Hello Maggie-Beth and Mark,
I remember last time both of you answered my questions, so I’d better name both of you.
Greetingss from Vienna,
Orkus: Over a year ago we talked about the “basic-knowledge” of Serpentyne (e.g. the bandname and you shared a few nice memories of a life-concert where you have been your own support band). At the time you announced that some of the songs in The Serpent’s Kiss were already recorded. – How did the complete new album come into being?
(Mark) We wanted to continue the theme of the last album- heroic female figures, either real or fantasy. At the same time, the style of the band had developed into a more symphonic metal sound. This goes perfectly with Maggiebeth’s operatic-style singing and the old mediaeval instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes and nyckleharpa.
Orkus: How did you come up with the idea to name the new album The Serpent’s Kiss? What came first, the chicken or the egg?
(Maggiebeth & Mark) First we wrote the song. It tells the story of Anthony and Cleopatra, and how Cleo killed herself with a poisonous snake, because she thought that Anthony had been killed in battle, and she wanted to join him in heaven. The instrumental parts are two traditional Macedonian tunes that Mark knew on the hurdy-gurdy. Later, we decided to name the album after the song, as it relates to the Serpentyne family name.
Orkus: As we already noticed in Myths and Muses you like to thematise strong female characters. We find it in The Serpent’s Kiss too like Helen Of Troy or Jeanne D’Arc. Why did you choose these different characters?
(Maggiebeth) I identify with both of these as powerful female figures. Apart from those two, another song, “Brigantia,” refers to the female warrior leader of the ancient tribe of Yorkshire, in the north of England. “Morrighan’s Jig” is named after the Morrighan or Morrighu, the goddess of war and fire from Irish mythology.
Orkus: And we find a nice version of the Game of Thrones song. Why do you think that it fits perfectly to Serpentyne?
(Maggiebeth and Mark) People often say that our music takes them to another world- a world of fantasy, myth and legend. The Game of Thrones story also takes its followers to a similar time and place, and so it appeals to the Serpentyne audience.
Orkus: I assume that you are fans? What fascinates you especially about Game of Thrones?
(Maggiebeth) Yes, I have the complete series on DVD, and I am a big fan! I love the mixture of mediaeval and modern costumes, the way in which the photography creates this fantasy world, and the characters and the way that they develop. When we write our songs for Serpentyne, we transport ourselves to similar places.
Orkus: And who is your favourite character? (And why?)
(Maggiebeth) Two of my favourite characters are the female warriors, the young Aria Stark and Brienne of Tarth. I think that they are very brave and loyal to their beliefs. I also like Tyrian Lannister, he can be humourous and tricky, but at the same time, he brings justice into the game. On the other hand, I am fascinated by the stubborn, evil Cersei Lannister, and, of course, I envy the Mother of Dragons; I would love to borrow one of them for a ride!
Orkus: Do you have any place you especially enjoy to be there? (It doesn’t have to be a town, maybe a (quiet) place to relax or to get inspired from.)
(Maggiebeth) I often visit Glastonbury, the mythical home of King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s an inspiring, magical place. On the way there, I sometimes stop at Stonehenge, which is an ancient circle of stones, used as a Pagan temple, for celebrations when many people gather around the circle to celebrate the changing seasons. But many other places can be inspirational for me, especially when it’s dark and quiet and there’s a fire or a candle light near by.
(Mark) I always like to escape to the English, Scottish or Irish countryside- I especially love the borders country, which is the mountainous area where the north of England joins Scotland.
Orkus: Unfortunately I only saw a few pictures of your forthcoming video The Dark Queen. Why did you chose this Song – and can you tell us more about the video? (Can’t wait watching it!)
(Mark) I got the idea for the song after reading the story “The Talisman of Solomon” by Howard Pyle, who was a US writer of quite dark children’s stories. (Though they’re also good for adults.) It tells how the evil queen ruled the Dark Lands, until she was put into a trance by the wizard, Zadoc. A travelling gypsy boy took Zadoc’s magic wand and brought the queen back to life. She then killed the gypsy boy, and dominated the land with her evil rule again. We liked the story as it goes with the strong female theme, though this time the queen is the villain!
(Maggiebeth) The video was directed by Dragos Teglas, and was filmed on locations in London, and on a beach in the South of England in September. The characters are “The Gypsy Boy” played by Matthew Damian (lead guitar in Serpentyne) and the “Dark Queen” played by me. The rest of the band is featured: Mark on the hurdy-gurdy, Mark Jenkins on keyboards, Nigel Middleton on bass guitar and backing vocals and John Haithwaite on drums and backing vocals.
The video opens with the band playing on the beach, and from then onwards the band scenes interact with the story of the gypsy boy carrying the unconscious Dark Queen away from her dungeon and through the beach and the land until he lays her down and brings her back to life. But then the Dark Queen kills him, and the video ends with a shot of her celebrating her triumph as she goes on to rule the land again.
The video is now finished and can be seen on our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Orkus: And the last question: What about your future plans?
(Maggiebeth and Mark) We have been inspired in the past, and will continue to be inspired by stories from history or legend: The Vikings, Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings, The Arthurian Legends, Gods and Goddesses from the Greek, Roman and Celtic traditions, amongst others, and so on. We are already preparing our fourth album, which will be called “Lady Serpentyne” and we look forward to talking about it with you next year! We are now being booked for concerts and festivals during 2017. Our last visit to Germany was in May this year; we always enjoy playing to and meeting German audiences, and hope to return next year!
Orkus: Thank you
(Maggiebeth and Mark) Thank you very much, Claudia and Orkus for continuing to support our music and taking it to your readers! It was nice talking to you.