After impressive performance in Budapest (2015), when Dragony played as support band to Gamma Ray, finally I got a chance to speak with Siegfried Samer, vocalist of Austrian power metallers. We focused on latest album “Masters of the Multiverse” that was released on October 12, 2018 via Limb Music, but also had a nice chat about current tour, inspiration, literature… Enjoy!
Hi! How are you? First of all, thank you so much for your time for this interview.
Thank you as well! I’m doing fine, just getting ready to head out on tour with Dragony and Visions of Atlantis on the “Symphonic Metal Nights IV” tour!
This is the first Dragony interview for MJM, so introduce the band to our readers please.
Dragony is a Symphonic Power Metal band from Vienna, Austria. The band was founded in 2007, and we have released three albums (“Legends” in 2012, “Shadowplay” in 2015 and now “Masters of the Multiverse” in 2018) and one EP (“Lords of the Hunt” in 2017) so far. I think you could best describe our style, which we call “Glory Metal”, as very traditional Power Metal in the style of bands like Rhapsody, Hammerfall, Avantasia and early Edguy, with a touch of Stratovarius and Kamelot here and there.
Siegfried or Sigurd, for those who have never met German mythology, is the dragon slayer. The original band name was actually The Dragonslayer Project. Why did you change it to Dragony?
We changed it because “The Dragonslayer Project” was just a very long band name, haha! “Dragony” is shorter and easier, and it also conveys the humor of the band better, I think!
By now, you released two albums and one EP. On October 12, you released “Masters of the Multiverse”. How is the feedback?
The feedback to the new album has been really good so far! Most reviews are around the 7/8 out of 10 point range, with some exceptions going even higher and some lower of course. But the general consensus, especially among our fans, is that they really seem to enjoy the album. So that makes us very happy, haha!
Album contains 11 songs (including the cover). You released two videos, plus one lyrics video. Do you enjoy in filming process?
Yeah, we did a video to the first single “If It Bleeds We Can Kill It”, a humoristic tribute to the classic 80’s action movie “Predator” with our countryman Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is a true 80’s stadium rock anthem, complete with cheesy synth sounds and over-the-top lyrics! We had a great time doing the video shoot, as the clip really captures the band’s humor and style as well.
When it comes to lyrics, who is the main lyrics writer? What is the main inspiration?
I write all the lyrics, and I am also the main songwriter for most of the songs. Some other band members also write songs from time to time, mostly our guitar player Andreas Poppernitsch, but this time also our drummer Frederic Brünner and our keyboard player Manuel Hartleb each contributed one song to the album. Andreas wrote “Defenders”, Frederic wrote “Grey Wardens” and Manuel wrote “Fallen Star”.
Can you tell us about the main theme of “Masters of the Multiverse”?
The theme of the album is, as the name suggests, a journey through the different “universes” of many different stories and topics… From fantasy literature to TV shows and movies to video games and Anime, we deal with a great variety of content on this album. The songs are mainly inspired by these books, shows, movies and games that we grew up with and that entertained us throughout our childhood and teenage years. This album is a tribute to those “heroes” of ours.
Since I live in Serbia, I can not resist not to ask you about the cooperation with Dušan Marković.
I noticed Dušan’s work when I saw some of his drawings for the US metal band A Sound of Thunder, and really felt that his style fit quite well with the music and attitude of Dragony. So for the EP “Lords of the Hunt” we were able to license one of his drawings already, and now for “Masters of the Multiverse” we had the artwork actually custom made, and once again Dušan did an amazing job! Very versatile artist, very detailed work and great style!
I saw Dragony as support band on Gamma Ray ″25 Years In Metal″ Tour in Budapest. Besides Gamma Ray, you shared stage with Blind Guardian, Powerwolf, Primal Fear, Firewind… Can you tell me something more about that experience? I guess it is not easy to stand face to face with your idols.
Haha… No, it’s always very exciting, especially if you share the stage with some icons of our genre like Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. But these guys were always really super friendly and nice, and especially Gamma Ray treated us very well on our tour together! I always stress that fact, because you often hear a lot of “horror stories” from smaller bands when they are touring with bigger headliners, that they would get treated badly… I can only say that it has not been the case with Gamma Ray, who were just really amazing and absolute class acts. We hope to play with them – and of course with many others of our idols – again over the years!
Dragony have several cover songs. How did you choose to cover pop singers/songs (David Hasselhoff, Chesney Hawkes, now Stan Bush)?
Well, the David Hasselhoff cover happened just because the original music video and film (Kung Fury) were really going viral at that time, and we just thought it would be a lot of fun doing our own metal tribute to that. Chesney Hawkes and Stan Bush were just ideas that we had, since those are also artists we grew up with back in the 80’s and 90’s, and these songs hadn’t yet been done as metal cover versions. A lot of bands do these kind of cover versions, and some songs really lend themselves well to it. It’s just always a ton of fun doing this kind of thing.
“Flame Of Tar Valon” is inspired by the “Wheel Of Time” novels written by Robert Jordan. Do you have a time to read, and who is your favorite writer or genre?
Yeah I like to read a lot, my favorites are of course J.R.R. Tolkien, but also Stephen King, Tad Williams and H.P. Lovecraft. So if it’s about fiction, I usually prefer fantasy or horror, or some sci-fi occasionally.
Besides Dragony, you are also part of Visions of Atlantis. “Symphonic Metal Nights IV” tour across Europe starts on 24 October and includes 11 cities. How hard for you is that challenge, singing in two bands at the same tour?
This is going to be a challenge for sure! I’ve never done this before, but actually I will not even be performing a full “headline show” every night. With Dragony, I will perform around 30 minutes, and with Visions I will play about half the show every night, as we will use this opportunity to already introduce the new singer, Michele Guaitoli, to our fans – so he will take over vocal duties for me for several songs! So it should be doable to have two shows every night, haha!
You graduated law, and now similar question as we already had. Is it hard to coordinate both careers?
Yes it is very hard, and unfortunately it is also the reason why I now have decided to leave Visions of Atlantis. After the great success of our last album “The Deep & The Dark”, offers for tours and festivals have been coming in, and VoA will be playing a lot more in 2019 as well, with another album already in the works, so it’s just impossible for me to reconcile my day job and all that touring. And I really don’t want to be in a band if I have to miss half of the shows and need to work with a replacement all the time… It’s not fair to the fans, and doesn’t help the stability of the band either. So I think it’s better to have someone instead who is a full-time musician and can more easily manage his time, since it’s all basically within the “music business”.
And, I am just guessing, you had to cut your hair because your other profession requires severity?
No, not really. I’ve been working in my job for seven years now with long hair, so it’s really not a problem. I just cut it because I didn’t quite like the look anymore, and besides, the short hair is just much easier to handle, haha!
There is the prejudice that metal musicians are uneducated. But the truth is far from there. Dragony is the band whose members are highly educated. So, how do you see music: as a profession, hobby or something else?
Well for us it’s somewhere between hobby and semi-professional, I would say. I think we have been doing for too long now to just consider it a “hobby” anymore, and we invested a lot more time, energy and money in our music and albums than many other bands do, but at the same time we don’t really earn enough money from shows or merch sales to really be able to “live” off music, so it’s somewhere in between. Let’s call it a “passion”!
Another informally question… I noticed as someone who also spends a lot of time in the gym that you work out. Any favorite exercise?
Haha – everything except leg day! 😛
My best friend always likes to ask at the end of the interview something that I will borrow/steal from him: is there anything you would like to ask me?
Which is your favorite Dragony song?
Hard to answer. Somehow, the closest to my heart is the first album “Legends” and songs “Alcador” and “Sparta (Elegy of Heroes)” are definitely my favorites. Than “Lords of the Hunt”, “Wolves of the North”, “Shadowrunners”, “Evermore”, “Flame Of Tar Valon”, “Vaults of Heaven”… Also, “One and Only” is one of the greatest covers I have ever heard.
I could ask you a million questions, but let′s leave it for the future, since I know you are very busy these days. Hope to see you soon on the road. Do you have any message for our readers?
I just want to thank you very much for the interview opportunity, and I hope that your readers enjoy our new album and that we will make it to Serbia some time soon as well! Cheers!