interview with Serpent Throne

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What´s the name of your band? CS: Serpent Throne
How was the band formed? CS: Guitarists Don Argot and Demian Fenton were working together on a stressful documentary film project in 2005 and decided to get together and play some riffs to blow off steam.  Slowly it turned into a real band, with Demian's brother Sean showing up to play drums and me (Colin Smith) to play bass.  Demian, Sean, and I had first played together in a Black Sabbath cover band in 2002, so it's no big surprise that our band sounds the way it does.
Can you tell about your band? CS: Uli Roth and Michael Schenker form a Black Sabbath ripoff band with the rhythm section from Sir Lord Baltimore. When the singer dies in a motorcycle accident, the guitarists harmonize in an endless eulogy of riffage.
Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band? CS: We're all from Pennsylvania and New Jersey here in the States.  We live in Philadelphia now.
What was the ambitions of the band when you started? CS: Honestly, all we've wanted from day one is to rock.  We've been lucky to find some modest success despite only wanting to enjoy ourselves.
Where was your first gig? CS: May 2006 in the basement of The Farm, a punk house in West Philadelphia.  It was a trip.
Where was the latest gig? CS: We played last Friday (January 2014) at the Underground Arts venue here in Philly opening for The Sword.  That was also a trip.
Who writes your songs?/ who writes the music who writes lyrics? CS: The songs begin with riffs by Don or Demian (usually), and we work out arrangements as a band.  We also jam a lot at practice, which sometimes leads to a new song but often goes nowhere.  We're instrumental, so there are no lyrics.
Who has the best since of humor in the band? CS: I don't know, but Sean does a pretty funny impression of a South Philly mafioso type.
Do you write your own material or mainly covers? CS: All original.  We've played three covers over the years: Scorpions' "Dark Lady", Pentagram's "Forever My Queen", and Sir Lord Baltimore's "Hellhound".
Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? CS: Yes, four: 'Ride Satan Ride' (2007), 'The Battle of Old Crow' (2009), 'White Summer . Black Winter' (2010), 'Brother Lucifer' (2012).  We're working on a fifth record slowly but surely.
At what age did you start playing? CS: I'm sure we all started as teenagers.
How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? CS: Uhh, 15 or 16 for me personally, and similar numbers for everyone else.
What year was the band started? CS: Late 2005.
Best/worst gig you've played? CS: It's hard to pick one best one.  We've been fortunate enough to open for three of our biggest influences: Pentagram (twice), Blue Cheer, and Flower Travellin' Band.  Those shows were pretty unbelievable, for a number of reasons.  We've also gotten to play with some bigger recent bands like Witchcraft, Dead Meadow, Nebula, and most recently The Sword.  We tend to play a lot of smaller, local shows, too.  I'm not sure which one show was the worst, but there have been some real terrible ones.  We played in Wilmington, Delaware to practically no one a few summers ago, but we got to play with good bands like The Pilgrim and Ape!, so it couldn't have been that bad.
What places will you be playing in in the imidate future? CS: We have a show coming up in Richmond, Virginia in a few months.  I think that's the only thing booked right now.
Where have you played from then till now? CS: We've never toured, so only Philly, Baltimore, New York City, Wilmington, some regional shows around Pennsylvania, and two shows in New Orleans.
Witch band is the best you´ve seen? CS: It's tough to pick one.  The Pilgrim was pretty incredible.  I once saw a sound man beg them to play a few more songs, and that never happens.
Is it always the same songs live? CS: We have four albums to draw from, but somehow tend to play the same songs that we all like most of the time.
How big crowds do you usually play for? CS: In recent years we've played for anywhere from seven to 700 people on any given night.  It depends on the location, promotion, dumb luck, etc.
How do you get psyched up for a gig? CS: Beer and food.  Oh yeah, and by lugging amplifiers and drums all over the place.
What are your goals with your music? CS: Honestly, our goals are the same today as when we started: we just want to enjoy ourselves.  If other people dig it, that's great, but we play because we want to play.
Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? CS: Definitely older bands.  There are some newer ones that we like a bit, but '70s rock is definitely where our hearts are.
What are your sources of inspiration? CS: Musically, Black Sabbath, Wishbone Ash, Thin Lizzy, The Scorpions, Flower Travellin' Band, Pagan Altar, Pentagram, UFO, early Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath.  Non-musically, drugs, Satan, beer, hippie witch chicks, and cats.
How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? CS: We don't have a band policy on this, but personally I'm all for it.  The music is what's important, not commerce.  Then again, a band who's making money has more time to focus on making more music, so I see both sides of it.
What would be your dreams for the band? CS: To get two chicks at once.
Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? CS: Our band is very specific and tries to incorporate elements from a very narrow and selective sampling of music.  As listeners, however, we all listen to all kinds of different genres and groups.
Have you been in any other bands? CS: Demian plays in the Philly-based extreme metal band Pissgrave, Don records instrumental soundtrack music under the name Pornosonic, and Sean and I are working on a new 'psych doom' project.  I've also been jamming with Pissgrave and hopefully might start playing out with them sometime soon.  In the past, Demian played in Otesanek, Facedowninshit, and Puritan, Sean in John Denver's Airplane and Aledriver, and me in a bunch of bands, most recently Slow Mover and Harris Hawk.
What do you work with outside of the band and the music? CS: Demian and Don are documentary filmmakers, Sean works in programming, and I do as little as possible.
What would you do if there was no music? CS: As long as there's sex and drugs, I could take or leave the rock and roll.
How important are your fans? CS: Well, like I said before, we play music for ourselves, not because we want to impress anyone.  Even if no one cared, we would still keep doing exactly what we do.  That said, it is very rewarding and heartening when people come forward with kind words about our band.  We've gotten a lot of good feedback over the years.
What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? CS: I can't think of anything.
How often do you rehearse? CS: These days, a little less than once a week.
Where do you rehearse? CS: At a warehouse in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, alongside a bunch of woodworking shops and motorcycle mechanics. 
Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? CS: Every band is always most excited about the new stuff, and I really like our new song "Axe Fight" that we started playing out recently.  As for older songs, my favorite to play is probably "Controlled By Lunar Forces".  
What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing? CS: Well, we don't make a living off our music, and that's probably the key for us.  If we tried to, we would have to make all kinds of changes so that we'd be more commercially appealing, and then we would be a different band.
Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? CS: Don't tune below E flat, or D at the lowest.  You think it sounds heavy, but actually it just sounds like shit.  Also, if you're going to insist on having a singer, make sure he or she takes the vocals seriously, whether singing or screaming.  Too many decent bands that we see or hear are ruined by mediocre-to-terrible vocals.
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