Heavy Metal Pirates
Only 2 albums into their career, Scotland’s purveyors of “True Scottish Pirate Metal”, Alestorm hardly need any introduction. Their debut, the raucous, Captain Morgan’s Revenge, put the fun back into metal, and with the follow up, Black Sails at Midnight, the band have further upped the Pirate-y goodness. Chock full of brazen metal seas shanties of rum, women and plunder, the band seems destined to truly blow up on an international level, aided by the bands recent tour of the US. I caught up with the pleasant and portly pirate who plays guitars, Dani Evans to find out a little more about this group of amicable musical privateers….
First off, I wanted thank you guys for the private impromptu performance of “Wolves of the Sea” after the show in Kansas City, Missouri – my daughter loved it!
Haha, wasn’t that Chris (Bowe- vocals) and Gazz? (Gareth Murdock- bass) I remember watching it and laughing my ass off. Got the video anywhere? It would be hilarious to see!
I do have the video-its right here. Sorry its such bad quality. Has there ever been any feedback from the band (Latvian pop group Pirates of the Sea) about your cover? Personally I think your version could have won Song for Europe.
We have been in contact with the songwriter and he enjoyed it very much so, which is great for us. He’s a nice guy and has received some free copies for his efforts too. We would have liked to have seen our version on the Eurovision though, it’s much better.
I agree wholeheartedly.
How did the rest of the tour turn out? How did you enjoy your first trip to America in all its calorie filled glory?
The US was AMAZING!! We totally fell in love with it. I certainly got a bit ill from eating fast food and so forth all the time so I didn’t eat much for the final two weeks of the tour which was a bit of a downer for me but other than that the US treated us amazingly. We got to see some of the coolest places on Earth and hang out with some amazing and utterly insane people at times. It’s probably one of the greatest times of mine and the bands life. We cannot wait to come back at some point.
How was it touring with Tyr and Suidakra, its seems based on some of your photos, and the after party at the kansas City show, that Henri and Tyr were partying it up with you guys and Suidkara kept them selves to themselves.
We had toured with Tyr before so we were good friends before any of the US stuff kicked off. We got on so well and partied hard together all night and day (this stayed true for the EU tour after this too). Suidakra were great guys to be on tour with. While they certainly weren’t as party friendly as we were they still were up for a good time and partied with us on numerous occasions. I just think it was difficult for them coming into the Alestorm/Tyr camp and joining in as part of the group. I certainly wouldn’t have had any other band on that tour though. They were awesome.
I understand you might be coming back to the US later this year? Care to elaborate? Will it be Pagan Knights 2 or just a separate tour?
We’re currently unsure of our position on returning to the US this year due to a few matters but if we can have them sorted we will be coming back on a separate tour of the US with some bigger name bands which will be amazing. As it stands though, I cannot give a certain answer about when, or if we will be there.
How did you come up with the name Alestorm- it has to be one of the most perfect, fitting monikers for a band- so much better than Battleheart.
It was Chris Bowe’s idea. When approached by Napalm to change the name we knew we had to think of something to fit the style of music. One day, I have a phone call from our old guitarist and he just simply says “Alestorm”. Off that phone call alone the moniker was born and Alestorm came to be.
How did the band initially react when Napalm Records asked you to change your name because the band Battlelore was already on there roster?
We weren’t overly bothered about changing the name as Battleheart is a very “We sing about unicorns and questing through castles” kind of band name. Alestorm fits with us so much better and I am happy that they asked us to change it.
So – onto the new album- Black Sails at Midnight. I have to say its even more Pirate-y than Captains Morgan’s Revenge. Did you approach this album any different than the first album?
I think the song writing changed on this as we had done a lot of live shows and had heard our songs live as opposed to Captain Morgan’s Revenge when were writing them without performing a lot of them live, which gave it a very different feel. Also the way we recorded and mastered the album was much more in the vein we wanted originally with the use of real instruments and not keyboards (violin, brass, bagpipes etc…). This changed the whole feel of the album.
It also sounds as if the Bal-Sagoth influence has been upped (especially on “Chronicles of Vengeance”) – I assume you guys are fans? Has Byron or any other Bal-Sagoth members commented on your sound?
The majority of the band are big fans of Bal-Sagoth, none more-so than Christopher. Johnny Maudling came to one of our early shows and watched us support Turisas and seemed to enjoy it very much so. I have no idea about the rest of the band though, I hope so!
Also- is that the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean I hear in “No Quarter”? How come you didn’t flesh it out to include the full theme? I don’t suppose there’s been any interest about you guys doing a song for the 4th movie has there?
“No Quarter” was originally written in our demos before Alestorm and it was a revival of that song really. We didn’t want to flesh it out too much as it sounds great as it is. Too much would have spoiled it I think and make it sound…overly gay. I didn’t even know they were doing a 4th movie. Haven’t even seen 2 or 3.
Would you do it if approached?
Probably. I wouldn’t know though. Depends on what they want.
What are your thoughts on bands like Swashbuckle and to some extent Blackguard, and this sort of mini explosion of “Pirate” metal?
Swashbuckle are good friends of Alestorm. While musically different our attitudes towards our music is similar and that makes for good fun. I personally think Swashbuckle are great fun live and so very heavy it makes for a good parody and a lot of fun. We recently played with them in Austria and stage invaded them through a song which was awesome fun! I think the ‘explosion’ is interesting as we see how many bands try and come out of the woodwork and go for the pirate moniker with so many different styles of music(death, thrash, folk, melodic etc…) It’ll be an interesting time for all involved. Especially Alestorm.
Chris Bowe recently joked on your bands official message board that Running Wild ‘finally’ calling it quits, other than being Pirate Metal, how big of an influence was Running Wild?
Running Wild weren’t influences to us at all. I had personally never listened to them before Alestorm and never knew of the ‘Pirate’ tag in music before. None us of particularly enjoy the music and we try not to associate ourselves with them as it’s a whole different genre for us with RunnigWild doing Old School German Heavy Metal and us having a more melodic folky style with accordions and sing-a-longs and such!
With such a niche theme of Pirates, is there some concern that like Nile for example, you might run out of ideas based on such a specific concept? I mean how many songs can you write about rum, wenches and booty?
Plenty!! I don’t think we have that worry yet and I don’t think we’ll be too concerned until after album 3. Maybe them we’ll try and do something different with the genre but right now: “More Rum, Wenches and Booty!”.
Is there a part of you than wants to write a non pirate song and just branch out a bit?
Not really, the music works and we enjoy playing it. We have a decent variation of song styles as it so we’re always able to play different things. Faster, thrashy songs to slow ballads and sing-a-longs. It’s a good mix and makes for interesting times on stage.
Will Alestorm ever get to shoot a decent budget video for a song? – do you have a video for a certain song planned in your head or anything should the offer come up?
We already have one…kind of. We just finished (yesterday) shooting the video for Keelhauled with a German producer who has done Tyr, Atrocity, Leaves Eyes etc… So We are very much looking forward to the final product. It should be ready in about a month to 6 weeks for release.
Any parting words for the scallywags reading right now?
Thanks for all your support on the Pagan Knights tour. We hope we can come over and party with you all again! The new album is out June 2nd in the US we hope you buy it and enjoy it and we shall see you soon!