Wilds of Ireland
Dublin based blackened folk metallers Celtachor will be releasing a new album called Fiannaoícht this April. Celtachor has been actively promoting the album by releasing content ranging from a single track to a music video. I gathered my questions I had for Celtachor, and some time later the entire band came back with the much anticipated answers. They answered my questions mostly centered around the album and the content released so far.
Finn of the Fianna
For those people who haven’t been following the news behind the new album that closely, could you give a summary of what your album Fiannaoícht is about?
“Stiofan: The album is about Finn of the Fianna, his training with in the wilds of Ireland and the ideas that made him become the Leader of the Fianna. This album deals mainly with his early feats, killing a son of Morna, and in doing so, avenging his father Cumhaill who was the previous head of the Fianna. The killing of the fire breathing terror that was Aillen of the Tuatha De Danann, and claiming the Cauldron of plenty in another tale. I don’t want to give too much away but I can safely say we have done justice to the first parts of his epic story. Personally, I have always loved the story of Finn of the Fianna, it is up there with the sagas of Cuchulainn of Muirthemne, I cannot wait to hear what people think! We are ourselves tremendously proud of this album.”
You describe the band as, “narrators of Irish mythology”. How do you decide which Irish myths to write about?
Stiofan: “When I created the Idea of Celtachor with Daithi many years ago, this is what the ethos of Celtachor was about, the absolute message of the band from it’s inception was to spread the word of Irish Mythology and its rich sagas far and wide, none else was doing the mythology in its fullest form properly, so this is what we aimed to do. There were so many great parts to the sagas that simply cramming them all into one song would have been a waste. So with each release we have tried to paint a picture in the mind of the listener, and have them part of the time so they can have an emotional and aware connection with what happened in them mostly dark times. For the most part, we see ourselves as bards of them times, but also as warriors that went to fight and die in battle! Voices of the past rekindled.”
The music video for the track “Tears of Aoife” has visuals of blood stained leaves and water, highlighting the melancholy of the flute. Near the end there is a castle burning in the background. Does the dreary imagery in the video reflect the qualities the rest of the album will have?
Anais: “We worked hard with the music video crew to reflect the quality of the music, hopefully you will notice the next music video, which will be the first track of the album “Sons of Morna”. This part of Irish mythology contains many events of a different nature emotionally wise. There will be some episodes of grief and laments, some epic riffs describing battles and heroes…”
Stiofan: “There are moments of great loss in the album and with the video Anais and Fionn did an amazing job in setting the scene. When I wrote the piece I wanted to properly capture that sense of loss in just the whistle alone and have it stand simply by itself, I think it has done that, and the video brings so many layers compliment it perfectly.”
You have been teasing scenery from the music video on social media since midway through last year. Was it difficult to pick a site that compliments the flute so well?
Anais: “There was no difficulty, I looked after the locations on both music videos, and to pick them I went to one of my favorite places in all of Ireland: the Wicklow mountains, South of Dublin, which is where we also have done all our band pictures before.”
You recently released a track via Bandcamp of your new album called “Tuiren”. Compared to your previous work Nuada of the Silver Arm, the occasional clean vocals and the slightly fleshed out folk instruments give the song an epic feel. Is the rest of the album going to follow this more folkish route, or can we expect to hear tracks that sound more like your earlier works?
Liam: “As a newer folk musician coming into the band, I would like to say: it is not so much that we are following a different route per say, but there are some more element layers being added on. I found for myself that the music being written for lent itself quite easily to adding folk adding folk layers to it, specifically for the violin, and I know the guys were looking a violin for a while to give it that extra layer. There are some tracks in the album that are more similar to the earlier works, but have much more depth, and many more layers added on them. We always wanted to keep true to what we stand for in our style, so it has been good to just see where we could push things, with adding the various folk layers over the top of the Celtachor style guitars, drums, bass, and vocals.”
Stiofan: “With this work we definitely wanted more folk instruments, because primarily we are a folk band. So the introduction of the violin, harp, bouzouki, horn, bodhran, and of course whistle, we wanted to really flesh out the ideas we had to compliment the great harmonies and strong drumwork on the album. When I briefly had done a few shows with the Gaelic doom metal band Mael Mordha, I got back to singing clean vocals properly and I decided that I would work on some clean vocal parts for the album, and I think it really worked well on the album. Anais, Fionn, David, and Rob have also added some great chants and backing pieces. It really opens up the sound of the album and those ancient times. I can safely say the rest of the album has so many great folk instrumentations, I cannot see any folk metal fan being disappointed. This is the shape of things to come from us.”
Daithi: “The introduction of Liam and Rob have really altered many parts for us. We wrote with the intention of having a violin player join us as a full member, and Liam just fits the bill 100%. Rob is a diamond in the rough, a talented multi-instrumentalist.”
Daithi O’Cuinn mentioned in an interview with KingWoes Court that you were trying to be a more international band. You’ve played several European festivals in the past few months and you will be playing Cernunnos Pagan Fest this year. Aside from the festivals, can fans expect a tour in support of Fiannaoícht?
Anais: “Only our fans can make this happen! We would love to go on tour, but for now everything that was proposed to us involved a huge cost which we are nowhere near being able to afford ourselves. If our fans support us by buying our album and spreading the word, it could well happen soon.”
Daithi: “I must remember what I say in interviews, haha! We have always strive to go further than possible. Ireland has a vibrant scene and the bands here are amazing, but it can be hard to make headway. We have always pushed to play wherever and whenever we can. It is every bands’ ambition to play in different place, reach new audiences and promote your music, but unlike a lot of main land European bands, unless you have support and the fan base support, it is nearly impossible. Yes, you do have to push and we have, but in a lot of cases we just don’t get enough consecutive gigs to really get out and show people how good we can be.”
Stiofan: “I think for the most part Anais has summed it up perfectly. It’s down to promoters and fans to help us get there as we can not afford to travel as much as we would like, and it comes down to finances, at the end of the day if you hear our new album and want us to come to your country, let promoters know! I would just like to thank everyone who has supported us as well, we would not have had as many experiences without it! Sláinte agus Tainte! Onwards and upwards!”
So there you have it. Be on the lookout for the upcoming music video for Sons of Morna in the following weeks, and check out the existing music video here or on youtube and check out the track Tuiren on Celtachor’s bandcamp. For all the fans of Celtachor out there, help support the band by sharing all of it on social media and word of mouth to help the guys from the band reach their ambitions. Fiannaoicht will be out on 20 April, 2018.