April 06, 2017

SERVAN interview

I interviewed SERVAN on various topics, including their upcoming album "Tales of the Forest".

01. Hi! Welcome at Sword Chant! Three years ago was founded SERVAN. Can you tell us your adventure from the beginning until now ?
Hi Krissy, and thank you! Three years ago, as you said, SERVAN was founded. Many things happened since today : from the ashes of another folk band, we decided to start this project, because we had some good material. At the time we were only 4 but after many changes we finally had the current lineup (last changes were done in the last months of 2015). We have to remember the live we shared during those years with some great folk metal bands from northern Italy too and some records we have done... But maybe we can talk about it later.

02. During the same year was released one first demo. What feedbacks have you got with time ?
Yeah, we were very excited of our music and so, we decided to record a demo as soon as possible. We were almost inexperienced and this three-tracks CD came out with a really low record quality. Anyway the feedbacks were quite good : the material was nice but the quality instead was not. We took this as an advice to make more efforts in our records and so, after some months, we recorded again one track of the demo, as a single : with this release, almost all the listeners that we came in contact with, approved our work at 360°.

03. Have you ever been influenced by Folk Metal music since 2014 ?
None of us is a proper « folk metaller », but we are into and listen to different styles of metal. Adriano, for example, is really into prog metal (we can hear that during the rehearsals... ;)). Returning back to the question : yes, we have been influenced by many folk metal bands, from ARKONA to FUROR GALLICO, from FINNTROLL to FOLKSTONE and ELUVEITIE and that is because Enrico, the singer and main composer of the band, listens to a lot of bands and takes from them lot of ideas to insert in our songs.

04. What are your favorite Folk Metal bands ?
The folk metal bands we like are more or less the ones that influence our sound: so again, Eluveitie, Arkona Finntroll... and the others above!

05. What do you think about Folk Metal overall and, in Italy ?
We think that folk metal is a really exciting style of metal. It’s very open and wide : folk metal is mainly influenced by traditions and popular (meant as « ancient » or « historical ») music of the place where you live and so it is not like every other genre of metal that almost have its « rules » universally knowed (for example wide use of blast beats in death metal, epic and fast melodies as well as solos in power metal...). Folk metal is metal + folk riffs, melodies, instruments or whatever else. Folk, again, meant as « from the land/place where you live ». Also is common that folk metal bands use their own language, instead of english that is used in almost every type of metal.
Summing up is a very complex and various world, every band has its own folk influences and you can discover throught folk metal songs the musical traditions of far places. TENGGER CAVALRY is, for example, a mongolian folk metal band, and you can listen very well the oriental influences within their music.

While worldwide we think that folk metal is growing and becoming more and more popular. Here in Italy, sadly, the situation is not so good : we have an enormous amount of folk metal bands and the influences of every band even change with the region where the bands are. Plus, we have an enormous popular musical repertory. On the other hand we almost don’t have big or small labels (only a few are well known) and within those few only one is dedicated to folk metal. Festivals ? Only two : Malpaga folk metal fest and Fosch Fest (that this year is at a rest), where the last year played  big thrash metal bands. We don’t criticize organizers (they do a beautiful work and we have only to thank them to bring alive a big festival here in Italy), but there are many valuable folk metal bands in this state that wait only a chance to make their jump. As well as folk metal-specialized sites like Sword Chant : only two for what i know : our friend Fabrizio Giosuè and his Mister Folk website and Ironfolks.
Returning to a general view for this genre, in Italy, as everything else the more you have, the more is undestimated.

06. From 2015, you are working on your debut album "Tales of the Forest" firstly planned to be released by Spring 2016, rescheduled for this year in the end. What happened ?
This is a FAQ for us (laughing). We started recording with a better knowledge of us and the power of our music, compared to the demo experience. But again we did not have the full overview of our work. Fortunately we had, instead, a really good sound engineer (Riccardo Coraiola), that gives us some tips to make our sound better : he asked the support of another studio (Artifact Studio, by Marco Ober), and togheter they worked with us to the reamp of the guitar tracks, the folk instrument arrangements and the drums recording. Those works brought the quality of the sound to a commercial level, but of course took a lot of time to finish the works, because those were not in our plans. Every time a wowk was started, the release date was posticipated by months. But at the end we are really happy and proud of our work and in this very moment the mixed tracks are being mastered by Kevin Sharpe at Metro 37 Studio in Detroit. 

07. Can you unveil the track listing ?
The tracklist is one of the last mysteries of this album.. But we can say it will be a 12 tracks one, plus a bonus track (surprise!). 

08. Special guests appearances were for this album. I think to Massimo from ODR band for example and some others… Can we expect special guests on "Tales of the Forest" album ? Can you llist them for the readers ?
As we announced on our Facebook page long time ago, this album takes inside some works of special guests. Sadly, the (we think) more known one in the folk metal world, at the end is not in this work. Massimo, in fact has had a lot of work with the recording of the ODR’s album and sadly at the end he did not have the time to record for us. But anyway our other guests are Catia Borgogno (Alight) for composing the intro and for some exceptional voice and folk instruments records, Mattia Carli (Feline Melinda) for a guitar solo and Lupo della Scala (we don’t know his full real name) for writing the lyrics of a song. And finally all our best fans, for some choirs we recorded in a couple of songs.

09. Do you have a solid release date for that full length ?
Unfortunately we do not have a solid release date. This is because we first have to wait a response by the labels we are planning to send the album to. After that, we can distribute physically the album, with or without a label. We hope this will take little time, but we can not say for sure. Anyway we will announce on our facebook page every step of our work, starting with the announcement we will do at the very end of the work, coinciding with the end of the mastering work. 

10. Will the album be released under the flag of a label or self-producted ?
As we said before, the objective is to release this album under the flag of a label. The ultimate goal will be the support of someone who likes our music and helps us to keep going with it. We had some nice responses for now and we keep the finger crossed :P

11. Can you show us the artwork and describe in details that art there ?
The artwork will be a secret until the end of the works or the release date. Anyway we can say it is a remarkable work done by Stefano Scrimenti (Essequadro Design). It follows the songs and their stories, a both auditive and visual journey. Plus, on the front and the back of the case there are, quite hidden, details that lead back to a specific song of the album.. We wonder if someone can discover all of those easter eggs! But, before everything, there is a small particular that will lead you directly to the Lord of the Rings trilogy : we hope every good metalhead will find, recognize and appreciate it! 

12. Do you plan official videos and shows soon ?
We have some ideas in our future. For sure we will do an official video, at least for one of our songs, but we do not have something planned, for now. And it depends also on how much our album is appreciated : in fact, with the support of a label, everything (talking also about costs) will be a little easier. Same things for shows. Nothing planned for now but we have the idea to ask for a slot in european festivals, because here in Italy live scene is almost dead, and instead abroad (specially in Germany) there are many big festivals. Because is very dificult, anyway, to manage the show requests and to contact the venues, we are thinking to ask for the support of a booking agency, that will help out us this way. 

13. And then, what are your next plans ?
In a few words : take our music as far as possible, inside and (specially) outside Italy. We hope to make many and many live shows. We believe in SERVAN and in our music, we know our album has potential, but also that we can do even better and improve ourselves and our work.

14. Is SERVAN also influenced by Folk Music, traditional or not ?
According to what we said before, folk metal is metal with folk influences. So yes, our music has folk, traditional influences both in the instrumental parts and in the lyrics. Maybe it is not only a north italian influence, anyway : you can maybe recognize folk melodies from Germany, Finland and Sweden as well as Ireland. Surely the instruments we used to record the folk riffs have a lot of variety, geographical speaking, from accordions to pan flutes, from small and high wooden flutes to violins and celtic harps, as well as some strange and ancient instruments like the crumhorn.

15. Are you all fans of The Lord of the Rings, in the band ? Why ?
Of course we are! Lord of the Rings is a must for every good folk metal listener and player in the world! The epic history, the beautiful yet dangerous natural landscapes, the battles and the fantastic breads living in those lands. Is an epic saga, wide and majestic. The soundtrack is also unforgrettable and absolutely recognizable. It is a source of inspiration. It was a duty put our little tribute to the Lord of the Rings in our graphic concept!

Thanks for the interview!
Thank you Krissy and Sword Chant for your efforts to spread the folk metal scene and for this interview! 

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