Elegy, the trailblazing prog/power metal band from the 1990s, has reunited and is once again gracing the stage with live performances. Myth of Rock recently had the privilege of interviewing Elegy and Martin Helmantel, the band’s bassist. Below, you’ll find a captivating interview that delves into every aspect of Elegy’s current status in 2024. We’re eagerly anticipating the band’s upcoming shows in Athens and Trikala!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
What inspired the decision to reunite after nearly 25 years and embark on a reunion tour? How does it feel to be back again?
The old members were always in contact over the last years. Dirk Bruinenberg is also the drummer in my other band (7 Miles to Pittsburgh) and we often talked about the possibility to play with Elegy again. I would meet with Henk a few times especially over the last years ,whenever there was a release of the old albums on vinyl, I would meet with him and talk about Elegy. He never seemed ready to make a comeback…..until last year! We talked and he agreed to get the band back together with only original members! First we talked with Dirk and Ian who were immediately on board. We also agreed that Elegy would go back to being a 2 guitar band! And we immediately thought of Gilbert (who was part of the “Supremacy” and “Lost” line-up) and he was also very happy to be part of the new version of Elegy! We also talked to Eduard Hovinga but realized that he was not willing to be back in Elegy although we keep a friendship with him! And it feels great now that we are back and touring!
How are these reunion live shows going, until now? How have the fans reacted to this reunion?
So far we did two shows, the first in Milan and this was very emotional seeing all the people in the audience singing all the old songs. The second show was our “homecoming” show in Eindhoven!!! This was a very special event where all our friends, family, our kids and people flying in from Japan, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Portugal and yes….even from Greece, where there to see us play, some seeing us for the first time ever! The reactions have been heartwarming!
What can fans expect from your upcoming shows in Greece, particularly in terms of the setlist and live performance experience?
We will be playing songs from all the first five albums! Half the set will be songs from the first three albums and the songs sound amazing with Ian on vocals!
Should we expect a new album by Elegy? Have you written any new songs? Can you give us all the important info about this new album?
Initially we wanted to just do a reunion tour but now that we are together again we have been thinking about new material…..so who knows we might surprise the world with a new album?!
Albums such as “Labyrinth of Dreams”, “Supremacy” and “Lost” are considered nowadays classic. How do you see these albums now? How do you remember the first years of your career?
This is really great to hear! We have very good memories of these albums but also “State of Mind” and “Manifestation of Fear”, because this was the era when we could tour with Stratovarius and Kamelot and meet our fans. The early days were very interesting because we were surprised every time we would release an album with all the reactions and reviews! And keeping in mind that we sold over a quarter of a million CDs……more than we could have every imagined in our wildest dreams!
You are considered one of the pioneers of the prog/power metal genre. Do you agree with this “tag”? Why? How do you view the evolution of this style of music since Elegy’s inception?
Wow, that is a really big compliment that means a lot! We never really realized that we made such an impact on the scene?! It is very difficult to say that we agree with this “tag” since there were so many great bands around but we are really grateful that people think we did a good job! Over the years we were contacted by great musicians like Aguiles Priester and Bill Hudson, who tell us the same thing. Since this all happened before internet, we had no idea the we were popular in such areas as South America also?! The way we evolved was most notable when Eduard left the band and we continued with Ian. They are both excellent singers but also very different this always affects the style of a band!
Which are your biggest influences? What gives you inspiration?
Personally my heroes are Van Halen! I’m pretty sure if you ask the rest of the guys you will get anything from Rush to Meshuggah as old and new influences. I think every member has so many different influences and that all comes together in the music of Elegy. Inspiration can come from many different angles….other musicians, movies or just every day events!
How did you come up with the name “Elegy” for the band? It is a Greek word, you know!
Actually the very first singer (before Eduard) came up with the name after reading a book about a Greek goddess!!!
What are some of the challenges and highlights you’ve encountered throughout your extensive career in the music industry?
Highlights were definitely releasing the albums and touring, and playing Greece in ‘97 with Stratovarius is a very special memory!!! We got to tour all over the world and we are hoping to add more highlights! The whole business side of music turned out to be very challenging and unfair for us in some ways. We learned a lot!
Elegy had experienced numerous lineup changes. How has this affected the band’s dynamics and musical direction over the years?
I think every time that Elegy lost a member, something changed in the sound. This is why we decided to go back to the original sound with two guitarists. The songs from ”State of Mind” and “Manifestation of Fear” sound so much better with Henk and Gilbert both handling guitar duties and playing twin solos!!!
How have things changed in music since the early days of Elegy, and how have you adapted to these changes?
The biggest change is obviously the internet! In our time we sold a lot of CDs which is no longer the case with bands. Streaming has become the new standard and for new bands this seems very challenging. It has become a whole new way of releasing and promoting new music! Elegy albums are still released on CD and LP and are now also available on all streaming platforms!!!
Are there any particular moments or milestones in your career that stand out as especially memorable or meaningful?
Our first real tour with Stratovarius playing all over Europe was great and with playing in Athens and Thessaloniki as some of the best gigs we ever played. Also touring in Japan was very special. Finding endorsers (ESP guitars, Warwick basses and British Drum Company) has also been great!
Looking ahead, what are your hopes and aspirations for the future of Elegy?
Hopefully we can write some new material to release! And with upcoming shows in Greece, Germany, USA and Japan…..we hope to add some more highlights!
Is there a favorite band of yours, which has disbanded, and you dream its reunion?
A few years ago I would have said….Van Halen, but with Eddie being gone that will not happen…..
Send your message to our readers!
We really hope to see all our fans again on tour in Greece this March, new and old! Looking forward to playing with Angra in Athens (20th of March) and headlining the Horns up festival in Trikala (22nd of March) and meeting everyone! Want to know more…follow us on social media Elegy.official (Facebook and Instagram)