Fireworks Magazine

Fireworks Magazine Online 82: Interview with Animal Drive


By Alexandra Mrozowska

Some Fireworks readers might have watched the Junior Eurovision Song Contest back in 2003 and are thus likely to remember the name of the Croatian winner – Dino Jelušić. More of you surely recognise his name from Trans-Siberian Orchestra's 'The Ghost of Christmas Eve' 2016 Winter Tour. Fast forward to 2018 and here he goes again... unsurprisingly for the big Whitesnake fan that he is, he does so on his own. The band Jelušić fronts, Animal Drive, has just released their debut album 'Bite' and Fireworks caught up with the singer to get all the details.


Let's look back at 2017, starting from the deal with Frontiers and ending with putting the final touches to 'Bite'...

Well, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra 2016 tour led me to meeting Jeff Scott Soto, who became a good friend of mine. He heard some songs I'd done in the past and immediately sent it to Frontiers, and as soon as they heard them they wanted to sign me and the band that I have. We were in a hurry, because the contract happened really fast and we had six months to do everything. I'm really proud how the album sounds. I've had twenty different versions of lyrics, but sometimes the rhythm of words doesn't 'click' with the song, and then I have to change them even though I was 100 per cent satisfied with the line... and so on. Ivan Keller worked his ass off with the riffs, as well as Andreas Sala, our producer, who wrote 'Devil Took My Beer' with me, and Adrian Boric put down some really interesting grooves.

Are you satisfied with the band's first effort?

I'm never satisfied in total. I think this is a great record which has all the elements to show what this band actually is, but I think after three albums you'll get to know Animal Drive and my songwriting a lot more. We already have two new albums ready, lots of different songs and lots of experimenting with genres. As soon as I got back from the TSO tour, I went for a coffee with [Animal Drive guitar player] Keller, and he had so many ideas for the next album that when I heard some of them I was stunned. I wrote about fifteen more songs after we finished mixing 'Bite' so we'll have a lot of material. Very groovy, very Progressive but combined with Southern/Bluesy stuff. I also worked out some of the ambient piano ideas I've had in mind for a long time. If it doesn't fit in 'Animal Drive 2', I'll make it as a solo record.

In spite of your Classic Rock and Metal influences, 'Bite!' has an overtly modern vibe to it.

We mix modern and old school. We love Avenged Sevenfold, Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, HIM, Slipknot, Machine Head, Gojira... but we were born and raised on Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses, Whitesnake, Skid Row, AC/DC ... so that side also comes out. We want to create our own style. I love ambient and Progressive stuff so we put a lot of that in our songs.

Do you feel comfortable with performing such personal songs as 'Father'?

Along with 'Hands Of Time' and 'Carry On', 'Father' is the most personal song. I do feel comfortable; I feel it every time we play it. I think it's okay to be naked with lyrics in front of the audience. That's what art is about. I don't look at these songs as, "Oh, let's write this one for the radio." It's not a factor to me. Everything has to be honest, personal and come from inside.

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Talking about lyrics, what are your inspirations?

Lyrics are very different. Mostly frustrations and all the hard work I put in all these years that didn't pay off until recently just made me write. 'Fade Away' and 'Goddamn Marathon' are perfect examples. I won't talk too much about those lyrics as I want people to experience what I tried to say in the songs, but 'Tower Of Lies' also comes into that category. People constantly trying to put you down so you don't succeed... happened often to me in the past. 'Hands Of Time' is a love song, as well as 'Carry On'. 'Lights Of The Damned' is about signing a bad contract with a record label or a bad manager... been there too [laughs]. 'Time Machine' is about all the time that's lost and also that I still feel like a kid when I should act like a grown up. It's also about greed and human perception of life...

Do you think the last and longest song on the album, 'Deliver Me', might be the future direction Animal Drive is going to head in?

I think yes. We had one more song in that direction called 'Reign Of Vultures' that didn't make it on to the album because I was afraid that Frontiers wouldn't like us being in the Prog genre. It was also seven minutes long, with very a melodic chorus and a lot of time changes. But yeah, I would love to go more that way than Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. The cool thing is that we have that kind of song and then we have a straightforward Rock song like 'Had Enough'. People will never be bored by one type of song on the album.

This year you're going to play at the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan, Italy alongside Jorn, Jack Russell's Great White and FM. What are your expectations? The band's former guitar player Alen Luke is joining you on stage at this festival, is it going to be a one-off reunion?

We can't wait to go there and do most of this album in total for the first time. Jorn was one of my biggest vocal influences and I loved his work with Ark. His vocal chops and those songs blend perfectly. I jammed with a drummer of Jack Russell's Great White in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. A great drummer and it'll be cool to see him again in Milan.
Yes, with Alen, it's gonna be one-off reunion. He's not interested in touring at all – that's why we decided to let him go. He is a great guy and a great guitar player who had my back for five years. I love him.

What can you tell us about your homeland's local music scene and the Croatian bands worth our attention?

Everything that is Rock or Metal is very unpopular and underground here in Croatia. But we have a good Metalcore and Punk scene, a lot of bands play together and a decent amount of people come to see it. As for the bands, check out Kryn, Cold Snap, The Ralph – the singer from Kryn and myself used to sing in that band – Musle Tribe Of Danger and Excellence, Jam Ritual, Pale Origins... There's a lot of really cool bands. I could make a big list and I hope some of them make it big.

Animal Drive have some concert plans for the UK, so if you get the chance, check them out.

Fireworks Magazine Online 81: Interview with Absolva

ABSOLVA: Showing 'Defiance' with Absolva and Iced Earth man Luke Appleton

Words by Steve Swift

Hang on, are you with Iced Earth at the moment or is this Absolva you're with? Or on holiday?

'We're on tour with Absolva at the moment, day off today.'

Good to ask though, as Luke played with his brother Chris in Fury UK, then left to join Iced Earth. Chris formed Absolva from the ashes and Luke then started to turn up onstage with the Mancunian marauders; surprising to hear him taking this interview. Is he more stable now?

"A couple of years ago we thought, 'You write lot of songs on the album, you're now the full rhythm guitarist on every album and as many tours as possible,' so I'm now officially a full member," he calmly explains. "It's a lot of fun. It's amazing really, what we've done; a rollercoaster. It's a positive message we're trying to send with this album and I think it really does come across that way. Once people listen to it they immediately want to play it again and always finish the album with a smile on their face. That was the main purpose of the album. It's what we've gone for and achieved, I believe."

And after comings and going affected Absolva, from the first guitarist to bassist, there is relief at the new line-up. "This line-up is now settled. Chris is the main man, the Steve Harris of the project. Whatever he says goes ultimately, but he loves to hear everybody's opinion. Martin (McNee) the drummer, he's been with Chris for well over ten years now from Fury UK days and Karl (Shramm), the bass player, has been with us for a couple of years now and now I'm a solid member; it doesn't show any sign of changing, we're all very happy and committed to the cause."

It's good to have a history lesson; I've been following and writing about them from the start and even I'm confused. Nothing confusing about new album 'Defiance' though, their third has the hammer we'd expect, but as this band have always been interested in melody and there's more this time than ever.

"When Chris and I were writing the songs, the plan was to make as much melody and catchy choruses as possible. We still want it down, dirty and heavy with some great riffs and flashy guitar solos, but the main focus is the chorus. I believe we've got a lot of songs for crowd participation, tons of sing-alongs. The great thing is that on this album me and Chris have collaborated a lot more than before. We both sat in a room, came up with a riff and then threw things together; I think that's worked a lot better. We've taken ideas from when he's been working with Blaze Bailey and my time with Iced Earth, we've combined those songwriting techniques and made them our own and it's benefited Absolva. It's fantastic to collaborate with my brother. We love snappy songs but we've had six to ten minute ones as well! The length doesn't bother me as long as the song makes sense and keeps your attention."

And not only this, he's got his other band, a little combo called Iced Earth. You might have heard of them... "When I joined in 2012, that was a huge dream come true. One of my favourite bands. I was unbelievably shocked and happy. I treated the first few years more as a learning experience. I was jumping into some really big leagues here and I believe I've gained so much as a musician, songwriting wise, performance wise. Working with a genius such as John Schaffer has improved the way I play the bass and my vocal harmonies. I've tightened up on my vocals and it's broadened my mind to a lot of ideas for songs. I believe I can say the same for Chris with the work he's done with Blaze. He was in Iron Maiden, another guy who's been around the block in this business – it's done us both a world of good."

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

Luke and his bro' are in an interesting situation. You know Rocksector, that smallish but exciting record label? That's their mum and dad, that is. "It's a fortunate set up. It's funny because parents always put a lot in when their kids want to go to university, so we think 'Okay, this is our university' because they helped us a hell of a lot, especially at the start. It gave us that stability at the beginning and now we're flying free. Chris does a lot of the booking of shows, travel arrangements, one of the main organisers, so it's given us a lot of independence. We're eternally grateful to our parents for that. We know where we want to go, let's just do it. We did made bad decisions, but we learnt from it. Touring is awesome at the moment and fans are receiving the new songs very well. Our main influences are Iron Maiden and bands like that who give it full pelt, so every time we go on stage we think, 'It's 110% energy time, let's give the crowd a show to remember."

Being born into that business has given Luke, and particularly Chris, a really hands on feeling for the record business. "'If the crowd are happy, that's my main goal; CD sales are a second thought. I know we've got an unbelievable fan-base and a good amount of pre-orders. I do think about the business side but it doesn't worry me because I just tackle the situation and do what we have to do, making sure everyone knows about the new album, the tour and the fans do the rest. So far it's been a working formula and it's grown every year. Chris has got things planned for a year in advance, he's on tour and has already booked the next tour!

"We've released the new album for Iced Earth recently, 'Incorruptible', and it's great for me because this year I've been able to release two albums with my two bands, two albums I'm extremely proud of. A couple of days after I finished in the studio with Absolva, I flew out to Spain to record with Iced Earth, so within two days I had to say to myself, 'Switch off guitar mode, I've got to go to bass mode.' With the bass I find less is more, let the bass breathe more and ultimately it fills up the song, makes the song sound bigger. For Absolva we've got a fantastic studio engineer, Matt Ellis. We always get a fantastic sound, which has improved every album we've done with him; we get an amazing drum sound with him, which we've never been able to get with anybody else. Drums first, guitars, then bass, guitar solos and vocals in the same day so that Chris or I don't get too burnt out. It's done in two or three weeks; a pretty straightforward process and its pretty similar with Iced Earth. Jonrecently bought a couple of buildings and made it into Iced Earth's headquarters, rehearsal rooms, studio, hangout place. It's gonna be brilliant!"

Luke tells me he's "...incredibly excited! It's a lot of work, but it's a big return and completely worth it. A dream come true!" Two bands, both Metal but different enough to keep him on his toes and both producing excellent music. 'Defiance' is another Absolva album that's anything but average; they are keeping this ball rolling just as Luke wants. In fact they've put it right into the top corner.

Absolva - Defiance

Fireworks Magazine Online 81: Interview with Pretty Boy Floyd


Interview by Dawn Osborne

Fireworks took the opportunity to get the scoop from Kristy Majors, the guitarist with Pretty Boy Floyd who is newly reunited with original vocalist Steve Summers, on why they are working together again after such acrimony, about the new record deal with Frontiers and their new bumper first offering from that deal, 'Public Enemies'.

Traditional fans of Pretty Boy Floyd will love the new album as it is coming from exactly the same spot as their much loved debut 'Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz'. Eighties in feel and attitude, even the subjects for the lyrics are indistinguishable from the wonderfully un-PC time decades ago. As such, those that simply can't get enough of Pop Rock with a Glam edge and hanker for simpler times, when a song was easy to get into, meant what it said and was performed and enjoyed simply for what it was and nothing more, need look no further. Pretty Boy Floyd are here to fulfil your wildest dreams...


Pretty Boy Floyd are back with a new deal with Frontiers, how did the deal come about?

We recorded about four songs and sent them to Frontiers Records after being contacted by our booking agency, Artists Worldwide, and we did the deal. Frontiers has a great roster of artists . We thought it was a good fit since they had just recently signed LA Guns and a few other 80s bands that we really like. They do great promotion and have an amazing staff.

You and Kristy are now working back together. What's the story behind that?

Well, I think as we got wiser and older we realised that Pretty Boy Floyd is at its best when Steve and I are doing it together. Brothers fight, priorities change but the true Pretty Boy Floyd sound is stronger with the two original members.

Who is in the current band?

Steve Summers on vocals of course, me on guitar. JK Famous, who has been an on and off member for over fifteen years and a great friend of mine from New York City since I was 16, on bass. We are using fill-in drummers right now until Ben Graves is ready to come back and kill on the kit.

There's a new album, 'Public Enemies', and it is a worthy successor to 'Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz:

YES!!!! I think die hard Pretty Boy Floyd fans will love this album. It's Pretty Boy Floyd 1988 all over again, a collection of songs you crank in your car or home and just forget about the nonsense going on in the world.

Describe the attitude behind the album?

It's a good time Glam Rock record. It's so 80s, like a Back To The Future time machine, haha. We worked really hard to capture the sound of the band when we first started out and I like to think we accomplished that. Anybody who is into 80s Glam Rock party songs will enjoy the new album, definitely the Pretty Boy Floyd fans and hopefully it will attract some new fans who are tired of the music being forced upon them by the big machines.

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There are fourteen tracks on the album, why so many?

We are like the Glam Rock Ramones. Most of our songs are three minutes or less. We wanted to give the fans a good forty or more minutes worth of music, especially since it's been so long since we released new material.

How long has the album been in the planning?

We started recording it in 2012 and never finished it. Life got in the way and we needed a break. When we signed the Frontiers deal in December of 2016 we went full speed ahead and finished it pretty quickly.

The intro is called 'SATA'. What does that mean?

I can't tell you. We wanted to leave that a mystery and see if people can guess what that stands for!

Pretty Boy Floyd have always been a band liked by the ladies, is that what you are recognising in the song 'Girls All Over the World'?

'Girls All Over The World' really has no meaning. It just sounds better than singing boys love Rock n' Roll, haha!

Rock got pretty depressing in the 90s, with the Grunge trend. Is part of your mission to bring the fun back into Rock n' Roll?

I actually loved the music that was released in the 90s ̶ such great timeless music. Pretty Boy Floyd has always remained the same throughout the years. We proudly wave the 80s flag and that will never change.

There has been a real turnaround in the market for this kind of music ̶ new festivals in the genre, the Monsters of Rock Cruise has been a great success. Is this why you thought it would be the right time to come back with 'Public Enemies'?

No, we've been playing those festivals for years with the exception of the cruises. I think we are only band to not play a cruise. We have been wanting to release a new album for years but just never got around to it. The right timing was paired with the right record label.

'Star Chaser' ... what's the story behind that one?

It's just a fictitious Nick Gilder-ish type of song . Mainly influenced by the Sunset Strip days with a broad reference to girls at that time. Don't take it too seriously.

'We Can't Bring Back Yesterday' is a very nostalgic song. Do you have great memories of the old days?

It's actually a love song but it can also be interpreted in many ways. I'm sure everybody can relate to this song, whether it be a lost love, a past memory, a thought in time, a reflection upon oneself or another. I really like this song.

Will you make it over to Europe in a tour to support the album?

I hope so. We always have a great time touring Europe. I would love to pair up with a band like Hardcore Superstar, 69 Eyes, Reckless Love, Michael Monroe etc and play every country.

What's next for Pretty Boy Floyd?

We are shooting a video for 'Feel The Heat' and another song to be decided, doing a album release party on December 1st at the Whisky A Go Go and have more shows in 2018. Hopefully also one more record with Frontiers.

Fireworks Magazine Online 81: Interview with Geoff Tate


Interview by Carl Buxton

Operation:Mindcrime is the band name former Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate has been performing under in recent years. 'The New Reality' the third album by Geoff Tate's band completes the trilogy that was started by 'The Key' in 2015 and followed up with 'Resurrection' the following year, with many media outlets wrongly portraying the themes and ideology behind Geoff's vision, so who better to explain the trilogy's concept than the man himself. Fireworks hooked up with Geoff at his home in Seattle.


I believe the worldwide release is on December 1st?

I believe so, yeah, I'm actually looking forward to that because I don't have a copy of it yet. (laughs)

Oh really? The studio must be just down the road from you – London Bridge studios, where the other two albums were recorded I believe?

Yeah, we recorded all the basic tracks at London Bridge, the bass and the drums, and then we did pretty much everything else in my house, between my house and my studio.

You must have heard the final mixes before submitting it to the record company I'm sure?

Yeah, I just haven't heard the whole thing as one piece yet, other than my initial demo of it that I did. It's always kind of different when you hear it back on a CD, at least for me – I don't know about the others – hearing it when you're mixing it or mastering it, that's one thing. But then to hear it on a CD it's quite different I think, kind of changes a bit.

How easy or difficult was it to stay focused for the three years that you've been involved in writing and producing this trilogy up until its final conclusion, and how happy are you with the result?

Well I'm very happy that it's finished. I quite enjoyed the whole process. In fact it became something that I lived and breathed for quite a long time. It was really a labour of love putting this group of albums together and I was so involved with every aspect of it. But I really particularly enjoyed all this collaboration I have with different people on the records.

Talking about drummers you've got Simon Wright, Brian Tichy, and Scott Mercado that you've used in the past. I think he brought his jazz style drumming from Candlebox to the table. Regarding drummers, for example, were you looking for specific qualities of musicianship for particular songs, or was it just a general idea to work with different people. I know you've said in the past you want to work with quality musicians and with Operation:Mindcrime you don't want to be stuck in a band situation with the same guys year in, year out.

Yeah, well for drummers, well, for everybody really, when you're putting together an album it becomes a bit of a social experiment (laughs) that I wanted to pick drummers that I respect and I really like their work, and some people that I've worked with in the past. What I did was I just sort of fed them the material and see what they gravitated towards. In my experience, when somebody likes something, it's a huge motivator for them to perform well on what it is they're given, so I would just hand them the material and see what they wanted to play on, and they would always gravitate towards certain things, and that way I'd be kind of assured that I would get the best kind of performance I could out of them.

What if some guys picked the same song?

That didn't happen. I wasn't in that scenario where I had to make a choice, which is good. (laughs)

What has been the feedback from 'The Key' and 'Resurrection' so far, from the critics, fans, and general touring from the shows?

Oh, that's all been very positive. I haven't really concentrated on playing the new album much live. I'm just kind of letting it sink in with people.) I have a lot of songs that people don't know about. I guess I have...well this is my 18th album and something like 227 songs, something like that, a lot of people don't know about all the music out there and I find that interesting and somewhat comical, but it's also great fun because I get to introduce audiences to new material all the time who haven't heard it. (laughs)

Well I'm sure there are fans at your concerts who weren't even born when the first Queensryche album came out for example so...

Oh yeah.

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It must be interesting for you, especially as a performer to see a lot of young faces in the audience.

It is. It's really interesting, and they're young enough to be my children (laughs) That's kind of weird!

With the trilogy completed was the concept behind it, and correct me if I'm wrong, about virtual currencies, internet banking and stock trading?

(laughs) No, that wasn't it at all. (laughs again) I think that was somebody's idea. No, it's kind of a difficult story to tell really. It's kind of one that reveals itself the more you listen. But primarily, in a nutshell, to try to define it, it's about the struggle of human beings with each other and to accept a world view that is different than the one they grew up with – how about that?

I guess everything will make sense if you play them all back to back?

That's the idea, yeah. But don't play them backwards because that will mess you all up." (both laugh) "One of the key things to think about is really look at the title of the tracks. The title of the tracks kind of tells you a story as you read them, if that makes sense.

Kind of, but with the trilogy completed though, is it possible for you to expand on what you've just described to help the listener more understand the concept?

You know, I don't know what to tell you, honestly. The way that the lyrics are constructed, the way the songs are put together, there are key phrases that will stand out to the listener at various times, and those key phrases are designed to stand out, and to be repetitive at times and to make a point that you follow. If you follow that, it will take you on a thread, and that thread will lead you around and to a big circle and that's when it all kind of makes sense. (laughs)

But if you're selling your art, how would you sell it?

I wouldn't sell it. That's not my gig. (laughs)

But you want people to invest in what you're doing, surely?

Well, you know, if they choose to. I'm really not a good salesman. It's never been my forté or my interest. I think there are ideas on the records that will really cause people to think quite deeply about their own personal scenarios. I think that this time that we're living in it's a fascinating time. You can really see it exhibited every day in the news and how much turmoil there is in the world right now. It's like an undulating rollercoaster ride and I think the reason why there's so much turmoil is that we're all communicating with each other at such a high rate now. We're tuned in to what's going on all over the world, and we're talking about it and there are these massive discussions that are happening - social discussions like 'What are the lines?', 'Where do we draw boundaries?', 'How do we treat each other?', you know, 'What's right?', 'What's wrong?' It's like a global questioning of reality that we're in right now. For example, it's not okay to treat women the way some men treat women now, and we're seeing that in the news with all these allegations where women are coming forward and saying they've been sexually molested, and so we're forced to have a global discussion about well what is right, what is wrong.

It used to be okay and acceptable for people to own other people as slaves, and it got to a point where we said 'Nope! That's not right anymore' you need to change your ways, or it used to be okay for people to just randomly shoot each other and kill each other and take their land and their valuables. Well, we got past that, and we said 'No, that's not gonna work.' We used to think it was okay, and this cracks me up, with you being British, that British people believed whole-heartedly that the king and the queen were appointed by God (laughs) and they were holy and they were better than them, and they could do whatever they wanted and people believed that stuff, for centuries, it was a big con! People believed it was the truth, so now, because of our ability to communicate, we're questioning all these truths that we grew up and we're finding out that, wow, almost everything we know, we learned from growing up. Language for example, or our ideas on time for example. Time does not exist, time is a man-made construct and we're now finally recognising that and saying to ourselves, well, if we made it up, we can re-make it can't we? Yeah we can! We don't have to believe in what we learned from primitive people, we can get past that now. And that's kind of the message of the entire trilogy. It's a journey of one guy trying to pursue that concept of changing his reality and the struggles he goes through along the way, with people that don't want that reality changed, because they benefit from the way reality is at the moment.

You've just explained the trilogy rather succinctly. Thank you.

Geoff's band Operation:Mindcrime tours the UK and Ireland starting in Dublin on January 11th with support coming from his daughter's band Till Death Do Us Part. For the first hour he will be performing the album 'Operation: Mindcrime' in its entirety for its 30th anniversary.

Fireworks Magazine Online 81: Interview with Cellar Darling


Interview by Paul Woodward

Following the split of Switzerland's successful Metal act Eluveitie, three former members formed Cellar Darling and set their sights on spearheading the 'New Wave of Folk Rock' scene. Fireworks spoke to vocalist and hurdy-gurdy wielding frontwoman Anna Murphy about Cellar Darling's impressive debut album, 'This Is The Sound'.


Following the success of your previous band, Eluveitie, did you find it daunting starting from scratch with Cellar Darling?

It was chaotic for sure, but the chaos resulted in an immense creative drive that enabled us to write an entire album in just one year. For a moment, it seemed like we were left with nothing ̶ which maybe sounds a tad too dramatic ̶ but things just fell into place naturally.

Do you feel expectations or pressure from fans and critics to emulate the success of Eluveitie with Cellar Darling?

Not really. We're impulsive people, driven by our gut feeling. Emulating Eluveitie would have been unnatural and in my opinion, also unnecessary. Everything in our band developed organically and worrying about what people think would have hindered creativity.

I find the name Cellar Darling intriguing. Is there a reason or story behind the band's name?

On one hand, it symbolises what our music sounds like. We want to tell stories and paint pictures with our music and the combination of the two words is like a portal into our world, "cellar" being the darkness and "darling" being the light. On the other hand, it's metaphorical for the creativity and the ideas that were kept hidden away during the past few years because we had no space and time to realise them. The music that is now free to see the light is our "cellar darling".

You play one of the most unusual and unique instruments – the hurdy-gurdy. Did you find it hard incorporating this instrument into your song writing?

Not at all! It's mostly connected to Folk and Medieval music, but the amazing thing about the hurdy-gurdy is that you can do just about anything with it and it can blend extremely well into different soundscapes.

It's a very unusual instrument. How and why did you pick it up and choose to learn to play it? As a multi-instrumentalist, are there any other unique instruments you also play?

I saw it live for the first time when I was sixteen at a medieval concert ̶ the band that played it is called Faun ̶ and I immediately fell in love with it. I convinced my parents that I absolutely had to learn this and so I rented an instrument at a college for old music. Three months later Eluveitie were looking for a new hurdy-gurdy player and that's how it became my main instrument, basically!
Another instrument I play fairly well is the traverse flute, although that's a bit less unique I would say. Apart from that I'm rather mediocre at the piano and bass; I use those mainly for song writing.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

Lyrically you pride yourself on being storytellers. Can you tell us about a couple of intriguing stories behind some of the songs on 'This Is The Sound'?

The stories, like our music, are very eclectic. They are created by impulses that I get while hearing or writing the music. When I heard the guitars for 'Hullaballoo' I thought of rain and this first impulse created a story of the day when it never stopped raining and everything that was once stone turned into sand. Metaphorical for a stoic crumbling beneath emotions, it kind of works like a mind map.
'Six Days' is about the last man left on earth, holding on even though the universe has swallowed everything he once loved. He holds on for six days during which various entities like the sun, the moon, the devil and the gods punish him because they want him to be gone.
A bit of a more upbeat story is told by 'Starcrusher' which is about a fat, hairy fairy that is pissed off at the world and wants everything to be eternally dark by destroying all the stars. It's going to take quite a while because she can't fly very well due to being overweight.

'This Is The Sound' is the first album from Cellar Darling, from the formation of the band to the song-writing to recording, has the album turned out as you originally envisioned?

That's a good question! Honestly, this past year has been so intense and filled with creativity that I didn't really have time to envision anything. We just dove straight in and we like how it turned out. We'll continue just living in the moment and see where it takes us.

Have you been pleased with the reactions to the album since its release?

Yes, very pleased. I especially love that a lot of people react with very elaborate messages. Our fans really seem to understand the music and it means a lot to them. For me that is already all I could wish for.

On the surface, many may say your brand of Celtic/Folk blended Metal may be an acquired taste, but I found the album as a whole easily accessible and surprisingly catchy and commercial. It will definitely appeal to a wider range of music fans. Was making the songs more accessible to a wide range of fans intentional during the song writing process?

Not really, the song writing process was impulsive and organic. We basically just write the music that is playing in our heads, it's not calculated in any way. And it's interesting to see how people react differently to the music as well. Some songs may very well be more commercial compared to what we did before, but some are also more artistic and complex, not following the typical structures that we worked with before.

Do you have any plans to play live in the UK? Is playing live important to yourself and your fellow band mates?

Yes, we're playing in London on the 1st of November and can't wait! Playing live is the most important thing for us apart from writing music. Basically we want to rotate between studios and stages, which is good and hopefully will happen because currently we don't even have apartments. So, we're ready world, if you will have us.

Latest Reviews on Rocktopia

Royal Hunt - 'Cast In Stone'
15/03/2018 | Central Electronic Brain
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Breathtaking and brilliant – Royal Hunt have delivered yet another masterclass!

Latest News on Rocktopia

The massive 148-page FIREWORKS MAGAZINE spring issue #82 is out now!
15/03/2018 | Central Electronic Brain

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Latest Message: 3 days, 2 hours ago
  • Rocktopia Te : Two news interviews in the Rocktopia Interviews Section: LITTLE CAESAR & GEISHAS IN VITRO. Enjoy! :) «link»
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  • robmckenzie : Hi Bernie, urgent change please. In the Moonkings concert review - please replace "the original John Syke's one" with "obviously his sublime '1987' album version"
  • Berny : Anyway, we posted 90+ album & live reviews in February. Please enjoy & share!
  • Rocktopia Te : Don't trigger CEB, you know what will happen ....
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  • Berny : Fireworks Magazine #81 is out now!
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  • Johns Band : Boulevard "Luminescence" is superb album, and Accept "The Rise Of Chaos" you can find review in Fireworks issue 80 . Same with Black Country Communion "BCCIV." All with Band interview & album review in issue 80
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“We like girls, we think they’re nice. You tend to get called an old bender if you sing about boys.” (FM drummer Pete Jupp) - Quotes collected by Dave Ling (

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