Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Marios iliopoulos, thanks a lot for accepting this interview to us. First of all tell us about Nightrage history for the people who don’t know the band, and tell to us about the members and what they do in the band, and who is the person that write the lyrics and make the riffs?
Marios:Hey there and thanks for the interest in the band.We formed Nightrage with Gus in Greece in the summer of 2000, it was after my previous band Exhumation split up, and I just felt really disappointed by that, so I needed to move on and create something new and original, so the idea it was to form a new band outside Greece, because it’s limited to play metal in my country. I just wanted to go in Sweden and start something new there I already had recorded 3 albums with my previous Exhumation in Sweden, and I had contact with Fredrik Nordström from studio Fredman, and we did 2 albums with him and the new one with Jacob Hansen in Denmark.
Hanna Tsepesh: Can you tell to us your major influences in music ?
Marios: We have a lot of influences from a lot of styles of metal music, I’m a big fan of the 80’s heavy metal sound, I really dig Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, I also like a lot of bay area thrash metal bands like Testament and Metallica, and also I like acoustic guitar themes and rock music, so I’m trying to combine all these influences together and create something original and heavy, I don’t want to say that we are the most original band in the world, something that it’s not true, it’s just that I play the guitar a lot of years so my influences are coming from another era of metal music, of course I like some Swedish bands as well, but I really believe that I’m more influenced from the Greek metal scene than the Swedish, I think we have a certain style of metal in my country, if you listen to bands like Rotting Christ, Septic Flesh, and Horrified you will see what I mean, maybe our sound is more Swedish with a Greek attitude, and emotions.
Hanna Tsepesh: I know those bands and i understand perfectly what you mean with that! Where do you find inspiration to create riffs for NR?
Marios:I try to get inspiration from the life itself and the up and downs that we face every day. Anything that can happen to your life can be a reason to write something about, or create some cool music. I believe that music is the mirror of the human soul, it can make you cry and feel sad, and also make you feel happy and its incredible the rainbow of feelings that life can inspire you to write good songs. I started to listen metal music in 1982 I think, and one of the first bands that grab me from the balls it was definitely the mighty Iron maiden, the feelings and the passion I felt when I first listen to them, it was something that you can’t really describe. I knew from that moment that I have to learn guitar and try to play like them, there were so many bands that followed them like Metallica, Judas priest, Testament, Mercyful fate, Ozzy osbourne, Def lepard, Jimmie Hendrix, Venom, Thin lizzy, Megadeth, Wasp, Manowar Motorhead, and the catalog is endless, metal is something that you can really feel , if you really love it and those bands change my life forever. I wanted to be a good musician and give my best both as songwriter and musician. Mainly, I’m influenced from old metal bands and I have the most respect for them because they are the godfathers of what we have today, what I’m trying as a musician is to have the same sort of feelings and power in our music like those bands had.
Hanna Tsepesh: Great answer, i agree with you! I have one question from a big fan of your work. What brand is your guitar? And why that Choice?
Marios: I'm endorsed by ESP guitars and Jim nunis had made also a killer Marios signature guitar for me. Soon an amazing new guitar endorsement coming for me, a dream come true. We are also endorsed by Elixir strings, Randall amps the V2 is a fucking killer amp, Caparison guitars, Providence cables, BBE stomp boxes the green screamer is the best overdrive that i ever played in my life it adds so much for my leads, and also EMG pickups the best active pickups and when you want to play metal just put EMG and you will have the best metal tone possible. Also we are endorsed by Dunlop.
Hanna Tsepesh: You guys come to Portugal in 2005 on Mercado da Ribeira in Outubro Negro Fest, i know that was a long time a go, but we like to ask you what you think about the Portuguese crowd and tell us about the concert ( if you and NR like it, or not and if everything goes well ), for the people who miss it, can feel now a little bit what they miss in there, and the other can remember it.
Marios:It was an amazing concert and we had the best of time playing there, the Portuguese fans were awesome and they really make us feel great. We are looking forward to play again soon in Portugal.
Marios: We don't have any shows right now confirmed, we want to start write new songs for the next album, and we want to use all our energy to make the best album we can.
Hanna Tsepesh: Talking now about your last album “A New Disease is Born”. I love the album , the sound is more strong and mature . The sound of guitar solos is great, i have to congratulate you and Olof Morck for the great Job, Jo Nunez for the drums sound is great too and of course Antony Hämäläinen for the Great and power voice, you guys do a fantastic album is really a great work! Can you talk about this album, and also about the lyrics?
Marios: Yes I’m really pleased with the new album I really like the new songs and also the overall sound of the album. I did some compromise and let some of the other guys put their own ideas as well in the music lyrics and that’s because I wanted us to be a real band that everybody contributed in the song-writing. That made some of the songs sound a bit modern but always in the format of the NR sound. I really like Death like Silence, Encircle, Surge of Pity, and Scathing, also the Instrumental track “A new disease is born” is a really cool song that I played with my 12 string acoustic guitar. I wanted to have a really clear and heavy sound that you could listen all the instruments with clarity, and also I wanted to have really melodic hooks combined with aggressive riffing. I think that we achieved that on the album and we gave all our energy to have the best possible performances. My lyrics on the new album our influenced from the darker side of the human soul and I get influenced of how I see the world and sometimes I get inspired to write from my personal experiences in life. I always try to write in this honest way and I don’t want to preach about anything just to be able to say things that otherwise I could not. I write in a poetic way heavily influenced from the master of Macabre Edgar Allan Poe he was so great and only by reading his tales and poems I got so inspired to write. He made me to be a writer because before the Sweet Vengeance album never attempted to write, so it was a first time for me.
Hanna Tsepesh: One little curiosity, why this title in this album? The band want to say anything special to the listeners?
Marios: This disease is us that we are coming back again with a new album and new music to give it to all our beloved fans. We want to show that the band after all is alive and well and we are moving forward to give our best to the metal world.
Hanna Tsepesh: When you enter on studio to make this album, you have already the lyrics and riffs, or you have all in mind? Can you explain to us the studio process?
Marios: Therese no magic formula how to write a song, sometimes you begin with a cool melody or riff or some lyrics. Usually with Nightrage we are starting with writing riffs that later can transform in a song and later we add the lyrics, its all about being inspired, a good idea is always a good idea, who whenever something good is coming on the way it doesn't really matter what it is as long its damn good.
Marios: Keep on metal bros and NR is coming for you, we want to play there again and give the best possible show for out Portuguese fans.