Avast, ye landlubbers! From the deepest darkest depths of eastern Scotland comes Alestorm, a drunken band of two mad Scots and two Irishmen on an epic quest to slay posers, drink beer, and be the greatest damn band that ever did sail the seven seas! Describing their style as “True Scottish Pirate Metal”, Alestorm plays an infectious blend of folk and power metal in the vein of bands such as Korpik laani and Turisas, but with a unique piratical twist. Alestorm are coming to kick ass and chew gum. We caught up with them while on tour.
► When did you get into Belfast?
Chris Bowes: We actually got into Belfast yesterday.As you are aware half of the band live in Belfast just around the corner so we stayed with them doing it on the cheap.
► You played Dublin a few nights ago, the story is that your set had to be slightly curtailed?
Chris: It didn’t go well.We were just about to play the big song, the pop hit that everybody loves. Then we were just told to cut our set and go off stage.We are now panicking about tonight’s show.The gear could explode again!
Dani Evans: There was a huge technical failure at the start of the set and that’s what kind of ruined things for us. We tested everything today and it worked, so lets hope it still works when we go on stage.
► There have been many categorisations and labels attributed to the band’s sound and musical style. How would you define it yourselves?
Chris: Somewhere between folk and power metal I think. There is no such thing as pirate metal.
Dani: We don’t really have a specific genre.There are so many different song-writing styles that our music can fit into.
► Is the lyrical style employed on your releases to date likely to continue?
Chris: I think if we didn’t sing about pirates,our fans would go fucking crazy.
► Don’t you feel that perhaps it may be limiting?
Chris: No because we do these stupid songs where time-traveling pirates go back in time to kill vikings. I think that there is a whole world of places that we can go with stupid lyrics. Haha.
► As a child growing up music surrounds us. What type of music did you hear the most back then? How does it differ from what you listen to now?
Dani: Well I grew up with early Metallica. My mum was into the 80’s pop, stuff like Madness. My Dad is a big metal fan.
Chris: I didn’t actually listen to much music until I was about 16. I don’t know why -everything I heard was shit. I was only exposed to radio pop. Then I heard some ridiculous metal stuff on the radio and thought “I love this”!
► What do you now listen to? Would you say it is varied?
Chris: My phone is littered with various pop, metal and all sorts really. I try not to listen to any folk or power metal because you then become influenced by it and you end up sounding just like every other band.
► What was the first song that you ever played live and how did it make you feel?
Dani: No Quarter!
Chris: It’s from our second album, an old demo that we had. Our old drummer didnt realise he was playing another song that kinda starts the same way! We stopped and he kept going…It wasnt our finest hour.
❝We do tend to attract a strange crowd. We have had stalkers.❞
► What made you first realise that you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Chris: We were just a band. A bunch of guys that were offered a record deal. It just fell into our laps.When we found that we were getting booked on these huge ass tours.
Dani: We thought, hang on a minute lets keep going!
► What can people expect from Alestorm’s live show?
Chris: Lots of running around, lots of Buckfast. Jolly good sing-a-longs.
► How much creative control do you have over your own career – music,artwork etc? In recent years changes in the industry have led to the collapse of many labels – thus giving bands more input and direct control.
Chris: Of course our record label has said “you should write more songs like this” and we have have both said “No”! The record label is quite good with us,and lets us do our own thing quite a lot of the time which is quite a bonus.
► You have been with the same label since the band started which must help?
Chris: Yes its worked well so far. We have our disagreements, like any sort of business relationship. Generally it has worked out positive for us though.
► How as a band do you cope with major obstacles in the industry?
Dani: We haven’t really hit any to be honest.
Chris: The whole thing of being in a band and signing to a label – the contract isn’t that amazing.Then suddenly the band takes off and you can negotiate a bit more – if they want to keep the band happy – to keep it mutually beneficial. I think as long as the music is good it helps in getting what you want.
► How would you describe Alsestorm’s fans?
Dani: They are lovely people. Although we do tend to attract a strange crowd.We have had stalkers and all the rest. There’s also a lot of children that seem to like us; kids love pirates.We are excellent role models for children, haha. Its a wide cross section of ages from 5 or 6 up to 70’s.
► With so many young fans, what would you say to those who are interested in making a career of art or music?
Chris: If you want to be in a band then make music that people want to listen to.When it comes down to it you are an entertainer and if you are making pretentious nonsense that nobody enjoys then don’t be surprised when nobody wants to listen to it. I admit that the music that we make is cheesy, catchy, basically pop-metal. That’s what people want to hear!
Dani: If people want to go out and party it’s not like a Gorgoroth show where they stand with their arms crossed! It is party music! We enjoy the atmosphere that we create.When the crowd is good we run around and it is a lot more fun.
► Career wise where do you see the band in 5 years time?
Chris: Im pretty sure somebody asked us this question 5 years ago. I would love to see the answers to what we said 5 years ago! Not dead would be good. I would like to think that we could continue on this vaguely upward trajectory.
Dani: Its been good,weve never had too much worry.
► Finally who would you like to interview,and what would you like to ask them ?
Chris: Probably Manowar,and just ask them if they are for real.
Dani: Johnny Depp and just slap him.
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