Nightfall are officially back with the full length album “Astron Black And The Thirty Tyrants”. The soul of the band, Efthimis Karadimas, reveals all the details about the new album, the cooperation with Metal Blade, talks about them Greek scene and also explains the lyrical concept of the entire album track by track, something that definetely will keen on your interest!
First of all welcome back. It’s been a lot since ”Lyssa” and we really missed you. How does it feel to be active again?
Taking the release of the Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants as an opportunity to discuss various topics with interesting people is the next best thing after recordings. We feel great.
You have a new album out which reminds me of glory days of ”Athenian Echoes” and ”Lesbian Show”. Tell us a few things about the recording process, production etc.
We took our time wisely and paid extra notice to the detail. That is very important when it comes to produce a piece of art; we didn’t rush things at all. Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants started as a recording for “personal” so to speak use and ended up to be the greatest Nightfall release so far. The way the whole concept has been delivered and the wide range of the production overall makes this album a remarkable artistic choice to break listeners’ routine. Each time you take a listen you will find new elements lying here and there; one can also notices the ways songs develop gradually from their intros to their crescendo finales without “copying” their own parts.
The new album is the most ”Greek” album Nightfall have ever done. Also, it sounds to me as the most ”Epic”, regarding to the feeling that comes out of it. Was that a predecised plan, or it just came while the recordings were on?
It came out, yes. We never manipulate or push our music towards one direction or another; neither have we had a specific recipe to use. Inspiration is great thing. It is a divine intervention channeled through the artist whose role is only to deliver. This is what we do exactly and it seems like the “silent” years after Lyssa release accumulated to that pompous, epic blast.
Could we have some details about the lyrics? At first sight, some could say it’s a concept album, regarding to the song titles. Is this true or you just followed a common process to create a special feeling
I have a commentary about the lyrical concept here that I believe you will find interesting. (check out below at the end of the interview)
We can’t help but say congratulations to you, as Metal Blade signed you and it’s a great success, especially for a Greek band. Did you meet Brian Slagel in person?
Thank you very much for your kind words. I only say that it is a real compliment to us all and that we will embrace this contract. About two decades ago we introduced the Greek scene to France, starting a trend that it is still going on with many French labels promoting Greek bands, and we do know very well that hard, committed work always pays back for the entire community of the Greek scene!
Which is the response for the new album so far? I personally have heard mostly positive opinions. How do you receive the gossip about your new child?
Everybody has something to say about it and that means Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants has indeed the weight to generate feedback. Yes, we receive positive respond and that is good because Nightfall lyrical concepts have never been easy to understand at once while at the same time our productions follow an evolutionary way some people expecting to listen to the same things and to the same particular sound each time may need some more time to explore and to understand.
You have also completed an amazing video for ”Ambassador Of Mass”. Special in all ways, which praises our national legacy. How did the idea behind it came true? Give us some more details about the director and how long it took you to finish it.
It took quite a time to materialize it in the form you are seeing it right now. Achilleas Gatsopoulos, the director, spent time to create all those figures and scenery literally from scratch. The result is a small piece of art. Real art never dies and puppet shadows theater is another proof of that. We will soon start working on the follow up video that will be in the same pattern.
Regarding the fact of your long absence, eight albums in 18 years isn’t that bad, right? Which were your dreams when you started the band? Have you completed some of them throughout the years?
I personally started as a fan and I still am a “fan” of this kind of musical expression we call “metal”. The years after Lyssa were silent because I had to reconsider many things about Nightfall existence; the band started as an effort to take the poison reality fed me out of my veins but eventually entered the music business arena in a way that I didn’t like to follow. All those promo tours, promo affairs, and the rock n roll way of living in general are totally out of the picture I sustain for art. Music is the fuel, Nightfall is the vehicle to a highly artistic journey that can lead to good and some times to bad places. This is my dream and that is the reason why we are still around.
All these years, you were never afraid of experimenting in the best possible way. How dangerous can this be for a band and how strong character must someone be in order not to listen to what others say, but only follow his vision?
“Swimming” out of the safety limits has always been dangerous – in any aspect of life and throughout history. Yet, it is a matter of what you want to achieve and how you have armored your self against people that either fear of doing the same with you or are ignorant of your vision and may try to block your ways. We all ought to understand that art is a vast field of expression and certainly cannot meet the needs of the masses at once, unless we are talking of “pop”, which is not the issue in metal I need to believe, though lately I see more and more wanna-be-rock-stars selling their image for quick cash. Art certainly cannot be counted in amounts or in soulless numbers. Being the fastest, or the biggest, or the best seller is not about “art” but about promoting your band. And usually receivers of such promotion are people who are obsessed to taste what others do because they don’t trust their own taste or because they want to be with the “many”, with the trend. However, we prefer to be with the ones that search to find and not wait to be served the next “good” thing. So, it is a matter of life style and philosophy I’d say that marks your everyday rhyme and not only music. Nightfall is not about mainstream. The most important thing in our camp is to sing about the smaller and the bigger tragedies we all experience and see around us and to communicate with people who feel the same way. It is a spiritual thing. The lyrics “I’ve always loved what others hate, but I never give up faith” state it all.
Nightfall are back for good hopefully. Same thing happened with Septic Flesh recently and Rotting Christ are always alive and kicking. Since you all have been great parts of the Greek metal scene’s exposure on the outside, how does that make you feel? What should new Greek bands do to achieve something special through their music?
They have to believe in what they are doing and set their targets. The fact that we all play music doesn’t mean we all have the same things to say or the same goals to achieve, or the same ways to walk. Others set sales as their biggest priority, others wanna play everywhere all the time, or send promos everywhere, or making a buzz about their band to be in the spotlight, while others wanna meet once in a while and put their thoughts into music, or just record an album and then split, and so on. The “triarchy” concept with the three of us setting the basis for the Greek scene to grow is really wonderful but I think new bands shall arise strong and propose new ways of expression. It is hard, I know, but only through experimentation, failure, and additional effort an artist, a band can give form to an interesting idea.
We’d like your opinion about some of your favourite albums of this decade and if you also have listened to some recent ones that caused you positive thoughts.
Oh, that’s hard since I am too much into old school 90’s stuff these days.
So, the album’s out and I guess there’s going to be a tour ahead. Tell us about the band’s plans for the next months.
Currently we only recover from the long labor of Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants. There are some offers to appear on stage and tour mainly Europe but we better off consider such activities as from 2011. There is no rush, nor stress. After all Astron Black & the Thirty Tyrants is not an excuse to hit the road but a work of drama that can easily stand on its own.
We’d like to thank you very much for your time about this interview. Close our conversation adding whatever you want and we might not ask you.
Thank you very much for your time and effort in Nightfall!
*After the interview we present you Efthimis Karadimas’ comments for the new album track by track*
1. INTRO .
The intro starts with the proposal to turn your eyes to stare to the sky, for the journey to begin.
2. ASTRON BLACK .
This song makes a direct reference to Astron Black; An artificial persona representing the human-being parading through the centuries, navigates by the stars, seeding life, and leaving behind marvellous creations in our effort to expand our race and to conquer the unknown. Astron, the spirit: Black, the soul.
3. ASTRONOMICA / SATURNIAN MOON .
Eages as we are to expand and to qonquer the dark and everything in it we sail the space seas to find new lands of promise, giving battles that we win with the aid of Gods and Titans; This song makes a reference to Titan Prometheus who stole the light from Zeus and offered it to humans. Saturn was a Titan himself too and brother of of Iapetus, father of Prometheus, who also gave his name to the first (mother) languange spoken by Indo-Europeans thousands of years ago.
4. ASTRA PLANETA / WE CHOSE THE SUN .
This song derives from the five wandering stars the ancients observed in those times skies; They were the Mercury, Saturn, Venus (Also known as Eopsphoros), Mars and Jupiter. The stars are the absolute point of reference for anything relates to our lives in general and in particular since birth. Even time is created and count based on planets’ motion, including earth’s. And on top of all there is Sun; The ultimate source of power and father of all Gods and Mortals.
5. AMBASSADOR OF MASS .
The Greek-Persian Wars of the 5th Century BC inspired the title of this song. It is an allegory about courage and faith that turns amounts minor in numbers into colossal unities. So small we, humans, are in the endless space but our soul and mind lead our ways beyond..
6. THE CRITERION .
Animals move on instinct. Humans on the opposite set targets that achieve by following specific strategies, and through that process comes creation; Creation of civilization, of knowledge, of experiences. Because you are the one you have to create the conditions for the genesis of an experience. The criterion to create comes as priority. The name also refers to the existence of a committee in the area of “Souli” about two centuries ago, whose role was to take decisions and make judgements for the benefit of the community, the race.
7. ASEBEIA .
Everything comes at a cost and that cost must always be paid. However, there are people who dislike creation and pain such process bears but at the same time they want to taste the pleasure of accomplishment. That profanity is a foe to evolution and to mankind.
8. I-I .
That sign marks the effort to become one with divinity.
9. ARCHON BASILEUS
That song is about the idol of a king many traditions and cultures have promoted, which gloriously leads his people to the places of their will. That idol has been created by humans to play the role of the englightening, unquestionable one that, at the end of the day, it is us, ourselves to play, as the leaders of our destiny.
10. PROXIMA CENTAURI / DEAD BODIES
A song about the magnificent greatness of the vast universe that folds our everything. Proxima Centuari is a “red dwarf” and it is the closest star to the sun.
11. THE THIRTY TYRANTS
Anything in life in amounts exceeding the threshold of the beholder can turn into a “Tyranny”; From pain to pleasure and from tragedy to happiness everything needs a “Metron Ariston”. Equilibrium. Even logic can be proved a tyranny in many cases. Humans suffer from our passions but hopefully the powers of reconsideration redirecting most of us; The thirty tyrants was a body of 30 that ruled Athens after its defeat by Spartans in 404 BC but it is also a parallelism to the 30 pieces of silver Judas Iscariot received to betray his master.
12. EPSILON LYRAE
This is a song about the duality that characterizes human race and life as we know it. From the two parts of the brain to the two sexes and all the way to eternal battle between good and evil, white and black, that correlation seemingly generates dynamism that fuels our engines in the pursuit forward, unite under solar Gods in our salacious effort to keep our race last forever. Epsilon Lyrae is a combination of stars also known as “Double Double”, located in the constellation of “Lyra”, which derives from Orpheus music instrument, the greatest musician of the ancient times who charmed even Hades with music in his effort to lead his dead wife back to the kingdom of life.
Interview by: Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.