If you haven’t heard or heard of CELLADOR, man I sure hate it for you. Hailing from Denver, CO this band plays some of the finest Power Metal this side of the Atlantic. I was lucky enough to catch them here in Dallas back in April and all the guys couldn’t have been nicer. Christopher Petersen the lead singer/guitarist and I kept trying to hammer out an interview but scheduling conflicts always got in our way. So finally one night over the summer we managed to get together to talk all things CELLADOR. And here it is:
Chris: I have the fondest memories of those Texas shows. Everyone was so nice and so accommodating. That little area of Dallas we were in (Deep Ellum) was cool; it seemed like there were eight or nine places that all had live music going that night. And that’s odd for a Sunday. It looked like a good time. People talk about Austin for music, but Dallas could easily compare.
Amps: Since I don’t know too much about the band, tell me a little bit about how you got together and what led you to play kickass power metal?
Chris: Well, when I got into metal music I started off as a thrash guy, I learned to play guitar that way. I was a total underground metal guy and then sometime in high school I got into the more melodic vocals and gradually got into bands like IRON MAIDEN and ICED EARTH in the early 2000’s. From there on I just decided that’s my favorite genre and I wanted to form a band like that. There are very few bands on this side of the globe that play that style of metal. And I wanted to bring that Euro-power and melodic metal sound to the United States. Shoot to 2005 and the band was being put together. We were based out of Omaha, Nebraska then, putting up flyers, trying to find people. In the early days we went through a ton of members. Finally the line-up started solidifying and we started playing shows. Within two-three months of us playing we got signed to Metal Blade Records, went down to Florida to record an album that was released in 2006. Man, they put the album everywhere and promoted it all over the place. They gave us high priority like a band worthy of everyone’s attention. It was a great time; we toured for the next two years for that Enter Deception album. We toured with TRIVIUM, ALL THAT REMAINS, we played shows with BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, BEHEMOTH, UNEARTH, all kinds of bands.
Unfortunately when we started putting together logistics for the second album the line-up started falling apart based off of personal differences. Different members wanted to play different styles of metal. It was hard to get anything done and members of the Enter Deception line-up sort of trickled away. I ended up coming out here to Denver in 2009 and my guitar and bass player wound up not coming along. In a nutshell I reformed the line-up out here. The band went on hiatus but re-emerged in 2012 with our current line-up. Actually Diego I’ve known since early 2010 and been working with him since then. The band was finally completed and ready for live shows by late 2012. Early 2013 was the first show I had ever done as the singer; I took over the vocal spot. That was the main delay, trying to find a singer, but no one worked out. So we played a lot of local shows to stay alive in the scene and let everybody know we were back, opening for HELLOWEEN, KOBRA AND THE LOTUS, and some other national acts.
Chris: Honor Forth, which has an interesting history because it was done during a hiatus period when not everyone was quite in the band yet. We got the OK from Metal Blade to release that independently and just take it from there. You could consider us a new band just because the line-up’s different but the band name has had notoriety on the worldwide stage since about 2005. It’s great to see some of the old fans come out and hang with us and be willing to give this new line-up and music a chance. At the same time we’ve met so many new ones too, and we’re just so happy to see everything coming together. And we’ve signed with Extreme Management Group who are just great to us. They’re working with us on getting us out there again. They believe in us and they’ve been pushing forth a lot of effort to get us where we need to be.
Amps: It sounds like things are really starting to fall into place for you, which is great.
Chris: You know, I don’t know what made me want to continue with the CELLADOR name. So many people, all of our old friends thought it was done, but in my mind it was never done. I don’t know if I just wanted to prove everybody wrong or if I just didn’t want to play any other style of music. I was like, “I’m still playing CELLADOR-style music so why change the name?” And we’re in an interesting situation now.
Amps: How does the writing break down in the group? How do you put songs together?
Chris: I wrote the majority of the old stuff. The way it works is I have a home studio and I try to compose ideas and I sort of have a formula where I envision a song in my head and then I try to program or write the drum work from there and have it play along to the riffs to create a demo song. And then I bring that song to rehearsal where I get the band members’ interpretations and contributions. We change stuff up and say, “Why don’t we do this, or that?” Especially the drums, Nick (McCAllister) is really good about creating his own style. Everybody learns their parts and gets an idea of where the song is going. We jam it out and put it in the setlist to see how it fits during rehearsal. Instead of playing it over and over we play the entire set. The lyrics come from a vocal melody usually.
Amps: What’s next record-wise? Another EP or a full-length?
Chris: Initially the plan was to keep putting out songs until something happened. Then we started hearing from a couple of record labels for distribution. Then our management advised us to hold off on releasing anything new because we can get those properly released with a record label studio mix and master. So now our management is pushing Honor Forth to some labels and there is interest there. It’s better to accept a delay and have the chance that our material can be better promoted and properly released and on shelves of brick and mortar record stores, those that are left.
Amps: What are your plans for playing live? Go back out for a while?
Chris: Yeah, we’re already getting tour opportunities. We’re planning to hit the road again in the fall. We have a couple festivals that we’re getting ready to announce for the rest of the year. We’re actively in tour mode as we speak. Honestly, Honor Forth hasn’t had a full touring cycle. And we’re discussing all that with management right now. Once we have another album situated we’d love to go out on a two-year cycle.
Chris: It really needs to be ASAP, you know? Texas is just too much fun. We can’t get there fast enough. I hope we can get back down and play. We had a great time at The Boiler Room, Damian.
Amps: What are you listening to in your spare time?
Chris: Still power metal, a lot of metal music mostly. My girlfriend got me into some mellower alternative bands recently. And I’m on a big 80’s hair metal kick, too. I love a simple 4/4 beat, man. Sometimes shit gets too complex and bands get crazy with it. You need a 4/4 beat and some killer riffs sometimes. I enjoy it.
Amps: What do you want say to the CELLADOR fans old and new?
Chris: Thank you so much for keeping up with us. I know it’s been taking forever sort of giving the band a cult status as like an off the grid-type band. New music is coming, new tours are coming. 2013 into 2014 has just been an amazing revitalization for us and we’re all excited. So thank you so much, we’ve got new music to show you ASAP.
Hearing CELLADOR on CD is one thing. Seeing them live however, is something exceptional. All the guys in the band, Chris, Caleb, Nick, James, and Diego are phenomenal musicians as well as super-nice guys, so make sure you check them out however and whenever you can!