Can you introduce yourself and the band to our readers?
‘Hi to all, this is Mario, I play keyboards and do backing vocals in Serenity! My band consists of Georg on lead vocals, our guitarist Thomas, bass player Simon and our drummer Andy who also does backing vocals. We found the original line up back in 2001, recorded a demo and tried to make our way, but in the end of 2003 the band’s constellation began to crumble. Thank heavens, in early 2004 three new members joined us (Andy and me are the two remaining of the old line up) and together we were ready to conquer first Austria, then the rest of the world! ;) The story goes on with a quite successful demo in 2005, a full length recording in 2006 which led us to sign to Napalm Records and leads to our recent album Fallen Sanctuary. And here we are now, still working in our daily jobs and working hard for the band in our spare time with great ambition.’
If you had to compare your musical style to any other band, what would it be?
‘What concerns the amount of symphonics we are using now one could name Nightwish as a comparison. Due to the bands that had influences on us you can hear also similarities to the likes of Rage, Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Evergrey, but even In Flames or Queen! Our label calls us “Symphonic Melodic Metal” which is the shortest description possible for our style – and it fits quite well. It’s interesting, because of Georg’s voice we often are compared to Scorpions and Sonata Arctica… in both cases I hardly can duplicate this, although our lead singer has a rather clear voice and a similar timbre his voice obviously has much more “balls” than the ones of the mentioned bands’ singers.’
You recently released Fallen Sanctuary, how are the responses so far?
‘To sum it up, really great! Of course there are some reviews which do not sound that overwhelming, but you just can’t satisfy everyone! But what we expected, occurred: people notice that we have developed with this album, that we have made a much greater effort to realize our vision of how Serenity should sound and that the songs are more compact and catchy. We have come close to the image we had in mind of a huge sounding album written by us. We’ll see how the reactions will be like when we’ll be touring again next spring and the fans already know the songs well, we’re looking forward to that.’
What was the reason Sandra Schleret was asked to do some guest vocals?
‘This time we wanted to have a female voice as a contrast to Georg’s on the album, and we wanted it not to be that kind of high-pitch, elfish voice. According to that, Georg had written the lyrics to ‘Fairytales’ in a way that only a man and a woman could sing it. As Sandra has been a part of the Austrian metal scene since the mid nineties (remember Dreams Of Sanity) we already knew her and got to ask her if she would contribute on our record. She said yes immediately, we met each other at Thomas’ place where she then recorded her lines, it was nice to work with her!’
What are steps in your career that you are most proud of?
‘To speak just for me: I’m really proud of never having given up, of always believing in the band’s dreams and also of taking all the compromises needed. For the whole band there surely were remarkable steps or moments in our biography like the gig with Dio, signing our label deal or entering the nightliner and starting the first tour ever! Some other memories would be the guys of Metal Church spending congratulations for a gig to us or our former manager informing us that none other than Mike Portnoy really digs our debut album! These are things that you really keep in mind!’
Serenity has toured with big names like Dio, Threshold and Kamelot, which band do you definitely want to add to this list?
‘If we would not have to care about similar musical styles I would name Nevermore or Mercenary, both incredibly strong live bands and two of my favorite metal outfits. Others would be Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind and Evergrey, I think we would fit better with them musically. Thinking of the size of the audience you can have at one single show touring with Edguy or Nightwish would be an amazing thing because they play the real big venues now. We’ll hope and see what the future will bring.’
When's your next gig and where? Any plans for a large (European) tour?
‘Our next live appearance will take place on the 13th of December in Heilbronn (D) where we will perform a show as support to Ivanhoe. If everything ends up well, we’ll hit the European roads once again in March 2009 – let’s say we have a chance of 95 % to do this. So be prepared!’
What can we expect from Serenity in the nearby future?
‘Like said before – touring activities in Spring. Then we plan to play at some cool Summer festivals in 2009, that’s always great when the weather is fine and they have good beer. Song writing should also start soon as we need the time to write the best Serenity-songs ever for the third album which will be released not before the end of 2009. So far our plans.’
What have you guys got that Slayer hasn't?
‘Errr … melodic guitar soli and keyboards? Ears that still have their function?’
You are cast away on a deserted island. Luckily, you still have your iPod. Which five albums/artists would be on there?
‘Hey, what kind of iPod is this with only five albums on it??? But ok, there definitely would be one by Nevermore, most certain Dead Heart In A Dead World. Then Life Is Killing Me by Typre O Negative, On Fire by Spiritual Beggars (some music that fits the sunny weather), Character by Dark Tranquillity and… well, it’s a hard decision to choose just one Pain Of Salvation-album, but I think I’d take One Hour By The Concrete Lake with me. This should be enough “substance” to survive for a while. ;)’
Name the single lamest record in your collection.
‘I normally only buy CDs when I know I will like them and so there is – in my opinion – no lame album among my collection, except for St. Anger, which I bought without giving a listen to it. It would be really interesting though how this record would sound if Metallica would have worked much more on the songs and would have chosen a huge metal production.’
Do you have something to add to this interview or maybe something to say to our readers?
‘Of course … give a listen to Fallen Sanctuary and even if you are no melodic metal maniac you will notice that there’s nothing dealing with fairies or unicorns and the music is no average “happy” melodic metal, but enriched with a strong metal edge and modern elements. Have fun discovering the result of five Austrian guys forging metal together and dive deep into the songs, there are many details waiting to be explored!’