Hello, Adam from “The Metal Observer” here. How are things going for CRUACHAN at the moment?
Hi Adam, things are going great for us right now.
You released your latest album, "The Morrigan’s Call", in November last year. How do you feel that it has been received among your fans in comparison to your earlier releases?
It has been received extremely well and is officially our most successful album to date. We have never really stuck to one distinct sound or formula throughout our career and every album is always different....but always has our style. A lot of feedback I have received from our fans have said that this is their favourite release to date which makes me very proud of it.
The cover art is nice as usual. This one might even be better than that John Howe painted; what do you think?
I think so, John really pulled out all the stops for that painting. The original painting he had was amazing but was destroyed by an angry girlfriend a couple of weeks before the CD was to go to press, he had to very quickly paint the cover that you see now, a remarkable achievement.
On the two latest albums I feel that the CRUACHAN sound has taken a step back towards the darker atmosphere of "Tuatha Na Gael", is that a choice you have made, or did the sound just develop that way naturally?
It was never a conscious decision, we just write what feels good at the time. Some of the parts in the new songs have been around since "The Middle Kingdom" days so that will show you that we never decided to stop having more extreme parts.
One of the things connected to "Tuatha Na Gael" is of course the remake of the song “Cuchulainn”, which first appeared on that album. I know that you have decided to remake all the songs from your debut album, doing one remake per album. Why is that?
I know that “Tuatha Na Gael” has become a cult album in the Metal world, it was the first extreme Metal and Folk cross over and we are extremely proud of that fact but I personally am not happy with the way the songs turned out on "Tuatha Na Gael”. My plan was to re-record everything with better production qualities. That was my idea at the time but now I think it may not have been a great idea. I look at our “Pagan” album and the production on it is terrible....although I think "The Fall Of Gondolin" really turned out well!
I have the feeling that the vocal performances from you and Karen on "The Morrigan’s Call" are the best you have ever done, both of you. You also sing more clean vocals; have you been practising a lot, or what is the secret?
I fully agree, I really thought the vocals would have drawn a lot of attention from media and reviews but this has not really been the case. We have always been very eclectic when it comes to our musical style, now we have really brought this into our vocal style as well, you really do not know what is coming next both vocally and musically! This can also be a bad thing, a lot of people like only one vocal style and that will limit their enjoyment of our songs...but we can’t please everybody, better to just please ourselves!! Practicing?? CRUACHAN?? You must be joking haha!!!
There are also several interesting topics in your lyrics, as always. One example is the songs “Shelob” and “Ungoliant”. Together with “The Fall Of Gondolin” and “Sauron” they have almost made Tolkien’s Middle-earth your second most frequently used theme, after Gaelic myths and history, of course. Will there be more Tolkien in the lyrics in the future? I am especially interested in if you will include more from “The Silmarillion”…
I love Tolkien, his stories and worlds are as Metal as can be so it’s always great to write the odd song or two. I thought it was a great idea to have the 2 giant spider songs on the new album. I will always write songs about Tolkien’s work, I have a few written which may be used on the next album!
Speaking of lyrics, you have often included some Gaelic lyrics and on "The Morrigan’s Call", the catchy traditional song “Téir Abhaile Riú” represents the Gaelic lyrics. That song is about an argument over a marriage, right? There is a very nice slow part where you sing/cry “Tá do mharagadh” in a wonderful manner; it would be interesting to know what those lines in the slow part mean …
Haha....yeah that’s a really weird song, you should try to get CLANNAD's version of it, I have always loved their version and that was the version that really influenced me. The part you are talking about is basically the father and daughter shouting at each other "Your match is" "My match isn't" "Your match is made!!"
Another traditional song that is included is “The Old Woman In The Woods”. If that is, or was, sung by children, you must have pretty scary children on
Well, a lot of old children’s songs often have a more sinister story behind them such as "ring a ring a rosie", in Ireland that rhyme represented people infected with TB. Anyway, we do have very scary children in
Celtic folk music has always been an important part of the music of CRUACHAN, but where does the rest of the inspiration come from? Do you listen to other Pagan/Viking/Folk Metal bands for ideas, or is it more of ordinary Metal?
I listen to a lot of Metal and other forms of music so I guess I draw my inspiration from everything I listen to. You can hear this in my music, one minute Black Metal, the next gay Folk music haha!!
The Irish Metal scene has got some other bands that are pretty famous nowadays. Some examples are PRIMORDIAL, WAYLANDER, GEASA and MOURNING BELOVETH. If you have to choose a favourite among your countrymen, which band would you pick?
Yes there are some really great bands here, some others of note are CELTIC LEGACY and RUNECASTER! I can’t really pick a favourite, I think both PRIMORDIAL and MOURNING BELOVETH are fantastic bands and deserve the success they currently have!
You said in an earlier interview with “The Metal Observer” that your dream line-up for a concert would be SKYCLAD and THERION. If you had the chance of organizing a festival today, which five bands would you include to play together with CRUACHAN?
Hmmmm, I would still have those 2 but would add SABBAT and CELTIC FROST! Actually that is a hard one to answer. I would probably throw BLACK MESSIAH into the mix too because they are great guys to drink with.....their music isn't too bad either haha!!
How has your touring situation been lately and which countries have you enjoyed most visiting? Which countries that CRUACHAN haven’t visited would you like to go to?
Touring is always a problem for us because we are all in full time employment with mortgages and children etc. etc. We have not been abroad since the Ragnarok festival in March. We are off to
How does the future look for CRUACHAN? What are your plans, and are you working on any new material?
On the 1st of January 2008 we have decided to commit suicide together....so there’s not much planned after that.
Last, but not least, I have heard rumours that you support a British football club. That is quite surprising for one who has written so many songs about the oppression of the British. Of course I understand that you do not hate the British, but aren’t your Irish football clubs good enough?
Thanks for your time, and good luck in the future …
Thanks a mil...see you on tour soon!
1994: Celtica (Demo)
1995: Tuatha Na Gael (CD, Nazgul's Eyrie Productions)
2000: The Middle Kingdom (CD, Hammerheart)
2001: Ride On (MCD, Hammerheart)
2002: A Celtic Trilogy (Box, Hammerheart)
2002: Folk-Lore (CD, Hammerheart)
2004: Pagan (CD, Karmageddon Media)
2006: The Very Wild Rover (Single, Black Lotus Records)
2006: The Morrigan’s Call (CD, Karmageddon Media)
2007: A Celtic Legacy (CD, Karmageddon Media)
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