Interview with Elvenpath for BARD MegaZine, Poland
Interviewer: Wojtek Gabriel, April 22nd 2005
1. I think the band had hard times lately. Three new members have just entered the board. What happened, that the previous line-up disbanded?
It may be a cliché phrase, but as often it were musical reasons. Michael and Martin were rather fed up with Power Metal and they wanted to try out different styles. Michael has always had a strong liking for progressive bands of all kinds, and he now plays in Synchronic (www.synchronic.de), a very complex and odd band, they’re strongly influenced by acts like Voivod or Meshuggah. Martin wanted to play more aggressive music, he can be heard on the new CD of Pagan Metallers Taunusheim (www.taunusheim.de) and he started growling in a Death Metal band. Both of the guys are now happy with what they’re doing, I believe. We’re still friends, there are no hard feelings, but of course their wishes for musical directions couldn’t be coordinated with Elvenpath, because Elvenpath will always be Power Metal and nothing else.
The new members of the band are: Kosma Banika (vocals), Heinrich Greiner (Guitar) and Markus Weitzel (drums), and it’s a cool line up, musically and personally. Currently we’re rehearsing old and new songs, preparing for gigs and the next CD.
2. Your debut CD was out beginning of 2004. It’s been 1 and a half years ago. Despite of line-up problems, have you worked on some new stuff in that time maybe?
Of course, a lot of new songs are ready. Some of them we’ve already played live with the former line up. Actually there’s enough stuff for two albums, but when they will be released I can’t say yet. It depends if we can get a record deal. We’re in contact with some labels, and hopefully we can sign to one of them. Otherwise we’ll just do a third demo. In any case you can expect new Elvenpath songs in 2006, but first we want to take to the stages again. After the departure of Michael and Martin we couldn’t play live for half a year and I miss that deeply. In June we’ll start gigging with the new line up, and recordings will probably take place in autumn.
3. As I see, you like long compositions very much. Wouldn’t it be better to put on the CD 10 songs 4 minutes long each instead of 5 tunes, 8 minutes long?
I can’t help it, the songs just grow…we don’t write long songs on purpose, they just develop that way. When working on a song I never keep an eye on its length, I just keep working on it until I think it’s as close to perfect as possible. Then I play it and take the time, and then I always think: “Fuck, eight minutes again”, haha. But if the song needs eight or ten minutes to be good, then so be it. I don’t see the sense in shortening songs just because people might think they should be shorter.
Some reviewers and fans stated that the songs tend to be boring as they’re all at least seven minutes long, but the majority of reactions were: despite their length the songs are not boring, as the band puts a lot of ideas in them. And I don’t regard the songs as boring either.
As for the new stuff, we have some comparatively short new tracks, but as I said before, they just came out that way, we didn’t cut them short on purpose. But most of the new songs are pretty long again, haha. One more word for the CD: I don’t regard “Gateways” as a full length album but rather as a (long) EP. It’s simply our second demo and it is sold for only 5,- €, so in my opinion five songs and a playing time of over 40 minutes are good value for money.
4. The demo from 2002 was more straight as I know, a kind of typical HammerFall / Helloween stuff. And the new compositions are more complex. An inspiration from last Iron Maiden and Blind Guardian albums?
Everybody in the band (old and new line up) loves Maiden and Guardian, especially for me these are two of my absolute favourite bands, so quite naturally I’m influenced by them. But I don’t think we sound that much like Guardian on “A night at the opera”. I love that album, but our music is more influenced by their early stuff. We mainly focus on the speed as this is really what we love, and we don’t write really progressive songs, although we use a lot of ideas in our songs.
I still enjoy listening to Helloween, Gamma Ray and all those bands who play a similar style. Hammerfall, Freternia, Skylark, Rhapsody, Edguy, Celesty…the list could be endless. Just give me good melodies, catchy choruses, fast solos, some epic feeling and I’m in heaven. So I always will be heavily influenced by this music, but I don’t see any mistake there. This is the music I love and which I want to play myself, so I bet we’ll never become a Progressive Metal band.
5. You’ve got very varied lyrics on your CD. One inspired by Stephen King (he’s God!), one typical fantasy, the other about persecution of Kurdistan’s people. Do you think it’s better to write about many various things for one album? What do you think about concepts?
We always wanted to be open for different subjects, never limiting ourselves. We write about everything that somehow touches us and we feel is worth being featured in an Elvenpath song. This could be fantasy, personal feelings, politics, history or sometimes just some rather funny cliché lyrics as in a song like “Metalwar”, which you can download from our website. So on future Elvenpath releases there will always be different subjects in the songs. It would be too boring just to focus on fantasy, for example.
On the other hand, I really love conceptual albums, if they’re good. Some of my favourites are “Operation: Mindcrime”, “Avantasia”, “The crimson idol” and any album by Savatage, King Diamond or Ayreon. I would like to do a conceptual album also one day, but at the moment we’re not ready for it yet. There are still some wings to be earned before that. If I do an album like that one day, I’d like to make it a Metal opera with lots of different singers, if possible all of my fave singers, even those who are dead already, haha. The subject? No idea yet…it could be fantasy, history, mythology, politics…we’ll see. Only one thing is sure: I don’t want to do a whole album featuring some cheesy cliché story with a swordwielding warrior rescuing a pretty princess, riding on a dragon and freeing his land from evil. There’s enough albums like this already.
6. You played in many bands before Elvenpath. What kind of stuff was it? Satanic Wizard was black metal, right?
I tried a few styles before forming Elvenpath, there was Punk, Gothic Metal, Thrash Metal… The only band worth noting is Satanic Wizard, and this was a Black Metal band, right. I recorded one CD (“Winterblut”) with them, then Elvenpath was formed and I played in both bands for a while but I lost interest in Satanic Wizard. Some members of the band were more interested in boozing and smoking weed than music which kept us from progressing, so after a while I left. You can visit the band at www.satanic-wizard.de.
I’m still interested in different styles and Black Metal will always be my second favourite Metal style, but now Elvenpath keeps me pretty busy, so I hardly have the time to join a second band. But over the years I’ve written some songs which are just too far away from what is Elvenpath, so I might be starting a project or two to release them. But this will never grow to be a big affair as Elvenpath is number one in my heart and, as Joacim Cans sings, “always will be”.
7. German heavy / power scene is the strongest in the whole world nowadays. Many known bands, lot of underground ones. Do you think you will be able to reach more fans than other young German bands? What is your way of winning fans for Elvenpath?
I agree, Germany has a very strong scene, and the underground is very alive. Lots of bands releasing CD’s, lots of bands playing live, and many of them are really good. As for us, we play a style which is far from unique. If you’re looking for originality, Elvenpath won’t be the thing for you. But this is not our aim, we simply want to play the music we love. This will probably never make us any money, nor will we ever tour the world with Iron Maiden, but that’s ok…just let us play the kind of music we want to play.
So if you just want to listen to some good Melodic Power Metal that you can bang your head to, buy our CD’s. And if you want to see some long haired guys not just standing on stage and putting people to sleep but rather running around, posing, headbanging and giving the audience a real Metal show, then come and see us. I bet you won’t be disappointed.
We try to make the band known to the universe by sending out a lot of promo CD’s and playing live as often as possible, but it’s not that easy. Here in the Frankfurt area most clubs just wave off if a Metal band wants to play their stage. So we try exchanging gigs with other bands from further away, and sometimes it works out. But we always try to play more gigs. So far we haven’t had the chance to play abroad, so if anybody who is reading this can book us a few shows or plays in a band, get in contact!
Some other great German underground bands whom I’d like to name here are Logar’s Diary, Viron, Feist, Mortal Illusion, Braindeadz, Abandoned, Conjuring and Chimaera. Check them out!
8. You’re lucky living in Germany and having many great festivals each summer. Have you seen the line-up for this year’s Bang Your Head? Fuck me Freddy! It’s unbelievable to see so many great bands on one stage in two days!
You’re so damn right…BYH is going to be a killer again! I’ve been there almost every year since it started and it’s probably my favourite festival in the universe. I’m looking forward so much to seeing Twisted Sister again, I loved their show two years ago. Virgin Steele will be there, Candlemass, Demon, Dio, Motörhead…I will hardly find the time to go to the toilet! Apart from the music, the festival always has a very enjoyable atmosphere and the sun almost always shines, so the last weekend in June is always a highlight of the year. One of my great wishes is that one day we could play there.
Apart from BYH I will attend the Headbangers Open Air, Earthshaker Festival (finally Manowar will be there again…and what a show!) and Wacken this year. Summer in Germany provides festivals every weekend for the fans, so sometimes it’s pretty hard to choose. But I don’t complain about this, haha.
9. I asked this question Sven from Wizard once, but his answer wasn’t fully satisfying for me. So, imagine a situation, you’re waiting for a bus, a dog is passing you by, it stops and pisses onto your leg. What’s your reaction? Remember, we mustn’t hurt animals!
I guess I’d just piss back on it…equal rights for all members of the animal kingdom! I’m not much into dogs anyway, I like cats better. But what the hell did Sven say?!
10. OK. Thanks for your time! Hope to hear the new album soon. Any own words to close this talk?
First off, let me thank you for this interview. It was a pleasure to answer the questions, and hopefully some people in Poland get their eyes on Elvenpath. Fans, bands, zines etc please get in touch. It’s always great corresponding with Metalheads everywhere, and we answer every letter or e-hail. Please visit our website www.elvenpath.com.
I’d like to send my greetings to all Metal freaks who still believe in the music and who are interested in the underground. The Metal scene doesn’t just consist of a few huge bands, but the heart of the scene is the underground and it must be supported, otherwise Metal will probably really die a miserable death one day.
Especially I want to hail the owner of that little Metal shop in Kraków who gave me a shirt for free when I bought two Kat CD’s, haha.
„Warriors of the undergrounde, by the iron religion we’re bounde“ (Stormwarrior)