Brave and Cruel
The Czech Republic probably has one of the most eclectic and heaviest bands around in the killer Cruadalach. Combining folky goodness with a nod towards hardcore, their 3rd full length album “Raised By Wolves” sees them honing their sound even more, despite having some new faces in the band. We were lucky to have a few of the Cruadalachians answer some questions for us including guitarists Honza “Pigboss” Knotek and Honza “Halfred” Kapic and multi-instrumentalist Petra Jadrna. We touched on the new album, the new members, the hardcore influenced sound and a few other things… check it out…
Raised By Wolves
Congrats on your killer new album “Raised By Wolves”…..how has the response been to it so far?
HALFRED: Thank you very much for the compliment. The reviews have been mostly positive so far. Nevertheless, we noticed a couple of reviews from Germany, which considered our album, let say, mediocre in some ways. It is good for us though, because every feedback from these sources is a feedback we need, if we want to successfully reach German listeners. Some of those reviews are saying, that we are: “…just Eluveitie with hardcore/metalcore…”, which is a comparison, that I personally would kill for, since we all have grown up on them 😊 But don’t take me wrong, the intention wasn’t to create something, “that sounds like…”, but to make something brand new.
There has been some lineup changes since your last album 2015’s “Rebel Against Me”, how did these changes come about and how did you find your new members?
PIGBOSS: There is no big story behind this, the process was actually natural. Radalf (our ex vocalist) evolved in his personal development and his way started to part from ours, so we agreed on his departure. Our ex-guitarist Ante started to feel burnout and needed a change, so he decided to leave at the same time, similarly as our ex-drummer Datel. Moreover, Datel is member of other bands, which are quite popular in their sub-genres (Et Moriemur, Self Hatred), and it was not entirely easy for him to keep acting in all of these bands. His living in Germany was a strong aspect for his decision – it was complicated for him to come and attend all the rehearsals and gigs.
And how we found our new members? Again, nothing much shocking. Our new drummer Tomáš is husband of our violinist and vocalist Eliška, and he sometimes substituted Datel already before, so it was clear choice for us. For guitar we asked Halfred who I already knew and we were aware that he likes the musical style we play. He stepped in after few interactions (we would like to apologize to Misfolded on this place because we actually “stole” him from this band). And for vocal we asked Petr, whose vocal style we liked, and he accepted. He was about to leave his former band Attack the Hero at the same time, so he happily embraced the new space for his screaming. :)
As cruel as…
How did the name of the band come about? Is there a translation you could give us as well as how you came to this being the band’s name?
PETRA: This name was invented by our ex-drummer Datel. His dream was to form a folk metal band with bagpipe, which would be inspired by Celtic music, and he loved the historical film “BraveHeart” about the Scottish Gaelic warrior William Wallace. The word Cruadalach therefore comes from the old Scottish Gaelic language, its meaning is close to the today´s word “cruel”. Cruadalach, according to what we know, means a warrior who is brave but also cruel, someone who goes, fights for his values and can burn and kill everything on the way. Datel found it in the Scottish Gaelic dictionary and decided for it as the word was apparently very rarely known and used.
Your style has some very similar aspects to American hardcore, is this a style that you are familiar with? Is this an accurate origin to your sound?
HALFRED: Well, the HC/MC isn’t exactly my cup of tea, for I’ve always liked those true folk-metal bands like Ensiferum, Finntroll, But yeah, last two years I am getting used to liking it 😊
PIGBOSS: For me definitely, I love bands like Agnostic Front, H2O, Madball, Sick Of It All, First Blood or Terror. But we are probably rather inspired by hardcore style like Stick to Your Guns or Deez Nuts. I am really happy that we somehow succeed to mix two styles which both I like so much.
What bands are the biggest influence to Cruadalach?
HALFRED: As I’ve said before, I like those pure folk-metal bands, such as Ensiferum, Finntroll, Eluveitie, Týr, sometimes Amon Amarth. I am the one, that usually wants the songs to sound more folkish.
PIGBOSS: As you can read in my previous answer :) If I should name some other than HC bands, it could be also In Extremo and Amon Amarth.
Work in progress
How does your songwriting process work (if there is one)? With 8 members, is there a lot of discussion in terms of everyone getting time to voice their musical ideas?
PIGBOSS: It isn´t always entirely easy. Usually it works so that I am trying to write a complete song, including parts for flutes and violins, but then the final version reflects invention of all of us, because everyone continues to work on his part and fits it for his instrument and feeling. Often just the mean motive is kept, and the girls implement other melodies on places where I didn´t plan to have them initially. Because of it, some discussions occur time to time, but till now it didn´t lead to any catastrophic scenario. :)
I hope that there are not discussion in my band, if someone plays more than the other one. At least I am not aware of it. :) It´s always important for us that the final song sounds and nobody of us has any need to prove something to himself or herself to the detriment of its quality.
Did you have a multitude of tracks written for the new album and edited down to what appeared on it or did you only concentrate on the ones that made it on?
HALFRED: Some of the track have been prepared during 2017 (for example “Brave new dawn”, “For us all”, “Raised by wolves”), but then there were few, which developed during quite a short time, like during last two months before and during the recording itself.
Not an easy business
How do you fit practice and writing time in with everyone’s busy schedules?
HALFRED: If you mean practicing as training home and playing our instruments. For me it is a daily routine. During every evening I spend approximately an hour or two playing. But that is for me, a guy without children :D I cannot speak for the others. And if you mean the rehearsing, that is another chapter of trying to get eight people at least once a week on one place on a certain hour. Not an easy business, but we are trying our best, usually. The songwriting is let say impulsive. I am composing almost completely accidentally during the training and occasional jamming, Pigboss on the other hand is the one, who is able to get the idea and write the idea in Guitar pro and poke the rest of the band, till they learn the song.
PIGBOSS: For Instance, I love to compose during nights and ideally with a glass or bottle of good rum. :)
You have opted to have lyrics and vocals in English, do you think this gives the potential to reach a larger audience? Would singing in your native tongue not work for one reason or another?
HALFRED: As I’ve said in another interview, the choice of the language was practical this time. We are considering us as capable musicians, but it ain’t easy to write good lyrics in such a difficult language Czech language is. I know, that guys from Scandinavia, Romania and generally from all the world are very often using their language, since it”s the most unique thing, that every nation has and because of that, it sounds unique, but we’ve chosen this way this time and let’s see, what’s gonna happen 😊
What other influences do you have that impact your sound (TV, movies, books, etc.)?
PIGBOSS: I think that nothing of it influences us. I like porno but I never tried to incorporate it into music. :D
How is the metal scene in the Czech republic? Are there some acts that you tend to play with more than others?
PIGBOSS: Czech metal scene is amazing! We have here really tons of cool bands. You find here everything from HC, grind, metalcore to discometal. Regarding second question: Yes, of course. It´s determined by the genre which we play. So, logically, for a folk-metal event we are inviting folk-metal bands and also being invited by other folk metalists. For that, we often like to collaborate for instance with Silent Stream of Goddless Elegy or Welicoruss. On the other hand, we of course also play at events which are not determined by a subgenre, and beside this we of course love to play with bands with who we are already somehow connected.
What is the overall feeling of playing live? Is it something that you hope to do more of especially to support the new album?
PIGBOSS: I love live shows! It´s one of the biggest reasons why I actually do it. And yes, I frankly hope that we will play at much more events. Next summer would love to visit many countries and play at many festivals.
Any favorite music from 2018 so far for you?
HALFRED: I’ve been really very very much looking forward to the new album of Diablo Swing Orchestra, Pacifisticuffs, which is stunning. I also like the new album of Skálmöld – Sorgir and finally, I’ve discovered Avatar, for which I am very glad 😊
PIGBOSS: There is much of it. But my favorites are now the killers from the band Eskimo Callboy! I haven´t heard anything more amusing for a long time.
HALFRED: Hey guys, listen to metal, listen to music in general and go to the shows – that is where we meet you 😊 We hope we’re gonna play in NL soon 😊