Singer Melanie Mau and guitarist Martin Schnella have been known as a duo since 2015, especially for their inventive acoustic versions of famous rock and prog songs. "Invoke The Ghosts" is now their second work with original songs. An independent concept with strong songs has come out.
eclipsed: With your second album of original songs, you've really stepped it up a notch. How did you approach "Invoke The Ghosts" and how did you come to the album title?
Martin Schnella: By now we are a well-rehearsed team as far as songwriting is concerned. We bring our ideas together and let them grow into songs. Either they develop from guitar riffs, melodies or a lyrical basis. Then one meshes with the other, and over time the arrangements mature. We came up with the album title later, when all the songs were finished. Many of them are about legends and ghosts. The title "Summoning the Spirits" just fit into the concept.
eclipsed: That's right. On the one hand it's about legends, history or even ghost stories from movies. This is also well reflected in the cover. What made you decide to write a piece about the terrible "Babadook"? And what is behind "The Beast Is Lurking", "Of Witches And A Pure Heart" and "Red Beard"? You have also dedicated yourselves to Queen Elizabeth I. What fascinates you about her?
Schnella: On our first album "The Oblivion Tales" we already wrote about sagas from our home, the Harz, in 2017. This was well received by our fans and we were often asked if we would continue this. That's how we came up with "Of Witches And A Pure Heart", for example, which is about the legend of the Ilse Valley in the Harz. "Red Beard" tells the story of King Barbarossa, whose monument stands in the Kyffhäuser Mountains. "Just a Game" is inspired by the horror thriller "The Babadook." However, it is not so much a typical horror film, because the story is about depression, for which the Babadook is symbolic. The film is highly recommended. The song "The Beast Is Lurking" is about the struggle to do the right thing and be a good person. There is also some evil in each of us. The question is what it takes to bring it to the surface.
eclipsed: You have also dedicated your work to Queen Elizabeth I. What fascinates you about her?
Melanie Mau: The history of the Tudors and Queen Elizabeth I is about intrigue, power, passion and also female empowerment, for which there are endless myths about the virgin queen. It is fascinating that a woman at that time stood up against all social norms and the world of men!
eclipsed: In contrast, there are songs that are set in the real present: "A Silent Scream" is about war, expulsion and subsequent flight across the sea, and "Where's My Name" is about the fate of women in the Middle East without their own identity. What made you decide to do this?
Schnella: The album has different facets musically, and of course that also affects the song lyrics. Melanie lets herself be inspired by the music and the melodies. Images and emotions emerge, and she begins to write. It is incredibly sad that so many people leave their lives in the Mediterranean Sea, and the world is watching. Through the hashtag #wheresmyname we became aware of the problems of women in the Middle East and want to give them a voice and support them. But of course we are aware that writing a song about it is just a drop in the bucket.
eclipsed: Musically you speak of "Acoustic Metal". In fact, you still step on the gas in many songs, so that the designation is justified in the case of "The Beast Is Lurking". Other songs with bagpipes and Celtic instruments are clearly folk rock, even if acoustic. How do you see your acoustic approach? Do you stick to it puristically, is that what sets you apart? Do you not like to play the electric so much, Martin? A few electric guitars are also present in the background this time ..
Mau: In the end, a direct genre doesn't play a role at all. It is also difficult to name our style uniformly. At the core, we make acoustic music inspired by our different musical preferences. The idea to elicit some heavier tones and riffs from the acoustic guitar certainly came from our metal acoustic covers - one of our passions. We love Irish and folky sounds. An album without our friend and guest musician Jens Kommnick, who plays the uilleann pipes and whistles, would be unthinkable for us. His melodies have a magic that hits right to the heart.
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