger during the pandemic or where do you think that came from?

Chrigel: I can speak for myself, actually, it doesn’t have anything to do with the pandemic. I think it already started with our last album “Ategnatos,” when we really started to contemplate ancient Celtic texts, wisdom, and theory… already creating that album kind of was some kind of spiritual journey. That just kept on happening and for me personally, also for Nicole, our violin player, our lives changed a lot. Everything you put out now, it’s just pretty spiritual, through and through pagan. It’s just changed. Also, obviously, the whole development of humanity and planet Earth and Mother Nature and the struggles in the relationship we have together that just needs to lead somewhere became a topic very much. I think the new album is all through very pagan, a callback to Mother Earth. 

Do you feel like these more political themes concerning environmental issues Is that something that also inspires you as a band?

Chrigel: I don’t care Mother Earth cares much about human politics [laughs] but maybe humans should start letting their politics start about Mother Earth, maybe. [laughs]

When did you guys start writing the new album? Did you already start before the pandemic?

Chrigel: Actually, yes.

Fabienne: The single? 

Chrigel: I mean the first ideas we got… I don’t remember.

Fabienne: Maybe in the beginning, maybe a little bit before, but definitely in the beginning, somewhere. 

So you’ve been sitting on these songs already quite some time. 

Fabienne: There’s the writing process, then recording, then the video, then we couldn’t come together at that point to do the video because there were restrictions, so many people were involved with all the actors that we had. So we had to also postpone that actually.

Chrigel: We recorded that single in May 2021, I think it was May 2021. Actually, everything would have been ready, then there should have been the video shooting and there were restrictions, so we had to postpone it. We planned it, but there were more restrictions, then we had to postpone it again and again and again. At the end of the day, we ended up in Spring ‘22. It wasn’t planned like that, but it wasn’t possible otherwise.

Fabienne: The song was ready, but not the video. [laughs]

Are you already allowed to say when the album is approximately coming out? 

Chrigel: I can say that we are working on it. 

Is there going to be a next single soonish?

Chrigel: Yes!

Is there anything you can talk about concerning next song for fans?

Fabienne: Are we?

Chrigel: I think it’s going to be even more clear lyrically and visually than the last one. Let’s see.

I guess it’s also the right time now to release an album soon because the world is opening up again and you can have shows again. Has it been difficult for you to book tours now that everyone is playing their 2020 shows? 

Fabienne: I think it’s very overbooked at the moment. It’s hard to get buses. 

Chrigel: Originally, we planned a North American tour this year, which we had to postpone to next year now, simply due to the fact that we could not book the tour bus. It’s the same in Europe, half of the crew people are not available anymore because they were forced to find another job. Half of the nightliner companies either died, they don’t exist anymore, and those who still exist have like half of the drivers because it’s crazy… 

Fabienne: Yeah and everyone wants to go tour now at the same time, all that together. Tough one.

Chrigel: But let’s see, we’re all in the same boat. It’s the same for everybody, let’s see how we can make this work again. 

Do you have any upcoming plans so far? 

Fabienne: We have a European tour now in November-December, for sure. Other stuff in the making I guess. 

Chrigel: Same there, let’s see what happens. 

Fabienne: For 2023, you mean?

Chrigel: Even for this year. Of course, we have this tour in Fall, but maybe some people decide to bring corona back. I probably shouldn’t have said that [laughter].

[knocks on wooden table]

Fabienne: Exactly! [laughter]

Chrigel: Maybe it does come back.

Fabienne: We just stay positive in a way.

Chrigel: … or negative in a way. No, not sure. We don’t know, no one knows what’s going to happen. No one knows whether Europe is going back to a huge lockdown again. Of course, things are planned. You really have to take it day by day and week by week.

I noticed you also played the new song a couple of times live. How has that experience been? Was it fun to see the audience’s reaction?

Fabienne: Actually, yes. I think I was excited to play it because for me vocally the beginning is quite challenging, I was wondering how it would go, but the more we play it, the more I like it. Also this yodel, I really like singing it. It’s a hard song, but I like it, and I think people also think it’s good.

Chrigel: Yeah, I think so too. Actually, I’m surprised, it’s a harder-to-digest song, it’s not like catchy sing-along kind of thing, but people really seem to like it. That’s cool.

So, what can people sort of expect from your European tour? 

Chrigel: Can I tell you a secret?

Of course, I love those!

Chrigel: We have not yet talked about the setlist yet. [laughter] No fucking idea. But we actually should do that. 

Fabienne: Thank you for the input! [laughter]

No worries! Glad to contribute, do you take suggestions? [laughter] Anyhow, unfortunately, our time is up. Do you have any last thoughts you want to share? 

Chrigel: It’s always a thank you for having us and thank everybody watching for the interest in ELUVEITIE. Thank you so much.

Interview by Laureline Tilkin