Interview with Solemn

Coming out of Taiwan, Solemn will be kicking off a tour with Bhelliom to celebrate Bhelliom’s 10th year of existence. We talk to the band about their debut album and about how they feel touring Asia.

HMT: Hi guys! Thank you for granting us this interview with you. How are things going for all of you?

Ray: We’re very busy recently to prepare for the summer “The Road to Reform” Asia tour , but I think it’s worth it.

Zac: Every thing goes really well. I’m looking forward to the show in Singapore.

Black: I think we all get ready and are very excited. For us, this tour will be the most important event in this year!

To fans unfamiliar with the band, give us a brief introduction and history to yourselves.

Ray: Solemn was formed in 2003 by Zac and me, and vocalist Wendy joined in the next year, drummer Coolio and guitarist Black joined in 2005 and in 2008.We had released two EPs and two music collections in the past. Our debut album came out last year. We’re going to set a Asia tour in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and in Hong Kong. We’re extremely excited to meet the fans in Asia!

Solemn was formed back in 2003 with guitarist Zac and yourself, Ray on bass. Wendy was later added on vocals. How did the decision to have a female vocalist come about?

Zac: Actually it was just a coincidence. Ray and Wendy were classmates in college, they had another band back then, and the original vocalist in Solemn left us, so the band Ray and Wendy had just separated… then she joined Solemn!

How would you describe your band’s music? We see a notable trace of metalcore in your brand of melodic death metal, and I have to say Wendy’s ability to do both clean and growling vocals is just amazing.

Wendy: Well thanks. I think our music was all about the enthusiasm in it. As for my vocals, the process of making both my growling and clean vocal well was kind of tuff and it did take me some hard-working, it all relied on constantly practice and keeping a good stamina.

Zac: Actually I think the guitar part in melodic death metal and in metalcore had a lot of things in common. And the metal bands nowadays are all searching for mutual style… when it combines with Wendy’s vocal and that’s the special part of Solemn.

Solemn has previously shared the stage with international acts such as Exodus, Norther and Firewind on tour. What was the experience like playing alongside other experienced bands?What are some of the most memorable experiences from these concerts?

Zac: They are all international bands which are so professional, apart from the high level technique, they have professional technicians who made them not only concentrate on their own performances but also have a great sound quality at the same time.

Ray: Imagine your favorite band standing in front of you and say “Hey dude, wish you the best on stage!”. This kind of feeling must be unforgettable for a normal person…

Wendy: Haha, it just took me so much to concentrate on my performance…

Coolio: It was extremely nervous for sure, but beside this, we can learn things from these bands like how to control our tone on stage and the using of some equipment.

Last year, the band took part in the Free Tibet concert organized by the Guts United Organization headed by Freddy from ChthoniC. What made the band decide to join this event, seeing that there are only 2 metal bands on the bill.

Wendy: Bands joined the event must have the same faith toward this, we just wanted to convey the concept of our support to Tibet. If Taiwanese people don’t show a active attitude of our aspiration of freedom, then the government and people in other countries won’t know our request.

Zac: Actually, Taiwan and Tibet were always the headlines on international issues, the event was to propagate that Tibetans were oppressed by Chinese government and leave a deliberate space for Taiwanese. It’s nothing to do with the music style you play.

With the release of your debut album, The Road to Reform last year, how has the response been?

Wendy: People are supportive and happy about this album that we finally have. The response we’ve learned the most by now was the great quality of the recording. Thanks to Ultimate music.

Black: Some people that had never listened to metal music would like this album. But they were all shocked when they knew the growling vocal was also done by Wendy.

Zac: So far… so good. Although this is our debut album, I think it’s the best we’ve ever had to this day.

Code from Anthelion was pulled in as the producer for the album. What was the experience like?

Wendy: He’s a scrupulous and professional guy, he does every thing step by step. He is a great partner to work with, we had a great time working together.

Coolio: He’s very strict, but to us, the inexperienced band, we learned a lot of things.

Black: He’s a very interesting guy. He looks kinda scary if he doesn’t smile, that made me a little nervous at the beginning. But after one day of working, we got along well. I really learned a lot during the days working with him.

Zac: The only thing I remember is that his hair was fucking long… and straight. Haha!

Ray: I think… there is no other man know us better than him. Haha!

The album was also mixed in famed Danish studio, Jacob Studio, known for mixing albums from Destruction and Hatesphere. What was it that made the band decide to do it in Taiwan? Perhaps you could share with our readers the mixing process?

Ray: The process of communicating to Jacob Studio was very complicated. They’ll keep asking questions like “Is this what you want?” or “Does the low gain fit your demand?” instead of being arrogant, and the work came out with their own style. I think this is the reason why they crush most of the studios!

Zac: Most Taiwan bands… I mean underground bands… don’t really care about the mixing… ’cause there are so many self-observed sound-guy in Taiwan. They always think that it is the best to mix the tracks themselves! They won’t care what kind of genre you play, they just do every thing in the same way. So we decided to mix our tracks out of Taiwan. They are professional and they know metal well. They know what we wanted.

Solemn will be touring with Singapore’s very own melodic death metal act Bhelliom, and will be performing in Singapore some time in July. What can fans expect for the upcoming tour and gig in Singapore?

Ray: We had done some gigs with Bhelliom here in Taiwan. But this time we’re going to do it in their hometown, Singapore, and some other cities. Hope that this will make people know more about bands from Taiwan. I’m very excited about this tour.

Black: It’s the first time for us to play in other country, to impress the people in Singapore, we’ve worked out some plans. So let me just say it will be a very good show!

Zac: There are always big circle pit and wall of death in our show here in Taiwan. So this time in Singapore we’ll definitely bring you guys more!

After this touring cycle, what are the plans for the band in the future? Any releases that fans can look forward to?

Black: After this tour, we’ll start to work on the next album. Zac, Ray and me have wrote some new demos, I think there will be a big change between the next album and this one, a better change!

Coolio: A lot of fans are looking forward for the new stuff and see how we can bring the new “mosh”!

Finally, any parting words for listeners and aspiring musicians out there?

Wendy: Thanks for all the support you guys served, and I’m looking forward to meet friends in Singapore!

Coolio: I’ll never stop making music unless I’m dead, though it really tuff.

Black: Thank you for supporting Solemn, it’s the best to see you come to our shoe and have fun with us!

Ray: Always keep the faith!

Zac: We’ll definitely bring you guys some shock… hope to see you guys in the pit moshing and smiling at the same time!

Solemn will be playing at *scape alongside Truth Be Known on the 24th of August. More information here.
Solemn on MySpace.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence

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