Interview with Panos of
Greece may seem a small country, but the bands of that land tend to create a music scene common to glorious from the rest Europe. The most productive bands in Greece have always been from the genre of black metal and one of the upcoming forces is Aenaon. Their singer/performer/guide of their artistic vision "Extance", Panos "Astrous", explains many things around the new album, the band and other interesting stuffs. Enter...
Greetings Pano and congratulations for this excellent album! Are you prepared for the upcoming live perfomances these days?
Hello, and thank you for your time. We’re quite prepared and looking forward to perform! We might rehearse some more but most of the “work” has been done already!
Every day I see that you receive more and more positive feedback from webzines. I suppose that you did all your best for this album and judjing by the result you were certain that it couldn’t be better. Right? Yet, did you expect that the people who listened to the album, would feel the strength that you had during the construction of it?
You're really truly correct about us doing the best we could while creating this album. But we could never be certain about the audience’s “acceptance” beforehand. This is something we could only wish for, and we are overwhelmed by the feedback!
The last years we see a huge wave moving from extreme bands or musicians with taste in extreme sound being “married” with art/prog/jazz rock. First of all, I don’t think that we have to do with a kind of fashion, which in a few years may be lost. How difficult or easy is it for a musician to combine these two different sides under the right equilibrium?
This is a tough question, because not all bands share the same visions and motives. Many bands indeed started experimenting with different music genres, and maybe this has to do with the standards being less strict about how “true” and “cult” a band must sound. Nevertheless in this band we have a “common ground” despite our vast and indifferent musical references, and I believe this keeps us from exaggerating and sounding rather pompous
From the songs of the album, which was/were the most demanding in the recordings. I guess “Der MudeTod” is one of them, as in it anyone can hear and realize the extent of human limits in music.
"Der MudeTod" was in fact a song that occurred a bit spontaneously, haha! On the other hand, I believe I speak for the whole band saying that "Palindrome" was the most demanding track of the record! We recorded about 15 versions of the song to reach the point where it sounds right. And that’s because of the many and varied elements we used, as well as the song’s multi-leveled structure.
All of the members contributed in the writing section? Tell us a few things about the new guys.
The main composer is Achilleas C., but each member offered valuable insight and additions to the final form of the tracks. Anax (guitar) and Nycriz (drums) are our newest members, who completed perfectly the line-up. They’re both excellent musicians and cool people to hang around with, so it couldn’t get any better! Also, Nycriz played some of the instruments we used in Extance like percussions, oud & saz. They both play in Absinthiana, a promising extreme prog metal band and you definitely have to check ‘em out!
Apart from the main members, in “Extance” there are many guests, some of them known and others unknown. All of them, whether they are known or not, did great job in the songs and none of them could be regarded as superfluous. How come each participation and did any of them recorded his parts with the rest of the band?
We are lucky to have the participation of all these musicians/performers in our record. Each of them managed to tune-in with our vision for the songs. Some of the guest musicians did record along with the band (saxophone, harmonica and piano). SindreNedland (In Vain), Mirai Kawashima (Sigh), Tanya (Universe 217) and Haris (Hail Spirit Noir) did not record their pieces with us, but we were communicating constantly. Sindre’s vocals have given the theatrical and emotional touch we needed in "Der MudeTod", and Mirai overdid himself by being a real madman in "Land of No Water". Without Tanya’s contribution, "Funeral Blues" couldn’t have the particular character we were seeking, and Haris’ keys gave the right amount of vintage vibe our tracks needed!
Do you have a favorite song from the album? Does any of the songs make you think of personal images or things you have noticed in the world? For example, when I listen to “Land of No Water” my mind goes to the ‘60s greek movie “Τα Κόκκινα Φανάρια” (The Red Lanterns), may because of the vintage keyboards.
I couldn’t pick out a track… Each and every one of them has its own reasons and characteristics that make it stick out. One thing we want to achieve via our music is to give to each listener stimuli to create expressions based on their own experiences. I’m glad that "Land of No Water" reminded you this film because I like it particularly for its retro aesthetics.
What is black metal for you?
Extreme art and expression that’s opposed to the commonly established state of things.
1. Yakuza - "Way of the Dead"
2. Ephel Duath - "Through My Dog’s Eyes"
3. Shining - "Blackjazz"
4. Sigh - "Imaginary Sonicscape"
5. Ihsahn - "After"
Without exaggerations “Extance” is a top in its genre. Can you imagine the next step? I know that it’s too early to talk about it, but some ideas come very fast.
For the time being, "Extance"’s creation left us really exhausted. We have to let our minds clear first in order to start gathering new ideas. Only when "Extance"’s music has “left” our heads we’ll be able to create something new and unique.
Aenaon and Hail Spirit Noir have managed to do something remarkable, beyond the safe sounds and genres. Do you believe that your albums can attract musicians from Greece and other countries to spread their horizons more and have more experimental albums?
I can’t be certain this is something that will definitely happen, but it would make us really happy. I would be honored to know we’ve “opened the way”, inspiring other musicians to break barriers we often come across to in the black metal scene
Here our interview comes to an end. Thank you very much, I wish you the best for the next coming. I’ll see you in May. Any last words from you…?
I want to thank you for the interest in our work and your kind words. I wish all the best for you and Metal Fields webzine! We’ll see you then!
Interview by Dr. Feelgood