Keith Fay (Cruachan): I know a lot about Minsk and would really like to see it for myself. Interview

Keith Fay (Cruachan): I know a lot about Minsk and would really like to see it for myself. InterviewOn March, 16 a famous Irish folk-metal band Cruachan will perform in Minsk (Belarus). had questioned Keith Fay about the coming concert, folk instruments in metal music and also about Ireland and the Irish, as well as how Saint Patrick`s day should be celebrated. 

– How are things going with Cruachan?

– Hi there, things are going great, since the release of «Blood on the black robe» things have gone from strength to strength; it has been the best year and a half for us in a very long time.

– What do you expect from the concert in Minsk?

– Hmmm….I expect to see a lively crowd and meet some very interesting people, plus I hope to see a bit of Minsk as I have never been there.

– By the way, the show will held on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. What will you perform? Are you going to prepare something special? Any surprises?

– No surprises as such but lately we have stopped playing the Irish ballads that have been on the old albums, we will bring these back for the Minsk and Russian shows – it is the right time of year to do this, so I hope to hear everybody singing “Some say the Devil is dead”!!!

– How should the metalhead, who considers this holiday as his own, celebrate it, in your opinion?

– Just like the Irish people do – with a beer, haha.

– On the one hand the Irish music is famous for its dance tunes and on the other hand – for beautiful ballads. Do the people at your concerts dance traditional dances or behave/act mostly as metalheads, sing together with you?

– Well, it can be a mix of the two. In fact sometimes I am on stage looking at the hardest looking metal dude – dancing away like a crazy person, it makes me laugh – I love it.

– Will you have the opportunity to see Minsk, walk around the city?

– I really hope so – it is a great city and I know a lot about it so would really like to walk around and see it for myself, however these things are always in the hands of our tour managers.

– Cruachan has been playing folk-metal a long time. Has your attitude to this style changed? Haven’t you got tired with it? And doesn’t the stylistic belonging prevent to expression yourself constructively?

– Yes – personally I have grown very tired of it, bands today are making it into a joke, that why we felt obliged to do something about it – our last album was that, a message that folk music is not just stupid happy drinking songs all the time, folk music is also very sad especially coming from Ireland where our country has been through so much hardship and suffering. Drinking songs have their palce and can be enjoyable but there is a lot more to folk music than that.

– And what other kinds of music do you like, of course if there is time and wish for listening to something after tours?

– I like music – in all its forms. Sometimes people have a problem with that, they think a metal head shuld only like metal – well, not me. I can easily listen to opera one minute and the next put a black metal cd on, no problem – I listen to what I want to listen to, not what people think I should listen to.

– Are your national costumes just an element of the show and tribute to tradition or the way to set energy relationship with ancestors and to pass it on through music? Is it comfortable to perform in such costumes?

– They are more “fantasy” versions of traditional Irish warrior costumes and help us portay the music much better. We feel it is better to wear these than t-shirts and jeans. YES – they can be very uncomfortable sometimes haha but worth it we think.

– You have recently searched for the second guitarist for the band. What demands, besides the formal ones stated on the site, does Cruachan make to potential participants and specifically to the guitarist?

– Well, we have now found our second guitarist – Kieran Ball. We were looking for someone that can play but also will fit in with the cruachan brain. Having rehearsed with Kieran we now realise we should have had a second guitarist for a long time, all our songs have many guitar tracks and we could never pull that off live. Unfortunately he will not be able to join us on this tour, this will be our last time playing with just one live guitar.

– Besides electric guitars Cruachan uses many other strings (mandolin, bouzouki, banjo, violin) and less wind (whistle and flute). Many people probably expect to hear bagpipes at your concerts. Why don’t you use it?

– We have used traditional irish pipes on albums but they were played by guests. This type of pipe is called uilleann pipes and are very difficult to play, it takes 7 years to lean them and another 7 to master them – so the old saying goes. We can barely play our normal instruments as it is, haha.

– What instruments prevail in the sound of Cruachan in your opinion?

– The main instruments are obviously the metal stuff then violin and tin-whistle.

– Could you tell more about the other exotic for metal music instruments which you use in the studio and at the concerts. Which of them has become a discovery for you?

– We have used a lot of instruments over the years and to be honest, right now I cannot remember all of them. On future albums I would like to use a lot more orchestral instruments to help create epic feelings in our music.

– By the way, isn’t it difficult to balance the sound of acoustic and electric instruments and drums? Could you share a secret how do you do it?

– It can be very difficult, especially when you get down to what instruments sound occupy what frequency and where the clashes are when they are in the same range etc. We have worked with lots of producers over the years and have picked up a lot of tips and tricks to help make out sound work, both live and on album.

– We have heard that your are perform also as a DJ. What kind of records do you play? Is it any club version of Irish folk music?

– I occasionally do guest DJ spots in metal bars and clubs in Dublin – its great fun but nothing too serious.

– Would you like to use opportunity and say something to your Belarusian fans?

– Looking forward to playing for you guys – lets make it a night to remember!