Nightfall interview (01/2005)
|With:||George Bokos [Guitars]|
|Conducted by:||Demonic Tutor|
Hailing from Athens, Greece, Nightfall is often refered as the milestone of the Greek Metal scene. Being the first Greek band signed on a foreign label back in 1991, first Greek band releasing on a CD format, first Greek band ever to perform in Turkey in 1998, first Greek band to perform at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany!
Hallo, here is George (Bokos) speaking the guitar player of Nightfall!!
- Let's talk about your last album, "Lyssa: Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments". I think it's a genuine Nightfall release, with intensity, poetry, darkness and Doom/Death/Gothic elements. How would you sum it up for those who are unfamiliar with your music?
Thank you for your kind words! You are very close to our music but I don't like so much to put the music in categories. But that's a thing to help people understand what they really gonna hear in a Nightfall album. The death metal melodies is a main fact, screaming voices, aggressive rhythm guitars and a feeling of agony and stress is somehow how we are sounding especially in our new album "Lyssa: Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments".
Nightfall's latest opus, "Lyssa: Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments"
- "The Perfect Li(f)e" is in my opinion the killer song of this album, both very dark and death heavy. Which songs are you most eager to perform on stage?
"The Perfect Life" is definitely a song that we love to play live! Some others form the new album are: "Dark Red Sky", "Swollen", "Christless", "One Of These Days" and "Essence". On the stage they sound more aggressive than on the album because of the energy we have when we play live.
- Your new album has a peculiar title. Another of your albums was entitled "Lesbian Show". Is someone in the band actually coming up with these names? What is the significance of your new album's title?
Efthimis, our singer is the one who comes up this the album titles. He likes the provocative titles. "Lyssa" means rage. The album has a strong taste of
rage and anger about what we are living in nowadays. It's a greek word as
as most of the NIGHTFALL's album titles so far!
The story about the album is related to what we see around us: a world driven mad by people who claim themselves saviors, demigods, even gods and all that they really need is to gain power and wealth for their own account.
A total theocracy! We are afraid this might take place again. The subtitle "Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments" is about the need most human beings have to believe in "Gods"; supreme, divine creatures who communicate with the masses via their representatives (popes, priests, and other religious leaders) whose role is to give guidelines and punish whoever doesn't follow. How stupid is this really?! Pathetic. But, truly useful for those few 'godsent' scum!
Efthimis is the one who writes the lyrics. I can tell you that the inspiration comes through the "Perfect Li(f)e" (song title of the album) we suppose we all are living in. You know, we live in Athens, a city of 5 million people. Every day is full of stress, fear, anger and rapid situations. Recall the Olympic games as well who gave an extra boost to this city that's becoming a Metropolis, in a place where people from different cultures live altogether, giving birth to a new state of things. And, when seeing the place you were born and grown up changing you start wonder and ask yourself, is this for better or for worse? We are living every day with a feeling of agony…we are living The Perfect Lie!!!
The sang words in our lyrics is pure philosophy. Maybe that's why many people don't understand what we are singing about. We don't have any 'direct' meanings in our art. We only offer a spark of inspiration to anybody interested in the fire of knowledge…
- This album was recorded in your favorite studio, Tico-Tico studio in Finland. Could you explain how special this place is for the band in a few words?
It is good here to say that only the "Lesbian Show" album is recorded and mixed in Tico-Tico studios in Finland. "I am Jesus" and "Lyssa …" are only mixed by Ahti in Finland.
The recordings for "Lyssa / Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments" took place here in Greece in different studios as in the "I Am Jesus" album. Again we had "all the time of the world" to shit down and experiment again and again without anybody above our heads. We had the opportunity to "taste" the sound of the album in different ways until to decide "..ok that's sounds great..".
The new technology helps you a lot if you have a home studio like I have and do the sound engineering by your own. Only for the mix we took the flight to the famous
Tico Tico studios in Finland.
Finland it's a beautiful country and we realise that every time we visit Ahti in Lapland! We worked with Ahti Kortelainen (THE MAN!) because he knows our music and that is the third album that we do together, since 1997. Just to mention that "Lesbian Show" was recorded there and the two last albums "I am Jesus" and "Lyssa…" are only
mixed by Ahti. For the next album we are planning to work with a producer.
- On the promo material for the album, one of the interest points is "best vocal performance so far by Efthimis Karadimas". I have to say the vocals are mindblowing but do you agree on that?
I agree on that my friend. Efthimis has done an excellent work this time. Lots of backing vocals and some very smart vocal lines hidden in the stereo field left and right. Amazing stuff. That is another element behind the feeling of agony and haunting atmosphere.
- It is your second release through Black Lotus Records, you seem to be entirely satisfied with them. Is it the perfect label for Nightfall?
I think you never reach the Perfect but with Black Lotus we are working quite good. During the painful period with our former label, and without any positive sign about the band's future back then, if we ever managed to stand on our feet again we would only cooperate with people that I feel 100% comfortable with. People that understand the band; the spirit of it. It seems to be a sort of chemistry between Nightfall and Black Lotus. Black Lotus is an independent, medium sized company and this gives us the advantage to do things the way we do best.
- You were the first Greek metal band to hit the international market back in the 1991. Now in 2004, after a 13-year long career, do you think fame is still eluding the band or are you happy with your current exposure?
We are happy with what we do and have done until now. But we want to make the big step, to make Nightfall well known - and I don't mean to become a mainstream band-and to be respected by the people. I think it is something that each musician wants.
- Nightfall has been a pioneer for the Greek scene and you're still going strong. Looking back on your rich history, which parts of it makes you prouder than others?
First of all, the start. Our first record.We are the first Greek band releasing an official album in a foreign label ("Parade Into Centuries", Holy Records 01, France, 1992). Moreover, it was the first Greek band releasing its stuff in a CD format. Being the very first release of Holy records is something important as well especially if you consider the fact that after Nightfall, French labels started signing Greek acts like hell! For us that was only the beginning.
Wacken Open Air festival in 2001 was also a highlight in our history. And we are still here with our seventh album, alive and we are proud for that. At the end of the story we ain't any rock stars or something like that. We don't came form Mars he he … We are just 5 crazy people converting your dreams and our nightmares in heavy music. That's all. Nothing more, nothing less.
- One word that is often used when talking about Nightfall is 'unconventional'. How do you manage to maintain such creativity under control for so long?
Efthimis is the right person to answer this question. He is the only one who remains all these 13 years in Nightfall. I think that he achieved something really difficult…to keep this band alive after many problems with band members, labels etc. This is the first that we acting like a band with 5 active members and this line-up will continue so …we are stronger than ever.
- Are you satisfied by the feedback you received from this particular album and which of your albums is the most precious to you?
The first reactions are very good, people like our new album like hell, maybe because it is more aggressive than "I am Jesus" or "Diva Futura". You can't be likeable for all the people with so much music stuff around the world. We give our best in each album!! And we are happy if people like the way we play. My favorite album is "Athenian Echoes". I really love this record. The fans' favorite record is definitely "Lesbian Show".
- On your killer website, among the FAQs, you described your music as "definitely NOT music for the masses". Indeed! But if so, what is your general opinion on your fan base?
We prefer when the people who are buying our CDs understand also the meaning of our thoughts and the reason we are playing this music. We don't care about the commercial success. Our fan base is not the biggest of the world of course. If it gets bigger no problem with that.
- Nightfall live is an extreme experience. I know your views about playing on stage. Have you considered recording a live album in the new future?
That would be a great idea my friend, we have that in mind but unfortunately that is not possible for the time being because we don't have the rights of all our previous albums…Holy records has it… If we have in the future this possibility we will record a live album the next day!
- Nightfall's drummer, George Kollias, is now also part of the US band Nile. How are you going to deal with your touring plans?
We are not so busy with touring I mean, like Nile are. We are trying to convince Efthimis to go on tour, he he, he is a little weird. George remains an active member of Nightfall. And that will stay so. He finished the drum recordings within the States for the new Nile album (they will kick ass…again!!!) And he is now here in Greece doing rehearsals with Nightfall. He does very good promotion for the band in the USA. All these years we didn't have this opportunity to make our music better known in the States. Now, we have.
For this year he has a lot of touring with Nile but he's also able to make the Nightfall gigs here in Greece that we have arranged. No problem.
- Could you name the biggest influences in your music, bands that brought you to play music?
I am influenced by bands like Death - Chuck was an unbelievable composer/singer and guitar player - , Pantera (Dimebag rules still my world and the planet r.i.p), Black Sabbath and many more. And if we speak only for guitar players my favorites are: Steve Vai, Dimebag Darrell, Jeff Loomis, Trey Azagthoth and Tony Iommi!!
I know that you will not find so many influences from these bands in Nightfall's music because Efthimis is the main composer. But I have to say that Nightfall was also a reason for me to play guitar because I was a big fan before I joined the band!
- What are the bands on the current scene that you have the most respect for?
Nevermore, Opeth, My Dying Bride, Nile (and not only because of George, I am a fan of Nile's music for years.), Fear Factory and Bloodbath.
-Thanks for your time! I wish you all the best, hoping to hear from you soon. Your last word?
Enjoy the aggression and agony of "Lyssa/ Rural Gods and Astonishing Punishments". This is our "Reign in Blood" guys. Go for it. Thank you very much for the interview. I wish a happy metal new year to you and to your readers.
Thanks again to the guys of Nightfall, Black Lotus Records and to Maria at Triquetra Media who made this interview possible.
Posted on 18.01.2005 by
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