Interview date

09 Mars 2011




Interview Tom Buchberger (by mailer)

Hi, I'm Ostianne from the french webzine and I thank you for answering my questions !

Hi this is Tom Buchberger (guitars, composer) from Serenity! You're welcome...

Your last album was released two years and a half ago. What happened during this time?

A lot of things happened in those two and a half years. First, we've been on several European tours with Kamelot, Delain, Threshold and Edenbridge and played a lot of shows in Austria/Germany/Czech Republic also. After the last tour in late 2009 we concentrated on writing new songs for "Death & Legacy". Due to the fact that we simply wanted to create a stunning album with a cool concept behind it, it took us almost a year longer than expected to get this done! However it was all worth it and I think you will be able to hear all those efforts on the final release!

How did you work for this album? Was it longer than before because of this concept idea?

The concept took some time because of all the research we had to do. But the main factor for the delay was the songwriting itself as well as the massive orchestration. It was much more work to do than on our previous releases. We also made a large preproduction which we used to create the final orchestrations before we even recorded one final track! This way we knew exactly how the final result would sound like. But of course this takes a much longer time. In the end we recorded all our instruments and vocals on top of this preproduction!

As we said, "Death & Legacy" is a concept album. Can you talk about its subject?

The concept deals with historic figures and their stories. So you will be able to get into Giacomo Casanova, Marco Polo, Albrech Duerer, Bartolomeu Dias, Sir Francis Drake,... There is no A to Z story but every song stands on its own. This way we think the material is even more attractive and offers more variety. We even tried to bring the concept to the artwork and the band pics! So you will find Mario representing Galileo Galilei, Andy is Albrecht Duere, Georg is Giacomo Casanova and I am Heinrich Kramer, an Austrian Inquisitor.

What are the three words that describe the best this album and why?

Melody, symphonic, awesome… At least that's the way we feel about it as it offers a whole album full of great melodies, massive Hollywood soundtrack style orchestrations and a whole lot of other awesome stuff such as huge choirs, great instrumental work, etc.

And if you had to find a colour, an animal and a landscape for this album, what would they be?

Purple as the artwork is purple too, a blue whale as the album is just huge, and New Zealand which offers all kinds of different landscapes - just like the album has everything from harder songs to ballads, from fast stuff to mid-tempo and slow songs and a lot of ups and downs.

This is a long album with a lot of songs. Aren't you afraid that it can be too long for people?

We've heard this several times now. But we think that this release just offers an awesome experience with a lot of great songs (without even one song that is not worthy of being on the CD). So this means value for money and if it is too long for somebody - just make a break right in the middle of those sixty seven minutes and everything will be allright!

You have two bonus tracks on this album. Usually, they are put at the end of the album, not on this one. Why?

Long story… We only wanted to create one bonus track in the beginning which was for Japan. Then we said it would be good to have another one for a limited edition. In the end we just dug all songs and could not favourite any song for being a bonus track. So we wanted to use all songs for the final release and therefore fixed the tracklist. In the end our label wanted to have those bonus tracks and we had to choose two of them and had to think of the changes in the artwork also. So we could not remove a song which offers the band pics (for instance "My Legacy" which offers Mario as Galileo Galilei). It was a hard decision and we still have to say that the full "Death & Legacy" includes the bonus tracks too.

You worked again with Lanvall (Edenbridge) on this album as on your first one. What does he bring to your music?

We worked together with Lanvall on the choir arrangements and he offered us an interlude. We already worked with him on "Fallen Sanctuary" which was our second release! Lanvall has a great understanding of symphonic music and loves working on choirs. So we wanted to use his capabilities for this release also. He always receives the main melodies with maybe two-three voices and creates the arrangement for a full scale choir then, which Georg has to sing all on his own...

I guess Ailyn, Amanda Somerville and Charlotte Wessels didn't record their vocals in the same studio. Isn't it a bit frustrating to do a duet without doing it for real?

Studio work is totally different from playing live gigs most of the time. That's also for duets. You often have to imagine the final result when doing your part. Sometimes comparable to a movie with lots of digital characters when the actor has to interact with a green wall and nothing else. But Georg, Ailyn, Amanda and Charlotte are used to those kind of studio situations and did a fabulous performance!

Why did you ask these three singers to participate to this new album and not other singers?

If we had chosen other singers why would we choose them and not the ones we have on this release??? You know… creating a Serenity album is a huge process with lots of people included. So there will always be a lot of decisions being made which just have to be made. For the singers we looked into several female singers and tried to contact them. Some did not reply, some were enthusiastic right from the beginning. So we chose the ones we thought were perfect for the final result! And it worked out!

The cover has something mystical. What does it express to you?

The artwork reflects a goddess holding a book losing the sand of time (representing the legacy…) and a sword (representing death). So absolutely fitting don’t you think??? Of course it also looks great! We spent quite some time on this…

What are the next plans for Serenity?

Right now we are doing some headliner shows all over Austria, followed by support slots to the bands described in your next question. This will bring us on tour over a month all in all. In summer some festival shows will take place. After that we have to see if there is a chance for another tour in autumn or not. We think that we will hit the road again but in worst case we will immediately start working on our next release. I already have plenty of melodies and stuff on my PC but bringing those to a final result will take a lot of efforts again. We'll try to bring the next album to you in a shorter amount of time… But it is not that easy as it may sound to you...

You will support Delain, but also Epica and Leaves'Eyes for a couple of shows. When will we see Serenity as a headliner band?

As soon as possible… But right now we try to gain a bigger fanbase and try to tour with bands in our kind of music just to become a bigger name in this business. Hopefully, this will work out soon and if the album is successful you may have the chance to see Serenity on a full scale headliner tour with the next release. At least that’s what we all hope for. We are ready for it as we already played single headliner shows especially in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

What is your best memory with Serenity and what can be the best experiment that the band could live?

Everything dealing with Serenity is a great memory in one way or the other. Serenity is Georg's and my little baby (NO WE ARE NOT GAY ;-) and we already spent so much time, money and effort for this becoming huge. I remember when Georg and I said "When we do a tour with any of those bands out there we will be happy". This was only four years ago and now we released three albums, played six European tours with lots of our favourites and are up for the next step. So way too much memories to pick one. The best thing for us but also for the fans would be becoming bigger so that we would be able to tour all over the world, release new albums constantly, etc.

What do you think of the symphonic metal scene in Europe, with male or female voices?

I honestly think that all female fronted bands have a huge bonus and will gain a bigger fanbase immediately. In my opinion most male fronted bands lack uniqueness especially on the singer's side. That's why I also think that we are something special with a singer like Georg who has a very clean and unique timbre. Not that kind of standard power metal singer who gets annoying after half an hour. But we also like female voices – which you can also hear on "Death & Legacy"! All in all it is a hard business and melodic stuff is not that attractive anymore. But I have a feeling that this will change soon and melodic metal will gain its attraction again! Only time will tell...

Any last word?

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