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A couple of months ago the German symphonic metal band Elvellon surprised me in a positive way by means of their very strong debut album ‘Until Dawn’. The band was already active from 2010 onwards, but they needed quite some time before they could bring their first full length album to market. Lords Of Metal had a conversation with female singer Nele Messerschmidt about her background, the band and of course the debut album.

By: Sjak | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Hi Nele, when did you start singing and when did you discover that you had a certain talent for it?
To be honest, I never really thought about what people call talent, but since my earliest childhood I always sung with my family. We have a whole bunch of musicians in my family and as such I grew up with music and singing. I wasn’t really interested in playing an instrument so therefore I singing was the most logical thing to do. I started in a church choir at the age of four, but after just three rehearsals I noticed that this wasn’t the thing that I was interested in. I rediscovered singing in primary school and from then on my “singing career” really started.

When did you start to get interested in metal in general and more specifically symphonic metal?
My interest in metal also started in my childhood already, because my brother is nine years older than me and he was always into goth and metal music. So I got in touch with this kind of music already pretty early and somehow I had this wish inside of me to make music on my own. So I sat down with my brother and started to write my first lyrics. He then introduced me to some great metal acts and I got acquainted with the music of Rammstein, Dying Fetus and Marilyn Manson to name just a few.

Which singers do you admire and which ones have influenced you during your career?
First and foremost it has to be my singing teacher as she’s a pretty talented lady, but I also got influenced by my mom’s disappointing taste of music as she always loved people like Celine Dion. But Celine Dion has really been a great influence for me from the very beginning until now. She’s always on point with her performance on stage and her voice is just perfect. Technically she’s one of the best and that’s what really impresses me. I don’t really care about the genre, but I’m just interested in what people bring to the music.

Were you in any other bands before Elvellon and if so, which ones? Did you do any recordings with these?
I had several things going on, but none of them were very serious affairs. We even didn’t have our own rehearsal room and had to rehearse in the living room of one of the band members, so these are really not worth mentioning. One thing I did though was participating in a musical group for three years, which brought me some stage experience. After a while I lost interest because it was not challenging enough anymore, but that was the point when I met our drummer Maddin which kind of led to the formation of Elvellon.

In fact in 2010 the band Elvellon was founded, so how exactly did this happen?
Our keyboard player Pascal and our drummer Maddin founded the band and I was the fourth member to participate, because they also had a guitar player already. Unfortunately the guitar player was not really a good fit and we had to look for another one. As we shared our rehearsal room with another band and we asked Gilbert (our current guitar player), who’s also a sound engineer, if he could record our songs. During this recording session he seemed to be pretty interested to be a part of the band and so he became our guitar player.

What was the initial intention or game plan that you had when founding the band?
We didn’t have an actual plan back then, but our founding member Maddin always had the intention to sign a contract with a label to release our music. So we’re pretty happy that we’ve been able to accomplish that now.

Why did you decide to call the band Elvellon and what’s the meaning of the band name?
We wanted to have a recognizable name and that’s where Tolkien, the writer of ‘Lord Of The Rings’ takes part in our history. We wrote down some cool sounding names and when we encountered Elvellon, which means “friend of elves”, we thought that fitted perfectly with the kind of symphonic and orchestral music that we wanted to play.

The first sign of life from Elvellon were the two on-line singles ‘Oraculum’ from 2013 and ‘Born From Hope’ from 2015. Why did you choose this way instead of a physical release and why these songs?
At that time these two songs were the best ones that we had and these were also the ones that we thought would be most interesting for the listeners. At that time we didn’t have a label deal and we still wanted to bring our music to as many people as possible to get exposure as a band and therefore releasing our two singles on-line via Bandcamp and Facebook proved to be the best method.

You also created a video for ‘Born From Hope’. What was the intention that you had with this one and why did you choose Mirko Witzki to work with you for this video?
Our guitar player Gilbert met Mirko on a party somewhere and we knew that he would be perfect for what we had planned for our music video. We met him in Oberhausen and we really got along very well and as he is a perfectionist just like us, we decided work with him. ‘Born From Hope’ is a very strong song and it’s about the little boy that you see on our cover. The whole album is about this boy going through absolute negativity to strong highs and the intention was to show that you can manage whatever comes on your way.

band image

In 2015 you also released the self-produced five-track EP ‘Spellbound’. Why an EP instead of a full-length album and why a self-produced one? Weren’t there any record companies interested or didn’t you just didn’t look for one?
It took us a lot of time to figure out which way we wanted to take as a band and what kind of music we wanted to make. Back then we had several songs ready for a full-length album, but it just didn’t feel right to release it yet. As we didn’t have the pressure of a label, we wanted to go for quality over quantity. As we wanted to get our music out to the public, we decided to go for this EP with just five songs.

What did that first physical release do for the band? Was it able to get any recognition from the music community?
Absolutely, we got a lot of recognition from a lot of people. We received a lot of positive messages as a result of this EP and that provided us with a good starting point for the rest of our musical career.

Now you finally release your debut full-length album with this ‘Until Dawn’ album. What do you consider the biggest differences and/or improvements when comparing this one with the EP?
What comes to mind first is the design of the album as we chose for a digipack format this time. We re-recorded the songs of the EP and added further orchestral arrangements, so also sound-wise there’s a big improvement made here.

The record is released by Reaper Entertainment, so how did you get connected to them?
We always receive messages from labels and we already had some meetings with several labels, but those never felt right. We always wanted to remain free musicians and didn’t want to feel enormous pressure from record labels as is often seen in the business. We wanted to stay passionate about our music and not fulfil the often ridiculous time-tables that labels are putting on you. Then we received the message from Gregor Rothermel of Reaper Entertainment and when we met in our home town he proved to be the right guy to work with. As he also had the experience we needed, we decided to sign a deal with his label.

When did you start with the actual preparations for this new album and how does the song writing process in the band look like?
There’s not one member in the band that brings in complete songs, but we all contribute with our own ideas. Then it’s Pascal who collects all these different ideas and as a band we try to improve these ideas and bring them to a new level. This methodology takes a lot of time, but it brings us the best results. We started with this process right after the release of our EP in 2015.

What are typical elements that need to be present in a great Elvellon song before you decide to release it on an album?
There’s nothing specific that we’re looking for as most of the time we just work on the ideas that we bring forward until things feel right and we are convinced that we have reached the right quality level.

Who was responsible for the artwork of the album?
The album artwork was done by Pandemonium Arts, who took our idea of this little boy standing next to this tower and made this design for us.

What are your plans after the release of the album? Do you already have any concrete shows or tours booked for 2018?
There’s nothing specific planned yet, besides the besides the release show with Hydra and Aeranea on September first. There a plans to set up a tour to support the album, but that’s not concrete yet.

How is it to be the only female in a band? Does that put any additional pressure on you as you’re automatically the focal point in the band?
I absolutely don’t feel any additional pressure because of that. It’s kind of my nature that I’ve always felt better with guys around me, so I really feel great in Elvellon as these guys are really funny.

What are your goals on a more long-term perspective? What are the dreams that you want to accomplish both for yourself as well as with Elvellon?
The only thing we all wish for is that we’re able to make music for a living. That in itself is hard enough nowadays in the music business and for me personally that’s absolutely enough. I don’t care about being famous, but I would just like to do the thing that I love the most for a living.

Okay Nele, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
I definitely want to thank each and every one who is interested in our band and supporting us. Without our fans ‘Until Dawn’ would never have seen the light of day, so we are really appreciative for that.

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