Interview with Madeleine Liljestam, the voice of Eleine

A conversation about the new release from a Swedish heavy dark symphonic metal band

Artist: Eleine

Origin: Landskrona, Schweden

Genre: Symphonic Metal

Label: Black Lodge / Rough Trade

Links: https://www.facebook.com/eleineofficial
https://www.eleine.com/

Bandmembers:

Gesang – Madeleine „Eleine“ Liljestam
Gitarre, Growl & Gesang – Rikard Ekberg
Bass – Anton Helgesson
Schlagzeug – Jesper Sunnhagen
Live Session Gitarrist – Jay Matharu

Eleine is a heavy dark symphonic metal band, already having their own rights in their home-country Sweden. It was founded by the singer Madeleine Liljestam and the guitarist Rikard Ekberg in 2014. Their self-titled debut album was released in the following year. Their career took a new turn when they toured Europe with Moonspell in 2016. In February 2018 their second album Until The End even climbed to number one in the Swedish charts in the week of release. Now, with Dancing In Hell (click for review), the bands‘ third album will follow.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Hello Eleine,
first of all thank you for your time. First and most important point at the beginning. Hopefully nobody has any problems with the virus and you are all fine?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Thank you so much for being so thoughtful! We’re all doing alright and we’ve been healthy and fine all along 🙂

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Your tour with Myrath was canceled after the concert in Leipzig in March due to the corona pandemic. So a few days later I missed the live experience in Hamburg. Will the canceled tour be continued at some point or are you planning your own tour?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
I’m so sorry to hear that you missed it. It was rough in so many ways. I mean, the 3 weeks we had were a HUGE success for Eleine. They really were. I am so glad we got those three weeks and I know the fans are as well. We live on those memories still and will for a while I’m sure.

I have no idea what the thought is about that tour. It was Myrath’s tour and we were main support so it’s all up to them. Eleine will either way tour Europe in other forms as soon as it is possible, so we will be back!

Time For Metal / Norbert:
How do you perceive the success that you have now gained in Europe? Aren’t the booked halls and clubs currently much too small?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
We’re very grateful for the enormous reception our new album Dancing In Hell has gotten. We are really proud of seeing our Eleine Legion grow the way it does. And regarding the halls and clubs, it’s all about the energy from the crowd!

Time For Metal / Norbert:
I became aware of you when you covered the Rammstein song Mein Herz Brennt a year ago. Was that your first „official“ cover? How did you come up with this idea?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
That was our first official cover, that is correct. We were planning the EP All Shall Burn, and when doing EPs you have more of a wiggle room when it comes to what you can put on it. We embraced that opportunity and decided we wanted to both make a small tip of the hat to one of our inspirations, Rammstein, at the same time as Mein Herz Brennt really did fit the EP. We knew it was a huge thing to go for a Rammstein cover, and we did it with the biggest respect. I’m really proud of the result, and it warms my heart that it has become so popular. Did you know that Rammstein has their own official cover playlist on Spotify named “Rammstein by others”? Only like 20 tracks, and we’re one of them. That feels great!

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Did you have a connection to the German language before or did it only come through the song? Can any of you speak German?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Yes, Rikard has German heritage and can speak some German. He often says he understands it better than he speaks it though haha. Me personally, I am very interested in the German language and the country itself. I just love being there, I really enjoy Germany and want to spend so much more time there.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
But first of all, about your past. In which projects / bands did you play in the past? Do your roots come from other genres? Would you like to introduce the band first?

Eleine Promo Bandpic 2020

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
None actually. Eleine was my first real band and has been my main focus throughout my adulthood. My roots is from many places when it comes to music, but metal in general is the main alongside with film music scores.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Are you now a “professional musician” or do you still secure yourself with other jobs?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Both Rikard and I have been full-time musicians since 2014, of which I am deeply grateful for. It was such a big punch in the face for all full-time musicians when the pandemic broke out and still is very, very hard. I don’t know what we would have done without our Patreon and our lovely patrons who is so supportive in so many ways.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
How did your modeling career come about, Madeleine? You don’t come across a title page by chance.

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
It started with me needing a couple of photos of myself as a musician in about 2010 I think. I collaborated with a great photographer and I pretty quickly learned a lot. But what kept me going was the inspiration it gave me. When I write music I see a lot in film clips, pictures.. a lot of visuals. And I can get inspired by music to make a photo shoot but also the other way around.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Your stage outfit is often daring, in any case always furious. Do you make them up yourself or who makes them?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
I collaborate with different designers but often have an idea of the outfit myself of how I want it. The challenging part is to make someone else understand what it is since I can’t draw very well, but so far it’s almost been a 100% most of the times. 🙂

Time For Metal / Norbert:
You founded your own label and entered into a cooperation. Does that have any effect on the new album?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Creative control is something that is very important to us, and that will never change. We founded our own label in 2017 to re-release our debut album and then also release our second full-length album Until The End collaborating with the distribution company Sound Pollution Distribution. So that has nothing to do with either the EP All Shall Burn or our new 3rd full-length album Dancing In Hell. Both of which were released by Black Lodge Records.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
For a small band you have an incredibly elaborate and artistically high-quality cover on your album. Who is the artist and how did it come about?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Thank you! I came up with the basic idea early in 2020. We always want the artwork to be an extension of the album. There’s many details and stories in the artwork itself. It’s not only there “just because”. I would hate myself if I did that. It’s art. It says something, just like the songs themselves.

So this artwork idea was an idea I got in early 2020, evolved that idea with Rikard, and then I contacted Nestor Avalos once again since we were so happy with the artwork for the EP he helped us out with. And Nestor took the idea and brought it to life and after some small adjustments it was complete. I am SO proud and satisfied with that artwork. It says it all.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
What do you think of the current live streams that are on everyone’s lips? Isn’t a ghost concert an option for you to show your fans “Yes, this is the new record and we can do it”? There are hardly any live recordings around on the net anyway, even though you offer a great, lavish show.

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
It’s not for us. It will never be the same without an audience. I think live stream from like Wacken Open Air and similar can be cool because there’s an energized audience as well. And I am really curious about the live stream virtual reality thing Nightwish recently announced that they will have in March 2021! But that’s a version of live stream that’s not possible for a band our size, but still – can’t wait to hear more about it. Sounds very cool!

We’ve focused in hosting more live Q&A’s at our Facebook instead and will have more, including on Instagram. It’s fun to interact. We don’t only want to perform, we love to interact with the fans and that’s something you also do from stage. So that part is very important to us. So I’m glad we have internet, so we at least can do that, now when live shows aren’t allowed.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Do you finance your music with the live performances, the merch or now also the new CD or does something get stuck there? Travel, equipment, marketing – these are also major cost factors.

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Basically nowadays, yes. And yes, these are sometimes astronomical cost factors.

Time For Metal / Norbert:
You opened for Moonspell and Arch Enemy and played big festivals. Who or which band would you like to support on a longer tour or do you have your own bigger goals?

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
There are many! Too many haha! We would love to make a longer tour with Arch Enemy. Making longer tours with bands like Rotting Christ, Sabaton etc as well. I’m sure it would be awesome, fun and a great success. There are SO many bands we could see us touring with and I hope we can get to do that, soon. When the world can open up for live music again!

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Last but not least, of course, the question about what I didn’t ask, but you definitely want to tell our readers.

Eleine / Madeleine Liljestam:
Our fans is everything. Without you nothing would be possible. Patreon has literally saved us in so many ways during this pandemic. Financially – yes. Mentally – HELL YES. Our patrons help us to stay focused on doing what we do best, being creative. We are deeply grateful for that.

And we are so damn grateful for ALL fans in the Eleine Legion that allows themselves to get empowered by our music, and stay true to themselves and what they believe in. We are proud of you all, and we can’t wait to be back on the road to meet you!

Time For Metal / Norbert:
Thanks again for the time you took to present yourselves in my questions. We wish you all the best and I hope to finally see you at a concert. Somewhere between Hamburg or the south of Denmark.

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