“Second album shows a broader range of influences from all of us” – Interview with Illumishade

Author Arto Mäenpää - 16.2.2024

The wait is over to finally experience the brand new studio album by Swiss modern metal upstarts Illumishade. The rising band, fronted by vocalist Fabienne Erni and guitarist Jonas Wolf (both of Eluveitie) and completed with orchestration and synths by film composer Mirjam Skal, bass by Yannick Urbanczik, and drums by Marc Friedrich, will release their Napalm Records debut, “Another Side of You” today. Chaoszine had a small chat with the band about the brand new album and you can read the full interview below:

Hello Illumishade! Your new album “Another Side of You” will be released today through Napalm Records. Could you tell us with few sentences about the writing / recording process for the album. Was it a typical one for you or did it differ somehow this time around?

Jonas Wolf: It was definitely a special one as it’s a collection of songs that were written throughout a time span of about 3 years. Some songs weren’t necessarily meant to be album tracks at the time of their creation or their release, like “Hymn” for example.

Fabienne Erni: This second album shows a broader range of influences from all our band members. Each song has a bit of a different history. “Cloudreader” started from one of my piano jams before Jonas started to mess around with it. “Cyclone” was Mirjam’s initial vision that we then all developed. “Twily” evolved from a piano ballad to a heavier version through Jonas’s arrangement. And “Riptide” was a bit different for us; Jonas composed the music first and then Yannick and me added the melody, which is rare in our usual process. I guess exactly this is what makes the album so versatile.

Did you start writing “Another Side of You” immediately after releasing your debut album or when did you start? Have you written all these songs to the upcoming album or were there songs that you already wrote for “Eclyptic: Wake of Shadows” that ended up on this album?

Fabienne: When we started writing songs again after our release it was actually without a vision of a full- lengths album, rather just because of music itself. The vision of having a full-length album only came in early summer 2023, then we started to write more songs with this in mind.

Jonas: The only left over from the Eclyptic sessions I think was what became “In The Darkness” later on.

Fabienne: Yes, exactly. The only other song I remember that is older than past 3 years is “Verliebt”. I wrote this demo in around 2017 and it just popped into my mind again when we were working in our songwriting camp in the mountains before the studio session.

The album is your second one to date and first you will be releasing through Napalm Records. Do you feel that you found your musical identity already on the debut album and did you have a specific aim where you wanted to go with this album musically?

Jonas: We are still evolving as a band. This album is meant to be an ‘anything goes’ album. It features many more facettes and influences from every band member. It’s who we are today.
Fabienne: These songs just came naturally. We allowed the music to lead the way, rather than forcing it into a particular style.

What kind of themes does “Another Side of You” cover musically and lyrically? Where have you drawn inspiration to the album’s music and lyrics?

Jonas: Well, by many things. Our musical incluences include a lot of non metal artists. Film scores are a big source of inspiration for example. As well as Pop artists. “Cyclone” and “Cloudreader” are examples for these influences.

Fabienne: Lyrically, this album is more about real life. It talks about life’s highs and lows, its challenges, and emotions. We drew inspiration from what we’ve been through in the last three years. While we still bring fans into the ILLUMISHADE world, this time we’re focusing on real-world experiences. I think to continue more intense again within our world will be something for album number three again!

You just finished your first tour in Europe, how has the tour been? What are your personal favourite cities / countries in Europe?

Fabienne: The tour has been really amazing. Wonderful energy during the concerts, we had a great time within our team, Delain was fun to tour with and we met many amazing people. And finally we got to play live properly! We only played 11 shows before that tour in our whole band history – now we played 12 shows on this tour-run! :) 

Jonas: Hard to pick one of course. I really like the Scandinavian cities which we actually haven’t been to on this run. F: Definitely hard to pick – but I have to agree here – I am a huge fan of Scandinavia, I studied for a year in Haparanda around once, really close to Tornio! 😊

In couple of months, you will join the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani on a North American tour. What are you looking forward to the most on the tour?

Jonas:  Actually just playing our music to US and Canadian metal fans for the first time!

Fabienne: Absolutely, I love the enthusiasm for music by the Americans and Canadians! I think the shows are gonna be really energetic! But besides that I really look forward to explore some cities on our off-days or whenever time allows us!

If you would have a drinking competition with Korpiklaani who would win?

Jonas: You know that answer already.
Fabienne: Same!! :-)

What does the future hold for the band? What kind of plans do you have for the year 2024?

Jonas: It’s going to be a busy year for us for sure.

Fabienne: Absolutely! After coming back from the US tour we will play a few festivals and go on Europe tour with Visions of Atlantis in autumn! We also are thinking about starting the first steps into album Nr 3, we’ll see…

The festival season is getting closer again and there will be tons of cool festivals in the summer in Europe. If you would organize your own three-day festival and decide headliner for each night what bands would you choose and why?

Jonas: Hm… Modern Metal Day: BMTH , Power Metal Day: Stratovarius, Melo Death Day: In Flames. I really love these bands and they represent this mix of old and new that we are combining in our music.

Fabienne: Day 1: Dream Theater, Day 2: Infected Rain, Day 3: Devin Townsend.

Is there anything you would like to say as final words to the readers of Kaaoszine / Chaozine and Finnish metal heads in general?

Fabienne: Thank you so much for reading this interview!

Jonas: Well I just hope to be playing in Finland asap! Kiitos!

Fabienne:  Absolutely, hopefully see you soon!!