On their first visit to Australia, Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh discusses the band’s longevity, originality and their ninth album Titan, with Mary Boukouvalas.
Since forming in Greece in 1990, Septicflesh have come a long way, and through many odds. Beginning as “outcasts” they received “zero” government support because their music wasn’t mainstream and recyclable, cheap pop music. Yet they preserved, seeing themselves “revolutionists but not against the government”.
Antoniou explains: “Metal is more about revolution, aggressive music in a good way. We said let’s express our feelings with this music. And gradually things got better, we signed to a label. We started to release albums and we have reached that moment where we can tour world-wide. In order to tour worldwide, it means that we have done something that has touched the fans; we have something to say to fans. And I will go back to the point about Greece: the majority of Greek performers, those who have the publicity and the sponsorship, they will for example go to Australia and only play to the Greek community. But Septicflesh and other bands like us play universally we can play to anyone, to Greeks, to Australians, to Japanese, to everyone. It is a shame that the Greek government does not support. On the contrary you compare with Scandinavians there the government pay for studio time; they give a lot of money to the bands in order to support them and export them. In Greece it is totally different”.
Going through such odds, Antoniou ensures that Septicflesh support younger bands, often taking them on tour as supports in Europe. The advice he gives to younger bands to help them survive more than twenty years as they have is simple. “I would say to follow their dreams, and they also have to be innovative. And be original. You have to find an identity; a distinctive identity. Septicflesh has originality. Also Rotting Christ has originality. Find the path to originality. If they start to copy their influences then it will be a replica. You have to use your influences in a good way. You have to filter them and take out the things that will distinguish you from them”.
Keeping music fresh and still maintaining your fan base is a tricky thing. Yet Septicflesh has managed and the new album “Titan” has had rave reviews, both by critics and fans. Antoniou explains the importance of originality as well as preserving your roots. “Septicflesh has two periods the first one was til our split in 2002 and the next one is after 2008 with the release of Communion. We had some concerns with the Great Mass. The Great Mass was a successful album. The Great Mass was a difficult opponent. We said let’s find some other ideas to make the band sound fresh and not to repeat. If you repeat the Great Mass No. 2 it means that you are in the wrong way. We had some meetings at the beginning of Titans. We said, let’s make an aggressive album a dark album. For example, we have used some new elements in our music. We have used for example we have used for the first time a children choir from Prague. With the student choir you can create so many atmospheres. You can be evil, innocent, dark, spooky. We blended these together in order to make our best album to now, most aggressive and most mature”.
“Titan” was about a year long process for Septicflesh. Antoniou explains how it all worked for Septicflesh. “First of all, the band has four composers. We work all of us, as a team. Some of us compose more than the others. But the main idea behind Septicflesh is the composition process; it is from four brains. Have the meeting first of all in the studio, we, me and our drummer Fotis, have the luxury of owning a professional studio that we record in. we have two or three meetings to discuss Titans. After that we send demos ideas for the pre-production. This lasted around 5 months, from April to September 2013. We entered the studio in Athens. All this process with emails, pre-productions, we write and work all of us as a team. Each of us contributes his own way, his own style. For example, I am responsible for the orchestral stuff. Seth is responsible for the visual aspect of Septicflesh and also composes music. Sotiris is responsible for the lyrics and he writes the most melodic, the most lyrical parts for Septicflesh. Fotis is the backbone of the band. He is a rhythmical machine. And as you can see this works really well because we have found the chemistry. Also it counts that we never changed the line-up; the dynamics. This element helps the band in order to compose the sound. I know in other bands only one or two are involved in the composition. This works for us”.
Of this first tour to Australia, Antoniou states: “I know for a fact, from other bands, that the Australian crowd is warm, accepting and fanatic so I know we will have a lot of fun on stage. I would like also to do sight-seeing. It is a very nice country and there are so many things to do there. Although the plan is very tight, I hope to see something more than the hotel and the stage. I can see that with the other bands in the show will have a lot of tension. We will get the energy from them too. I think the package is really strong”. That package includes Fleshgod Apocalypse whom as well as Septicflesh, Antoniou describes as “the most active band in symphonic metal at the moment”.
Australian audiences can expect pure sacrifice and perfection from Septicflesh. Antoniou says: “We will do the best as always. We are well organised. We give of ourselves. We will perform mainly The Great Mass. Australia is the last spot for the Great Mass campaign. We will open the way for Septicflesh in Australia. We will come definitely again to play from Titans because at the time we haven’t prepared from the new album. The majority of the setlist will come from The Great Mass, Communion, and some stuff from the older albums”.
Septicflesh Australian tour dates
Wed 14th May:The Hi-Fi – Brisbane
Thurs 15th May: Fowler’s Live – Adelaide
Friday 16th May: The Hi-Fi – Melbourne
Saturday 17th May: Manning Bar – Sydney
Sunday 18th May: Rosemount Hotel – Perth
Titan is out now through Season of Mist.