Greetings there! Thank you very much for answering this interview. I hope you enjoy answering the questions as much as I did working on them. First, like I always do, please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Babs: Thank you for the Interview! It’s always a pleasure. I’m the singer of Caladmor, an Epic Folk Metal Band hailing from Zurich, Switzerland.
Tell us a bit about “Of Stones and Stars, how was the composition process, the lyrics and, for those that aren’t familiar with your sound, what can they expect when listening to this release.
Babs: You certainly can expect a great diversity when going through the album. Every song has its own touch, its own atmosphere. This is something very important to us – we do not want to repeat ourselves in our musical work, so every song needs to be unique.
The composition process went for about two years. Maede composed most of the songs – he then presented his general ideas to us and the rest of us added a little bit of this and that… for example vocal lines and of course lyrics, which are written or chosen by Maede and me.
Still on “Of Stones and Stars”, has received many positive reviews from countries all around the world. But how has been the response from the fans? Being an independent release, has the sales been satisfactory? And how hard is it for you to promote the album?
Babs: We absolutely cannot complain about the reaction of the fans, they seem to like Of Stones and Stars J It’s always very interesting to talk back to the fans what they do like and don’t like about the album – to me, the fans are the most important critics, as they wouldn’t just criticize because of envy or jealousy, but because there was an expectation that the band might have failed to fulfill. So criticism of the fans is an important mirror to the band that should be taken seriously.
Promoting the album without a label has its pro’s and con’s; You are more free in deciding what to do and when. For marketing issues we had the luck to be supported by wonderful Markus Eck of Metalmessage. He did and does a great job in spreading the word for us and our album. Without his help, we surely wouldn’t have come that far! Since February of the current year we also have a distribution deal with the German label Einheit Produktionen, which helps us a lot to offer the CD abroad.
Again on the lyrics topic, as you have stated before, they are inspired by some old greek or medieval epic poems. Please, share with us the works that have lyrically inspired Caladmor. Do you have any recommendations, books or websites, for the people that are interested in such subjects?
Babs: First of all, we were inspired a lot by the Old Norsk Poetic Edda. If you are interested in Nordic Mythology, I can only recommend it to you, especially as it is one of the few sources that we have on old Nordic beliefs and stories. The lyrics for Alvissmal and also the theme of Mimirs Born are taken from the Edda; both deal with wisdom and knowledge. As this is a main theme of “Of Stones and Stars”, the Edda poems fit in perfectly.
Then on “Laudine’s Lament” we have some Middle High German lines, taken from the 13th Century novel Iwein by Hartmann von Aue. I love medieval epic poetry, there you can find all the stuff modern fantasy novels and movies are made of! The one I do like best is Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg – in every aspect a true masterpiece!
And yes, for the lyrics of “Curse of the Gods” and “Helios Sky” we were inspired by Greek epic poetry and tales, such as the Odyssey and the tale of Prometheus, bringing fire to mankind and thus enlightenment (again, this song deals with wisdom). I can absolutely recommend to everybody to go to your bookshop around the corner and look out for a collection of Greek tales – they are quite bloody and cruel sometimes, with lot of literal content. Or just google for it J
Perhaps, in a way, connected to the previous question, Caladmor is a word from the Tolkien world. How much his works, in any sort of way, have influenced your music?
Babs: Well, you cannot say it has influenced us directly, as we did not dedicate any music or lyrics to the Tolkien world like others bands like Summoning or Minhiriath do. But being a bit nerdy when it comes to language issues I got interested in the artificial language Sindarin, where also our band name is taken from. On our previous album Midwinter there is also a song sung in Sindarin (Wayfarer). I love the sound of this language!
For a person that is getting into your music now, in what way would you recommend him or her to get to know it? Listen to the Pale releases and then Caladmor or Caladmor first? And, concerning Caladmor, starting chronologically or the new album first?
Babs: Oh good question! There were several reasons why we changed our band name around 2008/2009 from Pale to Caladmor. One of them was that our music changed from some sort of mix out of Grunge and Metal to what it is on Midwinter. So I would clearly recommend to listen to Of Stones and Stars first (honestly, also because our technical skills on this album are much better than on the releases before…) and then get back in time. But still I do not want to apologize for our earlier releases… to us it’s always fun to listen to our very first release in 2002, it was a demo named “Forgotten Tales” – some of us were only 17 years old then! …
Many great bands hail from your country, Switzerland, some of them even iconic to genres. How has the Swiss metal scene treated the band so far? Are there any kind of yet “unknown” bands that you’d suggest our readers to check them out?
Babs: To be honest, we have a great fan base here in Switzerland! We can always count on their support, which cannot be taken for granted, especially not in Switzerland! There is a metal scene full of great and open minded people, but probably as everywhere in the world you also have some idiots thinking they have the right to decide about the only “true” metal styles. So often when it comes to female vocals, not everybody here is open minded. But that’s ok with me J
And yes, we do have some great bands to offer! Check out Excelsis, Nidhoeggr and Abinchova for some Folk Metal, and Gonoreas for Power Metal, only to name a few…
Generally speaking, what should we expect from the band in the future? You’ve already released two full-length albums, the last one, as we’ve already mentioned, being independent. Not only your main goals, but also what you wish, what you’d dream for Caladmor.
Babs: Well, we’re really looking forward to playing two shows abroad in Germany next month. This is one of our main goals, to meet new people in different countries J
Then we also are about to write a new album, but we cannot make any forecasts about the release date yet.
Besides we’re working on an unplugged set for an upcoming show in August, where we will play some old Swedish and Medieval stuff. This is a very interesting kind of side project to us, and who knows what we will make out of it… maybe a record?
In addition to the last question, tell us what are your plans for 2014? Tours, festivals, another release, maybe an EP, whatever your plans are that will interest Caladmor’s fans.
Please see above.
For any band, especially the ones that the members have regular jobs, studies to complete and families, it is very hard to keep the band alive. How do Caladmor’s members deal with this matter?
Babs: We just do our very best. J Of course it’s always a question of priorities… Everybody of us is making sacrifices in order to keep Caladmor running.
By the way, I read that Maede brews mead and beer and that he would open an webshop. What’s up with this? What style of beers does he brew?
Babs: He actually has opened his web shop! www.skaldenmet.ch – He is specialized in Ales and different types of Mead. As his band mates we are the lucky ones to always try first his new creations, and I can tell you: I never had any tastier Mead than Maede’s! J
And we’ve reached the end of this interview. One more time I’d like to thank for your answers. I’d like to wish you the best in the future as well as to thank Markus Eck for the help. Any last words for our readers?
Babs: Thank you very much for this interview! All the best to you and your readers! Thank you everybody for your dear support so far. We hope to meet you soon!April 21, 2014