It's a humid, half-rainy Monday, February 22nd in Marseille. Sabaton are touring all over Europe with two cool bands: Bloodbound and Alestorm, so Metal On Loud Magazine team has decided to check if Alestorm are truly who they say they are—Heavy Metal pirates! So, being lucky to attend the tour show in Marseille, I had 30 minutes of a funny and interesting talk with the Alestorm keyboardist and PR ambassador Elliot Vernon. Some of the details that follow our readers might find shocking!
Hi Elliot! Thank you that you agreed to answer the questions of Metal On Loud Magazine! Alestorm: You are the kings of Pirate Metal, but why have you chosen pirates as your topic?
It was a mistake! The first song we wrote was about pirates, and other people and ourselves liked it, so, we had to continue as a Pirate Metal band.
As Heavy Metal pirates, what alcohol do you prefer?
We drink rum! Unfortunately, the stock of rum is over by our arrival at Marseille, but we have all kinds of drinks backstage if you check. Being out of rum, we prefer gin, or gin and tonic!
Imagine that you are at the meeting of anonymous metalheads. What would have been your the most sincere confession?
Confession? We don't like Metal! We don't listen to Metal! If you check what music is played backstage or in our personal playlists, you can hear all kinds of music—including Pop! If you haven't noticed we merge Pop music into our songs and shows. We are not as serious about Metal as other bands are. We have influences from Pop artists all over our music, like Lady Gaga, for example.
According to Freud, every object symbolizes something. Usually you have a giant yellow duck on the stage. What does the giant yellow duck symbolize for you?
Elliot (laughing): well, a giant yellow duck symbolizes... a giant yellow duck! We are not so serious as Sabaton who have a tank on the stage and sing about war, glory, etc. We love to have fun. One day we decided to bring something on stage that'd make people smile, so, let it be a giant yellow duck!
What is your ideal fan?
A really beautiful woman! No... that and... just somebody who comes to the show with a smile on a face; they know all the words. It's really great to stand on stage and see people singing lyrics back, that's really a great feeling. Just... frankly people. We spend a lot of time with our fans each day. Like, every day we go out into the crowd. After a show we meet everybody as much as we can, we shake hands, take photos, sign CDs; just people. We don't want to think that we are different from our fans. We are on a stage where we play music, but when we have finished, we just have fun like everybody else.
There are one-leader bands (like Motorhead or Megadeth), and there are bands that work as a team, so which is Alestorm?
Of course, people recognize Chris Bowes as our frontman, but in Alestorm everyone is a piece in a one big puzzle—and it's not just the band. We have five band members and five in the crew, and if we lose one person—from the band or the crew—we can't do the tour. We have a sound guy, a guitar tech, a drum tech, a guy who is selling merch. Everybody who buys a t-shirt has to speak to a merch guy. He is just as important as we are. We are all friends and we all work together and are having fun. There's no such thing as one person being in charge with everybody working for him—I think that's bullshit...
Can you give a short characteristic to each band member?
It's difficult! Ten people... we are all a bit different, but there is no one way to describe each person. We work well together. We have a new guitarist with us on the European tour, and he is Hungarian—our drummer and our bass player are from the similar place. We are just a one big team of different people. I can't think of one thing to say about each person. It's just too much.
Are you dedicated to one band or do band members have their own projects?
Well, obviously Chris is in Gloryhammer—he is touring with them—and I am in some other bands. We all do other things. We are all musicians and enjoy playing music. When we go home we play and record for various different projects, but playing in this band is mostly like a full time job, so we don't have much time to tour with other bands. We are all friends with one each other but when we go home we have our own private life; different friends, different people, we play in different bands—mostly the bands of friends, playing in local bars or something like that.
What is Metal for you: is it a job or is it a passion?
Metal? Metal is nothing for me. I don't think about it, it doesn't matter... but music... music is... it's both. It's a passion—because that's why I am doing it, because I am enjoying it. I am lucky enough to do it, but it's a job and I am paid for that. I don't think there's a difference. For some people, they have a passion and they have a job, and they do their jobs so they can follow their passions. We are lucky to do both at the same time.
What are your the most ambitious plans?
It's difficult for us to be ambitious because, with what we have already accomplished—and it's a lot more than we expected to. It's just a stupid band as it was prior explained, with silly pop songs, disguised to be metal—but we've already been around the world, 5-6 times. Australia, New Zealand, America, South America, Russia, Japan—we've been everywhere. We've been around Europe at least ten times. There's no more ambition except to play bigger shows, get more fans, write new songs, and we are just going to keep doing it. Right now it seems that everything is growing each year, so our ambition is to continue and never stop.
What would you wish to the readers of Metal On Loud Magazine?
Come to our show, have fun! Enjoy it! Don't be serious. Metal is not serious. If you are wearing black, it doesn't mean that you have to be serious.
Thank you, Elliot, for a great interview! Looking forward to your show!
Do you think that Alestorm are here for Metal? No, sexy mother*ckers, they are here... TO DRINK YOUR BEER :-D ! METAL (or dance) ON LOUD!