Interview with Solemn

Since their last performance in Singapore in 2010, Taiwanese melodic death metal band Solemn has seen a shift in their lineup, with new vocalist Yi and drummer Shiauyu now included in the band. We talk to them to find out how the change in lineup came about and more.

HMT: Hi Ray, thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk to you. How are things going so far for yourself and the band?

Ray:Hello, friends in Singapore!! It’s been a long since last time!!We’re doing great now and expecting to go back to Singapore and play some gigs for you guys!!

There have been some lineup changes since the band’s performance in Singapore last year, with vocalist Wendy and drummer Coolio leaving the band. What were the reasons behind their departures?

Ray: After the Asia tour last year,Wendy left the band due to her health and career issues, Coolio decided to leave us because the difference between his musical goal and ours; they both have their own bands now and they’re doing well now,we definitely will not forget the good times we had together and we wish both of them better future.

Vocalist Yi

How did the band manage to find new members Yi and Shiauyu?

Zac: Shiauyu was quite famous in the south when she was in high school, I had saw her performing back then, I was totally shocked by her performance.

Ray: Shiauyu did a show with us as a guest drummer before she joined in, so we decided to get her as our new drummer right after the former one left.

Shiauyu: I feel so excited but nervous at the same time joining Solemn, I was afraid that I can’t afford this job. But after a few jamming with all the members and with their persistence to metal music and the devotion they put into their performances, I can just give all that I can do to Solemn’s music.

Ray: After the former vocalist, Wendy left the band, I got a call from Alien Avenge’s vocalist, Wade, he said that he knew a girl growls like the female version of Behemoth’s Nergal and asked me if I want to give her a try, we were all satisfied after a few jamming, then we decided to let Yi join Solemn as our new vocalist.

Yi: I was totally lucky to join them!

Also, with their inclusion in the band, how has it been working with them and how has it affected the band dynamics?

Zac: The bigger change may be that we gained so many male fans…

Ray: Yes! So she can only get 100 NTD after a show…just kidding ha ha!

Shiauyu: Er…that was only kidding! Ray nearly killed me…Of course each member has their own characteristics; I just hope that I won’t turn a fierce gig to a hilarious party when talking to the audience…

Ray: Actually Shiauyu can do multiple styles of drum playing; not only metal, she has been studying in Latin, Funk and Fusion for a long time. Last year she beat so many Taiwanese drummers and won the “Taichung Big Beat III” contest with a Latino style song; so I think that you can definitely find some new elements and surprise in our new album.

The band will be performing on the Return to Chaos tour in Taiwan alongside Singapore band Truth Be Known. How have preparations been so far for the show?

Ray: We played some gigs together with Truth Be Known last year in “The Road To Reform” tour, and we decided to bribg them to Taiwan and play with us as soon as we were planning this “Return to Chaos” tour; they are such a playful and funny band!! We played Refuse/Resist by Sepultura together, and the fans down stage gone insane!! We hope that Truth Be Known can be back to Taiwan soon.

Also, will there be any surprises in store for fans? As far as we know, on the previous tour dates with Anthelion there was a song-swop with the band. Can fans expect any such surprises on the upcoming tour?

Shiauyu: This “Return to Chaos” tour is full of fun and freshness, we invited different special guests every gig including Wade of Alien Avenge, Leslie of KoOk (a famous grunge band in Taiwan) and Cig from Infernal Chaos, we haven’t seen him for a really long time; this different kind of music flames made Solemn improve ourselves.

Drummer Shiauyu

How did the decision to have such a move during the tour with Anthelion come about? How did fans react to it?

Ray: It was all because that we had too much alcohol when the three bands were having a meeting, all of us came up with weird and stupid ideas, and all of the bands agreed those ideas!! But after becoming sober it was not too good to knock it off, so we did it anyways! (laughter). But it was totally funny for the first time performing with corpse painted, maybe this was our first time and the last time, ‘cause it took so much time to do the make-up. It was also full of fun singing with Code from Anthelion, Code did all the recording, mastering of our album “The Road to Reform”, he was the producer, so he might have listened to it for hundreds of times, but it was another matter singing with Yi! I almost drop tears when we did the rehearsal; then we did the perform on stage, Code show up when Yi sang to the bridge, the crowd went crazy down stage in just a moment, they almost destroy the place! We were all stunned on stage!!!

Shiauyu: It’s normal for three bands sharing stage, you can see this everywhere! But it’s different when three bands performing on stage at the same time; since we are all friends, we must do something different, so we came up with the idea of performing together.

Black: Code and Zeist from Anthelion plus Ding of Losing ART and Solemn’s Ray and Shiauyu did The Trooper from Iron Maiden; Cowboys form Hell by Pantera, featuring Zac and Yi, Siniz, bassist of Anthelion plus the guitarist and drummer from Losing ART; and finally all members of the three bands did Bon Jovi’s Never Say Goodbye, there were 14 persons on stage that night, all the audiences sang along with us, that may be the one and only time I can see in my life, those who didn’t must be regretting!!

Finally, after the band’s release of the debut album in 2009 and a new lineup, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

Zac: Hum…I guess we have to hold that as a secret!! But I can tell you that the new album will be totally different, so I suggest that you guys can follow us more, and I hope that I can see a massive pit in every gig of the tour in August!!

Shiauyu: There is definitely some chemical change when a band changes its line-up, we’re now working on the new songs every week, it is sure that we’ll give you something fresh in the new album!!

Ray: This album will make Solemn become the next must know Taiwanese metal band, that’s all!!

Once again, thank you for taking the time off to answer our questions!

Ray: Thanks to Heavy Metal Tribune!! We sure will go back to Singapore after we release our new album!!

Related articles:
Interview with Solemn (2010)
Album Review: Solemn – The Road to Reform

Solemn on the internet:

©2011 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence

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