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Callenish Circle - Gracefully Drifting

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by Opeth17, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. Opeth17

    Opeth17 Bill Ward's Red Pants

    Oct 21, 2003
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    The Southland
    [IMGLEFT][/IMGLEFT]By Josh Phillips

    In the midst of what will undoubtedly be a very hectic year for Callenish Circle, vocalist Patrick Savelkoul was kind enough to sit down for an interview. The band recently released "Forbidden Empathy", a compilation to chronicle their career in metal and later this year a new full-length album will be released. He took us in-depth and gave us some insight into the band's current state, history and much more.

    Hello! How are things going in the Callenish Circle camp these days?

    Very busy writing material for our upcoming (and meanwhile 5th) studio album. So far things are going according to schedule. We have written the complete basics for 5 new tracks and we have plenty of cool material & ideas left for the rest of the album. It’s just a matter of putting the right ideas into a cool song structure and working out the details. Furthermore, the usual stuff you know: working, rehearsing, answering interviews, doing some management, booking shows…the usual things.

    What were some of the factors that led to the release of Forbidden Empathy?

    Our early releases simply lacked a decent promotion and distribution. Since most of these releases were out of pressing or hard to find we got more and more people asking for our old material. Also because we gained quite a few new fans after the release of Flesh_Power_Dominion and My Passion // Your Pain (both on Metal Blade Records). So we decided to collect all our old material and release it as a 2 CD, with brand-new cover artwork and everything digitally re-mastered…all this for a fan friendly price of a regular disc. This way our new fans will be able to buy the complete Callenish Circle history for a nice price.

    What made the band decide to release so much material (almost 2 and a half hours worth)? Was it a way to make sure your hard to find material would be accessible to the entire Callenish Circle fanbase?

    Definitely…this way our fans will be able to get hold of the complete Callenish Circle pre-Metal Blade history in one single buy. It’s something that we wanted to do for both our old and our new fans.

    The cover art for Forbidden Empathy seems to be something newly created for that release. Can you talk about any meaning the cover art may have or who designed it?

    The cover artwork of the Forbidden Empathy 2CD was designed by Swedish art wizard Niklas Sundin (also responsible for artwork of bands like Arch Enemy/In Flames/Dark Tranquillity). The cover reflects the doomy atmosphere of our early releases very well. In my opinion it fits the musical content perfectly.


    Are there any touring plans in sight and if so, will you be stopping by the U.S?

    After the release of the new album (late 2005) we will definitely start touring intensively again and also play some cool summer festivals. Hopefully we will make it to the States this time but as you probably know it all depends on the record sales of our new album. So, all you Thrashing maniacs out there, make sure you get hold of a copy of our upcoming album and we will make sure to ravage the States as soon as possible.

    How about any details concerning the next record? When do you expect to have it released and how far have you delved into the process of writing, recording, etc?

    As mentioned in question 1 we already wrote the basics of 5 new tracks. The recordings are scheduled from mid May ‘till the end of June. Then in the first week of July we will head to Denmark where we will mix the album with Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Illdisposed & Mnemic) at Antfarm Studios. We aim for a November 2005 release worldwide (on Metal Blade Records again).

    What should we expect on the next album that we might not have heard from Callenish Circle in the past?

    The new material… well… just imagine the best of what we did on both MB albums, add some really cool groovy parts and combine this already deadly cocktail with some high-tech wacky soundscapes, delivered by Gail Liebling (mastermind behind Gail of God). I think a lot of people will be amazed when they finally hear our new album.


    Can you name some of the bands that have influenced Callenish Circle over the years? Those who helped you decide what form of music you’d like to play?

    In the early days we were definitely influenced by bands like Death, Pestilence and (old) Paradise Lost. Our own first songs were of course far from the level of those bands mentioned, but you can obviously hear their influences back in our early recordings. Over the years we’ve headed into a more aggressive, intense and melodic direction. With each new album we progressed as musicians and songwriters and there is a big difference between our latest album My Passion//Your Pain (2003) and our very first demo ‘Lovelorn’ (1995). But if you listen to each release one after another you can hear it’s a natural and steady progression the band made during the years. With each album we developed our sound to what it is nowadays. I don’t know if our sound is so different from others and to be honest I don’t care either. I mean, we just play the music we like most ourselves and I am aware we are not playing a completely unique style, but I do know we managed to create a typical Callenish Circle sound over the years, based on already existing metal styles.

    What bands in today’s scene do you enjoy and feel are putting out quality material?

    To be honest, I hardly get excited by new bands these days. Not that these new bands are crap, but I simply don’t feel the same enthusiasm as when I listen to records of older bands like Death, At The Gates, Bolt Thrower or (old) Paradise Lost, just to mention a few.

    Do you have any favourite songs from those the band has recorded over the years or do you look at each record as a whole and choose not to pick one over the other?

    Not really, usually I like the songs we play live most because these are the most aggressive, intense and fastest songs from the albums. I am a speedfreak you know… hahaha. From My Passion//Your Pain I like tracks like Soul Messiah & Forsaken. From Flesh_Power_Domionion I like Obey Me, For What It’s Good For and Witness Your Own Oblivion etc, etc. So basically I like the tracks we play live most.


    How about some crazy studio or live stories from the past? Is there anything out of the ordinary that has happened to the band over the years?

    Yeah, when I was putting the artwork and the lyrics together for the booklet I thought back a lot on the old days. We were very young and inexperienced back then and in the studio that led to quite some heavy disagreements between the band members. Ronster wanted to have the guitars as loud as possible, Gav wanted to hear the drums in the front, and I of course wanted to have the vocals very loud in the mix. Eventually Han (the producer on the debut album) went almost completely crazy. After a whole day of Gav intensively mixing and putting everything louder he said, “Congratulations guys, we are back to we started this morning, if you don’t want to compromise we will be mixing ‘till next year”… hahaha. Another cool thing I remember is that one day our girlfriends visited us in the studio while we were recording. They all stood in the control room behind the glass, like they were watching a bunch of monkeys in the zoo. Because of this we couldn’t focus on what we were doing and after a couple of hours recording we only had a lousy 22 seconds of music recorded… hahaha… and believe it or not these 22 seconds of music were even thrown away afterwards cause it wasn’t good enough. So that was the first and also the last time we invited our girlfriends into the studio.

    Explain the lyric writing process a little bit and the content of the lyrics. Is there a common theme the band sticks with?

    Pat: Ronny is writing most of the lyrics so let him do the talking on this one.

    Ron: The lyrics main topics are different kinds of extreme human emotions such as hate, grief, anger and jealousy. Some of the lyrics are personal experiences and some of them are fictional. I like to manoeuvre myself into specific states of mind, try to express the feelings people get in certain situations and write them down so that they're interpretable in more ways.


    Does the band write the music and then follow by writing the lyrics? How intertwined are the two processes?

    Mostly the music is written first and then the lyrics but on the new album we will also work the other way around. First the lyrics and later on the music. Let’s see how that works.

    Any final comments or points we haven’t discussed yet?

    Nothing really particular I guess…

    Thanks for your time and good luck in the future!

    Thanx for the interview and the exposure, make sure you check our new album late 2005 and in the meantime keep an eye on our website.


    Cheerz, Pat.


    Official Callenish Circle Website
    Official Candlelight USA Website
    Official Metal Blade Records Website
    UM's Review of Forbidden Empathy

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