Elvenpath is an up and rising heavy/power metal band with a strong epic feeling, containing some of the best elements and sounds of the aforementioned genres. Till, the band's mastermind and main composer, is here to offer us some insight on the new and powerful Elvenpath, who face future with much confidence based on their very good and catchy new compositions. I think this is a band that all the power metal maniacs should check out, so let's read what Till told us...
1. Congratulations on “Spyrol”! How do you feel about it now that it’s ready?
Thank you for your kind words. We’re really glad that the demo is finally out, it took longer than we had expected. But we’re really satisfied with the result, and we hope that it will take us a step forward (= make our name better known and get us a deal).
2. Give us in brief an Elvenpath bio by pointing out the most important moments and achievements of the band. Please also present the current line up.
The band was founded in winter 01/02 and the first years were really good. We released two CDs on our own (“2002” and “Gateways”) and played a lot of shows in Germany. In late 2004 we had a split with only Christian Flindt and myself remaining from the original line up. Since then we had some line up problems, people came and went and we had to start from zero again and again. That’s why it took so long to release something new. But we managed to record a new album and we had the chance to go on tour with Skyclad in 2006 which was just great. Skyclad are heroes of ours and they gave us such a great time on the road, it was also the first time we had the chance to play abroad. We’re now looking for a label which will be interested in releasing our new album.
The current line up is: Tim Zahn (vocals), Christian Flindt (bass), Markus Weitzel (drums), Anastasia Schmidt (guitar) and myself, Till Oberboßel (guitar).
3. What’s the highlight of “Spyrol” and what part or element do you think needs further improvement? In which ways have you evolved? How has your music changed all these years?
Our music changed a bit during the years but not much. I believe we have become heavier; we used more keyboards in the beginning and on the first two CDs, there are only few keyboards on the new album. And the line up changes have also left their mark. We now have a better singer and better musicians and we are more mature songwriters. The production on the new CD is a lot better than on the previous recordings (and it was also a lot more expensive, haha).
My personal highlight is “Northern son”, I feel it’s the best song I’ve ever written, and though one should not praise himself: I must say I’m really proud of it.
As for further improvement, there’s always room for more. You should never stand still but continuously try to get better, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Some songs for the next album are already written and to me they sound even better. But this is another story to be told another time.
4. The production is very good and powerful. Did you have a say on the end result or did you trust your engineer’s experience on the matter?
Thank you for the compliment. We were able to work with an experienced producer who really knows his job, that’s why the sound is so good. But we also could tell him what kind of sound we wanted, that’s why the CD sounds how we like it. Kai is an easy guy to work with, there was a good atmosphere and he’s done a great job, so I’m already looking forward to recording the next album with him.
5. If you were asked to write a review about it, what would you say trying to be as objective as possible?
“Another Hammerfall copy, who needs this?” – Haha, I can’t really answer your question. I’m so involved with the band and I wrote the songs, there’s so much of my heart blood in the music, so it’s impossible for me to be objective in this matter. I leave this to the reviewers. What they mainly said so far is “a good band but not original”. I agree. We never tried to be unique or to invent anything new, we just want to play the music we love. And when it comes to Melodic Power Metal, it’s really hard to do something new. It’s all been there before but that’s okay for us…we love it anyway.
6. You have some other releases before this one. Please tell us about them and pinpoint the main similarities and differences.
“2002” and “Gateways” were rather similar, although the songs on “Gateways” were better, I think. Both of these CDs were recorded and released by ourselves, the line up was almost the same, we used keyboards and were mainly influenced by bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian etc. I still like both CDs but they don’t really represent Elvenpath in 2007. Nevertheless, we still play a good deal of the songs live and “Gateways” is a good buy for Power Metal fans (“2002” is sold out).
7. What kind of procedure do you follow whilst composing the songs? How do you keep this balance between the epic power metal parts and the melodic lines?
Normally the songs are written by one person alone and arranged together by the whole band. I write most of the songs and do the main work, but the bass lines, vocal lines, drum lines etc are arranged by the band member in charge. This way we can ensure that really everybody is happy with the songs. When working on a song, I don’t really think too much about it or try to keep a balance between the styles you mentioned on purpose. It just happens. Music should come directly from the heart, without too much thinking involved. So the songs are simply my feelings put into music, although this doesn’t go for the lyrics, here I try to cover different subjects.
8. Who are those musicians and which are those bands that made you realize this is the kind of music you are destined to play?
I credit Helloween, Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden and Manowar as our main influences. You can also hear Progressive Metal and US Metal influences in our sound, but Power Metal and Epic Metal made in the European style is what had its biggest impact on us. This is the kind of music I love most and I still need like food or sleep, and I don’t believe this will ever change, despite of people telling me to grow up and listen to “real” music, haha. I should also name some smaller bands like Freternia, early Dark Moor, Stormwarrior or Wizard whom I love and whose music inspires me every day.
9. Which are your sources of inspiration? Which are those topics or situations that “force” you into putting them down on paper? Tell us a few things about the lyrics, which seem to be surrounded by an epic feeling.
When we started it was mainly fantasy, nowadays it’s mainly topics of reality. But this might change again, who knows. I’ve always been heavily into fantasy but these days real events that move me make me want to write lyrics about them. The songs on “Spyrol” are good examples for this:
“Burning skies” deals with a catastrophe which happened near my birth place a few years ago. Two planes crashed in the air, the wrecks and the passengers fell down to the ground, no survivors. For the people living below this must have been a sight of pure horror, as if the apocalypse had begun.
“Priests of war” is a song dedicated to politicians who are more interested in their own bank account than their people and who think that starting a war is the best solution to a problem – it certainly isn’t. Especially it’s a song for George Bush, who else…
“Northern son” is a tribute to Quorthon. I’ve been a huge Bathory fan (especially the epic albums) ever since I fell in love with Metal, I worshipped his music so much, then he suddenly died and I was shocked. It felt as if a member of my own family or a close friend had passed away. This song is an attempt to honour him and to thank him for his great music. I hope it’s worthy.
10. Have you got any plans for live shows or for a possible tour? How do you plan to promote your new album?
The latest show we did was in early summer as support for Sabaton (great band and cool guys). So far there are no fixed plans yet for live shows but we really can’t wait to get out on stage again. It would be nice to go on tour again but for a newcomer band it’s hard. If it doesn’t work out, we’ll try to play live anyway, both as support for bigger bands or small shows with fellow underground acts. Playing live is the best way to promote a band and it’s also the best fun, haha.
And of course there’s the internet which does wonders for promotion. Every day you get 26528 e-hails from bands writing “buy our album, come to our shows, visit our website, vote for us in all contests, get our band logo as a tattoo, tell your teacher/butcher/gardener/undertaker about us etc.” - Great idea, we do it the same.
11. What kind of feedback have you received this far? What was the most flattering and what the most unfair comment you read about your music?
So far reactions have been mostly good. The reviewers acknowledged our skills in playing and composing and criticized our lack of originality. The best comments were those that said we were more than ready for a deal and labels should sign us as fast as possible. Cool, that’s what we want to hear, haha. The negative highlight was a review where the quality of the music was hardly mentioned but the reviewer only spoke of our lack of originality. Among other things, he wrote: “Even the production isn’t surprising – it’s good.” Well, what does he expect? An “original” production that sounds as if we had recorded the album in the backyard using an old tape recorder?
12. Are you under negotiations with any labels? What do you want to be offered in order to sign a deal with any of them?
We’ve now sent out the demos and we’re awaiting the replies. So far there are no negotiations but this will hopefully begin soon. What we wish for is of course lots of money, tours with Iron Maiden and Metallica and a huge budget for the next album. Should this not be possible, we might also be content with something smaller…well, what is most important for us is artistic freedom. We don’t want somebody trying to change our music, lyrics, image, outfit, logo etc. And a good distribution is also important. Money is of less importance; the main thing is that people are actually able to buy our album without difficulties. We want to make the name Elvenpath known as far and wide as possible, therefore it would be great if the label had connections with a good booking agency that can get us more shows.
13. If you had a huge budget to shoot a video clip, which song of yours would you choose and how do you imagine it to be?
I don’t think we would do this. I’m not much of a video fan because it takes the emphasis away from the music. I don’t like to watch video clips and there are hardly any chances that the video would be played anywhere on TV. Maybe on the internet, but if we really were offered this huge budget, I’d rather invest it in touring and album recordings, it just makes more sense for a Metal band.
14. What kind of emotions do you think your music creates to your listeners?
When I listen to the music I love, it makes me feel great. Bands like Manowar, Virgin Steele or Majesty fill me with a great power, I feel invincible and ready to take on the world. Bands like Blind Guardian or Dark Moor take me away from reality to worlds far beyond and enchant my mind with their magic. Other bands stir other feelings in me, but they all do something great. And I would be proud if our music could do the same to somebody. Occasionally I get something like this back from fans or reviewers and I’m always extremely flattered.
15. What thoughts or ideas pass through your mind whilst playing or listening to your songs?
I must confess that I’m too much involved in the music to simply enjoy the songs. Listening to the early releases always makes me think of what we could have done better and after being occupied with the new album for so long, I currently don’t listen to it, some time must pass there first. There are all kinds of feelings contained within our music and sometimes they catch me when I play the songs live. The songs fill me with energy and make me bang my head, the power of our music fuels me on stage and is a motor for an energetic show.
16. You come from Germany, perhaps the most important country for heavy metal music. Is it harder for a newcoming band to stand out because of the abundance of groups there?
It certainly is harder than in a country where there are only few bands. Here in Germany there are so many concerts and festivals, people sometimes cannot decide where to go and which bands to see. And there are plenty of fans who are only interested in bigger bands, they don’t go to underground shows at all. So as a new band you don’t get an easy time; either you work hard and persist or you perish. We chose option no. 1 and we’re trying to follow the path we chose. Write better songs, record better CDs, play more and better shows, always try to improve and not stand still.
17. What’s the ideal title to sum up the whole Elvenpath essence?
“Power Metal ist Krieg!” hahaha…
18. Thank you! Leave a message to our readers…
Fist off, efcharisto to you Christine and Behind The Veil. We appreciate your support a lot and hopefully one day we can meet and have a beer together. I’d like to hail the readers of this zine and ask them to visit our website www.elvenpath.com, watch out for the new album and hopefully one day we’ll be able to come to Hellas and play for you. I’d also like to hail some great bands from your country; Battleroar, Reflection, Bloodstained, Arryan Path, Clairvoyant. And hails to Greg Varsamis and Theodosis Moiras, true Metal Brothers. Keep supporting Heavy Metal wherever you are and remember that the underground is the root of Metal…if it dies, the scene will die. Metal Hails, Till / Elvenpath