Anna Murphy - lead vocals, hurdy-gurdy, flute (2016–present)
Ivo Henzi - lead & rhythm guitars, bass guitar (2016–present)
Merlin SuFer - drums (2016–present)
THIS IS THE SOUND (Nuclear Blast, 300617)
1) It’s the first time we have the pleasure to interview you. Can you present the band to our french listeners ?
Cellar Darling was formed by three good friends who have been playing music together for over ten years, mainly in another band - Swiss folk metal
We left Eluveitie together last year and immediately formed a new band and in less than a year wrote an entire album. Our name describes the sound of
our music, "Cellar" is the darkness and "Darling" is the light and it’s also the story of how our ideas came to be. In the past years a lot of creativity has been bottled up inside of us because we couldn’t realize all the ideas we had. Since Cellar Darling was formed everything that was once kept in the cellar is now brought to light.
2) The feature of your music is that you include a troubadour’s instrument, the hurdy-gurdy. From where came this idea ?
I’ve been playing the hurdy-gurdy for over ten years now, I started playing it due to seeing the folk band "Faun" live when I was a teenager and immediately fell in love with the instrument. So it’s always been my main instrument and it’s one of the main factors that makes our sound unique. Especially since I don’t use it in a traditional way and want to explore methods to incorporate it that go beyond folkloristic sounds.
3) How you will define your musical style ?
That’s quite difficult since our music has turned out to be very eclectic. There’s rock, metal, progressive, classical as well as minimal folk elements to it and it’s difficult to find a genre that describes all of that. Let’s see what the fans and press figure out :-)
4) Tell us more about the songwriting of the songs. Who brings the main ideas ? Do you create all together and who write the lyrics ?
We have a many different approaches to songs. Sometimes someone brings an idea (either Ivo or myself) and we experiment with it in the rehearsal room and write the main arrangement together in the whole band. Then there’s also songs that are mostly written only by Ivo or myself where we write the main structure at home and then everybody figures out their own
parts for themselves.
On this album all lyrics were written by myself.
5) We have seen some footage of the recording sessions. Tell us how it was ? is it difficult to reproduce the sound of the hurdy-gurdy ?
The recording sessions were great, but also tiring. We worked very hard and didn’t get a lot of sleep (our producer Tommy VeFerli included), but I personally enjoy using up every last drop of energy. Geing a good hurdy-gurdy sound isn’t as hard as you would think, the most important thing is having a good instrument. We recorded the line signal as well as one mic signal, but only used a small amount of the line signal for a "close" sound.
6) Let’s talk about some songs of the album :
a. We love the catchy song « Hullaballoo ». It’s probably one of the
most heavier song of the album. Tell us more about that song (songwriting and lyrics).
This is one of the songs where a lot was arranged in the rehearsal room. Ivo came up with the verse and chorus riffs at home and then we jammed to that. So the drums and vocals were created by improvising for a few hours and we wrote the instrumental part together.
Lyrically this song went through a few titles until we decided to call it "Hullaballoo". It’s first title was "Tears of a Stoic" and then I wanted to call it "Erosion".
Ivo and Merlin wanted to call it "Hullaballoo" because they liked the ring of the word so eventually we went for that. It’s a metaphorical story that tells of a day where it started to rain and never stopped. So everything that was once stone turned into sand.
Or: A stoic that crumbles beneath his suddenly developed emotions that he can’t handle.
b. We also love « The Hermit » with those big guitar riffs. Tell us more
about that song (songwriting and lyrics).
The Hermit riffs were written by Ivo, the instrumental part came from me and the main structure was almost complete before Merlin and I worked out our parts. The song went through a lot of versions and the vocals completely changed in the studio where I got the spontaneous idea of the chorus which was completely different in its original version.
When I heard the first demo that Ivo sent I got an image of an old man dying which developed into the story of the hermit who left society to lead a life of solitude. "Hoi polloi" originally means "the many" in Greek and that’s what I’m referring to in the lyrics and not the definition that it has developed into today (it often means proletariat or peons).
c. We also love « Starcrusher » with the use of hurdy-gurdy as a
rythmical instrument and not just as solo one. Tell us more about that song (songwriting and lyrics).
Starcrusher is one of our youngest songs that also came from Ivo. When Merlin and Ivo worked on it and jammed together in our songwriting camp I didn’t get many ideas (except with the hurdy-gurdy) and wanted to keep it as an instrumental song because I really liked it as it was with no vocals. Our producer and the rest of the band didn’t like the idea at all so I eventually came up with the vocal lines in the studio shortly before recording them.
The original demo of Ivo was called Starcrusher so I wanted to keep that because I liked the sound of it but couldn’t think of a story so I told Ivo that I’d like him to think of something. He wanted the song to be about an angry fairy that destroys stars, so that was where the lyrics came from.
7) We know that you will tout with Delain and in October, the 26th, you will play in France at L’Alambra. What can we expect from those shows ?
Yeah, we’re really looking forward to that show ! We have warm memories of Paris and the amazing crowds there. You can expect a "best of" set featuring the strongest songs of the album (since we probably won’t be playing an hour) and some stories to carry you away into our world. I’ll also have my new electric hurdy-gurdy until then :-)