Alestorm

Alestorm logoIlse deed een interview met Elliot van Alestorm na Hellfest, omdat ze daar te hard zouden feesten. Granted. Cheers!

 

So we saw you at Hellfest, and the gig was really crowded and people were going wild. I think people were standing as far as 3 times the marquee, how did that feel?
Ah yes. The gig was excellent, we all really enjoyed it! We've played in those big tents before, at Graspop for example, but usually it's hard to see what's happening outside the tent so people don't really stand outside, but Hellfest was cool because they had that big screen above the entrance, so people could stand quite far back... There were people as far as I could see from the stage. It was great.

Yeah I think the tent was great because of that, you could see a lot while standing outside.
Of course we'd rather play on the main open air stages where everyone can see... Especially because they decided to use lots of smoke so it made it pretty hard to see very far...

Yeah, but it was too hot in the sun, haha!
That's also true, haha.

I liked the show in the marquee, like at metaldays 2013 it was so hot! Fun, but almost dying...
Is that the one we played? Yeah, Chris wore the big stupid costume for the Gloryhammer show earlier in the day and became really dehydrated. I had a wonderful time but he was dying sitting on the floor for our show.

Yeah that was terrible. But ok, did you see any other gigs at Hellfest?
I saw a few minutes of Limp Bizkit, but that's all... We arrived about 12pm and were immediately thrown into the press area to do lots of interviews... They we had to set up for the show, then do a signing session, then have dinner, and me and our guitarist Máté only spent about 1 hour walking around the festival to check it out before we left. It's a shame because the festival in general just looked really cool, and there were some great bands playing... but we play so many festivals that I always get the chance to see most bands again, haha!

Yeah indeed, too bad, but mostly there's other possibilities to see bands...
So on the new CD we really loved Drink and the Hangover-cover, and after meeting Christopher at Graspop last year we really thought those were songs about your lives. Are you guys really that drunk and/or hungover all the time?

Haha we're all actually very boring humans when we're at home (which is most of the time) but we do like to get drunk when we're together for shows... Over the past few years we slowly got more boring and miserable, but our new guitarist has cheered us all up and we've started being drunk and stupid again. It's great!

Haha, awesome, yeah we always bring Captain Morgan to Alestorm shows to get in the Alestorm-mood... What's the band's connection with this specific brand of rum?
There's no official connection, I suppose it comes from that song we have... We do however have a bottle of CM on our rider, so we drink it at every show. Mostly so that we can bring it on stage and people can shout "oh ahoy, captain morgan's!". But realistically, it's because it's easy to find everywhere in the world and it tastes nice

Ok yeah, that's true... Drink really became the theme-song for our friends and metalcommunity in Ghent, Belgium… What do you think of that?
That's good, I'm glad everyone likes that song, because if you look at it purely musically it's incredibly simple and not remotely as interesting as some of the other songs on the new album... but the chorus is great and everyone loves it. We usually play it towards the end of our show, because it's easy to play and people go crazy. I think the Youtube views are very high too for the video... maybe it'll over take Keelhauled. It's nice to have another "that song we do". We were getting quite tired of everyone singing Keelhauled at us as we walked past, now they have two options.

The video is really cool too. Oh yeah haha as long as they don't drink your beers and steal your rum it'll be ok I guess!
Yeah, that was lots of fun to make. It was my first video.

I bet! Ok so to the more serious part: what was your first experience of rock and heavy metal music?
Ooh, I remember when I was about 8 years old my school did a little play... and I played the part of Isaac Newton. It must have been about scientists, or something... But also in the play was the character of Galileo Galilei, and they used part of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, including the guitar solo. I think that was my first experience of rock music, because I went home and tried to find that song.Then I found that my mum had a copy of Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf, which was great too. I always quite liked the more theatric side of music... I guess it explains why I got into power metal etc.

Nice, I got into rock/metal because of Queen too ^^ and what do you like about metal in general? Does it have something to do with that too?
To be honest I'm not very interested in "metal in general". I've never really liked death metal, or black metal, or hardcore, or thrash. I do also play the guitar, so it's not just beacuse I'm a keyboard player either. I find a lot of more "mainstream" metal that people love is incredibly dull, like Pantera, Metallica, Megadeth... Haha I don't want to offend any of your readers or anything!

Haha that's ok! And what do you think is the effect of your music and lyrics on adolescents?
I hope it serves as a reminder that you don't have to take everything seriously... That having fun and being stupid is a perfectly fine way to live your life. Of course, we're very lucky that we get to do exactly that as a job... but we just want people to have fun...

Yeah of course but I think it's indeed important that people can be like that from time to time. So I think the music and lyrics of Alestorm provide an alternative world where people can escape from their everyday lives, into a powerful pirate-fantasy world. The quests and adventures… Can you relate to that?
I'm not really sure... the point of our music isn't really to be an escape into a pirate fantasy world, because we don't put that much thought into the universe of our lyrics or anything like that... The point is really to enjoy yourself just how you are. It's great if we can be an escape for people and make them happy if their situations are bad... but our main message is to just have fun with wahtever you're doing.

Ok yeah, and what do you think about the fact that young people can find comfort in being like that or finding comfort in metal music in general?
It's great! I guess death metal and genres such as that are nice when you're full of anger and need to release it somehow... just going to a show and expending all of your energy in a positive way is very helpful.

Yeah indeed, or like the themes used in metal that speak to young people, themes about the world and feeling different for example...
It's nice that all genres of music are including that sort of message now though, especially stuff like Lady Gaga, Lorde, etc, this more alternative pop genre.I was lucky enough to grow up quite well adjusted and happy, so i never really needed that psychological escape that music can provide... but it makes us all very happy if we can help anyone with our music.

That's great! And do you use music as a method to release when you feel bad for example?
Yes, but not really because of the lyrics. Music means a lot more to me than lyrics. 

Ok so what do you look for in a song or band to use at such a time?
Well, it depends on the mood I'm in. A lot of the stuff i listen to recently is musical theater. I admire a lot of that stuff because of how intricate and thematic the melodies are that run throughout the whole musical... It's more of a distraction than anything. Lyrics that aim to help people who feel "different" don't really appeal to me that much, to be honest! Plus musicals are essentially stories, and I really enjoy stories being told with music as well as with words.

Yeah indeed, that's great, ok. So I think Metal festivals can be an escape from the real world too, a place to belong and to feel at home. What do you think about that?
Indeed, it's always good to be surrounded by likeminded people. It's also quite a physically and emotionally draining experience too, so even if you're just there for 3 days to watch music, you get home exhausted and feel like you've accomplished something. Which is good!

Haha yeah that's true it can be really exhausting... We are currently trying out the big European festivals. Which European festival do you like the most?
As a musician, i like the medium sized ones the best. The huge ones like Wacken, Graspop, Hellfest etc are great because you get to play to so many people, but they're just a logistical nightmare because it's so far to walk between everywhere and it's tiring.. and small ones are always good fun, because we get to headline and play for a long time, but then the production isn't quite as good... We played at Rock Harz in Germany this weekend, on the main stage to maybe 15-20 thousand people, and that was great!

Ok cool I'll check that one out. I really like Metaldays.
Yes, that was great! I'd consider that a medium one. Obviously that's quite a unique one because it's a lot of days and it's a beautiful environment. The view when you're on stage performing is amazing!

Yeah they don't sell a lot of tickets because then they think it's better for the people ánd nature.
Yeah, there's nothing worse than an overcrowded festival. Just because it takes so long to do anything like go to the bar, toilet, etc

Yeah, I hate that. And the Full Metal Cruise, what was that like?
That was a lot of fun, i enjoyed it. It was quite small, so it was intimate but also fun because it was on a ship. The 70K boat thing is good too, but it's just too big now... It takes so long to walk around the ship, and because you're at sea you don't have a phone signal so you can't call your friends to find out where they are. So if you lose somebody it can take hours before you find them again.

Ah yeah, that sucks... And was the Full Metal Cruise ship somewhat pirate-worthy? ^^
Well it was in spain, but it was just full of germans... So it felt like playing in germany, haha.

Haha yeah it's from the same organisation as Wacken right?
Yeah indeed. 

And what's your ultimate dream for Alestorm or pirate metal?
We just want to continue doing this, and doing bigger and better things every year. We're returning to a lot of festivals we've played before, and now we have better slots and longer shows on bigger stages, so hopefully that can continue. This coming weekend we have a show as special guests of Flogging Molly in Budapest, so we'd really like to get into that kinda genre too. Our music won't change, but we'd like to start playing with those sorts of bands. 

Ooh that's so cool, I love Flogging Molly! That's great, I'd come to a show when you'll play together with bands like that!
Come to Budapest on sunday! haha

Hahaha!

Maybe they'll hate us and it'll be your only chance...

Hmm I don't think so, I think their fans mostly are somewhat crazy too :) and like when I went to see Dropkick Murphy's it was mostly metalfans too...
Here you go, easy...

* Sends me flight-details to go from Charleroi to Budapest and back *

Hahaha! Awesome! Too bad I don't think it's possible since we have our Ghent 10-days festival from this friday, but that's cool too :). Music all over the city!
That sounds lots of fun! I wish my city was that interesting...

Yeah it is, Ghent is awesome!
We have one annual festival that lasts for one day, and they have a few different venues etc., but it's all in the same street, and so overcrowded and full of drunk idiots.

Hehe, what do you think of Belgium? (or Ghent if you've been here already)
All of our shows in Belgium have been great, we always get sold out shows, which is nice! I don't think i've ever been to Ghent though... Belgium and the Netherlands are always great for us.

You should visit Ghent some time it's a really beautiful and great city, really authentic too and we have a castle!
I like castles!

Did you already try some Belgian beers?
Yeah, i like that cherry one... but mostly i like incredibly boring lager, most "interesting" beers are too interesting for me.

Kriek? Oh no not you too, haha!
Well it's on the bar at Graspop...

We gave Chris one at Graspop last year he seemed like the happiest guy in the world,... because he went on and on about kriek and Hoegaarden rosé. 
H
e used to live in Tilburg, he's used to all that stuff.

Hehe yeah but Belgian beers are better than Dutch ones!
I dunno, I like boring Pils!

Sure, Jupiler is awesome, and as for a Dutch one: Hertog Jan
Yeah I like Jupiler!

Allright.. So do you have a final message for your Belgian fans?
Yeah, everyone email Graspop and tell them to book us again next year!

Hahaha allright! Thanks so much for the interview!
No problem! I hope that was useful.

Yes of course, I think it was awesome, and maybe we can party some time in the future!
Yes please!

Thanks again, and have fun with Flogging Molly!
Thanks!

 

Alestorm

Elliot: 4th pirate in the row.

Geschreven door: Ilse

interview grimm hellfest review 2015 festival press hellfestreport Alestorm Elliot Vernon