Few times we have the opportunity to have such releases in metal music generally. Need from Athens managed to release their second album ”Siamese God”, and Metalpaths tries to understand how such a masterpiece was created.
At first tell us a few things about the band for the people that maybe haven’t heard about you yet.
Hi there! First of all thank you for the interview. Need exist since 2003 and the core line-up (Jon V.-vocals, Ravaya – guitars, Pete – drums, K.K. – bass) is together since the beginning of 2006. Last winter we became a quintet with the addition of our keyboard player, Anthony Hadjikonstantis. We have released 2 albums so far, “The Wisdom Machine” which was released in 2006 and “Siamese God” that was released last Christmas. We’ve played lots of gigs those last few years and now that the new album is out we’re ready to kick your ass for good!
We would like some details about the album’s creation: Duration of recordings, production issues and if you are satisfied from the final result.
Well, recording “Siamese God” wasn’t easy, that’s for sure! The recording procedure lasted more or less a year, with quite a few breaks in between. We re-worked a lot of the stuff in the studio, tried a bunch of different things and sounds, wrote and erased tons of stuff and the final result of all this is what you hear in the album. We recorded this one in Soundflakes studios in Athens (www.soundflakes.gr) and the production and mixing duties were held by the band and Callmelazy mainly, with the help of Nick Papadopoulos who also did a great job. After that we sent out the album to New York City and Alan Douches who handled the mastering and that’s pretty much it. It was really fun and we learned a lot during this whole period. We are satisfied with the final result but as usual there are a lot of things that we would change if we could. That’s a rather standard cliche though, and we always know it will happen so overall, yeah, we like the album!
Which are your expectations from this release? How far are you willing to go to promote the band?
We want more people to hear about Need and listen to our music which is already happening to some extent. We hope that we’re gonna be given the opportunity to play as many gigs as possible which is something we really enjoy to do. Now about how far we’re willing to go…well as far as we can I guess…It all comes down to making things work out together with our day jobs and stuff but all in all we’re willing to make a lot of sacrifices to push this band forward.
Name some of your main influences of each member and some you all find in common, fans would be interested to know as the album’s identity varies a lot.
We all like different stuff and we all have common tastes as well…I guess you can hear some of our most common influences in our music. Let’s see… Metallica, Dream Theater, Tool, Fates Warning, Nevermore, Pantera, Savatage, Meshuggah to name a few. Now for things that some members like a bit more than the others do, I guess you could say that Ravaya is a bit more into soundtrack music Pete is really into stuff like Ulver and also he’s really into black metal, K.K. is the heavy/epic warrior in the band, Anthony likes the sound of keyboards in general (his own keyboards for the most parts) and I’m a bit more into hard rock, be it 80’s or 90’s.
Having seen you live 3 times, I must say that you rule on stage. Is it easier for you up on the stage? Is it a challenge? How much does it vary compared to the studio?
Thanks a lot! We really appreciate it! You can’t really say that it’s easier on stage but it definately needs a lot more energy to go up there and tear the stage apart. As I told you earlier on, we really enjoy being on stage and giving 110% of ourselves every time. Every single gig is a challenge cause you have to give everything you’ve got, that’s what it’s all about. The main difference between playing live and recording the songs in the studio is that when you’re recording, everything has to go down perfect so you might have to play something again and again till you get it completely right. This might get really frustrating at times. In a gig however, it’s all about the moment, about the energy that you give to the people and they give back to you.
I still remember the godly cover on ”Jesus Saves” by Savatage. Why don’t you do the whole ”Master Of Puppets” on one gig? It would sound perfect by you.
He he! Thanks about that! We really enjoyed playing this cover cause we’ve changed it so much that it feels like it’s our own song. Well at the moment we don’t really think about any cover songs cause the thing now that we have 2 albums out, is that we have to fit our own songs in a typical 40-45 minute setlist, and that’s already a tough task to do. But we never say never, we might try “Master…” sometime in the future!
Tell us some things about the lyrics of this album and where do you gain inspiration from in order to write them.
The lyrics for “Siamese God” were written by Ravaya, K.K. and myself while for our debut album Ravaya had done all the work himself. Now for the most part the lyrics are sociopolitical in general. We give our own point of view to stuff like religion, war, environmental disasters or even human relationships. Inspiration can come from anything really. Something you read, hear on the news, see on TV, discuss with a friend or some strong experience.
Which are your plans in the time being? Gigs? Rest? Some festivals maybe outside Greece?
Right now we don’t think about rest, only about hard work. Of course we want to play as much as possible, and that’s the main plan for now. We have booked a few gigs so far (29/3 Athens, 31/3 Agrinio, 9/4 Thessaloniki) and we’re waiting for a few more to be confirmed. We won’t be able to try any festivals outside of Greece for this year but we’re hoping we can play to some inside Greece. For abroad at the time being we are planning a small european tour for the fall, which I hope we’ll be able to confirm and announce within the next couple of months. In addittion to that, we are already working hard on new material and this keeps us really busy for the time being.
We’d like your opinion for the Greek scene in general. Do you think that things roll better than in the past? Which bands have the potential to do something special?
For sure things are way better than in the past in many aspects. Most bands play better, sound better and are a lot more professional-oriented. This doesn’t mean however that we still don’t need tons of work before we’ll be able to consider ourselves an equal part of the central European and Scandinavian metal community. But we’re getting there I think and there are quite a few bands that are trying really hard and I believe they’ll see their hard work bring results.
What’s your opinion about the ’00s decade musically in metal? Could you tell us some albums you liked a lot?
There’s a lot of them! I think ’00s did a lot of good to the evolution of metal sound and there are many bands that put out amazing albums in the last decade. I don’t know if it’s gonna be as influential as the ‘80s were on a long term but still I’m glad I heard so much good music these last 10 years. I think we could talk for hours if we were to start on specific albums but some bands that made an impact in general are definitely Tool, System Of A Down, Deftones, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Slipknot, Mastodon, Nevermore, Meshuggah and some from the really old school that continue to amaze me like Rush or King Crimson.
Last but no least, we’d like to tell you congratulations about the new album. We hope you go on like this. The last words are yours. Add whatever you find necessary or we didn’t ask you.
Thanks a lot for the interview and your kind words. We really appreciate all kinds of support. Check out more about the band in our page at www.myspace.com/needband where you can find info on how to get our album (it is distributed all over Greece through Rock Hard’s distibution network), see our new video @ www.youtube.com/needband and of course you can listen to the entire “Siamese God” album @ www.myspace.com/siamesegod. I guess that’s all! Rock on!
Interview by: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.