Hi, this is Mario (keyboards and backing vocals)! Pleased to do this interview!
1) The sound on ‘Death & Legacy’ is stronger, more powerful. Why did you choose this new sound?
Indeed we now have a more powerful sound on the new album and really are happy about this fact. Jan Vacik (Dreamsound Studios) who did the mix and the mastering really proved his skills as a careful producer with a good taste here! Although ‘Fallen Sanctuary’ had a nice mix the balance between mostly guitars, drums and orchestra wasn’t that good. Now everything is in its place and sounds well, this is what we wanted to achieve. Let’s hope the fans will think the same way!
2) The female voice in some of the new songs brings out a strong energy. Would you consider a female singer in the band (if not: why not?, if yes: why isn’t there one?)?
As for a female lead singer there is and will be no discussion about! Being a symphonic metal band with a male singer we want to stand out somehow because that’s quite rare if you look at the masses of female fronted symphonic acts. Considering the fact that we play most of our ‘girl included’ songs live we anyhow need a female singer on tour. Here we have several options, but most of our future concerts, especially the ones on the upcoming tour, will feature Lisa Middelhauve (ex-Xandria). We already had some gigs with her, she really is a nice, intelligent person and a rock’n roller so we’re looking forward to be on tour with her!
3) It has been three years since the last CD ‘Fallen Sanctuary’, why did it took such a long time?
Err … to be exact, it’s been two and a half years;)! Well, what can I say, quality needs time I guess. We strictly wanted to avoid any low quality ‘filler’-album written and produced in a hurry just to satisfy the people who just can’t wait. It took time to develop songs out of all the ideas and prototype pieces. It took time to be secure about the concept, the style of the photos and the artwork, the technical part of the production and so on. And don’t forget that we’ve been on tour a lot in 2009 and all have our ‘normal’ jobs beside the band still, then there’s everybody’s family life, our relationships, cover bands some of us are playing in … we’re no rock stars with lots of time so far =)!
4) How did the recording go and how long did it take?
Thomas, our guitarist and main song writer, has build some kind of home studio in his bedroom over the past years with some fine equipment, so he was able to record all guitars (and bass as well) himself. He began to record song ideas (guitar work, programmed drums, simple orchestra programmings) almost immediately after the release of ‘Fallen Sanctuary’ and we as a band then began to work on those songs in the rehearsal room. Unfortunately nobody is able to be inspired by command, and so some time passed without any new song ideas. Another thing was a delayed studio appointment, then the label said they’d like to delay the release of the album … so there was no hurry at all. But suddenly Thomas was full of creative energy again, like bitten by a ‘symphonic metal rattlesnake’ with a ‘creativity venom’ and wrote song after song, Georg (lead vocals) joined him to work on the vocal lines, Oliver Philipps (of Germany’s Everon/orchestra producer) began to add his amazing stuff and somehow ten songs were almost finished and we said ‘well, that’s enough for an album’. Thomas however could find no rest, locked himself in his bedroom studio and left it with the two final songs in hand – ‘Beyond Desert Sands’ and ‘When Canvas Starts To Burn’. Two of the best songs on the new album in my opinion! In the meantime drum recordings were done, short time later Georg travelled to Lanvall’s (Edenbridge) place to record vocals and choirs ... to sum it up: from the first demo songs to the final mastering in Munich something like two years and two months passed.
5) You’re touring with Delain soon now, what are your expectations of the band and the tour?
We’ve already met them at some gigs we had together on a Kamelot tour, they seemed to be nice people. And of course, we did this collaboration with their singer Charlotte which we still are proud of because her parts are amazing and the song gained a lot through her! We’ll be travelling in the same bus so I guess we’ll learn some dirty Dutch jokes and they’ll get some lessons in being nasty the Austrian way;)))! Think we’ll visit some great venues on that tour, hopefully full of crazy fans. Probably there also will be some time to do a little bit of sight seeing, would be nice - Europe in Spring is always something to look forward to!
6) Are you planning on coming to Belgium? The most awesome country in Europe?
I’m sorry but so far there are no plans to come back to your country (we’ve been there on the Threshold tour in Fall 2009, it was at ‘Spirit of 66’ in Verviers)! But I’m sure we’ll play there again someday in the next years … most awesome country in Europe? Well, I’ve spent far too little time to affirm that;)! At least people were nice and the cheese tart was very tasty!
7) What will you do after touring with Delain?
Come home, throw away plants that dried in the meantime (hopefully not), have a nice cup of black tea with milk on the veranda, empty the suitcases with dirty laundry, say hello to my family, go to see my girlfriend as soon as possible. One day later go back to work because then vacation will be over, haha!! But I think you’re asking about our band activities? Well, some festivals are ahead then, and hopefully we have had some time on tour wasted on concepts, lyrical ideas and artwork sketches for the next album so we can work on that in Summer.
8) Serenity keeps on growing, where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
As our singer Georg sometimes states: ‘Headlining Wacken Open Air 2013 – main stage!’ Having dreams is allowed, isn’t it? But being realistic – because it’s a hard job in the music business and there’s a lot of competition out there, not to mention other, global developments nobody can foresee – we’ll have to be happy if our growth stays constant and we’ll be able to record albums and do tours without getting in the red too far. Of course it would be a blast if the band would become our job one day but, as I said, better to keep a realistic point of view.
9) Will you stay under Napalm Records or do you consider going to another label?
For the moment all is fine, there’s no need for us to consider changing the label, even if our contract would allow us to do so. We’ll see what the future brings, nobody knows where we’ll stand in five years from now or so.
10) You’re from Austria. I know Germany is a big metal country, but how about Austria, and how does that influence Serenity?
Compared to Germany Austria indeed is a small metal country, but keep in mind that Germany has ten times the population our home country has. At least things are getting better with some fine Austrian metal bands signing label deals and gaining international attention (The Sorrow, Juvaliant, Ecliptica, Heathen Foray, Lost Dreams, Mely, …). Has our origin any influence on us as a band? In some way I think yes, because sometimes it seems that people don’t expect good metal music coming from Austria so they don’t even dare to check out those bands. Imagine we were announced as the ‘latest symphonic metal sensation from Finland’ … maybe we’d already be super stars just because people would buy our albums like crazy;)! Nevertheless we’re still proud to say: we’re Serenity from Austria - a country with a special humor, special type of German language, grand landscapes and great food, unfortunately with a lot of dumb and stubborn people, a country creating ambivalent feelings in me sometimes but still being a home.