English version of Dephosphorus interview with Intervalo Banger zine (BR)
English version of the original article in portuguese.
I can’t start this interview without you explaining what exactly is AstroGrind.
Panos: Our music style is composite, therefore hard to describe. We came up with the “astrogrind” monicker because a)crust/grind is a major component of our musical background, and b) the “astro” prefix predisposes the listener for the cosmic vibes of our concept and for the eerie atmosphere that our music conveys.
The artwork for all Dephosphorus’ releases are pretty damn sweet and from what I’ve picked up, they’re handled by Viral Graphics. How does it work as far a ideas go? It’s all from you or do they have fully-fledged freedom to come up with the artwork?
Panos: The gifted duo of Viral Graphics are long-time friends and comrades. We trust them completely in order to create the visions that accompany our music. For “Axiom” they are solely responsible for the concept of the artwork. For our forthcoming debut album “Night Sky Transform” we have provided a basic idea for the cover artwork, which is a mental image that has been haunting me for 15+ years now, and they have elaborated on this. The inlay of the album (the proper successor to “Axiom”’s “Tower” design ) is once again 100% their concept, it is awe inspiring and some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve ever got to behold! I hope that you agree…
Axiom figured as one of the main releases of 2011 and you’ve got another record coming. It can be said that the band is extremely productive, given this. How’s your work on studio? Does a lot of time go into composing/creating stuff?
Panos: When we started the band we already knew that at some point we would be geographically separated from Thanos because he had his mandatory military service pending, as well as studies to continue abroad – inSweden. This led to a very focused modus operandi from the moment that we recruited Nikos on drums. Our aim was to compose and record as much music as possible before he left.
That’s how we have managed to record during the summer and autumn of 2010, 21 songs in total in two sessions. That includes the material of “Axiom” MLP which has been released last June as a gatefold MLP on 7 Degrees Records (www.myspace.com/7degreesrecords) and as a free digital download (www.dephosphorus.com/download-axiom), our forthcoming debut album “Night Sky Transform” and songs for two split-EP’s – one of them being a split-7”EP with Great Falls (featuring ex-Playing Enemy members!) to appear this winter as part of Hell Comes Home subscription series (www.hellcomeshome.com).
As far as the studio sessions go, in both instances we were well rehearsed so we didn’t waste any time composing or rehearsing. There is just one exception, which is “Unconscious Excursion”, the track where Ryan Lipynsky has sung and played some lead guitars. This was a last minute addition to the line-up of the songs recorded for our album, so Thanos and Nikos jammed for the first time on the track 2 or 3 times at the studio then tracked it!
Still on Axiom, I’ve realized it’s a live recording, which is pretty shocking given the kickass production quality the record has! How long it to took to record the entire album? I’d like you to comment a little on how the recording process went and any funny moments or stories during that you’d like to share.
Panos: The drums and the basic guitar tracks were indeed recorded live, which has contributed to the fresh sound that this recording has! The 7 songs of the “Axiom” mini-album took us about 10 hours to record.
We have mixed feelings and memories from the recording, because it was marked by a disappointing collaboration… In general, we were quite relaxed and confident because we had rehearsed intensely the material prior to hitting the studio.
The recording has been done during a summer heatwave inAthens, so I definitely remember it was too fucking hot! There is a martial arts gymnasium next to the studio, and we could hear a lot of screams when we were not in the recording room!
Axiom’s sound reminds me a lot of the ferocity of fellow locals Dead Congregation (one of the greatest bands that came to be over the last years), only more focused on grindcore. Do you agree with that? Do you see Dead Congregation’s sound as a direct influence on your work? And, just to wrap this question, I’d like you to comment a little more on the direct influences on this album.
Panos: I can see why we can be compared to a grind version of Dead Congregation and that is for sure a gratifying compliment!
They are friends of ours, and as a matter of fact me and Thanos are playing and composing music together for nearly one decade now thanks to their frontman Anastasis! We were in touch back at the time when he was playing for Straighthate, they tried me out when their first singer left and I eventually got the job. When Anastasis announced to us during the first Kaamos gig in Athens that he was leaving, I asked to Thanos at this same gig for a demo tape and a couple of weeks later we were playing together!
DC are not a direct influence musically, Thanos (our songwriter) shares some common roots with Anastasis: Immolation, Entombed, et al. They are an influence of ours in terms of integrity, live execution, dedication to the essence of underground metal music, and uncompromising aesthetics.
The follow-up to your debut is already sort of a big deal, having a guest appearance by Ryan Lipynsky, from the almighty Unearthly Trance. You guys had any prior contact? How did that go?
Panos: I was in touch with Ryan for a number of years, and we’ve did together a few Unearthly Trance/Thralldom interviews for Metal Hammer Greece (the mag for which I am writing for) over the years… Me and Thanos have been fans of his bands, and we always hoped to possibly do something together in the form of a split-EP or other.
As I have mentionned earlier, “Unconscious Excursion” has been sort of improvised when we hit the studio for “Night Sky Transform”. Eventhough our drummer Nikos has never listened to any of Ryan’s bands prior to the recording, the track has a genuine UT/Thralldom vibe and as such could be considered as our humble tribute to both bands.
Ryan has been thrilled in contributing, so he wrote the lyrics, came up with the songtitle, and then recorded the vocals, as well as a beautiful guitar lead. Everything was tracked in UT rehearsal spot in Brooklyn,NY.
We absolutely loved how this collaboration turned out, and you know, this is much more than an extra bullet to include in the “selling points” list of the press release. We are happy that Ryan wanted to be part of the trip and actually got involved into it.
Besides Dephosphorus, you run a label, Blast Beat Mailmurder/Productions. How do you see the music scene nowadays, regarding the acquisition of physical format like cds, LPs, tapes, etc? Do the bangers and “scenesters” inGreeceactually consume these kind of things? Still on the label, what is the criteria adopted when releasing/distributing bands? Is it a matter of personal taste or is the label devoted to any particular genre?
Panos: Genuine underground music fans will always be supporting the scene by buying physical records, t-shirts/merchandise, by going to shows, etc. What I have realized -like everybody else- is that over the last years CD sales have dropped. People still order CD’s though, but not as much as in the past. What I know for sure, is that CD sales in the record stores are catastrophic. That does not necessarily concern underground music though. Judging by myself, most music items are purchased though the internet anyway…
I release and distribute only music that I find inspiring. So far, I have released only a handful of records but I am proud of each one of them, and they are all special in their own way.
I do not stick to any particular genre. Most of my releases are somehow related to grind, and there is always some quality items in stock distro-wise, whether it’s black, death, hardcore, grind, sludge, etc.
I will have out in the next months my first new releases in over 4 years: KOMMPOUND/HELLBOY 106 “The Mignola Split” limited cassette (field recordings, ambient and noise soundscapes) and MUTANT SUPREMACY 7”EP (devastating old-school death metal fromBrooklyn,NY).
Please make sure to check out www.blastbeatmailmuder.com for more info.
Still on Greece. I see a lot of goods bands popping up in the underground, but it still seems that the country bears the cross (no pun intended) of being the “homeland of Rotting Christ”. How’s the underground scene over there, dude? Are there many festivals? Any bands you’d recommend?
Rotting Christ being the most important greek metal band ever and having a lot of success abroad, there has been a “RC syndrome” going on with many new bands trying to copy their music style. This is why I think that greek metal has been creatively sterile (generally speaking) for the 2nd half of the 90’s and until the early 00’s…
This last decade the “scene” has sort of been reborn from scratch, with a few great bands going their own way and getting a fair amount of recognition abroad. I can’t really say how’s the scene is overall right now. I know that a few years back live gigs at the club circuit have reached an all-time low from the point of view of attendance. These days clubs are doing some free gigs, so I guess there is more people showing up. There are also some good festivals organized with local bands which are either cheap or free, very fun and convivial.
A few greek metal/hardcore that I would recommend: Dead Congregation (of corpse), End, Ravencult, Angstridden, Bohemian Grove, Embrace Of Thorns, The One, Macabre Omen, Inveracity, Atavism, Necrovorous, Kvazar, Headcleaner, Sarabante, Ruined Families, Antimob, My Turn, I Want You Dead, Agnes Vein, Infidel, and some more that I can’t think of right now.
Since we are a brazilian blog, I’d like to know if you have any contact with local bands, if you’re aware and into any brazilian band.
Panos: Unfortunately we are not in touch with any brazilians right now except yourself… Recently I have stocked a few copies of the DEFY cassette for my distro, and they rule. I expected yet another D-beat/crust band but they are much more than that!
I obviously grew up with Sepultura (mostly their thrash metal albums), so brazilian music has had a big impact on me. I also love Sarcofago and Ratos De Porao from the classics. Except DEFY, the brazilian band that marked me the most this last decade is ABHORRENCE and their debut album “Evoking the Abomination”. I fucking love it! It’s relentless and one of my favorite brutal death metal records.
I have just remembered of a cool brazilian death metal band from the mid-90’s which had sent me their demo cassette for review back at the time when I was doing Chaotik Webzine. That’s was Anopheles fromRio de Janeiro. The “Abstention of Life” demo (their only recording) was pretty good from what I can remember. I am still listening to cassettes, so I will dig into my collection, unearth it and play it again for the sake of old times!
If you could pick a song to play on your funeral, which one would it be?
Panos: That would be “Vers La Mort” from canadian black metal AKITSA and their latest (and fantastic) album “Au crépuscule de l’espérance”!
Just to finish this, I’d like you to comment on the last 5 records you’ve listened that blew your mind!
First of all: AKITSA “Au crépuscule de l’espérance”. That’s not a record that I discovered recently but I am listening to it non-stop almost every day for exactly one year now so I think it deserves being on the list. The next four are more recent…
- Mutant Supremacy “Infinite Suffering” (death metal from Brooklyn,NY)
- Defeatist “Tyranny of Decay” (excellent US grind)
- The One “I, Master” (greek BM, it’s been released in 2008 but I only got it recently in its limited vinyl edition)
- Scythian “To Those Who Stand Against Us…” (epic deathrash from the UK)
Panos, thanks for the interview! Wrap this up as you see fit!
Panos: All hail the brazilian underground hordes and you Vakka, thanks so much for the support!
Download “Axiom” for free from http://www.dephosphorus.com/download-axiom and if you like what you hear and see, please consider ordering our gatefold MLP and/or t-shirt…
We have two new tracks from our forthcoming debut full-length “Night Sky Transform” streaming at http://dephosphorus.bandcamp.com, check them out!
STARGAZING & VIOLENCE!