With Signum Regis a band from Slovakia is one it's way to leave a mark at the melodic / neo-classical metal scene. And with singer Göran Edman they should get some attention. I took the chance to talk to mainman Ronnie König by email to get some questions answered. Enjoy reading!
Please tell us a bit about Signum Regis and how it got started!
Signum Regis is a band, which I founded about 1,5 years ago, because I wanted to start something new, a new band with new songs of a bit different style which I was used to write for my second band called Vindex. Most of the band members come from Vindex, but there is a different singer - Göran Edman, who fits perfectly for this style. More or less, Signum Regis play melodic metal.
Why you decided to name the band Signum Regis? Vindex is Latin, why Latin words again?
Both names come from my brother Tommy, who is an archeologist and so he is into all this historical stuff. It was not an original intention to have a Latin name again, but it was the best sounding one among the ones which were chosen. Moreover, there is a little word play behind. My last name is König, which is king in English and Signum Regis could be translated as the signuture of the king.
How would you describe someone the differences between Signum Regis and Vindex?
The most remarkable is the different singing style of the vocalists. Göran sings with clean vocals most of the time, whereas Ludek, the Vindex vocalist uses drive vocals. The melodic stuff sounds better when sung with clean vocals and the drive vocals fit better to the really heavy stuff. So in general, Signum Regis is more melodic, sometimes a bit into the hard rock direction or a bit neoclassical, Vindex is heavy.
Was Göran Edman your favorite singer for the album? And will there be another one with him?
Yes, he is great and he was the first choice. I think, that his voice is magical, one of a kind. We are not planning any duets or a second singer or anything like that.
The album was mastered by Tommy Hansen. How do you got in touch? Are you satisfied with his work?
It was simple, I just did a phone call to his studio, he was there at that time, we agreed on the conditions and his work was great. At that time I was quite in a hurry with the recording and he was so nice, that he managed his time to do the mastering work in a term which we needed. I think the result is very good, thanks to him. I haven't heard any complaints about the sound yet. Maybe it went also so smooth, because Tommy liked the music, he mentioned that it was well performed and good composed, so I was an honour to hear it from him.
Vindex and Signum Regis are closely tied, coz it's mainly the same band. Have you considered to work with other musicians? Or was this the easiest way to work for you?
I like these guys and they are good musicians. Maybe the best here around so there was no need to find anyone new.
Please tell us a bit about the lyrics! And what inspires you?
I wrote only 2 lyrics for the CD: Passionate Love, which is a love song dedicated to my wife and the second one was Sirens Roar. I started writing those lyrics after reading a psalm by David. Later it went it's own way. Basiclly, I don't consider myself as a lyricist. It's Tommy, my brother, who writes the lyrics, both for Signum Regis and Vindex. His predispositions are much better for this.
Musically you seems to be inspired by many different artists... What are your main influences?
I am not sure. I read that Signum Regis sounds like this or that. For example, I read many times that it sounds like Royal Hunt. I think I have to get some CDs from them, because I actually don't know this band. I heard 1 song, which was really cool, but it is not enough for a musical inspiration, I guess. Mostly I listen to my favourite bands from my childhood. It's John Fogerty, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Yngwie Malmsteen, Helloween, Megadeth, Impellitteri, Dio, Grave Digger, Rainbow. These are no newcomers, rather older guys, so I am more into the old school stuff as well.
What made you start playing music? Have you been forced to learn an instrument?
I starter quite late, I was 16 or 17 years old. No one forced me, I have been listening to heavy music since my childhood, but later I wanted to start doing music actively. At that time I thought, that it is quite late to start practicing to become a guitar virtuoso, so I thought it might be a little easier to become a great bass player. I never thought of becoming a drummer or keyboard player. So my brother bought me my first bass guitar - Fender Precision copy, because I liked Markus Grosskopf, his style of playing and that time, he was playing a Fender Precision bass. I soon realized, that I would enjoy playing a 6 string bass much more than a 4 string. Since that time I have been playing a 6string bass exclusively. I have my Yamaha and that's all. Recently, I started thinking of a new bass, which would be custom made, exactly according my taste.
Somewhere I read that you constantly writing songs... Already gathering new songs?
Yes, it's true, I like composing and when there is time, I do it. I already have about 13-14 songs for the second Signum Regis album. I think I will write even more, so that I will have even more combinations to choose from.
Do we have to wait til the next album is out before we get the chance to see you live?
I guess so. I mean, we would like to play live, but it is not fully in our hands. We don't have any serious offers coming and we don't have our own touring management to organize some gigs for us yet, so it's hard to organize something from point zero on our own. I think I will start recording the second Signum Regis album next year and try to organize some live playing after the second album. We would have more songs for the setlist, maybe a better support. Let's see...
To me it sometimes seems that there is still an iron curtain, coz we don't hear much about bands from Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Untion. Do you agree? What do you think is the reason for it?
I am not sure if it is about the iron curtain. Let's take Austria for example. This is a western country and you still don't hear too much about melodic metal bands from Austria, do you? I think, it is more about the musical taste. Here in Slovakia, there are so little musicians doing this kind of music, that it is not enough for having a melodic metal scene out of it. I sometimes have a feeling, that we know all each other. About Russia... I don't know. There is a very good band called Kipelov. Viktor Smolski played some gigs with them. But they have Russian lyrics, so it's hard to hear something about them here. Anyway, the Russian market is so immense, that they don't have to try to make some career in Europe or US, I guess.
Do you think that the attention Metal Camp and Masters Of Rock get will help to make metal fans aware of bands from Eastern Europe?
I don't know much about Metal Camp, but I was few times on Masters Of Rock. This festival will don't make this job. That is sure, because all the Czech bands that play there are punk, alternative, ska or everything else than metal. I cannot explain why the organizers almost never invite young czech or slovak metal bands.
I know that you work on the next Vindex album. Can you already tell us a bit more about it?
It's not so far from being done! We wait for the vocal track to be recorded. There are 13 songs, maybe some of them will be chosen for bonus tracks, we will see where it is going to be released. You will be able to hear some very heavy tracks, some very technical, full of shredding and also some very fast ones. It will be a surprise for the fans who know our fist and secon album, but I am sure that the surprise will be positive. We are really doing our best. We had some line-up changes since the No Middle Ground album and due to this, you will be able to hear some new approches and a bit different songwriting. In general, it's going to be METAL!
And what's on the schedule of Signum Regis?
There is no schedule yet, but I think that when everything goes well, I will record the secong Signum Regis album during the next year - 2009. I am looking forward to it...
Thank you for the interview!!!
Thanks to Ronnie for answering my questions. It looks like there is more to come from Slovakia - for melodic metal / neo-classical metal fans it's Signum Regis and for the ones who prefer heavier sounds, look out for Vindex!