#RoadToBOA2019 – Eluveitie

It’s that time of year again, when in the run-up to Bloodstock we endeavour to interview every band gracing the SOPHIE, New Blood and Jägermeister stages from 8th – 11th August 2019. This means you’ve got a chance to read up on all your favourite bands set to play over the weekend and decide which new ones you’ll want to check out.

As ever, we’re predicting some horrible clashes because, true to form, there are some great bands across all three stages so you should start planning who you want to see. 

Our thanks to all the bands / artists for taking the time out to answer our questions!

Eluveitie – S.O.P.H.I.E Stage, Sunday

Questions answered by Christian “Chrigel” Glanzmann – the male lead vocalist.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We’re from Switzerland!

How long have you been playing together as a band?

We’ve been around for 17 years now.

Where does the name of the band come from?

“Eluveitie” is a word in Gaulish language (early Celtic) which basically means “I, the Helvetian”. It was found during an archaeological excavation, carved into a pot of clay (about 2000 years old). “Eluveitie” was basically a Helvetian family name back then (and thus the inscription most likely kind of a “brand logo” from the pottery maker). The Helvetians were one of the bigger Celtic tribes of the ancient world and also the tribe that inherited the country we live in (within Switzerland the country name “Helvetia” is also still in use as an old fashioned name; which is why Swiss websites come with the extension .ch, which stands for “confederation of Helvetia”). So they’re basically our forefathers. And well, since we are all about Celtic culture, history and mythology and since we’re a Swiss band, there would hardly be any other band name that fits better! 

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

We’re 100% melodic death metal and we’re 100% traditional Celtic folk music. Just in one band. That makes us unique. Besides the fact that everything in Eluveitie is authentic and handmade and thus we bring in loads of traditional, partly very old folk instruments (such as hurdy gurdy, uilleann pipes, diverse bagpipes, diverse whistles, bodhran, harp, mandola, violins and other strings, carnyx and other ancient horns, etc.). That’s also the reason why we have 9 band members…. you don’t see this so often, do you?

What’s your live show like?

Unfortunately I never had the chance really to watch one of our shows but judging from what we read in the music press or hear from fans, our shows are always quite energetic and intense. And also there’s a lot for the eye to take in, with 9 musicians playing countless different ancient instruments. And when’s the last time you watched a headbanging harp player on stage?

Have you played Bloodstock before?

Yeah, we have! But honestly, I couldn’t remember when. It’s years ago. Maybe around 2009 or 2010 or so?

How/when did you find out that you’d be playing the SOPHIE stage?

I’ll be honest with you, since we released our current album just a few months ago, we’ve basically been on the road constantly ever since. Just during the last 6 months we’ve already played 60 shows on 4 different continents, which is a show every 3rd day, and if you keep all the travelling in mind (like flying between the continents, driving or flying from show to show, etc.), you will realise we haven’t had much free time, nor time at home. And so I also didn’t have the opportunity to really check which festivals we’re playing on what stages, etc. We gladly leave these things to our able tour manager. And well… so I basically just learned we’ll be playing the SOPHIE stage this very moment, while answering this interview!

What sort of setlist can we expect?

As always we’re trying to create interesting set lists that pretty much cover our complete discography (even including our two acoustic albums). Yet this summer our setlists still focus our new album Ategnatos of course, so we’ll play a lot of its songs. 

Which other band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?

Without wanting to sound disrespectful (I know there’s a lot of amazing and legendary bands around) – we’re a heavy touring band, and if you play from 150 up to sometimes 200 shows per year, watching a show is probably among the last things you want to do when you have one of your very rare free hours or days! So in that sense, I don’t really know what other bands are playing and I probably won’t go and watch other shows. Well, maybe I will go and check out one or so… let’s see. But I’ll need to check the line-up then!

What are you working on at the moment?

The release of something we’re quite excited about and we’re going to announce very soon!

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

That’s hard to decide. I guess this would have to be the first show that we played in India. Indian metalheads are fucking insane, in the best possible way! We had no idea what to expect and so we were pretty much confused when we were picked up at the airport by an armed military guard! We were then told that we were only allowed to walk around with them. Once we went on stage, we understood why – there were around 25,000 people attending that show and they were the wildest audience we’ve ever seen. They went that crazy, so that in the middle of our set it became dangerous (for themselves)… and what happened then is that some armed military dudes ran on stage while we were playing “Inis Mona”, hastily grabbed us, hauled us from stage and brought us into some kind of bunker behind that open air stage – “For safety reasons” is what we were told. What happened next was that some pretty much Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi–like dude went on stage, held a speech on calming down and taking care of each other for about half an hour, and after that (once the “audience calmed down”, as they told us) we were allowed back on stage to play the second half of our set. Yeah, that was quite wild. 

What drink do you throw back to get yourself fired up before going on stage?

I’m not entirely sure if I need to fire myself up before going on stage, but I do love a good gin & tonic and so this is also my drink of choice when we play shows.

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