Serenity has been alive and kicking since 2001, opening the doors for so much of what is possible in Symphonic Metal. With the band's upcoming 6th album, Lionheart, I had the opportunity to ask bassist, Fabio D'Amore, a few questions about everything going on in the world of Serenity. Check it out and enjoy!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview!
Thank you for giving us this space, and your readers for the attention!
The brand new album from Serenity, Lionheart, is coming out October 27th through Napalm Records. What went into the writing process for Lionheart?
The creative process already started during our Codex Atlanticus tour, in 2016, and in that summer we already had a few pre-productions recorded and quite defined. We went on and on all over the year, although being on tour, and we gathered quite some songs within the first months of the new year. We then selected, together with our producer Jan Vacik and Napalm Records the songs that would have been part of the new Lionheart album. The team once again worked good and there was much input from all parts, especially lots of ideas from our guitarist Chris, and for the first time in Serenity, also a complete song written by myself.
What was the recording experience like this time around? Easier? More challenging?
It was definitely more challenging, as every new upcoming album has to be more challenging than the previous, otherwise the flame would get really weak, you know what I mean. I don’t think any recording process could be considered easy, so I must say in the end we got the result we wanted, and that’s the most important thing. But definitely hard work from all people involved. We wanted to evolve our sound once again, and I think we made it!
The songs Lionheart and United are two great examples of what this album has in store. Is that why they were chosen as singles to represent the album?
Yes exactly, around 20 days ago Lionheart was out as first single and video, and United followed last week as second single, and yesterday as new video! I think these 2 songs are quite representative for the album!
Of course Serenity is much deeper than it’s singles on an album. What should people expect from Lionheart as a whole?
Lionheart is a “journey”, if we could define like that. If you carefully listen to the album in its entirety, you are able to find yourself between epic battles, never-ending travels and legacies of King Richard. The album is quite heavy, but yet super melodic and there are mixed moments and feelings. I must say it’s definitely a good mixture, sound wise as well.
You recently just got to play ProgPower USA back in September. What was that experience like for you? What were some bands you enjoyed seeing live at ProgPower USA?
It was a great experience, once more, like back in 2012 and we had so much feedback and warmth from the crowd. PPUSA is always an unforgettable journey for us! Unfortunately, we’ve been effected by the hurricane issue, although just partially, and we didn’t have much time to spend like we liked, so we had to reschedule our flights and this was a bit complicated. But we can’t wait to be back, and perhaps touring the USA, too!
How was the crowd in Atlanta for ProgPower compared to the rest of the world you play?
The crowd is really warm and welcoming and personally, as the 3rd time for me as a musician (twice with Serenity and once with Pathosray) is always like the first time! It’s not possible to compare the PPUSA crowd, I guess that’s something special!
What is next for Serenity after the release of Lionheart and coming up in 2018?
We’re finally on the road with the new album upcoming week, as special guests of Delain’s tour, feat. Marco Hietala (Nightwish) and we’ll start the official Lionheart tour, 6 shows throughout Europe, and 4 are already sold-out! Later on in February, our headlining tour will take place, which will also bring us around Europe! Vision of Atlantis will be our special guests, and we’ve got talented band to open, such as Sleeping Romance, Evenmore, Secret Rule and more…!
What are you currently listening to?
The brand new Threshold double album, AMAZING!
What do you like to do when you are not focused on Serenity?
I’m loving teaching my vocal and bass students, and record / produce bands and artists!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. As a long time fan of the band, it was an honor to be able to talk to you and help promote Lionheart coming out October 27thy through Napalm Records. Before we wrap things up, is there anything else you would like to mention that I didn’t bring up up yet?
Thanks a lot for your support and I hope the readers like the new album, and if they don’t know us yet, will check us out! Please keep an eye on our social medias! Some interesting surprises and events will follow!
Serenity- Lionheart will be out October 27th through Napalm Records
Sparzana has returned with easily some of their best work to date, Announcing The End, coming out October 13th through Despotz Records. The album is filled with heavy riffs, catchy choruses, and a pure sense of maturity and musicianship. I had the opportunity to ask bassist, Johan Carlsson, a few questions about everything you need to know about Sparzana right now. Hope you dig it!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview!
No problem, our pleasure!
For those that may be new to the band. Describe Sparzanza.
We are a Swedish metal act that have released seven albums so far. The new album “Announcing The End” is album number eight! We have been around for about 20 years and we have been playing around in Scandinavia, Europe and as far away as China. The music can be described as very heavy and dark metal with melodies that clings to your mind like crazy.
You guys are just about to release the new album, Announcing the End, on October 13th. What went into the writing process for the new album?
Well, first of all we took one week in a luxurious house in Spain to write a lot of material for this album. Sun, heat, a pool, a nice view, good friends, good food and plenty of beer, that is all you need to write an amazing album. I think we had about 13-14 songs and ideas with us back to Sweden. And those ideas with all of the stuff done before and after made us have a lot of stuff to work on back home before going into the studio.
From the press release I received, it was mentioned that you separated into different groups while writing then meet up later that day, then the next day, switch groups and repeat the cycle throughout the writing process. That really sounds like that was a positive change in the writing style.
We usually work like this in Sweden too, gather up 2 or maybe three of us in one of our home studios and write songs and the next time it might be a different constellation. The difference this time, compared to home, is that we had no time limit. We started to work in the morning and just wrote without interruptions until we felt like we were done with what we were doing. Back home you might have to quit writing because you have to feed the dog or water your plants, taking care of kids or just have to work the next day. Then it´s harder to get into the creative mode the next time you sit down with the same song. Now we really could work through the stuff before everyone else took a listen to it. And every day as well, for a week. Pretty nice way to work.
Announcing The End feels like there is a new, fresh, rejuvenation in the band? Is that fair to say?
Yes it is! Besides the writing process and the week in Spain we did a few more things differently this time. For example we recorded the whole band the first days. We were only supposed to keep the drums, but to get the feel for the songs we chose to record everyone at the same time, and then re-record everything but the drums. This way it was easier to work with tempos of the songs, keys and the overall feeling, which was great. And another thing we did was to let Daniel Bergstrand from DugOut Productions mix the album which also made the album have a different sound than previous records.
How has the Announcing the End writing cycle changed the band for the future?
We are certainly going back to Spain for a week or two when it is time to write the next album. Other than that it’s hard to say, we might have gotten closer as song writers, but not as friends, we have toured so much for years so we already knew each other very well. Maybe we have become more courageous in the song writing, also hard to tell, and we will not know until the next album is going to be written.
Also, with that in mind, how do you feel about the landscape of Rock and Metal in 2017?
I think the Swedish and the European landscape is absolutely amazing. I mean, just the festivals in Sweden are amazing, and there are festivals all over. And great bands also, even though I am very lazy and don’t find any new bands I like. The worst thing about it is that there is always like 2000 bands on tour and it has become harder to book tours and make them pay off nowadays I believe.
You have released a few songs from Announcing the End so far, including the title track just a couple days ago. How has the reception been to the songs so far?
The first single “Vindication” has gotten so much streams I can’t believe it. The second single “Announcing The End” has also gone very well, and we have had fans that has written the kindest things about both songs in our social media channels, and we love that. Absolutely brilliant, and all the press & media we talk to seem to love the whole album as well. Everyone is like “congratulations to a fantastic album” the whole time. Thanks for that!
What is next for Sparzanza?
Right now we are planning some PR, videos and stuff. We are planning to release a third single and need a video for that. And when the album is released we are on the road. Sweden, Finland and Norway this fall and we end the year with an amazing show in our hometown just before new years eve. And in 2018 it’s time to hit the roads in Europe! You will not miss that!
What are you currently listening to?
Oh, yesterday I went to this vinyl store and spend toooooooo much money on “Scandinavian Leather” by Turbonegro. With a “leather” box and an additional 12”. Very luxurious release, so I am currently playing that one. Other than that it has been a lot of The Dead And Living, both since they are celebrating their 10th anniversary in a few days, but also ‘cause I am joining them on a song on the gig, so I have to practice that.
What do you like to do when you are not focused on Sparzanza?
I’d like to ride my Harley in the summertime, the absolute next best thing besides the music. Other than that it´s a lot about music. Writing music, listening to music. I love to go to small clubs and see bands that can surprise me with how good they are. And I also like to collect vinyl records, which is a more expensive hobby nowadays than riding a Harley.
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. I really enjoy what you have done with Announcing The End and really looking forward to seeing where you guys go next. Before we are done is there anything else you would like to mention that I haven’t brought up yet?
Right back at ya! Thanks a lot! Keep your eyes and ears open for our release and the upcoming Sparzanza tours. We’d love to see you on the road somewhere, sometime very soon! Stay cool!
Sparzana- Announcing The End is available October 13th through Dezpots Records