Interview with bassist Thanos
Interview conducted by MetalMike
Date online: September 25, 2014
Greece's Enemy of Reality represents the union of several successful musicians into one band with the intentions of playing high-quality female-fronted Symphonic Metal. Fronted by founder Iliana Tsakiraki, Enemy of Reality delves deeply into their cultural roots for the lyrics on their debut album, Rejected Gods, including a four-song cycle that tells the story of Orpheus from a unique viewpoint.
The Metal Crypt conducted an email interview with bassist Thanos, who gives us some insight into the formation of the band and the unique heritage of Greece that has lead to their exploration of the many myths and tragedies from that ancient nation. Read on to learn more...
MetalMike: Hails, Thanos! How are things in Greece these days? Are you enjoying a beautiful, Mediterranean summer?
Thanos: Hey Mike, thanks a lot for this interview opportunity! Well, you're asking the wrong person about enjoying the Greek summer. In July/August it's too hot to do pretty much everything around here, so I personally don't enjoy it much and try to escape on the mountains to catch a cool breeze!! Thankfully, we have beautiful mountains. Things in Greece are a little chaotic, as usual, but we're used to that too! hehehe
MetalMike: Can we start with a little bit of the history of Enemy of Reality? According to your website, the band was formed in 2013 with musicians from other successful bands. What brought you all together?
Thanos: That's right. The band was put together in April 2013. Iliana was the one that brought us all together, a few months after she left her previous band. I was actually the last person to join, so I'm the "new guy," hehe. Also, the others thought it wouldn't be easy to find a bass player, but I came in very shortly, which was a pleasant surprise, and completed the line-up. We spent the first few months discussing and planning for the future and we started gathering ideas for a demo track. In September, we became more active, recording of our first demo, One Last Try, and launching an Indiegogo (crowd-funding) campaign. At the same time, we did our first rehearsals and entered the studio with plans to finish our first album by May and produce the copies by June. We are all very passionate about music and this passion pushed us to work hard and within a tight schedule and achieve what we have, so far.
MetalMike: Is there any special meaning behind the band name, Enemy of Reality, or the name of the album, Rejected Gods?
Thanos: The band name was Iliana's idea, but was also discussed extensively with the rest of us. With this name, we are trying to make reference to the real world and the impact our actions have upon it. Of course, life is not fair, but this does not mean people have to accept this reality and not try to change it for the better, even though sometimes they themselves are their own worst enemy, and make the wrong choices. Rejected Gods is a metaphor. On one hand it reflects the artwork cover, which depicts the wrath of a disrespected Greek Goddess. On the other hand, it may relate to the band name, in a sense of not caring and rejecting the good values in life and heading towards self-destruction.
MetalMike: What are your influences and what do the rest of the band members bring as influences to the Enemy of Reality sound?
Thanos: My personal influences include a wide range of styles from power/progressive to black metal. My bass playing style is mostly influenced by heavy/power metal bands such as Symphony X, Iron Maiden and Rage, while my favorite styles of music include raw and melodic/folk black metal. As in any band, every member brings his/her personal style and influences the music. This is precisely what happened with Enemy of Reality. When we started to compose, we never said that we would follow a specific style or try to copy another sound. We did not try to sound different from or similar to other bands. We simply collected and joined all of our ideas to produce a catchy and well-balanced sound. This is how it all came together and we're quite satisfied with the result. This is the right way to do it, when you have an open mind and great passion for music.
MetalMike: Some of the tracks on Rejected Gods were written by people outside the band, like "Medusa," which was written by Septic Flesh's Christos Antoniou. How did having Christos write a song for your album come about?
Thanos: Indeed, "Medusa" was composed and conducted by Christos. Our initial thought was to have Marianthe compose the intro track. She composed all the other orchestral parts on the album, such as the intro for "Twist of Time," etc. However, we later decided that we wanted the exact same sound Christos, whom we all admire very much, gets with his talent for orchestration.
MetalMike: Who wrote the rest of the songs for Rejected Gods? Was it a band effort?
Thanos: Yes absolutely, it was a band effort, with contributions from everyone. Each person was responsible to do his/her part regarding his/her instrument and also to make sure that it blends in nicely with the others.
MetalMike: What are some of the challenges you faced when combining Symphonic and Progressive Metal with the Classical influences of your lead singer, Iliana Tsakiraki?
Thanos: I can't say that it was much of a challenge. The whole style and mixed sound came to us very naturally. Perhaps the only challenge that we faced was to compose tunes that are smart, technical and interesting to listen to. On the one hand, we wanted to present a high level of musical technicality and, on the other, we wanted them simple enough to be heard and enjoyed by non-musicians with less-trained ears.
MetalMike: You have a four-song cycle, based on Orpheus and Eurydice, on the album that tells the story from a very sad point of view. Did you feel the need, as a Greek band, to include elements of Greek tragedy in your music? Are Greek tragedies something you study in school in Greece or just part of the culture and history?
Thanos: Well, yes, from the very early stages of composing I discussed with the rest of the band the idea of making a concept album or to include a sequence of several tracks, based on one of the several myths of Ancient Greece. The story of Orpheus and Eurydice has been explored numerous times in music, literature, opera and even art. Greek tragedies and myths are taught in schools, however sometimes, especially for young children, the violent scenes are left out or described in a soft manner. This is why, for example, details about the death of Orpheus are not well known to most people. I am intrigued by the tragedy and violence that runs through those myths. The death of Orpheus was the reason for choosing this one and we combined it with a different point of view, one from a sweet voiced storyteller who was among the women that finally killed him in such a horrific way. I would not say that I, personally, felt the need to include a Greek tragedy and I can be equally inspired by stories or myths from other cultures with exciting and perhaps brutal finales!
MetalMike: There have been many bands over the years that have successfully translated Norse Mythology in to Heavy Metal music. Is it time for Greek Mythology to join the ranks? There is certainly enough intrigue, battles, gods interacting with mortals and, of course, sex, to go around, right? : )
Thanos: First of all, Greek mythology is endless. There are so many chapters and topics, starting with the genesis of the world and going on with colorful stories, moral lessons, happy and tragic endings and featuring gods, immortals, mythical creatures and extraordinary heroes. It is interesting that, according to mythology, the Greek Gods also had strong human feelings, such as lust, pride and greed, which always led to interesting plots. Another interesting fact is that Greek mythology is connected with a lot of cities and actual places in Greece, therefore making it feel almost real.
MetalMike: With Rejected Gods released, what is next for Enemy of Reality? Have you had a chance to play live outside of Greece? Where else have you played and what place is next on your wish list?
Thanos: We have not performed live yet, but the fun begins now! We plan to play in Greece, as much as possible, and also we will keep our eyes open for gigs and festivals abroad. Of course, we have booked and are really looking forward to playing at Metal Female Voices Fest XII, which takes place in Belgium, about a month from now (Oct 17-19, 2014 – ed).
MetalMike: Does your live set include the entire Rejected Gods album or are your sets such that you can only do a few songs? Are there any covers you like to play? Which songs from the album translate the best in the live setting?
Thanos: At this time, it includes the complete album, except for the ballad ("Step into the light"). We are also currently rehearsing a few covers, but it's still too early to reveal them. It will be a surprise.
MetalMike: Does everyone in the band have a family or a job that must be balanced with the band's activities? What are the challenges you face in that respect and is the goal to one day have Enemy of Reality be your career?
Thanos: Of course, we all have jobs and other activities. No one is born a musician without commitments and responsibilities but, in the end, we manage to balance them all with the band's quality of work being a high priority. As for the career, I would say; here in Greece, never going to happen! The local rock and metal music scene is too small to financially support a band. I guess the dream can be there, but to be realistic, very few bands have managed to achieve this goal.
MetalMike: How has the Internet helped and hurt Enemy of Reality? I'm sure social media has made it easier to get the word out about the band but illegal downloads probably make it quite difficult to make money recording albums, right?
Thanos: As with all music, the Internet is, of course, the fastest way to get your news and music out to the people. Illegal downloads have not yet been a problem for us and it is an unavoidable issue, however we think it is a minimal cost next to the benefits that arise from it. At this point, we do not think about raising money or covering costs. We were the first metal band in Greece to launch an Indiegogo campaign, which has helped a lot by covering a significant amount of recording expenses. At this point, we need to spread our music to as many people as possible.
MetalMike: The field of female-fronted Symphonic Metal bands is a crowded one. What does Enemy of Reality do to separate their music from all the other bands out there?
Thanos: It is true that more and more bands are attracted by the genre and most bands have a unique style, which is represented by one thing; the front-woman. First, you have her vocal capabilities, because if she can't sing no one will want to listen or take you seriously and, secondly, you have her presence, both on and off the stage. It is the nature of this genre to focus more on the lead vocalist, who will be the key driver of the band. Enemy of Reality is extremely lucky to have such a talented vocalist, as Iliana is, so this alone makes us different from other bands.
MetalMike: What is the most important thing, in your opinion, in order to have a long, successful career with Enemy of Reality?
Thanos: Continuing from the previous question, since we play female-fronted symphonic metal, I believe that the key to success is in the voice of the front-woman. In other genres, it may be the case that the main man of the band can be the guitarist or even the drummer, but in this one, the vocalist needs to have a strong presence and true talent to be recognized. Of course, it is also extremely important when all the musicians have skills and can communicate well. To answer your question, I would say that it needs inspiration, talent, and persistence and to always remember why you want to do this. And, perhaps, a little luck, since there are so many great musicians out there.
MetalMike: Well, congratulations on Rejected Gods, Thanos, to you and the rest of Enemy of Reality! I hope this is the first step down a long and successful path for you and the band. And someday, hopefully, we will get to see you play here in the States. Is there anything else we didn't cover that you'd like the readers of The Metal Crypt to know about before we close the interview?
Thanos: Thanks a lot for the kind words; this is exactly what we need to keep going. I hope that we manage to get there sometime; it would be a dream come true. Thanks again for your time and your support for Enemy of Reality.
|Other information about Enemy of Reality on this site|
|Review: Rejected Gods|
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