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Rotting Christ

Athanati Este

Less than two years passed since the day when Greek metallers Rotting Christ played their only concert in Ukraine, and now they are back at the vast spaces of the CIS, supporting their new album Sanctus Diavolos. It was natural that we couldnt lose the chance to speak with the band, so picked up a day off, Sunday (the holy day for all believers) and made our way to the hotel, where the musicians were having a rest after the long tour. The Greeks met us as if we all were old friends and before setting off to a stroll around the city their frontman Sakis Tolis agreed to communicate with us...
Rotting Christ
You performed for the Ukrainian fans for the second time the day before yesterday. How do you feel about it?

Very nice. Were very proud to play here for the second time. It is not so easy for a band to play in the Eastern Europe. It was also symbolic that it was the last show of a really long tour. It was the 61st show, the last show of the tour. Its really nice to play here, to see some more friends

That was your first mini-tour of Russia. What impression of Russia and its fans have you got?

Yes, the fans are crazy. We thought that such enthusiastic people live only in South America, but there are many nice and enthusiastic people here, in Russia. The impression is very good, very positive. The people know all our songs. We never thought about playing in places like Siberia. It was really, really positive, the most things.

Did you like the bands supporting you on this tour?

The bands were really OK. Many bands play very well, but sometimes there is no connection for them to get to the West European market. But the bands play very well.

Youve found the substitute for Costas, would you be so kind to present your new guitaris?

His name is George, he also plays in Nightfall. And this was his first tour. It was really positive, the reaction was very positive.

Is he your permanent member or just a session one for concerts?

This is his first session tour, so its a kind of session. Maybe if he goes on well hell be a permanent one.

Do you know what your former members - keyboardist George and guitarist Costas - do nowadays? Do they play in any band?

Costas - no, he doesnt perform with any band. And George, the key
Rotting Christ
board player, he has a kind of industrial band called Sigma Six. Thats all I know about the guys. Of course we are still friends, but they are not involved anymore with playing with any other band, especially Costas.

You used a real choir to make your latest record. Are you going to do something similar in the future?

I think its going to be something symphonic or something like that, but any sound were going to work with will be a real one, because it doesnt make any sense just to play keyboards. Keyboards are OK, but sometimes there are things that give you something more a real choir. Of course we use some choirs in the background, be we want something else. Its difficult, but it is different.

You may agree that it has become a kind of trend nowadays nearly every second metal band uses choirs, I think that no examples are needed here

Yes, thats a kind of trend, thats true. All the bands use these choirs, but for Rotting Christ its not a trend because, you know, when it comes to using a couple of them, we use them not like a fair real thing but more like part of the band, like on Sanctus Diavolos.

And what is your opinion of bands using female vocals?

Yes, the bands that have female vocals play something like Nightwish Thats the trend, the nowadays trend. All the bands have a woman to sing. Of course some of them are OK, but its a kind of a trend.

One may hear elements of industrial on Sanctus Diavolos. Some people in black metal scene claim that black metal should sound sordid, dirty, raw, without any female vocals or keyboards, and techno elements in particular. What do you think about it?

Not exactly, not exactly (smiles) So anyway, its your opinion, I respect it
Rotting Christ
. I prefer more old school things. But I dont like that many things in black metal. As for Rotting Christ, well never have any female vocals. You know, you categorize us like this (smiles), but I think that to be alive, black metal should have some elements, you know, some, but really little if you want

And how do you feel about other styles?

I like some other styles of music, of course. Im a composer, I like music, so I should have an opinion about everything related to music.

By the way, Holy Blood, a band playing Christian black metal, performed with you the day before yesterday. What do you think about such a style on the metal-scene?

We didnt know that (smiles) To be honest, I dont like this kind of things, but on the other side, I dont want to be like Dave Mustaine. You know, I really didnt like what Megadeth did to us. So even if I had known that, I would have never said: Dont play with us. If they are metalheads - its OK.

If you remember, last time we talked about Rotting Christ not having an official live album yet. Are you going to release it?

A live album Maybe not. Because it is a problem. Maybe no, because it is a problem if you change labels, its very difficult, not all the labels agree to let us use their songs on a live album. So its a kind of difficulty for us to have an album that will include all material, because we have worked with three different labels. And it is very difficult to do all the paperwork to have this live album.

Getting rights for this material?

Yes, its very difficult, very difficult Especially with the old labels that have disappeared - they ask some really big money just for the rights.

By the
Rotting Christ
way, how about releasing the live recording made in Kiev in 2003? (laughs) I know you liked that one

Yes, its OK. Of course its OK. I dont care if this is a bootleg or something, you know. To be honest, we dont get any money; dont get anything from our record-selling. So I dont care if some people who dont have enough money just get a bootleg. I really like that recording and, I dont know what to say Do you know something about that recording?

That recording is not yet available for people Only a few fans have it

You also have a new one from the day before yesterday?

Yes, we have it, but only half of the show. We have problems with the sound

Anyway, if you release it, just let me know, alright?

Yes, of course What about the second DVD? Are you going to release it?

Weve got something on a plan. We already have one DVD, but I dont know, because right now we have a deal with a new label, were out of Century Media...

Oh, really?

Yeah, 10 years - thats enough. And we have just signed for two albums with Season of Mist. They have bands like Mayhem, CARPATHIAN FOREST...

Yes, I know, a French label...

A French label, yes and we have to see how labels may work something with us.

So why did you decide to leave Century Media?

It's because 10 years have passed, and a new experience is needed for us now. We would like to be on a smaller label, with smaller bands, but with fellow bands like Mayhem.

Youve certainly heard the story of Samael, they left Century Media because they believed the label hadnt fulfill contract specifications,
Rotting Christ
and there was a lot of mud-slinging

I dont know their personal reasons for leaving Century Media, but we were satisfied with Century Media. But I think its time for changing something. Time is passing by, we have released six albums with those guys, it was 10 years of corporation.

And what negative aspects, connected with being at such big labels, can you single out?

Of course, there are also negative aspects. You know, they dont pay much attention to your band; you have the neighbors with whom co-existence is too hard. For bands its kind of difficult to fulfill your expectations. Sometimes you call there and no one is answering or theyre fucking busy over other releases, because they pick up big bands. Thats the only negative thing, but I can understand it.

Which young Greek bands would you recommend to your fans?

Greek bands? Nowadays, I think you all know such bands as Nightfall, Necromantia, Varathron, Septic Flesh As to the new generation of Greek bands, its difficult to say right now, because I need time, you know, to see them. You know, bands like Negative Creeps play good music. But I need more time to see if they are active on the scene, you know. Its OK, if you play good music, but it doesnt make any sense - you must go on tour, you must go

Make shows

Make shows Otherwise I liked these Russian bands I have seen. There are many good Russian bands, as I see, but its not enough. You need more things, if you want to have a band that is famous all over the world.

Some of our fans still look forward to the Septic Flesh comeback. Do you know if they are going to return?

No, they arent, as far as I know. Maybe with another band under a different name, but as
Rotting Christ
of now I know they arent.

Do they play with any other band?

Yes, as I know they have a new band called Devilworx, but I dont know if they have any official releases, so I cannot tell you more

Have you tried to get the rights for the first albums released by your former labels Osmose and Unisound?

I have done that. I did that one month ago. I gave a lot of money for it, but I think its a good investment. The albums will be re-released in January, all of our material again. And even in Russia, and here in Ukraine it will be licensed. All our old material.

What album by Rotting Christ you consider to be the best, except the latest CD?

It depends on the mood you are. If you love an old school black metal, you might prefer Thy Mighty Contract, if youre more into heavy metal, you will prefer A Dead Poem. If you prefer atmospheric black metal, I think the last one would be the best one.

Have you had any problems because of the bands name in the recent years?

Yes, its our problem. Of course, yes.

Even now?

Of course, yes. For instance, we cancelled one show here in Russia because of our name. We could make more shows happen, but some promoters find our name offensive and they dont take a risk of having a show with a band called Rotting Christ, here in Russia for instance. We always have problems, but its black metal. It should be like this.

What is the most annoying thing for you in our life?

Its a very difficult question. Ahyes, bad roads in Russia. We covered very long distances with a band. It was like we were in a Nescafe machine. (laughs) That was the worst thing in my life (smiles) to drive for 20 hours with colds like this. But we like to go to the places we play, we like to play. Thats OK.

Well, OK Your last words for the fans in Ukraine and CIS-countries....


I heard these words last time. (laughs)

Yeah, again the same(smiles) See you soon, keep the flame burning

Interview by Costas Silent, Natakhes
Live photos by Dmitry Ward Kulikov
November 6, 2005
16 2006
the End

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