(geführt im August 2020)

While Titanic is the Featured Artist of the month August Marek 'Ashok' Šmerda (guitarist) took some time to answer a few questions about being the most recent addition in the band.

1. How old were you when you realized that you want to play guitar for your living? 
Much&xnbsp;younger than it actually happened to be reality, haha. I started to play guitar at my age 17 but held retail/daily job for a very long time as it is not really easy to make a living just from the music.

2. How is the name of the first band you played with?  
My first band was called “Anyway”. We played mostly punk and rock covers but also did a few tracks of our own. This band was short lived and lasted for about a year. Fun fact about the band - my first ever live show for audience was taken place at graduation party of my high school class.
After that we moved different ways, me and bass player helped to start a real band with just our own music, called Scharnhorst. Musically it was kind of Heavy/Speed Metal. We released two demo tapes and after four years and a few shows it was over and everyone went their ways once again.

3. When did you join Titanic and how did you get a part of the band?
I knew the guys from Titanic for good 25 years. Former lead guitarist Jorgi ‘Enchev’ Ivanov was also my guitar tutor when I started to learn how to play the guitar.
As you might know, Martin Skaroupka (Cradle of Filth Drummer) is also member of Titanic since 2010 so there always has been kind of a tight connection between the Titanic guys and me. And when at the end of 2018 Jorgi decided to leave the band to focus on his other musical projects it was a bit of an obvious choice, being longtime friend and Titanic die hard fan as well!

4. Which was the concert with the largest audience since you joined Titanic?
I think it was Ceskoslovensky Rockfest last summer. And the traditional Christmas gig Metalove Vanoce in Brno was also packed! Both awesome shows!

5. Do you guys plan an album with new songs with the current band members?&xnbsp;
We already started to lay down some demos and ideas, so yes, it is definitely on the list.

6. What about a live DVD?
There was already the plan to shoot the above mentioned Xmas gig in Brno but due to the sad passing of our bass player Milan Hanak one week before the concert, we have cancelled the DVD shooting and used just the audio tracks to release the live album as the tribute to him.

7. Are there plans to join some of the big metal festivals like&xnbsp;Wacken&xnbsp;Open Air or Summer Breeze?
I do not see this happening anytime soon. Titanic is fairly big in Czech Republic and Slovakia but we sing in Czech language and the band has no real history of playing abroad in Western countries. But it would be really cool if we could get such an opportunity, of course!

8. What do you wish for Titanic for the future that didn't happen yet?
I personally would like to see the 20th Anniversary of the band´s second album ‘Abel’. Something similar and special as we did with the first one (Metal Celebration) last year. Also a new studio album with my contribution would be a dream come true!

9. You also play in Cradle of Filth. What's the biggest difference between these bands?&xnbsp;
Quite a few things, language difference is obviously the biggest one. Also per musical style, Titanic is cross between 80’s and early 90’s Classic Heavy Metal. The focus on keyboards and orchestration is also not that strong as in Cradle of Filth.&xnbsp;

10. Last week you have been in the Grindstone Studio in Suffolk to record your guitar parts for the upcoming Cradle of Filth album. How did you prepare yourself because this time was much different due to the Covid-19 situation?   
The preparation process was pretty much the same - at home, transcribing and learning my parts along with demo recordings. I just have had more time to do all of this, obviously.&xnbsp;

11. You are a professional musician and you do this for your living. How did you experience the lock down time and being without playing concerts?  
It has been a big change as there were tours and festivals for whole 2020 already planned and pretty much everything was either cancelled or moved to the next year.
So during lockdown time I actually spent a lot of time to explore and develop more skills on the guitar, writing new music and lately playing some local gigs with Titanic as the regulations in Czech Republic were a bit released during the last few months.

12. Can you tell us a little bit about which guitars, amps and pedals you have used for the new album?
Most of my guitar parts were recorded with my new C-1 FR S SLS Elite by Schecter Guitars, equipped with Fishman Fluence Modern pickup and Sustainiac. As per string gauge I use 10-52 by Newtone Strings. We tracked the guitar through Peavey 6505 amp, cranked by Ghoul Screamer Overdrive pedal by KHDK Electronics. Simple stuff / big results!&xnbsp;

13. Can you describe for all the music fans how a day looks like in the studio? How are the procedures? 
It is structured process tracking each instrument separately (or at least it is the way we do it). I usually come to the studio right after the drums are finished but this time, due to COVID situation and lockdown with closed borders I actually recorded my parts as the last one! So I had a chance to hear almost the completed album!&xnbsp;&xnbsp;
We usually start with rhythm guitars, followed by clean/acoustic stuff, topped by lead guitars/harmony parts, etc.

14. Last but not least: Do you have any words for your Titanic fans?&xnbsp;
Thank you all, who support the band over the years, it is truely and highly appreciated!

Thank you very much for your time. We wish you all the best for the future and lot's of success with Titanic as well.

©Interview Nadja Ingold