About Me

Interview with Elvenpath

Elvenpath recently released their new EP: “Metal O’Clock”. We took advantage of this recent release, to talk to the group about the EP composition process and also about the collective's 10th anniversary.

M.I. -  “Metal O’ Clock” it’s the name of your new EP, released on the 1st May. How would you describe it and why? How are people reacting to it so far?

We’re really happy with this new release. We’re usually very slow when it comes to releasing new material – one album every four years is pretty much standard for us. This EP gave us the possibility to give a new release to the metal world only a year after the latest album. It contains four songs but, as we tend to write rather long songs, the EP has a total length of nearly 40 minutes. So, you might also call it an album, but we prefer to think of it as an EP because it does some things different. While we usually have a serious cover artwork, this one is meant to be funny. Also, one of the songs (“One Strong Voice”) already was released in a different version last year but we really wanted to do this alternate version too. The EP is also something like a farewell to our two ex-members who left the band but who still appear on the recordings. The booklet shows many pictures of our time together… mostly from gigs and tours all over Europe. Reactions so far have been very positive. So far, no reviews have been published but the audience reacted very favourably to the new songs, especially the new version of “One Strong Voice”.

M.I. -  It has an amazing sound and it shows Elvenpath at its best. What inspired you, when writing the lyrics and melody for this release?

Thank you very much. Our inspiration comes from all parts of life. 
“One Strong Voice” is a metal anthem, describing the worldwide brotherhood which is the metal underground. 
“Rage of Storms” is a funny story actually… it’s about an incident which we encountered while on tour in the Netherlands. We found ourselves in the middle of a storm, our bass player had an accident which resulted in several bruises and half a tooth knocked out, the night before we played and slept at a small club which was pretty much one of the dirtiest places we’d ever been to… looking back it’s a funny story but at the time we didn’t laugh much (laughts). 
“The Hammer Shall Return” is a tribute to paganism and the rebirth of pagan beliefs. Many people are shedding the bonds of monotheism these days, turning back to the beliefs of their ancestors instead, learning that this is more in context with respecting and preserving nature. It’s certainly been a long time since so many people with Thor’s hammer around their necks were seen. 
“Cathedral of the Earth” is a love song for earth and nature. Like a cathedral, nature is sacred and should be respected accordingly. It’s also the longest song we ever did. The middle section was heavily inspired by some post rock bands, that’s something entirely new to us. But we don’t want to repeat ourselves, we also want to develop and, on every release, deliver something that we haven’t tried before. Keep it interesting for the fans.

M.I. -  How was the creative process for the EP?

All of these songs were written together with the songs of our latest album “The Path of the Dark King”. We also recorded them all in the same recording session, except for some vocal parts. Before starting the recordings, we had a look at our material, and we knew we had too many songs to fit them all on one album. We also thought it would be nice to have two versions of “One Strong Voice”. Therefore, we decided to have two releases: an album in 2019 and an EP a year later.

M.I. -  Uwe Lulis, produced this EP at Studio Lulis. What concept and ideas did he bring? How was it working with him?

We have been with Uwe for quite a while now. He produced our latest two albums “Pieces of Fate” and “The Path of the Dark King” and I’ve also been working with him on my other project Lucid Dreaming. He mixed and mastered the second album and I recorded the third album (to be released later in 2020) at his studio too. So, we’re familiar with each other. 
Uwe is a very experienced and skilled musician and producer. He has many ideas what to do with certain song parts; he will always suggest things to improve the overall quality. And often we found this helpful and it made the recording sessions better. He’s a real professional who will not be satisfied with any half-baked stuff so everybody who works with him really must put in 100%. But he’s also a funny guy who likes to have a laugh. We get on really well and will certainly record at his studio again in the future.

M.I. -  The cover artwork was made by Markus Vesper. What was your vision for the creation and how did Markus finish it?

Again, we’ve had a good collaboration with Markus for years. Most of our cover artworks and other designs were painted by him. We usually have a cover concept in mind, then we describe it to him (because we all suck at drawing) and what he will paint will always have us extremely excited. So, the basic concept of a cover artwork always comes from us and Markus will add some ideas of his own to enhance to whole thing.
As I said earlier, usually our artworks are rather serious; this time we wanted to have something funny for a change. This was something different for Markus too because, as he told me, he hardly did anything like this before. But he did the awesome job everybody expected, and the artwork looks fantastic.

M.I. -  How many songs did you prepare for the EP? Are they all included? Was it difficult to choose them? What was the main criterion for your choice?

As I mentioned earlier, all the songs were already finished together with the songs of the latest album. After the recordings, we sat down and pondered which songs would go on which release. Of course, it was clear that the two versions of “One Strong Voice” wouldn’t appear on the same release, also we didn’t want the two really long songs (“Cathedral of the Earth” and “The Mountain Curse”) on the same release either. As for the rest of the songs, we decided to arrange the order in a way that seemed to make sense for us and it just happened that “Rage of Storms” and “The Hammer Shall Return” ended up on the EP.
We actually still have one unreleased song from the same recording sessions left. That one will be released this year or next year in a special way.

M.I. -  Why did you decide to make a new version of “One Strong Voice”?

This was our idea from the beginning. The song was deliberately written to be sung by several vocalists, each of them contributing some lines in their native languages. As far as I’m aware, no other band has done this before. And it would be the perfect way to show the worldwide unity in the metal underground, so that was my attempt to write a metal anthem in a way which hadn’t been done before.
However, when we play the song live, of course our vocalist can’t emulate eleven different languages. It would drive him crazy halfway through the song (laughts). Therefore, we also wanted to record a “regular” English version which we could perform on stage. And when we thought about which song would go on which release, we wanted to make the multilingual version the standout track on the EP. So, the English version went on the album and only now, on the EP, the song is presented the way it was meant to be from the beginning.

M.I. -  The video, released on the same day as the EP, shows special guests, singing in their native language and clearly units the Metal world. Was it difficult to translate the song? How did you have the idea for it and contact them?

I wrote the German lyrics, but all the other parts were translated by the vocalists who sang them. As these are their native languages, they surely did better than I could have done.
We have many friends and contacts in the underground scene, so it wasn’t difficult to find the vocalists. It was important for us though that the vocalists wouldn’t simply be some random singers. They had to be personal friends of ours, vocalists of bands that we regard as friends or even brothers and sisters. Otherwise this “worldwide brotherhood of metal” thing wouldn’t have been credible. They all were happy to take part in this endeavor. Only one guy turned us down because, as he said, his native language sounded horrible in a metal song (laughts). 
Personally, I enjoy bands who sing in their native language. Be it French, Russian, Finnish, Japanese, you name it. I think it gives a special “flavor” to the music and it enriches the music, even if I don’t understand the lyrics. 

M.I. -  Oliver Rossow (guitars) and Manuel Appel (drums) left the band and Erhan "Eric" Söney is the new drummer. Erhan filled in for Manuel on several occasions last year. Is there any resentment between them and the band? What new sound can we expect with the new formation?

There was no bad blood. This lineup change came after a long period of stability in the band – Manuel was with us for five years, Oliver even for ten years. But they decided to leave for personal reasons – different aims in life, health issues, the wish to play some different music for a change. 
Eric did a great job when he filled in on drums last year and we also get along well on a personal level. So, when we needed a new drummer, we immediately asked him, and he was interested in joining. We still need a new guitarist though. Just when we wanted to start auditioning for a new six stringer, coronavirus happened, and everything was locked down. We haven’t been able to rehearse since…bhopefully this will change soon.
Of course, new members will bring new influences; a band always sounds somewhat different after a lineup change. Eric plays drums differently and the new guitarist will play differently too. But our general direction will not change. 

M.I. -  All of your material has been released independently. Is this an option? Or is it just complicated to get a record deal in your terms? Funding all of your releases and promotion mustn’t be an easy task!

It isn’t easy but would it be so different if we had a label? The days when a label would pay for studio time or a cover artwork are a thing of the past. Instead, it isn’t unusual for bands that they have to pay the label to release their album. Just ask all those small bands on labels about details of their contracts.
We have received various offers in the past and all of them were uninteresting at best, a clear rip-off at worst. So, we preferred to be independent, not having to answer to anybody and not giving away our music for free (or even paying for it).

M.I. -  Is there a label to which you’d like to be signed to. If so, which one and why?

We’re not averse to signing with a label but only if the conditions are alright. Who that would be I don’t know. The music industry is in a pitiable state and nobody wants to invest any more. We certainly don’t expect to become rich or make a living from our music, but we refuse to give it away for free. Work must be rewarded.

M.I. -  The full 10-year Elvenpath anniversary show featured three sets by three different line ups featuring many ex-members. How difficult was it to produce this show? Are you planning to do something similar in order to celebrate the 20 years of the band in the near future?

That was quite an effort. We wanted to do something special for that anniversary and, because we had had many lineup changes during our first decade, we wanted our former members to be part of this and spend a nostalgic night full of Elvenpath’s history. And it would have been a shame to leave it all unrecorded. Therefore, everything was filmed and released as a DVD.
Actually, I had no idea how much work that would be… I probably would have thought twice (laughts). I don’t mean the show itself – that was tons of fun. But editing all the recordings and making them into what you see on the DVD today was a nightmare which took years. To be honest, most of that work rested on our bass player’s shoulders and I’m grateful he pulled it through.
Our 20th anniversary will be rather soon indeed… 2022 will be the year. So far there are no plans, but we will certainly have some kind of special event. 

M.I. -  How do you vision Elvenpath in the future?

We’ll see how long we keep going. But the fire still burns bright, our passion for our music hasn’t waned. I’m sure we still have some more albums in us which we can give to the metal world. There are some special ideas which I would like to bring to life, although it’s too early to talk about them. And there are many countries we haven’t played yet. So, we still have goals which we want to reach, we’re far from tired. I’m sure you can expect 10-20 more years full of metal from us.

M.I. -  The festivals and tours are postponed, and fans are hungry for gigs. What will happen for you, this autumn? Will you go on tour? And will you come to Portugal?

We still have no idea about the gig situation for the rest of 2020. If it is possible to play live again this year, we’ll seize the opportunity. However, right now nobody can say yet how the situation in Europe will be in 3-4 months. We keep our fingers crossed.
Actually, we’re already in the middle of planning for 2021. Hopefully by then this virus nightmare will have ended. And as for Portugal, we’d absolutely love to come! We haven’t played in your country yet but if we receive an invitation, we’ll jump at the opportunity.

M.I. -  Thanks so much for making this happen. Any final words you’d like to share?

Thank you very much for showing interest in Elvenpath and for allowing us some space in your zine. I would like to say hello to everybody who read this all the way to the bottom and invite you all to look us up on www.elvenpath.com and www.facebook.com/elvenpathmetal. Listen to our songs and if you like them, please buy the CD or a download. Moreover, if you know any concert promoters in Portugal, please tell them to book us. We’d love to come and play for you.
We will meet where the metal is!   

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda