Crystal Tears; The very promising band from Thessaloniki Greece looks more active than ever. The founder of the band Chrisafis, talks about the new album and other interesting things around the band and Greek scene in general.
First of all, we would like you to give a presentation of the band from the beginning until now for the ones not knowing the group.
Hello Angel and thanks for hosting Crystal Tears in Metalpaths online pages! Oh… ok, Crystal Tears current line-up includes Ian Parry on vocals, Dimitris Goutziamanis and Kostas Sotos on the guitars, Alex Chamalidis on the bass and Chrisafis Tantanozis on drums. We were formed back in late 90s and after a few cd demos, an official album release (“Choirs Of Immortal”) and numerous activities, here we are, June 2010, celebrating the release of our new album, “Generation X” through 7Hard records. Some of our highlights are our appearances with WASP, Jag Panzer and Riot and our co-operations with illustrators Joe Petagno (MOTORHEAD etc.), Meran “Darkmouth” Karanitant (Six Feet Under, Hatebreed etc.), producer R. D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy etc.) and mega producer Chris Tsangarides (Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Depeche Mode, Brude Dickinson, Helloween etc.). Hmm… I hope I covered all 13 years?
We’d like some words for the first album of the band, ”Choirs Of Immortal”. It’s been 4 years since its release. Are you satisfied from the album in overall?
Of course! It was the toughest effort I had to deal with to that date. The band decided to call it a day and I had to carry a whole album totally on my own, be it compositions and song-arrangements, production, recordings, mix and mastering. In the meantime and while the album was on the procedure, the vocalist was found, Dimitris re-joined and recorded the solo parts and finally, R. D. Liapakis with Christian Schmid did a huge mastering! Let us not forget Joe Petagno, who handled over the cover artwork of the album. Pure Steel records, which was the label behind the album, is a small indie label based in Germany that did its best to support and promote the album! “Choirs Of Immortal” was a bet I fortunately won and I feel ecstatic only by the fact that I can hold it in my hands! It is already sold-out by the way…
Let’s go to the new album. It’s entitled ”Generation X” and has a great cover! Give us a little details about the recording process, the production and everything you’d like to add.
Ha, ha thanks a lot! The cover artwork is mastermind’s Meran “Darkmouth” Karanitant. Extra credits go to R. D. Liapakis, who set the guidelines for its materialization. Ok, last year we packaged our luggage and traveled with our instruments and dreams at the Prophecy & Music Factory studios in Germany, where two people were waiting to torture us, R. D. Liapakis on the production duties and Christian Schmid behind the console. But the torture proved constructive… hmm… maybe we should start worrying about this… What makes me truly happy is the fact that we managed to have our own sound, no fake audio at all. For instance, on the drums it’s just me, the drum-kit, the click and my mistakes… ha, ha! And I’m happy about that, because it’s not a matter of having the best sound, for a music production is always subjective at the end of the day, the foremost is to have your own sound! This is inspiration and also, the correct balance between quality recording and quality performing. “Generation X” consists of 10 metal tracks and musically talking there are heavy detuned guitars, fast double-bass drums and Ian’s flexible british voice, so, I could call it a kind of hybrid of a melodic heavy/power metal I guess… ha, ha! Generally talking, we worked our asses off to the latest detail for this album, from the recording procedures to the band’s performance, from the cover artwork & booklet design to the band’s logo itself, from the photography and video-clip (directed by Jim Evgenidis, www.iconfilmworx.com) to the band’s presentation on the Internet. Fortunately enough, we were surrounded by very caring people that helped us cross paths we never knew that existed! And there’s a long way to go…
The band has the big luck to have Ian Parry as a singer. Tell us a few things about your cooperation with him. How did you get in touch, how this whole thing happened.
Do you like souvlaki? I guess you do! Me too! Ok, when I was serving my obligatory time in the army and we were taking a few hours off, well… while others were heading for souvlaki, gyros and ice-cold greek frappe coffee, I was searching for Internet access to find the next Crystal Tears singer… Fortunately, all that diet period paid off with… Ian Parry… hurray… ha, ha! I remember seeing him back in late 90s, when he was supporting Stratovarius with his main band Elegy, well… at the end of the night everyone was left speechless with his vocal and stage abilities… Actually, there were other singers that surprisingly enough gave a positive feedback to our call, all well-known for their services in the metal scene, but it seemed we would work with Ian from the very start… Practically talking, apart from his wonderfully flexible voice and his amazing stage performance of course, he lives in Europe and apart from his personal project that is under no deadlines, he’s not fully occupied by a main band… There’s a mutual understanding and it seems to work really great together! At least this is how it seems these three years we are together. Musically talking… we’re not a couple of course, ha, ha!
Tell us a little about the lyrics of the album. Finally, what could be the Generation X of our times?
You and me! Actually it’s about all the worried people regardless age, sex and social position that feel restrained in this world, unsafe. The ones that want to shout, but they can’t. The ones that feel they have so much to offer, but situations won’t let ‘em… The ones that look for a shoulder to cry on, for someone to rely on, ‘cause we all need someone… Life is tough out there and sometimes we’re our victims of our own selves, we must not forget how to have fun too… We have to put a smile on our face and say that nothing else matters, if you know what I mean…
You have been around the Greek scene for many years. What differences do you see now compared to the past? Do Greek bands have better potential to achieve something nowadays?
Although you’re kindly suggesting that I’m old, I’m never tired of answering this one… ha, ha! Ok, lots of things have changed the last decade, from the way people communicate with each other to the way music is treated. When I was 17… but wait a minute, that was only a few years ago, hmm… let’s say 15 so as not to sound exaggerating, I could never imagine that I would exchange ideas digitally via the Net or straightly talk to my favourite musicians or producers and easily book a deal… ha, ha! Actually it’s a tricky situation, technology helps musicians a lot, that’s why we all embrace it one way or another, however, we always have to bear in mind quality performance and sound. Ok, if we wanna talk about the Greek metal scene nowadays, well, in my opinion, it’s gone from bad to worse… There’s no music industry here, be it labels, production studios, illustrators etc., with some very few exceptions, of course, that can’t be called solution… Ok, being a follower of our scene for lots of years now I can honestly say I am proud of our bands in the extreme sound mainly. But what amazes me most is the boost of younger dudes that know how to play surprisingly well! Guys that are not even adults yet, but have attitude and are opinionated in music. I wish I was like this, when I was 16… which was only a few years ago, ok… ha, ha? But more solidely, I think we are far back to what we could call “a scene”. There is no quality, there is bad business and we stubbornly deny the truth. Greeks are rebels, we do not like to bow are heads and face reality. We have always liked the ones, who have talked nice about ourselves. This is not irrational or unfair, however, it prevents us from moving forward. That is why there are bands that call it a day with the first slaps on the face and do not give their heart and soul to get real better each time. What we mostly care is a free pass in a club for a show or our drinks, because we play in the x band and write to the x webzine and we overlook the essence, which is see how we can become better musicians and persons. And what is more, we wonder why labels abroad do not easily accept Greek bands. The same goes with Greek record companies… too much of improvised moves. Studios? Everything depends on the band. Musicians should know how to build their sound from one point, a studio is just a room with mediocre equipment, if you can find your sound with mediocre technology, then you are the dude. As for sound engineers and producers, there are a few bright examples in rock/metal, who usually lose their interest due to lack of responsibility from bands, it has always been a chain reaction. Arghh… I don’t know, I am quite disappointed from our country and frustrated. We are obsessed to do things the easiest way with the biggest profit. I have traveled abroad, I’ve been to Germany and I have lived in the UK… live venues, gig promoters and organisers, fans… man, there is a different mentality out there. Greek families wish to raise their kids as doctors and lawyers, while young men seek for safety in a public sector dayjob! This is what they have been feeding us, but what happened to dreams? Nothing is impossible, do you have the balls? Just act! The question is are you dedicated enough? You have to run for your music, for no one is waiting for you!
On the one hand, the band exists for very long and didn’t get the recognition it deserved. On the other hand, you now have your opportunity to prove your worth. Which are your feelings about this? Do you feel some things were left behind or you’d just take the chance and go until the end of the road?
I think there’s a reason for everything. Yes, there might be times I feel that if we were out 10 years ago, we might have been living from music now, but again maybe not. Everything happens for a reason. I always give my best shot and whatever comes it is always welcome, good or bad. Yes, true indeed, things are getting much better, but I’ve always believed in a step each time. This makes our band and our music more solid and unbreakable. Of course and I’ll go until the end of the road and believe me, there is a looong way to go. There are so many things going on my mind, creative things.
We’d like some words about the METALLY INSANE project you did some years ago. Many co-operators in something unique in the Greek scene. Did it have the response you were looking for?
Of course! It was released back in 2003 and now you’re asking me about this… Do you see what I mean… ha, ha? Anyway, for me it’s just enough I had the chance to co-operate with all those wonderful people from the participants, of course, to mega Chris Tsangarides! I didn’t have any kind of expectations back then and now it is released in a special deluxe limited edition through Pure Steel and Steel Gallery records! This is so great!
What advice would you give to new bands that start their musical vision and if you have any new good bands to propose to listeners.
My advice? Hmm… you still insist in a gentle way that I’m old I think? Hmm… ha, ha! Ok man, what I’d like to say is never give up. The ones that don’t make it, are the ones that quit, think about it… This metal path we ‘ve chosen is not paved with gold and there are no bed of roses. It takes tons of patience and slaps in the face. We all need to be new age Phoenixes… Sometimes you have to lose to know how to win. If you wanna make the difference, do not choose the easy way and do not take things for granted, for there is ton of good musicianship out there. No pain, no gain. We should keep our heads low and concentrate on our music, action speaks louder than words. Hmm… yes, there are quite a few new good bands out there and although I feel like spitting out names that are hanging from the edge of my tongue right now… ha, ha, well, I’m not to, you’re gonna see and hear ‘em anyway, you’ll see what I mean soon enough…
The last words are yours. You can send a message or add anything you’d like to or we didn’t ask you. Thank you very much for the interview!
Guys, support the music you have grown up and like! Support new efforts, our music needs it! Rock until we fall!
Interview by: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.