Graceful. Seductive. Grandiose. Heavy. These four adjectives describe Eleine and their take on symphonic metal just perfectly. Hailing from Sweden, Eleine was formed by alternative model/vocalist Madeleine Liljestam and guitarist Rikard Ekberg in 2012. Eleine’s self-titled debut came in 2015, followed by “Until The End”, the ambitious record that enthralled not only our team but music enthusiasts all around the world, the masterpiece voted the best album of 2018 at Metal Goddesses Awards. We took the opportunity to celebrate Eleine’s win and had a nice chat with Madeleine and Rikard right before they entered a studio to work on some new epic tunes. We talked about their past but most importantly, the future. What’s in store for Eleine for the rest of 2019? Find out in our exclusive interview with Madeleine and Rikard.
MG: Last year, we launched our first awards and you guys won the best album category with “Until The End”. Congrats on that! How does it feel to be voted the best album title by your fans? I mean, you were running against much better-known bands and you just left them behind and won.
Madeleine: Thank you!
Rikard: Thank you! It’s unreal! We’re very happy that our fans really do listen to what we write and what we want to tell people with our songs. So it makes us really happy, and it’s a great honour.
MG: I can see that you have a really strong bond with your fans. You’re always interacting with them through social media, but also after your shows, you’re doing free meet and greets all the time. What’s your opinion on VIP tickets and paid meet and greets? Because those are becoming more and more popular with bands and fans. How do you feel about it?
Rikard: Well, I feel fine about it. We’re at the moment or… the place with our band where we actually can do it for free now. Later, it will be not as possible because… if we are at a show and there’s like, let’s say, 20 000 people, that’s a giant show. We can’t have a free meet and greet where like 10 000 people want to meet us. It’s impossible.
Madeleine: Yeah, and we all have to respect the venues. They can’t stay open for many many hours just because of meet and greet. Last year, we did a show in a gothic church in our hometown, and that was super great. That was such a great experience, it was beautiful, and we announced a free meet and greet since it was a free show. We thought that maybe an hour would be enough, but when we entered the church, it was a full house. It was sold out, and the meet and greet took over two hours. It was fun, but it was just a lot for everyone involved, including our beautiful fans!
Rikard: I mean 450 people took two hours, so I fully understand the bands that have paid meet and greets. Also, a lot of our fans are great, you know, but some people are creeps. And the creeps don’t really tend to pay. So if you have a paid meet and greet, it’s like the extra security.
Madeleine: When you pay for VIP tickets and meet and greet, I know that almost everyone also offers some merchandise, sometimes exclusive ones too.
Rikard: Yeah, many do.
Madeleine: And I like that.
Rikard: So, we’re gonna have paid meet and greets in the future but right now, it’s free.
MG: You mentioned the show in a church in your home village. How was that? Playing in such an unusual place for a metal band, but also in front of all those people you know.
Madeleine: Yeah, it was different because like everything from the sound to the stage was very different. But it was a lot of fun. It was so monumental, to enter this huge church and… it was something special. It’s hard to describe, but I would like to do it again. I think we all do.
Rikard: It was a fun experience. Performing our home village and this great gothic church was super awesome.
MG: I have watched some videos of the show on Youtube, and it looked really cool. The inside of the church and you playing there…
Rikard: Thank you! It’s a huge church, and it’s not often used for stuff like that, so this was really rare and special.
MG: I mentioned that you’re connected with your fans through social media, and I think you’re doing such a really good job with online promotion of the band. Who’s in charge of that?
Madeleine: Well, I do most part of it.
Rikard: Madeleine is in charge of it.
Madeleine: Yeah, ok, I’m in charge. [laugh]
Rikard: I help out.
Madeleine: Rikard helps me out with taking photos and some videos, and when we’re at our shows, we have our band manager, Christian Hallworth. He’s running around, taking some photos, during soundchecks and when he has time… I really appreciate that.
MG: So, do you think that this online promotion helped your band a lot with reaching new fans?
Madeleine: Yeah, of course. It’s a great way to stay in touch with everyone. Of course, you can’t be there like all the time, every hour of every day, but I do as much as I can, because it just gives a lot of great energy back. You’re doing this, having a band, fighting for it, and it’s like fuel from the fans. I like to stay in touch [with our fans] as much as we can because they’re so beautiful.
MG: You went through some line-up changes not that long ago. What happened? Is all stable now?
Rikard: It was always stable, but we weren’t working towards the same goals with former members. So we had to cut those wires, and now we have new members: Jesper and Anton.
Madeleine: And it’s very stable.
MG: Good to hear that.
Madeleine: They’re very great guys, and they’re very talented. It already feels like they’ve been with us for a long time. A natural fit.
MG: You’re doing another special event in October: An evening with Eleine (#AnEveningWithEleine on social media). Can you tell me more about it? What have you planned for your fans? I think you’re playing in a theatre this time.
Rikard: Are you talking about our very big show in Stockholm? Yeah, October 5th! Get your tickets now!
Rikard: Yeah, it’s a huge gig for us, because it’s going to be our longest set to date, and it’s gonna be full of surprises, and just a great show at a great venue.
MG: So, you’re excited about it.
Madeleine: Oh, yeah! We’re very excited.
MG: Can’t wait to see some footage from the show. Hopefully, you’ll post as much as possible on your Instagram.
Madeleine: Yes, we will do as good as we can, and we have photographers for it, so it’s gonna be awesome.
Rikard: Maybe we will play some new tracks, who knows?
MG: Since you’re mentioning new songs… It may be a little soon to talk about a new album since “Until The End” was released only a year ago, but are you already working on new music?
Rikard: Yeah, as an artist and musician, you’re always writing music. It’s hard to stop it. But we’re actually planning to not release a full album this year because that would be crazy. We’re going to release an EP this year.
MG: That’s cool! Well, speaking of new music. I have to say you have a truly unique sound for a symphonic metal band. There are thousands of these nowadays, and you just stand out. And I’m not speaking only about your music, but the way you present yourselves and your live performances as well. Where do your ideas and inspiration come from?
Rikard: Well, that’s a tough one to answer. We don’t really think about it, we don’t have a strategy to stand out. We write what’s in our hearts, and what we believe is an important thing to tell people.
Madeleine: We get inspiration from life itself, everything you experience, everything you see, and somehow, I think that we just put it all together. And if our gut says this is the music we should write, we do it.
Rikard: We write a lot about religion, politics, mental illnesses and stuff like that. So, it’s great to hear that it stands out and you find that unique. It’s very flattering to hear.
Madeleine: We always say that when we write music or take photos or whatever, we wanna do what feels right for us, what we want to say to everyone. We don’t have a meeting, sitting down and saying: “Alright, what do people wanna hear?”. Because everyone can do that, everyone can say that. Or: “Now there’s a trend, let’s do that.”, and just go along. We don’t wanna do that. We wanna be true artists, doing what we wanna do. And if people like it, that’s great. I’m very happy to hear that.
Rikard: And the growing support that we get – that’s amazing! Because every time we write something new, we’re like: “Maybe people are going to hate this.” It’s true, we’ve actually said that every release we’ve done. So, it’s so very flattering, and we’re so grateful for all of this support that we keep getting from fans.
MG: Now, I’d like to go back to your live shows. Madeleine, you’re not only singing but also dancing during the shows. How hard is it for you to combine both?
Madeleine: When we started, I had this idea, and it was only because it felt great when I tried it out. I don’t wanna say that I do any really extreme or advanced dancing while on stage, but I do whatever feels good at the moment. I had some choreography, of course – the wings, it takes strength, but it’s not that difficult. You gotta stay in shape to keep up because you need to sing well while moving around. And that’s for everyone, not only for dancing… Look at Alissa from Arch Enemy. She’s running around, jumping, and she sings so well while doing it. So it’s not difficult at all combining it, it just feels natural.
MG: So it’s more about the freedom, and the moment and improvisation for you.
Rikard: We always try to be in the moment when we perform. That’s where true joy comes from.
MG: I’ve got another question for Madeleine. I know that you participated in the TV show The Voice of Sweden. How was that experience?
Madeleine: It was a great experience. I learned a lot about TV production, which is always good to know about, but most important of all, I got some great networking done, and I found a great friend in Christian [Eriksson, formerly Hedgren]. He was the former singer of Twilight Force, and now he has a new band called Northtale, and he was such a great metal friend to have in this show. And it was fun. I don’t really like to compete [laugh], but it was a great experience.
MG: So you decided to participate in the show by yourself? Because I did an interview with Diva Satanica (Bloodhunter, Outreach) like a month ago, and she said she was actually contacted by someone from the show and asked to participate because of her growls.
Madeleine: I don’t remember… I’m actually thinking about it right now… [laugh]. No wait, I think it was my dad that recommended me to them! [laugh] However, The Voice was a great experience.
Rikard: But it wasn’t the starting point for Eleine.
Madeleine: No, it wasn’t. What year was that? 2012? We’ve been active since 2014 but the name was founded in 2012, and we started to figure out what it was supposed to be about.
MG: I guess it was 2012.
Madeleine: Wow, seven years ago! Can you imagine? [laugh]
MG: Time flies… Okay, moving on… If I’m not wrong, you’re both vegans. What does that mean to you? Why did you decide to go vegan?
Rikard: Right now in our lives, our morals and our actions are on the same track. I’ve always walked around, even when I was young, saying I love animals. Then when you think about it, you love animals and you’re eating animals. It doesn’t add up in my head at all. So we aligned our morals with our actions.
Madeleine: Same for me.
MG: Last question. What about touring? Are you working on more dates outside of Sweden?
Rikard: We are working on it, nothing is set yet.
Madeleine: We have one show outside of Sweden announced this year.
Rikard: We’re headlining at the Backyard festival in Germany, Greven.
Madeleine: Greven… I’ve never been there, so it’s gonna be fun.
MG: Alright, and that’s it. Do you have any message for your fans and our readers?
Madeleine: As always, we thank you so much for listening to our music and being the best fans a band could ever ask for. We really appreciate everything. Continue following us, and we’ll stay in touch.
Rikard: Spread love, be kind and listen to Eleine.
Madeleine: As simple as that. [laugh]
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