Swiss epic folk metallers Caladmor have recently self-released their new album “Of Stones and Stars”. They are currently playing in many gigs to promote their music, so it is the perfect time to ask Babs (female vocals) and Maede (drums, vocals, synths) everything about their great album and their future plans.
- Hello Babs and Maede. Thank you for you time to have this interview. I really liked your new album very much. I’d like to ask you what are your fans reaction to the new songs so far and what press feedback did you get?
(Babs): Hi and thank YOU for the interview Glad you like our new album! The reaction on “Of Stones and Stars” has been indeed overwhelming so far, by listeners as well as by press. Thank you all!
(Maede): The feedback was quite overwhelming.
- How would you describe your music in “Of Stones and Stars” to someone who has never heard of the band before?
(Babs): Well… we decided to call our music Epic Folk Metal because nowadays you are kind of forced to put “a brand” on your music in order to sell it… So we discussed a lot how we should “call” our music and the decision was not easy as our music is in a way quite diverse and unites a lot of different metal genres in it. There are these “epic” guitar riffs, harsh vocals changing with female and male clean vocals and only a few folk instruments set on the right place. Lyrically the focus lies on telling epic tales, as for example in “Of Stones and Stars” or “Laudine’s Lament”. Every song tells a story of its own.
- This time you have released the album on your own. What led you in this decision and what are the challenges you faced? Now that the publishing of the CD is over, how will you promote it?
(Babs): The decision for the self release was not really taken voluntarily as our former label Twilight went bankrupt when we already started working on “Of Stones and Stars”. Of course we wanted to release the album despite of that, but couldn’t find another label suiting our expectations, so we released the album on our own. Luckily we have help for the promotion from Markus Eck from metalmessage.de. To work with him definitely turned out to be the right decision!
(Maede): Actually we don’t have an international distribution, so we still are looking for a label for that purpose, but it seems to be quite difficult.
- Since you’ve seen now both options (with and without label), which one do you think is better for you?
(Maede): If you make a self-release, you earn more money as a band, that’s clear. The problem is, that you need a lot of promotion and it’s easier to get known and get bigger gigs with a good label.
- What are the main differences in your new work compared to your previous album? Are there any line-up changes in the band?
(Babs): It’s funny we made “Midwinter” as well as “Of Stones and Stars” only being four members, lacking a second guitar player, so on both albums you can hear the “initial core” of the band. After having finished “Midwinter”, Plaeschy joined the band for the second guitar. Unfortunately he left the band shortly before the record sessions for “Of Stones and Stars” started – after having finished “Of Stones and Stars”, Mäsi joined the band and we’re happy to be complete again. Now we’re really looking forward to write new songs with Mäsi, as his guitar play is quite focused on a melodic death technical kind of play, so we’re curious about in which way this will affect the sound of Caladmor…
(Maede): We had 5 months to record “Of Stones and Stars” and only one weeks for “Midwinter” and I think you can hear the difference from a sound and technical point of view! My personal opinion: The songs are more complex and better arranged than on the old album.
- Is there any general lyrical concept in your new album? I see that in a few songs you have used lyrics from existing poems or books.
(Babs): Yes that’s true. Well there is no “over all” concept in the lyrics, but when Maede and me wrote or chose the lyrics we were quite inspired by old Greek tales as well as mythological legends and in a lot of songs we also tried to put a philosophical approach in it. Therefore we for example chose a poem out of the Poetic Edda dealing with knowledge and wisdom.
- What is the compositional process you follow? Is the music composed by someone in particular, or all band members contribute?
(Maede): 8 out of 11 songs from the new album are from me, but that doesn’t mean I compose all myself. Mostly I have a rough idea and I record a demo (I play all the instruments myself). Then the band starts to complete the song together.
- Let’s take you back in time at your first steps. Your band began in 2001 under the name Pale. What do you remember from these first years? What made you start this band and what were your influences and “goals” back then?
(Babs): I love to think back of these days… We were just four young Grungers wanted to sound like Nirvana or Soundgarden, but a bit “darker” and “harder” and so we elaborated a kind of “Alternative Metal” that grew heavier and heavier during the years. But I think you still can hear the old Pale somehow in our sound, for example in the style Maede is using for his clean vocals in “Dawn of the Deceiver” or even in my style of singing for example in “The Raid” and definitely also in some of Nick’s guitar play.
- How do you see now your debut album “Beneath the Tree of Wisdom” from 2005? What was the music style you were playing at that time?
(Babs): Actually there is quite an older album which was our debut: “Forgotten Tales” in 2003! The music on both “Forgotten Tales” and “Beneath the Tree of Wisdom” was as diverse as it is now, but I think somehow much more grungy and rougher and sometimes the songwriting just sucked
(Maede): Well, we had a few good songs and started to experiment with folk and viking themes those days…
- Two years later, in 2007, you released the EP “The Bridge”. Were there any musical differences between the two albums?
(Babs): Three of the songs on “The Bridge” were recorded in a studio and to all of us it was really the first time being in a record studio and working with a producer (Dani Theis) – a really important experience regarding our next album “Midwinter”, which was completely worked out with our producer George Necola and also fully recorded with him in a studio. The music on “The Bridge” was more progressive and had also some thrash aspects.
- What made you stop Pale and start Caladmor? Was is just a change of name or something more?
(Maede): There where a few other bands with the name Pale and you have to have an unique bandname if your serious. We also made our first ‘real’ album all in studio with a label and we decided to to a ‘relaunch’ with a new bandname.
- In 2010 the debut Caladmor album, entitled “Midwinter” was released via Twilight Vertrieb. How different was this work compared to Pale’s releases? How was your first cooperation with a label?
(Maede): It was quite cool, because our album was promoted by the label and could be bought in every CD-Shop in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It was all professional compared to the earlier releases.
- What should your fans expect from you on stage? Is there any special show? Are there any tours planned you’d like to inform us about?
(Babs): Well we always try to deliver something special if there is the place and the chance for it. On our recent gig with Eluveitie for example we engaged our friends from the Viking re-enactment group Blackmoore to do a fighting scene while we were performing “Alvíssmál” – this was incredible! Regarding touring, we are making some plans but as usual, it’ll be a question of money. We’d love to tour at least our neighbor countries next year…
- Do you listen to other bands too? Do you follow Swiss metal scene? Any new bands from your country you would like to mention?
(Maede): We go often to concerts if we can afford it. Folk metal bands in Switzerland are only a few that are known: Eluveitie (clear), Caladmor, Excelsis, Abinchova. I could mention Nidhoeggr a young but quite cool pagan metal band.
- Does any of you, or other Caladmor members play on other bands / projects too? If yes, would you like to give us some info about them?
(Babs): Until now, Caladmor has been a full time job for all of us (at least beside our other “real” full time jobs ) except for Mäsi whose second band is Caladmor actually (he plays in a Melodic Death Metal band)– So it’s more a question of time but I think if we had more of it we would definitely all have side projects as we all have “another musical face” which can’t be given space in Caladmor. During the last months I for example have written a bunch of songs which I’d like to record one day. They are too quiet to become metal songs, much focused on my voice, the piano (which is actually my first instrument) and the acoustic guitar.
- Maybe it’s too early, but what are your future plans? Any thoughts for a new album?
(Maede): I already started to compose new songs. But it will take a while till we release a new album. I have two jobs, my own company, I brew mead and beer and I should finish my dissertation some day… If I could make only music, it would be much easier, hehe.
- What should we expect from Caladmor in the future? Do you think you have fulfilled your ambitions and dreams with the band, or is there still road to go?
(Maede): Sure we wanna get known and become famous! But realistically, it’s very tough and hard to be a musician. Most important for us is, we still want to have fun making music. I think our next goal is to make a tour and rock on bigger stages.
- Thank you very much for your time. Wish you all the best. Last words are yours.
(Babs): Thank YOU for your time and thank you everybody who has read this! We’re looking forward to tour your country one day! Thank you all for your support so far.