From the darker reaches of Greece come this incredibly unique goth-metal band, mixing everything from dark opera/ambient ala Cold Meat Industries, with elements of extreme doom/death metal, gothic in the vein of Paradise Lost, and industrial patterns. Add to that some thought provoking lyrics regarding mysticism, philosophy, and at the core human nature and it’s consistency throughout the ages, regardless of technology. Then, finally add to that some of the most unique artwork and band appearance this side of Geiger, and you got one band that simply refuses to be categorized. This is one band that has pissed off metal elitists for being too experimental, and even has gotten some of the most anti-metal Goths and rivet heads I’ve known into their multidimensional style. So, here is an interview with Sotiris, guitarist for the group. Watch as we discuss the deepest realms of mysticism, philosophy, and music and of course, the ultimate in disgust and pain: My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Aaaaaaaaah!
Chain D.L.K.: First off, congrats on a great CD. How did it feel to go through the studio boot camp this time around with such a big producer?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: It is the second time we worked with Fredrik Nordstrom, and I can certainly verify his genius as a sound engineer and producer. Of course, our first experience with Fredman studios in Revolution DNA was also valuable, as we knew where to begin and how to accomplish our goals more efficiently. Eventually, the production sounds came out heavy as hell, while there is the depth of a soundtrack and a lot of little details that can be heard in the background.
Chain D.L.K.: The artwork is very unique and quite eye-catching, to say the least. What inspired it? Was the background real or artificially made?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: The background is real and was constructed in accordance to Set‘s instructions from a Greek FX team that usually works for films and advertisements, called the Alahouzos Bros. When we actually came to their studio for the photo shoot, and were shown the completed setting, I felt like we were going to participate in the next episode of Hellraiser or something. They did an amazing job.
Chain D.L.K.: By the way, I found that “Help me” on the front cover character’s stomach to be rather amusing! Was that meant to be kind of comical in a sick way?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Indeed, there is irony in that bloody message. There are some things that one must face alone. There are times when no external help can suffice. Yet there are so many different people, religions, and organizations that claim they can help the individual while actually they can only offer the comfort of illusion. Spiritual evolution comes from within, and first one must confront the unknown and face his fears.
Chain D.L.K.: There are many diverse elements to the group, not just metal. What classical, goth and/or industrial groups influence you?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Some of our favorite bands and composers are Fields of the Nephilim, David Bowie, Mike Oldfield, Basil Poleidoris, Stravinski, Danny Elfman, and Nine Inch Nails, etc.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice a lot of electronic drumming going on in the CD. Was this an experiment that just came along or is this from a perhaps industrial influence?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: We started working with samplers in Revolution DNA. After a lot of experimentation with our sound and these electronic elements, we felt more comfortable in using electronic drumming. Our aim was to incorporate the electronic elements into the music under the scope of a dark and atmospheric vision, avoiding an irrelevant use of technology. Sumerian Daemons is not an album to dance to, and if someone were to buy it with those intentions, he would be very disappointed.
Chain D.L.K.: Often you are lumped in with Rotting Christ, just for being from Greece. How would you describe the obvious, that you two are quite different?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: There is no need to describe anything, as music speaks for itself. Each band has a unique musical approach and there is not a chance to hear a song by Septic Flesh and believe it is Rotting Christ or vice-versa.
Chain D.L.K.: Sumerian Daemons has a very dark, Giger-esque environment about it. Do you find it hard to discover the inspiration for such atmosphere, given that Greece is a rather sunny, tropical place?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Music is an esoteric art, so influence of the external environment is not dominant. I never had an inspiration problem from the sun, although I am not what you would call a big fan of his. On the other hand, Greece also has a lot of ancient and mystical places that can provide dark stimulation.
Chain D.L.K.: I heard before that you were going to sever your classical influences and go completely with the other elements. What made you decide to keep them?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: At first we thought that it was better to focus the music on the extreme metal path, while we formed Chaostar as a project completely devoted to orchestral atmospheric music. But after a couple of albums with Chaostar in a period when Septic Flesh was inactive, it was inevitable for the classical music influences to grow stronger within us. So they came out naturally on the surface while creating Sumerian Daemons, and they sounded really good with the extreme parts enhancing the “aura” of the album. There was no reason to make a separation. Besides, our audience must be aware by now that we are not exactly the typical Death Metal band.
Chain D.L.K.: Septic Flesh seems to be climbing the Greek charts as well! ! How are you finding the newfound success to be? Plenty of parties and groupies? Haha.
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: We are hedonists and we definitely enjoy the pleasures of the flesh; however, we don’t depend on our success to make our fantasies come true. Success is something that comes and goes, while the thirst for life and enjoyment is never fully appeased.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the theme of the new CD? From what I can tell, it deals a lot with how olden ways are just hidden in new disguises, such as technology and science.
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: That’s one of the themes of the album. But it is not a concept album, as I wanted to deal with a variety of topics that work on different levels. There are personal songs dealing with thoughts and emotions, and songs that have more of a philosophical approach. There are also songs with a mythical-symbolic background that walk on the edge between truth and fantasy.
Chain D.L.K.: I also read on your site that a full choir was used on the CD and actually orchestrated by none other than Chris A, who also plays guitars and samples for the group! Does he have a classical background, and does he intend to do a full symphony one day?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: He certainly has the skill to do it. In fact, he has a Masters degree in Classical Composition from London’s University of Music. So, rightfully, he is in charge of the choir and the classical arrangements in general.
Chain D.L.K.: Tell us a bit about your classical project, Chaostar.
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: There is a third album at hand. This time Magus W. Daoloth (Necromantia) is behind the lyrical themes that are of a vampiric nature. The music has the classical choir elements of Chaostar, while there are also some new instruments introduced to the sound, such as the lafta, the Cretan lyre, and the accordion, which give an ethnic touch to the material.
Chain D.L.K.: Why the separation of the Septic Flesh sound from the Chaostar?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Chaostar is a band focused solely on neoclassical soundtrack-like music. We had these elements in Septic Flesh, but there was always a limitation in their use, as mostly Septic Flesh experiment with metal and extreme musical elements. The reason we decided to form Chaostar was to create complete works in this kind of music so that the audience could sink deeper into the weird atmosphere, making a “complete trip. ”
Chain D.L.K.: Again on the Chaostar CDs, the Giger influence in the artwork comes through (Giger is, by the way, my favorite artist. When I lived in VA, my first two apartments were fully decorated in Giger artworks), as I understand you are influenced by him. What would be your favorite piece of his?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: It is difficult to pick only one. I adore his work and some of my favorite pieces are Hieroglyphics, Spell I, Anima Mia, and The Magus.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice the spelling on the Sumerian Daemons CD, as well. Is there a difference between a “Daemon” and a “Demon”?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Daemon is an ancient Greek word attributed, according to mythology, to invisible beings appointed by Zeus to each man and woman to guide and protect. In the general sense, it was a word attributed to the expert in matters of knowledge. As you can imagine, with the passing of ages, the word and meaning was deformed, becoming demon, daimon etc…
Chain D.L.K.: There is, of course, a certain amount of mysticism involved in the group, as well. What works are you into? And which ones made their way into the new CD?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: I was always in favor of individualism and the empowerment of the Self. And I won’t hide my interest in the unseen mechanisms of the cosmos. They can be realized through effort and trial by reason, following the principle of causality. In my opinion, there is hidden knowledge, and therefore power, scattered throughout the history of mankind to different civilizations and mystical writings. And as there is a dynamic element on knowledge, there is an evolution that continues to our days and beyond. Using symbols is an effective way to transmit complex meaning, making it easy to memorize, while it is also an effective way to keep out the casual eye and poor mind. In Sumerian Daemons, as the title suggests, there are elements of Sumerian knowledge portrayed, while the lyrics are not restricted to a specific time-line and civilization.
Chain D.L.K.: Are there any philosophical books that influenced the CD, or sci-fi novels?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: I didn’t read something in specific before creating the lyrics of Sumerian Daemons. In general, I am interested in philosophy, as it is the key to higher consciousness, and I have a great admiration for the works of Plato and Aristotle.
Chain D.L.K.: The CD does seem to address the advent of the old ways passing through the new. Do you feel that technology is more working with nature in this day and age, or against it?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: I really don’t know. The sure thing is that technology simply provides us the means to accomplish our goals. But first there is a basic law that we must realize. Every action we make has an outcome, even if it is not always clearly visible. The greater the power we use, the greater are the effects and side effects of that use. As time passes, we are becoming increasingly aware of the side effects, and therefore have to weigh the consequences carefully. As technology can provide more than one means to reach the same goal, we simply owe it to ourselves and to those affected by our choices, making better decisions and improving our technology. Sustaining a good relationship with our natural environment is without a doubt something of grave importance.
Chain D.L.K.: Ok, I toss the song “Mechanical Babylon” at you and pretend like you are listening to it for the first time. What visuals go through your head as you listen to it?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: A gigantic gray city of metal, glass, and plastic, where the old ways live on, transformed into “electric rituals. ” I can imagine a mechanical “paradise-hell. ” Symbolically, I can also “see” this city as having the looks of a young woman full of life, while her glance hides the deformed face of a corrupted old whore.
Chain D.L.K.: With the classical influence, were there any organic instruments involved, such as violins or harps? Will there be perhaps in Chaostar?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: The samples have the main role in Septic Flesh, while Chaostar is more organic.
Chain D.L.K.: With Chaostar, you handled a crew of over 60 people. This must have been a job and a half!!! !
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Indeed, it wasn’t an easy task to handle all those people. And as you can imagine, they were not used to dealing with guys who look like us. But when Chris gave each person his musical lines and presented the arrangements, they realized that we were serious.
Chain D.L.K.: With the sampling aspects, did you use sound patches or more organic instruments to sample from?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: We use professional sound patches like those used on film soundtracks.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the new Chaostar CD going to be like?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: In few words, it is unconventional orchestral music with an ethnic touch. I believe that people who like orchestral music will be very pleased.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice Septic Flesh is on a new label, Hammerheart, while Chaostar is on your old label, Holy Records. Why so?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Chaostar is a different musical entity and has a different agreement than Septic Flesh. When the contract of Septic Flesh with Holy expired, we received offers from other interested labels, while at the same time the contract of Chaostar was effective for more albums with Holy.
Chain D.L.K.: With Septic Flesh, do you have the songs already in mind, or do you lap each other’s parts over one another?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: No. When we compose songs for Septic Flesh, we have our mind focused on the band, or else we could easily end up in an asylum for the demented. It is very important to be concentrated on a task in order to achieve the maximum result.
Chain D.L.K.: With both projects, is the aim more to cover a strange and morbid sense of beauty, or outright repulsion?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: One’s hell is another man’s paradise. Our music frequently crosses the line between dream and nightmare, which makes the listener feel strange, but good at the same time. It’s definitely a unique experience. We like playing on the edge.
Chain D.L.K.: OK, some fun questions before we go! What did you guys think of (the film) My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Personally I thought it was fucking awful and made very corny, stereotypical views of Greeks. And Greek women I’ve seen in Chicago’s Greek Town look A LOT better than that lead actress (the Greek women here are nothing short of stunning! )!
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Well, I haven’t seen that movie because, frankly, when I saw its trailer, all I wanted was to find a bucket and puke. And indeed the protagonist is not representative of the Greek beauty.
Chain D.L.K.: Well, as you’ve probably guessed (and as Sakis of Rotting Christ has seen in my emails), my Greek sucks completely. But what are some cuss words/cuss terms in Greek that may come in handy?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: There is an infamous Greek word that you can address to everybody, friend or foe. Just say “malakas” and see what happens.
Chain D.L.K.: Who do you say is the most beautiful Greek woman in the world, besides Natalie (of Chaostar)? And what Greek bands, movies, and sights would you recommend?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Viki Kagia is one of the most beautiful sites, sorry, Greek models. There are many sites to visit at Delfi or Santorini, and very few interesting movies to see. As for bands, I would suggest listening to bands such as Rotting Christ, Varathron, Horrified, and Necromantia, which are some of the greatest representatives of the Greek metal scene.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans on touring America soon?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Unfortunately, not for the moment.
Chain D.L.K.: Any words before we go?
Septic Flesh/Chaostar: Open the gates to the daemon in you.
Visit Septic Flesh / Chaostar on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Audra Brick]