Is weirdly considered cool

We had the opportunity to speak to Anna, Ivo and Merlin from Cellar Darling at the Greenfield in Interlaken. The band is still very young and emerged from differences within the Swiss folk metal band Eluveitie. Her new album “The Spell” was released in March. The concept album revolves around the story of a girl who, on her search for the meaning of life, encounters death and falls in love with it. A dark fairy tale set to music. The album was the subject of the interview, but also film continuations and mentalities as well as expensive instruments and Eluveitie.



Your new album was released in spring, are you satisfied? How is it received?


Anna: Very, you never really know.


Ivo: We see this mainly from the online feedback, read the comments under the videos on Youtube and from the people who send us messages. So far the feedback is very good, but people like it.



It's already something new. «The Spell» is a concept album. How do you get the idea?


Anna: Unfortunately, the answer to that is never really exciting. It just happens, the idea comes from somewhere. It's not that we thought «ok, let's do something like that now». The story flew to me while hiking, of course not as detailed and detailed as it is on the album.

I told the two of them (note: Ivo and Merlin) about it and we just did it. Absolutely not really planned.


What is the difference in songwriting when there is a concept?

Anna: This time it really was that we let the idea guide us. The tracklist existed before the music. The story already existed and we then completely focused on the fact that the music accompanied the story. That it sounds like the things that happen in the text and in the story. We have never worked like this before. Not even in our ex-band (the 3 are former members of Eluveitie. Editor's note). It was the first time that we were guided by the words.


So the lyrics first, then the music?

Anna: First the story and then came the track list, this song is called “Pain”, the next “Burn” etc. and then we had to make the music sound like the story. Most of the lyrics came after that.


Has the story been told so completely for you?

Anna: For me it is. The story leaves a lot of room for interpretation. But it is a complete story in itself. In a way, more of a fable, you can pull your own stuff out of it and that's it. But there won't be a Part 2 now like for example. in the Batman films.



Merlin: Just because we're making several million on the album, we don't make another one.



That would have been my next question now, whether there could be a sequel.


Anna: No and that makes the whole thing more dramatic, I think. The statement is there and you can do whatever you want with it.


Ivo: Well, you can't do that much with it, not the way Hollywood works.


Merlin: Just because we're making several million on the album, we don't make another one.


As the saying goes, mostly the second part is no longer as good as the first.


Anna: That is definitely the case, check out «Hangover 2».


Merlin: Yeah, that was definitely a disaster.


But that's the case with a lot of things, whether it's a book or a film.


Merlin: "Harry Potter" is the big exception.


Anna: I only read the books about them.

Ivo: And "Lord of Rings" too.


Merlin: Right. And yes, the Harry Potter books, but it's always a matter of opinion.


Anna: But I think “Terminator 2” is better than “Terminator 1”.


Merlin: Yes, it used to be different, I also think that not only the first part of «Rambo» is good.


Anna: Maybe we have to reconsider that.


Merlin: Yeah, it's more complicated than we thought.


Anna you play the hurdy-gurdy. How do you come to learn such an instrument?


Anna: I saw it and found it exciting. Not exactly an exciting answer here either. I wasn't active in the Middle Ages scene or anything, but saw the instrument, thought it was awesome and thought «ok, I want that too». Because it's weird, but it sounds cool.


Most of them start with guitar or drums.

Anna: I always wanted to learn the guitar because next to the piano it is the best instrument for writing songs. But I've always lost patience. With the guitar everything has to be right, it is not enough to grab the chord, you have to make sure that the fingers are correct, then the string comes in and I have too little patience for that. Even if I would like to be able to. That’s something for the next life.


You have already been to the greenfield several times, but in this constellation it is a first. How was that for you guys?


Ivo: It's different.


Merlin: Yes, different, a lot less people on stage. (general laughter) There were eight of us with Elu. Ok, there are five of us today, as we have two guest musicians with us. But it's different, if only because we play different music.


Ivo: It's a different energy and mood that you want to bring across.


Does that make the difference between a festival and your own show?


Anna: Yes, that's always an issue. I actually prefer club shows because they're more intimate. You can better organize the evening yourself and it also suits us better. Gloomy and when the sweat drips from the ceiling.

But today I was very surprised at how extremely comfortable I felt. I looked at the mountains, that was of course awesome and that helps. The people were awesome too.



Anna: I always do a “Mega Gschiss” because of my hurdy-gurdy, because it's worth over 9,000 francs.



I think you can feel a difference too. At the headliner shows people come especially for you, at festivals the audience is mixed. Do you notice that?


All: You can tell.


Anna: It's also cool like that, it's like a challenge. You have to convince people with your music who they may not have heard before. I think that's cool.


Ivo: In a way, that's also the point of a festival. That you play in front of people you would normally not be able to reach. And that is nice.


As a visitor, I also find it exciting to get to know new bands.


Merlin: In the best case scenario, you will find something new that you like.


In the middle of August we will go on tour and there will be a lot of countries. What are you particularly looking forward to?


Merlin: On the upcoming tour, we're going to South America first. I am happy that there are so many countries that we have never been to, but the fans always write “Come to Chile”, “Come to Costa Rica” and so on. It's always difficult to get there and now it looks like it will work. We are very happy about that.


Anna: I think we are also the first band that manages to do such a long tour of South America.


Merlin: It's going to be an experiment. I think some of the club shows will be small, but I'm looking forward to enthusiastic fans. Some of our most loyal fans are in Brazil and it's cool to see them again. It's a huge privilege to be able to travel around the world and play.


Do you notice a difference in mentalities?

Anna: Not so much in Europe now. But especially if you play in South America today and shortly afterwards in Oslo, there is a huge difference. It's not one place cooler than another, but very different.


Merlin: In South America, people have more of that football match energy that they bring to the concerts, no matter who is playing.


I often hear that Swiss fans are generally a little more cautious, as you hear more often from the Nordic countries. Is it really like that?

Merlin: Maybe the bands were too bad there.


Anna: I find that difficult. When I go to a concert, even from my favorite band that makes me cry for joy, I don't go completely mad. I'm there, enjoy it, clap and cry, but they don't see that on stage. From the stage, it seems like it's not so energetic, but it's not like that.


Merlin: That might also depend on the bands. At Eluveitie, I never had the feeling that the Swiss are less energetic than anywhere else. But you can hear that from different areas. As you say, for example Scandinavia, Finns and Finnish bands have also told us that, like in Finland, we shouldn't expect too much, they are freezing. Then we play there and the whole venue is boiling, the sweat drips and everyone is freaking out. So far, no matter where we've played, the people have always been gigantic.



Ivo: When we have our own shows and play an hour and a half in the evening, there is a lot to do. Preparing merchandise, for example, so we have almost no time to do anything stupid.



What is the funniest or most bizarre thing that has happened to you on tour so far?


Anna: That's always so much that you keep forgetting.


Merlin: Nothing comes to mind either.


Anna: We really have to start writing that down.


Merlin: Well, something happened on the last visit to Brazil. After the last show we went straight to the airport without sleep, got out and then it started: "Do you have the hurdy-gurdy?"


Anna: I always do a “Mega Gschiss” because of my hurdy-gurdy, because it's worth over 9,000 francs.


Merlin: The hurdy-gurdy is the most expensive instrument and nobody had it with them. But a South American taxi driver took them to the airport shortly before their departure. Ok, that wasn't really funny at the moment.


Anna: I think you can only understand that if you play the hurdy-gurdy yourself.


Nothing with rock`n roll cliché?


Ivo: When we have our own shows and play an hour and a half in the evening, there is a lot to do. Preparing merchandise, for example, so we have almost no time to do anything stupid. But funny things happen every now and then.


How was the switch back to the small? With Eluveitie everything was already quite big.


Anna: That wasn't the case with Eluveitie in the beginning either. Only after 3-4 years did it get big and the machinery got going. This must not be forgotten.


Now in relation to the fact that you just said that you do a lot yourself?


Merlin: Exactly, you start all over again, but we weren't thrown into the deep end because we've been through it like this before. But yes, it was definitely another change. We're doing more ourselves again, that's good, then you don't forget how to do it.


Thank you for the interview and good luck with Cellar Darling.

Everyone: Thank you.


Cellar Darling - "Drown"