Recently HearEvil.com caught up with Anna Murphy (Hurdy Gurdy) from the folk metal band Eluveitie to tak about all that’s going on with Eluveite, as well as her solo projects and what’s next for Eluveite.
Thank you Anna for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk about all that’s going on with Eluveitie with HearEvil.com, the heavy music social network run by women and directed toward women. Earlier this year Eluveitie released Helvetios. Can you tell us about the concept behind the album and how has the fan response been to the album?
AM: “Helvetios” tells the harrowing chronic of the Gaulish war. But it’s not just a chronological account of this terrible war, the album tells the story from the viewpoint of the Helvetians, a Celtic tribe. This wasn’t a very simple task, since history is mostly written by those who triumphed in war which in this case was the Roman empire, Gaius Julius Caesar to be exact. Most of what we know about the Gaulish war nowadays stems from Caesar’s transcripts and that these do not convey the full truth is pretty obvious and also confirmed by historians. His scripture “De Bello Gallico” is political propaganda for his benefit to a great extent in which home and family defending Gauls become “belligerent barbarians” and sheer genocide over Gaulish tribes become “glorious battles” that were fought by Roman legions “heroically to protect the Roman people.”
So you can see it’s not an easy undertaking to portray the Gaulish war as Helvetians (Gauls) would have. We still tried and cooperated with scientists to question historiography and let historical and archeological findings influence us in writing the album. But we also just let simple emotions and feelings speak by imagining what it really must have been like back then.
The fans had mixed feelings about the album, we got feedback from “this is the best album you’ve ever written” to “this is not Eluveitie anymore”. Pretty interesting, but I guess all in all there were more positive reactions.
Can you tell us about where the name Eluveitie came from and the use of Gaulish in your lyrics?
AM: “Eluveitie” means “I, the Helvetian” in Gaulish. We use the Gaulish language in our lyrics to make the concept as authentic as possible and simply because we think it’s interesting. It sounds really good and works well with the music, the only pity being that it’s a dead language and therefore hardly any information on how to pronounce and translate it accurately. We have worked with scientists and Celtologists to come as close as possible to what it might have been like to speak Gaulish.
How did you get interested in playing the Hurdy Gurdy? How long have you been playing the Hurdy Gurdy for?
AM: I saw this instrument for the first time when I saw the German band “Faun” live and immediately fell in love with it. From there on I rented an old instrument at the “Schola Cantorum” (a school for old music in Basel) and took a few lessons. When my own model was built I mainly learnt it by practicing Eluveitie songs and I’ve been playing it for about 6 years now.
Eluveitie has been touring across the world nationally and internationally. How have the shows been going?
AM: Everybody has good and bad days, that’s natural. But we mostly get really positive feedback from the audience. Even when things aren’t going that well on stage we still have fun and enjoy doing what we do and I think people can see that. It’s been really fun playing “Helvetios” live. Musically it was quite a challenge because the material is quite difficult to play and we felt great once we mastered those tunes. Now that we have released some albums we can play many different sets and pick out what we’re in the mood for which is very “refreshing”. For quite some time we always played the same stuff and I think we as well as our fans were getting a bit tired of it.
Any differences between the fans in your native Switzerland vs Europe and the US? Do you see differences in the type of fans that come to Eluveitie shows across the nation?
AM: I don’t know, I don’t really like judging crowds. Saying a crowd that goes wild and moshs is better than people standing there listening is pretty stupid if you ask me (if I go to see shows for example I hardly move even if I think it’s fantastic). Our fans support us all over the world and we’re grateful to every single person coming to our shows. What I’ve noticed though is that the metal crowds in the US are pretty different compared to the ones in Europe, I’ve been to shows as part of the crowd and I must admit the atmosphere is better and far more relaxed. Especially if you go to a death- or black metal show in Europe you’re going to notice quite some elitism in the air, hehe. If you’re 14 and you’re wearing a Deftones shirt people are going to judge you and make you notice that, in the US there’s quite a mixed crowd and you notice that everybody’s just here to see a good show, have a good time and not care about anything else. At least that’s a first impression I got.
What are some of your all time favorite songs to play live?
AM: Neverland is my new favorite out of all of them. Apart from that I enjoy A Rose for Epona, Kingdom Come Undone and Uis Elveti the most.
What’s next for Eluveitie?
AM: We’re playing some festivals in the summer and then we’re going on a really long tour with Sabaton in Europe. We have other plans too, but I have no idea which ones are confirmed and which aren’t and I often say stuff in interviews that I’m not supposed to yet, so I’ll shut up from here on.
Who are some of your musical influences?
AM: I don’t really know to be honest, I listen to tons of different music that inspires me subconsciously. The most important band for me is Manes from Norway.
I understand you have a few musical projects outside of Eluveitie. Can you tell the fans about what other projects you are involved with?
AM: Fräkmündt, Swiss traditional folk music that I play with some of my best friends
ThruByRed, weird electronic project I have with my good friend who is also in Fräkmündt (and Vinterriket, Atomtrakt etc.)
godnr.universe!, my project with Meri.
Nucleus Torn, currently we’re working on the next album.. it’s going to be veeery experimental. And awesome.
Those are all the active ones going on at the moment. And as a matter of fact I am working on my solo stuff at the moment, there will be news on this soon!
Anything you’d like to tell us? Any news to share?
AM: Not really, it’s early morning, I haven’t slept and I’m working on finishing up our recordings for “The Early Years” (Click here for the press release)
Anything you’d like to say to your fans on HearEvil.com?
AM: Thanks for your support! Cheers to you
Most of all thank you so much Anna for taking the time for this interview for HearEvil.com!