This is a great interview with Alea, the singer from Saltatio Mortis. As I admit in the first question, I’d not heard of them before the opportunity to send them some questions. This comes down to a struggle to find promotion in the UK. So if you know of any promoters prepared to take a chance on an excellent German medieval metal band who are great multi-instrumentalists… ;)
Saltatio Mortis were another band I was going to feature as New Band of the Day before getting the chance at the interview. As such, I’ve popped one of their videos down at the bottom. It’s brilliant – a great song and an utterly nuts video which is worth watching through to the end.
If you like them, make it known – like them on facebook, mention them to anyone you know who may be able to book them for gigs, etc.!
First of all, I have to be honest and say that you’re not a band I’ve come across before. A quick bit of research has very much impressed me! Can you describe your sound, etc. to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
Hey there, this is Alea, the singer of Saltatio Mortis. It is pretty hard to describe our sound because Saltatio Mortis is a project with two faces. One shows our roots within the medieval music and pure acoustic shows, Whilst the other uses the power of historical instruments, with a modern hardrock sound. If you really want to get an idea of our sound and our energy you have to experience one of our gigs.
What made you decide to pick the medieval as a genre for your music?
The majority of Saltatio Mortis were part of the medieval scene, long before the band was established. For example, I spent most of my free time with the crafting of medieval armory to take part in the reenactment of sword fighting. Along with this, I played the bagpipes in my spare time. The medieval scene was so appealing to me, that I would try to attend as many markets as possible with my friends, which resulted in finding the first
members of the band.
If I’m right, there are currently eight members in the band. How many instruments do you manage to play between you?
The number of instruments used by Saltatio Mortis is nearly uncountable. Each of us are able to play a number of instruments and we are all still learning more. I am currently playing about 7 different instruments, including bagpipes, hurdygurdy, bouzouki and didgeridoo. Most of the band are able to play many more instruments than I am able to, which gives us the opportunities to create a unique sound, with such a variety in instruments available to us.
Writing a song with a band of 3-5 members and 3 or 4 instruments is challenging enough. How do you manage to create music with so many instruments at your disposal? It must be more like writing an orchestral piece than a song!
At the moment 4 of our band members are writing our material. Most of the time we start with a vocal line and an acoustic guitar arrangement. Then we add the other instruments and the rock backbone. After that we start experimenting with our medieval instruments to give the song our unique Saltatio Mortis sound.
You have chosen to stick with German (please correct me if I am wrong) for your song lyrics. Have you ever been tempted to write in another language, or do you just find that German suits your style?
Actually we have songs in Latin, Swedish, French and English. But our main repertoire is in German. All of the songs in the foreign languages are traditionals which we adapted to our sound, while the German lyrics are written by ourselves.
Your live shows seem particularly flamboyant. Do you see yourselves as a band that writes so that they can perform those songs live? Do you write the songs themselves thinking how they’ll work on stage?
Yes, Saltatio Mortis has been and still is a live band. Our performances come from the heart and so do our songs. We only write songs that are really playable on stage. Everything you hear and see in our shows are live and real, there is no additional sound or playbacks. This is what gives us the ability to make every show a special show. The fans are the directors of their own Saltatio Mortis experience by giving us their energy.
The new album comes out next month. Talk us through it – what are the highlights?
There are so many highlights, first of all the artworks. There are two different cover artworks on the album. Depending on the edition, Regular or Limited Edition. All of them are drawn by Matt Dixon, the illustrator of Blizzard Entertainments Warcraft.
The main highlights are our songs. The sound created is the most powerful and energetic sound in the history of Saltatio Mortis. The lyrics are hard and strong. The majority of the songs are full of protest toward the modern world problems. Also some of the lyrics we use are in the historic sounding German whilst others are in the modern German language.
Beside the German songs we also took a traditional Scottish poem by the writer Robert Burns, and added it to a full new rock song. The song is called “Bonnie Mary” and holds the lyrics of the poem “The Silver Tassie”.
You have to check it out.
Do you have any plans to tour to promote the album? Specifically the UK!
For us it is really hard to promote our album in the UK. So I would like to thank you for the opportunity to talk about it in this interview. The tour will start in November 2013. Also we will play at many big Festivals, like the Summerbreeze Festival here in Germany.
Too bad we have no shows coming up in the United Kingdom, it is nearly impossible for us to find promoters and bookers outside of the German speaking regions of the world.
We would love to play all over the world, because we believe that music is a language itself that can be understood all around the globe. A strong language that is much more powerful than words could ever be.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about the band, music, touring…?
There is so much more to tell about our band, the members and our songs, but the most of it, as well as the tour dates can be found on our Homepage. Please visit us at
WWW.SALTATIO-MORTIS.COM or follow us on Facebook.
We hope you will enjoy our new album as much as we do, and know of any promoters that would be interested in taking Saltatio Mortis to the U.K.
I hope to meet you on tour. All best Alea