Friday, 18 July 2014

INTERVIEW: enkElination

There are not many UK metal bands that have grabbed peoples attention quite like enkElination. With a number of high profile support slots in London and recently announced for the Jagermeister Stage at Bloodstock 2014, the band are now looking forward to releasing their debut album.  Luckily for us, they took some time to speak to Femetalism about the band, the new album and their plans for the future.  We were also fortunate enough to grab all 4 of them for this exclusive whole band interview.

Can you give us a brief history of enkElination?  

Elina: I was going through some hard times back in 2011 when my former teacher pushed me to write music again. So I started writing music for myself, for my voice, as a kind of therapy almost, and that's how enkElination started.

Can you tell us a little about each member of the band?

Elina: I’m originally from Finland where I studied a degree in classical singing (my whole family are musicians). I’ve written music since I was nine years old and as a funny detail I won a children’s song composing contest a few years ago

Alasdair: I play bass in the band. My background has been more from the thrash and hardcore side of things, although I've also been a fan of gothic/symphonic metal for a long time (especially Lacuna Coil!). I've been with enkElination for about a year and a half now.

Ben: I’m a Drummer from Essex who moved to London to study Music at Tech Music School.
I saw that EnkElination were holding auditions for a new drummer, emailed Elina and got the gig :)

Shadow: I play guitar for enkElination. I learnt guitar by playing along to Guns n Roses and Metallica CDs. I have a couple of other projects, Shadow Venger and Venger's Diary. I had no plans of ever playing in a band again but once I heard Elina sing I knew I had to join her band, even though I was initially rejected. I got my chance in the end and here I am still after 2 years.

Where did the name enkElination come from?

Elina: When I decided that I wanted to form a proper band around the music, I wanted to come up with a unique name. I wanted to combine English and Finnish so enkElination is based on a Finnish word 'enkeli' (Angel) and it has my name in the middle too so it has many meanings to me.

How would you describe the sound of the band?

Elina: I would say that it's melodic metal with a strong emphasis on catchy choruses, vocal melodies and rhythm hooks.

What are your main musical influences?

Elina: My influences come from everywhere, that's why I sometimes worry that my songs sound too different to each other. I like to try different things and I get inspired by various artists and styles of music.

What motivates you to make music?

Elina: Performing live is the biggest motivator, nothing beats that feeling you get on stage! I love the whole creative process too, getting ideas and developing them into songs and hearing how they sound live. And then of course it's great when other people enjoy the music you make and it evokes feelings in them.

Alasdair: A sense of awe that comes from creating something and expressing yourself. It gives such a high, especially when playing live, and you feel like you're a part of something much bigger than yourself.

Ben: Performing - There is no better feeling than being up on stage and killing it with your band after you've all put so much hard work in.

Your debut album Tears of Lust is being released in July – can you tell us about it?

Elina: Some of the lyrics are a bit cryptic or at least can be interpreted in many ways. They all have a certain meaning to me but it's nice that everyone can decide how they want to understand the message of the lyrics. There's not any specific theme though but I can clearly see how the lyrics have changed during the writing process because I've been in a different situation in my life. With couple of songs I took the idea to my teacher and we worked on it together. The rest I wrote on my own but got a lot of help from Shadow with the guitars. It's a bit tricky since I only play keys, so I make these guitar ideas and he makes them sound cool :) He’s very good at creating riffs. It works really well for us.

How was the recording process?

Elina: We recorded all over the place and it wasn't the easiest process but we got to the end finally :) I recorded my vocals in a studio and some at home too. All the backing vocals are done in my room.

Alasdair: Quite sporadic really. It was difficult to find the time to all meet up and work on stuff together a lot of the time, especially as I've been living quite a way away from everyone else. We recorded our parts separately in different locations, and Shadow ended up recording bass on many of the songs due to time constraints and other commitments.

Shadow: The recording itself wasn't too bad. It was the listening through all the takes
and mixing and that kind of stuff that was the real nightmare.

Femetalism saw you back in April supporting Van Canto.  Can you tell us about the gig?

Elina: It was an amazing opportunity for us to play with them and to a packed Underworld! It was a first gig after a long break (because of the recordings) and unfortunately we had quite bad luck when our drummer broke his toe so we had to get someone new in three days!! Also main guitar was completely inaudible during the whole gig so it was a bit frustrating after all the hard work. But lots of people still seemed to enjoy it which is the most important thing :) And now we're determined to come back with a vengeance on the 28th of July!! :)

Alasdair: It was quite a landmark gig for us (at least for me!). It's been an honour to support such a large band as Van Canto, and it was first time I ever played at The Underworld, which has been a really iconic venue for me. It got a bit stressful before the show, with sound checks running over etc., and the sound didn't end up being as good as we might have hoped, but I think we managed to make the most of it and people hopefully enjoyed our set.

Shadow: It was great to be back at The Underworld. It was really cool to meet Ross from Van Canto, he was a really cool guy! There was a great crowd at the show too. During the show, I felt like I was playing air guitar since I couldn't hear my guitar at all so felt a bit stupid up there trying to be a bad ass when no one can hear what you're playing. Anyway, as far as I could tell, I played the show of my life so I'll just tell everyone that since no one will ever know.

Which enkElination song do you most enjoy playing live and why?

Elina: I like playing Tears of Lust and Changeling. They both have a very special meaning to me but for very different reasons so i like the emotions they bring up when I sing them.

Alasdair: Tears of Lust. I feel it's our most ambitious song so far, and really atmospheric.

Ben: I am yet to gig with enkElination but we have lots of gigs coming up starting in July so I'm sure I'll have my favourites pretty soon.

Shadow: Tough choice but probably Never Ending. It's easy to play so I don't need to concentrate much so I can just rock out and have fun

We recently featured a guest post suggesting there was a lack of support for the UK Symphonic Metal scene (in which you were mentioned).  What are your thoughts on the UK scene?

Elina: There's a lot of good points in that post. The fanbase that exists and female fronted metal is, according to my experience very supportive and quite active. But that fanbase is not very big to begin with and not all of them will come to smaller gigs. I agree that the "symphonic" sound is very established in Europe. Personally I've never tried to create a certain sound and I wouldn't even call enkElination a symphonic band. I think one problem might be that many metal fans just don't like female fronted bands. So it's quite hard to reach the right fans or get beyond the very small scene and try to break into other markets.

Shadow: I'm new to this scene but I've been pleasantly surprised by the support. The scene is pretty small but the people that are in it are really passionate about it and really supportive, I've never experienced that before. The scene here is pretty small, probably because we don't have a label like Napalm here really pushing this kind of band. A lot of media coverage and support slots come down to money, so without label support, the door is shut on many things. Either that, or all us UK based bands suck ass

So what is coming next for enkElination?  

Elina: A huge amount of work will culminate in the release of our album and we'll be playing with Imperia on 28th of July at The Underworld and 29th in York Fibber's. After that we have some plans that we'll keep under wraps for now but of course we hope that the album does well and our fans will like it :)

Shadow: If we can sell enough albums and raise enough money, I'd love to sort out some kind of UK and European tour, so hopefully that will happen and then work on a second album.

Femetalism would like to extend huge thanks to Elina, Shadow, Alasdair and Ben for talking with us and we wish you loads of luck with the new album, your release shows, Bloodstock and of course the future - I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of you around and about the place - and when you decide which cities to visit on your world tour please remember to stop off at Sheffield ;)

FYI enkElination will be playing this years Valkyrian Festival in Bridlington, UK!  Check the lineup - it's going to be a good one! \m/

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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.