Alestorm Talk to Rock-Zone UK

November 13, 2012

Avast, ye landlubbers! From the deepest darkest depths of eastern Scotland comes Alestorm, a drunken band of numpties on an epic quest to slay posers, drink beer, and be the greatest damn band that ever did sail the seven seas! Describing their style as “True Scottish Pirate Metal”, Alestorm plays an infectious blend of folk and power metal in the vein of bands such as Korpiklaani and Turisas, but with a unique piratical twist. Alestorm coming to kick ass and chew gum. And they’re all out of gum.

Drawing on wide stylistic influences, such as Bal-Sagoth and Primordial to name but a few, Alestorm released their debut album “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” in 2008 to great critical acclaim, followed swiftly by their sophomore album “Black Sails at Midnight” in 2009. Now, after cementing their reputation as a kick-ass live band with countless hundreds of shows around the world, Alestorm returns in 2011 with their third album “Back Through Time”.
 
These grand purveyors of the finest Pirate Metal (yeah, until I heard it i thought “what?” but trust me – if you like songs about drinking, songs about pirates and you like metal you will LOVE Alestorm!) kindly took the time to talk to Rock-Zone just before hitting the stage as support to Dragonforce. Christopher, Dani and Elliot even kindly brushed over my Freudian faux pas (“Don’t mention Halestorm, don’t mention Halestorm”…….”So what’s it like being in Halestorm?” – doh!) and even offered me beer…what a lovely set of pirates!

So what’s the best thing about being Halestorm…er, oops…Alestorm?

Well the best thing about Halestorm is the sexy chick. But the best thing about Alestorm is….everything. It’s not a nine to fivea bunch of mates out on the road, playing guitars and keyboards and getting paid for it. People also tend to bring you gifts of rum and that seems to be a profeesional obligation becasuse we’re pirates. In fact the worse you feel the next morning, the better you’ve done your job!

What first made you want to choose this as your way of life (making music is clearly more than just a living), your earliest influences and the like?

Well we are making a living out of it in that we don’t have time to get a proper job. At the moment we’re touring endlessly. We have December off but then we go back out on the road in January so not really leaves much time to work in HMV or wherever. We don’t do badly but our credit rating seems to suffer.

Why wouldn’t you want to play in front of a couple of thousand people a night? Who wouldn’t want to take this opportunity? But in terms of influences (Dani) I saw Polish band Decapitated in 2002 – who were the first band I went to London to see and since then I have been fortunate enough to be their guitar tech. and now I’m good friends. We all from very different backgrounds.

(Chris) I like that Harald dude from DRI. He’s everything I love in a bass player – not very good, a maniac and at the end of the night he was trying to drink stuff through his eyes.

(Dani) We were in Mexico with Overkill and DRI and Harald chugged a whole bowl of chillis – and he’s not supposed to eat spicy things! So he ended up in hospital unable to breathe.

(Chris) I’ve wanted to be him for a year now! Mexico was fun

(Elliot) As a keyboard player there’s plenty of influences but it’s more recent than anything. Most would talk about Vivaldi, Handel and Beethoven and classical music is an influence around everything. I’m not influenced by the 70s prog giants as people say I should be. The Turisas keyboard player would kill me for saying that but being quite young I’m more influenced by the people who were influenced by them – people like Jens Johansson from Stratovarius pretty much created the power metal keyboard solo. So I’m kind of the next generation on from those people who I “should” be influenced by.

We then had a small discussion that made me feel really old! Kindly Dani said that it would be better not totalk about their ages then so I gladly obliged. Instead I went on to ask them, given we’d discussed the best bit, what’s the worst thing about being in Alestorm?

(Chris) It is actually really hard work which people don’t realise. Sure we’re running around, having fun but sometimes that itself is difficult. Sometimes you miss the routine and comforts of home.

(Dani) Yeah, sometime the last thing I wanna do is talk to anybody. So I’ll sit with my headphones on with my laptop playing video games for hours until I have to play a show. Somedays you just want to be, to coin a phrase, “normal” but once you walk out on stage and there’s between 200 and 5000 people shouting your band name it’s, like “WOW!” But it’s the sittin

(Elliot) …and that makes it worth it. You would think that people who do the normal 9-5 routine would relish the opportunity of doing nothing all day then just do a 45 minutes of really fun work. What they don’t see is the turning up in a place where there is nothing to do.

(Dani) The standard motto is “hurry up and wait” – everything is be here on time, rush everything in and then….wait….and wait some more.

(Elliot) but if you bring your laptop, phone and a book you can amuse yourself the same way that you would at home on the weekend. It’s not terrible though.

(Dani) I remember being in someone’s flat, looking around and everybody was sitting using laptops, in the same room on Facebook. Probably talking to each other withthe person nearest the kitchen getting a message to “put the kettle on”.

Do you still do the tour bus around the country or is there any creature comforts?

On this tour we’re doing it on a budget. Slumming it a bit, in a van and crashing on friends’ floor. the thing is the UK is not the hardest place to tour. Last night was the longest drive of 5 hours.

(Elliot) The fact is we’re from here, there’s 10 or 11 shows, the drives are short and we have loads of friends everywhere it’s not worth paying the £150 a night for a tour bus.

With that, our time together was over. The boys got ready for their set (which for me was the highlight of the show). Alestorm;s brand of pirate metal is a little quirky but, you know what, the guys do their stuff with a knowing smile….even better they let us all on-board to enjoy the voyage.

For more information see www.alestorm.net

Alestorms are on Napalm records.

 

 

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