This interview with Eddie Risdal of Ancestral Legacy was done by e-mail by Panayiotis Papandreopoulos in September 2005.

Could you please introduce us to Ancestral Legacy history and music orientation.
Hell-o there Panayiotis! Well, I would consider myself the best person to give a brief summary of the history of Ancestral Legacy (later just called AL), as I am the only member that's been in the band since the start.

A friend and me started the band Permafrost in winter 1995/96. We made and recorded some songs for ourselves. Style wise we were influenced by bands like Sacramentum, Ulver, Darkthrone, Dissection and Unanimated. We added a synth player late 1998, around the time we changed the band name to Ancestral Legacy, and obviously the new songs had a more atmospheric feel, more in the vein of Dimmu, Cradle and Covenant. Our first demo was released in 2000 and our 2nd «Emptiness», in 2002 before both the keyboardist and later the bassist leaved the band, and I was the only remaining member. A new line-up was established through autumn 2002 – spring 2003, and we recorded the first demo "Of Magic Illusions" with the new members in March/April 2003. At this time I was very influenced by bands like Opeth, Lacuna Coil and The Gathering, and I guess this reflects in our newer songs. The first concerts in the band’s history were also played this year. In 2004 we recorded the promo «Goodbye reality», the first one cut in a professional studio. In the autumn we filmed our first music video, which was released as a split DVD/promo release earlier this year.

Throughout your 10 year route Ancestral Legacy have changed name, music styles and members. According to your personal opinion in what way did the withdrawal of the old members and the entrance of new ones affected the change of music orientation or you think it would have happened either way as a natural evolution?
It is a bit hard to say. I felt we found our style after our 2nd demo «Emptiness» from 2002, and the songwriting was very creative and exiting. Naturally the songs had a very symphonic feel since most parts of the songs were created on keyboard, so when the synth player quitted and I decided to continue without a keyboardist, it was obvious that there would be a noticeable change in sound. When he quitted I already had two or three songs finished that later appeared on the next demo «Of magic illusions». These were songs I recorded parallely to the songs we made for «Emptiness», but I didn’t feel that they suited among the other tracks. I felt these songs were too good to be forgotten, so my intention was to record them as a solo project called «Echonia» (the «band» name was taken from an Anathema lyric), but as you now know this never happened. I can’t say that the new members affected the style change, as I already had the visions before they joined, but sure they contribute with their personal touch to the sound.

Without wanting to underestimate the contribution of the rest new members, who all of them sound at least as good musicians, as a listener I assume that the entrance of Elin Anita seems to have been the crucial point that changed positively Ancestral Legacy music direction due to her special timbre. What do you think of it and is the co-operation among the band members?
It was clear once I had made the first songs in the «new» style of AL that they needed clean vocals on some parts. As I explained above it was meant as a solo project, so in that case it would have been a session musician that would do the clean vocals, but when I needed new members for AL it had to be on a permanent basis. Elin was the natural first choice as I already played with her in the rock band Miasma Paradox, and an extra plus was that she was very inexperienced (but open to) metal music. She mainly heard on pop, rock and country music at that time, so she had inspirations that made her singing in a metal band a bit original compared to many other metal chicks. I am responsible for making about 80 – 90 % of the music in the band (the rest by the guitarist Larsen), but all members blends the songs when we rehearse them, and usually they turn out a little bit different (for the better!) as time goes by.

What sort of problems does the band confront?
Hmm… Not too many problems in the band, but if there is only one thing that is annoying that must be the lack of time for rehearsals and gigs. Since we are an underground band everybody of course have to work to make the ends meet, and we all have different interests and commitments besides playing in a band also. Socially I think we get along pretty well, but we don’t socialize too often except in band matters. I think that is an advantage, so we don’t get fed up with each other that easy.

You are a very promising band, which comes from a very prolific and competitive (musically speaking) country. What are your plans for the future?
Thank you for your compliments! Yeah, our musical heritage is quite impressive, especially in the black metal scene, with bands like Emperor, Darkthrone, Satyricon, Enslaved, Dimmu Borgir etc. The most recent plan for AL is to get some proper rehearsals again, as we have had almost a half a year’s break, and maybe play some gigs this autumn and winter. We have sent our recent DVD/promo release to a bunch of record companies, so we aim at a record deal, but not at any cost! We turned down an offer last autumn because some of the conditions in the contract we were offered sucked big time. It’s not necessary to sell the whole ass to get a deal!? Anyway, even if no labels are interested we plan to record an album this winter. We are buying new recording equipment nowadays, so we’ll do all the recording ourselves, while Knut M. Valle (guitarist in Arcturus) will help us with the mixing if everything goes as planned. We have more than enough strong songs to pick from, as I have continuously written new material.

Are you satisfied so far by your record company and the support it has offered you so far?
He he, this is a loud and clear NO! I’d rather not comment this further, as I know very little about the label, and seldom get any information from them.

Links of interest:

Ancestral Legacy
Magik Art