Interview With SENNA Guitarist Marcel Dürr
Recently, the guitarist Marcel Dürr of the German post-hardcore band SENNA spoke with me to discuss their latest EP, A Moment Of Quiet, their upcoming tour with Siamese and Resolve, their plans for the near future, and more!
Hey Marcel! What are your main musical influences, and how did you decide you wanted to get into the post-hardcore/metal genre? Marcel: Hey Mikey! When I was a teenager, I exclusively listened to metalcore, deathcore, and some more progressive stuff, as well. Just everything that had technical guitar parts. Since then, my musical taste broadened a lot, but my roots were always in heavy guitar-driven music. Obviously, SENNA has a heavy focus on guitars and vocals, but a lot of the soundscapes and rhythms are influenced by pop music, hip-hop/trap, and even some techno. How did the band form? M: Back in 2019, I was posting a few random riffs I wrote on my Instagram. Simon then messaged me out of the blue that he wanted to start a studio project with some of these riffs. We then produced the first few demos with Manuel Renner, which would eventually become the A Moment of Quiet EP. We knew instantly that this needed to be more than just a studio project, so we kept our eyes open for the remaining members. Fabi was a no-brainer. Simon had played with him in many bands for many years. He's a rock-solid bassist with an unmatched stage presence. Leon and Tobi both study their respective instruments, so we knew that they were the real deal as well. Everyone instantly agreed to join the band, and we could feel that we had created something truly special.
Who are some bands you guys look up to a lot for influences? M: The first band that really inspired me with their mix of lots of electronic elements and heavy music was Bring Me The Horizon. Northlane is a huge influence as well. Their sound is obviously very heavily influenced by techno and EDM. Don Broco's Technology album is also a favourite of mine, just a perfect mix of stadium rock yet still a lot of musical substance.
How would you describe SENNA's music to someone who's just discovered it? M: I usually just say, "It's rock music," and show them a few songs. I think a lot of people like our music for a lot of different reasons. I'm happy that our music is easy to get into, but you can also enjoy it if you're a music snob or guitar nerd.
What's your favourite track from the A Moment Of Quiet EP? M: I know that "Rosehip" is kind of our flagship song, but for me, it's definitely "Jade!" It has the right balance between intricate guitar work and parts that sound absolutely massive. It even features a small guitar solo which is very atypical for my writing, but it worked out.
How was the writing process for the EP? M: After the first few writing sessions with our producer Manuel Renner, I knew I never wanted to write music without him. I would usually come in with a short demo or sometimes just a couple of riffs. Manuel is amazing at building songs from that. We would spend a lot of time just talking through the songs, talking about the mood of certain parts, how the tension builds up or releases, etc. Once we were happy with that, we moved on to vocals. One huge plus is that we can already track all the parts in our writing sessions. That saves a ton of time.
Was there anything that you personally had trouble writing?
M: I know we had some trouble coming up with vocal lines for "Rosehip." We felt like this is one of the strongest songs on the EP and wanted to be one hundred percent sure that the vocal parts did justice to the instrumentals. I think we achieved that. I'm super happy with how the song turned out!
I know most bands have a musical direction they want an album or EP to take. Did you think that you got what you wanted with this first EP? M: Absolutely! I think the EP authentically showcases what we're about. All five songs sound completely different, but they're all undoubtedly SENNA. I think the record also shows that we're not afraid to break with convention without being gimmicky. Is there a song off the EP that you’ll be looking forward to playing live on the upcoming tour? M: We're closing every show with "Morocco Mint." I don't know why, but for some reason, I get kind of emotional during the intro and the pre-chorus. I guess it just feels amazing to be able to play music for our fans. I am very grateful for the opportunity to play all these shows and for all the positive feedback we're getting.
Congrats on the tour with Siamese and Resolve this March! What was the email or call like when you got it and what are you most excited about for the tour? M: Thank you! It still feels absolutely unreal. We never expected our first proper tour to be a full-fledged EU/UK tour. We had a pretty tame first reaction, to be honest, the realization just hadn't sunk in yet. I'm super excited to play all these shows all over Europe. I also enjoy the interactions with our fans, especially if they didn't know us before. I'm also looking forward to hanging out with my mates and the other bands.
Any plans for some new music for this year? M: We're working on new music, but I'm not sure when we will release it.
Any chance for an acoustic EP version of A Moment Of Quiet? M: Maybe! We have some ideas floating around, but nothing that's finished yet. We're focusing on writing new material first.
What are some new bands or artists that you recently discovered that you think people should check out? M: If you're into heavier music, go check out The Oklahoma Kid! If you can have your listeners and fans remember one thing about yourself, Marcel, what would you want them to remember you by? M: The feedback that I'm most happy about is that our music doesn't sound like anything anyone has ever heard before, at least to some people. I'm immensely proud of that, and I hope I can continue to deliver on that. Finally, what are your guy's plans for the rest of 2023? M: We're completely focused on finishing our first full-length album. Apart from our upcoming tour, we also have a couple of shows coming up in the summer. If things go well, we might manage to tour again at the end of 2023. Fingers crossed!