Interview: Chrigel Glanzmann – Eluveitie

Source: Katie Louise Photography
Source: Katie Louise Photography

Eluveitie are set to perform on the second UK date in support of their latest record, Origins. I sat down with frontman Chrigel Glanzmann to talk about folk metal, musical preferences and life in a touring band.

I’m with Chrigel from Eluveitie, it’s James from One Media Group. How are you doing?

Chrigel: I’m alright thank you

It’s the second date of the tour now, how has it been so far?

Chrigel: It’s not, we actually started the tour two or three weeks ago.

My apologies, so it’s the second UK date?

Chrigel: Yeah, the tour has been really good yeah. I mean like yesterday was sold out completely and all the French shows have been sold out, so that’s a good sign!

And how has it been in the UK so far?

Chrigel: Good! It’s always good to play here.

These shows are the first chance for fans to hear songs from Origins. When it comes to balancing the setlist, is it mainly new material?

Chrigel: Honestly, I haven’t checked the setlist we are going to play today. But usually on this tour we actually do play a lot of new songs from Origins. But at the same time we always try to create an interesting mix which covers all of our discography.

With you guys being a few weeks into the tour now, have there been any highlights?

Chrigel: Ummmm it’s hard to say haha! I mean we started in like late August/early September over in the states. So far, it’s just been a good tour yknow? There have been a lot of sold out shows and the ones that weren’t sold out were still packed. It’s been good and it’s been running smoothly.

Because Origins has been out for a few months now, how has the reception been for that record?

Chrigel: Absolutely amazing! Of course there are always things you hope for, but usually when we release an album we don’t have much expectations for it as there isn’t much of a point in it. You never know what’s going to happen. What actually happened when Origins came out just blew our minds, it entered the charts and back in Switzerland it entered at rank one which blew our minds. What blew our minds even more is that it actually stood in rank one for like a month and then top five for another three months. We couldn’t believe it.

Does it amaze you, even now, when you come to the UK and the states that there are fans that know all your tracks compared to back home?

Chrigel: Yeah, well that really changed during the last three years. I think the Swiss mentality is a bit weird when it comes to that, culturally we don’t have much of a self esteem. Usually it doesn’t matter if it’s music or any other kind of art, if something is actually from Switzerland usually people are like “oh it’s from Switzerland, how good can it be?” It actually started a couple of years back when we got really successful in the states, we started to get some attention at least. It was like “Oh they are a Swiss band, they are successful in America. That’s interesting”. So over the last three years it really changed and now today we are are almost like mainstream in Switzerland. But yeah, it’s actually quite a new development.

When it comes to writing your material, which is folk metal, is it difficult to balance the two styles?

Chrigel: No.

I’ve always seen it as a weird and wonderful mix, I can’t really comprehend how it’s written. Is it easy for you guys to write?

Chrigel: Yeah, basically it’s me who writes the music. When I formed the band 12 years ago now, it was never like I sat down and thought I want to form a folk metal band because back then there was no folk metal scene. But I’m just playing death metal, I formed my first death metal band in 1991, but I’m also playing traditional Celtic folk music for many years now. Those two types of music are just my kind of music. I always wanted to combine them, that’s why I formed Eluveitie and that’s what we are still doing today. But when I’m writing the songs it feels natural yknow and just all falls in place, usually I write songs in my head and I don’t write things down. I always write all together, it’s not like I first write the metal music and then put some folk stuff in.

So it’s very much combining the music you love?

Chrigel: Exactly!

Since you guys have started, the folk metal scene has exploded with a lot of bands around now. Do you pay attention to the folk metal scene?

Chrigel: Honestly not that much. And honestly I never thought we had that much of an impact, I don’t think it was because of us or anything like that. In a way we do have a lot to do with the folk metal scene since we tour a lot and usually we are put together with other folk metal bands, so that makes sense. But really none of us really listen to folk metal, we don’t really have much of a clue about it. There are a few bands around that I really personally appreciate, like Arkona for example they are an amazing band in my opinion. But yeah, usually I don’t have much of a clue about the folk metal scene.

And really my last question for you is what’s next for Eluveitie after this tour?

Chrigel: I don’t know. Because that’s a long time away. This is only the second leg of the tour and we’ve just started in September, but the tour will go for like two and a half years. So we’ll go around the globe two times, usually that takes like two years. This tour will be over in 2016 and then we’ll record another album then. But that’s in two years, we don’t need to think about that now.

Have you thought of playing any festivals?

Chrigel: Yeah sure! Every summer we have a bit of a touring break just to play all the summer festivals over Europe and I’m sure already there are a couple of festivals confirmed for next year but honestly I wouldn’t know right now.

Well thank you for your time, you’ve been lovely to interview!

Chrigel: Thanks!