Serenity: 100% Power Metal

Austrian Power Metal will never die. Somewhere in the mountains you will always find fans who will stop at nothing to enjoy their favorite bands – and a few beers. Something like it probably was in the case of Serenity, who did a very good job with their first output “Fallen Sanctuary”, and Mario (keyboard & backing vocals) agreed to answer some STALKER questions.

Your first album „Fallen Sanctuary“ turns out to be quite good, did it fulfil your expectations?
Thanks! There are some tiny things regarding the final mix and songwriting you could surely have done in an other way. Musicians seem to be hardly ever satisfied with their work, why should we be different? 🙂 „Fallen Sanctuary“ doesn´t have that punch we expected, we want to do this better for the next album.

How much does other music influence you in your songwriting?
Speaking for the guys who write our music, Georg (Lead vocals) and about 95% Thomas, our guitar-man. Thomas has enough to do with his family, work, 2 Coverbands and the work for SERENITY – which contains also internet and graphical stuff. He has much to do, so there´s just no time to hear music. This way we can say that our new songs are un-influenced. But sometimes he listens to his old NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARCTICA or EVERGREY cds. It´s the same with Georg, he also plays in the same two cover-bands, writes his dissertation and does the management of our band … his ideas for the vocals refer to the music, which is in fact written before the vocals.

How long did the songwriting take?
It took some time: the first song was finished at the end of 2006, the last one was finished before we began recording in December 2007. At the beginning it seems that you have unlimited time, but this passes quickly. It was the same with this production, we want to change that for the next one in the future.

How important is an image for you personally? Do you try to fit into one, while you´re on tour, for example? Do you think that fans expect you to have one?
For me personally it´s not that important for a band. For SERENITY we try to give our fans a complete package, visually and acoustically. The artwork and our outfit have a little Gothic-influence, in our opinion this fits to the symphonic-melodic sound. The listener should know by the covers and the photos in which direction the music goes. But we don´t want to be too narrow minded and sing only about Vikings or something. When you leave the routine behind, fans will have doubts, and that´s what you have to avoid.

How do you think music will be sold in the future? CDs are not selling so well any more, downloads become more popular etc. How do you try to get your product to the people?
A really interesting and frightening development. I buy between 30 and 40 cds a year and I consider buying a vinlyl player so L can buy LPs. Music has a high value to me. As free download it has no more value, the sound quality is reduced, but millions of people don´t mind that. It is sad when you know the other side and put lots of time, creativity and money into an album! As a band you are forced to adjust to these developments. We already did talk about a download-single. You can´t get the big money with a band of our kind, we try it anyway to publish CDs and someday also an LP. Downloading songs has to be seen as promotion! Have fun with that, but please buy a record if you like the music!

What do you listen to privately? There are musicians who seem to be metal-abstinent in their free time.
Not to listen to music would mean not to live, in my opinion. I am basically open to everything which has to do with Rock or Metal. At the moment I´m interested in COHEED AND CAMBRIA and ORPHANED LAND, my favourites are for example TYPE O NEGATIVE (R.I.P: Pete!), NEVERMORE and PAIN OF SALVATION. The faves of Thomas were mentioned above in the text, Georg´s taste is quite the same, adding QUEEN and KAMELOT. Andi (drums) is a proghead who likes Jazz and NORAH JONES. We all like SYMPHONY X or IRON MAIDEN. Our bassist Simon likes Extreme-Prog and Death & Black Metal.

Do you also go and visit shows?
For sure! You gotta know how your competitors work! 🙂 You feel music very differently with the right volume (but save your ears!) and the right show. When the sound-engineer is well-prepared, the beer cold and the band in a good mood you´re quite happy. I like clubshows more, but also those big events like AC/DC in Vienna last year were very good! And looking forward to RAMMSTEIN at Novarock this year!

How was it for you to play at Building a Force festival? What about the billing, the organisation etc?
We had definitively fun in Bad Rappenau, but just no sleep :-). The organisation was very good, no problems here. Why there were not that many people I cannot say, may it be that there was not that much promotion? The billing was well picked for every taste, just how I like it. The little market stands were a nice thing. The little trip to Baden-Württemberg was a success for us!

Do you think the BAF-Festival has potential?
It has a good concept. A smaller hall would have been better maybe , but you never know how much tickets you´ll sell, therefore you better plan in bigger dimensions. Although there was a great headliner with BRAINSTORM, I can imagine that a little more known band would have got more people to the festival. There´s no need to geht METALLICA for that … I don´t want to be loudmouthed, therefore no more to say. I´m not an organizer and I let this be handled by specialists.

Are there lots of bands in Austria you´re in contact with?
I wouldn´t say that there are many, but we´re good friends of EDENBRIDGE, you can party with THE DRAGONSLAYER PROJECT and SIREN´S CRY, the same with ECLIPTICA and VISIONS OF ATLANTIS. In Tirol there are also LOST DREAMS, DESERT SIN, SUICIDE and OYCE.

Last words?
I hope not :-)! Seriously, stay tuned for our next album „Death & Legacy“, coming out in October 2010! 12 orchestral songs which will take you to a time travel to previous centuries and introduce some interesting personalities!

Markus Seibel

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