Dissenting Minds interview (08/2021)
|Conducted by:||nikarg (e-mail)|
Dissenting Minds are a new band from Greece playing a mix of atmospheric black with post-metal and we really like them here in Metal Storm. We like them so much that musclassia wrote a very favourable review about their debut full-length, Fly In The Face Of God, which, to the best of my knowledge, was the only online review of the album at the time it was posted. And, since we appreciate underground bands that have something to say and stand out from the pack, I asked to interview their vocalist/guitarist George Triantafyllidis, whom you may already know because he used to be the singer of Revolted Masses. Read what he had to say below and check out Fly In The Face Of God, while you're at it, on Bandcamp.
Nik: Hello George and thank you for doing this interview with Metal Storm. Can you present the band and its members for us?
George: Hi Nik! Thank you for having us. It is a great honor for us to be featured in Metal Storm. It is such a historical and important webzine/community. The band consists of Spyros Vasilakis (guitars), Anastasis Katsos (drums) and me in vocal and guitar duties.
Nik: So, Fly In The Face Of God is your debut album. Who wrote the music and can you describe it for those that haven't listened to it yet?
George: So we began writing with Spyros back in 2019 some stuff. Then I brought the idea of a concept album. I had already written the most part of the concept because its part of a book I'm writing. So we threw basically all the stuff we have written and began writing music to match the dystopic style and progression of the concept. I would say that it was a long process because we tried to incorporate different influences and at the same time the music had to match the chapters and flow of the concept. The songs would start with some simple riff ideas that me or Spyros would bring and then we would work together throwing more ideas. Most of the songs are written this way. The basic structure/arrangement of the album was almost ready by 2020. Anastasis joined around that time and did all the drum work. I would describe this album as a heavy/black metal soundtrack of a short dystopian movie.
Nik: What's the feedback you get from your fans and the music press so far?
George: We have received great feedback from the people that heard it so far. We try to reach out to as many webzines and magazines as we can, but it is difficult, as we are currently unsigned. Therefore we don't have so much feedback from the press yet. We hope that will change in the months to come (:-P). We released a black metal record in summertime so we got what we deserve! I told the other guys we should play some Red Hot Chili Peppers or stoner music but they didn't listen…
Nik: What are your influences as a band?
George: We have different influences and favorite bands among the band members. I would say that bands like Paradise Lost, Behemoth, Rotting Christ, Katatonia, Borknagar, are those that are apparent in our music. There are also other bands that we love and that are not so distinct like In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Death, Gojira, Leprous, Tool etc. However the band that both me and Spyros adore is Harakiri For The Sky. Their album Arson blew our minds away (we still try to pick them up). So, in a sense, they were our common ground between us.
Dissenting Minds in 2021
Nik: On a personal level, do you remember which bands or musicians made you want to play music yourself?
George: I grew up listening to The Beatles, The Doors and Greek rock in my adolescence. While I was in high school, there was a metal mixtape that passed on from one to another. This tape got me into metal territory. It had songs of Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden. I would say that listening to Tony Iommi's riffs made me want to play the guitar. I bought my first crappy guitar and that's how the addiction started (:-P). I love his playing to this day and he is a big influence to me.
Fly In The Face Of God cover artwork
Nik: Ok, let's get back to the album. Can you tell us more about the concept and the lyrics?
George: The story is about Aurelion. Aurelion is a "hunter", a human hybrid clone raised by the Goverment to hunt down rebels. The story is set 100 years from now and after the World War III. The Earth (or what is left of the nuclear holocaust) is ruled by corporations. The main characters are Aurelion, "Mother" which is an AI program that indoctrinate the hunters, "The Governor", "Shadow", who is a hacker in the rebel side, and "Bill", a rebel soldier. The story follows the emotional journey of Aurelion from birth to freedom. I wrote the lyrics and concept. I hope someday I'll finish the book as well.
Nik: Our reviewer (and I) really liked your vocals and pointed out how easy it is to understand the lyrics, which is uncommon for the style. Was it one of your priorities to sing the lyrics in a way that would make them decipherable?
George: Actually we weren't quite sure that I would do the singing. In the previous band, the style I was singing was that of groove/thrash metal. My biggest influence, in my vocal style is Max Cavalera of Sepultura (another great band that I adore). In the beginning, the black metal style felt like it was out of my reach but I tried it in my way and we felt that it matched the music. I tried to explore further into the black metal territory while keeping my style of singing. I' m really glad you liked it.
Nik: How easy or difficult was it to create an album amidst a pandemic?
George: Fortunately most of the music was already written by the time Greece went into lockdown. We managed to do the recordings when the lockdown was lifted for some brief period and then when it came back we did the rest of the work remotely exchanging files. It was difficult and kinda threw us off schedule but I guess we were determined to finish it.
Nik: Do you have any favourite songs from the album?
George: My personal favorites are "Born Blind", "Deliverance", "Isolation" and "Arcane Shadow".
Nik: You are an unsigned band. What are the pros and cons of releasing music independently and not via a label? What is your opinion on the various streaming services?
George: I love the DIY scene. I recently bought some vinyls and a t-shirt from a local diy - crust band called Kataxnia and the feeling of talking directly to the artist is unmatched. Furthermore you can do what you want without having someone telling you what to do and how to do it. There are no creative "interferences" and no stress over releasing something you are not comfortable releasing. You can do it in your own pace and you can choose whomever you want to collaborate with. However, if you want to reach a mainstream audience, this path is full of thorns. Distribution and music press exposure are out of reach if you are unsigned. We believed that music industry would change when it declined a few years ago but it came back greedier than ever. Internet changed the way we are listening to music, that's a fact (for better or worse). Spotify and other streaming services seemed too good to be true. Current streaming services cannot work as a way to support new artists. The model that Spotify, ITunes, etc. follow, favors big bands and labels. Bandcamp has a good model for new artists and that's about it. New artists have to grind and struggle to gain some attention and they have to pay their way up. So labels are reaching those that have paid enough to advertise themselves to build an audience or those who have already an audience in social media platforms. Bands pay everything (production, artworks, ads, video, etc). So when a label signs an upcoming band there is no cost for the company (I find it unfair and ridiculous). I think now is the worst time trying to make a living as a metal artist than before. So if you are doing it for the money, you are better off doing other jobs that actually pay you. If you are doing it for the fame, guess what... rock stars are dead. Still there are a ton of bands out there releasing independently and that is good for the music. The Internet is a double edged sword. Comes with good and bad. I think the best way for a new band to follow is the diy way and at some time you got to find some independent and small music company to help you with the distribution and public relations. Unfortunately, I have not heard good things about the big metal music companies (or music companies as a whole).
Nik: What kind of music do you prefer listening to and what is the format of your choice (physical / digital)?
George: I grew up in the '90s. So my favorite format is that of compact discs. It's a pity that CDs are dead. Still vinyls are on the rise and that's good. I recently started collecting vinyls but I still buy CDs. Buying merch is the only way to show your support to the bands you love. I try to listen to different music genres and bands from the rock and metal spectrum. When I find a band I like, I try to focus on their albums. Currently I enjoy punk rock a lot (Bad Religion, Offspring, NOFX, Pennywise, etc.) and alternative stuff (bands like Billy Talent, Rise Against, Alice In Chains and many more) but I alternate the styles depending on the mood. I always stay up-to-date with the metal releases and my favorite metal bands.
Nik: Name three albums you would want to have with you if you were stranded on a deserted island.
George: Ok, that's a difficult one... I would say The Beatles - White Album, Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon, Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality.
Nik: Name three musicians (alive or dead) that you would dream of collaborating with.
George: John Lennon, Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains), Greg Graffin (Bad Religion).
Nik: Do you have any plans for live shows?
George: Currently, with the pandemic, everything that relates with the live shows stopped. Musicians and artists here in Greece took a hard hit and had no help at all from the State. I think it will be a long way before underground bands recover from this. We hope that next year, we will be able to perform live our album. Till then we will work on new stuff.
Nik: Can you tell us the best live show you have been in, a) as a musician, and b) as a spectator?
George: As a musician my best experience was with my previous band Revolted Masses when we toured Greece. In particular the show in Crete was a blast. I remember someone from the crowd came up in stage and was trying to feed me a souvlaki while I was singing. Oh and so much raki... Metalheads from Crete are crazy! As a spectator I would say the best live was Black Sabbath with Dio. They played most of the songs of the albums Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules. His voice…. Man... I have no words.
Nik: What do you think about the Greek metal scene? Are there bands and/or musicians that you can suggest?
George: In Greece the underground scene was always strong. There is a joke that half the crowd in live shows are members of bands. It may be true (:-P). There are so many bands. It's difficult to suggest bands as I would leave out many that are so good. The latest releases that impressed me the most was from Kataxnia - In A Guillotines Shadow, Yoth Iria - As The Flame Withers, and Villagers Of Ioannina City - Age Of Aquarius.
Nik: How do you like spending your free time? What are your interests besides music?
George: Ok, that's an easy one. I love gaming. RPGs, MOBAs, survival horror and action games are my favorite game genres. I also love watching movies, anime and TV series. In summertime I try to read as many books as I can. Also I love chess but I don't play as much nowadays.
Nik: Do you have a favourite film / director?
George: I am a big Star Trek fan. So everything the Star Trek franchise includes, movies or series, I love them. I would put The Lord Of The Rings trilogy in the same spot. My favorite director would be Miyazaki. All his anime movies are masterpieces (and they have great soundtracks too).
Nik: Can you visualize yourself ten years from now? What would your life be like, ideally?
George: Producing records in a small town in Epirus called Preveza (it is my place of origin). I always dreamed of building a music studio there (and also having many pets :-P). I hate living in Athens so it's a matter of time to leave this fucking city.
Nik: Thank you, George, that's all from me. Anything you want to add yourself or say to our readers?
George: I hope you are all doing well during these stressful and difficult times. A big thanks to everyone that listened to our album! Your support is priceless. Live, Love, Learn, and Live Long and Prosper! Cheers!
Thanks again to George Triantafyllidis for the interview. Although it was conducted via e-mail - which means that there could be no real dialogue - the responses were all very detailed and thoughtful. I hope the next one will be face to face. Also thanks to musclassia for some question ideas.
||Posted on 11.08.2021 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!|
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