: I Am Warrior :
        : Interview done to Keith "Fay" O'Fathaigh :
: Written by Skelos :        
Only a few days ago we received the notice of the inminent Cruachan's new work, after more than 5 years from their previous full-length album. Agh! What a great news! These guys are practically the creators of a whole genre, the Folk (Black) Metal, about 18 years ago, and personally, one of those bands with an special and different aura, which I have enjoyed like a fucking dwarf with their music. So it was a must to take the chance of interview them. We want to send also our thanks to Daz, from Candlelight press office, who give us all the facilities to making it possible.
Greetings Clan! Thanx a lot for your answers to these questions. Cruachan is one of those unique bands I've always wanted to interview. Well, how the things are actually going with you, there in the beautiful Erin? Here in Spain we are spending a colder and rawer winter than usual. Strange times I guess hehe...
Hey there, its Keith here and I am doing great. I have had a rough last few years personally but htings are looking so much better now! 2011 will be a great year for me personally and of course for Cruachan.
Well, I must admit it was a great surprise when I read the notice of a new album of the Irish horde. I thought that the band was on-hold or with less activity. Sorry but this question is a must. What has happened those last five years since your previous work "The Morrigan's Call"? It has been a long time...
Where do I begin? This band can be a bit of a nightmare for us all at time as we all have mortgages and children and have to have serious day jobs to support all of this so sometimes fitting the band in can be a bit difficult. There have been other very personal issues that have happened that have also made things difficult but I am pleased to say that these are in the past and we have focused to make Cruachan stronger that ever before. We have still been touring whenever we can the past few years and will continue to tour even more now that we have been reborn.
Probably the most significant fact nowadays in the band is that Karen Gilligan is no longer a full-time member. Can you tell us a little what happened? Are you still in contact with her? I think her voice and work with Morrigan is simply amazing. I will miss her a lot, mates. At least, if I am not wrong, she sings in some parts of your new songs... Do you think this fact is harmful for you, or do you think that it's the perfect moment to prove new things and sounds, exploring new landscapes?
Karen simply could not fit both the band and family into her life so made the difficult decision to give up the band which she loved. I am still in contact, she is my friend and it was great to have her appear on the new album - even as guest.
However, I feel that Karen leaving has been the best thing to happen to Cruachan in years and I mean that with every bit of respect to Karen because she is an outstanding vocalist and true professional. Things were getting stagnant with our music, I wanted to create much more powerful music but with full time female vocals that would be hard to achieve. Karen leaving gave me the freedom wo do what I have wanted to do for some years now and I tell you this - we can only get better from here.
Being honest, I consider that "The Morrigan's Call" is your "weakest" work to date, sorry (even you announce it as your best selling album). I think it's a good album of course, but I "feel" in it that your ideas and concepts are a bit used, more or less the same vein and sound than in your previous works. I think it was time to change some aspects of your music. What can you tell us about this?
I do not agree obviously, I think it is our strongest work to date (not including Blood) and when I listened to some time ago I felt we have brough Celtic Metal as far as it can go, I though there is no way to make a better Celtic Metal album so we need to change and attempt something new, which is exactly what we done. But hey, everyone has their opinion on it. I remember reading a review and some guy said it was the best thing he had ever heard in his life, another review condemned my parents to hell for giving birth to me and allowing me create such a terrible album.
So I'm actually listening to your new album "Blood on the Black Robe" (to be released on: 04/18/2011) and I'm fucking happy! Congratulations! I can find different sounds and concepts. Now there is no room for your old sweet and happy folkie melodies. An intense a strong atmosphere, raw and rough melodies, an epic and war feeling. Perhaps one could think it's like a return to the roots from your first album "Tuatha Na Gael", and yeah, for sure there is something of it, but I think there is a lot of more. I really think it's a new path for the band without forgeting your folks elements, of course, old melodies and traditional musical instruments. What could you tell us about this?
Well, thank you so much. Early reactions are extremely positive which is a good sign we are doing the right thing. It is like I said earlier, when I finished Morrigan's I felt I had taken that type of music as far as it could go so wanted to try something different, Karens departure allowed this. Obviously Folk music is very important to me and there was no chance of removing the folk music but I listen to all these new Folk Metal bands and as far as I am concerned they do not really understand true Folk music - not all of them mind you. I wanted to explore the darker side of folk and that is exactly what I done on Blood. Most of the folk melodies are in the minor scale so even though they sounds as folky as can be, they are not happy or cheery – they remain dark and suit the aggresive music. I write music to match the feel of the songs aswell - Thy Kingdom Gone is a very anti-christian song so I wanted a folk melody that matched the theme, something that you would hear on the streets of Jerusalem many years ago - so I left Irish folk behind and learned about Iraqi folk songs and came up with the Arab sounding melody which suits the theme of the song perfectly.
Focusing in "Blood on the Black Robe", what could you tell us about it? What ideas or feelings have you tried to express with it? For me, in a way, it's like a soundtrack of an epic movie like Bravehart or similar hehe...
Thank you, I really feel great to hear you say that because that is what we hoped to achieve. We are folk metal and always will be but are also so much more. I mentioned above about the Arab part but we also have orchestral parts in all our songs and that lends a very epic feel to a lot of the songs. I wanted to express raw aggressive folk metal because I think todays folk metal scene is beginning to stagnate with so mane generic folk metal bands. We were the first to play this style (not including Skyclad) so why not let it be us to change it 18 years later.
In other way, I would like to ask this question to the bands who are active since many years. If you could change something in your career you don't like specially, what would it be?
F*ck, so many mistakes, bad judgements etc. That is not a fair question haha. The biggest mistake would be not releasing a new album after Tuatha Na Gael. I was only 16 recording that album so was very naive. Then we hired a Manager who told us not to sign with Century Media - that could have been a massive break for us. When we did come back with The Middle Kingdom maybe we should not have been so light as a lot of people were expecting Tuatha Na Gael part 2. I dont know really, the last few albums have been a nightmare aswell, poor production on Pagan making the label not want to pay production cost. The on Morrigans the label Black Lotus went bankrupt and I was threatened with Court to pay for recording. AFM bailed us out then. Put it this ways - I am finally happy in Cruachan, we are on a great label with a great album about to be released
Following the line, as I started the interview, I have the feeling that the world in general is crossing a "strange era". And I think it's very healthy for our "modern" minds to take a trip to the old times to get some inspiration, where legends are real, and gods and men walk the same land. The old times of battles between clans, where brotherhood and valours like honour and courage were essential for being a true man. Fuck, sometimes I would really love to live in those times and not in this decayed world. Well, what this topic tells to you? By the way, do you consider yourselves as "Heathen"?
I am true Pagan. Yes, I agree with you in every respect. Even when I watch or read about World War 1 and 2, the men went through the same things in these wars that our ancestors went through in theirs - Honour, Valour Heroism etc. These things seem to be disapperaing in this bankrupt shithole we live in now.
Ok, I know we have not to speak about policy here in the tavern with beers and mates, but well, as the last question I would like to finger in the eye of some toadies haha... I think Cruachan has a strong idelology concerning the Nationalism of Irish people etc. Well, what could you tell us about this? How do you think it's the current situation there in Ireland with your fight?
It has always been difficult for us here and I am always open about this. I love my country and would love to see my country united. Having said that I hate war and violence, if this was to happen it would have to be through political means. Irish and English people in my opinion are very simlar in so many ways, its the idiotic religious crap that make them fight - Protestant and Catholic?? Both fools if you ask me.
Our country is run by stupid politicians and a corrupt governemt. If they cannot manage the running of the existing 26 counties they certainly will make a balls of the entire 32. And I will also mention that the goverment here is turning many Republican friends I have known all my life away from the causes they have so much believed in.
Well, that's all. Thanks again for your time. It was a true pleasure, and hope you spend an interesting time answering the questions. See you in the battle brothers! The last words are yours...
Thank you so much, always remember to honour thy DindelFlent.
: Band's website: :
: Origin: Ireland :
: Publishing date: 23.02.2011 :