A week or two back I thought about interviewing Cruachan given their lineup changes and album coming up. So I reached out to Keith Fay and got more news than just the interview.
When the lockdown started Cruachan hosted virtual pubs over Facebook with countless guests from the Folk Metal community, where did you get the idea for that, and how was that experience on your side?
“They have been so much fun and we are planning to do one again very soon. When the pandemic first hit I was looking at what other bands were doing, live streams of shows etc and I knew we just don’t have the facilities or tech savvy to do anything like that for Cruachan so was a bit pissed off. I wanted to do something so came up with the idea of a simple QnA with Cruachan. It was a huge success and great fun for us as we were all having a beer and getting drunk and merry as the hours were passing by. The next one we invited a load of our friends and called it ‘Cruachan and friends’ then simply changed the name to ‘virtual pub’ as I started reaching out to all the contacts in bands I have made over the years. Everyone that has joined in has had fun too, it’s a great break from the boredome that lockdowns brought the world and we plan to keep them going even when things return to normal.”
I’m sure everyone who listened to the stories you shared there will now be wondering if you have any BTS stories to share about the virtual pubs.
“Well there’s nothing really happening behind the scenes as we are all separated and in or own homes etc. However there have been a few interesting guests that we almost had come on, but they may come in the future so I can’t even mention their names haha. There’s also been a few people falling asleep on camera as they got hammered, if people want to see that, the videos are still on our facebook page.”
A New Good Old Cruachan
Since the Covid pandemic Cruachan have basically formed a whole new lineup, would you like to outline that scenario for those who haven’t been keeping up.
“Yeah it’s been a bit of a mad time for us but we, or I, have always had a lot of people come and go in the band so it’s all good but I was still really disappointed that some of the guys did that. So, we brought in former member Joe Farrell in Feb 2020 and around this time Mauro had told me he is moving to Sweden so, that was fine, Mauro is leaving – time to find a new drummer. Then the pandemic hit which affected Mauro’s departure. We recorded a single during the pandemic which brought us all back together to work on this. There were a few creative differences during the recording, nothing major but that, and the time for reflection afforded to Kieran and John during the lockdown, made them lose interest in being in Cruachan. It was a bit of kick in the teeth to be fair, to have two members, two friends, leave at the same time but I respect their decision. So, I brought in Dave and Audrey as direct replacements, Mauro’s move finally happened so Tom came in on drums. We’ve started rehearsing again and it’s going really well. Having one new member join a band is tough and a lot of work, having four is a huge challenge, something I never thought I would experience but here we are.
Although, the quality of the new members makes it all worth it. When we get to where we need to be, people will see a much better, much more professional sounding Cruachan.”
Your new single, which we premiered here last friday, is called “The Hawthorn” and is about the struggle of the pagans against the church. Is this a major theme for your album and are there any other major themes?
“Yes this will be the overarching theme for the new album – a study of the peasant class in Ireland circa mid 1700’s. The influence of the church is huge but the pagan bedrock of belief is still there for a lot of these people.”
Hundred of New Musical Influences
At one point you mentioned that you brought in “hundreds of new musical influences” would you care to spoil one or two for readers?
“That may have been a slight exaggeration on my part haha but yes I have been looking to folk music and folk traditions of other countries throughout Europe to see if I can draw on any of their music. So far I have influences or homages to old English folk songs (in The Hawthorn) and Italian tarantella songs, their is also some Greek sounding motives that I will work into a future song. Having said that, the bulk of the new material is very heavily sat in Irish folk music.”
Do you have anything else to add for our readers?
“Come check out my youtube channel ‘cruachankeith’ – I put a load of Cruachan tour vlogs on there but it’s mainly me playing video games, if that’s your thing – come say hi. Apart from that, check out our single which was released on Oct 2nd here at Folk-metal.nl. Thanks to everyone at Folk-metal.nl, one of the best folk metal resources on the world \m/”
Thanks a lot for that compliment. For all our readers we can only say: Check out cruachankeith on youtube, go for the games, stay for the vlogs.