Interview: Valeria Campagnale
Srdjan Brankovic, virtuous guitarist, industrious with his bands, Alogia, Expedition Delta and other projects like Despot, Numenor and Lunar Pocket.
An important project he collaborated on was the Vivaldi Metal Project…
… A fascinating reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a daydream into baroque music with heavy metal sound. A real polyhedric artist, guitarist, songwriter and producer that adapt his guitar playing in different kind of style. He played in many live shows and he opened for famous bands : Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, Blaze Bayley, Savatage and many others. The new Expedition Delta’s album is already out this year, a work full of melodic and progressive rock. Srdjan is so friendly to answer to some questions. Hi Srdjan, thank you for the time you’re spending to answer to this interview.
MGM: I knew about you and your work just with Vivaldi Metal Project, let me tell you how I love this album, the artists behind it, and the work as an artistic whole. A huge album with great artists. How did you became part of this project?
Srdjan Brankovic: -lberto Rigoni and Maestro Mistheria asked me to take a part of it and I was so happy that I could be someone who stands for Serbia in this project, that gathered many amazing musicians from all over the world, from such cool bands as Helloween, Bruce Dickinson, Tarja…
MGM: I know you started to playing as a teenager, it seems you’re born with talent, did you ever expect to become such a big artist?
Srdjan Brankovic: -ince we were little kids, me and my brother (also the guitar player of AlogiA) were huge metal fans and album collectors. And I think this is so improtant. When you become a musician from being the fan, you know exactly what you stand for. There are a lot of amazing players today, but without identity, just playing everything and stand for nothing. Honestly, I don’t find myself to be an amazing guitar virtuous, or “big artist”, but I am so happy to do what I would like to hear as a fan and as someone who loves that type of music.
MGM: What influences do you have and how much do they play part in your songwriting?
Srdjan Brankovic: The main influence is the music that inspired me when I was a teenager. Although very often I am not influenced by music, but by some life moments and periods.
MGM: Can you, please introduce the Expedition Delta’s members to people who don’t know the band? How was the group born?
Srdjan Brankovic: The first “Expedition Delta” album was released back in 2008 and it actually wasn’t the band, but the project that gathered many cool musicians from bands such as Shadow Gallery, Time Requiem, Labyrinth… This time we decided to play live (AlogiA members in line up), so we have less guests on the album, but we still have some special people – such as Bobby Koelble (Death / Death to All) and Santiago Dobles (Aghora), but we also have an Italian musician as a guest in one song and he is Nicola Di Gia (Banco del mutuo soccorso). He was suggested to me by (maybe) the most important member of the band, Paola Ceci – although she is not playing, she is spiritualy the great part of it, much bigger than many musicians who played for “Expedition”.
MGM: I really like the Expedition Delta’s album cover, is there a message behind the artwork?
Srdjan Brankovic: It is so symbolic. It’s actually myself on the front cover, but I am not easily recognizable. The path that I walk is a kind of “life-path” and it’s made of guitar fretboard, crossing through time and space, surrounded with clouds that actually present the huge abstract part of myself, that’s dedicated to dreams and ilussions I am addicted to. So, the path starts from nowhere, leading to infinite nowhere and all that is real are the dates that I left behind. Some very special dates. Some important numbers and days to remember.
MGM: Is there a tour in the near future? Can we see you live in Italy?
Srdjan Brankovic: We had the album promotion gig in Rome, in “Jailbreak”, on 28th of May. We had many great guests and I will use this chance to say thanx to all of them. In the end it turned out to be a huge party. Anyway, it was the first gig on AlogiA/Ed Italian tour that ended after 8 dates. I think we will be back in Rome in September, for “Animal Live Aid Open”, that will happen once again on Piazza Del Popolo. And we also have some plans to tour through Italy in October.
MGM: Have you found difficulty emerging in the music world from your country, if so… what?
Srdjan Brankovic: Serbia suffered a lot. Many wars in last 20 years, Nato bombarding, sanctions, we couldn’t travel easily from here for such a long time and still we are not the part of EU. But, love for music always finds the way to connect similiar people. Which is one of the reasons why I vote for music, beside sports – music connects and sports usually separate. Anyway, everyone who is in metal knows that our connection is much stronger than any religion can make. It’s a kind of real, natural brotherhood (and sisterhood) and not the stupid connection made according to “historical facts”. Our emerging from Serbia to the rest of the World was actually helped by internet, when I think better. Also, destiny was the huge help. 😀 The other ways for Serbia were pretty closed. And, yes – I think it made things pretty difficult.
MGM: I don’t want to ask you about the political problems or war, I guess you get a lot of that. I just want to know about the Serbian’s underground music scene and what music style is more popular there, especially rock and heavy metal.
Srdjan Brankovic: We have a lot of great bands and musicians. Not only in Serbia – the same is with all of the ex Yugoslavian Republics. Before the war, we really had some huge and rich scene and the audience that was in love with Rock music. War brought some difficult days and some hard consequences. When country is poor, music culture is dying. So, the most popular music is the kind of “Folk house”. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t hurt me. We didn’t start with the intention to be popular, but for giving the breath to the dreams that make us happy. As long as I have these dreams and inner circle of lovely people who are walking the same path as myself, living the same dream, I will be happy. And, yes, we have a lot of great underground bands.
MGM: You have played with famous artists but if you could choose one in particular, who would it be?
Srdjan Brankovic: I cooperated with many famous musicians, in the studio and on stage – but for me, the special ones are the guys who are, and who have been the part of Alogia. From my point of view, music is more about emotions and friendship, than being extremely skilled. Of course, it is not good when you are extremely on the other side – and play bad.
MGM: I really thank you for this interview opportunity and I hope to see you on stage soon in Italy. Would you like to say anything particular to your fans?
Srdjan Brankovic: I would like to say thanx to all of you guys who took some time to read this. The time is the only thing that we really got, so thank you for wasting some precious minutes on me. I would especially like to say thanx to you, Valeria. Thank you for giving the chance to our music, thank you for thinking about it and getting into it. Thank you for smart questions. Hope to meet you in Italy!