1. Hi Dries, welcome on Unholy Black Metal and thanks for taking the time for talking to us. The first question I have for you regards Saille’s latest work, Eldritch, it’s been out for a while now and I’d like to know what kind of feedback you have received from both public and critics.
We were very well received! But then, all of our albums have actually scored positive reviews, an average 8 out of 10 … Not that we keep a record, we don’t really care about getting reviews, we just collect them and try to understand what an average audience might think about our work.
2. I suppose for you it’s more about being aware of having done a good job …
Absolutely. We were confident of that before the album came out, we are satisfied with it and with how it was received. There has been more interaction about this album, more people got interested, and we’re happy with that. The fan base is growing, more people are getting to know us, and that’s awesome.
3. I’m curious about the title – Eldritch. It’s an unusual word and I know it means “eerie, ghostly”, and I think that attains, in a way, to your music.
It’s just perfect to describe it. We prefer to use short, meaningful words for our titles. When our singer Dennie, who also writes the lyrics, came up with it, at first we were doubtful, because we knew other bands had already used it in different contexts. But then, come to think of it, it is perfect to express the eeriness and the horror that’s behind our songs and storytelling, so that was definitely the right choice.
4. As we are dwelling the topic, give me also an insight of the word “Saille”: it’s an ancient Irish word for “Willow”, right?
Yes! I came up with it when I started this project, at the time it was not a band, it was just me writing some songs, and when I started looking for a name, I knew I wanted something of that kind. I’ve always had a thing about trees and I wanted something that reminded symbols carved in woods and stones in the ancient Ogham alphabet. “Saille” is the fourth letter of it, stands for the letter S and it means, as you said, “Willow”.
5. You pointed out a thing that I’ve been meaning to ask you, that this was originally your solo project. When and how did Saille evolve into a session band first and later into a “real”, touring band?
Well, I had these songs ready and I wanted to play them, so I asked Jonathan (Vanderwal, the band’s guitarist ndr), whom I had known for a long time and was already a good friend of mine, to play the guitar on them. We liked how the tracks sounded and we wanted them recorded, so we had recording sessions in the studio of Reinier Schenk, who later became our second guitarist, and he told us, “I think you should take these onstage”. And here we are, five years later, touring and making more live shows than ever, it all was very natural in a way.
6. And you also have a new bassist, right?
Yes! Kristoff is a wonderful bassist, you’ll see him performing tonight. It’s the first album he plays with us, but he has already merged very well with the rest of the bands.
7. Maybe it’s just my impression, but, as I have both your latest albums, I noticed a more direct approach to the songs and their execution on this one…
No, that’s correct. That’s because the songwriting process was different this time, and we started creating the songs basing on the guitar riffing, which obviously gives a more straightforward and powerful feel to the tracks. For the first album, it was just me and the songs were based on my keyboard parts, the second album was more of a collaboration, but this time we decided to try a different approach. I can say that at least six or seven of the tracks on the album have been written starting from the guitar and later adding the symphonic part on, which is probably a more metal-oriented process than the other way around. Many people have noticed this different approach. As you’re Italian, we realized that we received more positive reviews for Eldritch from the Italian metal press, which probably means you love the in-your-face, guitar-based way!
8. I think you’ll find all kinds of audience in Italy, and all of them equally insane! But the most interesting part of your work are probably the lyrics, which this time are all inspired by renowned horror books and stories, can you spend a few words on them?
I don’t know them all by heart, to tell you the truth, because Dennie is the real book freak amongst us, he did a thorough job of research and picked out a great variety of stories that goes from Goethe’s Faust to Stephen King’s masterpiece “It”, to the world of comics and less famous works. In the booklet of Eldritch, he placed the lyrics of the song opposite to the original piece of the author that had inspired him, so you can see a nice contrast between the original work and the interpretation Dennie gave on it when writing the lyrics. Of course we had to contact every author or its representatives and reach an agreement for using their words in our songs.
9. It’s nice to see such variety, as in the past you’ve been labeled as a mainly “Lovecraftian” band …
Yes, and we precisely wanted to avoid that. Dennie wanted to stay away from the stereotype of Lovecraft, so yes, there are a couple of songs about the Lovecraft world, because he’s certainly an author you have to confront with in the world of horror fiction, but there is much more apart from Lovecraft, more actual authors or more unknown stories, and we thought we would try to explore as much as possible.
10. I loved the artwork for the new album, who made it?
We worked with a different artist for Eldritch, it was Colin Marks. We have worked very well with other artists in the past, but this time we didn’t really have a precise idea, just a concept. We gave him the concept, and two weeks ago he came up with this wonderful work that we liked very much, and he explained us as a destroyed library, very coherent also with the idea behind the tracklist. And apart from the concept, I like the fact that you can see a natural progression in the cover arts of Saille albums, all very simple, with a basic landscape and a predominant colour.
11. Any plans for a new video?
We are working on two videos right now, unfortunately there’s not much I can tell you because it’s gonna be something really special and surprising! Of course, you have to do something unpredictable if you wanna reach out new fans.
12. OK, Dries, so you started the promotion for Eldritch with a release party with Wintherfylleth, I guess you’re planning to keep on promoting the album for the next year?
At the moment, I’m soon going to be a father for the second time, so I will be missing some shows for a good reason! Apart from that, of course we are planning to tour as much as possible and bring out our music to people, that’s what we like to do at the moment.
Interview by Arianna