Holy Grail (Eli Santana)
Eli Santana of American heavy metallers Holy Grail unveils all the secrets and details behind the band's new album "Ride The Void", coming out in January. Enjoy our interview!
Article by Davide Panzeri - Publish on: 17/01/13
Hello Eli, welcome to SpazioRock. How are you?

We’re good, thank you. We’re just resting up for what should be a whirlwind of Touring after the album comes out. But we’re really excited and anxious for everyone to hear the new tunes.

Let's start with your new album “Ride The Void”. Can you introduce it to our readers?

“RideT he Void” is the next step in the evolution of Holy Grail. While we were not trying to reinvent the wheel we were definitely trying to run you over with it. This album is a presentation of our favorite riffs delivered in a vehicle of carefully crafted songs overseen by Producer Matt Hyde. There is plenty of shredding, soaring vocal melodies and heavy riffs for fans of “Crisis in Utopia” to sink their teeth into.

What are the main differences between this work and “Crisis In Utopia”?

I think some of the main differences we feel are that the songs are more well crafted on “Ride the Void”. We really spent a lot of time in prepropoduction with Matt our producer getting everything perfect before we went in the studio. I think the wild innocence from “Crisis In Utopia” might be missing but I think a tighter better representation of Holy Grail is in it’s place. Another noticable difference is our lyrical content. We strayed away from fantasy lyrics a lot on this one and wrote about what was close to us in this period of our lives.

elisantanaguitarThe attention around you grew up since the release of your debut album, did this make the things easier for you?

There has been a lot of attention which we have been really grateful for. But it was such a slow increase in attention that it never really affect us in a way that would have any bearing on our writing. The making of “Crisis in Utopia” was such a learning experience (sometimes in "what not to do") that we couldn’t wait to make “Ride the Void” pretty much right after recording it. And we spent so much time on the road that we came into the making of this record pretty hungry. We had a lot to prove.

Melody, guitar riffs and solos are the key elements of “Ride The Void”, there are plenty of them. What did you have in mind for this record? Something stronger, heavier, softer or faster?

We didn’t really have any set goals to make this any heavier or faster or softer. We just started writing what made us happy and got us excited. We definitely did want this to be stronger in terms of songwriting. Thanks to the help of Matt Hyde, we really approached the songs as songwriters and not just Thrashers. Luna our vocalist and Matt really put every vocal melody under a microscope sometimes making us change the music underneath it to make the most powerful melody possible. But this still being Metal we made sure that no riffs made it on the record unless it got everyone fired up. You can’t have Metal without Rad Guitar Riffs. Solo-wise we really tried hard not to just make it a shred-fest with no feel or sauce. We wanted real memorable solos like on “Countdown to Extinction” or “No More Tears”.

In your music and lyrics swords, wars and odes to Valhalla have been replaced by the stories of a serial killers. Why this decision?

We didn’t really make a conscious decision to get rid of the vikings and swords type lyrics, we just never got that excited about writing about that stuff this time around. Not to say that we’ll never write fantasy lyrics again or have anything against it, it’s just not where our heads were at. We have one song about a serial killer but most of the content matter has to do with overcome insurmountable odds.
What are the differences between touring in USA and in Europe?

We haven’t done as much Touring in Europe as we have in the States but from what I’ve gathered, the metal fans are more rabid in Europe. A lot of the fans in the US kind of make you earn it a bit before they go crazy but European Metal Fans are ready to thrash right off the bat.

What’s in the future of Holy Grail?

Well we are going to film our second music video in the next couple of weeks for the title track “Ride the Void”. And then after that we have the Metal Alliance tour with Anthrax, Exodus and Municipal Waste in North America. We couldn’t be more excited about that. After that tour, we’ll more than likely hit all the european festivals hopefully. I see us being on the road for the better part of the next year and half or so. So lots of travel, lots of rocking and lots of drinking probably.
If you could choose, in which album would you like to appear?

I think I’d like to appear on “River Runs Red” by Life of Agony because it came out in a really special time in my life when I was learning guitar and trying to write songs. And it was a really cool mix of metal and hardcore with solos and really melodic vocals. It had such dark and suicidal overtones to it that every teen could relate with, I think. And I use to record versions of some of the songs on my four track and write my own solos over it. One of my all time favorite albums.

What do you think about music piracy?

As someone who’s trying make a living in the music industry it’s natural to be upset with someone stealing your album. But when I think about why I got into music, it wasn’t because I thought it was a lucrative career choice. I just wanted to make music that I felt a connection with and hopefully other people make a connection with too. And if somebody really enjoys music we made without paying for it, it doesn’t mean any less to us. But I think if you really love a band you should always try to support, especially in this economy and current state of the industry.  

Is there any particular anecdote of tour life that you want to share with us?

Thanks to my terrible long time memory, our most recent tour anectdote comes to mind. While on tour with Hellyeah which is a super group of members of Mudvayne, Nothingface, Damage Plan and Pantera our van was broken into in Montreal while we were playing. So things seemed pretty grim for a couple days. And then on the last night of the tour we were invited into Hellyeah’s dressing room. We were given a bunch of gifts like pimp cups and super hero capes. But the most notable gifts was the a Mac Book Pro provided by Vinny Paul for our guitar player Alex who had his stolen in the break in. We then proceeded to drink the night away on Hellyeah’s bus. It was awesome because it felt like we were in one of the Pantera Vulgar Videos.

That’s all Eli, thank you for the interview and if there’s something you want to say to your Italian fan the time is now! Ciao!

Thanks you guys so much. I’d like to give a big thank you to our Italian Fans and we can’t wait to play a show out there and partying with all of you. See y’all soon. Ciao, indeed!

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