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Serenity Interview

A Conversation With Guitarist Thomas Buchberger




Napalm Records
The latest CD from the Austrian progressive/power metal band Serenity is Fallen Sanctuary. It was mixed by Jacob Hansen, with production help from Edenbridge’s Langvall and Everon’s Oliver Phillips. Guitarist Thomas Buchberger fills us in on the band’s new CD, his musical background and many other topics.

Chad Bowar: How did Serenity get together originally?
Thomas Buchberger: Serenity was formed by Mario Hirzinger (keys) and some of his former friends including Andreas Schipflinger (drums). There was a big lineup change in late 2003/early 2004, when Georg Neuhauser (vocals), Simon Holzknecht (bass) and I formed the band and its musical style as you know it today. Serenity began to split up at that time and the three new members wanted to form their own band and asked Mario and Andi to join them. The circumstances then led to the conclusion to join forces and stay with the name Serenity, due to its publicity in the local area.

How did the band’s sound progress from Words Untold to Fallen Sanctuary?
The songs on Words Untold & Dreams Unlived were the first songs the band wrote together. And some songs were already one to two years old when the band was formed, written by Georg and me or by Mario. The newer songs sounded different from that due to the fact that everything was polished and written together. Now with Fallen Sanctuary the music style changed a little bit more into melodic metal, but still has everything that stands for Serenity: choirs, orchestra, heavy riffing; more of everything than on our debut. The songs are tighter and more catchy than ever before. But I'm also sure that our next release will sound a little bit different again, the normal progress of a band.

How did Langvall and Oliver Phillips come to be a part of the recording process of the album?
We got to know Lanvall in 2006 when our first album was recorded. We asked him to do some guest soloing and he agreed. Since that point on he became a very good friend and we meet each other once in a while for skiing, mountain hiking and so on. His experience with voices led to the decision to work with him this time and maybe in the future too. We will see. With Oliver Phillips we got in contact by a friend of ours. Several discussions followed and in the end he agreed to arrange our orchestration ideas.

Where was the CD recorded?
Drums, bass and additional editing was once again done at Dreamscape Studios Munich by Jan Vacik (Ex Dreamscape). Guitars and keyboards were recorded in my personal home studio and at Mario's home. The vocals were recorded by Lanvall (Edenbridge) at his studio in Linz, Austria, orchestration by Oliver Philips (Everon) in Germany and guest appearances also at my home. A lot of different places as you see. This was difficult to organize at some points.

What impact did Jacob Hansen’s mix have on the final product?
Every mixing and mastering tech has a different approach on sound. The dry recordings can be polished or also can be destroyed with mixing and mastering. Especially something around 100 to 200 tracks doesn't make work easier. To be honest: we haven't been absolutely satisfied with the more orchestrated songs in the beginning. But Jacob did a great job in the end to our fullest satisfaction.

What inspired the album title?
One of the first ideas that came up to our minds was "fallen". We then thought on Evanescence's first album which was also named "fallen" and so began to work on other mutations including this title. In the end Fallen Sanctuary was fixed as it somehow describes the point or a statement the band was looking for. But I can't remember a special inspiration on it.

What has the early response to the album been?
Response at the moment is just great! A lot of fans from all over the world have emailed us or left all their positive comments on our website and on MySpace. Most reviews are good (especially for a small player as Serenity is) and our record label Napalm Records digs the album just the way we wanted it to be. Also the band itself is really proud of the new material.

What are your expectations for the CD?
Of course to grow as a band, as songwriters, to get a bigger name in this business and to get the chance for a tour again. And last but not least to sell more records, so that we are able to produce good albums in the future again! Without the help of fans and appropriate sales this is simply not doable.

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