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 release.

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 Glasgow fashion.

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 don't care!

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 contacted at:

19 Castlehill Drive
Newton Mearns
G77 5JZ

Golden Lake and Serenade

our e-mail address

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!