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Cellar Darling

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If you love metal with a bit of a folky tinge, then chances are you know who Anna Murphy is. Irish-born Murphy first rose to prominence as one of the driving forces behind the popular Eluveitie before wowing Australian audiences with a string of sold-out solo shows.

Now Murphy is back with two of her fellow ex-Eluveitie band members, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henzi, in a new outfit called Cellar Darling. Ahead of the release of their debut album, This Is The Sound, on June 30th through Nuclear Blast, the band have dropped two singles including the brilliant “Black Moon”.

When she talks about how Cellar Darling came into being as a band, Anna is very honest. “Cellar Darling was the result of a bit of an unfortunate situation that happened a year ago, because Merlin, Ivo and I decided to leave our previous band, Eluveitie, so our band kind of came to light because of that split, but we had been planning on creating music together anyway. The original idea was to do a side project, so it’s not a completely new idea. We immediately started composing and playing together about a year ago and then it just kind of happened that we wrote an entire album. We’re very proud and happy with the result… it’s something new, and the music we have created is very eclectic: it’s for open minded people that like various musical genres. Each song tells an abstract story or a poem, we want to take listeners into a different world and we want them to dream along to our music.”

The eclectic sound is really obvious on This Is The Sound to the point where you never know what the next track might sound like, and Anna says that was a result of the band doing a lot of experimentation. “The funny thing is we weren’t really looking for anything when it came to sound,” she admits. “We just met up and we wrote songs and this is the result of it, and we were a bit surprised about it as well because we didn’t know what to expect. What we didn’t want to do was force anything upon us so we didn’t want to say, ‘Okay, we are going to be this genre’ or ‘we are going to write these types of songs’. We just wanted to let creativity flow naturally and see what happened, and yeah, this is the result. There is a lot going on though because we ourselves listen to a lot of different kinds of music and are inspired by a lot of different things.”

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Anna also warns that fans of Eluveitie should be prepared for Cellar Darling to be using a lot less instruments. “There’s a bit more of a minimalistic approach so you can really hear every instrument,” she explains. “The instruments I use are the hurdy-gurdy – which I also used in Eluveitie – and I picked up again the classical flute, which I played as a child but then forgot about and it was just sitting in a corner. Then when I wrote “Six Days” (a track on the album), it just spontaneously came to me that I should pick it up again. So there are flute parts, violin parts, then there’s piano, and there’s one pipe on the album, plus, of course, drums, guitars, and bass. I also co-produced this time and I really wanted to get a natural sound. I didn’t want the drums to seem triggered. I wanted a lot of overheads in the drums and a lot of bass because they are things I often miss in metal production – the earthy sound, the natural sound. I think that is what makes the album so special and so diverse.”

With so many musical abilities, it’s not a surprise to learn that Anna started playing instruments at a very early age. “With the flute, I was actually trained classically,” she says. “I was also able to read notes back then which I can’t do now, so in that sense, I’m an untrained musician. With the hurdy-gurdy, I had some lessons to just learn how it works, and then I basically learnt the rest myself by learning Eluveitie songs and my vocals just came about on their own accord. I never took any lessons, but I did seek help when I stagnated and realised I was doing something wrong, but I’m not a trained singer apart from that.”

And while the album seems to have come about in a relaxed way, Anna admits there was a mixture of nervousness and excitement when it came to forming the new band. “It switched between both,” she says, laughing. “There was some fear and some excitement because we were very successful with Eluveitie. We could actually afford to live only from that band, so it was kind of like so it wasn’t only that we were losing the most important thing in our lives but we were losing our main source of income… our job, so to speak. So that was a huge factor, but I also love chaos and things that drastically change in your life, because that is what inspires you and that’s probably why we have been so creative over the past year, and I’ve actually never felt more fulfilled creatively, so I think in retrospect it has been a good thing that has happened.”

 

This Is The Sound is out on June 30th

Written by Dave Griffiths

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