Interview date

31 Janvier 2012




Interview Anna Murphy (by mailer)

First of all, thank you for answering our questions for the French website auxportesdumetal.com. "Helvetios", your new album, is the fourth released with Nuclear Blast. The collaboration with this German label seems to satisfy you, doesn't it?

Yes, it certainly does.

This time, the musicians of the band are the same than on your previous album. Do you think you have reached a kind of stability ?

Well you can never know, especially with so many different characters in the band. But I'd say so, yes.

I have read that the new album, "Helvetios", is a concept album. Can you tell us about the story, so far ?

"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.

So, once again, you are talking about Gaul. What fascinates you about the Gallic civilisation?

All the few things we know about them, see the above question.

According to me, Helvetios is a more epic album, with sometimes some choirs. Do you agree ? How would you describe this new album?

Yes, this time we worked with a real choir. It gives the album a really epic feeling. If there was a movie about the Gaulish war, "Helvetios" would be it's soundtrack.

Will you, on future albums, use more choirs like in this one?

Maybe, maybe not.

Have you used traditional instruments you had never used before on "Helvetios" ?

Actually yes, but it's not really a traditional instrument. The little daughter of our manager played one short part on the recorder, hehe.

"Luxtos", like "Inis Mona" before, is based on a traditional musical theme very popular in France, thanks to a folk band from Brittany, Tri Yann. Do you know this band and their version (called "La jument de Michao") ?

Actually I don't know them, but I'm sure Chrigel does!

There are always some Celtic influences in your music ("Havoc", "Luxtos", "Hope"…) Do you listen to Celtic music ? What are your influences ?

Well yeah, that's kind of obvious since we're a Celtic metal band :-) Chrigel listens to quite some Celtic music, but I actually don't to be honest. Which is pretty weird since I'm half Irish half Swiss and have Celtic roots on both sides of my family. I do enjoy listening to the traditional "pub music", but at home I don't listen to anything in that direction.

On "Scorched Earth", the way of singing is very different. It sounds like some Britannic singers, almost with oriental influences. Who's singing this song?

The type of singing you hear in this song is called "Gwerz" and it's a traditional type of folklore singing in Brittany, the Celtic are in France. The Gwerz tells stories which are mostly of tragic nature (as you can hear the singer's expression is pretty sad). The singer on our album is called Christoph Pelgen and has performed with Estampie, Blackmore's Night and L'ham de Foc among others.

Are there Folk Metal bands that you like and listen to?

Nope. Is Moonsorrow considered folk metal? I like them!

What would you say to someone who doesn't know your band to make this person want to listen to your music?

Listen to this or die! Haha no, I don't know... I've never really tried to "convince" anyone to listen to it, I guess I'd just say "this is pretty cool, give it a listen or leave it, I don't care."

A tour will soon begin in America. I have seen you’re touring with some bands like Children Of Bodom but, between two dates, there are some headline shows too. How did you organize this?

That is working out thanks to our US booker Nick Storch. The days we're playing headline shows are travel days for the COB tour.

For the European tour, I haven’t seen dates in France. Do you know if some dates in France will be added?

I have no idea, I hope so though! We certainly can't tour our asses off with "Helvetios" and not come to France.

Is there a band you’d like to tour with?


One question about your acoustic album, "Evocation 1 - The Arcane Dominion". It seems it was the first part of a project. Will there be a second part and when?

Yes, there will be. But we're not planning when to start working on it just yet since we've just finished an album. It might come out next, it might not. Let's see...

Switzerland is a small country but some great Metal bands came from there. Can you say a few words on some of them? - Coroner?

The best band in the world! I absolutely love Coroner and especially "Mental Vortex" is a masterpiece that I never get tired of listening to. If somebody had told me seven years ago that I would be on the phone with Tommy Vetterli (he produced our newest album) one day I would never have believed it.

- Celtic Frost?

I liked Monotheist, but I'm not a huge fan. They're certainly a good band though.

- Krokus?

I have no CDs by them, not really my thing.

- Samael?

Really cool people, the bassist did lights for us once and he's fun to hang out with. Here again, musically I never got into it. Which is weird because their music is actually really good and I should like it (that sounds stupid, haha). Somehow it just hasn't clicked yet.

A last word for the french fans.

Thanks for your support, you rock!!

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