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Alestorm Interview w/ Elliot Vernon & Máté Bodor

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Posted November 3, 2016 by JJ Ulizio in Interviews
Empire Extreme Interview with Alestorm

Alestorm Interview w/ Elliot Vernon & Máté Bodor

By JJ Ulizio & George Archibald

ssttMyself and a fellow Empire Extreme staff member George Archibald had the pleasure of sitting down and having a chat with keyboardist Elliot Vernon and guitarist Máté Bodor of the pirate themed metal band Alestorm. We caught up with them as their “Super Smashed Turbo Tour 2016” with Aether Realm and Nekrogoblikon sailed into the Smiling Moose in Pittsburgh, PA. It was great talking to them about various topics and they put on one hell of an awesome show later that evening. But enough of my rambling, on to the interview!

JJ Ulizio: How far into the tour are you?
Máté Bodor: It’s day 6 or 7 so far… I think.

JJ: How have things been going?
Elliot Vernon: Its been going great! We did have some shows in Canada that got canceled so we suddenly had to find some last minute U.S. Shows. This is the second of those, I think. We are playing a couple of smaller places that we were able to get kinda last minute. But, its really cool because I like playing these smaller venues. Everyone is really sweaty and things fall apart. So that’s really fun. Its cool.

JJ: Do you have any new material that you have been working on?
MB: We’ve recorded demos for the new album. We have written everything already. We have ten or eleven songs done.
EV: We will be playing one of the new songs tonight. We will be playing one of them every day. We were just listening to the demos just now on the bus. Listening to them over and over again. Listening to them and taking notes, like this needs changing or that. It’s really good to be prepared like that.
JJ: Have you been happy with how everything has been turning out then?
Alestorm (both): Oh yeah its been great.
EV: The new album is even more in like a catchy, poppy direction. Its still metal. It still heavy. There are still screams, guitar solos, really heavy riffs, and stuff. All the songs are just super straight forward and catchy.
MB: There’s been a lot of time, all summer. We have been working on it, taking our time and working on each of the bits. I think we are really prepared now.
EV: In the past we have gone into the studio, and it was the first time Chris had ever sang those songs. Looking back we realized well that song should have been in a higher key, or we should have done things differently.
MB: Now we run things past each other every day and we just see what works and what doesn’t.
EV: That should help really streamline the process at least when we record.

2744763alestormJJ: Do you think it’s better to do the song in the studio first or to break it in on the road?
EV: It’s not really on the road. We have so much time at home, you know this is our full time job so when were not on tour we really don’t have anything else to do. So we really do spend a lot of time writing songs.
MB: We just do it over the internet, we all live in different places
EV: We have a Dropbox folder and we record demos and bits and send them back and forth that way. We don’t ever get together to rehearse or anything, it’s just all online shit. Now I do live near him so we’ve been recording demos together. But it’s cool; it’s really cool to spend all our free time getting stuff prepared.

George Archibald: I was listening to some of your stuff and the song “Magnetic North” it’s got a part in there that I really really enjoy, I’m a big heavy heavy heavy kinda guitar. The part I am talking about is when you have the bass drum and its almost like a breakdown. Can I expect more of that kind of stuff on the new album with the other dynamics as well?
EV: The song “Magnetic North” is on the album Sunset on the Golden Age, and that was my first album with the band, and it was me doing the screams. It was the first time we got to do that, really heavy thing. So this is going to be my second album and there’s definitely going to be parts with big heavy screaming sections. We were a little worried that the fans wouldn’t take to it so much, because we were this cheerful happy band and suddenly we but this big heavy section in there. But the people love it, so we decided to do more of that kind of stuff. It changes up the song, and makes it different. Otherwise it would get a bit boring if it were just happy all the time.

GA: Any other dynamics we can expect that you maybe haven’t really used in the past?
EV: There is definitely more guitar/keyboard solos and harmonies then we have done in the past. Think Children of Bodom or Avenged Sevenfold and that kind of stuff.

JJ: What are your biggest influences musically that you guys pull from?
MB: All different really.

JJ: Well, that helps meld it into a better sound usually.
EV: Solos and stuff we both have our influences with guitarists in metal bands that we look to for solo styles. The song structures and melodies are all pop influenced. We just like it to be super straight forward and catchy. You can hear it once and it gets stuck in your head. When you hear the chorus of a new song live for the first time, when you come around to the second time everyone should know the words already. That’s how we like to approach things. A lot of our influences are really just based on our old songs and which bits worked. We can see, this thing was good, let’s do more of that. We try not to directly steal from other people…
MB: We steal from ourselves, ha-ha
EV: Yeah we steal from ourselves, ha-ha, We’ve found our style and we are sticking to it.
GA: That’s the evolution of your sound.

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JJ: Can you talk briefly about how you first got together and how the pirate theme came about?
EV: Oh, I don’t know. It was so long ago. It’s Chris’ thing. I joined the band in 2011 and Máté last year. So he’s been in the band like a year, year and a half or something. I’ve been in the band 5 years. It was just a practical joke that got out of hand. I think they wanted to start a power metal band. A general power metal band, with different songs about fantasy shit and one of the songs was about pirates and it kind of just took off from there, let’s just stick to this gimmick you know? Because so many bands were already doing Vikings and all that nonsense, it just seems to be our thing now.
JJ: Well, it’s working. When I first checked you out I was like, “wow, these guys are awesome”. I am really looking forward to your set tonight.

GA: Is there any place in the United States that you guys would like to visit or tour? Or any place you guys consider a second home or anything?
EV: Well, I’m English and he’s Hungarian. So there’s many places we like, everywhere is cool. The United States is like a big group, every state is almost like its own country. LA is so much different from Pittsburgh.
MB: This is my first time here so I don’t really know yet. I’ve just been on the east coast for the past four or five days, it’s nice but I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of everything.
EV: We’re just excited for all the food every day. We like trying the local stuff everywhere.

GA: It’s so much different, if you do eat local here there’s a lot of Polish stuff like pierogis, sausages…
EV: We went to the sandwich shop up the street, the Primanti Brothers.

JJ: Did you like it?
Both: Yeah it was good.
JJ: I live about 45 minutes from here, so every time I am up this way if I get a chance I always try to swing by that place. I love it there.
EV: That’s the kind of stuff we are excited for every day, I mean obviously the shows are great but every day we get off the bus and look around and are like “ ok, what’s a good place to eat?” We always try to talk to the locals and get some opinions on where to go.

GA: Do you have a time-line or a rough idea on when that album is going to come out?
EV: We’re recording in January
MB: May or June or something like that. It should be out before the summer festivals.

EV: We didn’t do any of the European festivals at all this year and next year we are planning on doing all of them, or a lot of them. We would really like to have the new material done by then. Otherwise it would have been the third year we did festivals without any new songs, and even if its not out yet, we’re definitely going to have some new songs and new videos out for them. The last album, we finished it in February and released it in August. So it was just sitting there for six months. We were so eager to have it out. We are definitely going to try and push it faster this time. It all depends on the label, we don’t really decide these things.

JJ: I was going to say was that a label issue?
EV: Yes, they wanted to spend a long time hyping it up before they put it out.

JJ: Since you’ve mentioned festivals. Is there a festival you would like to play that you haven’t had a chance to yet?
MB: You’ve played Wacken, I haven’t yet & Grasspop, which I haven’t yet.
EV: We’ve never done Download Festival in the UK; it’s like the biggest rock/metal festival in the UK. We’ve never done that one. As for Europe we’ve done almost all of them. I’d like to do that Woodstock in Poland. There’s like a million people that go to that or something. It’s a free festival. So that would be cool. We did Heavy MTL Canada and that was great.

JJ: What do you like about playing the festivals as opposed to being on the road. I know they are totally different entities.
EV: They are two very different things. When you play a small club, even if there is just 100 people there, you know that every single person has come to see your show. Which is great, but then when you play a festival there may be 30,000 people there and some of them are your fans but they’re not all there just to see you. So playing small shows on the road is cool. Because it’s a very focused direct thing, just for us. Festivals are also great because there’s tens of thousands of people and that’s also cool. Its really different. Playing outside in the sun is different from playing in a small dark venue as well.

JJ: Winding things down here, we don’t want to take up to much more of your time. Is there anything else you want to say or anything you wish to plug before we let you go?
EV: Not really. I mean new album next year, but we don’t really have anything else coming up.

JJ: Alright guys, thanks for your time.
Both: Not a problem, thank you.

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About the Author

JJ Ulizio
JJ Ulizio

JJ has been a contributing writer and huge asset to Empire and Empire Extreme since the very begining. He is always digging for new bands and has a true heart and desire to see the bands grow and succeed.

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