Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Brazilian based Epic Symphonic Metal band, Ruins Of Elysium. Huge thanks to vocalist and founding member, Drake Chrisdensen, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

I’m Drake Chrisdensen, the Tenor of Epic Symphonic Metal band Ruins Of Elysium. A Symphonic Metal band, fronted only by an operatic male singer, was something I had wanted to listen to for a long time, as I grew up listening to the iconic female classical singers who shaped the style, like Liv Kristine, Tarja Turunen and Melissa Ferlaak. As there didn’t seem to be any on the scene, I created my own! The idea for Ruins Of Elysium existed since I was a teenager, but it took me years of study and growth to be able to finally bring it to life in 2013.

How did you come up with your band name?

Ruins Of Elysium was a suggestion from a dear friend, he even contributed on two songs of our first album “Daphne”.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re spread around the world haha. I’m based in Brazil, my family is Norwegian and our guitar player, Vincenzo, is Italian. We have collaborated with people all over the world, like from Germany, the USA, and list goes on. Here in Brazil our underground scene took a massive blow when our fascist president was elected, and all kinds of censorship and violence started taking place against artists, especially the ones in the Metal/Rock scene, as we are naturally political and subversive. Those have been really hard times for us.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We will release our new album, “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea”, on Jan 15th 2021! We’re super excited as, in this work, we’ve done something that hasn’t been done before, which is exploring folk metal through different cultures, elements, folklores, and instruments, all in the same album. When we think “Folk Metal” usually Celtic and Scandinavian music come to mind, but we wanted to do it differently! In “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea” you will find songs using Chinese instruments and lyrics, Japanese elements and folklore, Latino elements from the Flamenco music, Brazilian percussions, Indian chants and rhythms and, of course, the good old Celtic vibe.

Who have been your greatest influences?

As I work as a classical singer, and that’s where 90% of my lifelong study is placed, Jonas Kauffmann and Luciano Pavarotti are the most prominent influences. But there are many other Tenors I look up to, like Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Franco Corelli, and Thiago Arancan. Also, my Teacher and soul-father, Sergio Anders. From the Metal and Rock world, the names that are my personal paramount are Liv Kristine, Melissa Ferlaak, Freddie Mercury, Alfred Romero, and Andre Matos.

What first got you into music?

My dad has an amazing music taste. I started listening to rock and metal when I was really young, with Queen, Metallica, and Iron Maiden. I remember listening to the Barcelona album, the one recorded by Freddie and Montserrat Caballe, and falling completely in love with that beautiful work of art. Symphonic Metal is the amalgamation of everything I love music-wise.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I am already having the opportunity to work with one of my all-time Idols, Melissa Ferlaak, on Ruins Of Elysium’s new album. But I want a couple more to complete my checklist haha. Liv Kristine and Alfred Romero to go!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Rock In Rio, no doubt. I know, it’s not Wacken, but it’s my second choice. The thing is: Brazil is in a dire state of political and social chaos. Last Rock In Rio was very important for that reason: we saw many artists of our rock and metal scene making important statements in favour of democracy and social fairness. The girls from Nervosa (our national pride, dare I say) made a beautiful tribute to Marielle Franco, a human-rights activist murdered by the same militia that unfortunately rules the country. Standing proud on that huge stage and being able to make such a statement, such a manifest…that would be a dream coming true.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Do nudes count as gifts? Hahaha

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

We call Ruins Of Elysium’s fans our “Sentinels Of The Starry Skies”, as it is the name of one of our very first songs. Also, they are also our Sentinels in the sense that they watch over us, protect us, and give us strength to carry on. So, thank you, dear Sentinels!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

If I give a part of my own life-force and lifetime, can I bring two back? Because I can’t choose between Freddie Mercury and Andre Matos. And let’s face it, they both have so much more to give to the world than me, I’d gladly sign that contract.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Being able to express my reality, my dreams and fears through my music and my voice is a real blessing. I hate that it doesn’t receive the proper acknowledgement as a job. I mean….we also have to eat and pay our bills.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Songs nowadays seem to be made to be quickly forgotten, and replaced by the next hit. It became quite literally an industry in this sense. I love A-Ha, Elton John, everything Eurodance, I mean, if “Take On Me” plays today everyone will join the dance. And it’s such a chilled and simple song. I don’t know what happened, but people have already forgotten the hits from last year, and this is scary. I thought things were changing in 2011, there were some excellent pop songs that make us go crazy to this day. Metalhead or not, you WILL lose your shit if Britney’s ‘I Wanna Go’, or Rihanna’s ‘Where You Wanna Go’, start playing (or maybe that’s just me? lol), not even mentioning Gaga! I mean, she’s way more metal than most metal bands I know haha. It seems she’s the only one trying to bring some “quality” to pop music right now, as the trend is to be forgotten and replaced.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

It’s not my only favourite, but Leaves’ Eyes “Njord” was a masterclass on Symphonic Metal. That album alone is the very definition of excellence, and a game-changer in the style. Well, for me, at least. After “Njord”, I could really picture what Symphonic Metal really was, and my aim as a metal musician was pretty much settled by that release. I’ve had the opportunity to tell that to Liv Kristine: that album alone shaped what the very best of Symphonic Metal stands for.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Please, Downloads. Physical copies are so expensive to make! We have to pay the company that crafts the CDs, pay the designers, pay for the barcode, pay for the shipping, pay, pay, pay….that is not a problem if you’re signed to a label, but for independent artists this is a nightmare.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

The Garagem Festival, 2015. It was a competition, and we not only won, we received almost 3 times as many votes as the act in second place. I’m not a competitive person at all, but wow…that was…a lot!!! Damn, I miss the stage so much.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Actually, I’m a Lawyer! I graduated Law School in 2013. Now I’m studying Psychology.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

The Power Rangers 😊

What’s next for the band?

The release of our new album “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea”, and a lyric video for the single Atlas. There will also be an EP with some other projects we’ve been involved through 2020 (and 2021).

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Deezer, Youtube. We have official profiles on all those medias, gives a like and a follow 🙂

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

They can be anything they want as long as they are in my mouth lol. The only thing I’m sure they are is: DELICIOUS.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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