NRR recently sat down with Elvellon band members Maddin KlÃ¼ners (drums/percussion), Nele Messerschmidt (vocals), Gilbert Gelsdorf (guitars), Philipp A. Kohout (bass) and Pascal Pannen (keys/piano) about their soon to be released debut LP.
NRR: When did all of you first meet and when did you decide to form a band with one another?
KlÃ¼ners: We all knew each other before we started to play together in this band. At the end of December 2009, Pascal mentioned that he had the chance to get a new rehearsal space in our hometown. He told me about a song he was working on and that he’d like to jam with me. From that point on we arranged more and more meetings to jam and write songs together. Not long after that we decided to form a band and call it Elvellon, and we started to look for other band members.
In 2011 I met Nele at a birthday party and asked her if she would be interested in singing in a band. Nele eventually ended up visiting us at our rehearsal space two weeks after that party. After a few rehearsals, she said she’d love to be a part of Elvellon, and our voice was found.
One day Gilbert and I were talking about things that were going on with Elvellon, and he offered us his help via a home recording session. He said that he could record our ideas and play the guitar and bass for the session. It went very well, and after a few good sessions and some time to think about joining the band Gilbert eventually joined Elvellon in 2013.
From that point on everything became more distinct. We were able to write and arrange our songs for every instrument. The first gigs we played together Phil helped out on the bass guitar. Phil did a great job at those shows, and he started rehearsing with us. All of us in the band were convinced that he was the right person for the job so we asked him if he wanted to be a part of Elvellon and he ended up joining the band at the end of 2014.
NRR: Elvellon’s sound and live presence is reminiscent of Nightwish. Are they one your main influences?
KlÃ¼ners: Most of us really like the music of Nightwish and I love it. Surely they are one of our bigger influences, but we don’t want to be a copy or anything like that. Their music conveys feelings and thoughts that are essential to making great music in my opinion. Those are qualities we feel as though are important ingredients to our music as well.
NRR: Why did the band decide to release your music digitally song-by-song versus compiling a full LP worth of songs that would be released perhaps via a more traditional format?
KlÃ¼ners: To be honest the digital releases were kind of a test run for us. We definitely wanted to produce a CD, but in the twenty-first century there are so many possibilities to distribute and buy music versus just going into a store and buying a physical CD.
NRR: Who are some your influences and when did you all start learning to play your instruments and sing?
Pannen: For me mostly bands from the northern part of the world such as Children of Bodom and Sonata Arctica. I first learned to play those bands songs on a bass guitar which gave me a grip on how to write songs like theirs. Later as I started to play the keyboards, I became influenced by more symphonic music like Nightwish and even movie scores.
Gelsdorf: The first time I put my hands on my father’s guitar I mostly listened to German bands such as Lacrimosa and Subway to Sally. Some of those bands’ songs were some of the first songs that I ever learned to play.
Kohut: It all began for me with bands such as Megadeth, Dragonforce, Galneryus and Demon but I was also influenced by video game and movie soundtracks.
Messerschmidt: I remember singing along with melodies when I couldn’t even speak properly. My first stage experiences were at the age of four in a choir, after that I started to join a few bands. So my influences when I started to learn to sing lay somewhere between children’s music and some of the first bands I ever listened to.
Maddin: I guess I was influenced by drummers like Jukka Nevalainen, Lars Ulrich and Phil Collins. All of them have their individual style, and I think that is a really important quality. I was also influenced by movie scores which help to inspire me.
NRR: What does Ellevon mean?
KlÃ¼ners: Elvellon is a word in “Elvish” from the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. It means, “elven friend.” I think band’s name should stand for something and we think that our name also reflects elements that are present in our music such as gracefulness, magic and passion.
NRR: Nele your voice and performance on stage are often compared to Floor Jensen from Nightwish. How do you feel about that comparison and have you ever met her in person?
Messerschmidt: To be honest, I can’t remember anyone ever coming up to me and making that direct comparison. Of course, I feel honored by the comparison on the one hand but on the other, I do feel as though my vocal style is my own and I work really hard at it.
So at the end of the day I feel much more rewarded when people express their criticism, good or bad, without any comparisons but at the same time I’m sure it can only help to be compared to such a great singer such like Floor.
I actually once I took part in one of the master classes she (Jensen) offers. That was a good experience and a wonderful chance to exchange some vocal knowledge with her.
NRR: Currently Elvellon is working on new music, what are the new songs about, who is producing the new album and have you been signed to record label yet?
KlÃ¼ners: I think it may be better to wait a bit longer before we talk about those things. At the moment we don’t currently have a record label deal, so it looks as though a good friend of ours will help us produce the new album.
NRR: What is the band’s process in terms composing your songs? Pascal are you writing all the music and lyrics for this album?
Pannen: Do I write every song on my own, no. I merely write the demos for the songs and come up with the first ideas for them. When I record an idea, I play it for the other band members, and then we decide together what parts we want to keep and which parts we want to let go. Long story short, we write every song together as a band, and that’s been the case since our inception.
NRR: Is the band self-managed and or have you signed with a management company?
Gelsdorf: No, not at the moment. There have been conversations with some smaller labels, but we haven’t come to any agreement yet. We are still searching for the right partner. Fortunately nowadays a band can promote itself to a certain degree so for we don’t feel lost without a label.
NRR: Is the album being recorded at LeFink Studio in Duisburg, Germany and will it be mastered by Ulf Hattwig at Toolhouse Studio?
Gelsdorf: We are still in the planning process so anything I would say would just be speculative. We definitely want to exceed the production quality of our first EP. For example, we want to record the drums in a studio or room that is more suitable for that kind of a task. Also, we want to record more real and acoustic instruments for the album.
NRR: When do you think the new album will be available to the public?
Kohut: We plan on having the album recorded and released within the next six months or so.
NRR: Is the band currently performing locally in Germany while you’re recording new music?
Messerschmidt: We have some local gigs scheduled but we won’t be playing out as much live as we are continuing to try and put our focus on recording the new record.
NRR: Do you have any plans to travel and perform across Europe and in England?
Messerschmidt: I guess I can speak for all of us when I say it’s an enormous dream of ours to tour around the UK or even the world but unfortunately we don’t have any specific plans as of yet. We want to stay focused on recording the new album so there’s still a long way to go before we can start making concrete tour plans.
NRR: Have you had any conversations regarding serving as a support act in the United States, Latin America or Asia?
Gelsdorf: No, not yet. We already have some fans in United Staes and Latin America but not enough. We do know a promoter that is willing to pay us and pick up all of our travel costs, so hopefully, someday we will be able to tour overseas as a support act, but that opportunity has yet to be present itself to us.
NRR: There are popular music cruises from Florida to the Caribbean such as 70,000 Tons Of Metal. Would the band welcome performing on one of those type of music cruises?
Pannen: I guess we can all agree that it would be plain awesome to perform on one of those.
Elvellon is still at work on their new album and is seeking crowd funding to complete the project. You can find out more on the band website. In the meantime, check out their music video for “Born From Hope” released in 2015.