Interview: Celtic Hills

Today we present to you an interview with Jonathan Vanderbilt, singer and guitarist of Celtic Hills – a band that released with Mystai Keltoy one of the most diverse albums of the year. Have fun reading!

Check out our review.

Hi, Jonathan, thanks for your time. How are you?

Jonathan Vanderbilt: Fine!

There are certainly some readers who don’t know Celtic Hills yet. Please tell us something about your band history.  

We recorded a demo in 2010 and for 10 years I just kept the band name alive by releasing the unreleased tracks from the compilation playing all the parts!

How would you classify yourselves stylistically? And which artists would you describe as your most important sources of inspiration? 

I don’t like to define a specific style. I know everyone wants to understand what genre we play, but there are so many influences that say “Schräge Musik” as the title of the EP is the most appropriate thing. Transversal music, because it contains many influences. The artists who have had influences should be mentioned in chronological order from the 70s to today! Sex Pistols, Ramones, Cure, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Children of Bodom, Dark Tranquility, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Kontrust

The lyrical level plays an important role for you. What topics are you particularly interested in? You seem to be fascinated by Celtic history, that’s obvious…

From all of history, but also from philosophy! The simplest thing is to talk about the things that happen in my life, so I’m talking about the area where I live, telling the story, but also talking about wine and beer! Friuli exports its wine all over the world!   

Your second album Mystai Keltoy was released in April. What are your thoughts on this album? Are you completely satisfied with the final result? 

I am satisfied with the production entrusted to Michele Guaitoli in his recording studio in Udine. Michele has a lot of experience accumulated singing with Vision of Atlantis, Temperance, Era… His advice during the recordings brought out the soul of Celtic Hills.

Which song do you like the most?

“Already lost”! it’s a very fast song in the early Helloween style. Maybe Gamma Ray too. Speed ​​metal is a style that later became Power Metal, but in the beginning Metallica, Helloween, Rage were Speed Metal / Thrash bands.

I really like the sound on Mystai Keltoy. Are you perfectionists in the studio? 

No! For power and impact, we are well the first! The solos are all improvised. The more time you think and think again, the more you lose that primordial energy!

How has the feedback on your last album been so far? And do you often read reviews in general? 

All the reviews have been great! Finally, the mixture of several influences was appreciated without following a precise fashion. We have been called true artists. This is the best compliment we could have received.

Do you generally like festivals? 

I love the atmosphere of festivals! People at festivals listen to more types of bands, love music, socialize and love to have fun! If it were up to me I would only play at festivals.

On our blog we regularly ask artists for their five favourite albums. That’s what I’m doing today, of course: What are your favourites? 

  • The  Walls of Jericho by Helloween
  • Fighting the World by Manowar
  • Hatebreeder by Children of Bodom
  • Twilight of the Thunder God by Amon Amarth
  • Odin by Wizard

Has there been an album released this year that you particularly like? 

Bodom after Midnight, but sadly Alexi is gone!

Last question: Let’s assume time travel would be possible. In which era would you most like to live, at least temporarily? 

In 1800! There was enough scientific knowledge and a great desire to discover the world. The world wars were still far away and there was a fight for freedom (it is the century of revolutions).

Jonathan, thanks again. It was a pleasure for us!

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