Intervista Alestorm (Elliot Vernon)

Di Davide Sciaky - 1 Marzo 2016 - 0:05
Intervista Alestorm (Elliot Vernon)

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On the second concert of the UK tour of Alestorm and Sabaton we interviewed Elliot Vernon, the keybord player of Alestorm

I’ve seen you here two years ago and you were playing at the Academy 2, now you’re playing the Manchester Academy which is twice the size, how have your gigs changed over the years?

We played here in this venue in 2012 supporting Dragonforce so it’s nice to be here like a headliner, co-headliner [with Sabaton], band a few years later in the same venue.

I mean, every year we’re doing bigger stuff, getting more fans, more people are coming to our shows, it gives us the opportunity to do bigger productions, you know, if you see our stage today it’ll be massive stuff, big platforms, this big stupid duck.

Yeah, we just like to put on a bigger and better show for our fans every year and so far we’ve been able to do that, hopefully next year will be even better.

It’s been two years since Sunset on the Golden Age, have started to think about a new album?

We’re writing songs, we have five…maybe five songs musically finished, still writing some lyrics; we are taking the opportunity while we are on tour and all together.
Mostly it’s just me and Chris actually, Chris in the past has written most of the songs and I’ve written a couple on the last album, but now it seems to be very much like a joint effort between me and Chris; we can sit in the same room and outs ideas and we are writing just with a computer.
We don’t do this thing with bands where you jam in a rehearsal room for 8 hours every day, you know, we don’t write songs like that, it wouldn’t work for us.
It’s a really nice creative process, every day we listen to the songs we already got, add a few more bits, change some things; it’s good, it sounds like an Alestorm album so far, good catchy happy songs.

Do you have an idea of when it could come out?

No, not really, I mean, Sunset came out…August 2014? I think…so we wouldn’t maybe release it before…potentially be like the end of next year or something.

But I don’t know, we have no plans to go to the studio.

Have you ever struggled writing new lyrics?

Struggle writing lyrics? Not really, we hang out together and have so much fun and we say so many stupid things to each other that often we come out with ideas…you know, someone says “That would be good in a song. The funny thing you just said would be a good song title”

In your latest, I’d say, two albums you’re shifting more and more to ridiculous and non-sense  themes, is this the direction where you see yourselves going in the future?

Yeah, I mean, it will always be about pirate, I guess, it wouldn’t be this band if there was not some pirate connection…yeah, I mean, the songs have always been about having fun, but now we know we don’t have to rely on the gimmick of pirates anymore, mostly is just about drinking and doing stupid things.

Last year you parted ways with Dani [Evans, the former guitarist] and were joined by Maté [Bodor], how was the split and how did you find Maté?

Maté is great, we met him a few months, six month or a year, before he joined, at a festival where he was playing with his other band, Wisdom.
We were drunk and he was drunk, everybody became best friends.

With Dani, he’s been touring for like 8 years and that’s enough time to decide he didn’t want to do it anymore; he is doing like crew, guitar tech or something, he’s doing alright.

None of us really speaks with him much anymore, there was no arguments or anything like that, it was all fine.

It just wasn’t his life

Yeah, exactly, you know, he reached an age where he wanted to do something else.

I have read that, I think Chris, said that he has nothing against music piracy can you explain me that? Isn’t it against your interests?

Actually, right now, just from a convenience point of view I would listen on everything on Spotify, so I’ll pay for it, but if it wasn’t on Spotify and I wanted it I would steal it.
It’s fine, we don’t care, music industry has to adapt; if a band’s album isn’t on Spotify and I have to steal it then that’s their fault because it should be readily available on the world’s biggest streaming services.

That’s what bands have to do, that’s what record labels have to do.

How deep is your actual knowledge of pirates? Did you read many books about them or did you “studied” on Pirates of the Caribbean?

We don’t really know anything about pirates…Will Turner, Orlando Bloom, he’s my favourite pirate, Legolas…
Yeah, our songs aren’t really about pirates, that’s the trick.

You are touring a lot, you spend most of your years on tour, isn’t it exhausting?

Mmh…sometimes, sometimes festivals, like summer’s festival season can be exhausting when you play like 3 festivals every weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and you have to fly between them, which means that you don’t get much to sleep, like for the entire summer this summer, for two months it was 3 nights of the week with very little sleep and then you get home for 4 days and you’re just exhausted, you know, for two months straight, that’s exhausting.

Touring like that is not so bad, at least not for the musicians, obviously with the bigger productions we have it’s more difficult for our crew.
Yeah, it’s not too bad, we’re playing nice venues, it’s fine.

I know you all live in different places, how difficult is it to rehearse together?

We never rehearse, I’ve been in the band for five years and I’ve never rehearsed; sometimes we play through a song in the soundcheck if we are just a bit worried about it, but…even with the new album, we were all in the studio together and we got to know the new songs really well just hearing them over and over again.
We all went home, practiced to the cd by ourselves and we went on stage, played them all and was fine.

Maté when he joined he never did a rehearsal, we played for 70 minutes in Sweden Rock Festival to a few thousand people and he never rehearsed with us and we just threw him on stage and said “Play!” and…he did.

You know, we trust each other, we’re all reasonably adequate musicians and it’s fine.

I’m sure you have plenty of funny stories and pranks you did on the road, can you tell me the funniest one that comes to your mind?

We always think we should have a prepared answer for this because it’s asked in every interview and we never know what to say.
Funniest thing that happened so far in this tour was…Maté came back to the bus like 3 hours after everybody else last night, he was really drunk, he stole crisps and he didn’t know who they were of but he ate them, then he got like a napkin and marker and he wrote “I’m so sorry, it was me, I’ll buy you another one tomorrow, I was so hungry”.
We all thought it was really adorable because it’s fine…one bag of crisps, you don’t care, but he was really upset and worried and he wrote on Facebook to everyone saying “I’m sorry if it was yours but I was so hungry”.

Is not really that funny, is it? But we don’t really get up to mischief anymore, we’re all too old, we just sit in this room and play a show.

I’ve always been known as big drinkers, it seemed to me that lately you’ve been drinking a little less on stage, am I right?

No, I still drink a lot during the shows!
Yeah, we try to take it a little bit more seriously these days, you know, because we’re doing longer shows as well; when you’re a support band and you’re playing for half an hour if you start drinking at the beginning you won’t really be that drunk by the end because it takes a little while for alcohol to kick in.

If you play for an hour and a half and you start drinking at the beginning halfway through the show you’ll be really drunk so we try to pace ourselves.
I mean, we still drink a lot, we still get the same amount of alcohol every day but…we try to act professionally.  

Alestorm’s focus is always been on pirates, partying and drinking, have you ever thought to do a more “serious” album?

Not with this band, we all have other musical projects, if we want to do anything more serious we can do it, we’re not confined to this one band.

We occasionally have a song that is a little more serious, like 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena) off the new album for example is not a party song, is not about having fun, you know, it’s a historical story and the music is quite dark but mostly we write album just to entertain people in…in the simplest way.

If we wanted to do something seriously we’d just do it with another band; our fans wouldn’t like it, our fans come to our shows to have fun, if we stand there with an hour of serious deep songs they would go home.

Davide Sciaky