“We love each other” – Interview with Chrigel Glanzmann and Fabienne Erni from Eluveitie

Eluveitie’s Ategnatos tour also reached Budapest on the 6th of December in 2019. The band already performed a few songs from Ategnatos to the Hungarian crowd on the Rockmaraton Festival 2019, but the true album release tour only happened now – and with a huge success. Metal.hu had the chance to talk to Chrigel Glanzmann and Fabienne Erni from the band before their show.

Congratulations for Ategnatos, I think it is a very great album, with a huge amount of extremely strong songs. Did you have more time for composing them or was there a huge input from the new band members?

Fabienne Erni: There definitely wasn’t a lot of time!

Chrigel Glanzmann: Thank you! Actually, there was much less time and much less thinking. It was much more spontaneous and improvised.

Fabienne: Yeah, especially the one song… Did it ever happen before, that a whole song was born in the studio?

Chrigel: Omnos happened in four hours, for instance. But that was not in the studio. This time, Ambiramus literally happened in the studio.

Fabienne: Took a bit longer than four hours, though.

Chrigel: Yeah, but not that much. Well, in total, yeah.

If it wasn’t for that studio thing, maybe the album wouldn’t have had any jumpy party songs?

Chrigel: I don’t think so. It is actually all Alain’s fault. This terrible groove we all hated so much in the beginning!

Fabienne: The disco groove!

Chrigel: It all happened at the end of the drum recording session. Alain was done very quickly, probably in 3 days or something like that. I kind of had the idea for a song like that… more than an idea, but there was no arrangement. On the last day of the drum recording, Jonas, the guitar player started moaning like “Oh, come on, we should have a song like this, come on, let’s do this”, so we tried. But I told them “Dude, if it is not happening, it’s just not happening, if the song is not coming, then what the fuck.” In the end Alain was already done, he finished the drum recording, and tired as fuck he just wanted to pack his drumkit and wanted to drive home and finally sleep after the studio. But Jonas was still complaining like “Come on, just wait, maybe, maybe…!”. So maybe two hours and a couple of gin tonics later I was just like “Dudes, I cannot listen to this anymore, just give me 15 minutes I will just quickly do something, maybe program something”. I did and I just gave it to Jonas and Alain and Jonas was like “Hm, actually that’s not that bad.” Alain was like okay, let’s just do something. He thought about it for like ten minutes and he just recorded something. What you can hear now – in the chorus he did this terribly disco kind of jumpy groove, and we were like “Fuck, no, no no no, he cannot do that!”, but it turned out nice.

Fabienne: It turned out perfect!

You have been on tour for a crazy long time now, the European leg is lasting for like 5 weeks, with concerts almost every single day, very tight schedule. How tired are you or how are you holding up?

Fabienne: It’s not only these 5 weeks so far, we were touring since January with some breaks inbetween, a lot of festivals, we started out in South America and then Australia, festivals, US.

Chrigel: Asia inbetween.

Fabienne: Asia as well, China, then we were in North America, and now we are here for 5 weeks. There are two and a half more to go until Christmas. So yeah…

Chrigel: It’s been a lot.

Fabienne: It’s been a lot.

Don’t you feel super exhausted yet?

Chrigel: Oh yes.

Fabienne: Well, I mean… sometimes…

Chrigel: You’re still young!

Fabienne: *laughs* I am, yeah! I feel good, actually. As long as I don’t have a cold, I’m good, then every singer is happy. This is the biggest fear. As long as I am healthy, I am happy, because otherwise I couldn’t perform. Now it is getting cold and dark, you just have to make sure to get a little bit of fresh air and a little bit of sunlight, because otherwise, if you stay in the clubs all day for several week it is tough.

Chrigel: It is fucking depressing, yeah.

Fabienne: Today I went for a 2-3 hours walk, actually. Super nice!

Where did you go?

Fabienne: I went to the Christmas market. I went from here over this huge bridge and then followed the roads…

You walked all the way to the Christmas market?

Fabienne: Yeah, and then back again!

And then you’re performing a show?

Fabienne: Yes!

I’m super impressed…

Fabienne: Well, this is my workout – taking long walks.

Still, a lot of time together! Are you sleeping in hotels or on the tour bus?

Chrigel: No, tour bus.

Even best friends might have trouble tolerating each other, being locked up all the time for so long.

Chrigel: No!

Fabienne: No, it’s not a problem!

Chrigel: We love each other! Actually, we started a Secret Santa!

Fabienne: Just to brighten up a little bit, to have some Christmas time, otherwise we don’t really experience it. Sure, you see it in the cities, since they are decorated, but when you’re not at home maybe you cannot settle and actually realise… The other guys aren’t that much into Christmas anyway. I am so I decorated the bus. Micha and me were decorating just to make it a little bit more cosy.

At one point it was announced that you would play the whole Slania on an anniversary tour that was also going to come to Rockmaraton this year but then the Slania tour never became real. What happened?

Chrigel: Yeah.

Fabienne: Yeah, right?

Chrigel. Yeah, well, it was an idea…

I saw it being announced!

Chrigel: That was a mistake! That did not come from us! Now I do remember the announcement. We were just talking about it – to do this Slania anniversary tour with shows like that. I don’t remember exactly anymore, I think our booking agency started talking to certain promoters in different countries about that and see how the response would be, but that was basically it. But in the end, we realized that everything is so rushed, we have so much going on, promoters aren’t sure about it, either, in the end, we decided to not do it. It would have just been too much. It would have been just squeezed in and we wouldn’t have time for that so that is why we decided to not do it. I think it was only one country where one promoter kind of already announced it or something like that but it wasn’t even confirmed.

Do you agree that there has been a decline in folk metal in the last 5-6 years? There was a huge hype which then died down…

Chrigel: Myeah…

Fabienne: I don’t know, I’m very new to this!

Chrigel: Yeah, actually, same here. I mean, honestly, we never really cared that much about the whole folk metal thing.

You probably do see the scene somewhat?

Chrigel: Yeah.

But it hasn’t affected Eluveitie?

Chrigel: No. I mean… No! I mean, yes, obviously, there is less going on today than was the case ten years ago. That’s for sure. When we started with Eluveitie there was no folk metal scene or anything like that. Then it grew and at some point, everyone told us okay, you’re that, you’re folk metal. Okay! If you say so… But we never really looked at ourselves as a part of that scene and we also never really wanted to be a part of that scene. No one of us even remotely listens to folk metal. In that sense we didn’t really know what was going on in the scene because we just didn’t care too much, to be honest. It grew and maybe now it got smaller, but it is nothing that we are interested in too much.

But you are also not directly opposing this label I guess?

Chrigel: No, we just don’t give a shit! *laughs*

Are there any plans for an Evocation III or an acoustic album with a different title?

Chrigel: No. I started working on the Evocation concept ten years ago and it was meant to be a two album cycle from the start. Basically the evocation concept is kind of fulfilled now, but never say never, you know. Actually, just fifteen minutes ago we were talking about some visions on the next album. But it will not be an acoustic album.

Is any new material already written for the next album?

Chrigel: Not yet, we are gathering the groundwork now.

In an interview Fabienne said that you haven’t heard about Eluveitie until like Call of the Mountains and that you also come from a pop and folk background. How do you feel fronting a metal band then?

Fabienne: I feel amazing! Honest answer! It’s just like… I never really knew where… maybe this is a cheesy but where I belong to. I really like singing different kinds of music and I also listen to different kinds of music, but I was like: What am I really good at, where do I really fit? I never found my place. Now I just feel really comfortable with metal and especially with this mix with folk. I think it just clicked somehow! I don’t know, some people may disagree, some like it, but I enjoy it!

You said that you have a thing for Nordic countries and cultures…

Fabienne: Oh yes!

Do you think if it wasn’t for Eluveitie, you would be already living somewhere up north by now?

Fabienne: Ah I will still, for sure, some day! It is still a dream and I am open to anything anyway. I’ve always wanted to move to the Northern countries and if it happens in the next years, we will make it work with Eluveitie!

Chrigel: I mean we are spread all over the fucking place, anyway! Michalina from Poland, Matteo from Italy.

Fabienne: Germany, Switzerland…

Chrigel: Fabi from fucking Sweden – it doesn’t matte!

Fabienne: Exactly!

Any particular country you have in mind?

Fabienne: I really really love Sweden! I spent a year there and I really loved the language, the nature, the people, but I don’t really have a reason at the moment to move there. But I could imagine if it doesn’t happen in the next twenty years then I will move there when I’m fifty and just have a house in the absolutely nowhere, maybe a little AirBnB or something like, but that is very future future plans! First, music. But I would say I could combine this – moving there and still be with Eluveitie!

What were you doing before Eluveitie?

Fabienne: I studied, but I also still studied while in Eluveitie, I just finished my Master’s now.

In what?

Fabienne: In music pedagogy, so I’m a singing teacher.

You will have really nice reference for promoting your singing lessons!

Fabienne: I have to say I’m happy I don’t really have time for it. It is cool to be busy with making music and then, inbetween, teaching, that is awesome. That will be the plan.

Chrigel, you had a really cool mushroom picking picture on your Instagram but there was something I didn’t really understand. You said that according to the Celtic tradition one had to pay a price for the goods they take from the forest. What does that mean?

Chrigel: It is a mindset that I personally really-really appreciate. I think it is just a normal mindset – the modern societies today have lost this mindset, which is tragic, I think. In Celtic culture it basically was like that: a forest is a place where you can get food in many different ways – you can pick mushrooms, you can find nuts and herbs and all kinds of stuff. You can also go  hunting and get meat. Obviously the Celts did all that. In each forest there was an altar to the forest goddess or god, this altar usually came along with a cash box and a price list. Let’s say, if you wanted to go hunting and you wanted to hunt a deer then you had to check the price list – okay, deer costs that much so this amount of money has to be put there.

In actual currency?

Chrigel: Yeah! The prices were high, you know, so if you hunted a deer, the sacrifice you had to make was kind of painful so you really had to think twice: Can I really afford this now? I highly appreciate this mindset and I think we completely lost it today. Today we just behave as if planet Earth is just a self-service thing where you can take and take and strive for maximum profit, but it is not! Yes, it was actual money so it kind of had to urge you.

And no one stole it from the cash box?

Chrigel: No, at least the Celts would have never done this, because doing that would be the highest blasphemy one could do! What would have happened that you would get banished from your tribe, even your own family would probably have looked at you like you’re not our son or daughter anymore and your life would have been fucked if you did that.

I suppose small tribes operate much better than big societies, because everyone is under control.

Chrigel: I think the big secret of smaller tribes is that every individual is under control by himself, I think that’s more what it should be about. But yeah, I totally agree that the concept “nation” or the concept “country” is one of the most stupid inventions because it is not working!

Do you think Eluveitie has already reached its peak or is there more room to expand and what way would that go?

Chrigel: Just wait and see!

If your instruments could speak, what do you think they would say to you?

Fabienne: My instrument speaks!

And what does it say?

Fabienne: Hm.

Chrigel: Mine would definitely tell me to take more care of them.

Fabienne. Awh!

In what way do you not take care of them?

Chrigel: I just don’t have enough time to take care of them as much as I should – same for practicing. Basically I’m playing whistles only when I’m onstage and in theory I should practice every day for an hour but I don’t have this. I have way too little time to play them and I think they are sad about that.

Fabienne: Mine would maybe say “I wanna glow!”. Because I really want to buy some glowing strings!

Chrigel: Aww yeah!

Fabienne: Yea, some orientation like that.

Chrigel: That would look awesome!

Fabienne: Yes, I’m going to do this in the break.

Chrigel: They glow in the dark?

Fabienne: There are some, I don’t know, I’ll have to go a bit deeper

Chrigel: I didn’t know that, that is awesome!

Fabienne: I’ll go a bit deeper to this topic but I heard it and I always wanted to do it and I will do it when we will be on a break.

Chrigel: This is awesome! Imagine this, when the lights go out and you just see the strings, oh my god!

Fabienne: At least the two – C and F, that would be cool.

Chrigel: This is super cool! Wow!

Fabienne: I will check it out in January. It’s on my to-do list for the break!

Fabienne, you said that you prefer singing in Gaulish to English. Does this mean we can expect more songs in Gaulish?

Fabienne: It depends on Chrigel!

Chrigel: Why?

Fabienne: Because you write the lyrics!

Chrigel: Ah, sure, yeah!

Fabienne: I’d love to!

Chrigel: Of course!

Fabienne: I’m a huge fan of singing in this language! Both have their magic, but I just really like Gaulish – the vowels are so nice and it is so magical because you cannot really understand it, so that would be cool!

Thank you very much!

Special thanks to Hammer Concerts!

Written by: Vica

Photos: TM