Interview: Anna Murphy (Eluveitie)

Anna Murphy (source: facebook)
Anna Murphy (source: facebook)

Best known as vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player for wonderfully inventive folk metal band Eluveitie, Anna Murphy has recently finished and released her first solo album. She wrote all the songs, recorded all the music, sang all the vocals and even designed all the artwork (internal and external) for the packaging.

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, it’s another success story (I hope!) for “fan power”.

Anna took time out to answer a few quick questions from the Moshville Times:

Anna – five or six band projects and now a solo offering. What made you decide to try and do *all* (almost!) of the work yourself?

I guess I finally had the confidence to. I’m really insecure when it comes to my ideas and that’s why I like to have other musicians working with me, to basically tell me what is good and what isn’t. And now I took the leap, I want to decide all this crap myself for once, ha!

What new instruments did you learn for the album?

Not really any, I was playing everything before. But now before you think I’m a multi-instrumentalist, I’m not. I play the hurdy-gurdy professionally, but that’s it. My bass, piano etc. skills aren’t that good and I don’t want them to be either. Rather than taking the time to become a pro at something I’d rather half-ass try out tons of different stuff in that time.

Did Kickstarter make the album possible? Do you think you could have done it without it?

It did! I couldn’t have afforded to release the album otherwise. Well, I would have still done it, but would have ended up in a massive debt. Or in jail because of attempting robbery which I wouldn’t be very good at!

You even did the artwork for the album, though Costin Chioreanu “edited” the cover? How was it to co-create a piece of painted art as opposed to a piece of music?

It was really interesting! Painting is really fun. When I paint I’m like a little child, I can just experiment and go “wooow colours!” It’s obviously easier to take a rather experimental, modern approach to it. If I try to actually draw something that is supposed to look realistic I completely fail.

Anna Murphy - Cellar Darling
Anna Murphy – Cellar Darling

Costin designed your tattoo (the one on your right arm). Is there a story/meaning to it, or is it just something you like?

It’s actually a shirt design he did for the band “Ulver” once. I really like their music, but the reason I got it tattooed was because I just thought “this is the design I’ve been looking for!!” Costin is my favorite artist by far.

Back to the album… I notice it’s in two “parts”. How do these parts, or the tracks overall, hinge together? Is there some kind of “concept” behind them?

Yeah there is a concept behind them. What I can tell you is that Part 1 was written before Part 2. Wow what a revelation! No, maybe it was a bad idea to make a concept album without wanting to explain the concept. It’s all very personal and what I do is sing and play music instead of talking to people about the things I have done and the emotions I have had. I don’t want to give people a clear idea, I want them to make up their own ones.

How long did it take to write seventeen tracks? Most CDs these days stick at maybe 10 as a maximum!

The oldest songs on “Cellar Darling” are about three years old, at that time I didn’t even know there would ever be an album coming out under my name. All the songs that are on Part 2 are very new though, all written this year.

Is there enough in you (mentally and physically!) for another solo album, do you think? Does a lot hinge on how well this one does?

Yes, definitely! At least I think so. Well, I haven’t really thought about it. If I feel like it, yes ;-)

Will you be touring on this album?

Yes, I hope so!

What’s next on the “to do” list for Anna Murphy?

I’m currently mixing a lot at the studio where I work (Sounfarm studio in Lucerne).

Thanks very much indeed for your time. Best of luck with the album :)

Thank YOU :-)
Cellar Darling was released pretty much everywhere on 27th September, except the UK where it was released today (4th November).

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August 13, 2014 11:40 AM

[…] I first encountered Eluveitie when they opened for Sabaton some time ago in Glasgow and was impressed by both the music and how they crammed so many people onto a stage the size of a moderately-proportioned dining table. More recently, vocalist/hurdygurdy-ist/flautist Anna Murphy had a solo album released and I got a chance to chat to her. […]