INTERVIEW: RAINBOW SERPENT
Updated: Dec 29, 2021
Frank Specht talks about Rainbow Serpent's universe
S&S: Hello Gerd and Frank, I hope that that is everything is fine. On behalf of Synth&Sequences readers, thank you for your time and for this interview. My 1st question will be a long preamble….
I’m going to put things clear straight away, I quite like Stranger. I find that it is a beautiful album, of course different from tortuous Berlin School that made the fame of Rainbow Serpent, to say the least since I know your music (from since 2005 and The 8th Nerve) and from what I read concerning your other albums, but it is a melodious album. Thus, the 1st question that strikes me is; what motivated Rainbow Serpent to unite its music with the voice of German female singer Isgaard? Because contrary to your previous albums, of which Live @ Liphook on 2007, this time Isgaard really sings songs, while Eva-Maria Kagermann blew of pleasant dreamlike vocalizes.
Frank Specht: The desire for an album containing songs was already there and also inspired by the vocals of Eva-Maria Kagermann on the album "Live @ Liphook". In search of a singer our first choice was Isgaard, whose songs we knew from the Schiller album "Zeitgeist ". We wrote to Isgaard and told her about our idea, but without having concrete tracks. Isgaard liked our previous music, which she knew from our MySpace page and spontaneously agreed.
S&S: In a previous email Gerd mentioned me that it was a long time dream for Rainbow Serpent to work with a female singer. What influenced you to do so?
Frank Specht: We both are fans of Lisa Gerrard. As musicians we always want to evolve ourselves and we believe that the human voice can't be replaced by any instrument. The music thereby gains an additional dimension.
S&S: Did Rainbow Serpent was really at this point in its career?
Frank Specht: The highlight of our career? Only our fans can answer this question. For us, each new album is a highlight.
S&S: Don’t you think that your fans will be disappointed and annoyed by this new musical approach? After all, artists such as Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre broke their teeth after such an attempt.
Frank Specht: We make our music first and foremost for ourselves. We always tried to develop our own style and never wanted to be a copy of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or someone else. We already knew that some fans would be disappointed if we put out an album with vocals. On the other hand, we think that we will win some new fans. This CD doesn't mean that we will bring out only albums with vocals from now on. In future we'll continue to publish purely instrumental albums.
S&S: Is it a commercial or a creative approach that pushed Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht to undertake such a turn?
Frank Specht: Definitely a creative goal. If this change also leads to commercial success, then we are very pleased about it. Especially commercial success means that the music reaches more people and these people like that music.
S&S: How did the spark lighted? When did you feel the need to make such a turn?
Frank Specht: The idea originated in our local pub and was influenced by Lisa Gerrard's "The Silver Tree" and her songs in the movie "Gladiator".
S&S: From where do you know Isgaard and how the collaboration between the three of you did? Was the communication easy to make or it was laborious to make room to Isgaard voice, which, by moments, covers your rhythms as the strata of your synths used to do?
Frank Specht: Gerd made the contact. And when we realized, after the first personal meeting, that we got on with each other well, the cooperation was very relaxed. However, we had to approach the music differently than usual, to make room for Isgaard's voice.
S&S: Who wrote texts and how was the experiment of putting words on your music? Because, in spite of the vocal which gleans here and there, there are very beautiful music behind Stranger. So, how the transition music and words was made?
Frank Specht: Since we aren't writers, we left that part completely to Isgaard. Isgaard and her producer Jens Lück got very quickly a feeling for our music. Some tracks were not initially planned as vocal tracks. Isgaard and Jens surprised us with the vocals positively.
S&S: From where this ethnic inspiration that wraps your albums comes? On Stranger, we feel an attraction for Arabic rhythms while on The 8th Nerve and Liphook they are rather Indian rhythms?
Frank Specht: The inspiration for these tracks came by the movie "Gladiator" and also by the album "Passion" by Peter Gabriel. We love such things as the instrument duduk and oriental influences and long wanted to do something in that direction.
S&S: Thus, I presume that Beyond New World is strongly inspired by Enya?
Frank Specht: No, not Enya! "Beyond New Worlds" was actually planned as an instrumental piece based on Jean-Michel Jarre. Since Isgaard was taken by this music, she just tried to put vocals over it. We were so thrilled with the result that we had to publish the vocal version on the album.
S&S: Speaking about influences, what are the biggest influences of Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht?