Serenity – Straight to LionheartSunday, 5th November 2017
Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider some of the standout moments in the career of Serenity – either studio efforts or live tours/festival appearances where you knew you were making a big step up or advancement when it comes to respect, critical acclaim, or audience approval?
Hersdörfer: The first step was the decision in general to go out of the usual music level that I thought I would never leave. The decision to join Visions of Atlantis. The next step was Georg asking me if I would be able to join Serenity for one tour, as Thomas wasn’t able to play, and that was another level. I was unafraid- and I’ve seen with Serenity it’s working out very well. I was also happy that I didn’t also just make it into the band- I also became one of the main songwriters. We just won an Austrian music award- that is a country-wide music award. The Austrian music market is not that small- I was never dreaming of winning a prize for my music, and it was winning for the band. We won it for Codex Atlanticus. And now with Beyond the Black, it’s a universal music project- I have two really good bands that I love to tour and write music with. I’m really proud of having done this, I want to bring both bands to the top.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you have a preference for club shows, theaters, or large festivals when playing live?
Hersdörfer: No. I was just playing with Beyond the Black at the Loud Park Festival in Tokyo, Japan – one of the biggest metal festivals you can play in the world, or Wacken. Even ProgPower – all these festivals are really nice, but these club shows- and we will do small ones also on the next tour- they are special. You have a different contact and feeling to people. The ambience is more electric, it’s special, because with the big ones you know it’s big. With the little clubs, you see more of the reactions from the people- and this gives you unique impressions of the show, the performance of your music that you will never get in front of main stage Wacken, when you are performing in front of 80,000 people. The hands are up, perfect- but I won’t see anything else, because it’s too big. And the loud little club with 100 people can be the same fun as a stadium, I think.
Dead Rhetoric: Your hobbies include cooking, boxing, and MMA – how active are you in those pursuits when you have the free time to do so, have you taken in any boxing/MMA professional action in person?
Hersdörfer: No, I never have. To come to this MMA stuff, my dad is a black belt in judo. When I was a child, he wanted to bring me to the fighting sports. Everybody in my school played football (soccer)- and after years of playing shitty football I just destroyed my knees. One of my ink artists who lived close to me told me to go to a MMA club in my local area. I tried it, and it felt like what I was always looking for in sports. In the last month, I wasn’t able to do it as much- but as soon as the album comes out, I will be back to doing this two or three times a week. I just started this some years ago, I never had the aim to go to real combat. It’s a sport I like, but I don’t want to become a professional like Conor McGregor – it’s cool to watch him doing his stuff, but I will not join the MMA. It’s a good thing for your brain- it’s not just for your body. Mixed Martial Arts are like the old Chinese and Japanese ways of thinking- you have the music art, painting art, and fight art- the three big elements. When you are practicing sports, you are developing an equalization in your body.
And cooking is the same. Cooking helps me to calm down, having a glass of wine, being calm, and doing something great that you prepare and you will enjoy later on.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be doing a headline tour in early 2018 across Europe – are there hopes for more North American touring, as you’ve made quite an impression last year with your ProgPower USA festival appearance…
Hersdörfer: Yes, we hope so. We’ve tried to do some headlining shows around ProgPower this year- but there was no good spot for us. But we have to- now playing ProgPower a second time, we’ve been there in the US for that and 70K of Metal cruise, so now is the time to play some headlining shows. I do not know where and when, this is about the booking team who would like to get some cool dates. We are crossing our fingers like all Serenity fans in the US that this will happen finally.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your feelings on the state of symphonic, power, and progressive metal in general? If given the chance, where would you like to see changes or improvements made?
Hersdörfer: I have a good feeling, as when I see the lineup for instance this year at Wacken 2018, it’s coming back. The last five or six years, people were talking more about metalcore and this nu-metal thing, and now when you look at the big festivals the lineups are back to more old school metal, power metal. You have the older Helloween reformation with a reunion tour, that is great to have Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske on stage again. And why do they do it now? Because the people have the wish and have been waiting for it. Progressive metal is always a little bit special, and power metal will be back again. Symphonic metal has never really been dead, it’s spreading in more different parts like symphonic death metal bands. You have black metal-oriented bands into the symphonic metal scene- bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse. If you combine the genres… it’s okay to have a break from the female opera singers sometimes. After Tarja from Nightwish, every girl tried to be an opera artist and I don’t know, some people forgot about the rock (side)- and maybe it’s time to rock again. I think that’s what we have tried to do again- to be more rock again, to be more true. Just feeling straight to the front, always trying to put in different elements, like we did on Lionheart.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s the plan for Serenity and Beyond the Black over the next twelve months? Will there be more conceptual videos from the Lionheart album, where do you plan to tour, etc.?
Hersdörfer: The plans for Serenity include a great tour with Delain, starting next week upon the release of the album. Preparing for the headlining tour, trying to book the summer festival shows all around the world and also looking at some good spots in North America, South America, and Asia- we want to go to these countries over the next 12 months to two years. Besides then, we will start in the spring and summer working on the next album, we want to keep this line going like we have. We are having fun now, we want to show you that there is another great masterpiece waiting for you.
Beyond the Black is now in the songwriting process of something new. There will be a new record out, I can’t tell you when- we have a headlining tour here in Europe coming up, supported by Kobra and the Lotus in December. Let’s see what 2018 will bring at the moment- there are plans but nothing concrete. We have had a successful 2017 – and we are full of energy for the next year. That’s how it looks for both bands.
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