ROTTING CHRIST Interview with Sakis
Recently, the great and wonderful Goddess Death (a.k.a. Jamie, the editor of this fine publication) informed me that Rotting Christ would be available for interviews soon, and gee, since I did such wonderful review work, would I like to do the interview? Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to interview guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Sakis about the bands latest release, Khronos.
Inferal Dominion: First of all, I just really want to say that the new album is awesome. I just got the promotional copy of it last night, and its really good. It has a lot of heaviness, and the same atmospheric, majestic qualities that Rotting Christ has always had. How did the recording go?
Sakis: This time we changed studios from Woodhouse in Germany, to Swedenís Abyss Studio, which, in my opinion, is the best black metal studio nowadays. So the recording was a calm, cool recording, you know. This studio is located in the forest, near cold lakes, so it was a nice experience to work there, and we had a very nice cooperation with the owner, Peter Tagtgren.
ID: Was he good to work with?
Sakis: Yes, it was a really nice experience to work with him. He's really into the music, he knows his studio very well, and besides, we had a nice cooperation with him.
ID: Yeah, he's responsible for a lot of the great albums that are coming out nowadays. Can you tell me a little bit about the history of Rotting Christ? When you formed, the evolution of the lineup...
Sakis: Yeah, we were formed back in the late Ď80s, we released, you know, we had some demo releases in the beginning, then comes the album, then we had our first full length album. It was called Thy Mighty Contract, and we moved. We were with a French label called Osmose Productions. The band by then was a trio--three members--so then comes another one member that is now in Necromundia. We recorded another one album that was called Non Servium. Then it comes that we are with Century Media, and after that it starts, you know, the second generation of the band. The band became a five member band, and it started the new generation, the most professional era of the band.
ID: I saw you guys play a show last year in Detroit, you played with Cradle of Filth.
Sakis: Detroit, yeah.
ID: That was a really cool show.
Sakis: Thanks, man.
ID: Are you planning on touring the US again anytime soon?
Sakis: We hope to cut another one, but its really hard to play there, its not like in Europe. The scene here in Europe is really strong, you know, many tours take part here. But, itís not like you see, but I think your scene is getting better and better, year after year, more people come and get into Black Metal, you know. So, we're going to cut another one here, just hit Europe.
ID: Who does most of the songwriting for Rotting Christ? Is it just you, or do your bandmates help?
Sakis: I do everything, I do everything by myself.
ID: Everything by yourself? That's really impressive.
Sakis: Yeah, its hard. You know, actually, I'm the only one (original) member that still plays in the band. Actually, there's the drummer as well, but he never is involved with composing. So, I'm the only [one]. I know the band very well, I know what the people expect from the band, and as a result I'm doing everything by myself, I'm composing everything. This time I did the production.
ID: I have to say you are doing a really good job.
Sakis: Thank you very much.
ID: Now, do you have any message you are trying to get across, like any religious message or philosophical message, with the lyrics or anything?
Sakis: I can't say anything like that; we've never been a political band or anything like that, but on the other hand the philosophy of the band about concerning religion is just to believe yourself and fuck all Gods even if they are called Christ, even if they are called Muslim, Mohammed, you know, Buddha and everything, just to believe in ourselves. Man is a God himself.
ID: Can you tell me what some of your favorite bands are, or your influences maybe?
Sakis: Influences? I can't say, you know, exactly which bands are my influences because we listen to so many bands, so when you compose a song ideas come from here and there. But I'm into the new Black Metal scene, you know, I like very much what Dimmu Borgir is doing, I like Summon, for example, I like Cradle of Filth, I like heavy metal music in general. This is my favorite music. But on the other hand, I'm listening also to some industrial bands, I listen to some atmospheric, really atmospheric non-metal bands like Dead Can Dance, for example. I listen to music generally, but I go for kind of a dark atmosphere.
ID: Alright, so, what's the scene like over in Greece? Is it strong? I don't really hear about a lot of Greek bands.
Sakis: There are many bands, but not so well known bands. But on the other hand, many people go to the shows, many shows take [place] this year, many people...you can go around downtown in Athens here, you can find many people who are wearing metal shirts, which means that there are a lot of metal kids down here. And there is, as I said before, many cool Greek bands, but you have to pay attention.
ID: Can you tell me the names of some good Greek bands?
Sakis: Yes, Septic Flesh, you know about them, and Necromundia, Varathrone, Nightfall, those bands.
ID: Alright, I'll check some of those bands out. So, at this point, are you living off of what you make in Rotting Christ, or do you have a day job?
Sakis: That's the bad side of the story. Yeah, we are living very hard; don't thing that because we are playing in a band that we are rich and stuff like that, you know? The truth is itís a lot different, we are now living very hard, and because of the fact that we are very often on the road to play as many shows all these years. So its really hard, you know, to have a day job. Sometimes we have a part-time job just to pay our bills easier. But we are now living generally very hard, you know?
ID: I noticed that a lot of the titles on the Khronos album have to do with time. I was wondering if there was maybe a theme or a concept that tied the whole album together.
Sakis: No, itís not a concept. No, itís because of the fact that, you know, actually Khronos means time, and on the other hand, if you look carefully at the cover there are three ancient Greek letters which mean "hexa sigma," which means 666, the Beast. So letís say this album is hidden, called Time 666, thus we would want to let you know the dark period of time we are passing as humans.
ID: Well, is there anything else you wanted to say?
Sakis: Yes, we would like to end the interview by writing "Keep the Dark Cult Alive."