Interview with Archon of
"NYKTA" is out there and the silence of the night has covered our minds, our existence. Archon is here with us to explain the holy union between extreme sound and art/prog rock and many secrets during night. Enjoy...
Archon, the distance between thinking and playing progressive is something difficult for a musician? Because the easy way for us, the listeners, is only in theory.
Well I guess that if a musician can think progressively, then his/her practical musical training should enable them to express any progressive notions through music.
How came and you decided to add the element of prog rock in your music which is mainly ‘till now black/thrash and epic?
It came naturally by following the greater concept of NYKTA which is the infinity of space and the unknown. I had to somehow find some more expressive musical elements to represent that. Of course, Space rock would have to be an integral element in the mix.
If you have the chance, will you be back in Greece for the whole recordings of your next step? Was the recording of “Nykta” tired for you as moved from the one country to another?
Definitely! Whatever I do next will be recorded in my own Studio 9 again, but this time in Hellas. Moving from one country to the other and having to relocate my entire studio and start again was the hardest part related to NYKTA. It was hellishly hard, but I was just so happy to be back!
Let’s go now deep to the abyss. The title of the album is “Nykta” (Night). In the lyrics I noticed the human action in night and this is something that I have noticed in real life as well. People “sleep” during the sunny part of the day and during night they “awake”. Actually, what sleeps and awakes is the human spirit. Why do you thing is happening this?
Among the various symbolism that NYKTA makes reference to, there is the reminder that night is in fact the natural condition of this world. What we call daylight, is a passing illusion caused by our nearest star – the Sun. However, if our mighty Sun is surrounded by eternal night. When looking at the Stars, I see the truth in what we truly are and how magical that is. There are always those humanoid creatures which contemplate life through such ways and always those humanoid creatures that consciously turn away from such thoughts. Both humanoid but perhaps not quite the same species. Evolution is already here.
I believe that human has a dark side in the soul, much better a side of vice that keep human “slave”. Yet, human many times denies the existence of the personal vices. In the song “Eclipse” you say “Yet, I am in between – my heart is as black as an eclipse”. So, you think that if we had an eclipse for some days, could we see and recognize the dark side of our soul?
Indeed. Man tends to create illusions to assist him both in surviving and procreating as well as in existing and accepting life as it is. Over the past 3,000 years or so, humans have believed themselves to be on top of the so called ‘food chain’ despite their evident lack of global, not to mention personal, control. Under the illusion of his world under the Sun, man has forgotten his place in the universe and the existence of his gods and proclaimed himself master supreme. Those who have seen or contemplated the vastness of the universe and the history of human presence on this small planet have recoiled from such arrogance. Night and indeed a prolonged eclipse of the solar wall that blankets our Earth might wake man from his self-imposed millennial slumber.
Where is at least the light of Pharos that will lead the slaved soul to the redemption? Do you believe that people with lost dreams have the inner strength to stand and search for the light?
First of all, I do not believe that a soul is in need of redemption and all that such a notion implies. It sounds all too Christian and pre supposes some mighty judge being in control of one’s life and actions. The concept of Pharos could not be farther removed from this. A better way to put this would be to refer to a conscious Being becoming Enlightened. Awakening. Where is that light? Inside. Where it has always been – since the beginning. Hidden under layer upon layer of external influences that prompt us to not dive into the abyss. In those dark places of wisdom (as Kingsley rightly referred to them) is where the light shines to guide those wanting to know to the doors of Night. Anybody can fall and dreams can be shattered. However, one who loves life will always stand back up and keep journeying toward the realization of the Dream until the Dream is never lost again.
Mentioning “Pharos”, your authoritative rendition was something scheduled or it came out? It brings alive an image of an angry and “thirsty” cursed lord for absolute power. Also, to me seems like an image from the ancient Egypt and the action of dark powers behind the domination of Pharaos.
The characters of Pharos were indeed planned, however their precise manifestation was largely left to my reaction to the music. As the vocals were recorded last, they were prompted to reveal themselves as they did, unforeseen by any previous reckoning.
The images that music produces in the listener’s mind is something personal. As I told you above and as I mentioned in my review, Egypt is my main canvas of images. What kind of images did you have before the writing of the material and after you had listened to it?
Pharos features a variety of characters all of which, operate within the Dreamscape. You are not far in connecting the imagery to Egypt. There are in fact characters connected to Sumerian lore. The scenario evolved over an extended period and I was only able to see a fuller picture of the entire dream after having completed the vocals. Prior to that, it was still flowing. The final arrangement however can be interpreted as such: there is the dreamer/experiencer whose perspective the reader is acquainted with all of the time. As the dreamer moves deeper into the Dream, he encounters a variety of entities. Some appear to deceive and disorientate some to assist; some state a harsh truth without regard as to its implications to the dreamer. Some are aloof, some are gentle some are unconcerned as to how they seem. Some appear as lower entities some as mighty Gods. The dream experience moves into various lvels from normal sleep to deep sleep and into lucidity.It is best for your readers to read the lyrics directly and become familiar with the story than reading a useless synopsis here. It is an experiential song. It will speak to you if you listen to it.
Some of us, who have listened and wrote about the material, said that the legendary Camel was the first prog rock band coming in mind from the songs. Well, were Camel, indeed, those who led you to your prog rock elements? And whether they were or not, which prog rock bands have affected you in order to start progressing your sound?
That is an incredible thing really. Indeed, two other reviewers have mentioned Andy Latimer and Camel when referring to NYKTA. On one hand that is an honour because I do in fact, love the music of Camel. On the other hand, not only did I not think of Camel when doing NYKTA, but I also cannot hear in which parts there might be a similarity! Camel have inspired me incredibly, but I just cannot hear how such an influence made its way into NYKTA. I would be curious to know! What bands have inspired me to move to this direction? Hundreds probably! I guess it started quite heavily with Eloy in the early 90’s and I slowly got into the entire prog rock scene and its variants: electronic rock, the Canterbury scene, the Italian and French scenes, the Greece scene, Zehul, Symphonic Rock, Krautrock, Space Rock and the list just goes on. Then, around the end of the past millennium I begun checking more and more jazz and fusion players which inspired me a lot, particularly in terms of drumming. Finally, after years of appreciating classical music as a listener, I took classical music studies and that had a great impact on how I perceived and worked with music. Following that, came some intense encounters with free improvisation which shaped what you hear from my music today.
I know my next question may have not a specified answer as no one can predict the future. By the time you have created a strong material like “Nykta”, will the next be even more progressive? And I don’t mean by using the word progressive the known rock genre. For the only remaining thing that I’m certain is the clue of Bathory.
As I write this, I am at a crossroad. I have been introducing progressive rock elements into Zemial for some time now and they have been widely appreciated. Those elements have come to form what Zemial represents as a musical entity. Nowadays, when I compose new music it tends to lean to experimental or progressive rock with lots of analogue electronics. I am at a appoint where I consider forging a new style for Zemial, involving heavier guitars with lots of spacey synths and broad ambient strokes interchanged with minimalism and experimentation. That is one side. On the other hand I have thought that perhaps I can keep composing such music under another band name and put Zemial to rest. I already have lots of older material for a new album that also combines metal with a more progressive rock side. In the last 2-3 months I have composed 3 new pieces, all of which are quite different to anything Zemial did before, with the exception of a part in which I refer to a typical Zemial passage, serving as a theme to completely deconstruct. Addressing the last part of your question, I can certainly tell you that there is no Bathory ‘clues’ at all. Far from it.
Closing, knowing it’s better talking about music rather than social themes, let me ask you this. We live in a world delivering our lives in the arms of Hades (arms of politics) and yet we keep sleeping while we keep burning. Do you think that some day we will be able to send away this “NYKTA”?
The answer always lies with the individual. If one views life as a dark place or as night and yearn for the light of day, then it is up to that person to find the rays of light that are all around, no matter how small, and follow the path where most light shines. Some may forever feel engulfed in helplessness and victimization, which may be a dark place of the mind and quietly surrender their life to such sensations without ever seeking to change them. Others still, will choose to dwell in the symbolic infinity of darkness and enjoy the everlasting change of life and the bright light of many passing stars. It was, is and always shall be our own choice. I for one, have no such complaints.
Archon, thank you very much for this interview. I wish you write as much music as you can and soon find the right musicians aside you, so that you can bring your music on stage. Keep progressing! Anything you want to say or advise…
Thank you for taking the time to interview me. I hope that people will help to keep music as something that changes us momentarily and eternally. Not as a mere product. How much noise are you listening to and how much music? How much music are you listening to for yourself and how much for your social group?
Interview by Dr. Feelgood