Elis - An interview after the tragedy
After reviewing the new Elis album Griefshire, I was offered to do a mail interview with them. Impressed by their music and touched by the story behind the band, I took this opportunity to see how the band is doing. My questions were kindly answered by drummer Max Näscher.
Hello, how are you guys doing?
‘After Sabine’s death it’s hard to recover but it’s getting better. We are doing fine. We are full of power and energy to look into the future.’
For those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourselves?
‘We are a band with members of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. And musically we come from rock and metal up till classical influences. That’s probably what made us sound like we do. Griefshire is our forth album. For more information visit our homepage www.elis.li.’
As I reviewed your album, I discovered you are from Liechtenstein. What can you tell me about the metal scene in such a small country? Any other bands?
‘We have 32000 inhabitants. In relation to the country the scene is quite big but compared with other countries the number of the fans is small. There are a few great bands but they play different styles like rock, punk and so on.’
I also discovered that vocalist Sabine died at the age of only 29. How is the band coping with this terrible tragedy?
‘First we didn’t know what to do but we decided then to go on with the band and with life. We have to accept what happened and try to do the best. We also try to look unto the future. That’s what Sabine would have done and not to give up.’
You are currently trying out new vocalists, how is that working out?
‘We made an announcement and received lots of feedbacks. We already had some auditions and are in the middle of the choosing process. The new singer has to have a powerful and independent personality. We want to have a new person because we can’t and don’t want to replace Sabine. But we didn’t decide yet for someone.’
And how does it feel to go on with someone else? I can imagine you want to continue, but isn’t it strange?
‘We will see. The auditions were cool and we had to concentrate on the singers and couldn’t think too much of the emotional situation we are in. The new singer has to be a new person because a new era of Elis will start.’
How was it at the Metal Female Voices Fest this year, and what exactly did you do there?
‘We were invited to the Metal Female Voices Fest that was dedicated to Sabine. (Thanks Philty for everything.) They made a condolence book where lots of bands and fans wrote in. We had a good time meeting fans, friends and bands. It was great to see that there are so many people that stand behind us. That gives us a lot of strength.’
Griefshire is an intricate concept album. Can you briefly explain what it is about and why this idea was chosen for this album?
‘The story is about two brothers who lived in a city called Griefshire. The younger one is physically handicapped and the older one is a born leader. But the older brother turns into a sect leader that destroys everything. The wife of the older brother is the secret love of the younger brother and discerns the truth of her husband but doesn’t leave him. It’s a story about religious delusion, the search for salvation and longing for eternal truth and love.
You can find the complete concept in English or German on our homepage www.elis.li.
The concept was made by Sabine so nobody can say why this idea was chosen. But we liked it and so we made an album. We are very proud about the whole thing and Sabine was too.’
You seem to have created a kind of grooving gothic hybrid that doesn’t sound like all the other cliché bands (to me). How did you get to this powerful and original sound?
‘The sound of Griefshire is more mature than the earlier albums by Elis. It sounds harder and we worked with natural acoustic sounds like a choir, harp, string ensemble and several percussion instruments. We tried to create a pure sound that shows the idea of the concept. And I think we made it. We are all different and were influenced by different styles. So the sound is like we are. Different.’
Suppose you have found a new frontwoman, what will Elis bring us in the future then?
‘We want to go on tour with Griefshire. We will perform the “old” Elis songs and the new album and we hope that the energy in the band will flow that new material can be written.
We will see. And you never know what future brings. So we hope the best.’
Do you have anything to add to this interview?
‘A message to all our fans and friends. Thank you very much for all the condolences and the support in this hard last months. It means a lot to us and keeps us going.
Thanks and greetings