Michalina Malisz interview: «Chrigel is the mastermind of Eluveitie, so as long as he decides to create, Elu sound is safe!»

Michalina Malisz talks on StraightOnMusic.
Michalina Malisz
Michalina Malisz

2016 had been a difficult year for Eluveitie. The sudden departure of three of the band’s members, including the female vocalist Anna Murphy caused turbulence that brought changes to the line up of the group. One of these changes is named Michalina Malisz and she is the new hurdy gurdy player of the Swiss folk band. A romantic, accessible and down to earth person, she talked to us about her new experience, the new Eluveitie album, our country and many more.

-Michalina first of all I would like to thank you for this interview. It is an honor to host a member of such a beloved band in our page. Let’s begin with the new album. ‘Evocation II : Pantheon’ will be out soon and it will be an acoustic album. How different is it going to be from the usual Eluveitie stuff?
-Thank you for having me! Well, at the time I answer this question this album is already out. It is a continuation of ‘Evocation I’, but I perceive it as very much different. ‘Evocation I’ feels like swimming and diving into a dark, breathtaking ocean of Celtic spirits and endless longing. ‘Evocation II’ on the other hand makes this ocean feel like home. The songs are more upbeat, partly melancholic, partly briskly, but always heavy.

-Do you believe that the two singles ‘Epona’ and ‘Lvgvs’ are representative of what we will be listening on the new album, or there will be a few surprises?
-As for the vibe of the whole album – yes. There’s a lot of purely instrumental tracks, but you’ll still be able to delight in Fabienne’s voice, too. I especially like ‘Artio’ – song of bear goddess with a beautiful Swiss tune.

-I am guessing that you plan to tour extensively after the album’s release. Any plans to visit Greece again? Have you ever been in Greece before by yourself?
-Unfortunately there is no Greek show planned so far, but we’re working on it and we would love to come back to Greece! I myself have been there once as a kid for holidays and I remember I enjoyed the perfect weather a lot. Also the food. You have delightful food.

-The band has undergone some line-up changes during the last two years, including the female vocalist. How much do you think these changes have affected the band and in which way?
-Naturally the change of vocalist is a big deal, since singing voice draws the most of attention and inspires huge part of discussion amongst fans. Fabienne brought fresh, wild, folky energy to the band, which I absolutely love. For the rest of new line-up, us, instrumentalists, the change is less drastic. The mastermind and major composer of Eluveitie is Chrigel, so as long as he decides to create, Elu sound is safe.

-How was auditioning for Eluveitie? I know that you had covered a lot of their songs in your Youtube Chanel before joining the band. Was the joining like a dream coming true for you?
-That’s true, I covered a lot of Eluveitie songs and my youtube channel became my résumé. There was no audition, after some time of calling and emailing about details I just came to the rehearsals. I wouldn’t say it was a dream coming true, because never in my life have I dreamt of opportunity like this, about such terrific adventure, that playing with Eluveitie is. But here I am, taking in every second of this life I have now.

-You play a relatively rare instrument called hurdy gurdy. Can you tell us a bit about it and how did you decide to start learning it? Is there any piece of advice for someone interested in picking it up?
-It is a medieval string folk instrument used in lots of different cultures and countries, as well as in different types of music, but mainly it’s place remains in traditional folklore. I decided to pick it up because I fell in love with it thanks to Eluveitie. It’s beautiful and unique. You can’t simply get enough of it. If you want to play it, don’t be discouraged by how it will sound in the beginning. Warn your housemates, buy good rosin, practice with heart and enjoy the cranking.

-You often use the Gaulish Language to write lyrics. How difficult is it to use a language that has not been used for over a thousand years? Is it true that you ask experts on the topic before writing?
-It is difficult because we will never be sure, what is the correct way to pronounce it. Not only hasn’t that language been used for ages, it also lacks written sources. Chrigel’s collaboration with scientist is really advanced, not one word passes though without a proper research, everything is checked and as scientifically/historically correct as possible.

-Would you like to comment on Charlotte Wessel’s (Delain) statement that sexism exists in music industry? Is it difficult being a woman and a member of a metal band?
-I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced sexism in metal music industry myself, which of course is no evidence that it doesn’t exist. However, there’s three of us girls in Eluveitie and I’ve never witnessed any sexist comments or behaviors towards us, neither in the so-called metal scene, nor in the band, that would be unthinkable!

--Tell us a bit about yourself? What are your musical influences? Which are your favorite artists?
-As for hurdy gurdy music, my idol is Thierry Nouat. Currently I’m in love with core music. My recent favourites are In Hearts Wake, Northlane, Periphery, While She Sleeps, but also Decapitated and Alcest. And, of course, I’m a diehard Eluveitie fan.

-Eluveitie is one of the most popular metal bands in Greece. Do you have anything to say to the fans of the band?
-We love you and we will come back to you!

Thanks a lot again for your time. We hope to see Eluveitie and you of course in Greece soon.

Click here to read the interview in Greek.