“ELDER” Interview by Keith Clements
Greetings from “Metalheads Forever Magazine” How are you guys doing? what’s happening at your end?
Hi Keith, All is well here. At the moment we’re all split up, I’m in Berlin and the other two are in Massachusetts back in the States. We just finished recording our next album last month and are taking a little break from tours and gigs before it comes out and the whole cycle kicks off again.
Could you please tell us about the Band and how the name “Elder” evolved and come to pass? I was a huge Kiss fan and their very ultra rare album “The Elder” any relation ? just a shot in the dark question.
No relation to Kiss – the name came up while brainstorming names that were evocative of a particular scene or feeling that we thought would fit the music at that time. Ancient, mysterious, arcane.. when the band started, I was very interested in mythology and Genghis Khan and cheesy stuff like Conan the Barbarian, and Elder was just a cool title title that I thought would fit the music.
The current Line-up is Nick DiSalvo, Matt Couto and Jack Donovan, Is there any particular reason for Chas Mitchell’s departure from the band?
We were just kids playing together and Chas was too busy or something. In my mind he was never really a member of the band since it was a pretty different beast at that point. Jack has always been the bassist as far as I’m concerned.
When I was listening to the albums, I get a feel of Black Sabbath and a touch of Pink Floyd, If I’m not wrong, are they your Influences?
Somewhere in there, yes. Among about a million more… Black Sabbath laid the foundation for heavy bluesy riffs that are kinda the backbone of most heavy rock, kinda hard to get around them as an influence, though honestly everything has become so derivative I almost can’t listen to that kind of stuff anymore.
Elder has not stuck to a single genre, although we term it as metal, each album gets its diversity in music, you get stoner metal/rock, Psychedelic and doom, what is the reason for the changing diversity in your music?
We’ve never had any interest in putting out the same album year after year. The point of playing music is to push your creativity and we do that by experimenting with different genres and by letting different influences in. If that someday takes us entirely out of the rock world, so be it.
I really enjoy listening to your music, you guys put a lot of effort in giving the perfection, is music something that you do full time? Or do you have other things going on in your lives?
There are periods when we are more or less on tour full time, but nobody’s getting rich off of psychedelic rock these days. The band is the number one priority, but we’ve all got day jobs and other shit going on.
Do you guys have the same likeness towards the kind of music you make, who does the songwriting for the band? is it individualized or is it a collective effort? Do you find your influences from the political landscape or our religious environment or just life experiences in general?
How we write music is really an ever-changing process. There have been times where it is a totally collaborative process, but the last albums have been more or less entirely written by myself and then the other two guys have edited them and changed parts. Both Lore and the next album were written by me while living in Germany, and that’s been a geographic hurdle we’ve just been dealing with. Lyrically and musically, I am influenced by nature, spirituality (as a concept, I’m not personally religious), day to day experiences and travel, and the big questions of life and death. In short, to be a cliche, I’m inspired by life! The general feeling of the songs, the twisting and undulating nature reflects how complex life really is, but in general things have been taking a darker turn as far as the lyrics are concerned. Sometimes it feels like we truly do live in the end-times…
Elder is known for their long duration songs, why do you guys choose to do this rather than more songs, reminds me more of the earlier Psychedelic era?
The 3-4 minute song formula is a tool of record companies and radio stations and I don’t think we have enough time to express what we want to in a long song. Some ideas just can’t be fully realized in a few minutes!
How successful do you think you have been since the start of the band, what are the responses and fan rating towards your albums?
Let me put it this way: we started the band as high school kids just having fun jamming together and playing loud music. Our biggest goal was to put out something on vinyl, and everything since then has been quite unbelievable. In that sense, we’ve been much more successful than we ever expected. Along the way we’ve collected a really cool fan base that seems to be unusually open-minded, as I know from conversations with people at shows as well as their willingness to support our changes in direction and penchant for experimentation. The response has been consistently getting better with each release.
Your First release was a split album with the band “Queen Elephantine” can you tell us something about it?
Those were the first songs we ever wrote and they’re basically sludge/doom. We recorded them in my parents’ basement to my four-track recorder and our friend Indy Shome (Queen Elephantine) put it out as a split with his band. It’s a funny artifact…
What are your plans for 2017 and how will the band look and sound moving forward in 2017?
Our next album will be released in the summer of 2017 and we will immediately begin with a European and US tour!
Thanks for your time with us, it’s a pleasure to have this Interview with you, do you have any message or closing words for your fans all over the world and readers of our publication?
Thanks for reading and taking the time. See you soon!
Keith Clements / MHF