Roibéard Ó Bogail – Vocals, Piano, Whistle
Gerry Clince – Guitar
Anthony Lindsay – Guitar
Dave Murphy – Bass
Shane Cahill – Drums
Thanks for the interest in the band. We have been going in some shape or form since 1998. Since then we have recorded four e.p.s (“The Path To Insanity” in 1999, “The Inferno Spreads” in 2000, “Caoineadh Na nGael” in 2003, “Cluain Tarbh” E.P. in 2004 along with a split 7″ with Primordial (“Cluain Tarbh”, 2005) and three albums: “Cluain Tarbh” in 2005, “Gealtacht Mael Mórdha” in 2007 and “Manannán” in 2010. The band line-up became stable after “Caoineadh na nGael” was released with the final line-up cemented after “Cluain Tarbh” was released.
Mael Mórdha released the new album on May, how do you describe it? What are the differences with the past?
This was the first album that we wrote from scratch that had no older songs included (unlike the previous two albums) Our writing process is quite different now ( i.e. all the songs are guitar based) and I think sound a little different, particularly to the earlier ones. Also we used a new engineer, Anders Bomberg, who recorded us playing all the songs live in an attempt to capture the atmosphere we have when we play concerts (something not really done anymore). The lead guitar lines, vocals and whistles were overdubbed afterwards. I would expect that we will do something similar the next time around too. Try and learn from our mistakes and make it a bit better.
“Gaelic Doom Metal”, this is your genre, Are there any historical gaelic sources from which you usually draw?
Many people in the “metal scene” have this terrible habit of defining genres and sub genres by the lyrical content of a song. Metal is a style of music, therefore it is not possible to define a form of music by its lyrics. If you remove the lyrics from music, the music is still there whereas if you remove the music you are left with just words. Our music is influenced by early nineties northern English Doom/Death metal and by the old Gaelic music which has been preserved by our Sean Nós singing but also by folklorists and musicologists from the last three hundred years, or more specifically the Laments and Elegies from that music. That tends to influence the whistle and singing parts mainly but also bleeds into the general feel of the music too.
Are there any Irish musicians you feel you are influenced by?
Me personally, probably Seamus Ennis and the earlier Chieftains stuff but as we would have been sub-conciously been exposed to Irish music since birth there are too many random influences from here which have influenced us to even try and list.
“Manannan” is an epic album, this work for me is your Bathory’s “Hammerheart” with a dose of folk, how was your passion for the genre born? And how did you develop the sound that makes you recognizable?
The whole reason the band started was because of My Dying Bride. That was what I had fallen in love with while at the same time I was surrounded by various aspects of Irish music and my main instrument was the piano. Mix all those things together along with my limited musical ability and you’ve got the origins of the band’s music. In other words, that was all I could play at the time. I like to think we have grown a bit since then, as the current members of the band joined, bringing each of their unique styles to Mael Mórdha. If the line-up of the band changed again then so too would the sound but there is no sign of that happening so ye can relax !
“The Doom Of The Races Of Éire”, “Through The Lungs Of The Dead” and “”Our Ancestors Dwell Here” are the best tracks for representing the various moods of this album, How was the songwriting process?
It’s very much a communal effort. Usually either Gerry, Anthony or Dave come in with a riff or series of riffs which the rest of us then start developing. That’s pretty much it. There is no standard formula. What comes out comes out and, once we are happy with it, it gets played to death and then we record it as part of a new album.
Who composed the music and who wrote the lyrics?
The lyrics are mine but the music is a band effort.
The relationship with your roots is something really intimate, in a world that tries to globalize the risk of losing national identity is always around the corner.What advice do you give about this problem?
Trying to understand what national identity is is almost impossible and so I think is largely irrelevant.
However remembering your dead, and things that they did, and looking after the place that you are living in I think are the most important things any of us can do. If we did that, then the “small man” and all of our unique little cultures would survive and continue to grow in their own way at their own pace.
Culture is not some static thing that does not change. It has always been in a state of flux. But it has changed gradually by and large.When a culture is subject to a dramatic upheaval, whether it be due to an invasion or a natural disaster it threatens its existance. What is happening in the world over the last fifty years is a complete upheaval of the fabric of the world and could be looked on as an invasion of sorts.
Still, it happened before, be it British Empire or Roman Empire or American Empire or Chinese. They all rose and they all fell. Everything has its cycle.
Mael Mórdha and Mourning Beloveth are certainly the most important bands of the Irish doom scene, are there other acts that are moving and that you advise us to listen?
Doom Bands in Ireland that you should check out would be Thy Sinister Bloom, Decayor, Wreck of the Hesperes.
Did you plan to make a tour to support the album?
Nothing has been confirmed as of yet. We have some individual shows confirmed alright in Dublin in September, Doom Over Vienna in November and Eindhoven Metal Meeting in December but there are many other things in the pipeline which we will be announcing over the coming months so keep checking our website for news as it happens
What kind of relation do you have with your supporters? Do you abitually use the social networks for public relations and contacts with the fans?
At the risk of sounding like rockstars, it is becoming more difficult to communicate with people now that the band is getting more popular. We all go on myspace and facebook from time-to-time and answer questions when we can. I won’t say the band wouldn’t exist without fans but no-one would ever have heard of us without ye/them and it’s not so enjoyable playing a concert to an empty hall is it ? In other words our fans are very important to us so we do our best to make sure anyone who turns up to our concerts gets their money’s worth.
How are Mael Mórdha on stage? Do you have other components besides the music for creating a show?
We have been known to be a little energetic on-stage alright. It’s really great when everyone, audience and band are enjoying themselves as we feed off the crowd’s energy and then they in turn feed off of ours so it’s like a renewable energy – it’ll never run out as long as both audience and band are out to enjoy themselves.
Can you tell us the best things that happened you on-stage? Do you have a live performance you would like to repeat?
The best things that happen on stage is firstly when everyone in the band has played, and know they have played well, with a great on-stage and off-stage sound with a packed house full of people feeding of each other’s adrenaline as well as the band’s. It is very hard to beat that feeling. It doesn’t happen at every concert as it’s very easy for any of the aforementioned to go wrong. Some of the memorable times when it went right was at Bloodstock Indoors Festival in England a few years ago or the last time we played in Greece (in Athens) or at Heathen Crusade II in the U.S.
Tell me a personal regret in your career or just something you wanted to develop or otherwise?
I wish I knew fifteen years ago what I know now. And that we had got signed ages ago and that we were bigger than Metallica.
Will we ever see you live in Italy?
Yes ! But when I cannot say just yet
Thanks for the time you spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
Hope ye enjoy the new album and stay true to yerselves.
Slán agus Beannacht