♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Interview mit Damna [Elvenking], August 2012, mailer

Elvenking experimentieren gern, um ihrer Musik stets neue Elemente und Stile beizumengen. Denn seit dem ersten Tag pocht die Band darauf, niemals eine Platte zweimal zu machen. Doch erst auf ihrem neuen Werk "Era" scheinen die Italiener ihren wahren Sound gefunden zu haben. Ich sprach mit Frontmann und Sänger Damna.

Hey Damna, did you enjoy the summer so far?

Damna: Summer's been great here! As usual in Italy we got very hot weather, but that's perfect for doing some open air gigs or hanging around at the beach and having a cool time! Thanks to the summer vacations we also had all the time to prepare a lot of things for the release of our new album including the shootings of the new videoclip. That was a biiig sweater!!

Soon your new album "Era" will be released. Are you completely satisfied with the final result or would you already like to change any part on the CD?

Damna: Well, as usual it's like taking a picture of yourself and seeing that something wasn't in place, like your hair or your t-shirt, eheh! But I think that with "Era" everything was in place, so that's a very good picture of Elvenking in 2012.

Does the new CD seamlessly tie in with the previous record "Red Silent Tides" or do we have to expect another side of Elvenking?

Damna: We always tend to try new elements and styles. It's in our nature. Since day one we always declared that we'd never do an album twice. But you know after a lot of trying and experiencing different things I think that "Era" really got the true Elvenking sound. "RST" was more melodic and "light". Both the songs and the production are pretty much near to hard rock, still being an Elvenking album. At the time we needed to do an album like that. Overall "Era" is heavier, darker and a lot more epic than "Red Silent Tides" – a new fresh album, but with strong connections to our past. In "Era" you can find all the elements that make the Elvenking sound. The complexity of "Heathenreel", the symphonic and melodic epic arrangements of "The Winter Wake", the heavy side of "The Scythe", the acoustic and folk elements of "Two Tragedy Poets" and the romantic and melodic side of "Red Silent Tides" plus a touch that I don't know how to describe…it's just great and epic!

In which section of a music store would I have to search for the new album?

Damna: Eheh! Good question! If sections were like PC directories, I would say the root would be metal, then melodic, then epic, then folk…so folk epic melodic metal. What do you think? Seriously it's very hard to etiquette our sound since it has a lot of different shades and influences.

To what extent do you usher in a new era?

Damna: I think there are different things that lead us to this new "Era". First of all we had some big lineup changes. Then we come from a pretty "difficult" album like "Red Silent Tides" which we absolutely love, but most of our fans didn't understand properly. In the end we really couldn't wait to write some new material.

So one part of this new era is that Elvenking got two new permanent members: bass player Jakob and drummer Symohn. How did they both find their way into the band, and why did Zender and Gorlan say goodbye?

Damna: With the addition of Symohn and Jakob we definitely had new strength and a renewed enthusiasm inside the band. New people always bring freshness inside a group of people, and actually those two guys brought also a total new technical level playing their instruments. So it was still Elvenking, but with new weapons!! It was interesting and satisfying writing the new songs and playing them in the rehearsal room.

Did Jakob and Symohn already take part in the songwriting process for "Era"? How does an Elvenking song usually come into being?

Damna: They worked with us in the rehearsal room bringing good ideas to the song structures and the arrangements.

What have been your inspiration sources for the music and lyrics this time?

Damna: As usual we get inspiration from our experiences, everything we "live". And that moves emotions or feelings can be a good conductor for writing music or lyrics. And this happened for "Era", too. Speaking for myself any kind of emotion or feeling can push me to write songs. May it be good or bad. When I'm in a really bad mood my mind kind of puts itself in some kind of "survival" mode…and letting it all bleed out in a song is one of the most successful cures, see "I Am the Monster" for example.

Where, with which producer and during which period of time did you record the album?

Damna: This time we recorded most of the tracks at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland, including the mixing and the mastering in collaboration with producer Nino Laurenne. We recorded bass, violin and a part of the vocals in a couple of Italian studios.

Elvenking is a band with six members – but is it also a democratic one? Has always been everybody involved in every recording step during the studio sessions?

Damna: Everyone inside Elvenking knows that a successful band has to take choices and run in one single direction. So basically we all agree in taking quick and strong choices all made for growing and keeping the quality standards as high as possible.

Which anecdotes can you to tell us about the studio time?

Damna: Well, everything was great in the studio! Actually Rafahel and Aydan recorded a very funny video where they teach people how to cook the proper Italian Pasta Carbonara; soon you will see it on Youtube! The video will start the great ElvenKitchen series. Watch out for it! Ahah!!

There are a couple of guest musicians on the album. Maurizio Cardullo – known from the Italian band Folkstone – contributed pipes, flutes and other typical folk instruments on "Era". You also won Jon Oliva (Ex-Savatage, Jon Oliva's Pain etc.) to sing on two tracks. And Teemu Mäntysaari from Wintersun contributed a guitar solo. Why did you decide to have so many guests on the CD and how did these collaborations come about?

Damna: We already had guests in the past, but this time we thought about finally doing the collaboration with Jon Oliva. We've been talking about it for years, since we made the tour together in 2006. So finally we made it and we're really happy about his great performance! Teemu's solo was nothing planned. We met him in the studio and Nino suggested us to have one of his solos in the album. He was damn right, the solo is amazing! About Maurizio: We toured with Folkstone this year in Italy and when it came to ask somebody to play the folkloristic instruments as we planned, it was natural to call him. He is an incredible musician! Then we don't have to forget Antonio Agate (and Andrea Corona) who made the great epic arrangements with the keyboards.

And who's the woman performing for example "A Song For The People" together with you?

Damna: She is Netta Dahlberg, an amazing Finnish singer. She already made several things in Finland including some parts in the last Amorphis album.

Which is your current highlight on "Era" and why?

Damna: Last week I would have said "I Am The Monster". Today I'd say "The Loser". I think it's the song that perfectly speaks for "Era". It has it all: fast parts, huge melodic choruses, great bagpipes melodies, strong keyboards, excellent choirs and over the top instrument performance. Very soon we'll release the videoclip of this song!

Who's responsible for the cover artwork?

Damna: Samuel Araya. He already made the cover of "Red Silent Tides". He is an awesome artist, just take a look at Cradle Of Filth's "Thornography" artwork for example!

To what extent does the cover reflect the album content?

Damna: 100 percent! The album cover reflects exactly this album. It is a more gloomy, dark, fairytalish and epic album and so is the cover. We have to thank Samuel for understating the sense completely.

How are you going to celebrate the release?

Damna: We are already making a lot of things like videos on Youtube with curiosities, track by track, lyric videos, acoustic radio shows etc. We are really doing all we can to make people know this is a new great time for Elvenking and to give a lot of free material to the fans. Check our Youtube Channel! Then we'll make a big release party in Italy when we'll do the tour together with Secret Sphere.

In times of downloading and streaming songs online: Can you actually live from your music or do you all have other jobs besides?

Damna: Of course we all have daily jobs. These are damn hard times! But we're doing everything to keep up the great work with the band and have a great time doing the music we love.

When will it be possible to hear the new songs live on stage?

Damna: Later this month we'll start the "Era" tour in Spain, so basically those are the first occasions to hear the new material on a stage.

And one last question: How would you continue the sentence "Music is…"?

Damna: …dying! That's sad and unfortunately it's happening, but I'm sure things will change! In the end it's all a matter of trends and of evolution, so I hope that one day there'll be some way to restore a bit the sense of music, of supporting the artists and of knowing that when you rip a cd, you contribute to destroying the work of years and of thousands of dollars every time. But this happens for all kinds of art and entertainment. People don't have to forget that without art and fantasy we would be mentally dead, and that must not happen at all! So let's hope for the best!

Interview: Lea S.
Foto 1: taken from hearthemusic.de
Website Band: www.elvenking.net

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 10/12 / www.zillo.de
copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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