October 2013, Issue 10
The Xray story of a haunting legend
Coen Brothers are
The BIG LebowskiS
Val Helcanen The first lady of MFVF
Anneke Van Giersbergen 9 772241 538000
Opens up after a long time
Talks about everything! Exclusive
3 Burst Magazine
pages 6-21 Articles
pages 22-65 Interviews
pages 66-70 Albums
pages 71 Karolina Pacan
Anneke Van Giersbergen Holland is widely known as the land of the sirens. Anneke Van Giersbergen started her own revolution back in early 90â€™s with her former band The Gathering. Anneke as a solo artist continues opening new paths. Her latest album Drive proves that she can actually sing in many yet diverse styles and that she brings herself in the spotlight every now and then with some fresh ideas...
pages 74-75 Other Arts
page 76-82 Film Section
Read the whole interview with Anneke on page 28! Burst www.afternoiz.com
publisher/editor in chief
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Alexandros Nalbanis Andy Phelps Dimitris Kotsilinis Dimitris Tsantoulas Giorgos Kotrozinis Gogo Apostolaki Jo Gogou J.Roberto Zenteno Jimenez Kalliope Tsouroupidou Petros Xatzistilianos Sophie Tsekoura Sotiris Stilianos Vana Valma Viktor Merit
Marianna Kofinaki Mary Pavlopoulos Matina Katsarakou
Apostolis Kalliakmanis B|S|Orestis Eileen Von D Jo Gogou Kalliope Tsouroupidou Myrto Cat Raphael Aretakis
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Dakota: The Xray story of a haunting legend. By Jo Gogou
akota, a.k.a. the apartments or Dakota building, stands at the north-west part of the 72nd street and west of Central Park, in Manhattan of New York City.
ts construction lasted for almost four years, starting in October 25th and was finished in 1884. It is still considered one of the most expensive buildings; a single apartment may cost from 4 to 30 million dollars! Edward Clark put in the money and Henry Janeway Hardenbergh was the architect. Its value not only lies in the new Goth rhythm it Burst www.afternoiz.com
was built in, but mainly to the history and fame it achieved through the years.
his architectural construction is known for the high pediments, vast roofs, many rooflights, niches, balconies with notable railings, carved statues and in general all those elements that indicate the heave North German Renaissance nature.
t stands on a large block for the time being and with the concept of having a central yard. The mainι porteCochere entrance was used to
facilitate the carriage and so as its passengers would disembark inside, protected from the weather conditions. There was a parking space nearby for the carriages, created later in 1891-1894, at the north-west part of the 77th street and Amsterdam Avenue. Rumors say that there was a special elevator that transported them through the building. It was named “Dakota Stables” and it was operating as a garage until February 2007.
he arranging of the apartments is affected fro the French style of the time and
it has many rooms connected to each other. Central rooms, like living room or offices that connect to another room or hallway. One could say that it allowed the residents or guests a kind of natural migration, especially in the holidays. The main rooms, like the bedroom had a view in the road, whilst the dining room, the kitchen and other rooms have a view in the yard. Initially it had sixty five apartments similar to each other. The apartments had access to the stairs and the elevators that were spread in four parts of the yard. The kitchens had separate stairs and el-
7 evators that were in the inner wing. The Dakota building also had a playroom, gym, a garden and a tennis court (behind the building and between 72nd and 73rd street).
n 1969 it was established as a national landmark of New york. In 1976 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory.
he French architecture was a huge influence there, since it was wide known in 1870 New York. It was a fashion of those days and the same architect designed the Plaza Hotel. It is still considered as one of the most elegant buildings and of the high society.
part from its obvious beauty and awe, there lies a darker one, spread through rumors. It is declared as one of New York’s haunted buildings and it is included in the Haunted Buildings and Stories category. Part of that fame comes from the people who have lived or visited it for any reason.
he name Dakota came from the distance that it held from the other residencies of the time. The Upper West Side, Manhattan, that it was put is what is considered as the Dakota’s Dominion. Although it was built in 1880, the first references for it come from 1933, in a newspaper and a book by Christopher Gray:
Now Central Park West is among the most desirable and expensive real estate locations, aside from the Upper East Side It is more likely that the building was named “Dakota” because of Clark’s fondness for the names of the new western states and territories.”High above the 72nd Street entrance, the figure of a Dakota Indian keeps watch.”
he first one to never being able to enjoy it was its owner, Edward Clark and his inheritors. Before it was even completed he died. Kind of an ironic situation, as it was an omen of what was coming years later. The death was kept a secret as to protect the openings of the Dakota mansion, and of course its fame.
elebrities that lived in the building: John Angelo economist,Lauren Bacall actor,Harley Baldwin real estates agent, Ward Bennett architecture & designer ,Leonard Bernstein composer, Connie Chung anchorman, Rosemary Clooney actress & singer, Harlan Coben writer, José Ferrer actor, Roberta Flack singer & and neighbor of Yoko Ono, Judy Garland actor, Lillian
Gish actress, Paul Goldberger architecture, William Inge theatre writer, Boris Karloff actor, John Lennon musician & composer (he owned 5 apartments), Sean Lennon singer, Warner LeRoy producer, John Madden football coach, Albert Maysles director, Rudolf Nureyev dancer, Joe Namath
football player, Yoko Ono artist, Jack Palance actor, Ruth Porat investor, Maury Povich anchorman, Gilda Radner comedian, Rex Reed, critic, Jason Robards actor, Jane Rosenthal, movie producer, Robert Ryan actor, Michael Wager actor.
shovel was up in the air chasing him. Various incidents happened there although the reports weren’t done immediately. A coincidence? All saw
960: A couple reports the ghost of a young boy in the construction area for the Dakota building. A girl also appears, dressed in a bizarre. old fashioned way. Painters working in the building saw her years later. She had blond hair and a ball near her feet. What impressed them was her looking nothing like the kids in their time. A woman, waiting for a friend at the fouage; she witnessed a girl passing by and going into a closet. She described her as the previous had. The girl never came out and the closet was shut. As she reported it a “ghost-in-residence”.
965: After the death of the owner of the Judy Holliday’s Dakota Apartment, the Smiths bought it and wanted to renovate it. They hired three work-
ers, who soon after started working, reported that they saw a young boy, about 10 years old, wearing a Buster Brown suit, dating around 1900. One of them said that he was alone, finishing his work and at that point the lights flickered and the doors opened and closed by themselves.
asement in the Dakota: There are many reports about the basement too. A doorman called for help as he was found on the floor and a
hird Floor Dakota Apartment: Frederick and Suzanne Weinstein lived there. For quite a long time strange sounds were heard in the house, unexplained events occurred like furniture moving and missing objects. The wife revealed that while she was a hallway she saw through a mirror they had the reflection of a chandelier in the living room. At first she took it as a surprise from her husband, but nothing was really there. Burst www.afternoiz.com
he same face too… the first owner of the building, Edward Clark.
968: Roman Polanski makes the shootings for his new movie titled, Rosemary’s Baby. The movie is based in Ira Levin’s book. It is a story about a
couple that goes many ways in order to rise in their professions. Neighbours assist as well and so will the devil. The cast were: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy, Maurice Evans, Sidney Blackmer and Charles Grodin. Some say that
the indoor shootings were not actually done in the house, but in a Hollywood setting due to restrictions.
fter the release of the movie a lot of brotherhoods spring up, like The Brotherhood of Satan, Mark of the
Devil, Black Noon, and Blood on Satan’s Claw and manage to take people on their side. The scene in which Rosemary is raped is in the 23rd place in Bravo (the 100 Scariest Movie Moments). 30 years later, the writer started a sequel, based in the movie; that brought profit for him, but fear to the protagonists that still remains. The buildings carries disasters for the: Mia Farrow divorces Frank Sinatra. Some claim that the church of Satan helped, Anton LaVey in particular, that denies it even today. Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate is murdered in 1969 by Charles Manson, while being pregnant. Strange things happened before, during and after the end of the movie. 980: The Beatles’ member, composer and musician, John Lennon is murdered. At the night of December 8 he is shot in the entrance of the building by a fan of his. Lennon with Ono, owned 5 apartments. he many coincidences and the death in the building come with a rumor that many funeral parlors are around. A lot has happened, but the witnesses are few due to fear or simply not surviving to tell the story.
REFERENCES Hole or Courtney Michelle Love, dedicates the 20 Years In the Dakota to Lennon and Yoko Ono, in 1997 through the album My Body, the Hand Grenade. It is the house of Hunter Rose, from the graphic novel, Grendel. The Cameron Crowe shootings and the 2001 movie, Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise, needed outdoor shots from the real Dakota mansion. It is the house of Tsukasa Domyouji, where in 2007 the Japanese JHana Yori Dango is basically referring to. It is the house of “Windsor Horne Lockwood III” of Harlan Coben. There is a reference in the movie Jack Reacher. And in the book Confessions of a Murder Suspect of James Patterson. Burst www.afternoiz.com
Lisa Gerrard A tribute to a golden voice by Marianna Kofinaki
10 The human voice is often considered as the most brilliant musical instrument ever existed. Why? Because a beautiful voice can definitely speak to your soul, let alone if it’s made to sing in the language of the Heart. Lisa Gerrard has known that since the age of 12. Gerrard possesses the vocal range of a contralto, a total of 3 octaves and one note. Her voice has been described as rich, deep, dark, mournful and unique. Despite her admirable modesty, admitting that “I have never dared to face the disappointments that my true vocal range may bring. I have many fundamentals in my voice that give the appearance of it being very deep or very high, when in fact I believe it’s quite narrow and limited”, Lisa’s singing style is simply extraordinary: ethereal, otherwordly, contralto vocals, wordless lyrics (e.g. the language of
Mediocrity and Boredom. It’s Innocent and it’s a Place you can lose yourself in Thoughts, Memories and Intricacies”. And no wonder why we, the fans, in our turn, take refuge in such magical music: Medieval chants, folk ballads, baroque chamber music, classical music, electronica, Celtic and world music influences, it’s all there, creating unique soundscapes… But first things first. Lisa Gerrard, the offspring of Irish immigrants, was born on April 12 1961 in Melbourne, Australia and grew up in the suburb of Prahran. As a child, Gerrard was also exposed to Greek, Turkish, Italian and Irish music and took up playing the accordion. Her upbringing played an integral part in defining her main musical influences, since she claims to have grown up with “Mediterranean music blaring
Bamford on community radio station 3RRR. The distinctions between performers and audience were blurred, since many of the people in the audiences at shows were either in bands or ended up forming such. It was at one of these little band events, when she first met Dead Can Dance co-founder Brendan Perry. When asked about this time, Perry recalls, “It never occurred to me that we would one day collaborate musically together because at the time I thought her music was too avant-garde. I particularly remember one song that she sang about finding a man in the park and asking her mother if she could bring him home to keep in her wardrobe as she attacked this Chinese dulcimer with two bamboo sticks.” In case you’re wondering what this means, Lisa is also an instrumentalist for much of her work, most pro-
“I sing in the language of the Heart, It’s an invented language that I’ve had for a very long time. I believe I started singing in it when I was about 12. Roughly that time. And I believed that I was speaking to God when I sang in that language.[...] “Ultimately, in doing the work, you draw upon something that is the river of life that you possess... Music has a voice inside it that calls you, and you know that this is your work, this is what you must do. It doesn’t differ, project by project-that’s the way you work.” - Lisa Gerrard the Heart), and a vocal range which spans from contralto to dramatic contralto (“Sacrifice”, “Not Yet”, “Sanvean”, “Largo”) to dramatic mezzosoprano (“Elegy”, “The Host of Seraphim”, “Space Weaver”, “One Perfect Sunrise”, “Come this Way”). With an almost two-decade career with Dead Can Dance, award-winning movie soundtracks and a series of acclaimed solo and collaborative albums, Lisa Gerrard has established herself as one of Australia’s most groundbreaking artists and one of the most unique talented female artists around the world. For Lisa, “Music is a Place to take Refuge. It’s a Sanctuary from Burst www.afternoiz.com
out of the houses”. No surprise there: These influences are more than evident in later Dead Can Dance albums and in her solo and collaborative works alike. Experimentation and openmindedness towards music have always been important for Gerrard, since she took her first musical steps during the formation of Little Band scene, an experimental postpunk scene which flourished in Melbourne from 1978 until early 1981 and was more based on artistic expression than mainstream success. The bands used to play in small inner-city venues, often pubs, and their music was recorded live and broadcast live by Alan
lifically using the yanggin (a Chinese hammered dulcimer). The Birth of Dead Can Dance Although the “birth” of Dead Can Dance -originally as a quartet- took place in 1981 in Melbourne, the band moved to London, UK in 1982, with the line-up of Gerrard, Brendan Perry and bass player Paul Erikson. Shortly after coming to England, Erikson returned to Australia, so the band became a duo. Dead Can Dance recorded eight albums on the 4AD Records recording label. Although Gerrard and Perry had domestically parted ways in 1984, with Gerrard returning to Australia and Perry
moving to Ireland –they still wrote, recorded and performed together as Dead Can Dance,kicking off with the selftitled Dead Can Dance LP in 1984. The artwork, which depicts a ritual mask from New Guinea, “provide[s] a visual reinterpretation of the meaning of the name Dead Can Dance”, set in a faux Greek typeface; it featured “drumdriven, ambient guitar music with chanting, singing and howling”, fitting like a glove in the ethereal wave style of label mates Cocteau Twins. No wonder why this early work was described “as Goth as it gets” (despite the group themselves rejecting the label) by Allmusic. This was subject to change upon the release of a four-track EP, Garden of Arcane Delights, in August of the same year, where the duo was seen “plunging into a wider range of music and style”. As for their sophomore album, Spleen and Ideal, the core duo of Gerrard and Perry added in cello, trombone and tympani by session musicians. Released in November 1985, it was coproduced by the duo and John A. Rivers. Raggett describes it as “a consciously medieval European sound [...] like it was recorded in an immense cathedral”. It was the first indication of the group having built a following in Europe, with the album reaching No. 2 on the UK indie charts. Ultimately, more success followed with the studio albums Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987), The Serpent’s Egg (1988), Aion (1990), Into the Labyrinth (1993) and Spirit Chaser (1996) each one bringing out a diversity of musical elements, refusing to be classified under a simple, specific “musical label”, by creating a series of musical landscapes, with absolutely no limits in their inspiration. These releases perfectly showcase Gerrard’s impeccable skills at adapting her voice to different languages, as well as her love for exotic instruments and the world’s music. Critics are having a “hard” time describing their music only by referring to “common” terms and give the duo continuous praise for their authentic sound. Some of their albums are described as similar to “New Age music”,
11 plus Gerrard has been compared to Irish singer and songwriter Enya. Furthermore, much of the work of Dead Can Dance had also been used on the screen -on TV and cinema alike-, with parts of their music being used in the cult movie Baraka, TV commercials and even a car chase scene in Miami Vice! Dead Can Dance split in 1998, but reunited in 2005 for a world tour. In 2012, the band announced a new world tour to coincide with the release of their new masterpiece, Anastasis (meaning “resurrection” in Greek), which was immediately embraced by the fans and ended up in selling more than 150,000 copies worldwide. Solo Career During the period when the band was in hiatus, Gerrard started a dual career as a solo artist and a soundtrack composer, starting in 1995, when she recorded and released her first solo album, The Mirror Pool, on which her unique voice was accompanied by the Victoria Philarmonic Orchestra and musicians Pieter Bourke on camel drum and bass tabla and bouzouki player Dimitri Kyriakou. Pieter Bourke has been a member of the Australian band Eden from 1988 to 1993 and worked together with David Thrussell in the Aussie bands Snog and Soma. Soma, in particular, has also been a widely experimental band, trying to create an amalgam of rock, folk, electronica, triphop, dubstep, jazz, techno and drum and bass. No wonder why Bourke’s influence and background brought him as a percussionist to Mirror Pool. Once again, it’s really hard to categorize her music, causing one more perplexed reviewer to describe it as “ambient, orchestral, folk and new age all at the same time”. As for its follow-up, Duality, which was released in 1998, Lisa had a more extensive collaboration with Bourke, for which they had received a joint credit. According to the official website of the record label 4AD, Gerrard invited Bourke to engineer and play percussion on a track she was recording at her home studio in Burst www.afternoiz.com
12 Australia. After recording two songs, Gerrard commented: “We were collaborating more and more in the writing area... And it became very interesting to us because we discovered that most of the things that I am not good at, Pieter was, and most of the things he doesn’t endeavor upon my area. It was interesting to see how strong we were because it was such a good match”. Bourke added: “I thought I’d be working for maybe three weeks...And we spent a year doing it, working really, really intensely for that period of time”. Gerrard then concluded: “the unique quality of the situation is that we were able to find such a gentle equilibrium, an unspoken common ground that allowed us to be liberated by what we were making and not ashamed, not afraid”. Duality’s chemistry worked, since it marked the beginning of an extensive collaboration for a number of film scores, including The Insider and Ali. In 2004, Gerrard began a new collaboration with Patrick Cassidy, whom she met while working for the soundtrack of “The Gladiator”. Cassidy is an Irish artist best known for his Narrative Cantatas-works
he has written for Orchestra and Choir based on Irish Mythology. The two spent two months recording together in Australia, resulting in the release of Immortal Memory in 2004. “We just clicked,” she stated on her website. “We discovered a shared love of music and stories and poetry and of music as a way of telling a story.” The album “grew out of ‘the desire to bring things from the ancient world into the contemporary world,’” Gerrard explained to Boston Globe reporter Joan Anderman. “We’ve got a 6,000-year-old poem on the album, and it still resonates with the same compassion and beauty”. She learned to speak Gaelic phonetically for the song “The Song of Amergin”. She also sang “The Lord’s Prayer” in Aramaic. As for “Elegy”, it’s a composition that Gerrard intended to feature in the soundtrack for Gladiator, which, she thought, was ideal for the scene in which Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, dies. Another of the pieces, “Sailing to Byzantium,” was inspired by a poem of the same name by William Butler Yeats. Stylus magazine critic Gentry Boeckel commented: “The composer of these sacred interpretations, from the
first words spoken by an Irish mortal to ‘Come Lord’ mantras and Yeats couplets, is established Celtic orchestrator Patrick Cassidy. The ageless, transient voice is of veteran ex-gother and Australian siren Lisa Gerrard. The feelings Immortal Memory produces are those that accompany the most emotional of sand, sword, and Bible epics. By capturing moments of ancient past, Gerrard and Cassidy have somehow created something timeless through set-in-stone permanence.” Once again, this collaboration was furthered in more film work, including the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Salem’s Lot. The following year in 2005, Gerrard contributed to the Ashes and Snow Soundtrack. For the songs “Womb” and “Wisdom”, she and Patrick Cassidy wrote and performed together. Her collaboration with Cassidy extended to include work with conductor Julie Rogers on the songs “Devota” and “Vespers”. One year later, in 2006, Sanctuary, a documentary about the life and work of Gerrard, directed by the multi-skilled producer and director Clive Collier, was released in September. The documentary
features extensive interviews with Gerrard and various people who have collaborated with her in the past, including Michael Mann, Russell Crowe, Hans Zimmer and Niki Caro. The documentary was released on DVD by Milan Entertainment on 24 April 2007. Also in 2006, Gerrard released her second solo album, The Silver Tree, which was significantly different from her previous work. The Silver Tree, which was also her first album released outside of 4AD Records, was first released on iTunes, with a wider physical release planned at a future date. The album was nominated for the Australian Music Prize for 2006. In 2007 a retrospective album The Best of Lisa Gerrard, a compilation of fifteen songs, was released covering her career in Dead Can Dance, solo work, and film work. The album was followed by a world tour on the same year, kicking off in April in Melbourne, Australia. This tour marked the first time Lisa Gerrard had toured in her home country, with a performance in three cities. The tour was followed by performances in Europe and North America. More performances took place
in Europe and Russia from 30 October to 22 November 2007. In November 2007, Gerrard collaborated with German electronic musician Klaus Schulze, a prolific German composer who was briefly a member of the pioneering electronic bands Tangerine Dream and Ash Ka Tempel before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades. The fruit of this collaboration was the doublealbum Farscape, which was released 27 July 2008 and was followed by a European tour. In 2009 Gerrard completed work on the documentary by Australian adventurer Tim Cope. The new soundtrack album titled The Trail of Genghis Khan, which contains music from the Gerrard and Wood score to the documentary TV series by Australian adventurer Tim Cope was released one year later, on December 1 2010. Plus she composed the scores of the film On the Trail of Genghis Khan, and contributed her voice to the soundtrack, which began airing in 2010, of the Japanese NHK taiga drama Ryomaden, a story based on the life of Sakamoto Ryoma. Also in 2009, Gerrard created her own record label, Gerrard Records, which, aside from being a conduit for the release of Gerrard’s future works, will also act to promote and support unrecognized artists of all genres. Unlike typi-
cal record labels, Gerrard Records seeks to give artists the tools and resources to manage themselves, as well as acting to safeguard the rights and intellectual property of each artist it serves. In September 2009, Gerrard and Klaus Schulze embarked on another tour in six European cities - Warsaw, Berlin, Amsterdam, Essen, Paris and Brussels. This tour coincided with the release of Come Quietly, a joint project between Gerrard and Schulze that was released during the tour. Gerrard released her third solo album, The Black Opal, in October 2009. The album included collaboration with Michael Edwards, Patrick Cassidy, Pieter Bourke and James Orr and was the first release to come from Gerrard Records. In 2010 Gerrard released a new album with fellow composer Marcello De Francisci titled “Departum” from Gerrard Records which was followed by the release of three new singles; “Coming Home” - as featured in Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”, “Entry” and “Come This Way”. Gerrard also collaborated with Prash Mistry from “Engine Earz Experiment” on a track titled “Spirit Guide” which will appear on his upcoming album in 2011. Film Career
The admiration of her solo efforts Gerrard received by critics and fans alike seemed not to be enough for her to further expand her musical horizons. In recent years, Lisa has also become a much sought-after composer of soundtracks. Gerrard’s first experience in composing music for a film came with the 1989 Spanish film El Nino de la Luna, directed by Agustin Villaronga, which describes the story of David, a young orphan with special powers, escaping an institution with the help of a fellow institute inmate, Georgina, played by Lisa Gerrard. The film score was composed by Dead Can Dance and the film featured Lisa Gerrard in her first acting role. . Starting from El Nino de la Luna, Gerrard’s work has appeared on countless soundtracks, such as Michael Mann films Heat, The Insider -with Pieter Bourke- and Ali, the Ridley Scott films Gladiator -with Hans Zimmer-(for which she won a Golden Globe Award, with Zimmer receiving an Academy Award Nomination) and Black Hawk Down, in Mission Impossible 2, Whale Rider, The Passion of the Christ, King Arthur, Tears of the Sun, The Mist, Salem’s Lot, A Thousand Roads, Ashes & Snow, Layer Cake, Balibo (for which she won a Best Feature Film Score award at the 2009 APRA Screen Music Awards and an Aria Award
for Best Original Soundtrack/ Cast/Show Album at the 2009 Aria Awards) , Henry Poole is here, Solo, Playing for Charile & Ichi, Fateless -with Ennio Moriccone, Tears og Gaza, Oranges and Sunshine (which garnered her with another nomination at the 2011 IF Awards for Best Music Score), Priest, Burning Man (for which Gerrad took home her Best Music Score at the 2011 Film Critics Circle of Australia awards announced on 10 April 2012, beating scores for Snowtown, The Hunter and Red Dog). Epilogue Down-to-earth, multitalented, unique, Lisa Gerrard is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable contemporary artists, the perfect example that talent and creativity have absolutely no boundaries. Her open-minded attitude towards music, her prolific works, her precious voice and her contribution to cinema are ultimate proofs of that. Lisa has not entered the music scene to become rich or live the rock-star life. In her own words: “At the end of the day, success has nothing to do with money”. She entered it in order to provide her own unique insight in what we call Music and for that we will be forever grateful.
is getting married to two different arts: Music & Painting
by Andy Phelps
Summer of ‘13: A relaxing season for most of us -thinking about vacations and stuff- but not for Serj Tankian. Probably one of his most creative times, when we found him announcing the release of two independent studio albums (“Orca” & “Jazz-iz Christ”). Sounds way out of those that we would expect from the frontman of System Of A Down. He somehow manages to show us new points of “view”. But his creativity does not stop here. In case you didn’t already know, Serj is a singer, a songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist(!), record producer, poet and political activist. In other words, he’s a man who’s trying to express his thoughts and feelings with more than words. And here comes a marriage between something he surely knows how to do and something new, something “virgin” for him: Music and painting, a new project, a “special” one. During his introduction to this new project in question through a three-and-a-half minute video on YouTube, he is explaining that “The urge came to me, in the discovery that music has become so temporal and devalued in the world today -even though we love music; anyone watching this and myself inclusive. So I wanted to create an exclusive experience. I wanted to create something unique for someone to hold, that they’re the only person to get to experience that.” Using unusual ways to translate his music into paintings -such as putting a canvas under his car, he states that “I have just embarked on a something really exciting and new called ‘Disarming Time Musical Paintings.’ What that is, is I’m writing a piece of music first, as I usually do, and then I am making a painting from it and embedding the music -with speakers and MP3 players -within the actual frame of the painting. So this is really exciting for me, ‘cause I’ve never painted in my life before.” You can watch this video on YT under the name of “Serj Tankian - Disarming Time Paintings”, and make your own point of view. Regardless if it is good or bad, this exclusive project is surely going to be discussed. Many of SOAD fans are already triggered by that, saying Serj’s avoiding to make a new album with SOAD. Is this true or is he just experimenting and experiencing new stuff? I guess... we’ll see.
photo by Robert Sebree Burst www.afternoiz.com
200 live Albums you must hear without labeling music by marianna kofinaki
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche Who could imagine life without music? Music is but a single en- They’re all works of art, regardless of musical genre or era. tity, devoid of “labels”, destined to speak to our very souls. And of course listening to our favorite artists performing live is a Burst Magazine is proud to present all those live musical diapriceless, unforgettable experience. monds, traveling you from the end of the ‘50’s till now. Are you ready for the trip? Brace yourselves and let us begin! Have you ever wondered how many beautiful live albums are out there? There’s no need to prioritize them by preference. Special Thanks to George Kofinakis
At Madison Square Garden
Live album recorded by Elvis Presley and released in June 1972 by RCA Records, peaking on the charts in July 1972. Recorded at the Madison Square Garden arena in New York City on Saturday June 10, 1972, the concert, and the subsequent album, were promoted as being Presley’s first live concerts in the Big Apple since the 1950s. It was certified Gold on 8/4/1972, Platinum on 5/20/1988, 2x Platinum on 3/27/1992 and 3x Platinum on 7/15/1999 by the RIAA.
The Velvet Underground
Live At Max’s Kansas City
Live at Max’s Kansas City is a live album by The Velvet Underground. It was originally released on May 30, 1972, by Cotillion, a subsidiary label of Atlantic Records.The band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s. In a 1982 interview Brian Eno made the often repeated statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”.
In Concert is a live album by the charismatic Janis Joplin (no introductions necessary for obvious reasons). It was released in 1972, after Joplin’s death, as a double-LP. The first record contains performances with Big Brother and the Holding Company, recorded at various locations in 1968 and 1970, and the second with the Full Tilt Boogie Band.
18 # cover
The first live album from the English progressive rock band Yes, released on Atlantic Records, featuring recordings from their supporting world tours for their studio albums, Fragile and Close to the Edge, between February and December 1972. Yessongs reached number 7 on the UK Albums Chart and number 12 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. The album was certified gold in 1973 and platinum in 1998 by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Genesis Live is the first live album released by legendary rock group Genesis in 1973. It was the band’s first top 10 hit in the UK, reaching No.9 and remaining on the charts for 10 weeks.
Live at the Rainbow
At the Rainbow is the first live album from the Dutch rock band Focus, released in 1973. The album was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London on 5 May 1973. A studio album was initially slated for release, but it was shelved due to disagreements within the band. At the Rainbow was released instead. Producer Mike Vernon is known to have mixed Live at the Rainbow for a quadraphonic release.
Bob Dylan & The Band
Before The Flood
Before the Flood is a live album by Bob Dylan and The Band, released in June 1974 on Asylum Records in America and Island Records in the UK. It is the 17th album by Dylan and the 7th by The Band, and documents their joint 1974 American tour. It peaked at number three on the Billboard 200,reached number eight on the popular album chart in the United Kingdom and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys in Concert is the second live album officially released in the U.S. by The Beach Boys. It was released in late 1973, nine years after Beach Boys Concert. The album gave the band their best chart peak since 1968’s Wild Honey by reaching No. 25, and earning them their first gold record since 1966’s Best of The Beach Boys
Irish Tour ‘74 is a double-album by Rory Gallagher, compiled from live recordings made at concerts on an Irish Tour in January 1974 at Belfast Ulster Hall, Dublin Carlton Cinema and Cork City Hall. “Back on My Stompin’ Ground (After Hours)” was taken from a jam session during the tour on the Lane Mobile Unit. Irish Tour has exceeded two million copies in sales worldwide. An article in a Belfast daily newspaper stated: “Rory Gallagher never forgot Northern Ireland, he returned throughout the ‘70s when few other artists of his calibre dared come near the place”.
It’s Too Late To Stop Now
A live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1974. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever recorded, The double album featured performances that were recorded in concerts at The Troubadour in LA, CA, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and at The Rainbow in London from a three-month tour with his elevenpiece band, The Caledonia Soul Orchestra from May to July 1973.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal
A live album by Lou Reed, recorded live on December 21, 1973, at Howard Stein’s Academy of Music in New York, in its original form, it features five songs from different periods of his creative career, including several songs by the Velvet Underground. The musicians were Pentti Glan (drums) and Prakash John (bass), Ray Colcord (keyboards), and Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter on guitars (the two guitarists would later form the second Alice Cooper band, first on Welcome to My Nightmare, which also featured Glan, Colcord and Prakash John).
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
Welcome Back, My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer is a 1974 live album by progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It was originally packaged as a three-disk vinyl set in a gatefold cover, the inside of which used the letters “E”, “L” and “P” as retainers for the individual disks. The album reached #4 on the Billboard album chart, making it ELP’s highest charting album in the US.
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Live! is a Bob Marley & The Wailers live album, released on 5 December 1975. Live! was recorded 18 July and 19 July 1975 at the Lyceum Theatre in London. A Deluxe Edition featuring two CDs and both shows in their entirety was initially set to be released by Universal Music on 14 February 2006, then subsequently postponed to 23 May, 30 September and 30 December, then delayed again. As of August 2012, the Deluxe Edition still remains unreleased.
Nighthawks at the Diner
Nighthawks at the Diner is the first live album by Tom Waits and his third overall. It was released on Asylum Records in October 1975. It was recorded live in Record Plant Studios, LA, in front of a small invited audience.The album peaked at 164 on the Billboard 200, the highest place he had ever held at the time, and is currently certified Silver by the BPI. It has received critical acclaim for its successful mood-setting, capturing of the jazz-club atmosphere and characterization. It is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Alive! is the first live album, and fourth overall, by American hard rock band Kiss. It is considered to be their breakthrough and a landmark for live albums. Released on September 10, 1975, the double-disc set features live versions of selected tracks from their first three studio albums, KISS, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill. It was recorded from concerts in Detroit, Michigan, Wildwood, New Jersey, Cleveland, Ohio and Davenport, Iowa.
Burst www.afternoiz.com To be continued on issue 11, November 2013. Keep bursting!
Famous Covers pt.1
20 Famous songs, that many of us did not believe they were covers, rock’s finest moments and those of the Pop scene alike, have established many artists; brought the initial ones into the spotlight and then others, more known as well. The covers have been so much linked to their interpreters, that it is challenging for the audience to realize whether they were the first to sing them or not. Some still remain unknown for many. The original takes were put aside, as the star of some luckier artists shadowed their effort and “stole” all their glory. We present you famous covers that got all the fame, or, as we say in Greece, “One talks the talk but another walks the walk”! By Cristina Alossi 1. Nothing Compares 2 U The funk project of the eccentric Prince was originally sung in 1985. Its success came five years later with the Irish Sinead O’ Connor. 2. All along the watchtower Six months after the original take (21-11-1968) by Bob Dylan, the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix stole all his glory away (21-09-1968). 3. I love rock ‘n’ roll It was an answer to Rolling Stones’ “it’s only rock ‘n’ roll (but I like it)”. An Arrows’ song in 1975 that Joan Jett sung live a year later at an English show called…. Arrows. That was THE song for her persona and career alike. The album “I love rock ‘n’ roll” was released in 1982 and became a huge success. 4. Hound dog “You are nothing but a hound dog” Elvis Presley yelled in 1956, shook his hips and all the girls screamed their lungs off and fainted for the one and only King of Pop, who turned everything he sang into gold. But still, the original version belongs to the American blues singer Big Mama Thornton four years before the King.
supreme guitarist J.J. Cale, whose version in 1976 never met that kind of success.
song that in 1979 marked the punk and rock culture in the hands of the Clash.
7. Respect Soul’s diva, Aretha Franklin, turned the needy “respect” of Otis Redding (1965) to a-ready-to-fight plus I-putmy-foot-down like song for respect. A hymn for the feministic movement,that established her ever since (1967).
13. Cum on feel the noize From the1973 glam rock του 1973 (Slade) to the poser 1983 (Quiet Riot) only the title changed due to the double meaning of the word cum.
8. House of the rising sun The British Animals with the vocalist and leader Eric Burdon, took a traditional folk song talking about how a life in New Orleans was ruined, and turned it into a huge success for the rock scene in 1964. 9. Black magic woman The legendary Fleetwood Mac released this song in 1968 and, despite the fact that they were more than able to make it a success, it would take another two years and Santana to make their work shine through. 10. Girls just want to have fun Robert Hazard sung it, a little bit far from his style and never made much of it. Luckily for him, four years later, in 1983, Cyndi Lauper made it her own. She established it as a feministic song and took home an award for the video clip.
5. Tainted love If you are very young, then certainly you first heard this one by Marilyn Manson in 2001, plus most definitely someone older than you must have mentioned that it was a cover from Soft Cell, in 1981. What maybe they didn’t know as well is that this song belongs to the American gospel singer Gloria Jones (1964).
11. Twist and shout In 1961, the group Top Notes yelled “shake it up, baby” but nothing happened. A year later, the Isley Brothers tried again. Still nothing. The true screaming and dancing came with the Beatles, and in 1963 the audience finally responded!
6. Cocaine Eric Clapton’s top hit since the 1980s is a cover by the
12. I fought the law In 1958, a rock n roll band from Texas, in their suits, wrote a
14. Knockin’ on heaven’s door Bob Dylan wrote this one for the needs of the western movie “Patt Garrett and Billy the kid” in 1973. It spoke of the feelings and impressions of a deputy, who died and lost all his control and power. In 1991, and while the cover was a successful live song, Guns’n’roses made it famous and Dylan was even more appreciated. 15. Diamonds and rust Back in 1975, the American folk singer Joan Baez remembers the time, when a call from her x-lover brought back memories of cheap motels and intense erotic moments. It was what she called “diamonds & rust”. Two years later Judas Priest spread the word to the Metal audience. 16. Somebody to love In 1966, the folk rock band The Great society kept asking, but none answered. A year later, the Jefferson Airplane made the difference and this question was spread like a wave. 17. I will always love you As a true country singer and “fully equipped”, Dolly Parton uniquely sung a song of true love for her partner Porter Wagoner. They would be separated professionally in 1974. In 1992, Whitney Houston turned it into the ballad of passion and unfulfilled love for the needs of the soundtrack for the movie Bodyguard.
18. China girl Their years in Berlin proved to be a productive period for both of them. That is for David Bowie, who may have written this one with Iggy Pop, for Iggy’s first solo album, but in 1983 Bowie would be the one making it famous. 19. Where did you sleep last night Being a great blues fan of Lead Belly’s, the frontman of Nirvana made a cover of it for the MTV Unplugged. Belly may have said it first; but it truly is a traditional American song from the Appalachian mountains, also known as “in the pines” or “Black girl”. The chorus “black girl, black girl don’t lie to me”...was turned to “my girl” by Cobain for obvious reasons. 20. Hurt In 1994, Nine Inch Nails released this one but the fame and credits alike went to Johnny Cash, a short period before his passing, when he created his last album, which mostly featured covers. At the time, Hurt looked as if it was written by him, his life and what he left behind; a eulogy that moved everybody..
Chop Suey! - System Of A Down
Wake up Grab a brush and put a little, makeup Hide the scars to fade away the, shakeup (Hide the scars to fade away the) Why’d you leave the keys upon the table? Here you go create another fable
by Stathia Pedioti
You wanted to Grab a brush and put a little makeup You wanted to Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup You wanted to Why’d you leave the keys upon the table? You wanted to I don’t think you trust In my self righteous suicide I cry when angels deserve to die In my self righteous suicide I cry when angels deserve to die Father, father, father, father Father into your hands, I commend my spirit Father into your hands Why have you forsaken me? In your eyes forsaken me In your thoughts forsaken me In your heart forsaken me, oh Trust in my self righteous suicide I cry when angels deserve to die In my self righteous suicide I cry when angels deserve to die Photo by Robert Sebree
And The Verdict Is SOAD’s first single and one of the most recognisable songs in the metal scene. We’ve all tried at least once to sing the first verse -but not many have succeeded. After that, we’ve all screamed the chorus and the bridge along with Serj, but when listening to “Chop Suey!” for the first time, what do we actually understand? What’s this song talking about, after all? There are many theories on that. Some say it’s a song without meaning, some say it’s a suicidal song… Some find it anti-Christian/Atheistic, while some others are insisting it’s a drug story. In the end of the day, it’s but a matter of personal opinion. According to Wikipedia, Daron Malakian during an interview, explained, “The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die’. The lyric ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ is a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as, according to
the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying.” The verse is talking about how the “person” is trying to “hide scars” under a “little makeup”. It could be talking about suicidal scars, or about the creation of something fake, like when religion is putting on a “show” to ground on its statuses. The chorus is a cry about this “self-righteous suicide” and the death of angels, which is possibly a reference to Jesus’ sacrifice, and an oxymoron -because angels are not supposed to die. And here comes the bridge, which is two out of Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the Cross, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46, -the Word of Reunion) and “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 “Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” which is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”/ Word of Abandonment). The “person” in our song feels pressured and forgotten, ready to “commit spirit” but then getting angry and feeling hopeful.
He then analyses that he is forsaken in God’s eyes, thoughts and heart, where the lyricist is trying to say that God isn’t watching over us anymore, he doesn’t think of us and in the end, he doesn’t even love us. We’re somehow doomed and we shouldn’t expect help from a superior kind of force. Repeating the chorus, emphasis is given to the “speaker”, where he now puts his faith in his suicide, knowing that his body is either a biological time bomb, knowing that his body will eventually die. He then thinks that angels deserve this death too, even though they were “programmed” to be forever. Closing, we’re reading this song’s name, Chop Suey. Though before the release they refer to this song under the name “Suicide”, they change it to this. Chop Suey is a mixed-piece Americanised Chinese food, with many variations. It’s only correlation with the song is when during the video a scene briefly shows Serj Tankian eating chop suey with some fans.
Anneke Van Giersbergen
Interview by Korina P. Photos by Raymond van Olphen
Holland is widely known as the land of the sirens. Anneke Van Giersbergen started her own revolution back in early 90â€™s with her former band The Gathering. Anneke as a solo artist continues opening new paths. Her latest album Drive proves that she can actually sing in many yet diverse styles and that she brings herself in the spotlight every now and then with some fresh ideas.
very special thing about her is
the fact that she is not afraid of changing faces of switching from one style to another while, at the same time, she supports whatever she does
100%. Letâ€™s face it: Anneke Van Giersbergen is a shining diamond in the music scene. While reading this interview, you will understand that her music and art really reflects her own personality and beliefs. She is a really positive person, a real thinker and a powerful woman.
Anneke made it crystal clear that she is shooting for the stars and I honestly believe that the best is yet to come for her. Enjoy! Burst www.afternoiz.com
24 Hello wonderful Anneke! How are you? Is everything fine there with you? Yes! Everything is fine! So, your new album is out, with Drive being its title. And if you ask me, it’s a great record to listen to while you take a ride with your car (laughs) I honestly believe that with this album you took a step or many steps forward, by ultimately delivering a really fresh album. With your previous album you tried to create a certain music identity for Anneke Van Giersbergen as a solo artist, while with Drive you reached perfection! Congrats! Do you feel like you have finally found the musical identity that you want to have in your solo career? First of all I would like to thank you for the kind words. It’s always interesting to know my fans’ opinions. As for your question, I think so! I think that I am coming closer and closer to my own identity as a person, as an artist and as a mother as time goes by. Every person has to find their way into life and everything I do is a moment in time. So when I make a ballad album or a rock album or a pop album, it’s always exactly what I want to make in a dead
moment. It’s always like a process in growth. I think when I will be 80 years old I will still be learning things… At least I hope so! That was an interesting response, Anneke! If you ask me, in Drive you also expanded your vocal lines and abilities. There is a lot of variety and diversity, like this track called “Mental Jungle”, which came out as a huge surprise for me and for many other fans, as far as I know. Really nice and different track!
that he is responsible for many great pop and rock albums. Actually I didn’t know him before; however, several people have told me that I might like him so I gave him a call. He is a really nice and talented guy and working with him was a real pleasure. Not only did he do the production of our new album but also we wrote the songs together, so, as you understand, Arno has been a very important and significant part of my album.
So do you think that you have expanded with your vocal abilities in this album? I hope so! I always want to learn things in order to become a better singer and performer. I always do my best in finding new ways in my vocal performance. It’s fun! Of course I like experimenting with new things.
And if I am not mistaken this album have been cowritten with your bandmates. You decided to do things in the old-fashioned way and record this album together with a group of musicians in the studio. Do you consider that their participation have added some extra value to the final result? Is this the first time this happens since the beginning of your solo career? I mean, working again on songs with your band-mates?
You worked with Arno Krabman. Were there any specific reasons for choosing to work with this specific producer? I’m asking you this because I did a short research on him and his studio and I found out
I personally think that Drive gained a lot of depth and atmosphere because of the characters of the band-mates. All of them are talented musicians and they all have put their own ideas to the songs; I am extremely happy with that be-
Cool! Thank you very much for the feedback!
cause the life that I have now is so wonderful and I wanted to capture that atmosphere on the album. As for the last part of your question, in my first solo album Air with Agua De Annique, I also co-wrote the songs with the band that I had back then and I really liked it so I wanted to repeat that process again. That makes sense. Your new album is also accompanied by a nice photo book. How did you come up with this idea? Was there any special concept behind this photoshooting? Was there any special theme? Well, when I decided to do a new album I wanted to do something special, like making a DVD or something like that. Actually, I really want to do this DVD thing in the future, but this time we came up with the idea of having a professional photographer following us and creating a beautiful coffee table book together. Apart from the wonderful pictures, it also includes stuff that you can read, stuff that I personally wrote, plus all the lyrics of the album. The photographer, Raymond Van Olphen, did a fantastic job. He had been following us around for about half a year in the studio, in live shows, in various places, everywhere we have been and he
play in the streets
I used to of Holland
all the time, just to earn some pocket money.
like playing in
the streets, itâ€™s spontaneous and you never know what is going to happen.
26 took these amazing pictures. It turned out to be a really beautiful book. I have noticed that in every solo album you chose to put as a front-cover a picture of yours. This was the case of Drive as well. Is there any specific reason for that? I like that because I am a solo artist now and I believe that people can identify an album with the artist when he/she appears in the cover of it more easily. I like taking pictures, I like to communicate the art and the atmosphere of an album through the art of photography. I think it’s a reasonable thing for a solo artist to do. Anneke, something caught my attention on your youtube channel. You have uploaded a video with you performing as a street artist in London and I guess you had your reasons to do that. How did this feel? Did you feel the need to do such a thing? It was just for fun. When I was younger, I used to play in the streets of Holland all the time, just to earn some pocket money. I like playing in the streets, it’s spontaneous and you never know what is going to happen. So, I decided to do it again in London when we were on tour. I just sang a few songs in the streets of London, it was really nice. It was just fun, nothing less, nothing more. OK, it was just routine stuff for you (laughs)! Exactly! (laughs) I guess many people have asked you this question before, however I will ask it anyway! In your solo career, do you target in a new crowd? I mean, of course the fans have known you from The Gathering but it seems that you wanted to do different things on your own. So, as a solo artist it seems to me that you want to expand your horizons and reach different crowds. However, during summer you played in heavy festivals Burst www.afternoiz.com
like Summerbreeze and you even performed some heavy versions of popular The Gathering songs. So, what about the crowd you target nowadays as a solo artist? I don’t really target to any certain audience. I just love playing music, making music and I love all kinds of music. I will always love metal and rock music and I also love pop stuff. As a listener I have all these stuff on my mp3 player. As a musician I like writing all these stuff as well. I like creating music, all sorts of music. For me playing in a metal festival and in a mainstream festival a day after and in a prog rock festival a day after is exactly what I want. What happens to me is so awesome! My audience therefore varies: all sorts of listeners come to my shows. It seems that they also like this mix of different musical styles. So, in a few words, I just do what I love and then I hope people like it and come to my shows. I don’t really think that I target to a certain audience, I believe the audience targets *me*. (laughs) This makes sense Anneke (laughs)! Last year, you did a song for a movie if I am not mistaken. It was titled “Please Baby Don’t”. It’s a beautiful ballad! Did you write this song on your own? No, no… I wish I had! It was written by John Legend, who is a wonderful soul singer. The director of this movie (“&Me”) wanted this song to be the closing track of the movie and he wanted me to sing a cover of it. I am extremely honored because this is the first time that I perform a title track for a movie. It’s such a beautiful movie and it’s such a beautiful song, so you can imagine how proud of it I am! So maybe you are interested in writing music for movies? Yeah, sure! That would be awesome! Actually, when I was in The Gathering, the boys had that big dream of writing musical scores and I personally think that they would be very
27 good at it. I would love to sing more movie-related stuff. And we would love to see you doing so (laughs)! I read an interview of yours a few months ago, where you were asked about your vocal range. Your answer was quite interesting! You said that when you were younger you have been trained as a soprano singer but your voice dropped. Did you finally decide that you did not want to become a classical soprano singer or something like that? This was a nice detail that I guess most of your fans do not know about! That’s a good question (laughs)! I think the fact that my voice dropped was a natural thing in a way. When I was younger, I had a higher vocal range and I suppose if I had continued training my voice every day, it would have stayed in the same condition. But it’s like a natural thing that your voice changes when you get older, so I suppose my voice has dropped from soprano to mezzo soprano range. Does this mean that when you were younger you were interested in singing
in classical style? No, not at all! I love classical music and I sometimes sing classical music songs but it was not a big dream of mine to perform as a classical trained singer. I just wanted to sing, so I took lessons and I did a lot of training when I was younger; however, I have always loved singing in all kinds of music, not just one of them. It was not a big dream, as I said, but I still love classical music and I sometimes sing this kind of songs.
gether in the same place. I am really looking forward to it! You recently signed with Inside Out Records. This label is known as the home of progressive metal artists! How did this come up?
That’s another small yet nice detail that maybe your fans do not know of (laughs)! I noticed that you are to play in a nice festival in Belgium. It’s called Metal Female Voices Festival! As far as I know, you have never performed in this festival before. Other artists to perform there are Tarja, Lacuna Coil, Revamp and Leave’s Eyes. So, you will meet all the other “sirens” of metal! How do feel about it?
For the release of Drive I was looking for a good international record deal for other countries apart from Holland, since I already have a record deal for Holland. For the rest of the world I had to do everything on my own and I felt that the time had come to grow a little bit more. With the new album, I felt like having the chance to expand and grow a little bit. I needed some help with this. Inside Out is just a fantastic label, they have some honest people working there and they love music, they know me, they know what I am all about and, as a result, they understand me. I took the chance and signed with them and up until now they have been so great to me. They help me a lot with the promotion. It’s great!
That’s true; this will be the first time that I will be there. I can’t wait! Many of these women are good friends of mine and I am really happy to see them all to-
You just said that for the rest of the world you did everything on your own until now. So, I suppose that you like taking good
care of your fans. You personally sign every single album and you take care of every tiny detail on your own. You are not one of these artists who have a team of managers following them all the time. I mean, doing everything on your own is not very typical of famous and established artists. That’s true. However I love this process and, trust me, it is hard work to do! I love the fact that every time we play somewhere around the world, people take the time and the trouble to buy a ticket and come to the show. This is something that makes me extremely happy, you know. It’s the power of music and the power of art and I love to be part of it. I know how difficult it is for bands to keep playing shows, releasing albums and stuff like that. I am extremely happy and thankful that everything works so well in my solo career. So, yes, I personally do a lot for my fans in order to thank them in my own way for making me so happy. You were nominated for Edison awards in 2 categories. You seemed really happy and really proud, so
28 I wanted to ask you a rather obvious question: Did this make you feel like you finally received some kind of reward in a way, like all these years of hard work are finally paying off, or not? No! My reward for all these years of hard work is the fact that people come to my shows. Plus, talking with people like you, who are enthusiastic about the things I do is another reward for me. These are the only things I need. However, I can not deny the fact that these nominations are a big honor for me because Edison awards are the most prestigious awards in Holland, so being nominated is fantastic! A few years ago, we won one Edison award with The Gathering, for the DVD we released. I am so proud of it but it’s not the main thing in my life. Anneke, you have been a professional musician for several years. This is a question I usually ask every artist I am talking to. It seems that music industry is facing really serious problems. Labels go bankrupt, bands disband because they can not make ends meet by playing music anymore and, generally speaking, the music industry is not in its best of eras. What is your opinion about this? It’s a complicated matter and I know that you Greek people are in big trouble. I believe it’s really great that you still stay strong and positive. I have met many Greek people when I came there last year and I saw that with my own eyes. I am pretty sure that things will get better in the future. I think that what makes human beings strong is being able to be positive and strong and ultimately being able to change things and make things better for our kids and for their future lives. Burst www.afternoiz.com
The same applies to music; it changes all the time for better or for worse. But we have to be creative; we have to do something with it, to take action. As I already told you, I feel lucky for the fact that many people come to my shows and like my music. I work hard for it; I always try to come up with new things and actually love my own thing so much. I believe that if I will be positive people are to like my art and me as an artist, because of that thing, rather than because of a certain style of music. People always want and need entertainment and everybody loves
tive person and artist. Your music is still positive and happy, but you seem to me as a thinker and a thoughtful person as well. What do you think of how the world looks like nowadays? I think it’s also important to continue and just keep walking. Sometimes things don’t work out; I know that, we all know that. Plus, in my own life everything is not always perfect. You learn from such things and you keep going. At least, that’s what I do and it seems to work for me. Just
mind, I wanted to do a few certain things. But you never know what is going to happen. Let’s see where I will end up (laughs)! I just want to make beautiful things with music and right now I don’t really have set any goals like “in five years from now I want to do this or that”. And maybe that’s why it’s working, because it comes straight from the heart, it’s spontaneous. Every now and then your heart tells you what to do. That’s a nice point of view! Well, your European tour is to start next month. However, you had to deal with some “last-minute” misfortunes. Your support act for your European tour dropped out. What is the current status of this issue? Yes, unfortunately that’s true. Actually the band (Minora) had some internal issues to deal with so it was not possible to finally join us on tour. As a result, we had to find a new band to join us on this tour really quickly. This is exciting because we don’t have a lot of time and there are many bands to have already applied. Some news on that issue will be announced really soon, so stay tuned (laughs)!
art of every kind (music, paintings, photography, movies). I think our industry will always be there and stay alive but we have to work on it in a very positive way. I think this is the most important thing for the current situation. And you just gave me a really good lead to ask you my next question (laughs). As we said, the world, generally speaking, is facing a tremendous crisis, not only on an economical level. Does this entire situation affect you? I mean, you are obviously a posi-
go after your dreams and see what happens.
I noticed that the last 3 shows of this tour will be in Greece! What should we expect from you?
Right! Let’s go back to your music again. When you started your solo career I guess you set some certain goals. Have you achieved any of them? Are you satisfied with the outcomes of your solo career until now?
We are going to have a really good rock show! We will play the new album in its entirety, plus some songs from our previous album, Everything Is Changing, plus some The Gathering songs, too. There will be an acoustic set in the middle of the show as well.
To be honest with you, I didn’t have set a lot of goals. I just wanted to make my own music and integrate my family and what I do a little bit more. So, yes, I had a vision in my
Like the shows you did with Danny Cavanagh? Yes, something like that. Just me performing a few songs with my little acoustic guitar.
29 But this will be a small part of the show, the rest of it will be a rock ‘n’ roll one! Awesome (laughs)! I love coming back to Greece! I love you guys, you know that. I love your food, your weather and everything and I am extremely happy to come back. Last year you promised us that you will come back indeed. It seems that you keep your promises, Anneke (laughs)! Yes, that’s true (laughs)! Most of the time it’s not up to me; it has to do with logistics, promoters, planning and stuff like that. If it were up to me, I would go everywhere! I am happy that I will see you again! And we will be happy to see you again as well (laughs)! Apart from the upcoming tour in 2013, what are your plans for 2014? We will be touring in 2014 too. And I will probably make a new album somewhere! That’s what I call a good answer (laughs)! Well, dear Anneke, thank you very much for your time! This is my final and rather typical question. Do you have any promises to make for the future? I promise to make good music for you guys. I always have new ideas so I suppose that I will continue creating new things for you until I drop dead (laughs)! Seriously now, I would be really happy if I were able to continue doing that for the rest of my life and that’s my promise to all of you. And we will be really happy to follow you for more years to come! That’s so nice, thank you! So, Anneke, see you in a few weeks? Yes, sure! See you all on the road!
DC Cooper Interview by Stathia Pedioti Photos by Natalya Chastaya
“The more that you want out of life, sometimes the less you get” Athens, GR calling Pittsburgh, PA, USA. “Hey DC, I am Stathia Pedioti from Burst Magazine. How are you today?” That’s how it all started, and I found myself interviewing one really incredible guy for about an hour. We talked about the early years of his career, his reunion with Royal Hunt, his solo career and his collaborations. We also discussed about poverty and contribution, about Karma and his activities as a volunteer firefighter - and more.
Trying to live his every day as it were his last, this guy surely has a lot to say. “You’re talking a lot -but you’re not SAYING anything” is a quote that certainly does NOT apply to DC.
“Everyone should help everyone” was a subject which we both enjoyed talking about. We must do things to help those who are in need, even if it is something small. So, spread the word people. We have to be more dative than selfish. By helping others, we help ourselves too. “Even the smallest decision can change your life or someone else’s life”.
31 Hey there! Hi, this is DC. Hey DC, I am Stathia Pedioti from Burst Magazine. How are you today? Oh, I’m ok. Kind of crazy today, cause I had a meeting that run a little bit long, but I wasn’t able to get a hold of you guys, and then you called me and so here we are! Well, a few years ago, you were listening to the Stained Class album... and some years later you were auditioning for being Judas Priest’s lead singer. Have you ever thought how things could end up if you were the lead singer? Yeah, actually, you know, the funny part about it is that there are a lot of people who don’t believe me. At the time, I wasn’t that interested in singing for them. I was honoured, I mean it’s one of the top five things in my career I was able to do or was able to achieve, that kind of status that I was being considered for. But at the time, Royal Hunt, we were hot. We were touring all over the world and, you know, we had a top album in Japan and stuff, so I really wasn’t that interested in becoming the lead singer of Judas Priest. For me, I felt that it kind of would have been, maybe a step backwards? It would have got my name up there but, I kind of felt it would have been only worth one album and one tour because I had that feeling; I knew that Rob Halford was gonna come back, I just didn’t know when. So I wouldn’t have afforded to be known as the singer who replaced Rob Halford, who was replaced by Rob Halford. You know what I mean? Yeah, I do! I have a lot of respect for Tim Owens, for Ripper, you know, he did a fantastic job. Probably better that I could have done to emulate what Rob Halford sounded like. His voice was just like him. I have different qualities in my voice that sound similar, but not the same. So, I don’t know, I mean
they came with the Jugulator album and that definitely was not my style. Definitely wasn’t me, it really wasn’t even Judas Priest either. It was a lot darker, a lot harder; so I liked that album, but it wasn’t, it’s def not one of my favorite Judas Priest’s albums. So, I just wanted to see how far I can go and I ended up being one of the final four.
Because here in the United States it was Green Day and Nirvana and all that stuff that just wasn’t me. I spent years honing my voice and my talent to do what I do and I just didn’t wanna do grunge. I didn’t wanna do alternative, didn’t
did I do this? That doesn’t make sense anymore because it doesn’t *change* anything. My new motto, kind of is: I am where I’m supposed to be ‘cause this is where I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be talking to you right now, I’m
wanna do grunge; that’s what you had to do in the United States if you wanted to continue to be a musician. And, I knew that things in Europe and Southeast Asia and stuff stayed true to that style of music; and that’s what I did. So I just knew that I needed to get out if I was going to survive.
supposed to be doing a new Royal Hunt album. You know, it’s just when you make a decision, that’s why sometimes it’s very hard for me to *make* a decision. A lot of people who are close to me, my family and friends, they know it’s hard for me to *make* a decision because, I know, even sometimes the smallest of decisions can change your life forever. So there are certain things, certain decisions you need to make quick and fast- and boom! And then is you usually have to go with your gut instinct. So I’m trying to basically do that a little bit more, where you just go with your gut instinct. I have two young sons now and I am trying to teach them, get them to understand that even the smallest decision can change your life or someone else’s life forever. So, you try to be care
That’s quite something, isn’t it? Yeah, I mean at that point of time I was obviously a lot younger. So it was quite an honor to be considered for a position like that. If it weren’t for Royal Hunt back then, you also had other offers from other bands, didn’t you? Yeah, there were a couple of different offers. There was some stuff here and there. Jumping on with Royal Hunt, at that point of time, they already had everything together. It was pretty much a package deal. When I joined the band, they contacted me, oh lets see, I made my decision around Thanksgiving. I think it was 1993 and then within a month, it was on Christmas Day when I flew to Denmark, we did 13 rehearsals and then boom, I was in front of 3 or 4 thousand people in Tokyo, Japan. Actually, no, it was a bigger place than that; it was like 7 thousand people. So, literally, I went from playing small shows in Pittsburgh, to two months later, in front of several thousand people. And in fact I had my best friend along with us on the tour, because he was working as a guitar tech for Royal Hunt at that time. He just looked at me and we were just like, “boy, this sure isn’t Pittsburgh, is it?”. If it weren’t for Royal Hunt, which one of these bands would you chose? Oh, boy, I couldn’t even, I’m not even sure of names back then, in whom I was involved and I really couldn’t even put a finger on that one. All I know is I needed to get out of the United States if I was going to survive in the music business.
So do you think that your choice was the best one at the time? That’s hard to say. Here’s how I look at things. My life has changed so much over the last couple of years; now I have a better outlook, a better energy. I recently got back to the center of who I am, I think. And you can’t go back, you can’t look back anymore. This decision, that decision, should I do this? Did I do that? Why
32 ful with your decisions. Looking back is what I try not to do anymore. Exactly. What’s gone, it’s gone. You are also a volunteer firefighter. Aren’t you? Yes, I am a volunteer firefighter and for 15 years I was a paid paramedic. When I was not in tour or in the studio, I would work as a paramedic. About two years ago, I walked away from emergency medical services. That’s kind of where my change started, because I didn’t wanna deal with death anymore. I didn’t wanna deal with people’s pain and misery, although every day I miss helping people, because that was my job. I was there to help people whenever they couldn’t help themselves. But the worst part of about it is, because of my personality, I’m a fairly sensitive guy with the world, I guess, and the karma and everything. I took it at home with me every day. We could talk for hours and hours and hours and I could tell you in detail about many, many things. I had people close to me who said ‘why don’t you remember the good things, the good people that you helped?’ And for some reason we’re not tuned
like that. I’m not anyhow. All I can think about is all the bad I did, not that *I* did, but all the bad; ambulance calls and heart attacks and the suicides and murders and … It just, it overtook my soul. And I couldn’t do it anymore. So I walked away from doing that, which I miss it dearly every day, but I still volunteer as a firefighter and I’m getting older now, so I’m starting not to go into burning buildings anymore (laughs). It’s all a bit crazy and I’m starting to think I have two sons, they’re eleven and nine, and they need me to be around. I think it’s kind of time for me to stay with the, what they call ladder operations, where I would control and I would run the ladder. I think I should stay for outside operations and let the young guys go into the burning buildings. I’ve done that many many, many, many times. And there’s been a few recently where maybe I pushed my luck too much or not too much. But I pushed my luck to the end, to the point where I’m not sure if I wanna go back into a burning house anymore; and it’s quite an adrenaline rush! You go into a burning structure, a building that’s burning and people talk to leave a house that’s on fire. We talk to go into
houses like on fire. I respect and I love all the brothers that I have in the firefighting, system, but, it’s crazy! I’ve gotten into some situations where I’ve come out of the house or the structure and said: that’s the craziest damn thing I’ve ever done! Now that I’m older and have kids and stuff, I need to watch out. I need to be around for them. That was the reason I asked you this question and I think your answer was amazing. Thank you. So, you kind of stopped doing this because of, lets say, nightmares? Yes… Nightmares, daymares... anxiety, sometimes even still hold to this day, there might be certain smells, there might be certain sounds that will trigger memories that I’ve had, things that I’ve done in the emergency system. There are a lot of people that I worked with, who had a very, very hard shell; that it doesn’t bother them at all. I thought I was like that. But I found out, whenever it was a little bit too late, that I don’t have that hard shell anymore. Maybe I did have one, but it got lost, or it got cracked somewhere along the way, cause some of the stuff that you see is just outrageous. Like I said, I can tell you many stories and I’ll carry those with me for the rest of my life. Absolutely, I think almost every patient I had; I carry them with me in my heart forever because I played a part in their life. I was there when they really needed somebody to be there for them and for that I’m proud, honored to be there. And, I’m not gonna get emotional in this, but it was a career, it was something I did through my life that actually, you know, hurt me but it also helped me. By helping others, I helped myself, if that makes sense. It does… Ok, we talked about nightmares; we should talk about dreams too. Don’t you think? Sure, sure. Dreams are good. Which
dream that you hope one day will come true? Well… probably the main one, the one I’m working on right now. I would have to say probably my dreams don’t mean as much anymore as my aspirations, I try to keep real. I’m off to realness now; I try to live my life for today. Just for today I’m fine, just for today I’m alive, just for today I have a roof over my head. You know, you try; you need to kind of live for the moment. Try to stop and enjoy the moment. So, my main goal right now is for my sons to see me live on stage, in front of the normal crowd, a couple of thousand people; ‘cause they’ve seen hundreds of videos, on youtube, on DVD and they’ve watched their dad perform, I’m always in my studio. They come down and they hang out with me before they go to bed. Things like that, you know. But they’ve never seen their father live on stage. And that’s a side of their dad that they’ve never seen in person before. That’s actually one of my biggest goals right now. That’s what I’m working towards. I’m working on, well I haven’t made it public yet, so the new solo album is in the works. When will we make an announcement? Hopefully some time in the next couple of weeks, and you know, that’s one of my dreams right now. It’s to get the new solo album out and also for my sons to see me live on stage. I have other dreams of this and that. But everybody dreams of being rich and everybody dreams of being famous and stuff like that. But I’m happy where I am right now. I think the reputation of DC Cooper is very honorable and that means a lot to me. I need to be happy with that. Because the more that you want out of life, sometimes the less you get. I try to keep my dreams small. Because anything that’s bigger than the thought you’ve been dreaming of, if it’s bigger and better than what you’ve dreamt of, it’s like even a thousand times better. It’s like… it’s the cherry on top of the whipped cream, or top of the ice cream. So, I mean I could go on and on, I want a race car, a better home, I want a big house. I have a beautiful house, I have a beautiful fam-
33 ily, I have a roof over my head and I have my health, I’m alive. I try not to be such a dreamer anymore. But, I do write a lot about dreams, I do talk a lot about dreams in my music because they have played a big part in my life. Ever since I was a little kid, I was a daydreamer. I could be sitting there, doing something and completely dreaming about doing something else. So have you been dreaming of being a rock-star when you were a kid? Probably that was one of my dreams, I don’t think that came later in life, because I grew up in the country; I grew up in the middle of nowhere and didn’t really know what that was all about till I got older. What have I started doing, playing with bands and stuff and realising, ‘hey, I actually can sing!’ Then those dreams got really big. And to be honest with you, whenever I joined Royal Hunt, my dreams were huge. At that point in time, I got something like, you know, what if I got on the aeroplane for the first time to Denmark? What if I was on my way to Japan? I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna be a rock star, oohh!!’ And it turned out somewhat like that. I never became as big and successful as I had anticipated or hoped for, but I have to be happy with how, how respected and how I am. Because if not, you’re gonna sit around and go, everyday I can go like ‘ohhhh, man, why am I not famous?’ I mean, in a way I am famous, in a way I do have a level of success that I just have to appreciate. I can’t sit around wanting, wanting, wanting. Because the kind of person that does that is really gonna end up being really dejected and upset somehow. Basically my outlook and anticipations are a lot more realistic than they were, say, ten years ago. You were the lead singer of Royal Hunt from 1994 to 1998, 1999 technically (laughs). 1999, (laughs). Have you learned that you we fired from the announcement via their website?
Yes… What was the reason? Long story short, I mean I’m not going to get into the nasty details or whatever, because that was definitely a kick in the nuts. That was a rough one. My contract was off with Royal Hunt and, how do I put it kindly, I guess André did what he had to do and I had to continue doing what I did. But André cited because it was all about money, which part of it was, but we had made an agreement on a contract and at the very last minute he said, ‘no, screw it, take it or leave it, this is what you get’. I mean they just fired me, so it was definitely one of the things in hindsight I wish it wouldn’t have happened. And I think André feels the same way, but it is the way it is. Ok, but since 2011 you are back with Royal Hunt, how did that occur? André had tried to get a hold of me probably about two years even before that, somewhere in the end of 2009, and we couldn’t come to an agreement. So once again, it wasn’t meant to be and around late 2010, I can’t remember exactly when it was, we were able to come to an agreement. He contacted me and said, you know, ‘look, Royal Hunt has never been as big without you and DC Cooper has never been as big without Royal Hunt’ since they fired me. He said, ‘so based on a business decision to try to maybe re-launch both of our careers, let’s do this; let’s do something together’, and I had agreed to basically just go out on the road, and we did, I think, 3 shows in Russia and 3 shows in Japan. And I said ‘let’s go out on the road and see what happens’. So that was the reunion tour and it was fantastic. We had so much fun, the people were fantastic, we wished it would have been more than 6 shows. But basically it was just a test to see the fans reaction, if still anyone cared anymore and they came through. They really, really did. They showed us that this is a good thing, DC Cooper and Royal Hunt back together again. In Russia and Burst www.afternoiz.com
34 Japan, there were people who were crying, saying, “I never thought I would see this day again. I never saw your concert when you were with Royal Hunt the first time, so I never thought it would happen that I would get to see you again”. And people with tears in their eyes were saying this is great; and thanking me and I’m going like ‘this is wow’! This made me feel good and also solidified the decision to do the next album and do the next tour. And now here it is, I’m doing the next album and we’ll do a tour sometime, hopefully in the spring. What happens after that? I don’t know. I’m just taking basically things, day by day and situation by situation. Ok, in a few days you will be a guest at the Shadow Gallery gig. What are we to expect from that night? It’s gonna be a lot of fun; I mean, Gary Wehrkamp and I worked together in a couple of different projects and I was really surprised when they said ‘hey, we want you to come over to Greece’ because I performed with them in Gettysburg, I just performed with them two weeks ago, down in Atlanta. I think it’s going to be a great night in Athens, Shadow Gallery is very, very well received, they’re very respected in Greece itself, especially in Athens, and I think I have a deep level of respect there as well. I think it’s really gonna be a great evening. And I possibly get to spend some time with Gary. Like I said, he is one of my best friends and we don’t see each other that often, so we’re looking forward to spending a couple of days in Greece. I think him and I stay an extra day, just to hang out together. Go eat your food, drink your ouzo and just relax. I mean the food, is just absolutely phenomenal, some of the best in the world. (laughs) If you haven’t had, lets say, ‘broken up’ with Royal Hunt and you were together, would you have created a family, or would you be just touring and doing stuff with the band? Oh, sure, absolutely; that was always something I’d wanted. Burst www.afternoiz.com
Back here in the United States I’m basically kind of a nobody. Some people do know of me, but even in my own city I like having the anonymity that I do, where people know me as a regular person, a dad, things like that. I’m hoping in the near future that’s gonna change because of some new management changes for DC Cooper; well, we’re gonna focus a little bit more on some of the United States, especially the Pittsburgh area, but it’s always something I wanted, so here in Pittsburgh some of the magazines that have done articles and newspapers that have done articles on me, they always refer to my double life. Where nobody knows him here, but he goes on an aeroplane and there to central Europe or Southeast Asia and he is a rock star! And then he comes back home and he is just again basically a regular guy. I mean, I still do music. I’ve always done music in Pittsburgh, and it’s mainly on a producing level, it’s mainly on writing level. I’ve only done, probably, 8 or 9 shows in the United States in the past 18 years and I’m hoping to change that. Maybe the market here in the United States is changing, but having a family was something I’d always wanted and in fact I wish I could have kids sooner, because it’s just the greatest job in the world. Even though they drive you crazy sometimes and make me mad -that’s part of being a dad- I wish I had them a lot sooner and have more kids maybe. It is what it is; I’m where I’m supposed to be cause this is where I’m supposed to be. I have two beautiful sons and it’s absolutely fantastic, they are very talented. This is part of the double life I live. It’s very challenging, a lot of times, to juggle between both lives. In fact, the past two weeks with me being in the studio, during the day I went, now the job that I work during the day is I’m a stained glass artist. I’ve been doing stain glass since 1985, as a freelance artist. I went back to the art field so, I do that during the day and I come home and I was going straight into the studio and I worked from 4pm to 12:30, 1 o’clock at night. I get to sleep for 3 or 4 hours, then I get up at 6 o’clock, 6.30 and I do it
all over again. The past couple of weeks had been very trying and very difficult for my family ‘cause I haven’t seen them that much. I have one more song to finish for Royal Hunt and my engineer is coming over tonight, and we have to do some final edits and I’ll send of the final vocal track to Andre and I’m done with Royal Hunt pretty much till it’s time to go on tour. After I play in Athens, Greece, I’m gonna be flying in Denmark for a couple of days just to hang out, just to show up, hang out with the band, because we never get the chance to do that. It’s always business, it’s always rehearsing or shows or whatever. I’ll fly there for a couple of days and then I’ll fly to England to perform, I’m gonna be the guest of honor, the MC for the master of ceremonies for Firefest in England. And come home after that’s all over. And then I’ll go back basically to being the normal person, if you wanna call it that. What are we expecting from your new album? DC: With Royal Hunt? It’s very bombastic; actually, you know, it’s always been very symphony-oriented. But he is actually using some real strings and everything in this album and it’s a little bit more theatrical, which I really like. In fact there are two parts I can’t keep, I keep singing over and over in my head. There are two points in two different songs where I use my opera voice, my strong tenor voice. My son came downstairs and he was watching me record it downstairs into my studio and he was standing off to the side. I see him standing there and I finished off and I took my headphones off and I turned around and he said “Wow! I’ve never heard you sing like that before!” (laughs). So, I let him listen to it through the speakers and everything and I was saying ‘you’ve heard a little bit of colors here and there, certain albums that I’ve done through my career’. But on this Royal Hunt album you’re gonna hear a little bit more, it’s gonna be a little bit more theatrical. I get a little bit more animated with my voice. You also mentioned a solo album. What are we ex-
pecting in that aspect? The new solo album! I’m really, really, hoping that it’s going to march. Because the first solo album, you know, it happened many, many years ago, I got sidetracked with putting Silent Force together, doing other projects, so finally now I’m gonna be able to focus. I got the right team of people together, I think, new management, new publishers, the band that I put together is absolutely fantastic and the great thing about it is that they’re based here in Pittsburgh, so we’ve been able to work together on this, which is great. And when I call it a team, it means something to me. It’s a team of people which is going to put, I hope, one hell of an album. I think it’s going to be really strong. There’s gonna be parts, it’s a little bit different, there might be a few things that actually turn people off, I hope not. But, as I’ve got older, kind of branching, not branching out, but it’s a little bit more mature. There is a part with one vignette, it’s gonna have the choirs in it, different things. I’m trying to open, I’m trying to bridge a generation gap, that whenever people come out to see the show, I’m hoping that there is not anybody from the age, lets say 16 to 70, I’m hoping that nobody is gonna walk out of there like, that sucked! Or I didn’t like it. I think everybody is gonna walk out of there, going like, man! That was very diverse; the show that I’m planning is going to be very diverse, it’s going to have different things in it. It’s not going to be just your straight ahead rock ‘n roll show. Here in America, especially, people don’t go out to see bands anymore unless they’re a big band. And I wanna be able to give them the big show with the little names. LIke I said, in USA I am just a little man. And I wanna be able to give them that full blown show that they walk out of and going, damn, that was awesome! Not just that was cool and yeah, they’re a pretty good band. I think the caliber and the quality of the players I have lined up, everybody has their special talent, everybody’s got to able to show that on stage and I’m hoping that that’s gonna come through in the album.
35 In a long version, I hope that answered your question. You sure did! You have also collaborated with Voyager, am I right? Oh, yeah, I love these guys, they’re fantastic. Guys and girls I should say. That is the only band I had ever sought out. I’ve been on 35 albums in my career, either doing just backing vocals or lead vocals or full length albums or just one song or two songs. I’ve been on 35 albums in my career and they are the only band that I actually contacted them, to say, ‘I would love to sing on your new album’. Danny, the singer, he got back in touch with me like within 5 hours, and said that he fell off of his chair when he read my message to him, saying I can’t believe that DC Cooper wants to sing on our album. Because there was just something about them, I don’t even know how I came across them, somebody send me a youtube video or a clip, or something like that. I just happened to click on it because people send me stuff a lot. Especially on Facebook, they’ll send me a video clip or Soundcloud or something,’ hey check this band out’. You know, in my studio I get CDs from bands who want me to produce them. I make sure that I listen to every one of them, because you never know what’s gonna happen. Voyager is a good example, because I’ve never heard of them before and there was just something about his voice that was so warm and inviting. His voice had such a rich tone to it. He doesn’t have a really wide range from low to high, but I’ve never seen a singer use the range so well with what he’s got. And he does extremely well and the band; every member of that band is equally fantastic. So I send them a message to say ‘hey man, I’d be interested to sing on your next album’. And he said he was floored, he absolutely fell off his chair. We made an agreement and I performed on the album and I love coming into my studio, just to hang out with people that come over to visit and whatever. You know, have a beer and sit back and I’m like,’ here, check this out’.
And 99% of the time, they go like ‘what the hell is that? Oh my God!’. That band is incredible and so it was a lot of fun. And finally I even got to sing with them live, on stage, when they were on tour. They happened to come through Pittsburgh and I’m like, I’ll see you at the show and I got to actually perform on stage live here in Pittsburgh. That was a great time, they had to get on the road, I ended up having them living in my house for a couple of days, just to hang out. They are really cool people. Ok, I’m more than cool with all of these and, before closing, I would like to ask you if there is anything else you would like to share with your fans, a piece of advice or a wish, or something. Just anything at all you’d like to
add. Piece of advice, wow. First of all, I can’t thank the fans enough… I get uncomfortable just saying the word ‘fans’ because I try to consider everybody like a friend. If you’re part of my life you’re a friend. Whether it’s we meet or we don’t, I consider you a friend. I can’t thank everybody enough for sticking by me and support me and it makes me feel good. The love on Facebook… Almost every day, somebody is posting something about DC Cooper, his voice; with respect, and that means a lot to me because I’ve been just trying to gain respect in this business, now, at a later age because there was a couple of rough years, 2007-2008-2009. Those were some dark times there: The world economy was shit, the music industry
was horrible and I was ready to quit. A couple of things had happened that I walked away completely saying I am done. Something kind of kept me in there. And a lot of it had to do with the fans and people saying, ‘come on you guys, you gotta give us something else’. I feel that is the rebirth of DC Cooper. I’m gonna give it my last shot, but I’m doing it with a level head this time, the realistic person now. Where I have certain expectations and all that happens above that is going to be the cherry on top of that ice cream. I guess my advice is if you can, live everyday as it is your last. Because, you absolutely just never know. My brother died years ago, he was so good at doing that. He was so good at living everyday like it was his last. If he wanted to do something, he did it. He never looked back. You
36 have to live in the moment, you have to live for today. It’s good to have dreams and aspirations and it’s also good to look ahead and plan for your future plans and goals. But don’t forget about living each day. I mean, I missed it out for a long time and I missed out lot of things. There are memories to me, but I can’t really say I enjoyed them because I was always so focused on doing something else or preparing for something else. Just live for the day and one other thing is, with my new album I wanna try make people think of others. If you can, just today, I’d like to go out and do just one good thing for somebody else that you don’t know. Even if you do, that doesn’t matter. But just do something else for someone else that you normally wouldn’t do. Whether you are walking out of a grocery store and an old lady carries bags, you carry her bags and you walk her to her car. Or anything! Go volunteer at a hospital. You wanna talk about something that is eyeopening? Go volunteer for 5 hours to a children’s hospital. Sit with the kids dying of cancer and play monopoly. If you really wanna feel something deep down your heart, you go do that. And then send me a
message and say ‘this is what I did’. I’m hoping to get thousands of people to respond back to me, saying ‘this is what I did’. It’s kind of like paying it forward. I don’t know if you’ve heard that before. Whenever you do something for someone else with no expectations of being rewarded, not even a thank you. Go do something and then you walk away, because it’s not just for your heart, you’re helping somebody else. By that and because of the karma and the way the world works with the karma system. Something else is going to come back to you and you’re gonna go like, ‘wow! How the hell did that just happen?’ I’m very, very passionate about this and actually this is the very first time I talked about it in public, so maybe you can even help me out by spreading the word. Just do something else, for somebody else today, without thinking of yourself and then send me an email, send me a message and say, ‘well, I did went to help in the hospital for a couple of hours’. Because, I can’t tell you what’s like to be in a children’s hospital, ‘cause I’m blessed. My children, I thank God every day that they’re healthy and safe. That doesn’t mean tomorrow they’re gonna be, ’cause any-
thing can happen. If you go to a children’s hospital or even a regular one and just hang out with somebody who’s dying of cancer, even just one who is going through a hard time. And you help them out a little bit, you’re gonna get rewarded more than they do. 95% of the time something else is happening because you just helped somebody. That’s a long answer to your question, but as you can tell, I’m very passionate about it. I’d love to get messages back from people saying, hey man, I want out and did this and probably it was the best thing I did in my life…Because we are so consumed with our own lives. Especially now at this day and age it’s hard to even get somebody to stop to let you cross the street because everybody is so focused on their lives. And they don’t think about it. Pretty soon this world is gonna go in hell, I think. Maybe with the way I’m trying to do it, maybe it might make a little change, by helping maybe it’s not gonna go to shit. But the way it’s heading right now, with the war, the poverty, the economy, everybody is just so focused on their own lives that they forget about others. That’s not what we’re on this earth to be. This human race wasn’t created to hate each
other or get over on somebody else or get ahead. There are so many people in this world that all they wanna do is just get ahead, be the most famous person, be the richest person in the world. Somewhere along the line they will be the loneliest people in the world and say ‘wow, look at all the stuff I have’, but they will have none to share with. That’s why this is very important to me. I’m just thinking of a lot of things and had something happening in my life that changed my perspective. That’s a very good word that I use a lot right now; it’s perspective. Everybody’s perspective needs to change a little bit. We’re thinking alike… You talk about changes, so I want to ask, what happened to your life that changed your perspective? I can’t talk about that; I wish I could. I’m not ready, I’m hoping that someday in the near future I’ll be able to sit down and talk about it. It’s ok, you’re a cool person. Thank you. I went through some really bad stuff and my world basically crashed hard. 2011, I have an exact day and it wasn’t just one thing. It was everything and I brought most of it on myself, some of it was stupidity, some of it was not being humble, humility… There are so many things that play into this and I hope very soon that I’ll be able to talk about it. I’m still working through this. I hope that you will stay strong for as long as you can. It was very nice talking to you Thank you. Yes, I look forward to. Will you be in the show? I will. Fantastic, I look forward to meet you. Remind me to say of what I did or will do in the future! That would be fantastic!
BAND INFOS, MERCHANDISE AND MORE:
W W W . N U C L E A R B L A S T. D E
W W W. FA C E B O O K . C O M / N U C L E A R B L A S T E U R O P E
“Shadow Gallery” is a unique band with an exceptional, signature progressive metal sound, which is not appreciated by fans in the way it deserves. Personally speaking, each and every “Shadow Gallery” album is… pure art! Despite the release of 6 studio albums till 2009, the band’s very first appearance on stage was in 2010. A few days prior to their live gig in Athens, Greece (which is set for October 13) Gary and Brendt took a break from their own schedule and were more than happy to answer my questions. By Petros Chatzistilianos Greetings from BURST! We would like to thank you in advance for your time. How would you describe the progress of the band so far? You were initially formed as “Sorcerer”, mainly doing covers of Rush and Y. Malmsteen songs, while, as “Shadow Gallery”, you are currently composing your own songs, consisting of complex musical elements. Is the band’s progress in par with your expectations? Which are the best and the worst moments you have experienced along the way? Brendt: I think each record we have done has been different from the previous one in the sense that we’ve gotten better at the crafts of songwriting and Burst www.afternoiz.com
production alike. I never had many expectations other than to produce quality material, but I do expect to be moved by the music. If we’re not moved by it in some extent, then it’s time to either throw it away or keep working on it until it meets our standard. One benefit of the fact that this band isn’t our only source of income is that it allows us to take our time writing material we are happy with, rather than “spitting out” some material just to have an excuse to get back on the road. Shadow Gallery is often referred as a progressive metal group. What does the term ‘progressive metal’ mean to you? Gary: A lot of these titles are necessary; however I am not
sure where we fit in. Like some other bands, our style varies a lot from song to song, e.g. a song like “Venom”, is heavy is quite different from “Digital Ghost”, which is more prog and even a bit jazzy. I suppose, I would prefer “progressive rock” of them all but the word “metal” gets attached quite often. Brendt: I grew up listening to Metal, so a metal ‘label’ is perfectly fine with me. That said, you can’t really call a lot of our catalogue “metal”…but then again, a lot of it you can. You opt for lots of virtuosic technique during composing music. However, great technique is not the only thing that characterizes your music, which brings out so many feelings in the
listeners’ minds. How do you see yourself as a musician? What is the artistic outcome you’re trying to achieve? How do you and the band describe your music? Gary: I think this is evolving. We probably have less to “prove” and are looking at the process a little differently now, compared to years ago. I stopped trying to figure out where I stand as a musician. I prefer to think that I just leave my unique mark on things. For the future, I would like to take things into an even more melodic place than we have. Your music is really diverse, since many different elements are evident, from progressive metal to hard rock and classical
39 music and so much more. Which are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any specific artists and/or musical genres you truly love the most? Brendt: Each songwriter in the band has different influences, however many influences are shared. We all love Queen, Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin, just to name a few; however there are specifics that we individually love, so I think those things are fairly evident in our writing styles. I mean, it’s pretty easy to see Gary’s love for Pink Floyd in many of the things that he writes. My main sources of inspiration are Kansas, early Metallica, Chic Corea, Type O Negative, Yes... There are just too many to mention. Gary: Yeah, I would definitely add YES and RUSH, METALLICA and YNGWIE MALMSTEEM to the list of tapes I listened to a lot in my formative years. You have a really unique talent in composing excellent concept albums (Tyranny, Room V). The process of writing an entire story, composing music and writing lyrics, with all those elements fitting so great together, definitely seems like a demanding task. How do you do it? What’s the story behind writing lyrics for Shadow Gallery in general?
Are you happy with that selection? Gary: I came across him years ago, when I was building my new studio. My general Contractor, Rich, was in a band with him and played me a demo. I liked his voice and asked him to sing on a record I was starting at the time, AMARAN’S PLIGHT’s “Voice in the light”. He agreed, but then for some reason it did not work out. Years later, when I tried to find him again to talk about Shadow Gallery, he seemed to disappear off the face of the earth. None of his contact information led me to him anymore, and nobody could find him. Brendt and I were both doing massive online searching, ready to do paid services to find where he was. I feared he moved out of the country, or disappeared for good, only to mention all this to Carl. When Carl saw a picture of Brian I had sent to him, he called me immediately and said “THAT’s the guy?? I work with him, I saw him yesterday!” So after that, I figured, well, we pretty much have to have him in the band, and never even auditioned anyone else. He is great, and it is such a plus that he is also a good songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist. He probably plays the banjo pretty well too, but we fortunately don’t need to rely on that skill from him.
for LaBrie lending his voice as the protagonist’s father and D.C. Cooper’s theatrical performance as the representative of New World Order in Tyranny. Plus, you have also worked with Arjen Lucansen and Ralf Scheepers. Can you shed some more light behind those collaborations? Which is the one you enjoyed the most and why? Gary: I enjoy them all. We had fun going out to dinner after DC was done singing New World Order, exchanging rock stories over cold beer. DC has a lot of exciting ‘road memories’ and is a good raconteur! I believe James LaBrie did his “I Believe” vocals with Carl, I was not around for that, but I remember enjoying collaborating with him years later for his solo work and he is just such a nice, calm, enjoyable person to work with. Arjen is awesome. We used to exchange 100 emails a month! I don’t even remember how either of us had the time to joke around so much. I hope to have dinner with him when my string of European dates crosses his area. Ralf did his work in Germany, he was a total pro and a great guy as well! The story evolving in “Tyranny” and continuing “Room V”, with its main axis being the New World
Snowden. Of course the entire thing goes a long way back, however there are so many things we can now think of, in order to associate it with recent developments. Who would have thought that somehow this story came true? How do you feel about it? Brendt: There’s been Truth in that record for a long time and things are becoming clearer to people now. We know for a fact that the NSA is spying illegally on people…They’ve admitted as much, but only after they were caught. This is nothing new. They’ve had that ability since the 1980’s. The rabbit hole goes pretty deep, if you’re willing to go looking down it. I think Snowden and the wikileaks guy are fucking heroes, but my opinion may not represent the rest of the band. Any plans on releasing a new album? What else is in stock for Shadow Gallery in the future? Brendt: We’re in the process of writing Demo’s right now. I absolutely love some of the new material. I can’t wait to work with Brian as well on some new stuff as well. It’ll be nice to have a new writer in the mix. We’ll probably write and record the next record in 2014. Do you prefer being a studio band or a live band
Brendt: Carl has handled most of the lyrics throughout our history. The concept records we’ve done have mostly been his brain child, although the rest of us did pitch in our ideas from time to time. I’m not sure how he does it all. It’s pretty amazing to me. I’m a big fan of Carl. I wish he’d write a book. Come to think of it, some of our songs have so many lyrics, that they might as well be books (laughter). Gary: They are all books. Good books, with progressive music behind them! You have Brian Ashland, a new vocalist, behind the mic. How did you end up choosing him and why?
You have worked together with legendary artists, such as James LaBrie and D.C. Cooper. By the way, it was an excellent choice
Order somehow seems prophetic once again, especially taking into account the global economic crisis and the story of
and why? Gary: Why not both?! Meeting the fans is fun for us. We have gotten to know so many people Burst www.afternoiz.com
40 online over the years, but to shake their hand after a performance is a really wonderful thing. We are very appreciative of their support. How did Mike Baker’s passing in 2008 affect the band? How did you reach the decision of playing live again, especially after this tragedy? What did the first live show feel like? Gary: Yeah, the first show was something. I remember not being nervous at all, but it would have been nice to have Mike there with us. I guess he was there in spirit. Brendt: Mike’s passing affected us in the way that it brought a sense of mortality and a drive to go out on tour before any more tragedy struck. We aren’t getting any younger! My favorite memory of our 2010 tour was listening to the crowd in Athens chant Mike’s name for 2 minutes in the middle of our show. I was really proud of Mike, and I was really proud of the fans in Athens. I fell in love with every single person at that show instantly. Is there any specific song you’re finding hard to play live, or you don’t want to, because it brings up memories and why? Gary: Not for me, although
sometimes I can hear his voice along with ours when we play. It is only in my head, of course. Nothing is really that hard to play live; however there are always a few moments here and there, where I know a part is coming up that I have to focus on a lot. I have more trouble remembering all the switching I do with my feet for keyboard changes, guitar on and off, and boosts and pedals. Sometimes I switch two sounds ahead instead of one, and then I have to switch back by hand, and that messes with my concentration. I usually focus more on trying to put on a good show. On December 17, 2009 it was announced via the band’s website you were going to make their first live appearance on the Triton Power Cruise (along with 9 other bands), which was set to sail April 30 May 3, 2010 from Miami, Florida. However, in February the cruise was cancelled due to an extreme medical crisis within the promoter’s family. What exactly happened back then? Gary: Wow, a lot of time and work went into that! The Promoter Beth was/is so very nice. I really enjoyed talking with her. She did have some family issues, and while we were disappointed, I won’t argue
about what is more important. I would rather not elaborate on the medical problems. Let’s go back to 3 years ago: You visited Greece in October 2010 and played in a few shows, supported by bands such as Maplerun and Silent Rage. What was your impression of the show? What else is there for the Greek audience this October? Gary: Actually, I believe we did 3 cities in Greece, including Larissa, Thessaloniki and Athens. This time we only have time for the show in Athens. Brendt: My impression for each of the Greek shows was the same: WOW. The Greek fans treated us so well...so very well. We really felt loved there. I’m pretty sure the Athenian show was my favorite show of that tour. Your performance at ProgPower Europe, which is set to take place on October 4, will be filmed, while a DVD release is quite possible. More info, please! Gary: I think you have all of the information already! You know as much as I do at this moment. It was not our idea to film it, but a fan’s of ours, but then it turned into a bit of a production. If it turns out
well, we will add to it from other shows, before and after, as well as extras and put out something nice, but I cannot even begin to describe a time frame yet. You have recently embarked on a European Tour and we’re really looking forward to seeing you live here in Greece. Can you tell us more details about it? Gary: I can tell you that the idea began, again, when we were asked to perform at ProgPower Europe. Once we were over in Europe, we figured we might as well stay for a couple of weeks and do some traveling. We ended up in Greece, and we knew that if we were going to do ONE more show, it would be Athens because we love it there so very much! Thank you so much for this interview! The last words are yours. What’s your message to our readers? Brendt: Stop what you are doing and remind the people you love that you love them. If you’re around when we’re around, come around and see us... I promise that you’ll have a good time, or at the very least, you’ll be able to watch US have a good time!
Veland by Korina P.
Morten Veland is a rather respectable musician in the metal scene, since he managed to create a rather new music genre -symphonic gothic metal with melodic female vocals- of his own. His signed his first record deal when he was 19. Many metal fans became familiar with him from his previous band, Tristania, which co-founded. In 2001, he left Tristania due to social and musical differences and he formed a new band called Sirenia. Mortenâ€™s way seemed to be kind of lonely through the years, simply because he could not manage to find the right collaborators. Sirenia have changed 3 different singers, until they found their last and permanent frontwoman, Aylin GimĂŠnez GarcĂa. A few months ago, Sirenia released their sixth fulllength studio album, Perils Of The Deep Blue, which has received excellent reviews. Furthermore, the album debuted on the Billboard Top New Artist and Billboard Hard Music charts! It seems that Mr. Veland finally managed to find the right people to share his vision and this helped him a lot in creating maybe the best Sirenia album so far. So, dear readers, are you ready to dive with us in the deep blue?
44 Hello Morten! First of all I would like to thank you for this interview! So let’s begin! You stated that you guys are absolutely ecstatic about your latest album, ‘Perils Of The Deep Blue’, which takes Sirenia to the next level and brings out many new sides of yours. You also said that this album is something special: It’s the result of two and a half years of blood, sweat and tears and you have literally put your heart and soul into it. It seems that you are very happy and optimistic about this album, Morten! Do you feel that it will be the band’s “golden ticket” to the top? Do you think that, thanks to this album, you will make the difference in the music scene in general? This time I was feeling like I had to prove something and I wanted to show that Sirenia have something special to give to their fans musically and to the metal fans in all over the world in general, so we spent a lot of time preparing this album and personally I have been working very hard. In the entire recording process, I have been setting specific goals, in order to improve all the different elements in our music. In this album, I tried to get everything a step forward. In the end, we spent about 2 and half years in order to complete it and at last I really had the feeling that all the hard work that we put into the record had paid off, since every time I listen to it now I really feel that this re-
cord is indeed taking Sirenia to the next level. I really feel that we have been improved in many and different ways. I feel very happy with the album, I feel excited about it and now I am really interested to see the feedback and be aware of what our listeners think about it. Until now, we got some really positive feedback. As I said, I am really excited to see what other people think. All this information sounds great to me! I have been listening to the album, so I noticed that many new elements exist indeed: There are still Sirenia’s trademarks but also some very sharp and nice guitars, some rather proggy melodies in the keys and guitars. Plus, it even features some industrial elements and wind instruments. This is a different Sirenia album indeed. So, this is a rather predictable question, but I will ask it anyway: Do you consider Perils Of Deep Blue as Sirenia’s masterpiece? (laughs) You know, I am not sure if I would use the word ‘masterpiece’ but I felt that I made an album that was the best that I could have made in that period of time. I had a feeling that I really did the best I could for this album in 100%. I felt that it was the best I was able to do. I don’t really know how to put it in words but I feel something different for this album. I think that it has completely a little bit of
everything. Plus, when I wrote all the material for this album, I really wrote a lot of stuff, so afterwards I had the ability to choose all the stuff that I liked best, by picking up ideas from maybe 40 songs and then to make them bound to the 11 songs that I wanted. Oh did you write 40 songs? Seriously? (laughs) Yes, yes! I had a lot of material to choose from. As I said, I chose the material that I liked the best but also I tried to choose some material that was different from our previous works. I wanted 11 songs that would be different from each other. This album has everything, from ballads to very powerful stuff and from electronic stuff to old school stuff, and this is what I really like in it! So, this is a very special release for Sirenia indeed! Do you feel that with this album you have become more mature in a way as a composer? I have been working on trying to improve my skills as a songwriter, a composer, a producer and as a performer alike. With this album, I wanted to take all of these skills to the next level. As for the mixing and mastering, we worked with a friend of ours, called Endre Kirkesola, in Dub Studios in Oslo. He has a sound which is very powerful. He is actually a huge supporter of the music of the early 90’s and so on, really old-school and metal sound,
you know. That was the sound that I was thinking it would fit perfectly with these songs and for this album. That’s the main reason I wanted to work with him. I also thought that working with him would make our sound a little bit more different than the other bands out there. Today, the majority of the bands choose to work towards a much more modern sound and they are being pushed into this direction. Sound-wise, I felt that we needed to have a sound like that; however, on the other hand, the songs also feature some modern elements here and there. You know, I had that strange feeling that the basis of our sound in this album should be typical and that we should add a more 90’s feeling to it. This is something that I really like. Plus, I was hoping to record an album that would sound quite different from all the previous Sirenia albums and I also think that it sounds quite different to what all the other bands of this scene are doing now. So now you are giving me a great chance to ask you my next question, which would be about the producer and the sound of the album (laughs)! Once again, some parts of the album had been recorded in Sound Suite Studios –and, of course, in your own studio. As far as I know, every Sirenia album has been recorded there. Plus, if I am not mistaken, the Marseille choir is featured in every Sirenia album. Is there any specific reason
45 for these selections? You seem that you really trust this “team”. Yes absolutely (laughs)! There is a saying that goes “never change a good team”. As long as these guys give me what I want, I don’t see any reason for looking for different collaborators to work with. I really like working in Sound Suite Studios; it’s an amazing place to be, an amazing place to work. It is based in a beautiful location that gives me the ability to totally relax and focus on my work 100%. I have been working with these guys since 1997, so we know each other really well and there is a really relaxing atmosphere all over the place. Furthermore, the Marseille choir is, in my opinion, an important part of Sirenia’s sound and if, for example, I try replacing it with a different choir, the final result wouldn’t sound like Sirenia to my ears anymore. This studio, these collaborators, everything, are an important part of Sirenia’s sound. In my opinion, they do an amazing job every time, so it’s some kind of a tradition that I want to continue. This makes sense. And, speaking of choirs, Aylin has stated that she participated in a choir in order to get some experience for the recordings of Perils Of The Deep Blue. It seems to me that you have been really up to this album, in such extent that you even get yourselves more prepared for the album recordings in a way. That’s true. Aylin also wanted to add new things to this album and she wanted to expand her boundaries as a singer, so she joined this classical choir in Norway in order to get some new ideas, new influences and learn new things in general. She has been working really hard with her voice in order to improve her performance. I think in this album she sings in much more variant ways, she is singing the powerful parts with much more power and the emotional parts with more emotion. She is also mixing up different styles. She is a typical modern female singer, but also in this album she sings some
parts in a more classical style. She added much more variation to her singing style and I think this also contributed a lot to the album reaching a higher level. Her vocals fit perfectly with the music and everything sounds really great, if you ask me. I think all the parts are coming together really well in this album and, by listening to the final outcome, I think that Sirenia are being presented in the best moment of their career. The album was produced by you once again! Congrats, I personally really liked the production! The album production is also an important part of the entire process. It seems that you really know what you want to get and really trust yourself and your in-
stincts. Apart from Sirenia’s albums, do you plan to produce albums for other artists as well? Until now, I have not been a producer for any other band; I have been focused on my work with Sirenia. I have also produced Mortemia’s album. In the first two Sirenia albums, I was just a co-producer. Terje Refsnes was our producer back then and I was kind of his assistant. However, through the years, I learned a lot of things; I am also composing all the songs on my own. I knew how I wanted the final result to be and how to sound in our third album, Nine Destinies And A Downfall, so I decided that the time had come to start producing our albums on my own, in order to make the final result sound like the original ideas I
had in mind. After all, it’s your music. -Yes, it’s my music and I totally know how I want it to sound. In the past, it was harder for to explain how I wanted my music be like and sound like, to explain my visions to our producer in order to help me to get the sound I wanted and create this style together. Now that I do this job on my own, I have my vision and I know how to get there. In our latest album, I believe that I chose the right guy to do the mixing and mastering. As I said, I am really happy with the final results in our latest album (laughs)! Are you maybe also interested in making a living working as a professional producer? Burst www.afternoiz.com
46 I think it would be really cool if I could make a living as a producer; in fact, it’s a field that I really like. I might have already done it if I had the time but I always felt that the most interesting thing for me is to work on my own music and my own ideas. This is something that personally gives me much more things than working on somebody else’s ideas. Working on something from the very
ting ideas for some new songs as well; maybe I start writing down some of these ideas, but I do not finalize them. They are just some simple ideas and just the first stages of the writing process. So, 6 months before the release of the album I had already stopped writing material for the upcoming album and started the mixing and the mastering, which take a lot of time. You know, some
In the previous Sirenia albums, apart from the harsh vocals, you also recorded the guitars, the bass guitars, the drums and the keys on your own. Considering this, I understand that Sirenia is kind of your personal project. You write the songs and you also record them on your own. What about the rest of the bandmates?
fectly right away, while, some other times, she has to do some changes or some adjustments to make it sound as good as possible. Aylin always spends more time in this process and she especially did that on our latest album. For Sirenia, this thing has been working fine so far, so I guess I will keep doing it in this way.
beginning, from just a simple guitar riff to the final production process, you know, being a part of the whole process have always fascinated me. I think of myself more as a composer rather than as a producer. Of course, I love the producing part but only when I produce my own stuff! (laughs)
other people also asked me this question recently: if I save material for upcoming albums (laughs). It has to do with the time I need to finish the whole process, so that’s why. The album features some lyrics in different languages. How did you come up with this idea?
Have they participated in Perils Of The Deep Blue studio recordings this time?
cover fits the title perfectly. ‘Perils Of The Deep Blue’: How did you come up with this title? I mean, was there any special idea behind this title or is it just a poetic title that sounded good to your ears?
You also stated that the writing process has been going on for about two years and you started writing songs for you latest album, even before you released your previous album, “The Enigma Of Life”. I can’t help but wonder why you didn’t release this album earlier, since you had already written some stuff. If you ask me, “Perils Of The Deep Blue” is a much more mature album than your previous one! So, through the years had you been planning to release Sirenia’s masterpiece? It seems to me like you had a plan in mind for several years!
I have also wanted to do something new and different with the lyrics of this album. Writing lyrics in Norwegian was something that I have actually been thinking about for a long time. For some strange reason it didn’t happen until now, I wanted it very much to happen, so here we are now. It was actually quite hard to write lyrics in Norwegian; I think it was much more difficult than just writing lyrics in English as usual. Maybe the reason for that is that the Norwegian language is simpler and more direct. As a Norwegian, it was kind of more personal too. It’s harder to write and express myself in a poetic way in Norwegian rather than in English because the English language is so huge and there are so many different words with the same meaning to choose from. All these years, as I said, it was much easier for me to express myself in English than in Norwegian, so I guess this was the main reason that this desire of mine did not happen earlier.
When I make an album, I usually stop writing anything for like 6 months before its release. At that point, I have decided which songs will be included in this album. Then I use the next 6 months to make the songs I picked perfect. However, in the meantime -or maybe later- I start getBurst www.afternoiz.com
For Sirenia, this happens from the beginning. Actually, when I started Sirenia back in January 2001, it was actually meant to be a solo project, but later on I discovered that I wanted to put together a band, to be able to go on tour and do all these things that bands do as well. So I found musicians for the band and everything, but there is always the need of composing and recording the music for Sirenia. The other guys have been OK with this situation and all of them have always had different bands to play or different projects on the side; as a result, they are not always able to contribute. They also have their kids, their jobs and stuff like that and they feel quite nice and happy with the fact that I do all the studio work and they just come along, in order to do the more fun stuff, like going on tour or making videos and such. However, with Aylin it’s quite a different situation. She is putting more of herself on the studio albums and we quite work a lot together on her vocal parts and melodies; I like the lyrics she writes. She always has to work through all these ideas, in order to see if they fit in her voice, because, you know, sometimes an idea fits per-
I think that the album
This time, it was kind of special. Usually in the past, when we had been looking for an album cover, I was thinking about the cover after I was done with the writing and recording process and after I came up with the album title. I used to send the music and the title to a designer and then it was his/her task to come up with ideas for cover artworks, which would fit perfectly with the music and the title. This time, the usual process actually changed. I think that you just found the picture randomly on the internet. Yes, yes! I was looking around on the internet and all of a sudden I came across this beautiful artwork and I immediately thought that this cover fits perfectly with the stuff I had written for Perils Of The Deep Blue. Then, of course, I got in touch with the designer who made it and we finally got the permission to use it as the cover of our new album. After that, I came up with the album title and it was like I was hid-
47 ing the cover and the music in my mind. Everything fit perfectly, you know: the name of the band, the title, the cover, the music they all click together perfectly. I personally think that every cover of every Sirenia album fits the music featured in the album perfectly! Yeah, it works (laughs). We always try really hard to find a cover that matches the music. I am happy to hear that from you (laughs)! This time was pretty easy, you know; in the past we used to spend a lot of time with designers, in order to come up with the final cover. Speaking of gothic elements, I always wanted to ask you this: Do you consider that Sirenia is a gothic metal band? Bands like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Type O Negative –just to mention a few- are being considered as the founders of the genre in question. Do you think that Sirenia (and even your previous band, Tristania) should be labeled as “gothic metal” bands? Have you been inspired by these bands in some way? Plus, if you have to put a label on Sirenia’s music and art, which one would it be?
I know that people hastily labeled our music as gothic metal and I am OK with that. Oh really? -Yes, because, as I already said, there are also some gothic metal elements being featured, plus a lot of other stuff as well. I don’t see any problem with the fact that people call us a gothic metal band. It works for me (laughs)! Aylin is the only singer who seems to have stuck with you and Sirenia. There were several lineup changes in the band through the years and I am not only referring to the singers. It seems that you are finally stuck with specific musicians. Changing collaborators through the years must be very hard for you personally. Do you feel that you have finally met the “right” people to work with? Sirenia have been through a lot of line-up changes over the years. Some musicians left due to differences and stuff like that. I really feel confident now that we have the right line-up
for Sirenia. We all share the same thoughts, both on a social level and on a musical level; we are good friends and we share the same tastes in music. It feels really good and Aylin is happy being with us and, of course, we are really happy to have her. I think she’s doing a great job; she is perfect for Sirenia; she has been improving as time goes by; she is getting better and better in every album. This makes all of us happy. I feel that this is finally the right line-up for Sirenia. So, you finally found the right frontwoman I guess. Yes I guess so! I hope that I will never have to look for a new musician again because it’s not something that I want and I actually like. So, yes, we are all happy with the current line-up. Great! I am happy that finally things worked out for you guys! Let’s go back in 2008, when Sirenia announced that Aylin would be their new singer. She has participated in X Factor, if I am not mistaken. Back then, have you ever thought that maybe the
metal fans would not really like the fact that Aylin was coming from a television music competition? I was quite sure that a lot of metal fans would be annoyed by this; in fact, we were all sure about that! We were joking about that a little bit back then (laughs).We knew that Aylin would get a lot of bullshit because of that. We had to choose from like 500 different singers from all over the world who wanted to participate in the auditions and become the new singer of Sirenia. We were looking for the right singer and we did not really care about her participation in X-Factor or anything like that. We just cared about her voice, singing abilities, image, willingness, positive energy. These were the things that were important to us and, ultimately, Aylin has been proven to be the right choice. We knew that this fact would bother many people but it was a minor matter for us, as I said before; that television program has to do with the music, after all! Actually, in my opinion, she got a lot of experience through her participation there, as she was already used to sing in front of a huge crowd
(Laughs) I think it would pretty difficult to put a label on Sirenia’s music because our musical concept is pretty much about combining a lot of different musical styles into a big musical concept. There are some shorters, like specifically gothic elements in our music, and I guess that somebody likes these gothic metal elements so he/she chooses to follow us; I think that’s partly correct. Of course we feature gothic metal elements but we have a lot more stuff also being featured in our music, like gothic rock elements, elements from many different metal subgenres, classical elements and generally a lot of stuff being blended together into one musical concept. That’s the main reason why I always find it kind of impossible to come up with a label for our music; Burst www.afternoiz.com
48 after that. I believe that every experience is good and makes us better. I would also wanted to ask you about your other musical project called Mortemia. What is going on with it? Do you have any news for the fans? You have declared that it will be only a studio project, of course. Do you already have something in mind on that aspect? I have some new songs but right now I am not sure of when I will be able to do anything seriously. Right now I have a brand new Sirenia album out and I will spend my time promoting it and stuff like that. I will consider it later on when I have some free time again to work on a new Mortemia album. We will see later on what will happen. Morten, I follow up on your career through the years and I got this very strange feeling that you are more like a studio musician rather than a live musician. I mean, I think that you enjoy the writing and the production process much more than playing live and touring. I might be mistaken, so you are the one to tell me if this is true or not. (Laughs) You know, I will tell you what; I really love them both. I guess, if you ask musicians, most of them will probably tell you that playing in live shows is what they love the most. I really love that, too, of course; but, at the same time, I really love the creating part, being in the studio, working and composing and all these stuff: This sensation while you are composing and you started building up a song into something very nice and good. This feeling is exceptional and totally amazing. But, on the other hand, standing on the stage and playing music for people who really like you is also one of the best feelings in the world. I really love them both but, in my opinion, these are two totally different things. You are more like a multi-instrumentalist. Could Burst www.afternoiz.com
you tell us a few things about your early years and how you got into music? How did you decide to become a musician? Maybe you’d like to share with us some details on your musical background. Plus, we all notice some classical elements in every Sirenia album. Are you into classical music as well? I don’t think that I am coming from a very musical family. I think that very few people in my family actually play an instrument or anything like that. I am pretty much a selftaught musician. When I was 14 years old, I bought my first guitar; right after that I was totally hooked, I just couldn’t stop playing! I was playing and playing and playing and I learned everything on my own. I took up some guitar lessons for a few months. I wanted to get started but I didn’t want to pay bills for all my life. I mostly learned things on my own. This also applies to all the other instruments I play. I never went anywhere to study anything. I just bought an instrument and started practising on my own. As for classical music, I have been listening to it for some time but it’s not a genre that I listen a lot. At some point, I get tired and stop finding it interesting enough. What really fascinates me in classical music is when I mix it with metal music; I really like the combination of classical and metal music. A good example of that would be Apocalyptica; they combine classical music and metal music in a perfect way! Yes, that’s right. This combination of classical music with metal in a band is really interesting for me; this contrast between these two music genres is amazing. What really got me into music was Guns N Roses. I think that was the band that inspired me to buy a guitar and start learning. I am still a huge Guns N Roses supporter. When I started, I was really inspired by Slash because he was a guitarist who actually played beautiful melodies. All the other guitar players wanted to show how fast they could play,
but Slash has been playing beautiful melodies that have been sticking in my mind. That was something that I wanted to do as well. Later on, I discovered bands like Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of Nephilim and all the other gothic rock bands coming from the UK; and that was when I started getting my music into this direction. Plus, I was adding more metal elements. Pantera have also been a huge influence for me. So do you consider Slash as your idol? I am not sure if I would call him my idol but I think -at least when I was 14- he was the guitar player who really inspired me to start playing; I think that he is actually the guitar player that really made me want to become a guitar player as well. Let’s go back to Sirenia again. Do you have any tour plans so far? We have started setting up shows in all over the world. The tour is planned to start in autumn. Actually, we have
already announced some Australian tour dates. We are working on that at the moment and we are trying to get more and more shows in different countries. We are very eager to start touring again! We hope to see you again in Europe soon! I hope so! We are ready to go anywhere they want us. It’s up to the promoters in every country, you know. It’s up to everybody else apart from us! (laughs) Morten, this is the end of our nice conversation. Thank you once again for your time. Do you have any last words, maybe some kind of promises to your fans? I would like to say that right now Sirenia are doing their best to play in as many places as possible. I really hope that we will visit every country, where Sirenia fans live… So be patient and we will come to you, people! See you on the road!
BAND INFOS, MERCHANDISE AND MORE:
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W W W. FA C E B O O K . C O M / N U C L E A R B L A S T E U R O P E
Saukkonen By B|S|Orestis / Photos by Janica Lรถnn / STORM Photography
You got to admit frontmen usually receive all credit in a band. The guitarist is next, etc... The drummer takes the last place (exceptions for the select few diamonds out there!)... But how many times do you have all those band members combined, (like the lions in Voltron!)?? We had the honor to interview Mr. Tuomas Saukkonen of Before The Dawn, Dawn Of Solace, Teargod, Black Sun Aeon, The League Of Extraordinarily Violent Gentlemen, S.I.M, (let me catch my breath)... Decline,Newborn George, Code245, Varjo, Bonegrinder, Pitfiend, Deathblow and of course Wolfheart. Burst www.afternoiz.com
51 Tell us was Wolfheart a result or a necessity? Wolfheart was born from a clean slate after the decision to bury all my previous bands was done. There was no connection between these events. I just needed to shut everything down and see what comes out from the silence. Well maybe it is more a result that necessity :) Were you experimenting with all those projects in the past or was it a phase in your musical career? Neither. I don´t see my career or life in general in the form of phases. It is like a stream that just goes on like a river. Calm periods, waterfalls etc. Like a rollercoaster but with a bit longer ride :). All my past projects were products of their own time. Each very important, as an output for my music at that time. Music and writing music is more like a lifestyle instead of a career to me. It seemed very decisive to leave all other projects and focus on the new. How did you come up with the idea of the new band? Any connections to the debut album by Moonspell?
After the decision was done, I didn’t have any plan B to follow. I just took a while to write new music without any plan, schedule, band etc. Just focus on the music and see where that would lead me. When the music started to come out, the band and the plan came along with it. No connection however to Moonspell :). I just needed to have the word “wolf” in the band’s name since I am a bit of a lone wolf myself when it comes to making music :) You selected to focus in one single project/band. My guess is that you want to focus to other things as well. Perhaps extended music videos? Cinema? Any interesting proposals? I will keep on working as producer for other bands for sure, and will write other music besides Wolfheart but will keep myself more in the background. All kinds of video/ movie projects would be really cool and I am open for all kinds of proposals but also have to be very selective since I only have 24h in my day :) Let’s go back to Wolfheart. Are we to expect themed albums? Meaning that all song will refer to a
single story? The theme is winter in general. No direct link between the songs, but they all deal with various issues and themes under the cold and dark season called winter. You have mentioned in the past that a song creates an album… Does that still apply? There is always the first song that works like a spark for the whole production and ignites the bigger scale of composing. The album itself is a combination of all the songs in it, and to me it would be a bad thing for the album if one of the songs would paint the whole picture of the entire album. When do you consider an album ready to be released? When it is mixed and mastered :). I usually work very fast and don´t like to spend too much time with the making of the album. When it sounds like I the vision I have in my head, it is ready. The ability to work with top professionals in the studio for many years, makes everything a lot easier and faster. So we all work for the same vision and speak the
same “language”. We have a common understanding and ways to work, which is a very important thing in the production of an album. Would you prefer to perform live, or does the studio suffice? Hmm….I do love to travel, tour, meet new people and fans, and get to play live a lot. But if i had to choose, I would say that my choice is studio work / writing music. I see myself more as a song writer, rather than a musician or an entertainer. Your schedule is touring Europe for the winter... Any special or neverdone-it-before stage setup? It’s not easy to fly with special show items so I can´t promise anything yet :). Never played a live show yet with Wolfheart so the 1st gig on the 11th of October surely will be special and never done before :) haha Are your influences ancient/primal? The Wolfheart teaser implies so... We all have a certain primal / ancient side to us. I have been using some time to study
52 mine. There is a lot of personal stuff in the lyrics. Not necessary hidden meanings, but not clear enough for others to see from the text. I use music and lyrics to kind of think aloud and sometimes I do it very directly. A good example is the song “breathe”. I wrote what I felt. I will be getting a little more personal now…I know you are a perfectionist. Does that urge you to work alone? In my opinion, that is the biggest misunderstanding when it comes to me :). I am not a perfectionist, but I like to do things very well. I always prefer emotion and feeling over technically a 100% perfect performance. I know what I want from the sound, but then again so do my engineers in the studio so producing an album comes very easy with them. I build songs usually from all the instrumental ideas in my head, so in many cases it’s just a lot easier to get it out of my head and into the studio hard drive by myself. I don´t need to show each part to numerous musicians with instructions on how to play each instrument, since the way you play greatly affects the sound you make. That sound it very important to me,
since I have to be able to reach the sound I have in my mind. Would you suggest to people to get involved in writing music, or do you feel it’s only for the talented few? I see it as a way of expressing yourself, and to work with some personal darker issues. So everybody should do it if they feel like it. And like with everything, you learn by doing. Music is an art, and should not exclude anybody. I always detected sorrow, grief, anger and other heavy and passionate feelings in your music. Any regrets that bring this out? No regrets at all. I just write what I feel. I would say I am a bit gloomy and solitary person, but it’s not all as dark as the music implies :). I do have a lot of joy in my life, but don´t feel like writing music about that side. Is your music about you, or is it about art? Hmm….Music to me is an art I do for myself. I have very selfish reasons to write music. Kind of like a soundtrack for my life.
Do you “represent your Country” when you produce music? We could skip the margins if you prefer... There is a lot of Finland in the music because I get a strong influence from the Finnish winter and autumn seasons, but no national connection beyond that. A question came to mind with a “what if BSA or BTD performed with a chorus?”, that I ask with most of the bands, especially the brutal ones… Is there a type of music that you would like to do but seems impossible? I would like to work more with different styles, but don´t have much time for that. I’ve been spinning the idea of dark and melancholic pop stuff in my mind but I haven´t found the right kind of vocalist yet, so I’ll keep that as an idea for now. Do you think the current time for music is good? Don’t you feel that the cup is full, and starts to repeat itself? And that can refer to all types of art… There is a bit of an overflow of music, and at the same time
labels are targeting the styles and genres that would sell the best, and so to speak, following the trends which makes the variety a lot smaller. But in all kinds of music you can always find new albums / bands that still make soulful music. The Music enterprise is in big trouble, which makes the career building for new bands a lot more difficult. But there is always room for new music Does your success restrain the limits of you musical inspiration? Is it tiring to be borderless? Was this the deeper reason for Wolfheart? No deeper reason. Just me making music :) The only thing that could restrain or set limits would be one’s own mind and head. And there is always a border to break. Some with music itself, and some mental borders which you break with the music Thank you for your time. I know it’s so precious and little for you. I won’t ask for any words of advice or similar. I believe you hate such, right? Looking forward to see you live in Greece on the 20th of October. Hahah :). Thanx for this!
BURST WANTS YOU!! Want to be part of the burst crew??? We are looking for photojournalists from around the world, able to take quality photos, write live reports and conduct face2face interviews with artists. send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org be creative about yourselves and give us a top10 of your best live photos!
Val Helcanen The first lady of MFVF
Val Helcanen, a persona that showed Metal has a feminine side too, someone who founded Metal Female Voices Festival in 2003. This festival captures the attention not only from the male metal-Goth audience, but also female metal hearts. Many artists in many countries support it and itâ€™s now institutionalized. What is more and although some may not know it, Val is also an artist... Interview by Jo Gogou photo by Wesley Werrebrouck
55 I bet you are not one of those “good” girls that sit around neatly; I think that’s one of the reasons you are so creative. Mingled into art, imagery and music. When did you begin to care about art, do stuff and how easy was it to do this? Art has been a passion since I was a small child. It always has been a big part of my life. It was a really natural process for it to become such a big part of my life. Art is a passion but first of all a part of me. How did the idea for the festival came up? Was the first year what you were expecting?
such as the Eve’s Appel. Every singer is from a different part of the world and each with a career. But with technologies like Skype a lot is possible. It is always a little bit more stressful but always has been a great success. We know that artists from Greece support this and participate. That surely makes us proud here, showing something more than feta cheese, olives and crisis! You were recently in Greece, traveling. Was there any place that you could possibly have the festival? Sure, you can be proud of your artists ! Well, I went in Greece
to completely disconnect from the concerts and work. Most of time was spent in Crete, far from cities and crowd. So I didn’t have the opportunity to see concert places, where the festival could be held. But I’m sure that there are nice venues to discover in a next trip. Is there any special bond between you and the Greek artists? Is there anyone that you find special? With the festival, we had the chance to meet some of them quite recently. We directly had a good contact. The kindness and warmth I received from artists such as Maxi Nil, Iliana, and many others is amazing. This summer, with the Skepti-
cal Minds EP released in Athens, I’ve met more of them, really great people such as Androniki, Ilias, Babis,... I’m happy that this year they are coming to MFVF. They are talented artists and deserve to get more attention from people. Is there someone that you would like to have on the festival that hasn’t made it yet? There are some artists concerned indeed, but it’s often a question of availabilities. Some are touring outside of Europe, are in studio, or are not touring during that period. It’s just a question of time, if not for the next edition, for another to come.
Not at all! When the first MFVF was created, we were actually just working on a “classic” line up gig, when we suddenly realized that most of the bands we were thinking about had a female fronted singer the idea was simply born from that and developed really quickly; we now have gone a long way since the first edition, but we would never have dreamt of where we are now! It has been a fantastic journey and I know we still have a lot of surprises on our way. You have Belgium as a base-town for the Gothmetal festivals. Does that trouble you? As far as people showing up? Belgium is a small country but it is really practical to do the festival here. It is central enough for everyone from France, Germany, Italy, Holland etc to travel. But we have people from all over the world coming every year, I think people are ready to go a long way for this unique festival. Each year we witness new collaborations within the artist that participate, and that is quite a turn-on for the audience. Has there ever been a difficult one? When it comes to collaborations between bands the only problem is the impossibility for the bands to practice and rehearse before the festival. Especially with a concept Burst www.afternoiz.com
56 What should we expect from this years festival? Do you think it will surpass last year? Of course. Each year has been better and better. We organised something really special last year for the 10th edition. But still, this year will be full of new bands and many surprises. We have some special guests and collaborations as well. The line up we have this year is absolutely fantastic and who knows what surprises the bands have for us. Would you change anything to the fest? Maybe add something, e.g. a teenage female part or anything? Until now, we have a good concept that people continue to like and follow. Every year there is a good variety of Metal style, from all over the world. Any kind of band is welcome, even teenager female ones. But we never had such bands contacting us. Apart from the obvious love you hold for music, you are also into painting and photography. Who are you favorite artists and how have they affected you? There are plenty of artists I like, but don’t have any favourite ones. It’s more a question of feelings when I see a painting. The artists I like come from different centuries. To give some names: Brian Froud, Vermeer, Dali, Caspar Friedrich etc... I don’t know if some really affected me, probably yes in some ways without realizing it. But most influences I have in my drawings and paintings come from Japan, with the Manga style. I don’t try to copy, I just draw what I feel at a moment without looking what other artists are doing. Have you done an exhibition yet? Would you like too and if so, where? I do expose my drawing and paintings at the festival every year. But yes something only oriented to my art would be wonderful. Maybe in Japan one day, who knows. How about a Goth-metal Burst www.afternoiz.com
comic? Would you do it? What would be the title? This is an idea we have had since a long time. Of course, I would love to do it, but it’s really hard work. I didn’t focus my studies in that field, so I would need the help of a professional. We will see in the future, everything is possible. 1How do you balance music, painting and photography? It is not easy but everything mixes together very well. It always takes time but it is my passion so it’s really worth it. My art takes a big part in the festival and the festival has opened many doors for me as an artist, so it all works together extremely well. If you made a statue, what would it look like? Difficult question, maybe the MFVF logo. What are your “biggest” dreams? Biggest dreams ... I would really love to entirely focus work on Art, mixing photography, painting, design. Being a complete artist. As I like to travel a lot, working in different countries could be a great adventure. And of course, if I can combine this with my love for Japan, that would be an awesome dream realized. We all wish you good luck with this year’s MFVF and hope that you accomplish all the goals you set. The last words are yours. Thank you for this interview and your support. And I wish to see many of you this year at the MFVF. If you’ve never been there before, you have to experience the festival at least once in your life. The MFVF is a bi Metal family! And in any case, if you can’t come in Belgium, we will meet some day in Greece. And of course, hoping that you’ll like my art.
Chris Mike By Marianna Kofinaki
It is my pleasure! I guess I’m fine right now but I’m also really busy while trying to complete tasks and obligations on a daily basis. There are a lot of things going on these days simultaneously, like shooting videos for Candyrat Records to promote my solo album, rehearsing with my band Parthian Shot for some upcoming live shows and the pre-production of our first full length album, giving lots of interviews related to my new released album etc. Thus, I’m getting used to this kind of pressure and volume of work. and volume of work.
Hello Chris, how are you? We’re really happy to have a chat with you. It is my pleasure! I guess I’m fine right now but I’m also really busy while trying to complete tasks and obligations on a daily basis. There are a lot of things going on these days simultaneously, like shooting videos for Candyrat Records to promote my solo album, rehearsing with my band Parthian Shot for some upcoming live shows and the pre-production of our first full length album, giving lots of interviews related to my new released album etc. Thus, I’m getting used to this kind of pressure and volume of work. Guitarist of Parthian Shot, solo artist and collaborating musician for many well-known Greek artists. You are definitely a busy man! Can you shed some light behind each story? What’s the story behind each collaboration in question? In other words, please introduce yourself Burst www.afternoiz.com
to our readers! My name is Chris Mike, real name Chris Michalis. I’m the guitarist and main composer of the progressive metal band Parthian Shot www.parthianshotband.gr). I’m also working as a session musician for the last 8 years. I started from the age of nineteen. I have worked with many artists and singers performing live and recording at the studio. Some of those were the Stavros Tou Notou house band, Evridiki, Eustathia, Thanos Petrelis, Elli Kokkinou, Kaiti Garmpi, Konstantinos Thalassohoris and many more. Moreover, along with the singer of Parthian Shot, Panagiotis, I am doing acoustic lives (2 to 3 gigs per week). These days we’re forming an acoustic quarter, with members of my band, and we will start performing hopefully from November 2013 on. Last but not least, I’m a solo artist with a fresh instrumental guitar album available worldwide, released by the US-based record label Candyrat Records (AndyMcKee, Mike Dawes and
more). The promotion of this album and the making of the new Parthian Shot full length album are going to be my top priorities for the near future. This is really hard to do because if you’re an active musician you never know when a gig, a recording or a tour or something like that is going to come up. You generally just have to say yes to everything and then trying to figure out how to manage it all. Each project mentioned above has its own unique identity and you seem to like diversity in music. Which are the most special moments you will always remember from each project and why? Any bad moments? Every project has a different set of challenges I have to face. These challenges should be accepted and fulfilled. And this is the key point to everyone who wants to earn a living in the music business. You have to take this into consideration in order to become a good ses-
sion player and a well-rounded musician. Regarding my work as a session player, I have to say that the most special moment was when I toured all over the States for almost two months and played in shows in 14 different cities, from Chicago and Orlando, to L.A. and San Francisco. I had a great time performing each night to around 1,000 fans there. This kind of tour makes you a better musician and puts your strengths to the test. With all these numerous plane flights and changes of environment along with fatigue, you must be 100% ready to perform. From my experience with Parthian Shot, I have to say that my special moment was our successful tribute concert to Queen. It was a big dream of the Parthian Shot members and it was really challenging to play a three-hour Queen’s songs full set, all vocals included. We even played Innuendo, a song full of complex arrangements and vocal lines, which Queen had never performed live. Now… bad moments? I can’t really recall any of them
59 right now, but I’m sure there were some awkward and also hilarious ones throughout the years. When did you decide of becoming a musician? Why did you choose the guitar as your musical instrument? Basically, I didn’t decide to become a musician. This ‘’dream’’ was part of me from the early days of my life. With this in mind, every person, regardless if he’s a musician or something else, has to keep in mind that each day is an ongoing process to reach his life goals and these goals become easier and easier, when you are in love with what you do. I have never struggled or got tired a single day in my life, because this whole process was giving me joy and fulfilment. My father was the first to introduce me to the guitar. He is also playing from time to time and he’s a big fan of rock music. So…it was pretty clear to choose the instrument I was going to play. He just showed me three single chords, which I still remember: the D major, the A minor and the E minor! These were the easiest chords I could play back then. Of course, I can’t forget how hard it was for me to push my index finger against the strings and play a full barre chord! After a few years of practice, I discovered that the guitar is a great instrument, full of expressiveness and power. When your fingers touch the strings, producing an instant melodic sound, you can let all of your emotions and passion free and that’s a unique feeling!
press my personal taste or they have influenced me so much that they have all created my musical personality. I don’t know. But the key point is that every player is unique and all guitar players can learn something from each other. There shouldn’t be any egoism or personal interest among guitar players, let alone in the music industry as a whole. Every guitarist has a great guitar player on his mind and this icon of his gives him the prospect to create a good sound, with a unique voice and feel, and present it to his audience. Right now, I’m able to blend a lot of different musical styles, making an actual combination of my influences, since I’m listening to a lot of different music. You’re a really talented guitarist and you possess an exceptional technique. Do you focus on specific musical styles? Was your technique a result of continuous effort and hard work or do you think that talent only matters? Is there any specific piece of advice you can provide to
other aspiring musicians? Don’t get out of your houses until you have practiced for 6 hours in a row without stopping! No I’m kidding... I could write many, many pages answering this question! So I’ll try to be short and to the point. First of all, talent always matters. But talent has to be referred to the musical and compositional side of guitar playing, and not to the technical one. Ok, some people will say that in order to reach a good level of technique you have to be talented. My opinion is that a talented guitarist may spend less time in order to be technically ready than a less talented one. At the end of the day, they can both reach at the same guitar-playing level. At this point, the talented one is the one who passes to the next level, the level where he can express his feelings and emotions through the guitar and make music that all people will like and admire. I must say that I have worked really hard to master many techniques on the instrument. I believe that the best practice routine was at
the first years of my playing the guitar, between 12 to 19 years old. This is due to a mentality you have when you are at these years, based on the concept that whatever it is you’re attempting to do, it can be done. Instinctively, you seek the easiest and most natural way of doing something. Just like in nature! But as I’ve already told you, this was just joy and fun. The thing that holds back every guitar player is their mind and the way they try to understand something related to a technique. And then the problem with racing against the metronome comes to life. I think that this is a wrong way of practicing because every guitarist tenses up. He thinks that he’s doing something difficult when he plays and sees the b.p.m,’s of the metronome. In addition, many guitar players measure their improvement purely based on technique. This is wrong too. To achieve something, you have to be able to really focus on it before doing it. This is the first lesson before starting playing. You have to imagine yourself doing something, before try
Which are the guitarists you admire the most, the ones who influenced your work the most and why? There are a lot of guitar players, and other musicians who do not play the guitar, who have influenced me along the years. Just to name a few… from the early rock era, the three at the top of my list would be Jimi Hendrix, David Gilmour and Brain May, while, from the recent years, I would say Steve Vai, John Petrucci and Guthrie Govan. I can’t find any particular reason why I like them. Either they all exBurst www.afternoiz.com
60 ing to do it on the guitar. One other thing that many guitarists do, especially on live performances, is that they try to focus on their hands and fingers when they play and they end up playing bad and have no connection with their audience. First, you have to focus on your sound when you play. If you do that, your mind will tell your fingers what to do in
Records and you seem really excited about it, since your work is about to reach the entire world! How did everything happen? How do you feel right now? I’m excited and feeling really happy and blessed for what is happening right now in my life. When I reached the label
most important thing is that their mission is focused on releasing music of exceptional modern-day composition and they sign and develop extraordinary artists when they see talent and future potential from their side. So I’m really thankful for that. They have showed me trust and love in what I’m doing and I will try to do in the future. Each day
bum to us? What would the listeners expect? I think the overall vibe that the album has is a heavy rock instrumental music, blended with progressive and fusion elements and combined with catchy grooves. I didn’t try to focus only on chops and technique. Yes, there many extreme technically demanding solos in there but just because something is very technical doesn’t mean that it’s not melodic. That’s why, on the other hand, you can hear really soulful and full of emotion songs in the album, such as “The truth in me” and “You”. So the album has songs that anyone can relate to. Even the ones that are not so ‘guitar oriented’, they can hear the album with pleasure and will find melodies and grooves that will stuck in their head for a long time. Also many friends of mine told me that the songs in the album are placed in such order, so when you hear the whole album from start to end you feel full and complete. I wanted to really capture the energy of my playing and to be as ‘honest’ and ‘true’ as I can. To ‘expose’ my personality and feelings that I had back then when I was recording a particular song. What about the album cover? Who designed it? The whole artwork of the album is designed by Aris Labos a friend of mine, who is a very talented young artist. He did the entire album artwork by hand. He is also the singer of a Greek melodic death metal band called System Decay.
order to play something flawless and tasteful. You have to trust your hands for it. That’s why you spend lots and lots of hours practicing at home. You have to be able to get your mind out of them and focus on your sound and performing. You have to become the music you are playing. This is the ultimate goal, in my opinion. Let’s talk about your solo album. You have recently signed with Candyrat Burst www.afternoiz.com
I had everything pretty much nearly done. So they could see the whole picture of my work and personality. After many emails and Skype meetings, we agreed to sign the contract and from now on I’m an artist of the Candyrat’s family. Candyrat Records (www.candyrat. com) is a record label wellknown for featuring many great musicians all over the world. Their Youtube channel has 270,000 subscribers and over 250 million views. The
I’m learning and discovering lot of things that I didn’t know in music business until now. Like emailing and talking with guitar magazines, guitar companies and promoters at the States and also in Europe. An artist, when he is going to reach a significant level of exposure and publicity all over the world, he has to improve his management (especially the time management) and his communication skills as well. Can you describe the al-
Any plans for the future? What do you have in mind after the album release? Any plans with Parthian Shot? Now I’m finishing some guitar tabs and the video shooting of two songs from my album that are going to be available on Candyrat’s official website and Youtube channel. After that I’m going to do some lives here in Greece and foreign countries, with my band, playing the entire ‘’Not just lipstick on a pig’’ album, along with some covers, in order to fully
61 promote the release. In early 2014 I’ll start the making of the second Chris Mike album that is going to be released by Candyrat Records hopefully later that year. I think that nobody can predict what might happen in my next instrumental album. Neither do I! And that’s part of the fun of it all. Furthermore, I’m planning to travel in the States in January 2014 to attend some business meetings and take part in the Namm show in LA. Parthian Shot is now in the studio doing the pre-production of their full length album, which is going to be ready in late spring of 2014. Besides that, we are rehearsing for a big concert on October 20 at Athens Fuzz club, supporting the great prog-metal band Fates Warning. This will be a challenge for us because this live is also going to be filmed in full high definition cameras and it will be released sometime in the future as a short live DVD. So there is plenty of work going on right now for the Parthian Shot band as well. We live in the era of information and new technologies. You seem to use new media, Youtube and Soundcloud a lot in order to promote your music. Do you think the internet assists you in your task of making your music known? If so, to what extent? Do you believe there are also dangers and risks
from that decision? YouTube has undeniably been a huge help in terms of spreading the word on new bands, artists, new music and more. Of course, we must be grateful for that service. But there are also a lot of wrong things in this new music era. For example, nowadays guitar players are trying to make music in order to post it or have it uploaded on Youtube and get as many likes and comments they can. I think that Youtube should be a means of promotional reasons and not the main vehicle of recognition. Artists and bands should perform live shows and make real music, not the one that is fully compressed and you can watch it on a flat TV or computer screen. The real magic happens in the live environment. From my side, I know that my playing is a lot more interesting and musical when I play live and I’m able to interact with other musicians and the fans in real time. But I can’t say that YouTube hasn’t helped me in getting the word out about what I do. It certainly helps and makes things easier. There are risks in that and you can easily expose yourself. I get really upset when I sit on the computer and watch videos of guitar players, some of whom are friends of mine, playing something that I can clearly see it is overdubbed and what you see is not what you hear most
of the times. It’s like they try to fool you in purpose. But, in the end, the only thing they do is fooling themselves. I don’t see any good reason why they are doing this. When someone is to go to their concerts, they will figure out the difference in seconds. That’s why I was so determined in shooting all my videos live in studio, because I wanted people to see what I can really do and when they’ll have the opportunity to watch me perform live, they will hear the exact same thing, not something below their expectations. What’s your opinion on the Greek music scene of today? Do you think it thrives despite the crisis? Are there any contemporary Greek artists or bands you admire the most and why? The Greek music scene nowadays, especially the hard rock and metal, is growing bigger and bigger every year. It thrives for sure, despite the crisis. Many talented and full of potential bands are releasing albums that can easily be compared to the ones that are coming from abroad. There are plenty of artists and bands I admire here in Greece. Bands like Poem, Chaostar and musicians like Theodore Ziras and Irene Ketikidi, just to name a few. In my opinion, there are several issues that are causing the Greek music scene not
to grow further. One reason has to be, in my opinion, the personality that we have as musicians and how we react and behave to each other. We must help and learn from each other without selfishness and jealousy. You are among the luckyyet hard-working-musicians to have kick-started a career abroad. What’s the feedback you’ve received so far? The feedback is great! The videos on Youtube are getting hundreds of views every day and the responses that have are very very positive! I remember one particular response from a fan telling me that I have made shredding relevant again! Well, if that’s the case, I have to say that I feel really honored! The last words are yours. Any message to your fans? A big thank you to all of you who support me and been there for me all these years. You mean the world to me. I work as hard as I do because I constantly want to give music, feelings and happiness to all of you. The next step for me is to do something better and bigger than this album. I’m sure I won’t let you down! That’s all for now. Cheers!
www.chrismike.net www.candyrat.com www.facebook.com/chrismikeofficial www.youtube.com/candyrat
Sitting in Exarchia Square, Apostolis, our photographer, and I were waiting for Andrew and Petros from Drunk Motherfuckers! I like this band. Besides the cool name, they have humor, that’s why they named their debut fulllength album And Alcohol for All. And, last but not least, they played a dirty rock’n’roll version of heavy rock I found awesome! Check out what we discussed with these guys! By Spiros Smyrnis Photo by Apostolis Kliakmanis
Hey Guys! Please give us a brief bio on Drunk Motherfuckers.
to this direction lyrics-wise as well, something that will draw the audience’s attention.
The band was formed by Father W. under the name of “The Drunk Earth”, as an amalgam of Crust / Punk / Sludge metal, in 2004. Still as “the Drunk Earth”, a tape EP, called “Returnable Bottle” was released via Fistbang Records, limited to 300 handnumbered copies. After several lives and due to members’ personal reasons, the band’s activities stopped. So, in 2009, “Drunk Motherfuckers” were created by Father W. again from the ashes of “the Drunk Earth”, with a completely different lineup and musical style – a combination of Stoner and Sludge. An acoustic EP called “Drunk and Wasted” was recorded and self-released in 2009, limited to 666 hand-numbered copies, plus a song called “We ain’t give a shit about Sobers” was recorded and included later, in 2010, in a double compilation by Spinalonga’s Records. With a new line up again, consisting of Father W. (Vocals), Pedro G.E. (Drums), Manour (Bass), Andrew (Rhythm and Lead Guitars) and Wee (Rhythm Guitars and Lead Guitars), the debut album “…and alcohol for All” was recorded. It was released via Casket Records in February 2013.
Let’s go to your first album which was released in the first months of 2013.
How did you come up with the name ‘Drunk Motherfuckers’? Andrew: Father W. wanted something provocative for a band name; he wanted to head Burst www.afternoiz.com
Peter, Andrew: It took us a long time to release our debut album because we had to record the songs again, all of which were Father W’s compositions, in order to make them groovier and bring them more to our style. Casket Records also delayed us, so that’s why the album finally released in 2013. Did Casket find you or did you find the label yourselves? Peter: We were looking for a label, so we sent our promo everywhere. Then Casket found us and we decided to release the record through them, by taking into account that they will handle the distribution stuff and they will also promote us in radios, closing interviews etc.! Unfortunately the second part of the deal was never fulfilled. So you didn’t have the promotion you wanted, especially abroad! Andrew: No, as far as the promotion stuff is concerned, we did everything ourselves, the old-way: CD, bio, packaged together and mailed all over the world. The title and the front cover is the Drunk Motherfucker’s version for Metallica’s album ‘And Justice for All’. Someone who
hasn’t listened to you guys may pass Drunk Motherfuckers for a thrash Metallica tribute band! Peter: That was actually a kind of a joke to us ‘cause, as you may listen, we have nothing in common with Metallica, musically speaking! When you take a look at the first cover, you expect to listen to a thrash metal band! But we’re not! However, we have some punk influences. A kind of a punk attitude, am I right? Andrew: Correct. I liked very much that you have a strong sense of humor in your songs! Peter: This doesn’t mean that we didn’t take our job seriously! But we wanna have some fun through the lyrics. When I bought the album, I saw that the song ““You Want Me Dead” is written for the soundtrack of the film “Fertilizer Factory”. Andrew: Father W knew the director of the film, who is also responsible for our official video for the “3D” song (check out this video immediately)! Unfortunately, the movie is currently in the post-production stage, but we’re hoping that it will finally hit theaters. You are a live band, that’s for sure! You recently embarked on a brief Greek tour with Cherries on A Blacklist! I’m sure you loved it!
Peter: It was a hell of an experience, really! Thank God they guys from Cherries were awesome and we got along well. This is the tour we’ve never gonna forget because it was our first one. Did you rent a van? Of course we rent a van and, as you may understand, the road trip was unbelievable! We didn’t have much people down there but all this will help us during our upcoming lives to organize them better! It was announced you are to play with Spiritual Beggars this October. Peter: That will be cool! We really can’t wait for this one! Heavy rock/stoner, is it a trend nowadays? Andrew: To me it is, but it’s justified if you ask me, because there are a lot of bands close to this sound that have released excellent releases over the last years. So we have a scene now, right? Peter: Right, the scene has taken great steps, by releasing ultra-professional works and nice songs. Which are your future plans? We wanna give some shows, to promote our album and of course there are ideas for another one too. Thank you very much guys!
Η μουσική είναι θέμα... ροκιάς, γούστου, ιδεολογίας, τρόπου ζωής, διασκέδασης, κατάστασης, περίστασης, ακουσµάτων, ψαξίµατος, παρέας, επιρροών, επιλογών, ιστορίας, πολιτισµού, κουλτούρας, ιδιοσυγκρασίας, χαρακτήρα, ταπεραµέντου, ηχοσυστήµατος, συστήµατος, ώρας, στιγµής, λεπτού, τόνωσης, εκτόνωσης, θεραπείας, φιγούρας, φαγούρας, πόρωσης, ευαισθησίας, διάθεσης, ηλικίας, κλιµακτηρίου, εποχής, ταχύτητας, χωροχρόνου, ειδώλων, µίµησης, αποµίµησης, µύησης, σύνδεσης στο internet και τόσων πολλών άλλων πραγμάτων.
Για εμάς όμως η μουσική είναι και κάτι παραπάνω... ΤΡΟΠΟΣ ΕΚΦΡΑΣΗΣ!
photography: ARGO / design:
The Estonians Talbot claimed to be the heaviest duo on Earth! After their second album, “Scaled,” I tend to believe them. Burst Magazine found them because we had some very interesting questions for them to answer! Read that loud! By Spiros Smyrnis
You claim that you are the heavier duo on earth and beyond. Is “Scaled” the living proof of your sayings?
artwork. Did you do that on purpose so you can be 100% responsible for the final result?
Magnus: That’s true. I guess it’s has turned out as our heaviest record so far. J: Of course not everybody will agree with this...
M: Yes. For me -as a music producer- it’s quite the only way to achieve what I’m looking for. Other ways would have been a waste of money and time at the moment. Mastering was done by my friend (Taff) who has the skills for that.
Which differences could a listener spot on Scaled comparing it to your previous album? M: Compared with “Eos”, it’s more complex. The sound is more aggressive and strong, but, at the same time, there’s more room left for silent, airy parts. There are no lyrics in the “Scaled” booklet, so can you tell us the stories you are telling in the new album? M: Lyrics are strongly connected to the music; they are giving out an expression of some surrealistic after-life visions, which has always been a main theme of our music. Lyrics are available on our LP “Scaled” which was released in late July.
Photo by Mae Märks
To me your biggest achievement is the fact that you sound massive and so fucking heavy, in such extent that nobody could understand that Talbot consists of only two members. We know many power trios in the history of heavy music, but not so many power duos. How did you decide to form the band that way? M: In fact, it just happened that way. I think we never considered adding someone to the band. Basically, we took our old music gear out from basement and started experimenting with it. Plus our sound and basic equipment has been pretty much the same as we started. We just use them more wisely for now. J: Some sounds we use have just developed within the years. Details, you know. You did everything on your own for “Scaled” album, from production to
J: Hehe, yep, at least you can’t blame no-one else then. But well, actually it have just felt right, to do things like we have done ‘em so far. However, this doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t do things differently in the future. We’ll see what will happen next time. I think you, Jarmo, did the amazing front cover. Let me congratulate you and ask for some more info on this one. J: Thank you. But, about some more info on this….. It just turned out the way as it felt it needs to be turning out. The music gave me this idea so I went for it. Except for supporting “Scaled” material on stage, what should we expect from Talbot in the near future? M: Yeah, at this time we play “Scaled” from the start to an end, but you’ll hear older stuff as well. Plus, our first 12”LP release is in progress. J: Very excited about our first vinyl; have been waiting for this to happen for the last few years. Any tour plans or live appearances? M: There’s gonna be much touring in the fall. Russian tour, Balkan tour, Scandinavian tour coming up. J: Hopefully visiting Greece too again in November. And also we already plan some new overseas tours for the next year. The last words are yours. M: See you on the road!
A few nights ago I was in a bar. There was a strange man standing next to me drinking something like Bloody Mary! The bearded bartender called him a Swampire! I heard them, so I contacted Tolis (drummer) who sent me to Alex S (vocals) so we can learn everything we should know about the third official Potergeist album, titled “Swampires”. Read that loud and just swamp n roll! by spiros smyrnis Please share the story of Potergeist so far with Burst readers. Potergeist have been around for 10 years now, hitting the stage non-stop from day one. We have 3 full length albums, “Southwards”, “Muddy Mermaids” and “Swampires”. We are a Swamp Metal band and through the years we have shared the stage with the likes of Monster Magnet, Pro Pain, Haunted, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shrine, just to name a few; plus, we were also involved in the soundtrack of one of Kostas Zappas’ movies, “The Rebelion of Red Maria”. This time we didn’t have to wait 5 years for the next Potergeist album but only one instead. Why did everything happen so fast? Because of that 5 year delay we actually decided to give something new to our fans really fast, plus our muse was next to us all the time giving us inspiration, non-stop. Tell us all the technical information about “Swampires” (production, mixing, mastering). The album was recorded at Devasoundz studio, drums and vocals that is, and at Ghost Ward studio, guitars and bass. It was engineered by Fotis Benardo and David Castillo. The mix was done by David Cas-
tillo and the mastering by Conwerter and Jamp at Conwerted studio. How was the experience of working with David Castillo? He is a very nice guy and has a lot of patience. There was a lot of chemistry between us and we didn’t have to worry about many things, since he understood exactly how the album should sound and also did put his signature sound to the production. We can’t wait to work with him again... Angry Blue, a great artist, who has worked with Faith No More, Pearl Jam, Slayer, Guns and Roses and Danzig, created the amazing cover of “Swampires”. A very honorary featuring for Potergeist! More info please! I’ve always been a fan of his work and I consider him to be one of the greatest artists of our times. When my good friend Seth Siro Anton told me he couldn’t deliver a new artwork for Potergeist -because he was way too busy to find the time- I thought I should contact Justin and see if he could make it instead. He listened to the album and gave us this fine piece of art. He is really humble and kind; you can start talking about your artwork with him and end up talking about bands, movies, cats, you
name it. Really good guy! How does it feel like being the Godfathers of a brand new metal term, swamp metal? don t know if Potergeist are the godfathers or Black Tusk, because we both started using the term at the same period of time. I know that the Savannah-based bands claim the term, but we are all about the swamp down here also. Hahahahaha! Which album is the most difficult for a band, the first, the second or the third one? The most difficult album is the one that comes after one that enjoyed a great success and set the band’s standards high! The Greek heavy music scene has risen even more over the last few years. Which are the things that need to be done in order to reach even higher? Someone with money should open a serious record label, gather all these bands under it and show the world what we do down here. Bands should also start delivering albums with good production and artworks and, most importantly, good compositions that have nothing to be jealous of the bands abroad. Plus, bands should play live shows anywhere they
can all the time, in order to improve their performance on stage. What about Potergeist on tour? Which are your upcoming plans? We have talked about touring a lot during the past years and I think this year we will do it. We see a lot of bands touring Europe nowadays, playing shows for 20 to 50 people in small bars, restaurants and clubs and starting to make a name for themselves tour by tour and that’s a good thing. Hope we will start our own fight for global domination this year also, hahahahahaha! Any advice for the rest of the Swampires out there? Avoid the sunlight, is a piece of advice I can give. Choose type AB negative, it is rare but tastes like old wine is another, and buy or steal the new Potergeist album is my third one! The last words are yours. Thank you for this interview. A huge thanks to all our fans worldwide for being there all these years; you make the swampires feel alive. I know nowadays the world is a fucked up place to be for most people out there but we are fighters, not slaves to money and new world order and we will always have one another. Love and Prosperity to all... Burst www.afternoiz.com
66 Katatonia - Dethroned and Uncrowned True to their name, Katatonia are the ultimate masters of melancholy, the band who managed to harness the power of sadness and darkness and transform it into music. But this was not enough for them: Within one year, the “Dead End Kings” decided to surrender their crown, by turning “Dethroned and Uncrowned”. How did they achieve that? By “unplugging” their electric instruments and by heading towards an acoustic direction. In plain English, “Dethroned and Uncrowned” is an acoustic interpretation of the band’s masterpiece “Dead End Kings”, Katatonia’s ninth album released back in August 2012, which received continuous and enthusiastic praise and led to the band being widely recognized as the undisputable ruler of sadness. Through “Dead End Kings,” the band managed to take their music one step forward towards defining a more “progressive” sound (in the wider sense of the word). Turning progressive definitely results in breaking down musical boundaries, so the Swedes decided to experiment on their best material yet…and they made it! No surprise there: The feelings they create with their songs are mainly vocally and lyrically driven – at least in my honest opinion- and Jonas Renkse with his signature voice – the most distinct and recognizable feature of the band’s sound- does a wonderful job regardless of what kind of musical instruments are used. The atmospheric elements created by their music can be equally emphasized by the “unplugged” version of the songs in question, by using some really creative ideas in terms of execution: Ultimately, the record gives the feeling of both songs familiar and new at the same time and it’s rock-solid. Of course this is a huge compliment; I would be really disappointed to see them abandon the artistic path they have now taken. It’s really admirable to see such a flawless outcome, especially given the fact that their “stripped-down” versions of their songs magnify the eerie feeling the band has always created, a band which seems fearless to surrender its “electric” crown for the sake of great music! Marianna Kofinaki
Devin Townsend Project - The Retinal Circus Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Devin Townsend presents the Retinal Circus! I have to admit that the release in question is exclusively for die-hard Devin Townsend fans. “Retinal Circus” is a live album staged at the Roundhouse in London, on October 27, 2012 and it is a very good sonic summary of the crazy Canadian’s impressive career so far. I personally disagree with live album releases nowadays, for one reason only: A DVD or a Blu-ray release can provide you the whole package of a live performance (sound and image) instead of the sound alone. That’s the reason why I recommend it to Devin Townsend’s die-hard fans (the rest of you, who are not familiar with the Canadian’s works, you’d better start from the studio albums) the Die-hard DVD version of Retinal Circus, which is ass-kicking! I find it very hard to review a live album, because it is very difficult to capture the feeling of a concert on paper, especially in one gig you’ve never been to, but, I’ll try it just for you, Burst readers! Let’s get more serious. Even Devin is famous for his insane sense of humor and tried to write some things down about the Devin Townsend live experience. Let me share his words with you: “To me it’s like somebody putting a cauldron in the middle of a room, with only a nail in it. Eventually someone comes along and says, ‘That cauldron could do with some potatoes’. And then someone else says: ‘Let’s add some tomatoes’, and before you know it you have a cauldron filled to the brim with all sorts of interesting items. That’s how we approached this concept.” The ecstatic Anneke Van Giersbergen completes the maniac Devin perfectly, while the crazy Ziltoid band set the Roundhouse on fire. You’re gonna love “Addicted”, “Vampira”, “Life” and “Detox”, plus you’re gonna wish you were present in this crazy circus that night. Spiros Smyrnis Soulfly - Savages I have to admit that sometimes I cannot understand heavy metal fans! When it takes their favorite band 5-6 years to release an album, they complain why it took them so long! On the flip side, when their favorite band releases one album every year, they’re complaining that the band is doing this just for money, only to sell few more records! Make a final decision people! I write all this down because I see many metal fans to be judgmental over Soulfly, since one year after “Enslaved” they released “Savages” via Nuclear Blast! Personally I don’t give a shit on whether my favorite band releases one album every year, or every decade as long as it respects me as a fan and kicks some asses! Let’s go to “Savages” now! I wanna be clear: This won’t be the best Soulfly album, that’s for sure. However, it is an honest effort of the band’s honoring their thrash metal roots! Max Cavalera gave his 21-year old son Zyon the drummer’s seat trying to gain energy and brutality! “Savages” sounds more massive and raw than their previous releases. Terry Date insisted on the big massive sound that most of his works have! “Fallen” –featuring Jamie Hanks from I DECLARE WAR and “KCS” featuring Mitch Harris from Napalm Death are the record’s brutal moments, while “Soulfliktion” and “El Comegente”- in which Max Cavalera shares his latino Heritage with us – pay respects to Soulfly roots! Marc Rizzo has done a great work in the guitars and Tony Campos solidified the rhythm section; meanwhile, Neil Fallon’s (vocalist of Clutch) feature on Ayatollah of Rock n Rolla gives us the most interesting song Soulfly have written over the last years! Leaving the weak front cover of Pal Stottler (Designer of Sacred Reich’s Surf Nicaragua) aside and some fillers, “Savages” is more than ok! Spiros Smyrnis
67 Vista Chino - Peace It was 3 years ago when John Garcia, Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri -2 of the founding members of Kyuss and the bassist of their first albums- decided to reform Kyuss under the name of Kyuss Lives. Josh Homme, the other founding member, refused to get involved in this project and the thousands of Kyuss’ fans out there started to get curious about Kyuss Lives. Then, the band changed its name to Vista Chino (slang word for Marijuana) and they released their debut album Via Napalm Records. When I received the album, being a sworn fan of Kyuss, John Garcia (Unida, Hermano, Slo Burn) and Brant Bjork, I concentrated on the listening of “Peace” and didn’t give much thought to the “weak” front cover. I completed the first listening and I was disappointed: “After so many years John Garcia and Brant Bjork joined together and was that the result expected?”, I asked myself! The album was more than the average of heavy/stoner rock releases, but not what I was expecting from them. So I gave it a listen it again. The second time was better, like the third one and the fourth one etc.! After a dozen listenings I have to say “Ave Vista Chino the stoner-heads salute you”. John Garcia is the voice of stoner. Period! Brant Bjork is the son of Groove. Period! “Adara” is the new anti-radio hit of the year. “The Gambling Moose” reveals a psychedelic rock version of Kyuss I personally enjoyed very much. “Dargona Dragona” is the manual of writing catchy sing-along hymns. Don’t try to mistake Vista Chino with Kyuss. The second ones will be probably the most interesting case of a band in the 90’s. As for the first ones, John Garcia speaks for the rest of us: “Kyuss Lives! is now VISTA CHINO….”It feels great just writing that... let alone saying it out loud feels even better”. Spiros Smyrnis God is An Astronaut - Origins Do you like travelling back in time? Do you also happen to find out which are the true origins of music? If the answer to both questions above is “yes”, then you should definitely give “Origins” the chance to hit your speakers! And, I grant you, the record will remain in your playlist for a long time! The band has claimed to have found a cure for emotional hardship through perseverance and it seems to have kept that promise to the fullest. “Origins”, the seventh full-length album of the Irish post-rockers God is an Astronaut features a diversity of influences and sounds: Further to the description given by the band members themselves, it is “a sonic ‘photograph or snapshot of who we are in that moment of time’ and Origins is perhaps their most saturated, striking snapshot to date”. I’d say that the term “snapshot” is something too static to describe their music: The 12-track record is an interesting amalgam of beautiful piano melodies, electronic sounds, vocals laden with resonant swathes of space-like effects –present in only half the tracks since music seems to have the dominant role in the compositions- , melodic guitars and an interesting bass/drums rhythm section bringing them all together in perfect harmony. The album title “All is Violent, all is Bright” (2005) seems to be the band’s motto when creating music: The songs seem to evolve in such a way that heavy emphasis is given on climaxes from ambience to power (from brightness to violence, I would say). Influences from trailblazing artists and bands, such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Barrett-era Pink Floyd, kraut rockers such as Tangerine Dream and space rock, at least to my ears, came to mind, while the band creates beautiful soundscapes that combine the “origins” of rock with a more contemporary perspective. As for the production, it is flawless and it fits like a glove to the music. Verdict reached: See you in outer space with God Is an Astronaut! Marianna Kofinaki Serj Tankian - Jazz-Iz-Christ The frontman and founding member of System of a Down presents his fifth solo album -more like a cleansing experience or even better a musical break- this summer. The title is Jazz-Iz-Christ and it inevitably raises the question of who God is. Taking a step back from progressive rock and the nu metal bursts, Serj dives in the Jazz world and manages to walk on the water, like a second Jesus, successfully carrying a few System riffs with him. This album, this effort, features many collaborations from the Jazz world with the Armenian/American singer. Good players who master their instruments if anything else. The title perfectly describes what you are about to hear and don’t expect any single-breathed “wakeupbrushyourteethandputalittlemakeup”. However, some of the Serj’s melodic riffs will remind you of backstage and/or lonely moments of the band just before coming on stage. It is an album a bit less “make-up”, at least in its most instrumental parts. Songs I enjoyed: Fish don’t scream, End of time, Honeycharmed, Song of Sand, Balcony chats, Miso soup. Christina Alossi
68 DevilDriver - Winter Kills For a Devil Driver fan, this album is by far one the best releases so far! “Winter Kills” is the band’s 6th album, and as main man Dez Fafara commented, “The title of the album is all about rebirth”; the rebirth of DevilDriver maybe? It sure is! The album sold approximately 11.000 copies in the US, in its first week of release, to peak at position No.32 on The Billboard 200 chart. There are lots of reasons you should listen to this album; In case somebody pisses you off, this is the perfect ‘cooler’! Listen to it LOUD and in a matter of minutes you’ll find yourself banging your head around. Yet it features a great cover; Awolnation’s “Sail”. DevilDriver just did a great job, transforming it to a melodic metal anthem from an electronic, rather boring, indie rock track, and it bears nearly no resemblance to the original song! The general mood of “Winter Kills” is a powerful hybrid of groove/death metal. The title track is a harsh vocal-drum blast-guitar riff detonation! Dez Fafara’s voice has evolved over the years and this change is quite impressive; that’s why he’s considered “the governor of groove” or “the therion of thrash”. DevilDriver always managed to get your primitive instincts on the surface – maybe you even tried to punch somebody in the face, or at least thought of it the last time you were listening to their songs, right? DevilDriver haven’t lost their signature-sound and they certainly didn’t end up experimenting with other metal-ish sounds as most bands do at some point. The album is the opposite of boring; filled with fascinating heavy guitar riffs, passionate growling vocals, fervent percussion and bass lines that coexist, effectively filling any ‘gaps’. I really enjoyed listening to their album and I can’t point out any key tracks… you’ll end up mosh-pitting no matter what! Sissy Fanouraki
Fates Warning - Darkness in a Different Light Progressive music, in the wider sense of the word, consists of the ability to see music in a different light each time. There are no boundaries, except for the ones set by artistic inspiration itself. Let’s stick to the case of Fates Warning, a band, which is synonym with the term “the pinnacle of progressive music”, in terms of creativity, musical perception, poetry, touching lyrics, and simply amazing orchestrations. Darkness in a Different Light, true to its origami-like cover, is the perfect rearrangement of their main musical elements from all their eras, an album to be absolutely loved and appreciated by old and new Fates Warning fans alike, plus featuring some new elements, mostly based in modern progressive Opeth-like works (at least in terms of guitar riffs and sound). It’s all there: Inspiring and creative compositions, heavier, breathtaking riffs, technical solos, a rocksolid rhythm section, a touch of acoustic guitars along the way, and of course, vocals that speak to your soul, along with the signature Fates Warning lyrics, true poetry, perfectly accompanying their outstanding music. The album flows beautifully and effortlessly from the very time you hit “play” to its very last minute. If I had to make a reference to their previous works, I would describe it as “Parallels Pt.2” meets “Disconnected”, at the same time continuing where “FWY” left off and with certain elements from “No Exit”. It’s definitely heavy, yet melodic and atmospheric at the same time, with all songs being pure diamonds, it’s the perfect example for the fact that “good things take time”. Definitely worth waiting for (even for a decade), honestly one of their best works yet, undoubtedly a way of seeing MUSIC in a different light: A masterpiece, album of the year for me. Oh wait, that’s an understatement: It’s one of the best progressive records of the last twenty years. Ladies and gentlemen, bow before this band, which surely deserves so much more recognition, and can take us down musical paths in such a way nobody else can! Marianna Kofinaki
Poisonblack - Lyijy Finnish metallers Poisonblack are back with their sixth album, “Lyijy”. What started as front man’s Ville Laihiala’s side-project when he was still a member of Sentenced, is not just a project, it’s his own heart and soul, the ultimate way of making the music he loves and of sharing his inner thoughts and feelings on all aspects of life –with an emphasis given on the dark side of human nature, which sometimes prevails and often leads to devastating outcomes for the human race. True to its name, meaning “lead” in Finnish, also corresponding with the chemical symbol ‘PB’ for lead - ring a bell about the band’s name as well?-, “Lyijy” is quite heavier and definitely more solid than the band’s previous releases. It features powerful beats and signature Poisonblack riffs, which definitely get stuck in your head from the very first time you press the “play” button. The more “gothic” elements, which were evident in their first works, are now placed in the background, while the heavier melodies are fully in the spotlight. As for the vocals, they fit in perfectly well with the lyrics, which mainly deal with the decadence of humanity, creating a feeling of “despair-meets-rage” in the bands own, distinctive style. Oh, and there’s more: You will find out two very interesting collaborations along the way: Two guest appearances by Timo Käsmä -the guitarist of the Zero Nine and the backing vocals of Kari Vähäkuopus, the singer of Amplifire respectively. As for production, Jonas Olsson has done an amazing job, creating the perfect sound of the band’s heaviest album yet. Last but not least, a picture is worth 1,000 words: The album cover, created by Teemu Hostikka, is more than fitting with the songs and lyrics: A bourbon glass, full of lead (bullets, if you please) and some kind of liquid. In my own words, Bursters around the world, enjoy the most mature and lead-heavy Poisonblack album yet! Marianna Kofinaki Burst www.afternoiz.com
69 Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks Lately there’s a lot of buzz around Nine Inch Nails’ comeback. A follow-up to ‘Ghosts’ and ‘The Slip’, ‘Hesitation Marks’ doesn’t feature any major orchestral tracks or a more instrumental sound, despite a great deal of references to previous NIN works, from ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ to ‘Year Zero’. Reznor seems to return to his roots, due to prevailing ‘Pretty Hate Machine’-like beats, However, this time, the electronic elements are brought forward and the more instrumental sound stays in the background, almost minimalistic,(‘All time low’). More ‘destructive’ sound in the likes of ‘Year Zero’ is, of course, in the plate. ‘Came back haunted’ is a good example of that, featuring a rather twisted ‘Survivalism’-like rhythm, which explodes towards the end. ‘Various methods of Escape’ remotely reminds of the grandeur of ‘Everyday is the same’, while ‘I would for you’ and ‘In two’ is a more ‘sturdy’ approach in the sound. ‘Running’ and ‘Disappointed’ provide a new way of NIN thinking, somehow reminiscent of the recent turn of Radiohead’s music (or even Thom Yorke’s ‘The Eraser’). Same applies to ‘While I ‘m still here’, which features a trumpet as an interesting perk. ‘Copy of A’, whose lyrics deal with being a ‘copy of’ everything, even of yourself, is a mix of primordial and contemporary NIN sound. It’s definitely one of the album’s highlights along with ‘Find my way’, one of NIN’s soft moments, making us think of previous works such as ‘The Fragile’, while lyrically, it stands next to ‘Me, I’m not’. ‘Satellites’ flirts directly with R’n’B, by marginally staying NIN-dark (maybe Lady Gaga would somehow sound like this if she weren’t so pop). Finally, although ‘Everything’ features a rather rough main riff, it’s so pop that doesn’t make any sense regardless of the listener’s approach. Overall, it is a welcome return and it has some really interesting moments. However, it can also be perceived as rather ‘light’ and less ‘dangerous’ than previous works. Dimitris Kotsilinis ASP - Maskenhaft A few days ago I got my hands on ASP’s latest album MASKENHAFT - Ein Versinken in elf Bildern. High standards set from all previous albums and great songs from the past 13 years (“Engel in Schwarz” is one of the best goth-electro songs I have heard), made me very demanding on this one. The album includes 2 CDs, different version of the same songs. The Relief CD is more like how the songs where actually written and inspired. It opens with a creepy atmosphere with dark-folk influences, like a conjuring of shadows, and a mild tempo as if a ritual is about to begin. Following tracks have the expected quality of ASP, both in sound editing and beat balance that sounds better aloud! Piano elements of early post punk metal and beautiful melodies connect the tracks to each other like chapters in a book. Several times I caught myself about to bang my head (!) though in general it is a road album as I say: yellow city lights, fast motion, and melancholy. Standing out songs are “Panzerhaus”, and “Die Kreatur Mit Der Stählernen Maske”, with slow riffs and chorus, those will be great in live performance, as well as the end track “Die Klipe – Teil 2: Hang”. The essence with this CD is more precise, and the music comes second to the lyrics, which are very profound (I had quite a hard time translating them), and very important to the whole album. And it was as if the band had foreseen the thoughts of all the fans. The Plakat CD kickz azz!! An amazing idea by ASP to have all songs made heavier! All tracks are awesome, with much more dynamics and electro elements. Instrumental music is bass embossed, perfect for clubs and night crawler pits! The sound has a lot more volume and sounds so different from the 1st CD even though it’s the same tune, showing what a great band ASP is. I bet most of them will come in remixes, probably with the limited edition pack (5000 copies) that will include a 3rd Bonus CD, and the great artwork by Timo Wuerz in a special picture book among others. All the credits to ASP for showing the greatest respect to their fans, satisfying both the clubbers (plakat version) and the loners (relief version), providing a genuine twin Gothic album with separate production in the same package. Hopefully other bands will follow the example and have similar releases with no discount to quality! A must have for 2013. B|S|Orestis The Answer - New Horizon Ireland is a blessed land! It is the third largest island in Europe, standing to the north-west of the continent! God had a plan in his head about Ireland! He just wanted a place to sit by the ocean, drink his cold beer, listen to some goddamn rock n roll and jam with guys like Phil Lynott, Gary Moore and Rory Gallagher. Thank God there are still bands from this holy land out there paying respect to these guys’ legacy! I’m referring to “The Answer”, who dedicate their lives over the last thirteen years to spread the world the true meaning of hard rock! I’ve watched them since their first album, and I have to say that after their new one, titled “New Horizon” the Irish guys are the members of the hotter hard rock band on earth today. They want to get big, and this album has everything to make it through! “New Horizon” has incredible artwork by much-missed album art legend, Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd/Led Zeppelin/Muse). Leaving artwork aside, “New Horizon” has songs that make you want to “Scream A Louder Love”, following Cormac Neeson’s (frontman) amazing voice. This album is the true representation of what the essence of this band is all about. We’re fired up and ready to go!” stated Cormac, and he’s absolutely right! Less bluesy than “Revival” and “Everyday Demons” the fourth album of “The Answer” is more straight, catchy and roooockkk! Just listen to “Burn You Down” and “Concrete” and let the rhythm flow. If you are sick and tired of all the posers out there, and you are looking for a band with balls, then “The Answer” would be the right choice. If you don’t mind “Leave with Nothing” please be my guest. Some say that questions matter, but all you have to do is to have “The Answer” my friends! Spiros Smyrnis Burst www.afternoiz.com
70 Anna Fiori - Magna Mater Greetings! On this occasion I bring you a review of an album from a Spanish-language singer! From Mexico, to be exact, who brings a deluxe album! It has a great symphonic power-Gothic sound and leaves us yearning for more! With great vocal collaborations, like Alfred Romero de Dark Moor and Robert Haven Winter sun; they really have their own unique style, dark and melancholic which leaves you with a sweet aftertaste. The album is a work with gothic-power metal characteristics, as the heaviness of some tracks suggests, the Heavy Metal sound is present. All this highlight the excellent chorus (which gives a touch to the disc) and it is a great work of poetry; something that brings the album, as well as many feelings/emotions to the surface. The voice of Anna is overwhelming; she’s made excellent progress, and she has great pitch, tone and color that cover the demands of her work. The disc is continuous in some places. It is mostly dark, heavy and brooding, Gothic style at its best. The perfect duo for the themes that are sang. It is a powerful, global album that says “here I am! “to the world. Many tracks express the theme of global awareness, their placing is nice and they have done a very good job in the graphic design by Fernando Ricciardulli. He managed to interpret the concept of the album using a picture of Anna in a gloomy atmosphere. I think it’s one of the best covers of the year. The tessitura of voice deserves attention; I rate it above the 2/8, a little more serious than the acute strong. The influences on the disc clearly came from the symphonic metal style of the great masters of Holland-Finland. A perfect album and performer, Mexico proudly presented in this excellent work. JRoberto Zenteno Jimenez
Satyricon - Satyricon Satyricon is one of the most pivotal Norwegian Black Metal bands. Unfortunately this band hasn’t presented something really radical the last years. With such 90s classics as Dark Medieval Times and Nemesis Divina still held as black metal masterpieces even now, it’s hard to question their relevancy in black metal history. They have also presented some decent albums the past decade too. But what about now? Satyricon is the last attempt of the band to offer us black metal music. When listening to Satyricon I had the weird feeling that the entire album was an extra long song. Within the tracks themselves you have the sense of déjà vu and nearly every one has the same structure. Thick lead guitars with a plodding pop metal drum beat combined with the tired sounding vocals of Satyr. The few attempts it makes to change-up the monotony makes it all worse. Satyricon asked Sivert Høyem’s contribution to “Phoenix”. Black Metal requires conviction, something Sivert Høyem doesn’t seem to understand at all and his low, clean vocal performance ruins the entire song. It‘s a shame because “Phoenix” is the one of the best tracks of the album. It’s not that Sivert Høyem is a bad vocalist, but he didn’t try to understand the whole context of this album. The tracks are a complete bore, yet those that attempt to break from the monotony such as “Walker upon the Wind”, come empty and lack the band’s old energy. Other songs like “Our World, It Rumbles Tonight” go for an anthemic quality that simply isn’t meant to be due to how tired the band sounds. The brightest moment of this album is the 7:48 minute song “The Infinity of Time and Space” that actually shows that the band is capable to make music that keeps your attention. Satyricon album could be easily a B-side to “The Age of Nero” and “Now, Diabolical” and this is very disgraceful when you consider this band’s contributions to both Black Metal and Modern Metal as a whole. Sotiris Stilianos
Blues Pills - Devil Man (EP) It’s not difficult to understand what kind of music Blues Pills play! I think it is more than obvious from their name and their first E.P release. You just have to do the math! Blues Pills and the name of record is Devil, man! As you may understand, we’re dealing with a blues rock band, formed on December 2011. Blues Pills is a quartet coming from Sweden, worshipping the goddamn blues and all the classic rock stuff an open-minded listener should love, such as Cream, Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin! You can also see that the band is influenced by let’s-bring-the70’s-in-the-2010’s-hommies, Graveyard! Blues Pills have a big weapon, which is called Elin Larsson and she is the band’s vocalist. The magnificent voice of Elin, is really haunting –sounds like the blues Lady Beth Hart- leading the band in singing in English and Swedish alike. The 4 songs, which last approximately 17 minutes, are tailor-made to Elin’s voice, thus maximizing their godsend- or probably devil-send gift! I’ve been into the Blues for the last three years and I have to say that “Devil Man” is a nice effort to approach this unappreciated kind of music! As I’ve written before, their music is vocally-oriented and not guitar-centered, something typical when we have to do with the blues. However, the 18-year old guitarist, Dorian Sorriaux has some ecstatic solos dived in the devilish feelings of the blues! “Dig In” and “Devil Man” stand out, making you to swallow these Blues Pills! The Blues rock fans will enjoy it more. As for the rest of you, give’ em a chance! Spiros Smyrnis Burst www.afternoiz.com
My dear friends and Spartan Warriors, Today I wanted to talk to you about a really important subject. Most of us like to travel and discover new places, meet people of other nations, enjoy their culture, nature etc. Lately I have visited Greece, passing by Thermopylae; I stopped in front of the statue of Leonidas. Some people took pictures with the statue of the hero, and left shortly… but left garbage behind them… bags, empty cans, etc… I find myself asking, where is their respect? Taking pictures and placing them on a social network won’t make you look cooler, but picking up after yourself will surely reflect your respect to historical monuments. You want to show real respect for the place? Clean up; don’t leave a mess
behind you. If Leonidas was alive he would probably kick your butt for disrespecting his territory. As I was wandering around the beautiful mount Olympus, I came upon a paper … a tampon paper. Girls…. Is it so hard for you to take your wrappers into your bag and dispose of them in an appropriate place? It’s very light, you know. Someone would probably say, “oh Karol…nobody will see that wrapper, it was squeezed beside a rock.” Well my answer is yes, people might not see it, but the creatures that live in that forest will notice it for sure; perhaps it might have blocked entry to an ant colony? Imagine if someone just came along and placed a big bag of crap in front of your door, and you can’t get in or out.
Visiting Olympus for vacation is great, relaxing and all, but how about showing some respect? Keep your garbage and dispose of it appropriately! I saw plastic bags shoved inside of trees hollows. Are you hoping that they will disintegrate with time and just disappear into thin air? Well think otherwise. Be responsible, how would you feel if a tree tried to push a plastic bag inside of you, and you couldn’t move and say it hurts? Try to imagine it; empathy is the key to a better world. Keep in mind, that we are one with the Earth. Be a tourist, but be a correct one, and show respect to the places you visit. With love, Karolina
POP CORNER by Jo Gogou
How could you define “pop”? A cultural element becoming a fashion? Something that started to deal with monotony or maybe a constantly changing picture?
Pop can be divided in the domains of music, fashion, thought, culture and many more, that we cannot even begin to imagine. Pop music’s origin is the word “popular” and it started in the 1950’s through rock and roll; no matter how weird it may sound to us now, it is the truth. Don’t forget: all music genres connect to each other, like dance, rock, Latin, country, even local. It is just that we discover its connections through time. Truth be told, Pop music has been quite misunderstood, even when it features electric guitars. Maybe the difference lies between electro rhythm and beat music, between happy colors or more lamé ones. Many other elements from other genres mingle among its melodic lines, by combining rhythm, lyrics and structure. It surely seeks for things to be catchier, commercial; but still, that doesn’t’t mean it is easy to achieve. What we call “pure pop” music contains all the above, from guitar, drums, bass and other instruments like synthesizer or keyboards. This makes it feel more modern and universal. If we dig a little bit deeper in the Oxford’s Dictionary of music, we will find the term “Pop” referring to the music made Burst www.afternoiz.com
by artists such as The Rolling Stones (rock n’ roll is still here). According to Oxford, the term “pop song” was recorded for
the first time in 1926, long before the 50’s, and it means that it is a part of music with a wide acceptance. According to Hatch and Millward (whom we will discuss later
on) many things in the history of music are happening after 1920, with the birth of the modern pop industry in the same countries that created the blues and hillbilly music.
The Grove Music Online (www.oxfordmusiconline. com) states that the term « pop music» initiated in Great Britain in the mid 50’s as a description for rock and roll and formed the new style for the youth, an influence still existing to this day. “Earlier meaning meant concerts appealing to a wide audience ...[;] since the late 1950s, however, pop has had the special meaning of nonclassical mus[ic], usually in the form of songs, performed by such artists as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, ABBA, etc.”
What is more in the early 60’s it was something between Beat music [ in England ] whilst it was more of a rock and roll sound in the USA. “Term pop music ... seems to have been a spin-off from the terms pop art and pop culture, coined slightly earlier, and referring to a whole range of new, often American, mediaculture products” Chambers’ Dictionary Now let’s go back to 1967, where “pop” is increasingly used as a contradicting term to rock music. This is the time when the dis-
tinction between pop and rock begins. Rock has been emphasizing on the authenticity of “folk” music, while pop has become more commercialized and is characterized as ephemeral and accessible for many. “As a matter of enterprise not art”, is “designed to appeal to everyone” and “doesn’t come from any particular place or mark off any particular taste”. It is “not driven by any significant ambition except profit and commercial reward ... and, in musical terms, it is essentially conservative”. It is, “provided from on high
(by record companies, radio programmers and concert promoters) rather than being made from below ... Pop is not a do-it-yourself music but is professionally produced and packaged”. Simon Frith David Hatch and Stephen Millward seem to agree with all the above. In 1987, they wrote the book “From Blues to Rock: An Analytical History of Pop Music”, where they have created their thesis in this part of music, in which we are involved all these years. They have informed us that POPular music is a mix of jazz, folk and rock and roll.
Liu Xue 刘学 by B|S|Orestis
It is widely accepted that the planet is split horizontally and vertically, from a social point of view, for many reasons and most of them unjustified. Being an art lover, I have in my mind some regional distinctions of that sort, to conclude that the Far easterners are so advanced in their art expression that I just can’t have enough of it! I am proud to present you the amazing sculptor Liu Xue from China. Born in Liaoning Shenyang in 1983, this young artist has materialized his imagination in such overwhelming detail it’ll make your jaw drop! His work includes hybrids, no more than a meter height, a combination of living entities into new creatures that reminded me of the centaurs of the Greek mythology. His techniques include the use of plaster, white cement and clay for modeling, polyester moulding, and aerograph painting. Novelties can be noticed on the way the whole construction is supported, while created with custom made callipers, and how the artist can change stance in the subject before finalizing it; with the use of hard iron strings for the armature within the body members (hands, legs and tails!). He has two major collections, the first is the “Sense of coexistence” that was out in 2011, where the figures were a combination of distinctive animals (dogs, ducks, chicken etc.) and humans. His second collection called “WE are the world” in 2012 was of the same theme, featuring mostly Buddha like forms in combination with pigs, sea lions etc. Almost a year apart, you can tell that his talent has developed, with his main focus being the detail in expression and motion. His figures have left the statue spectrum, and now feel as part of the world, being both grotesque and perfect at the same time. The coloring and shadow effects are totally life-like, giving to the viewer a creepy sensation of breathing human-like forms. The way the muscles and skin are depicted, their texture and dynamics, give the illusion of motion to the sometimes repulsive still figures. His work has been exhibited in many contemporary art shows within his homeland, in Beijing. His workshop is often visited by art students and his skill is an example to all sculptors around the world. For you luck China residents, don’t miss a change to visit any show of his, and hopefully for us in the rest of the world, a themed exhibition at our local art museum is considered a must!
Written by B|S|Orestis
76 is the medical device Med-Bay, which is included in every house and keeps the Elysium’s citizens free of any disease. Actually it cures any disease. Our main hero, Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) after a serious accident during his work, he decides to travel to Elysium in order to cure himself. However, he has to face the Secretary of Defense, Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster), who enforces the strictest anti-immigration laws and will stop at nothing in order to preserve the high standards of Elysium. Blomkamp has created two worlds full of contradictions. Serious problems that exist since the beginning of time have now reached their peak. Social class discrimination is a major problem and is also emphasized by the different languages that prevail in the two worlds, Spanish for the poor and French By Angie Rouska Elysium (2013) for our aristocrats in space. As he stated, Elysium is Photo by Kimberley French – © 2012 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. about the third world trying to get into the first. Although this film tries to give a point of view on some Elysium is a sci-fi movie directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9), starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Although it is an inde- serious matters, its blockbuster nature is predominant, so it does pendent film, many will find similarities with District 9. Howev- not have such a strong impact. But the last scene sums it all. (I er, the director had copying anything from his first film in mind. guess you have to watch it for that). Neill Blomkamp is a visual effects artist. He was lucky enough to have caught Peter Jackson’s attention, who hired him for a film adaptation of Halo video game (unfortunately the project didn’t happen). After that, Blomkamp created one of the most interesting sci-fi films, District 9. Since then the major studios in Hollywood want him like hell. However, it was Sony Pictures that was truly amazed by his first drawings on Elysium and the result was astonishingly good. Set in the year 2154, the Earth is a pile of junk. Poverty, overpopulation, diseases have left our planet devastated. However, the wealthy ones moved out from Earth and inhabited a space star, the Elysium, which full of all kind of wealth, in order to maintain their living standards on a high level. Of most importance
Elysium is a triumpher when it comes to visual effects and music, with flawless CGI effects and amazing action scenes. The space star is so captivating and the precise and detailed work that has been done with the robots will leave you speechless. Although it felt strange to watch Matt Damon in such a film, he did well. Jodie Foster, as always, delivers lessons, this time on how to be an evil bitch. But there are two guys who deserve more: One of them is William Fichtner, who always plays these second roles and the other is Sharlto Copley, who portrayed the fearless and mad mercenary Kruger (imagine that his acting career started in 2006). Whether you are a sci-fi junkie or not, please have in mind that this movie is an eye-candy not to be missed.
begins when his filthy experiments start chasing the soldiers.
Frankenstein’s Army (2013)
By Angie Rouska
Photo © 2013 - Dark Sky Films
It was a great disappointment when the project ‘Worst Case Scenario’ by the director Richard Raaphorst did not materialize. Thankfully, the Dutch director did not stay idle and moved to a new project, “Army of Frankenstein”, which later on changed to “Frankenstein’s Army”. Having a great imagination, he created some of the most amazing Nazi zombies known as Zombots. The story is pretty simple. During the World War II, a team of Russian soldiers is found trapped in enemy territory. Trying to complete their mission, they are heading to an abandoned village to find another team of their allies. Unfortunately, no one is there, apart from a mad peasant who feeds the animals. While they are searching the area, they realize that this place is not what it seems to be. Instead of a house, they found a vault full of corridors, which appears to be a mad scientist’s lab. The madness Burst www.afternoiz.com
Raaphorst has an amazing idea, which definitely could be expanded more. Unfortunately, he limits it and not only this, but he diminishes his skills as a director. He decides to film most of the movie with a handheld camera, giving a more Blair Witch Project tone to the whole attempt. That is, I believe, the major reason for losing all the excitement that he had created with the first trailers. To sum up, there is no creepy atmosphere, no fear of the unknown of what lurks in those tunnels; only shaky shots, which unfortunately are necessary, that hide all the action and may disturb your viewing experience. For better or for worse, at some points it felt like you were controlling the characters as you were playing a video game (i.e. Return to Castle Wolfenstein) On the other hand, there is this great photography, as well as wonderful frames and together with the scenes where the shaky camera is almost changed to a steady one, the confirmation that Richard Raaphorst can be a great filmmaker. Apart from the technical aspects, this movie lacks in characters and acting. Yes, I know, you expect that these guys are like mice ready to be caught in a trap, however they were pretty indifferent and, by putting them to speak English, the result was actually fake. Overall, I cannot say that I did not enjoy watching this movie. Yes, it did not fulfill the expectations it had created, but it can be the base for something bigger and better. The Zombots were awesome, watching the mad scientist Viktor (Karel Roden) talking about his crazy experiments was a pleasure and the whole idea was a fresh one. It should have a sequel, a gorier one, a bigger one, a better one.
77 owners of the huge pine forests of the area, so the marriage is mostly a social and economic deal. At first, Thérèse seems happy with the marriage and hopes that it will help her get rid of all the “crazy ideas” she has in her head. Soon, she is dissatisfied and disappointed of her marriage, while her husband seems more interested in hunting and family traditions. At a turning point in her life, Thérèse decides to poison her husband but fails, so she must face the consequences. Her husband and his family help her to be cleared from charges, in order to avoid the scandal but she is forced to stay with them, almost prisoned in her room with no contact with anyone, or even her own daughter. Thérèse will be distraught only by smoking and drinking but in the end her old communication with her husband will lead to her freedom. Thérèse Desqueyroux (2012)
By Eleni Lampraki
Photo © 2012 - UGC
“Thérèse Desqueyroux” is a French film released in 2012, the one that closed last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and the last one directed by Claude Miller due to his sudden death in April, 2012. The film is based on a novel of François Mauriac under the same name novel, which was first published in 1927. The film is set in mid-1920s, mostly on the French province, and tells the story of Thérèse, a young woman who struggles with the era she lives in and her marital life alike. The film starts with a flashback of Thérèse’s pre-teenage life, where she shares some happy and carefree moments with her childhood friend Anne in the pines. It’s implied that despite their young age, Thérèse’s future is already decided; after a few years she is going to marry Anne’s brother, Bernard. Both families are
An interesting theme and I believe a nice adaptation of the book; however the film tends to be slow, introverted and not very explanative, although the book itself does not give any clear explanations about the main character’s motive. Although Thérèse appears calm and nihilistic at a point, the film fails to point out her free spirit and open mind regardless. It’s implied that one of the reasons for her disappointment is a hidden lesbian love for her sister-in-law, but her motives never become clear. She admits that she didn’t know what she wanted, but she knew what she didn’t want instead, and that was obviously to become the happy housewife of a country man. One thing I liked about the movie is that it motivated me to search more about the actual book and the heroine, in order to understand some things and also to find out if anything happened next. A little “hard” one for a summer night, but if you like European literature on screen, you’ll probably enjoy it.
involvement with the burglaries, she is innocent and simply connected with the wrong people. With the help of a flashback we see the story from the beginning with Mark’s first day at Indian Hills High School, after been expelled. Soon he befriends Rebecca, a fashion addict with very low standards about crime. She takes Mark for a night tour in the neighborhood, only to check for unlocked cars and steel money and credit cards. Although reluctant, Mark gives in thefts, and both friends spend their money in fashion brands and drugs. Soon Mark becomes a part of Nicky’s circle, including Chloe, Nicky and her adopted sister Sam. Their “criminal career” levels up, starting from friends’ homes, until they decide to rob Paris Hilton’s house, when she is away. The door is unlocked, so Mark and Rebecca just break in and become fasciBy Eleni Lampraki nated with the shoes, clothes and jewelry. Soon they The Bling Ring (2013) form a gang who breaks into celebrities’ houses, such © 2013 - A24 as Audrina Patridge, Megan Fox and Orlando Bloom. Sofia Coppola strikes back, once again gaining audience and At the same time Mark becomes even more addicted to drugs, critics. “The Bling Ring”, Coppola’s 5th movie is a black comedy while the rest of the group seems to care only about booze, drugs, crime film, about the notorious teenage gang that burgled the nightlife, celebrities and of course, burglaries! After almost a year mansions of their favorite celebrities during 2008 – 2009. Copof criminal activity, almost the whole gang is arrested and sent pola used little fiction. to jail. The film focuses on Rebecca, Mark and Nicky. The first is apathetic, the second remorseful and the third cries out for her Her film at some point serves as a dramatized documentary. The fifteen minutes of fame. cast combines newcomers with promising young actors, with Israel Broussard and Katie Chang playing the major roles along The film uses narration from Mark while interviewed for Vanity with Emma Watson, who proves even to the most disbelievers, Fair, as an explaining comment. At the same time celebrity arthat she is a very talented actress. Harry Potter fans note that she chive footage is used, which imparts realistic aspects to the film. doesn’t remind us of our beloved Hermione Granger at all. Sofia Coppola is neither positive, nor negative. She presents the facts with a dramatized taste. A fast and fresh film, non-explanaThe film starts with paparazzi flashes, focusing on Nicki Moore, tory but dramatically real. Add it to your “to watch” list. who just got out of the court, found guilty for burglary. She insists that she is an aspiring and spiritual person, determined to preserve the right and become a positive public figure. As for her Burst www.afternoiz.com
Brothers The Big Lebowskis By Pana Apostolidou & Spiros Smyrnis
by spiros smyrnis
80 Director’s Cut couldn’t miss the two brothers whose movies have given infinite beauty to world cinema. The mighty and eccentric Joel and Ethan Coen were introduced in 1985, through a dynamic entrance to the American independent cinema. Originating in Minnesota, USA, they are of Jewish descent. Joel studied film and television at New York University and Ethan studied philosophy at Princeton. Before being occupied with cinema direction, they were both occasionally working in low cost film productions.
are shy and absentminded and every time they have to talk about their movies, they nod and answer that they work instinctively, which is hard to believe due to the complexity of their films. Their style differs from the es-
The Coen brothers are script writers, directors and producers who work on their films together, in terms of sharing exactly the same views on the implementation of films (although Joel is a little bit more responsible for directing and Ethan for production).Some people call these two brothers the “two headed director” due to their exemplary cooperation. Checking on their interviews and based on what they say about themselves, these two fellas belong to the kind of those bad interviewees. They
the audience, but they consider audience as a vague term, which more or less means that they make movies for themselves. They follow dreamlike and hyper-realistic lines, with strong influences from film noir and comic-like aesthetics. Their (anti-) heroes are not beautified characters, and their immorality engages them to strange circumstances. The label that “suits” them most is black comedy. The Coen brothers impress us with the unrelenting materialism and satirical mood that distinctively define their work. The
Cohens make moral and social connotations on their mocking films. Behind the well-defined surface and the strict filmic structure, a pessimistic and cynical philosophy about life, people and society, is hiding. BLOOD SIMPLE. The beginning. The film is the first sign
more, the movie speaks for itself! More than highly recommended, but better to be watched more than once due to its complex plot. BARTON FINK. Critically, “Barton Fink” was a top film for Joel & Ethan. It won the Palm D’Or at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, which also awarded John Turturro and Joel Coen with separate awards. Personally speaking, their best movie! A playwright suffering from writer’s block goes to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter. Fink’s personal ambitions are incompatible with the services that he has to provide to the spectacle of cinema. Barton Fink’s mind is a hermetically sealed room that ‘reacts’ to the stimulations of the outside world: the sounds of the pipes have unspecified source, an annoying mosquito is always present and the bell in the hotel reception seems to ring forever! He is suffocating inside his creepy hotel room until his peculiar tenant shows up and tries to change his routine… THE HUDSUCKER PROXY after two masterpieces in a row (“Miller’s crossing’’ and “Barton Fink”), and a third upcoming one (“Fargo), they decided to take it a bit slowly and create something different, without –of course- losing their ingenuity. One beautiful, funny and sharp fairy tale, with multiple injections of harsh reality that will make you realize that in life, nothing should be taken for granted. FARGO is a simple and typical detective story that becomes the brothers’ incentive to – once again- accomplice great things. A sales manager who works in the company of his father-in-law has money problems. To settle them he decides to hire two crooks to have his wife kidnapped, offering them a cut from the ransom, which his rich father-in-law will have to pay. However, the thugs are incapable of carrying out the job, leaving three dead people behind. Human stupidity is a major theme, but the center line of the movie is that money and greed leads to foolishness which leads to errors. After all, isn’t that the cornerstone
“Them boys desecra ted a burning cross , who ever heard of such a thing?”
tablished notions of Hollywood cinema and we are so aware of the ‘Coen-ness’ of Joel & Ethan’s films that we are free to talk about stylization. They claim that they make films for
of a remarkable career unfolding before our eyes. Film noir aesthetics meet thriller atmosphere. Certain characteristics and structures are introducing us to their filmic universe: blood, fraud, intrigue, betrayal, cynicism. A cuckold husband hires a detective to murder his wife and her lover. The immoral and vicious detective decides to handle the plan in a different way that serves his interests. Four characters, with three motivations: jealousy, greed and love. But something is missing. What is the deal with her? How does she manage to stay on top while the others can’t? And this is why I adore the Coens: for this feeling of uncertainty that defines their films which make you feel insecure about everyone and everything. There is no bad guy; everyone has his own legitimate intentions. I loved the photography and how the movie seems “cult” to me nowadays. ARIZONA JUNIOR, their first comedy, is not listed amongst their best but it’s a well worked piece of cinema that will definitely make you giggle and admire the value of their artistic sense. An ex-convict, addicted to crime, is trying to settle his instincts down through marital life. Of course, stupidity, which is the main characters’ trait, will create a huge mess, when they steal a baby from a family, which “has more (babies) that it can handle”. MILLER’S CROSSING is a film about a clash of gangs in America during the 30s. The filmmaking is exemplary: ingenious scenario with lots of twists which complicates characters’ incentives, the directorial notation exceeds realism, black humor -at its best- prevails and the protagonists are intriguing. I don’t want to say
81 of life? With “Fargo”, Joel & Ethan found huge commercial success and the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Critically acclaimed, it won 2 Oscars and a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Director. I have a tattoo in mind since the last time! De Niro as Travis Bickle points a gun-hand in his head while Brad Pitt as Tyler Durder and Jeff Bridges as Dude shush him! What do you mean who the hell is Dude! Dude ( Words are not enough to describe Jeff Bridges on this one) is one of the coolest characters in the history of cinema , on which Coen Brothers based the most out-going and badass film of them! «“Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. » Two lines are enough for imdb to describe Big Lebowski’s plot! Personally I would need two books! The Coen Brothers score again! Wrote the NBC! Bridges associated by the brilliant performances of John Goodman, Julianne Moore Steve
prison, having one goal, to find a hidden treasure. After a course in the American South, encountering all kinds of weirdoes (such as a musician who wants to sing for a radio station, an one-eyed crook selling Bibles, nymphomaniac sirens
The beautiful black and white photography, not to mention the intriguing neo-noir atmosphere along with the best performance of Billy Bob Thorton, they all bring a very interesting film. Dark and lost in the fading smoke of Ed Crane’s ciga-
is the remake of the classic “Ladykillers” comedy shot in 1955, starring Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers. Many fans claimed that this is the weaker moment in Coen’s filmography and I won’t lie, I’m with them! Taking place in the American
and so on) they will finally come to the point of realizing that the most precious thing is the journey itself. Lightsome and funny is considered by many to be their best film yet. A major issue that determines the evolution of the directors’ fiction is greed. Money and profit is a devastating motive for Coens’ naïve characters and therefore it is involved in many of their films, such as “Miller’s Crossing”, “The Hudsucker Proxy”,“Fargo”, “The Big Lebowski” and “O Brother where art though”.
rettes this is a story about “A Man who wasn’t there”. Apart from that this film highlighted one more time Jame Gandolfini’s -who left this world few months ago- talent! The Coen Brothers have an impressive filmography shooting many genres of cinema (thriller, black comedies, westerns) so they are totally justified for their decision to shoot a romantic comedy after the dark, noir “The Man Who Wasn’t There” film. So “Intorelable Cruetly” it is the name of the most conventional Coen film. Miles Massey (George Clooney) is a successful divorce attorney who thinks he has everything, until he met the soon to be ex-wife of his client. Her name is Marilyn (Catherine Jeta Jones) a name that Myles would never forget as he left her with nothing. So Marilyn sets up a plan so she can take revenge! As conventional as it sounds, this film has a sweet approach we didn’t get used to by Coen. The chemistry between the starring duo of Clooney and Jones is the hidden ace Coen played the right time making a film you finally
South (like Oh Brother where art thou?) the story of Professor Dorr and his pals who wanna rob a casino that’s why they rent Marva Munson’s basement by posing a band. Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy’s Opie) and Marlon Wayans (Scary Movie, Requiem for A Dream) are just two of Professor Dorr’s stupid pals who make the life of Irma Hall difficult. Tom Hanks finally has a different role –not a clean cut character again- and he did it more than well, but the original “Ladykillers” is far more funny than this one, which has some hilarious moments as Coen’s sense of humor is unique. “NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN”. Their darkest one. An absurd “western”, (it essentially defies genre categorization) and the most mature deposit of the brothers. A film depicting rapid spread of violence and human morbidity. A Texan worker finds himself in the middle of a scuffle between drug dealers and decides to keep a suitcase with $ 2 million. A manhunt involving its owners, the local sheriff and a hit man will begin. The film
ney!?” o H y m ’s “Where
Buscemi and John Tortouro (who sketches “Jesus” outstandingly! Tara Reid back then when she was still an actor give the extra sexy credit to Bunny Lebowski’s character while Jeff Bridges and his noble cult persona delivers some lessons of coolness in front of your screen. Capitalism, as well as the American lifestyle were shot by the one and only Dude, in a delirious scenery! If Charles Bukowski was still alive in 1998 would have been probably just like the Dude! Stop reading now and rent a copy of Big Lebowski before it’s too late! O BROTHER WHERE ART THOUGH in 2000, the brothers decided to make a road trip movie, slightly based on Homer’s Odyssey. A hilarious slapstick comedy provided by the trio of George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with an excellent soundtrack framing it. Three convicts escape from
Back in the early 2000s we are not e-connected! Thank god internet and social media were not a main part of our life so we have limited sources in order to learn more about our favorite actors, directors, e.t.c. Thus, Billy Bob Thorton was Angelina Jolie’s husband, a title most men would kill to gain. To me Billy Bob Thorton was a haunting barber figure on a film, titled “The Man who wasn’t there” Ed Crane is a laconic man who was being sick and tired of his job. He
“Is you is, or is you ain’t, my constituency?” decided then to blackmail his wife’s boss and lover in order to invest the money in drycleaning business. Unfortunately that plan didn’t go well.
should watch with your girlfriend and vice-versa without being questioned about your film choice all night long! The next Coenian attempt
is embellished with scenes of bloody violence. There are (more than just) interesting characters and storyline; there is a lot of suspense; but Burst www.afternoiz.com
82 there is no climax. Does this absence mean the endlessness of human nature in a volatile environment? Here lies the diversity of their style. They ended up constructing a weird, raw and self-sarcastic film which leads to nowhere. Each and every scene of the movie is a mishmash of unexpected events that occur to nullify the characters and their intentions, forcing them into endless adventures. Personal highlight: Javier Bardem and his ridiculous haircut extremely contrasting his creepy character! The film gained tons of awards, like 3 awards of the British
Film Academy, two Golden Globes and four Oscars (Best Achievement in Directing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay) and many, many more. After their participation in 2 anthology films Paris Je t’aime (“Tuileries” segment) and Chacun Son Cinema (World Cinema segment) and the Oscar collector named “No Country for Old Men” Coen brothers decided to give us a situation comedy, “Burn After Reading” with an all-star cast, that every Hollywood film would like to have! Just take a piece of pa-
per and write down the names of George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt and Richard Jenkins. The “Coenian” humor is present throughout the whole film while CIA, money, double crossing and marital life mixed in the American’s cocktail! The cynic sight of Coen brothers marked the film let alone the direction is flawless! Yet “Burn After Reading” has not the power and the poignancy of their oldest moments like “Oh Brother where art thou” and Big “Lebowski”. Although, trust me in this, by watching it you’ll pass two fun hours! “Coen” remained at-
tached in their unique style of black comedy in their next film too, called “A Serious Man” The story centered on Larry Gopnik, a Midwestern professor who watches his life unravel through multiple sudden incidents. Though seeking for meaning and answers he seems to stay stalled (imdb plot). This time Coen Brothers focused on the Hebrew culture trying to parody a little bit the basics of this religion! Ethical dilemmas that everyone could reach in the everyday life turned into chaos in Gopnick’s head and we watched his hilarious attempts to find a way out by staying a serious man! The cinematic work is excellent, yet like “Burn After Reading” something is missing again! The cast did very well even they were not famous -Smon Helberg ( The Big Bang Theory’s Howard Wolowich) starred in a small role-but the final result was not among the Coen’s best works! In 2010 Coen Brothers decide to remake another movie. This time their choice was Henry Hathaway’s “True Grit” with John Wayne in the leading role! The result was much better than their previous attempt, as “True Grit” was nominated for ten Academy Awards. The fourteen years old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld in an amazing performance ) wants to track down her father’s murderer. He hires the eccentric sheriff Rooster Cogburn (Finally Coen Brothers reunite their forces with Jeff Bridges). The classic western rules combined with a “No Country For Old Men” essence spoken in American south’s slang! Deep and touching “True Grit” was on my top ten films list for 2010! So here, we are waiting “Inside Llewyn Davis” which took triumphant reviews at Cannes Festival, a music biography in Cohenian style we are looking forward to, because Ethan and Joel have given us some of the most interesting films with genius humor over the last 30 years!
THE END Burst www.afternoiz.com
OT N It’s all Greek to me
Written by Spiros Smyrnis
I was trying to find which album would be my “It’s Not Greek to Me” choice for the October Burst Issue, when I saw on Facebook the event about the release party of the third Potergeist album, under the name of Swampires. The second Potergeist record, titled Muddy Mermaids, had impressed me very much so I did present it in this column. This was the album that established Potergeist as the pioneers and inventors of the so-called “swamp metal”. The term Swamp Metal is used to describe Potergeist’s gothic southern bluesy sound, as the band stated in their official page. A darker, bluesier and closer to metal version of heavy/southern rock, so everyone could understand would be like listening to the “Swampires”. Let me share with you the story of Potergeist so far: The band was founded in 2004 and after many gigs they released their first album, “Southwards,” in 2007. Alex S (vocals) has worked with the provocative director Costas Zapas (check out his films Uncut Family, The Last Porn Movie and the Burst www.afternoiz.com
Rebellion of the Red Maria A.S.A.P.) featuring the music of the film The Rebellion of the Red Maria, just before the release of the second full length of Potergeist, Muddy Mermaids, a finest example of swamp metal as I’ve already written. Finally, we’ve come to the crucial year 2013 and “Swampires” is out in stores since September 30. I contacted the band, so Tolis, the drummer (also the drummer of Beyond Perception) sent me the digital copy of Swampires. Two days later, and “Swampires” is the soundtrack of my day. I feel obliged to write this stuff down. You’d better close your doors and lock your daughters –and sons- in, cause “Swampires” are not joking! They’re gonna find them and bite them, giving them the eternal “badassness”. After the one minute intro “Swampire”’s (check the official video on youtube) opening notes were spat out from the speakers. Groovy and heavy as shit, the drumming welcomes the audience to the underworld, where Swampires
live, stalking their prey. The guitar solo after 3.50’ is probably one of the best the band has ever written. “Southern Crow” is a dedication to Potergeist’s music roots. This is Southern metal, man! With Big cojones! So beware and start singing this goddamn chorus! Potergeist is just another case of a Greek band moving to the heavy/stoner/ sludge/ swamp scene, which proves that our little country has the hottest scene in Europe, during this time of speaking. Apart from the ultra-professional production (taking Place at Devasoundz Studios with Fotis Bernardo, while the magic hand of David Castillo (Bloodpath, Katatonia and Opeth) did the mixing and reamping) Nightstalker, Planet of Zeus, 1,000 Mods, Lucky Funeral and Potergeist are blessed by the Gods of rock n roll (because everything is rock n roll, baby) to write songs you cannot easily forget! Like the lost Monster Magnet track named “Loves Martyr” -among the best songs of 2013-. “We’re on fire baby” and we fucking love it. I like these guys! I
like them because they’re hanging out with “Muddy Mermaids” and “Rock Fairies” I like their bluesy side, ‘cause it makes me to ask the man behind the bar’s counter for one more bourbon. “The time has come”, while it continues back from where “RBL” left us on Muddy Mermaids. The charismatic frontman associated with the rest of the folks delivers Poltergeist’s message: Swamp and roll bitches and enjoy the pot! P.S No1: Angry Blue (the MAN who worked with Guns and Roses, Pearl Jam, Melvins, Faith No More, Slayer and Danzig) gives an extra credit to the album with the amazing front cover. P.S No2: Werewolves are more than welcome… if they wanna get bitten!
195 million children worldwide suffer from the effects of malnutrition. In 2011, MSF treated 408,000 children in more than 30 countries. Copyright: Francesco Zizola
This is issue #10 of BURST Magazine with Anneke van Giersbergen on the cover. Also featuring interviews with DC Cooper (exclusive), Shadow G...
Published on Oct 1, 2013
This is issue #10 of BURST Magazine with Anneke van Giersbergen on the cover. Also featuring interviews with DC Cooper (exclusive), Shadow G...