Hanna Tsepesh: Hello Christianna and Johnny Zero! Thanks so much for accepting this interview and Welcome to THE GATES OF METAL! First of all: how are you and how are the things doing with your concerts?
Christianna: On behalf of all Elysion, hi to everyone and a huge thanks for having us! At the moment we are all very excited about our forthcoming tour, which is bound to begin after the summer of 2010, so we simply cannot wait to make a live date with you all!
Johnny Zero: Hello from me too, it’s great to be given the opportunity to talk to you and discuss a bit about Elysion. Like Christianna said, our concerts all over Europe will start in the second half of the year, so until then we will take the time to tour our homeland to honor as many cities as we can for all the great support we have been enjoying in these very first steps of ours!
Hanna Tsepesh: for those who do not know the band, could tell us a little how it all started?
Johnny Zero: It started by me and Maxi, Elysion’s former singer in 2006.We invited Petros Fatis ,our drummer,and FxF ,our bass player on board and began composing and rehearsing right away. We very soon had the chance to throw a number of gigs with an awesome feedback, and as soon as our demo was recorded we managed to sign a record deal with Massacre Records. Christianna joined the band in 2008 ,when we were recording our debut album,Silent Scr3eam,which was released a couple of months ago.T hat pretty much sums it all up…
Hanna Tsepesh: Christianna, It was easy your Integration in the band and what is the feeling and all the experience for you in the band so far?
Christianna: Actually, it was quite easy because I was no stranger with Elysion, as in past we had shared the same stage a number of times, not belonging in the same band of course, so I was very much familiar with their sound and they were familiar with what to expect from my voice. I certainly had some anxiety to make sure I respect the original atmosphere of the songs but to also blend my personality as a singer to the outcome, but the process was more of a thrill. So far I can only say I feel 100% blessed for all that I am experiencing ,I get to do all I ever dreamt of and I’ll be forever grateful to the rest of the guys for trusting me.
Hanna Tsepesh: What inspired you the most to create the lyrics and what process the band use to create the riffs, melody to comply with the lyrics?
Johnny Zero: Well, the main inspiration for both the music and lyrics of Elysion is a strongly emotional platform, a celebration of the human soul as we call it, in all its times of weakness or grace. In Silent Scr3am,I was the main composer but I always like to leave enough space for everyone else to express their musical identities, I have great faith in us all! The most common process for me is to get up in the middle of the night with a riff pounding in my head, and while I sit down to record it things slowly develop and I pretty quickly have the whole structure of the song before me. Right after that I invite everyone to take a listen and share their thoughts, while I usually leave the vocal melodies for the singer…
Christianna: …that would be me J! Johnny provides me with the perfect platform to best be able to express my approach of singing, I can say that his composing is so atmospheric that it gets me in the mood right away and I instantly know what I want to do with my voice. Lyrics are usually written after we have an overall idea of the song’s character, we want the music and lyrics to be a perfect match for one another, but also be as simple and straightforward as possible. After all, the most beautiful things are always spoken with the simplest of words.
Hanna Tsepesh: What are your favorite bands? You have any musician that you admire the most?
Christianna: We are all very openminded about our musical influences, so the list of artists we admire could go on forever!I always find myself admiring artists from totally different backrounds, especially when it comes to singers I am always ‘’jealous’’ of opposing vocal techniques coming from all genres of music. Since when I was growing up this all ‘’female fronted’’ outburst in the scene had not yet occurred, my influences mostly came from male singers, so some of my all time favorites are Bruce Dickinson, Eric Adams, Freddie Mercury, Eric Clayton of Saviour Machine and Messiah Marcolin.
Johnny Zero: Same here, I listen to all sorts of different things because I think it is very important for someone to have an overall understanding of music, after all nowadays most boundaries and limitations in any kind of music have collapsed. My most treasured legend band will always be Iron Maiden, I cannot believe that after so many years I still find new things to amaze me in their music, even after having listened to the songs for a billion times..Christianna here makes fun of me by saying that if someone asked me to choose my way to die I would most certainly choose to be eaten by Eddie…J
Hanna Tsepesh: You have another band or some future project at the moment?
Johnny Zero: Well I always find myself involved in all sorts of music projects, actually I’ve somewhat lost the count! However, at the time we are all cutting down all our extra activities to a minimum, due to Elysion’s increasing demands, because we want to be 100% devoted to what we do and give the band all our energy. Side projects work mostly as a way of relaxing my brain, one of them for me is N.I.M.A, a very active Greek rock band fronted by Nikos Mixas.
Christianna: Like Johnny said, we are all involved in side projects but all this works in a completely mind relaxing level, as Elysion is absolutely top priority in our lives! For me, I feel very lucky to be able to express my different approaches of singing in Elysion, so my need to try a variety of things is fulfilled and that is one of the things I have always looked for in a band.
Hanna Tsepesh: I would like to know if you had or have any singing lessons or any other preparation? I take this opportunity to send you my congratulations for your amazing work on this album and I really liked a lot your voice, you have a lot of talent!
Christianna: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kind words, they honestly mean a lot to me…I actually have been singing ever since I can remember myself, my dad was an opera singer so my childhood memories are full of notes and melodies..i took piano lessons and studied music for some years, never took any singing lessons, but I did try to give myself some! Once I found out that this is what I want to do with my life, which was when I was 15 or something, I began to study like crazy, all sorts of different vocal techniques, anything which sounded good to my ears. Like I mentioned above, at that time women in the metal scene were very few, if any, and that was partly good because I had to struggle to find my own voice and not have anyone to imitate, even unconsciously, or copy from. That lack of a female metal figure as an influence helped me a lot to develop my very own approach, of course I admire many female singers now and always find myself learning new things…
Hanna Tsepesh: When you start to play guitar? It was difficult to learn? What brand guitar you prefer? Also, congratulations for your work on this album, I really liked a lot!
Johnny Zero: Thanks for all your observations! i began to play guitar when I was 15,it all started when my parents gave me one as a present for finishing junior high. I very soon fell in love with it and started playing for endless hours, I cannot even remember if it was any difficult for me at the beginning because my lust to play was so great that it this all I can recall…I have tried playing with almost all different brands and find different things that appeal to me in each one of them, still my most favorite ones are: Gibson standard, Fender Stratocaster, and Ibanez Universe .However, I believe that any guitar sounds differently when touched by different fingers so it is the player that makes the guitar and not the other way around…
Hanna Tsepesh: What was the highest and lowest point of your career as a musician?
Christianna: I guess my lowest point has to do with my psychological condition and mood, there were times in the past when I had to struggle with so much to keep on following my dream that I felt disappointed or frustrated but luckily, I never gave up. Things were not always easy…but in music, they never are. It is a constant battle to not let go of your dreams, but today I feel a lot more strong and confident. Definitely, my highest points so far have been all the times that I have performed live with Elysion, regardless of what the event was or whether we headlined or not. Playing live is my greatest reward ,I treasure each minute on stage because I get to look in people’s eyes and know we are connecting,it is the time when music makes sense.
Johnny Zero: I don’t think I had much of a low point ,things have constantly been difficult but stable for me, without any serious surprises. Of course, there are always times when things are harder and problems come up, but I wouldn’t characterize them as low points because this all is what a musician’s job has to deal with. As for my highest points, as the ‘’father’’ of Elysion one of my happiest moments was to see the band sign up with Massacre, because I knew that we would finally have the chance to work hard and see our music reach out to people.
Hanna Tsepesh: Let’s talk about the “Silent Scream” album. Can you tell to our readers what they can expect from this album?
Christianna: They can expect simple but powerful music ,a mixture of atmospheric metal with rock, gothic and electro elements. Basically, we never labeled what we play so we wish that they will just listen to something beautiful. We did our very best in the album, we gladly had a lot of material to work with but we think we have chosen the very best for Silent Scr3am.To us, the concept behind it is what each of us would like to whisper or cry out to life itself, hoping to be heard. We didn’t follow any recipes, nor tried to sound over technical, we just put our feelings down to melodies and celebrated beauty throughout simplicity.
Johnny Zero: Listeners can expect 11 varying musical suggestions, all different in music influences but same in the dark atmospheric platform behind them. We expect everyone to find a little piece of himself in the songs, relate to what he hears and simply sink into the music. Silent Scr3am to me is a ray of light sneaking into a dark room…
Hanna Tsepesh: at recording studio, you guys faced with difficulties? If yes, tell which was and how as the whole process?
Johnny Zero: Well, we all feel totally grateful in all aspects concerning Silent Scr3am,not only did we not come across any difficulties but on the contrary, we got to experience one of the most creative and exciting times ever! We owe a great deal of this to our producer, Mark Adrian, who besides being amazingly talented on what he does he is also a great psychologist, knowing exactly how to handle musicians to bring the best out of them. The whole recording process was very emotional to us because every day we got to see our feelings and ideas shaping up their final form ,which was totally thrilling.
Christianna: We still cannot believe how lucky we were! our collaboration with Mark Adrian, like Johnny said, eased all our fears and worries of what the outcome of the album would be, as we were very self conscious about wanting our debut album to sound as strong as possible. Many dreams came true for us during that time, one of them being to collaborate with Ted Jensen for the mastering of Silent Scr3am.Having the musical genius who mastered Iron Maiden, Slipknot ,Madonna and so many other huge names of the global scene work on our debut album was more than we could ever pray for, and the outcome was exactly what we had wished it to be: a totally balanced production, emphasizing not on any instrument but on the beauty of the songs itself. As for me as a singer, the entire recording process was a liberating time , a true moment of genesis.
Hanna Tsepesh: How has the response been to the album by the fans and media?
Christianna: Although the release of Silent Scream is quite recent, we have received an amazing feedback both from local but also international sources ,and I cannot describe what great strength this all has given us! We cannot thank everyone enough for embracing us and giving us a chance to reach their hearts, especially in times when the competition is tremendous! We are very down to earth about all positive feedback and know that we are ready to work even harder to present something beautiful to all those who have trust in us. Silent Scr3am was a step towards the right direction for us, but it was just the beginning of a long , difficult way before us. All we know is we will serve our dreams to the end!
Johnny Zero: Everything has been amazing so far! It has overcome our expectations, to now arrange a European and American tour so quickly after our first release and we owe this all to everyone who supports us. It is difficult not to sound corny but Elysion honor each one, individually, who comes in a show to see us, because it is each person independently that makes what we do meaningful. We can only promise that we are truly hardworking in what we do and try to become better everyday. I hope we will get to do all we have in mind for the future of Elysion, and thereby give something back to all who took the time to ever get interested in us.
Hanna Tsepesh: If one of our readers wants to buy your album, what they can do?
Christianna: Well, apart from paying a visit to the nearest music store, anyone can also buy Silent Scr3am online, for instance by visiting Massacre website’s online store ,or www.amazon.com, or even itunes. We have Massacre to thank for our worldwide distribution, so I think by the time this interview is uploaded Silent Scream will have been released almost everywhere, with an exception of Japan, where our release date is the 7 nth of April.
Hanna Tsepesh: what is your favorite music in this album and why?
Johnny Zero: This is very difficult to answer since I am emotionally attached to all of the songs for different reasons…I have a deep connection to all tracks, they all strike a different chord in me so iam not the most objective person to answer this…
Christianna: I tend to listen to a specific song more according to my mood. When I am rather energetic I tend to get even higher with ‘’killing my dreams’’, when I am rather melancholic ‘’erase me’’ makes me cry…there are all sorts of different shades of feelings in the album and that is one of my favorite things about it.
Hanna Tsepesh: Do you want to send any message for the people who going to read this interview?
Christianna: …Instead of a message, I will quote something from Dreamer, our opening track and address it to everyone as a reminder of the fact that we should never let go of what we believe in:’’…always a dreamer.., always fighting for more than I can have…’’
Johnny Zero: Once again, an honest thanks on behalf of all of us for all your kind support…We invite you to take a listen to Silent Scr3am and maybe find something beautiful in it. We keep our fingers crossed that we will very soon be able to make a live date with you in Portugal and get to share all this magic live energy with all of you!
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks o much for your answers and time. THE GATES OF METAL wishes the entire band a big success and a fantastic 2010! Hope to see you guys very soon in here…
Christianna: It was our pleasure to get in touch with you, we promise to soon see you from stage and get to realize once more that no matter what the hard times the world is going through,music will always unite us all !
Johnny Zero: see you in a live show the soonest possible! up the horns!
Hanna Tsepesh: Thanks so much and you are very welcome! All the best...
By: Hanna Tsepesh
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Publicada por THE GATES OF METAL Webzine