Interview

SEPTICFLESH (2018 - English Version) - Christons Antoniou (Guitars & Orchestra)

On a not so cold winter day, a great town is about to get is ground shaken. The giant SEPTICFLESH is back in town with his new weapon : « Codex Omega ». I just took this opportunity to speak with the guitarist/orchestral master Christos Antoniou to know what is the band up to now…

SBM: Hello Chris, nice to meet you. Thank you for giving me a little bit of you time. How is the tour going so far?


Christos: It’s great, we had two or three shows which were sold out, something like that. It was a very strong crowd and there’s more to come with Paris, London so yeah it’s getting great!

Up to now you’ve done something like ten shows in a row, aren’t you too tired?

No… we got used to it and we’re lucky you know. We play music and I love music so we’re very lucky, we can’t complain about it.

As tomorrow is a day off you could maybe have a little rest ?

Actually tomorrow is a traveling day which is worse! But if we arrive early in Madrid maybe we could do something…

Well I hope you could!
Something happened a few days ago: SEPTICFLESH released his new music video for “Martyr”. You’ve worked with Jon Simvonis for the third time. Why is this collaboration so important?


Well we’ve known him since he was young, he was very talented and we saw he had the vision, he managed to understand our philosophy through the songs “Martyr”, “Prometheus” and “Portrait of a Headless Man”. He did an amazing job, specially on “Portrait of a Headless Man” and he’s working with a lot of great bands like Nile, he’s gonna do more and we are lucky to have him for our videos.

Portrait of a Headless Man” is indeed a great video and I saw the link between the videos and the lyrics. But I haven’t seen the link between “Marty” and the Bushido. Could you enlightens me a little ?

Well it would have been better to ask Sotiris… There’s a connection between the suffering of the Japanese way of fighting and the empathy. Sotiris would know it better, it’s a surrealistic connection in a way, it’s an art. But I can understand that for “Martyr” it’s a little bit confusing.

So was “Prometheus”. It’s still a little blurry for me.

This one was more simple.

And violent

Yeah!

And now that time has passed a little bit, according to you, what are the real strengths of “Codex Omega”?

Well you know… By fact it’s our best album and it’s not the cliche of the opinion of the artist when he creates his last work. It’s our most mature work, it’s more detailed. It took us many months to compose and record it.
Since “Communion” we have this very good excitement, because when you’re releasing a good album, you have to overpass it and for me “Codex Omega” is the best work up till now, it has everything, it has something from our beginning, something from our middle period and the second period.

For me it’s, as you said, the best, almost because of the symphonies. You wrote them and they’re bigger than ever, more powerful but it never outshine the rest of the music. How do you work with these two sides of the SEPTICFLESH music?

Well it’s a team work, I first give them my orchestral template, and then we lad the metal parts or we do the opposite: they give me their parts and the I orchestrate according to the needs of the song. It’s really a team work, I’m responsible for the orchestral stuff but we have a very good chemistry, we’re connecting these two worlds that are really different and that’s something we’ll do in the future.

So you’ll go on, evolving like you’ve always done… SEPTICFLESH has always evolved, like a living organism. Even within the band, each one of you is the organ of SEPTICFLESH. You’re the ears, your brother (Seth) could be the eyes and Sotiris the tongue. But are you involved in each others task?

We have a democracy in the band, the three main members are together from the beginning, which is super important. We know each other well, the wicknesses, the strengths, and we always try to experiment, to develop, to evolve. But of course sometimes we have some arguments for it’s always for a positive result. Each of us has, indeed, its own role in the band, inside and outside the music and we work as a team which fits perfectly with the vision of SEPTICFLESH.

This team work involves the orchestra, which has become the fifth member of the band. Apparently you’ll never let him go, so what is the next step of SEPTICFLESH’s evolution? A concept album?

You know the music comes from here (Ndt: he touches his heart), it’s not about the orchestra or the melodic themes. We have this weapon and we’re going to do this in the future, we’ll experiment, try to find a way to not repeat ourselves, to make our sound fresh. Ok we’ve done four albums with the orchestra but it doesn’t mean anything in a way. If the music is not good, the orchestra won’t cover it. The music comes from the brain, from the heart, not from the violins. They just play the music.
We have this pressure all the time, and now it’s bigger with “Codex Omega” but I’m sure, I’m confident that we’ll find a way to something fresh.

Oh I trust you for that!

(Laugh) Thank you !

I’m confident you’re one of the chosen ones. The ones who can actually write for an orchestra. Do you have any dream? A goal you’re reaching with or without SEPTICFLESH?

Well I’ve studied classical music and I’ve done some work outside the metal sphere, some modern classical music but now SEPTICFLESH is my priority. But when I’ll have some time I’ll maybe compose for games, for films, or for a concerto. But I try sometimes to compose for my concert works; two years ago I performed two pieces in a concerto, but I always try to find the time to compose, so we shall see.

So will you go on with Chaostar ?

Well we have finished the music, we have mixed it and hopefully it will be released by Season of Mist in March.

Ok I’ll check it out!
We’ve talked about the music but we should also talk about the themes, the lyrics. You’re talking about the two major problems in our society nowadays: religion and media.
First of all do you have any religious beliefs?


No I don’t believe. I don’t believe in any religion. But we try through the lyrics to make our listeners concerned, in a good way, not to take everything they give them, not to swallow everything the media or religions say.
Our main “protagonist” through our lyrics is the search for knowledge, that’s the most important. And as I said we try to make our listeners to think, to concern, to seek for things that haven’t been told to them.

So you belong to these artists who take the opportunity of touching a lot of people to give a message.

Yeah it’s a hidden message that he has to filter, to interpret and decide what to do with it.

There’s also a common theme in SEPTICFLESH which is to fight your own fears. You talk about it in “Prometheus”, then here in “Gospels of Fear”, is it a philosophy or a way of life you personally use?

Yes, you have to conquer your fears in order to understand yourself, this is the most important because if you don’t understand yourself, you don’t understand the others. Somehow it’s the biggest battle for me, I try to do it all the time you know, it’s not easy but you always have to try to conquer it.

You’re talking wisely! Do you write some parts of the lyrics as well?

No, no it’s all Sotiris. But we discuss about the title, the theme, this kind of stuff. If we feel we won’t fit to a theme we say it.

You also talk about occult themes, is Sotiris involved in these kind of stuff?

Yeah he has written many books about occultism, Lovecraft, all this mythology, metaphysics also. He express himself through the lyrics, even if now it’s more about religion or media as you said. But it’s something he will always put into our agenda.

I could have asked him but sadly he’s never on tour we the band, why ?

He’s working in a bank, he has chosen this style of life, we respect it, we’re sad but he’s with us in his own way. We listen to him everyday through “Anubis”, he’s very important for SEPTICFLESH.

So what are your plans for 2018? I suppose you’ll keep on touring, and happily you’re back at the Hellfest Open Air, our french pride! What do you think about this festival?

For me it’s the best festival in the world…

I hope you don’t say it because I’m french! (Laugh)

(Laugh) No, no, no… I really like the lineup, better than Wacken, than Summer Breeze. At the moment for me it’s the best festival.

Well thank you for that! Looking forward to meet you there!

We’ll tour as much as we can, we’re going to North America with Dark Funeral, the Antichrist, we’ll do some festivals, and maybe an Asian tour in the fall.

So you won’t do another tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse.

I don’t think so, we’ve done a lot of touring with them in North America, Europe, South America, so I think that this cycle has ended.

Will you one day, in another cycle, do a special tour or a special show with an orchestra on stage?

Actually it’s in our plans to perform with a live orchestra but it’s a difficult project that needs to be super detailed. But we shall see, we might do it in Mexico, we might do it in France or Greece.

It’s your homeland that would be nice!

Yeah but that’s not so easy, so we shall see but it has more chances to happen now.

Totally, and I really hope that this project sees the light!
I have finished my interview so I leave you the final words if you want to say something to the French fans!


Well France is very important for us, we’ve been connected for many years, so I’d like to thank all of them for having supported us so many years. We’ll never disappoint them.
 
Critique : SBM
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