We get lot’s of new albums at Folk-metal.nl, but it’s not every day we get an album from a rather unknown band, which as astonishing as the new Caladmor album ‘Of Stones and Stars’. An quite unique style, really surprising… It’s about time we have a chat with these guys. We draw Maede Baumann away from the microphone, drum-kit and synthesizer and Babs Brawand from her microphone to answer our questions and luckily they found the time to clear things up.
Caladmor once started with the name Pale which was changed to Caladmor, while Pale actually didn’t sound like a metal band. They had a change in style anyway and wanted to do a restart with a label, so the name was changed. Another reason was that there are a few other bands with the name Pale and the band wanted something unique. This is quite difficult nowadays, so they decided to use an artificial language. Caladmor means ‘dark light’ in Sindarin (elven language of Tolkien, Lord of the Rings), and it reflects perfectly the complex style and diversity of the music. They released one album as Caladmor previous to this one. It was called Midwinter, not a bad album at all, but not by far as good as ‘Of Stones and Stars’. According to Maede, the most important difference between of Stones and Stars and Midwinter is they had much more time for the recording. For Midwinter they only had one week. For the new album, the drums were recorded at the bau2 Studios in Winterthur in 3 Days (‘That’s fast I know’). And the band received professional equipment from their producer George Necola to record the rest in their bandroom, which is a little studio anyway. They build a sound booth especially for the vocals, that was quite an adventure. After the drum recordings, the band started with the guitar recordings for 2 months (mostly weekends Friday to Sunday) and another long weekend for the bass. The vocal recordings were also very tough, it took another 2 months. For other instruments as violin and pipes they had another week. The choirs were recorded on a last weekend.
‘So for the technical aspect, it’s a huge difference if you record an album in one week or in 5 months! :)’
‘For the substance of our music I can just say: We became better in songwriting and composing! :)’
Babs: ‘We talked a lot about how the next album could be done better than Midwinter. Midwinter was quite ok considering that it was recorded few years ago. But since then we all improved in our technical skills, especially the vocals and guitar play. So let’s say Of Stones and Stars is the result of a constitutive reflection of our first album. For the producing we worked again with George Necola who really understands our music and thus could give us very good support.’
The previous album Midvinter was released with the label Twilight Vertrieb, but because this label has gone bankrupt, this collaboration ended. It was a bit ugly in the end with bad communication and not getting paid, but on the other side, the band has more more freedom now.
Babs is honestly feeling a bit relieved that they could come out with their new CD without the label, because as Maede already said they’re more free now, and luckily it all went very well. She doesn’t want to offend anybody from the former label as they did a good job with Midwinter, but she’s still not really sure whether they would have caught the same attraction for this new album than they have caused now with doing the marketing on their own with much help from wonderful Markus Eck from Metalmessage.
Well, this sounds very positive, but it’s a rather unexpected answer of course. Most of the time bands are looking for labels, although we noticed a change is these matters recently. Does it mean Caladmor isn’t searching for a label anymore and doing things themselves?
Maede, says they have made a few selected applications. The music industry has become very difficult, but with all those good reviews they expect to get get some offers. And I can’t imagine they don’t with such a great album. They really like to have a label that helps them with management, promo and touring, not only a distribution of the album. ‘Today, a band can sell their stuff over the internet themselves, the problem is to get well known… :), according to Maede.
When you read the covers of their albums while listening to Caladmor’s albums, it will catch your eyes and ears, Päde (Eluveitie) is making a guest-appearance on Midwinter and Chrigel is doing the same on ‘Of Stones and Stars’, along with a number of other guest-musicians. And despite the fact Chrigel had no direct influence to the songwriting process. Maede just sent him the demo with notes and he recorded it! But he has a huge influence because of the famousness of Eluveitie, that really helps Caladmor. In fact they are just ‘friends’ of the band (although they don’t often see them), but the scene in Switzerland is very small, and all the metal bands of a genre mostly know each other. Maede is of the opinion you can hear some Eluveitie influences on the album, although they developed their typical own style. This may be the case, but Caladmor doesn’t sound anywhere like Eluveitie in my opinion, besides in Dawn of Deceiver, the song Chrigel plays along, it can’t be a coincidence it has a bit of an Eluveitie feel?
Maede: ‘As I mentioned before, Chrigel had no direct influence, but when I composed the whistle melody of Dawn of the Deceiver, I had some Irish folk melodies in mind and I knew instantly that only Chrigel could play this with the mood I intended.’
And this songwriting, Maede talks about, is as you can see in the booklet, mainly done by himself. He wrote 8 out of 11 Songs. But this doesn’t mean he composed all by himself. Mostly, Maede has an idea how it should sound and a rough arrangement. Then it’s record as a demo by himself and it’s worked out with the band. Babs and Maede do the most of the lyrics together, but she has also some songs which she composed and wrote on her own, A Nymph’s Lure for instance.
Maede has often have an idea what could be good lyrics for the song, when he’s composing it. He always tries to write something in the mood and feel of the song. He tells us it also happens that he really wants to say something important that’s in his mind for a few days or even weeks, and in those cases he composes a song on that purpose. Dawn of the Deceiver is such a song.
Babs tells she writes her lyrics mostly after she has the melody in order to be inspired by the song and its mood. But she also likes to put the sound around lyrics, especially when the lyrics are not from herself as for example in the song ‘Laudine’s Lament. The lyrics of this song come from ‘Iwein’ an ancient piece of literature written in Middle High German. ‘This way of working out a song is not so familiar to me, but also very exciting’, she says.
Despite the fact one of their vocalists, Maede, is the drummer of the band and can’t appear at the front of the stage, they don’t find it difficult to make a nice presentation on stage, because they see Babs is the main attraction! :D
And Babs tells us, people are actually often really fascinated by Maede doing a whole show drumming AND growling AND singing. She sees this as the main attraction which is not quite often offered by bands – and it’s quite a stunning performance in her eyes :)
According to Maede folk-metal is just as popular as it is in Germany, since Eluveitie became famous. :) But the German metal community is more open, it is much easier to get heard as a newcomer (or lets say not so famous) band.
Well this album ‘Of Stones and Starts’ makes you hungry and we at Folk-metal.nl surely hope it will change things for this band, so we can hear and see more of them in the future. And fortunately, Maede tells us they definitely want to play on bigger stages in Europe and festivals! And they certainly going to write new songs for their fans. Because playing and touring on bigger stages is very expensive in Europe, they will probably start a crowd funding project in the near future.
Well, I can’t imagine we don’t hear more of Caladmor in the future and neither do the readers of Folk-metal.nl I think.