I talked to Chrigel Glanzmann, lead singer from Eluveitie, about their new acoustic album: Evocation II: Pantheon. What’s the story behind it all and will there be another acoustic album? Or will it all be melodic death metal, since this is considered to be the last part of the acoustic ‘Evocation’ series? Continue to read and answers will follow..
Annet: You said it was the right time to release Evocation II. What makes this moment the right time?
Chrigel: I have no idea. I don’t even know if it’s the right time. Honestly, the decision was made quite a while ago. Basically when we were working on the ‘Origins’ album. Then the decision was made that Evocations would be our next album. But as I said, there are no specific reasons. It just felt right. Like following the gut feeling, as you said.
Annet: A lot of people thought, that after releasing Evocation I, that Eluveitie turned acoustic and that they lost the death metal Eluveitie. How did you feel about that?
Chrigel: I don’t know. It was like that the first time. And it was like that some weeks ago when we released the first single ‘Epona’. I don’t really think much about this. It goes the way it goes. All we can do is announce that it’s an acoustic album and that it is some kind of a special release. To some people it’s clear and to some people apparently not, so, not much of my business after all.
Annet: I have to say that the album is really beautiful and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the Celtic Mythology. I didn’t know much about it. All the songs are in Gallic, do you think that makes it hard for people to understand the songs?
Chrigel: Thank you. It’s a dead language and it died in the early middle ages. It’s not spoken anymore. So most people don’t understand it. But, then again, to me an album is always like a complete piece of art, including everything like the artwork and stuff. To me it’s all about the expression of it, the charisma of it. The atmosphere. There are always translations of the lyrics and then if someone wants to deal with it it’s cool, but if not then it’s cool as well. Because I think it’s more about the aura the album has, the charisma. That's also the reason why we use the Gallisch language now and then. For the Evocation albums it’s part of the context and it’s fully in Gallisch language. But on a regular album it’s usually one or two tracks or so. To me it’s more about expression. What we do is, or what Eluveitie is, is something like musical narration of history and to me that’s part of the art, to breath some live into this narration of history. And that’s basically why now and then, we use the Gallisch language.
While reviewing the album, I found myself checking the lyrics so much to know the story, that I forgot that I already did know the story by listening to the music itself. Lyrics is not always the most important part. Thanks for reminding me, Chrigel :)
Annet: How did you got into the passion with the Celtic mythology?
Chrigel: I have no idea. It always has been a part of my life. Since I was little, it’s just always been there somehow. Then again, I grew up in Switzerland. And when you go to school at some point, you’ll hear about all those stories. School has had an impact as well. It’s not that far fetched.
Annet: Can you tell me a bit more about the story of the album?
Chrigel: The whole Evocation concept is to take pristine Celtic mythology and put it into music somehow. The first part of Evocation takes original Celtic text that has been written down 2000 years ago and the text has been found during archaeological explorations. It’s all magical text. Since the first part takes these lyrics, the idea of the second part is to go back where it all comes from, which would be the other world. The world beyond in the Celtic understanding, where we all come from and where we all go to at some point. Where all the Gods live and so on. It’s like a journey through the underworld and a journey through the Celtic pantheon. Each track is dedicated to a Celtic Goddess or God and expresses it.
Annet: The album cover, it shows a Celtic sign?
Chrigel: Every slightest detail about Eluveitie is Celtic, so yeah, the artwork is Celtic to. It is not an ancient Celtic symbol that existed like this. It rather contains several Celtic symbolism. I just tried to create something that can express the content of the album. That’s basically what it is. It’s a rather complex symbol that unites a lot of mythological things that are of deep meaning of Celtic mythology and of Celtic life in general. At the very back, there is the so called ‘Great Wheel’, which basically expresses the rhythm of nature. It’s the wheel of the year with the four seasons and equinoxes. That’s something very crucial in Celtic culture. Above that, there’s a three parted enneagram, like a star with nine peaks. It’s basically made of three triangles which expresses the trinities in the Celtic pantheon. Nine is also a very important number in Celtic mythology in general. Then in the center of that, is a figure which is also framed by two other Celtic symbols. It’s a picture of the God Lugus, who is a trinity himself and every now and then he is addressed as plural. We made this depiction who is framed by two very important or very deep symbolisms of Celtic life. The one would be the lord of the animal symbolism, which kind of expresses mankind’s rol among all beings which shows man in the centre of them. Unfortunately most societies don’t live like that, but it rather shows all creatures living together. All creatures being dependent of each other. It’s something like a symbiosis. And the the other part, the Lugus depiction, is framed by the symbolism of the high kingship. Which also is a very crucial concept in the Celtic culture, but it would probably go to far to explain. Because it’s rather complex. Around it, where the lines of the great wheel and the lines of the nine-pointed star cross, it creates fields. These build groups of three, like the trinity symbolism and within those field are the capitals of the names of the Gods and Goddesses that are represented of the album, always in groups of three and also expressing their relationship they have with each other. These are a few things that are included in the symbol. There’s more to it, but it’s maybe a bit complex.
Annet: This was the last part of the Evocation series, right?
Chrigel: Basically, yes. When I wrote the concept of Evocation back in the day it was ment to be a two album thing. So in that sense, the evocation cycle is complete now. But, never say never. Maybe in a couple of years, we would love to do another acoustic album. We have some more ideas for Evocation. So yes, in theory it’s complete. That’s the way it was planned, but then again, never say never.
Annet: I heard in one of your interviews that you like to cook, but that you don’t have much time for it. If you had all the time and all the ingredients in the world, which dish would you make?
Chrigel: That’s a really cool question. To be honest, I don’t think I would cook anything different than what I do if I sometimes have the time. You know, it depends. If I only cook for the kids when they come back from school or from kindergarten, then it’s usually something quick. But when I have some guests over on a Sunday afternoon or something like that, which unfortunately is very seldom because we don’t have the time, I love to cook stuff with mushrooms. For example, I do a starter with the head of a morel. That are high brand mushrooms with the white thing below. I take the head of them and fill them with some stuff I do with feta cheese and herbs and stuff. Then it goes over into a dish with again mushrooms, but for the main course I’d probably take truffels. you know, summer truffels. Yeah, stuff like that. I really love mushrooms. We live in the area where, in autumn, there are a lot of mushrooms growing in the forrest and thats always something that’s really cool to do. Morels don’t grow here and truffels are even harder to find l