September 24, 2014 Interview – Anna Murphy of Eluveitie
The fusion of Folk elements and Heavy Metal have been a popular combination in recent years. While a list of talented bands have emerged from the European scene leading the genre, none is more distinctive and unique as Switzerland’s Eluveitie. Comprised of eight members in total, mixing mandola, whistles, pipes, gaita, bodhrán, harp, hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, and violin along with traditional Rock instruments Eluveitie are a force of nature. Breaking through into mainstream success back in 2010 with Everything Remains (As It Never Was), each passing year the band has a stronger buzz following them. Now releasing their sixth album Origins and set to embark on a headlining North American tour, the band is ready to take matters to the next level. Recently we sat down with vocalist and hurdy gurdy player Anna Murphy for a personal look at her time in Eluveitie, their rise to success, their new album, touring, and much more.
CrypticRock.com – Eluveitie has been together for over a decade now. So much has happened for the band since the release of the debut of Spirit in 2006, including a series of internationally charted albums and touring internationally. What has the experience been like for you as a part of Eluveitie?
Anna Murphy – It has been a real privilege and I am a very lucky person to be in the position I am. Of course there is lots of hard work involved and times where there is hardly enough left to get by, but I can still say that all the work I do and the life I am earning with it is done by something I truly love doing. Since I joined there has been constant development in every aspect of the band, whether it is the music, the performance, or what is happening surrounding us.
CrypticRock.com – The hard work certainly has paid off greatly for yourself and the band. Eluveitie’s sound is certainly a mix of different Metal styling, including of course Folk Metal. What do you think has inspired the song writing of the band over the years?
Anna Murphy – As you may know, Chrigel and Ivo are our main songwriters. They are both inspired by different things, many things I would say. I know that with Chrigel, a lot of inspiration has its roots with history and nature. Musically, I do not think there are certain bands or certain genres; we seek inspiration in everything we enjoy. Maybe that is why our sound is so diverse and we incorporate new elements with every new album we record.
CrypticRock.com – Yes and that diversity is extremely refreshing from album to album. With a total of eight members in the band, there are many moving parts and interesting instrumentation not heard in a traditional Metal band. Your particular instruments including your voice, flute, and the Hurdy Gurdy. What turned you on to learning the Hurdy Gurdy?
Anna Murphy – A concert by the German band called Faun. I saw them together with my mum when I was a teenager and I immediately fell in love with the instrument. I started renting one at a high school for old music and got my own a few months later when I joined Eluveitie.
CrypticRock.com – That is very interesting. Being a band with so much going on instrumentally, one can imagine chemistry between the musicians is essential. How would you describe the connection Eluveitie has together to craft the music?
Anna Murphy – It is completely different from person to person. Some people in the band are best friends, some see each other more as “working colleagues”. Although things do get very familiar on tour, since for months we live sort of like a family. I think it is also important to not be too close with everybody, because it gets harder to act professional when there are conflicts.
CrypticRock.com – Of course, you want to keep things professional, especially with so many members in the band; there is a lot to manage. As mentioned, the band has seen a great deal of success in recent years, with perhaps your most successful record in North America being the 2012 album Helevtios. As on previous records, you were also very involved in the songwriting of Helevtios, especially shining on the track “A Rose of Epona”. What was it like for you to be able to show your songwriting ability and also to be given the chance to sing much more?
Anna Murphy – Judging from the amount of musical contributions that came from me on Slania (2008), Evocation I: The Arcane Dominion (2009), and Everything Remains (As It Never Was) (2010), they actually had more than Helvetios. But yes, I did contribute a little and especially in “A Rose for Epona”. I love singing and only discovered this a few years ago, so now I cherish every chance I get and I think it is a good mix too.
CrypticRock.com – It certainly is and fans really do enjoy it. The band’s new record Origins is out now. This record, much like the band’s previous work, follows a thematic story-line. What was the writing and recording process like for this new album?
Anna Murphy – I was not really involved so much in the writing process, except for some vocal lines. Two to three songs were written long before we entered the studio and we even played them live. As for the rest, it was written very shortly before and even during studio time. We also spent quite a long time there, about two months. It was interesting to experiment in the studio and try out new stuff with our producer. I guess that was the upside, the downside was that it was very difficult learning so many parts in such a short time.
CrypticRock.com – That sounds like it had to be difficult and perhaps stressful. The record is certainly very heavy with plenty of melodic guitars around the textured layers of instruments. You do have your share of spotlighted vocal tracks including “The Call of the Mountains”. Your voice sounds extremely strong, but most of all sincere and emotional. What state of mind do you put yourself in to bring these songs to life with so much color?
Anna Murphy – Thanks! Hmmm… I do not really know to be honest. I do not put myself into a certain mindset, I just think about what expression I want to give the song and then I just do it. That is what is interesting about singing and what makes it an art form. You can be completely fine and happy, but still sing as if the world has just ended (smiles).
CrypticRock.com – The band will be returning to North America for the first time since your 2013 tour with Wintersun. This time around you will be joined by TÝR and Metsatöll. How excited are you for this upcoming tour and what has changed for the band visiting North American soil since your first experience many years ago?
Anna Murphy – I am very excited! North America is one of my favorite places to tour by far. What has changed? I guess the amount of people coming to shows and also our reaction to the continent. We were really overwhelmed the first time we were there, now we already know exactly what to do there and we cannot wait.
CrypticRock.com – What are some of your musical influences?___________
Anna Murphy – My personal ones would be Manes, Archive, Saltillo, and Björk along with some others.
CrypticRock.com – That is an interesting mix of unique musicians. My last question for you is pertaining to movies. CrypticRock.com covers music and Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films what are some of your favorite Horror films?
Anna Murphy – Ooooh, there are many! I like the classics like The Shining (1980), The Fly (1986), and The Exorcist (1973), but also the really horrible psycho ones like Martyrs (2008), Antichrist (2009), and the original Saw (2004).