Hi Chris and CELLADOR. Your latest album “Off The Grid” was released on March 10th. You must be excited?
It finally happened! Many years in the making and waiting to be released. I’m not sure how many bands have released a sophomore album so much later down the road (11 years), but it feels good to have ‘triumphed out of the abyss’ sort to say. Its such a different era nowadays from the release of our last album, both for myself and music in general. So many more bands, so many new ways to channel out your music. Really it feels like releasing another debut album, and in all actuality that’s how it is for most of the current lineup. We’re very excited but also very humbled with this new release.
First of all, we would like to know about the formation of the band. When and how was it formed? Do you think the band name ‘CELLADOR’ perfectly decribes your music and philosophy?
The band name was a complete spur-of-the-moment decision way way back in the early 2000’s when this “melodic speed metal project” I’ve been pushing for the last almost 15 years was in its early stages. Before that we were working under the name “Apostate”, but never played any shows under that name. I got the name from JRR Tolkien’s writing about the combination of “Cellar” and “Door” being a beautiful combination of words. To me it sounded very fantasy power metal, being Tolkien and all, which at the time was the musical direction I was trying to go in, plus it was a unique word that could be easily found and attributed to the band as opposed to some generic phrase or word combination that a lot of bands use. This was in mid 2004 when we first started playing shows and releasing demo songs under this name.
I formed the band myself by posting musicians wanted ads over and over until finally by 2005 we formed into a relatively stabile lineup and released our first demo EP “Leaving All Behind.” With this EP we gained the attention from Metal Blade Records who quickly turned us from local aspiring metal band to world-renowned group, releasing our first full album “Enter Deception” in 2006. Unfortunately that lineup fizzled within 3 years and after a bit of a hiatus I found myself reforming the band around 2012 with myself taking over vocal duties in addition to my usual guitarwork. We released a new EP “Honor Forth” around this time and have since been active in the regional metal scenes of the Western USA. We began the writing and early recording process for this new album in 2015 and finally, after several failed attempts at label negotiations, secured a new deal with Scarlet Records for the release of this, our long awaited, relevantly titled new full length “Off the Grid.”
Okay now tell us something about “Off The Grid”, and the lyrical themes behind each track. What are the ideas you wanted to put across?
Similar to “Enter Deception”, for the most part the lyrics touch on uplifting subjects such as self-empowerment, personal integrity, introspection, and self-actualization. Two songs, “Swallow Your Pride” and “This Means War” veer a bit on the darker side, the former being about narcisstic self-sabotage and the latter being about personal revenge. The album title “Off the Grid” in particular references to the idea of dissociating yourself from ever-connected technologies like social media. I’m not the most social media savy person myself and feel there are downsides to it and thought it’d be kinda cool to write a song about going off away from it all. It originally started as just the song but we took the idea and used it for the album cover and title.
Where and when did you record “Off The Grid”? Are you satisfied with it?
We tracked the album in Denver, CO both at my personal home studio (most vocals, bass, half the guitars) as well as at our band rehearsal space (drums, half the guitars, some vocals). We took our time with the process, as we were also still rehearsing and actively playing shows. We would usually set aside two days a week to record for the album, and only for a couple hours each of those days, so the entirety of it took a good 6 months or so to finish it all. This was much better in my mind because we were really able to hone in exactly the quality of tracks and composition we wanted, everything down to exact drum fills, exact solos etc. Nothing was final until it was perfected. It was a very stress-free process, and we got exactly what we wanted.
The raw tracks were then shipped off to Peter Rutcho of Damage Studios in Massachusetts to be mixed and mastered. Pete did an absolute fantastic job mixing for us. I was a fan of his work with the bands Vomitron, Havok, Revocation, Armory etc and to top it off he was a big fan of our band and could really see what sound we were trying to get. The back-and-forth process of us giving feedback on his work on the songs was very minimal. He really got the songs sounding exactly how we wanted without us really having to say much. Great guy to have on board.
Are you gonna to release some official band merch?
We have official “Off the Grid” t-shirts selling as we speak. We have matching hats, patches, stickers, most of the usual band merch to go along with it. We are thinking of running a batch of large posters, but thats still to be determined, since they’re a pain to ship. We’re still discussing merch ideas so more items should pop up soon, just depends on how sales continue to perform. We always encourage all buyers of CELLADOR merch to send us their pictures with the merch and albums, as we’re always happy to share them with our fanbase.
What are CELLADOR’s musical and non-musical influences?
Mostly traditional heavy metal styles: thrash, speed, rock, hair, glam, power, retro/NWOBHM, symphonic, some death and black as well. Personally as I’ve gotten older I’m no longer so much the “true metal” purist anymore, and my personal music tastes have greatly expanded into realms of pop (especially 80’s), electronic, and overall rock genres. Our keyboardist Diego I know is very much into symphonic metal as well as film and orchestra music. Nick is probabaly the most “modern metal” of us in the band. Eric is very much a guitar prodigy and thus is into all the crazy soloist guitar players and instrumental guitar music in jazz, country, classical, and metal styles.
Could you please express your personal views on religion and god?
I am an athiest but I don’t push that view on people. I really don’t discuss it at all. We have on several occassions been asked if we’re a Christian band, simply because we have positive lyrics as opposed to the usual dark metal subjects. For these people I usually tell them to refer to the Cellador song “Forever Unbound” which directly questions why people worship gods and religions when they should instead worship themselves.
Shall we expect some gigs across USA or Europe near time?
We are a touring band, and that is the plan. We’re communicating our routing ideas to our agency right at this moment, and will announce dates once we know them. Our new label being European is obviously giving a big push in Europe for this album, as well as in Japan with their partner label, and we are really aiming to make something happen over in these regions. So at this moment I really don’t know where we’re going, but we are trying to make some tours happen soon.
When shall fans to expect something new from you? Videoclip, single, documentary etc?
Very very soon. In fact we just uploaded our “Track by Track” album breakdown video to coincide with the album’s release, so fans can get some personal insight into our thoughts on the songs and how they came to be. As stated in my answer to the first question, this is a brave new world of music distribution these days, and the usual methods of simply putting out an album and touring is simply not enough. We have recognized this and realize the importance of steady video updates and fun ideas for fans to see and possibly interact with. We already have a lyrics video posted for “Shadowfold” the first single off the album. The next single will be a full fledged music video so expect that soon.
Thanks a lot for the interview. Speak out to your fans, supporters, critics and our readers before we wrap up!
Many thanks to Sick and Destroy magazine for the interview. We’re excited to be back in the swing of things worldwide with this new album release! Any fans of speedy melodic metal should give CELLADOR a try, we’re entirely proud of how this album turned out! Check us out on Spotify as well. Cheers and hope to see you all on the road soon!