Alestorm Interview with Dani Evans
Interview by Ashlinn Nash
Photos by Graham Hilling
23rd October 2014
@ Sub 89, Reading
Saying that Alestorm have been a busy band is an understatement, with a new album just out and the Scottish pirate crew are ready to release the Kraken that is their new album “Sunset on the Golden age”.We caught up with Dani Evans, who lends his guitar talents to Alestorm, for a quick chat about the new album, the current tour and plans for the future.
M-R: How’s the tour been going so far for you?
Dani Evans: Phenomenally, this is day forty one for us I left home on the 10th September to do twenty four shows in Europe and came straight here. It’s been ridiculous the amount of sell outs and people coming to the shows I had no idea it was going to be so popular to bring PirateFest over I mean we’re really happy we’re on the last four days and the next three are already sold out. So it’s the best end to a tour we could ask for.
M-R: Ah Brilliant sounds like you’ve been busy, are you looking forward to playing Reading tonight?
Dani Evans: I’m looking forward to playing Reading we’ve never been here before so it’s kind of one of those things where you want to see what sort of people turn up and how the crowd reacts to you as its different everywhere you go. We’ve been jumping round the country its different reactions everywhere.
M-R: On this tour you’ve been playing quite a few intimate venues, how has that been for you?
Dani Evans: It’s been nice to come out and do a club tour, we’ve been averaging about five hundred people a night in most places and it’s been pretty cool to have been able to do that obviously we love going out playing for eighty thousand people but it’s nice to come back to the UK and play to five hundred people in Leeds or something like that. So it’s nice to go back and actually have nineteen shows on this tour and going to parts we’ve never been too, and parts we’ve been too a lot and it is nice to see the reactions and the sheer numbers of people coming out.
M-R: The band has been going for about ten years now [under a different name] what’s it been like, being a band for such a long time?
Dani Evans: It’s hard to say I’ve been in Alestorm since 2006, when it was still battle heart that was the first proper literation of the band it was me, Christopher, the old guitarist Gavin and old drummer Douglas. We did that, and did a few shows around 2006/2007 and it was interesting because at the time none of us knew each other bar Christopher and Gavin but I met them online after hearing the first demo and saying “love this, I want to be part of this”.
So I emailed them saying I want to join, to still be doing this you know into my mid-twenties and making a good living off of this I mean I’ve got enough to have a house pay my bills and take girlfriend on holiday. I never imagined it would go this far I imagined we’d get to play some shows and do a tour or something and people become a bit bored of us. But then we started developing more as people and thought well people are still coming to this, people are coming to shows they want the music and the music is getting better.
We’re getting better, we are enjoying it so we’re looking forward to hopefully keeping going. We’re not going to do that thing of playing into our late thirties and being all “yeah we’re still the young hip kids we were” [laughs].
M-R : So there won’t be an Alestorm prog or acoustic band down the line?
Dani Evans: [laughs] no, no not with me involved that’s for sure!
M-R: You’ve just released “Sunset on the Golden age” how’s the reaction to that been so far?
Dani Evans: Absolutely unbelievable the reaction that’s come from the new album I don’t think I’ve seen a bad review of it anywhere magazine or internet and the fan reaction has been amazing for it as well, it’s influenced our setlist as well as people have been asking for certain songs that we weren’t planning on playing on this tour anyway! It’s just been phenomenal I mean we’re completely over the moon with the album it’s the first album were all five members have written songs and parts and solos, and bits and pieces for the whole thing.
It’s I suppose the first truly band effort for us, so it’s nice to kind of have that and actually feeling like a band, because with the last three albums it was the old guitarist recording, session drummer, and felt disjointed but this time all five of us where in the studio, we all recorded together we’re really happy with what’s come out and the fact that people have taken to it and people love it. People are calling it our best album ever, that just makes us smile you know it’s nice to hear that.
M-R: When did the writing process start for it, did you have previous parts of songs before you went into the studio or was it all fresh?
Dani Evans: We had ideas for this one while we were recording “back through time”, I’m trying to think, no we had some other material that we’ve never used on “sunset on the golden age” that we’re not sure about and not sure where to put or use it. I mean the process for it has been gradual over the last few years.
It’s because before we were under a “you have to release albums” mind set, so we had to have stuff written and we had to be recording and it was really tiresome. We were on tour 2009 when we recorded “Black sails at midnight” and the record label were like “we’ve booked you studio time”. We had to say we didn’t have an album yet, I mean we got the album put together and we were still writing in the studio. It was pain in the ass, by the time it was finished we had to say “that’s all you are getting from us”.
It shows on the new album as it’s given us time to write the music, listen to it a midi form, in a demo form and listen to it and go; that’s terrible, let us take that bit out, lets change this riff or change this solo. I think it shows that everything is a lot more cohesive as with some of the other albums they are a little bit disjointed and some people just go “what”.
M-R: Where was the album recorded?
Dani Evans: LSD studios Studios in Lübeck, Germany with Lasse Lammert he’s done all the albums and EPs we’ve done, he is basically the reason we are the band we are today. He made our sound and gave us the opportunity to record in his studio and the demo that got us signed he re-mastered for us to send to the record label so we owe him a lot! So he gets first call on any recordings and he has always done a phenomenal job.
M-R: What would you say influenced the album?
Dani Evans: [Pauses] the fact that we had time to be honest, relax and rehearse and actually listen to the music, and give it time. I think we finished the first song about eighteen months ago and had the time to sit down and listen to it. We listened to the songs and we changed some riffs and changed some bits. Musically there isn’t really an influence as we have our own sound so we’re quite set in what we want and having a producer that knows what we want too helps.
M-R: That’s a better influence that music in a lot of ways really, so as it’s near the end of the year what have been your highlights so far?
Dani Evans: Yeah! [pauses] I don’t remember what happened at the start of the tour, I don’t know every day is an adventure so it’s hard just to pick one thing. In terms of Alestorm we’re just happy to be on the road again, we took ten, eleven months off which is the longest we’ve ever gone without touring so we are very happy to be back on the road.
M-R: Ok you ready for a couple of silly questions now, who would win in a fight between “thunderquid” and “nancy the tavern wench”?
Dani Evans: [Laughs] I think society would win in that fight! That’s defiantly a question I’ve never been asked before! [Pauses] I really don’t know I’m going to say Nancy, as she’s got rocking tities! [Laughs].We all know that’s the weakness of a squid!
M-R: You’re Shipwrecked on a desert island what five things would you take with you?
Dani Evans: A boat! Some rope, barrels, some planks and some glue. [Laughs]
M-R: So all the materials to make a boat, right final one. Rum or wenches?
Dani Evans: Rum!
Thank you for speaking to us.
Alestorm’s newest album “Sunset on the Golden age” is available now from Napalm records