We tried for a long time to get an interview with Serenade last time around ('98 - '99). Due to reasons beyond both our and Serenade's control; an interview never happend. When we re-started this magazine again; it was one of our main priorities to get a Serenade interview and Fraser in Serenade agreed with us. This magazine simply need an interview with Serenade !!!
Serenade has existed in the Glasgow area in the last 6 years. Without getting the recognition they deserve; they have so far released one cassette album, two CD albums and one MCD. The main reason why they have not got any worthwhile recognition, besides of inept marketing from their ex- label, lays in their anti- commercial brand of Doom Metal. Serenade really do it their ways. We caught up with their main-man Fraser for a presentation of their activities.
1. When and where was Serenade started ? Could you
give us a brief biography ?? Please also give us a
presentation of the members in Serenade.
Serenade was formed in Glasgow in March 1994. Before
this most of us had been in a band called Immortal
Rites for one year. We changed the name to Serenade as
all of the original Immortal Rites members had left
the band. The line-up has changed a little over that
time although we have always had three core members:
myself Fraser McGartland on guitars, Graeme McGartland
on drums and John Alexander on vocals. Serenade was
always a five piece up until the recording of the last
release "Plague of Time" where we were a three piece
with myself taking on bass guitar duties as well. We
are about to recruit a new bass player for the next
2. Please tell us more about the cassette album "Let
Loose The Beauty Within" (later released on a split CD
on Arctic Serenades).
Well this was our first ever studio recording and we
originally intended this release to be a demo.
However, Deviation Records approached us and asked to
release it as a cassette EP. So we agreed to this as
they could provide us with much more exposure than we
were capable of ourselves at this point. Looking back
I still enjoy listening to this EP as it is very good
by demo standards in my opinion.
3. Please tell us more about your debut album "The
28th Parallel" on Deviation Records. In retrospective;
what is your view on that album?
On this album we really pushed the boat out (no pun
intended) and we took experimentation to the extreme.
The lyrical concept was based on Christopher Columbus
discovering the Americas and we tried to create music
that suited the story. This resulted in a culmination
of death, doom with classical, Spanish and tribal
music. In retrospect, I think we were too young to try
such a project as we didn't have enough experience to
pull off this idea as well as we could with more
musical knowledge. When I listen to this album now, I
really ask myself "What planet were we on when we did
this?" I don't think we could produce such an album
now. On the whole there are still some excellent
passages on there that gets my pulse racing but there
are also some moments that make me cringe.
4. Serenade embarked on a full UK tour after the
release of that album. Please give us the highs and
lows of that tour.
It was only a 4-date tour taking in London,
Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. We had a great
time on this tour as we got to play in front of much
bigger crowds than we were used to in Glasgow and we
got some fantastic crowd reactions to our music. This
was very encouraging, as our music is not exactly
suited to the live environment. We even made a little
money as well, which was far beyond our expectations.
The Glasgow gig at the end however, was a disaster as
the venue was double booked, so we gave up and went
home as nobody turned up for it anyway in typical
5. Your second album "The chaos they create" was
released back in '98, if I am not mistaken. Please
give us an insight to this album. In retrospective;
what is your view on that album?
Again we went for a concept album, however this time
we made up the story ourselves. It was a tale of a
Celtic farming family, I know that sounds strange but
that's Serenade for you. Musically it is less
experimental than "The 28th Parallel" but it still has
plenty of progressive touches. When I look back at
this album, I really wish we could have got a better
sounding production as the weak production we got
really lets the album down. This was the first release
that I had more or less written all of the music
myself and I think personally I didn't really know
what kind of sound I wanted and the result is a rather
unfocused piece of music. Again it has its moments but
it could have been a lot better (There was also some
internal band tension that didn't help matters,
however the culprit left the band soon after).
6. Then there was silence.. And then there was a new
MCD with the name "Plague Of Time" and a brand new
label. What happened between the release of "The chaos
they create" and "Plague Of Time" ?
Not much to be honest, there was some problems with
our label Deviation Records that I won't go into, but
basically we ended up spending a lot of money in order
to keep the band going. As a result morale was pretty
low for a while and as I mentioned there was some
internal battles going on with certain band members
trying to change the band into something else. Soon
this culprit left the band by mutual consent and our
bass player at that time Stephen Mitchell moved to
Aberdeen to study, so we were down to a three-piece.
Finally we decided that it was time to bring out a new
release after 2 years in the wilderness. We got
together and wrote 2 new songs and recorded these as
well as the track "Casting The Flesh" which first
appeared on the "Let Loose." EP although we extended
it by about 3 minutes.
7. I have to say that I must admire you and Serenade
for being so bloody-minded and full of fighting
spirit. After the severe setbacks you have
experienced; Serenade still exists. Medals for extreme
bravery face-to-face with the enemy has been awarded
to peoples who has done far less than Serenade. What
makes Serenade ??
Both Graeme's and my own belief in what we are doing.
We know we can produce good music and we are proud of
the music we create. We also know that we can create
so much more and keep improving and improving with
every release. I know this is a cliché, but at the end
of the day we do this for ourselves and we don't give
a shit about what anyone else thinks. Our style of
music is never going to attract a lot of fans and it
will always be criticised by certain people, but we
8. Please tell us more about Golden Lake Productions.
After the shit that went on with Deviation Records, we
decided that we would start our own label to release
our own music, as no other label would probably touch
it anyway. We had a mail-order catalogue on the go
anyway previous to this, so it was easy just to
convert it to a label as we had numerous contacts
already set up with various labels, distributors,
bands and fans. At the moment only Serenade and
Mongoose III (A stoner doom side-project of ours) are
signed to the label, although we are currently
negotiating with a couple of other bands with a view
to signing them to the label. We do have a huge
mail-order catalogue now which doubles as a
fanzine/web-zine and it is doing well for us.
9. What is your future plans for Serenade and Golden
Lake Productions ?
As I mentioned we are looking to sign new bands to
Golden Lake and we also have some other plans to build
on the success that the catalogue and web-site have
brought so far. We hope soon to be a fully up and
running record label with an exciting roster of signed
bands. As for Serenade we are currently writing new
material. Whether this will be a MCD or full-length
CD, I'm not sure at the moment, but it will be our
best yet, I can guarantee that. We are now fully
focused on what we are doing, we have nobody trying to
hold us back anymore, now we can really show what we
are made of.
10. Where can Serenade and Golden Lake Productions be
contacted ? Any web sites and mail order ?
Both Serenade and Golden Lake Productions can be
19 Castlehill Drive
Write/e-mail for a free mail-order catalogue/fanzine or check out the web-site/ web-zine.
11. Any final comments ?
Thanks for the interview, I enjoyed getting some of that stuff off my chest. Serenade are stronger than
ever and heaven help anyone who tries to get in our way!