CELLAR DARLING – Ivo Henzi & Anna Murphy, 2019

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Cellar Darling has been working hard to get the word out. Having already done a tour with Lacuna Coil, and having quite a few festivals already under their belt, these guys have been a non-stop musical force since their inception in 2016. With their debut album, This is the Sound, having been released back in 2017, their upcoming album, The Spell, is already due out in March 2019. Not knowing much about the new album, we sent them a few questions about what to expect from the new material.

 

Hi again! It’s been about a year and a half since we last spoke in June 2017, right before the release of This is the Sound. How are you guys doing?
Ivo: We’re doing fine, thanks! The last 1½ years were very busy with touring, and writing & recording new material, but we’re excited about what we’ve achieved so far and can’t wait for the new album!

You guys have done your fair share of touring and festivals after the release of This is the Sound – any low/highlights from the shows that you’re willing to share? What were some of the best memories? Any Spinal Tap -style disasters, or were you fortunate?
Ivo: One highlight for me was touring with Lacuna Coil. They are very nice guys, and the shows were a blast! Being able to go to Japan was also very nice.

Anna: ProgPower USA was also amazing; such a great festival. I’m usually not that comfortable at festivals, but there we just felt really at home. I can’t really think of any true disasters, or if any happened then my brain might be blocking the memories out to protect me…

The new album comes out in March 2019 – that’s pretty fast after the release of the last one. How did you find time to write new music in with all the shows?
Ivo: We had some time in between the tours. And Anna had the idea for a concept album right after the release of our first album, so we already started writing songs back then.

The Spell sounds really intriguing. Is there going to be any reference to mysticism or fantasy on this album, or what does the name mean to you?
Anna: “The Spell” is a fictional and slightly surreal story. The central theme is of a girl falling in love with death. This image has been present in literature, poetry, and art for a long time – but I wanted to create my own story with older symbolism. In our story, death casts a spell on the girl, one of eternal life, so that she cannot join him in his realm.

Does The Spell have any overarching concept or theme, or are the songs all individual entities? Could you pick a song or two and tell us about the meaning (or do you prefer to let the listener decide for themselves)?
Anna: The Spell is a story from beginning to end. In the first song, “Pain”, a girl is born from the earth’s wounds, as a human mirror image of the world for all to see the damage they have done. In “Love” the girl, after drifting through a seemingly meaningless life, finds love in death.

You guys worked with Costin Chioreanu on the music video for “Six Days” on your last album. That was by far my favorite music video of that year – so creepy and moving and… existential. And now you’ve worked with him again for “Insomnia” (which is, again, really great) – tell us a bit about that music video and the concept for “Insomnia” and how it all came together.
Anna: Costin is, in fact, doing an animated video for all the songs on the album. We picked him because on one hand we just love his style and on the other he’s an artist that doesn’t need a lot of guidelines. I send him the lyrics and the music and he delivers a perfect result. That’s how it was with “Insomnia” and “The Spell” as well.

Do you think you’ll be continuing to work with him in the future? One video from every album, for example?
Anna: It depends on him. Maybe he’ll be sick and tired of Cellar Darling videos after doing 13 of them, haha. From our side definitely, we love Costin.

What’s different this time, as compared to the last album? You guys have so much more experience as a trio now, so what’s new on that front?
Ivo: With the first album we kinda found our sound, but with “The Spell” we expanded our musical ideas even further. I definitely think the music has become more mature, the whole writing process was more complex, but at the same time we knew which direction we wanted to go.

Anna: On The Spell we were also more open to other ideas. Tommy Vetterli (who co-produced the album with me) played a much bigger role on this album and wrote some of the music together with us in the studio. Fredy Schnyder who plays the piano and Hammond also had a musical keypart, especially in “Insomnia.”

The music industry is in a very interesting place these days. Some people think that because of digitization, the concept of a full album is dying out. Do you think Cellar Darling will continue to make full albums indefinitely, or are EPs the future, singles, or what is your opinion on the future of music releases?
Ivo: I think our main approach will still be the full album format. It fits our concept of telling stories through songs the best. I do see the appeal of releasing singles or EPs only, and it’s interesting to see how the music industry comes up with new ways to release music.

But we haven’t looked into that and honestly, my personal preference is still having a full album release. It just feels more complete to me.

Any last words for our readers?
Ivo: Thanks a lot for the support! See & meet you on tour!

Thanks for taking the time to write us, and good luck with the upcoming release!

Photos: Urs Gantner

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