2021. október 29., péntek

Efthimis Karadimas (Nightfall, The Slayerking)

 Interview with Efthimis Karadimas

(Nightfall, The Slayerking)

(Questions compiled by Andrey Tolkowiec)

Hail my respected Greek brother Efthimis, I’m so honoured to make with you this interview. I’ve started to listen to Nightfall in 1994 (with “Macabre Sunsets” album) and since that time I’m a big fan of you.

Efthimis: Thanks a lot my friend. Best thing music can offer is good friendships. This is the real wealth. 

I wanted to ask you a lot of questions about the past but I’m focusing now to ask you in details of Nightfall’s “At Night We Pray” LP. 

Efthimis: I understand. It is very important to talk about the past, but the present is what we live now.

After the long silence Nightfall recorded a new album. How did happen the recording process and tell me please about your current line-up. It’s great as your old guitarist Mike Galiatsos joined the horde again. Enlighten the readers about circumstances of his return.

Efthimis: In 2017 Mike called me and told me he wished to rejoin the band. I told him I am having a great time with the The Slayerking right now, and see no reason to release something new with Nightfall. Unless, we wanted to tell a great story: A year after I got to know about my depression and that was a great one to share with people. Especially young people who feel like rejected or stigmatized by a society that thinks it is healthy, but it is sick as hell.

Kostas Kyriakopoulos, your band-mate of The Slayerking joined Nightfall as well. How was this awesome alliance? 

Efthimis: Indeed, it is great to play with people who feel like family. It is very important to me to be surrounded by people I like. It saves me from wasting time trying to explain the same things over and over again. 

I’ve been very happy when I’ve heard as ex-Septic Flesh drummer Fotis Benardo started to play with you. How did occur that fraternity between you? Were there any other candidates? Did influence you his arrival to the band as Nightfall used again blast-beats and played live fast tracks from second and third albums?

Efthimis: Nightfall has influenced Fotis Benardo way before he joined Septic Flesh. He was a fan and almost about to record Diva Futura back in 1999. It did not happen then, it happens now. We are a great team. And very strong live.

Did you want to invite to Nightfall back original members Christos Adamos and Dimitris Agelopoulos or Kostas Savvidis? 

Efthimis: They are doing their own stuff. It would be nice to go up on stage and do to an anniversary show altogether. Yes, that would be cool to do someday. 

How did you write the tracks to your new album and who has been the main composer? Wish songs were ready at first? (Nightfall used again the original logo)

Efthimis: As usual, the entire team works together. Me and Mike brought most of the riffs and then we sat down with Fotis and worked collectively. To me it is very important to have everyone in the band contributing. This is the best. Otherwise, it’s only one man show with session musicians. Team work is always the best. Nothing can complete the genius of many brains together, when aligned. First song was Agita. I wrote the lyrics after my mother’s death. 

I had fortune to listen to demo-version of "Martyrs of the Cult of the Dead (Agita)" on your smartphone. (I liked a lot that one and I’d like to note it has happened on backstage after The Slayerking show in Budapest). You told me secretly the return of Mike to band and I’ve been so glad because as for me he was strong part of Nightfall back in the day. It was Fotis Benardo at the same in your line-up or someone else recorded the drum-parts? 

Efthimis: Yes, I remember that day. And the place was nice. I recall our nightline driver got shocked because we invited you to seat with us inside his bus. I understand his stress. It was his responsibility. But, hey, that is the difference between now and the past. Tours were made mostly to go and play to friends and fans in places and spare time and drinks together. Those were the days. Now, it’s more about professionalism and rules. No, Fotis was not behind the drums in that demo. It was Jörg Uken, from Soundlodge studios in Germany, who played in Astron Black and Cassiopeia albums. At that time he was in the band officially, so he did the drums. Fotis liked his patterns so he recorded the song in similar way. 

I know that Nightfall planned a big tour through Europe but because of pandemic it will be next year. How many times do you rehearse and which tracks will you play live then? 

Efthimis: It’s true, with Draconian. The tour is now scheduled for March 2022. We can’t wait to hit the road. Songs will be a selection from At Night We Prey and older stuff, including picks from Athenian Echoes and Macabre Sunsets.

Tell more about the lyrics (track by track) of “At Night We Pray”. 

Efthimis: The entire album is about depression and how people who struggle with it are treated by society: Misconceptions, stigmatization, bullying and isolation. Killing Moon is about the absence of help; Darkness Forever is about how inner light is sucked by absolute blackness within; Witches are the furies who you feel they come to punish you for every wrong reason on earth; Giants of Anger is inspired by Wilhelm the 2nd, last emperor of Germany who was born handicapped and his mental health was totally affected by how his mother and people treated him – his example used to show people that mental disorders make no discrimination on race, social status, sex or anything - they hit everybody; Temenos is about the role of religion in subjects like depression; Meteor Gods is about the divine powers, whoever they are and if they exist after all, that totally fail to save us from this mental state of mind; Agita is about mother loss and the stress this causes; At Night We Prey is about the collective change we must do in how society deals with depression; and Wolves in Thy Head is about lone wolves whose mental health is so fucked up they can cause harm to others because of whatever reason.

On your new material have been guest female vocalists namely Suzana Vougioukli and Eleni Vougioukli. Let’s talk about this cooperation.

Efthimis: Old fans, great ladies, and absolute performers. I am so grateful they have participated in our album. Next step is to share the stage with them.

Your band has 3 lyric videos: "Darkness Forever", "Killing Moon" and "Giants of Anger" for newest album. Likewise an excellent video "Martyrs of the Cult of the Dead (Agita)" (my favourite track from “At the Night We Prey”). Share with the readers clip making process and about women who have participated there. 

Efthimis: Agita is a great video that shows the fight of a person with depression. Like in the album cover by Travis Smith, depression is displayed in female form. Regretfully, YouTube blocked the original version due to violence and nudity. We tried a censored version, it was accepted, but refused us the option to promote it. Hence, the video is up there, censored, to be seen only if someone searches for it. To put it mildly, this is the way society treats people who struggle with mental disorders. It puts them somewhere, not to be seen or heard, unless someone searches for them. 

It’s just awesome as you played on your rehearsal room 2 tracks taken from "Macabre Sunsets" and "Athenian Echoes". Who was the bass player on that stuff and why he did not join the horde? There were recorded any other songs from different albums? 

Efthimis: The bass player was a friend we asked to participate, as our current bass player Vasiliki was not ready at that time. It was a great session. I think we did Iris (And The Burning Aureole) too. 

How long did you record your new material in в Devasoundz Studios? You recorded all the bass-parts but nowadays in your line-up is Vasiliki Biza. Who is she and how did you meet her? 

Efthimis: Vasiliki is a New Yorker that stays in Greece and she is very active in the Punk scene. Her nerve and tone are awesome. Definitely she is the best for the bass duties in Nightfall, and that shows on stage. The album was made in three studios; two in Greece and one in the UK. We worked a lot and very hard to complete it. 

Your label Season Of Mist re-released on vinyls and CDs all the albums which ones Holy Records released back in time. I waited to read lyrics on re-released "Athenian Echoes" but unfortunately I could not find them there. When the fans of Nightfall could find those lyrics? 

Efthimis: That’s a good question. I think we have to release them someday. The reason why re-issues came that way, it’s because I wanted to be as close to the original as possible. That way, old fans will recall the memories of those times, and new fans will get the real thing without discounts or modern adjustments. I think it worked.

On the 13th of November it will be Nightfall show in Athens after the long break. You will play a special set? Will you have a plan to release live-album (CD / DVD) in the near future?

Efthimis: We gonna take it in video. I don’t know if we gonna use it officially. But it’s good to have it on video. The set-list will cover all four seasons of Nightfall career, with At Night We Prey in priority of course. 

Thanks a lot / ευχαριστώ πολύ! Send your thoughts in the end to complete this interview to the old and newcomer fans of Nightfall. 

Efthimis: Thanks Andrey for your devotion, inspiration and good support all these years. People like you keep the scene rolling!

At Night We Prey on spotify: 


2021. október 28., csütörtök

Sebastian Ramstedt (In Aphelion)

 Interview with Sebastian Ramstedt 

(In Aphelion)

Hail Sebastian! First of all my congratulations to you for the awesome  In Aphelion Luciferian Age” EP, I enjoyed every moment and Kreator cover namely “Pleasure to Kill” is absolutely brilliant and one of the best Kreator covers I listened to it ever. Would you be so kind to tell the readers all the important information about EP? (songwriting process, lyrics, cover artwork and videos “Draugr” and “Luciferian Age”)

Sebastian: I started this as a project during the first lock down in the pandemic. I felt that I had time to write something else than music for Necrophobic. The most important thing was that I was not really tried to shape this to fit in within a concept. I just followed the flow and let the music come to me. I had four of five songs when the words started to come. I don’t sit down and decide what the lyrics should be about. Usually a few lines that fit the music just pops up in my mind and I go from there. They are overall quite personal. I go from myths or religious believes, or rituals that I find fascinating. Then I try to put my own thoughts and even my own life in the perspective of the lyrics. For instance the song Sorrow, Fire and Hate that is about crossing the rivers to enter the kingdom of death is also about ageing. It’s about getting stuck without development. I wanna grow. I rather go through sorrow, fire and hate than being stuck doing the same thing over and over again. Put at the same time those are the names of the rivers you have to cross in the Greek mythology to enter the underworld. The cover art I did myself. I think I wanted to express myself on as many levels as possible: Songwriting, guitar-playing, vocals, lyrics and artwork. I wanted to reach through with my full vision. And I also did the videos. I am not a good director or editor but I am very determined. So I decided to give it a shot. I am actually a bit surprised that the result became as good as it did.

As I’ve mentioned in Necrophobic-interview, you are with Johan Bergebäck practically always going to play together to different hordes and it’s fantastic that you with your old friend created In Aphelion last year. What should we know about the beginnings of this excellent horde? How would you characterize the style of In Aphelion?  I like a lot your voice with guitar-playing as well. 

Sebastian: Johan was very supportive from the beginning. I let him listen to my ideas and he gave me feedback. At first I had no intentions of forming a band. This was only about the music. Not trying to be idols of any kind. Bands are really a strange thing. Not only do people want to have the experience of the music but they want to have the presence of the ones writing it to be able to enjoy the music. It’s really very strange. It’s like not being able to enjoy a meal at a restaurant if you don’t get the chef to stand next to the table. I wanted this to be a music only experience. No people behind it that distracts. But as the creation started to grow I changed my mind. And when Johan and Marco came into the picture for real I realized we already were a band no matter what my first intentions where. So I just went along with it. I do call this Black Metal. I think the core of it is Black Metal. But there are a lot of Heavy Metal and Thrash metal influences in this. The voice was something I wanted to try for years. I sing on various Necrophobic albums since 1997. But I never really took the lead. I wanted to try and see if the lyrics would come to life in a new way if I sung it myself instead of someone else. I think my voice is nothing but Black metal. I waved all the other styles in the music together. The guitar playing was a challenge for sure. So much more palm muting than I normally do and faster tempos, different harmonies. And we also tune in E standard which I normally do not do. So there were a lot of new directions to go and a lot of new stuff to try out. I think I got a lot of new tools to use in the future by altering my guitar playing this way. Johan also had to step up. He did the best guitar playing that he has ever done. And it was just perfect together with mine. 

Unfortunately I missed to order from you In Aphelion: Demo I. Is there any chance to re-release it later then? “Let the Beast Run Wild” was your first video, pure raw black metal track mixed with your harmonies. Share some thoughts about this lyric-video please.

Sebastian: The demo will be featured in the extremely limited special bundle pack sold by Edged Circle. It will have the Demo, an exclusive shirt, a poster and both the EP and LP on colored vinyl. Only 25 copies worldwide. So this will be the rarest of the rare. The track Let the Beast Run Wild was the first track that was finished as a demo. I thought it was a really good track to show to the audience. The demo version had that raw power that often gets lost with better productions. I actually kept the demo vocals on the album version. There was no way I was going to catch that early feeling again. Because of that the album version actually sounds a bit rougher than the other songs on the full length Moribund. The lyric video was shot out here in the woods were I take long walks in the weekends. I have more or less turned my back on the city. I never go to pubs anymore. I want to be in the woods. Life is too short to waste it being drunk talking about idiot things in a bar. I want to widen my perspective. Not diminish it. 

When do you plan to release In Aphelion LP called “Moribound”?

Sebastian: The album will be out early March. It was supposed to be released before Christmas but as we all know the vinyl plants have no material to work with. The production has stopped because of the shortage of vinyl. So we decided to release the EP first on CD and then wait until the vinyls can be delivered. It is a long wait for me as the songs were all ready by April 2021.

I know your very talented drummer Marco Prij is Dutch but it would be great to see you live then. What is your opinion doing live performances?

Sebastian: I am back and forth with that. Now we have started to play live with Necrophobic again and the schedule is quite full. In a way I would really like to try and see what In Aphelion could be like live. But on the other hand the music is very complex and it will be a next level task to sing and play at the same time. Also as you mentioned Marco is not only Dutch but he is also crazy busy with his band Cryptosis. So we have to wait and see what will come out of this. At least I want to release the full length before we make big plans to launch this band on the roads. 

What are your favourite releases this year so far? What do you think about Voodus/Domgård split material Ginnungagap / Ljungeld Över Människan?

Sebastian: Voodus is always great: One of Sweden’s finest band and old friends of mine. Also I think Netherbird made one hell of an album with Arete. I listened to it this morning actually. It is pure magic. And The new Maiden album was also a good one.

In our conversation last year you told us about that infernal cooperation with Jon Andreas Nödtveidt (R.I.C.) on Damnation cover “Insulter of Jesus Christ” and you mentioned your favourite LPs were the first two Dissection-albums from Jon’s heritage. Is there possible in the future that In Aphelion would play an old Dissection cover from “The Somberlain” or “Storm of the Lights Bane”?

Sebastian: No there is no reason to do that. I think it would be impossible to capture the brilliance of those albums. Better leave that be.

 In Aphelion name sounds very unique for me. What is the deep meaning of In Aphelion for you? 

Sebastian: The world is in “aphelion” when it is furthest from the sun. I see it a bit as I am far from the mothership Necrophobic doing this. It also speaks of solitude and cold. A bit as I feel when I write the music. So to me it is a very fitting name for a Black metal band. Maybe it does not have the punch of “Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult” but not every band can be named that. Brilliant band by the way. I always try and catch them on the roads. 

I’ve seen Necrophobic will play very soon together with Trident in Sweden. Do you have any favourite releases/tracks from Trident? 

Sebastian: I really like their last album ‘North’. They were brilliant live. They had Jacob Björnfot from the band Kvaen on vocals and he killed it. Not only is he one of the best guitar-players I have heard but he is also a fantastic front man. We had a great time hanging out with Trident and Avslut on this mini tour. 

Swedish Heavy metal project Saints & Sinners  (Erika on vocals, you on guitar, Tobias Cristiansson on bass and Perra Karlsson on drums) recorded “Scream On Anger” a great Europe cover in memory of Marcel Jacob (R.I.P.) in December 2020. Tell us a bit more about this Unholy Alliance. Will you continue Saint & Sinners this year? 

Sebastian: Yes we are working on a little something right now … More news soon! 

Thank you very much Sebastian! I wish you all the best with your band(s) and your personal life as well! 

Sebastian: Thanks for the interview! Support the Underground! Hails!!

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