Anna Murphy’s scene is at the studio where she works as a sound engineer. The former vocalist and hurdy-gurdy player states: “I just spend days here and sleep here. I like having a room where I can just play music all the time.”
When Murphy tells people about the instrument she plays, most people tend to ask, “what it is”. She saw the medieval string instrument being played by another band and “immediately fell in love with it”. Murphy continues: “The thing about the hurdy-gurdy is there’s not a hurdy-gurdy shop where you can just buy one, so I had to rent one from a school for old music. I just kept on enjoying it more and more so I got my own one, and now I’ve been playing it for 10 years.”
Earlier this year, Murphy announced she would be departing Eluveitie with Ivo Henzi and Merlin Sutter to form the band Cellar Darling and focus on her own solo work. She said she is enjoying the creative freedom from the move. She states, “The question is whether people will like it, but it’s not my number one concern. Of course, I hope people will enjoy it even though it will be very different, but I can’t write music based on this concern. I’ll just whatever I think is cool and hope that other people think it’s cool as well.”
Murphy’s method of songwriting isn’t an exact science, “I don’t really have this kind of method of songwriting. With me, it’s more that a melody just pops into my mind, and I record it. I never sit down and think ‘oh I’m going to write a song now in G major and I might use this lyric,’ it just kind of happens. The good thing about it is it’s a really creative way to work, I don’t want to say spiritual because I hate that word, but it just kind of happens.” Sometimes, her method has its downsides, because “if nothing happens in my head then there’s no music, but so far it’s been going well.”
“My solo project is just me,” she continues, “I love metal and I love listening to it, but I’m not a metal musician (I guess that just starts at the fact that I can’t play the guitar which makes it pretty hard to compose metal music). I kind of just write whatever goes on in my head… I just do whatever happens and that’s how that mix of genres came to happen.”
Murphy has played a vital role in Eluveitie, but she states “I had a lot of creative input with Eluveitie, but I wasn’t the main songwriter. I really want to leave that up to Chrigel, because he’s the mastermind behind Eluveitie and what he does is great, but I wouldn’t want to try and copy it in any way… when I write music, it just sounds different.”
The move from playing in a crowded venue with a metal band to smaller solo performances is a welcome change of pace. “I guess there’s a bit more of that living room atmosphere than with a metal band. I like to communicate with the audience and just be my weird awkward self and let people into my world. I have to say I like both. I’ve always been a bigger fan of smaller stages, because you just kind of, you can connect with the audience more and it has a more punkish feeling than if you were on a huge stage where you don’t see everybody.
It’s clear Murphy enjoys connecting with her audience. While she and the band were visiting Australia in May Murphy said, “We hung out at a bar somewhere and there was actually this fan that was working there. He was really excited to see us. We just had a few beers with him and hung out, and I always like when spontaneous things like that happen.”
The future looks good for Murphy, who says “I’m going to focus on my new band, Cellar Darling. We just finished recording two songs and we’re going to start writing a new album.” Australian fans will be glad to know that Anna Murphy will be “looking forward to coming back” for shows in Sydney and Melbourne with Cellar Darling.