Interview with Nele Messerschmidt (Elvellon)

Germany is a country flourishing with metal bands. One of the most promising is definitely Elvellon. We had the pleasure to interview their lead singer, Nele Messerschmidt, who is not only an incredible singer but also a very humble and kind person.


Interview

Hello Nele, how are you doing?
Right now it’s a rough time obviously due to the Covid-19, I think we’re all in the same situation; not only musicians but artists in general, and we’re all kind of suffering. We try to stay positive as always, and we give our best to put out some new music as soon as possible; we’re currently in the writing process for the second album. I have to say I’m brutally honest, and I don’t like this attitude of just being super positive all the time on social media, just smile, because there are really rough days in between. From time to time, it’s getting hard to even get up in the morning and to be like, “Okay, yeah, another day in my musical life where I can’t do what I’m supposed to do; I can’t be creative; where can I get creativity from if I’m not allowed to go outside and experience things?”. Another reason why we stay positive is that we all know that there are still many that are in a very bad state at the moment. Of course, our careers and lives are based on music and live performances, but some people are currently risking their lives in hospitals, and they, in my opinion, don’t get the attention they deserve and they’re not secured as much as they would need to be secured.
Unfortunately, you’re 100% right. We all need to thank the social and the hospital workers who are trying to put us through these awful times. Which event marked the beginning of “Elvellon”?
Well, oh my God, it’s a bit hard to recall all of it, but I can tell you my story of how I got into Elvellon. There were two guys: one of them I met at a birthday party of a friend. That was Maddin, the drummer. At this time, Pascal (our keyboardist) and Maddin already played together some jamming stuff and had the plan to build up a band, but still didn’t really know in what kind of direction they wanted to go. Then he met me and asked, “Well, I heard you can sing… would you like to perform just right now?”. I just performed whatever came to my mind; I think it was “My Immortal” by Evanescence. I don’t know why I picked that song! I have a family that is pretty much into music, and they always preached to me, “If you want to do something out of your talents, you need a band” that immediately came to my mind. He [Maddin] was still amazed by it; I don’t know why. He said, “Yeah, okay, cool, that is amazing, thank you very much, we will call you” and I thought, “Okay, I’m done with that; if he never calls back, I don’t hear anything, it’s okay, I’ve got my life’s I’m still a student at school, I have several other things in my head”. A few days later, he called me and invited me to the first rehearsal. I was absolutely nervous, and it was like a bit of a contest for me. Until that point, I wasn’t really comfortable performing in front of others. Then I got into the rehearsal room, and I immediately felt at home; that was one of the craziest things ever. Later we spent several more rehearsals together. The guys actually surprised me because they never said a word, and they put on their poker faces as if they said: “We don’t know if you’re talented enough, and we don’t know yet, we still look for other singers”. Finally, they regrouped like 2-3 feet away from me and discussed something, and I stood there: “What are they doing? Why don’t they just tell me? What’s up?”. They came up at me saying, “Nele, we’ve got to tell you something. We don’t know if you may like it or not, but… well…. You’re in.” And that was the moment I joined this group. A few years after that, Gilbert joined us, our guitarist, and he is amazing because he’s a sound engineer and plays several instruments; he’s just a pro. He helped us out with many things and how to build out the rehearsal room right so that we all could switch from monitoring to personal monitoring (which is performing or rehearsing within in-ears).
Unbelievable! Returning to the current times, congratulations for signing with Napalm Records. How does it feel to play in the
major’s league?
Thank you! Well, first of all, it feels great. This also feels pretty rewarding, and there’s nothing more we could dream of. Personally, I always tell people, before-hand I had a very close relationship with music and creating music, but the deal was not done. Now it’s like being married with the music; the day we could finally spread the news that we are signed was my wedding day. And it’s just awesome; I’m so happy, I know now the potential is there for us and that we can do everything we want as long as we keep on trying and as long as we overcome every obstacle that is there. Every door seems to be open right now, and we just have to walk through it.
You definitely earned it! From Elvellon’s Instagram stories we can definitely see there’s new music in the
making. Can you tell us what to expect in the future from your band?
That’s a really big question! Of course, I cannot tell you anything about what the new album will be. What I can tell you is that we try to move forward. It’s much different from “Until Dawn”, but it will still be the same style, and you’ll still hear that this is Elvellon, and I think it’s gonna be awesome. I’m just getting goosebumps because I can recall the last rehearsals where we said, “Hell, it’s gonna be awesome”. I think everyone who enjoys the true Elvellon will be satisfied. We all have the greatest ambition never to deliver something below the mark we already set; that’s our definite goal.
I am sure it will be spectacular. Is being a woman in metal more straightforward or challenging?
I’d say there are two sides to it; there’s one darker side and one pretty side. I want to start with the good things because I think women in metal are still something special; there are so many male people in the metal scene, and I feel like it’s pretty rewarding to be a woman in metal. You always get these characteristics; they always think of you that you’re pretty strong and powerful and all that kind of stuff. That really gives me ambitions to release and unleash that fire that’s actually burning inside of me. It’s a pretty great thing, and I love it. Although the darker side, I would say, is that many people, in general, don’t really understand what sexual harassment is. I’m brutally honest regarding those things because I think it’s important. I set up a highlight on Instagram already, which is called “Stand up”, and that highlight will include all the things I want to stand up against; I want to encourage not only women but everyone to stand up against unfair behavior, sexual harassment, political s**t that’s going on. I’m just fed up with staying silent and accepting things the way they are because I know if I don’t stand up for myself, who will? No one. And I know that there are people, because they write me messages actually, who reach out to me. They feel too small to make a change, and they need encouragement as I needed it before. My sister is my role model for it, and she encouraged me to stand up. When you get that power, you go to everyone who needs it. I want to share my knowledge because this is the least thing I can do. I don’t have the greatest reach on Instagram or our social media in general, but I know if there’s only one person that takes my knowledge and it changes views on things and their own behavior or feels better with it because I can give them something they can think about, you know, as I have to think about things others gave me that’s so rewarding. It’s just nice to know that I can do something, so… I don’t actually want to hear from everybody what a great soul I am because I’m not; I want to give back.
That is a very noble thing you are doing. What is integral, in your opinion, to your work as an artist?
It’s essential to listen to myself, to really reflect on my actions and everything that happens around me. I’m a pretty sensitive person, as when I see people and have just small talk with them, I feel like I can detect what’s going on with that person. I think that’s pretty important for me to connect the dots between my world and the world of others and how interaction happens; most of the time that’s where I get creativity from. I’ve had to learn that the hard way actually because I just tended to ignore the information I got from others several years ago. This brought me problems with social things, and I just had to start to reflect on my actions, especially, so I just started to accept the way I am. I just wanted to listen closely because that is important to move forward and to give an output. Second of all, I think it’s extremely important to be patient with yourself because you are not perfect and you will never be. Trying to reach perfection is like is searching for the desert in the ocean, if you know what I mean. It’s wasted time, basically, so be patient and embrace what you are. Even if these things are the ugliest characteristics you’ve ever experienced, it doesn’t matter because you’ve got the longest relationship with yourself you will ever have; you should better try to get along with yourself! Only then can you embrace what kind of creativity (or whatsoever is your outpouring), and you can accept it and show it to others because it’s always like a striptease to show your ideas to others. You just get naked; it’s like: “Hello, here I am; these are my ideas, and they come from deep within.”
The third part of it, it’s also it is being judged for your ideas, in a good way as much as in a bad way. That’s completely normal, but you have to get used to it, and I think its training is just listening to yourself and be patient.
That is super interesting. One of the deepest answers ever! Has your practice technique changed over the years?
First of all, my career started in a group of people who covered musical songs, so I started with singing just the pop genre; I had no clue how to use the technique, and we just had the basics to warm up the boys within this group.
I tried to sing “The Phantom of the Opera” song at the age of 14 or 15, and I felt so uncomfortable because I only started training at 16. At the time we’re practicing that song, I had no real idea how to warm the chords up. That was the most amazing fail of my life. But I always love to challenge myself, and as soon as I knew that “The Phantom of the Opera” was not my song to sing at that time, I was just on fire. I thought, “I want to reach that no matter what anyone says, I will just close my doors behind me and I will practice, practice, practice until I die. I want to hit that freakin high notes” and well, I don’t know if I would succeed nowadays. Still, I think challenging myself is also very important as an artist. I eventually started vocal lessons with the most amazing vocal trainer I ever met. She’s amazing; her name is Angelika Norwidat. She was also the vocal coach of Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian; we still are in contact, and I love her to the core, and I think this is a relationship that will never end. She told me everything I needed to be confident on stage and something extremely important: just dare yourself. Even if you think you can’t hit a note because it feels uncomfortable or you’re not really sure if you hit it, it’s the mindset that is important. If you change your mindset, you can change your vocals. I really love quantum physics; the theory of it fits our topic right now because if you play an instrument or sing, you give any energy to the universe. It’s just something you think you can’t control, but you’re in complete control of what you’re doing, and you can influence that by changing your mindset.
Very true. If you could live in the last book you read, where would that be?
I think it’s India. I read the book about Patanjali, he was a philosopher, and he wrote about meditation and how to reach the highest state of meditation. He was born I don’t know how many hundred years before Christ, but he lived in India and so…. yeah, I guess it would be India.
Great choice! If you like spicy food then you’re all set. What’s the funniest memory you have about your performances?
I’m the absolutely wrong person to ask that question. Our drummer Maddin is the funniest person on planet Earth, and the joke between my bandmates is that Nele laughs about everything. I was the last one to have food remaining on her plate; we had pizza. I couldn’t stop laughing because Maddin always tells his jokes, and I just couldn’t stop. I was dying, and the problem is, the moment I start dying because of Maddin, it always happens that the other boys are making jokes about me because Maddin makes jokes about me, and I can’t stop laughing. It’s just totally crazy, really!
Sometimes on tour, I have a single room for myself. I don’t know why. Maybe the boys don’t want to be friends with me, I’ve no idea, [chuckles] but sometimes we close the doors behind ourselves, we want to go to sleep, and you can hear the boys laughing, and they hear me laughing. So we eventually we would regroup and spend another 30 minutes just laughing.
It’s like a never-ending circle! 😀 Who inspired you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
Well, I think first of all I have to name my dad because my dad is the one that is so responsible for my talent actually. I got the voice from him; he’s got an amazing voice, sometimes he sounds like the singer of Queen. He never got into vocal training (I don’t know why); still, he’s my first idol, if you want to call it. He inspired me because I was always stunned by his performances at home to make his kids laugh, and that was pretty amazing. I had many non-metal idols. Celine Dion is one of my greatest childhood idols. I’m always just stunned by her live performances, her talent, the typical artistic fire that’s burning inside of her, and just the power she has to move on even after now like 30 years of career. This woman is a miracle, really. I appreciate each and everything she puts out because we already said it, and she’s just the top of the tops. She’s made a tremendous impact on me as much as Diana Damrau. She’s a German opera singer. I never made it to one of the operas she took part in, and oh my God, I just wish for this covid to be over so one day I’ll see her on stage.
There so many different artists… And in metal, it always happens the typical symphonic metal performers, like Nightwish’s Floor Jansen and Within Temptation’s Sharon Den Adel. Floor made a huge impact on me as an artist. I had a master class with her. I attended with my sister, and we sang a song together. That was pretty awesome, and she said, “You two girls remind me of my sister and myself”, she even cried when we sang her that song. It was such a nice experience, and I just feel so drawn to her. Her attitude is just perfect, her talent, her quality on stage; she’s just on point, she’s just bear arms, you can see and feel that there’s nothing else that matters. I don’t even think that even the most important things in her life would count as long as she’s on stage. That is actually a kind of meditative state, and I always try to reach that state of mind on stage, too. I just love the feeling of letting it go, do what you were born to do.
Thank you once again, Nele, is there anything you’d like to add or to say to the fans?
Thank you for all the support people already give to us, and thank you for all those who would like to join us on our journey. Be sure to follow us on our social networks and enjoy our music! 

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