Prophets of the Apocalypse is a solo – extreme metal – project from USA. The man behind is Pete Serro, the guy has just signed with Slipstrick Records and this is a great opportunity to get deeper into his new full-length release ‘Threshold Of War’.
This interview with Pete Serro was conducted by Kostas Dahmer. All credit for the interview goes to him and you can check out his Facebook here.
How is the feeling of being solely the mastermind behind a music project like yours?
I enjoy having full creative control behind my music projects, honestly. I have a vision for my albums & projects right from their onset. I prefer to take the reins and steer my creation along the way. Often I begin the music, and it evolves (or spins out of control) along the creative journey…you never know where it may take you. I am thankful that my label allows me to have full artistic control and produce my material.
Any pros and cons between a lonely wolf and jamming with mates?
Lone Wolf, huh. I actually miss jamming regularly with a band, or core group of musicians. In a band situation, you can feed off each other, spur of the moment, and come up with riffs for new material. There is also the camaraderie…while in Strychnine, we used to refer to it as “a business and a brotherhood.” Those would be the pros. As for being a solo artist, I can completely control my schedule. I wrote & recorded whenever I chose in my studio. Sometimes it was at a whim in the middle of the night, throwing down a guitar solo or harmonizing bass tracks with guitar riffs, or spending days on end in the studio without sleep. Another benefit of Lone Wolf Syndrome is not having to deal with your drummer’s crazy girlfriend stealing your car and driving it to Canada, or throwing a cinder block thru your TV.
Is there any other music genre you listen to except metal? In what age you decided that metal is your thing and which album opened your eyes to this magnificent world?
I appreciate music of several genres. 80’s Synth-Pop is my jam…my dark secret. I also dig Blues, Motown, Latin, and Classical. Early on I got into Maiden, Priest, Dio, shred guitar, Slayer, Testament & early Thrash. When I heard the band, DEATH, my world changed!
What’s the thing inside you that makes you wanna keep the flame of metal alive?
Metal Fury! The non-stop pounding of double-bass drums, and craving monstrous distorted guitars feeds this appetite. Metal music has a driving aggression & purity that touches my inner being, and gives me peace.
Congratulations for your recent signing with Sliptrick Records! Did the guys meet your minimum requirements for a successful road trip through the metal business? How did you manage to get a contract?
Thank you. I try to have a serious work ethic and a methodical business plan consisting of both short term and long term goals. Frequent releases were also part of my plan. I needed my music to be out there and be heard. My marketing got a serious jump start when I signed up with Leah McHenry’s Savvy Musician Academy, which is amazing. Then I began working with multiple Publicists & PR firms in conjunction with my social media campaigns and press releases. While all of this was rolling along, my music was getting many good reviews and our fan base was consistently growing. Hard work and diligence pays off. I was eventually approached by several labels after my 2nd release, single—“Snake Pit Of Lies.” I began talks with Carlo from Sliptrick Records, and we were totally on the same page. After a couple months of negotiations, we locked down a contract both parties were pleased with! So now I’m signed to Sliptrick Records & Dead Pulse Records. Since my contract is non-exclusive, I can simultaneously sign with another label for this same release, or another album.
You’ve recently released your debut “Threshold of War”. Would you mind introducing the album? What’s the story behind it?
It may be my debut release on Sliptrick Records, but it’s the 3rd release from Prophets Of The Apocalypse. The Threshold Of War album depicts the desolate vision of ancient wars, and the darkness of human conflict, while narrating all of the brutality and bloodiness of battle. I like to think it’s a ferocious blend of Blackened Thrash and Old School Death Metal. The song Skye Ablaze sketches an epic battle along the shores of a town under invasion. Choking up blood with smoke filled eyes, surrounded with fire and the frenzy of combat… Trophies Of War creeps in slowly, evolving into pure Black Metal chaos. Maybe the darkest song on Threshold Of War, Trophies Of War deals with inner battles including pain, loneliness, and the passing of time. This song escalates into blistering technical mayhem. Burn The Dead, envisions Barbarians clashing on the battlefield, in rivers of blood. The bodies of the dead, piled high & burning once the siege is over. Old School Thrash & Death Metal chant the chorus, Burn The Dead!
How’s your usual writing and recording process? What makes you write lyrics and which are your themes?
Before the album writing begins, I chose a theme, and I do not stray from it. To me, it’s like painting a series of paintings with cohesive imagery or storylines. I believe it’s better when your fans share these specific interests thematically & musically. Simultaneously throughput my writing process, I carry around a book of lyrics I’m constantly working on, and a list of potential song titles; meanwhile, I program entire songs’ drum tracks, and chart out the song structures. For the Threshold Of War album, after I completed about 18 songs of drum tracks, I started choosing the keepers, and eliminating ones I felt did not gel with the project. Next, I open up the sessions in my DAW, and begin recording guitars over the drums…keeping riffs & chord progressions that sound interesting or absolutely crushing. I tab out any initial guitar riffs that sound killer with the drums and tweak them for the song. Next, I’ll choose a Key for the song based on those riffs, then write out modes, scales, or chord selections within that Key so to create an overall MOOD. The song lives in the mood, it is birthed there! That helps me to marry the lyrics with the music… Bass tracks & guitar solos follow. Sometimes my solos are written out first and completely based on theory; while other times, they are 1 take, off-the-cuff after slamming a Guinness!
What equipment used for the recording sessions? Do you have any endorsement to mention here?
I love gear, and tone, and tubes, and VST’s, and pedals, and IR’s!! I swear by Toontrack EZ Drummer 2! My DAW is Cubase Elements 10…super productive workflow & realistic console look. Everything is loaded into my rocking HP Laptop via USB. Slate Everything Bundle and a few Softube plug-ins. About 75% of the album was recorded using a trans matte black carved top 29 fret Washburn Parallaxe with a Floyd & Duncan pickups. I am endorsed by Washburn. I also used a Jackson Randy Rhoads V with reverse headstock & maple fretboard. A few solos were played on my 7-string Schecter Jeff Loomis JL-7FR blood red Axe with Duncan Jeff Loomis Pickups. I used 2 Washburn Taurus 5-String Basses. I split my guitars mic’d & DI for each take and pan. I’m endorsed by Randall Amplifiers, and the 120 Watt Thrasher (designed by legend, Mike Fortin) is my beast of choice! I blend KT88 & 6L6 tubes for tightness. Celestion Vintage 30’s are my go-to speaker. I just purchased STL Tonality Will Putney Suite & use STL IR’s or Ownhammer IR’s. I’m also endorsed by RockBoard for accessories, and I play S.I.T. Strings.
Your artwork is a killer one – at least for my very own eyes! Can we talk about it?
Cool…thanks! I relayed my vision to Carlo from Sliptrick & their design team who commissioned the artist. I wanted a limited color scheme, medieval of Viking feel, darkness, war, fire, loneliness, and ominous undertone. They really came through!!!
Do you have any plans for a video release?
The label could film a live event on a concert/festival they promote & release as a DVD. I am exploring that possibility.
Where are you from? Is your local underground scene capable of supporting and delivering such an extreme music genre like yours?
I am originally from the New Jersey & New York City area, but now live outside of Nashville, Tennessee USA, the country music capital of the universe. I am seeing a slight increase of extreme music, but NO…this area absolutely sucks for Metal. Hardly if ever to real tours pass through Nashville of Tennessee. This will piss some people off from here, but I’ve lived in the North Eastern US & even in Philadelphia, and the underground scene thrives there. Nashville area and Tennessee, in general, blows when it comes to Metal in my opinion. I want to return to Europe to perform!! Or Canada, Australia, South America, Japan…
Being part of a solo project makes you feel that you are a studio band, or can we see you performing sometime soon? If so, do your local venues support such a thing?
I am working on building a touring band. One of my goals is to play Open Air Festivals in Europe first!! Fellow Musicians on the roster may include the amazing Bassist, Dave Bizzigotti (formerly of Ripping Corpse) and original Strychnine member, Dave Scully!! I’ve been interviewing possible drummers. Logistics & tour support from the label are being discussed. There are many countries I’d like to play in. I would also consider touring as a guitarist for an established Death, Thrash, or Black Metal band for a short stint if the opportunity arose to fill in for a guitarist…hint, hint…
Do you have any special thanks to share with us?
I just want to thank my fans & friends who regularly follow and message me, anyone who has done PR for me, the companies who believe in me enough to back me, my fellow metal bands & musicians, & my label for sure.