Only the Dead Know Our Secrets with Nikos Michas
Photography: Nikos Michas

It’s heavy as reinforced concrete, has tonality, is a bit sad at times and, lastly, ever-evolving. We all come from different musical backgrounds, so it’s our own Frankenstein. We love and sometimes hate our creations.

The latest album, “Only The Dead Know Our Secrets,” has been out for almost a year. The creative process was challenging because I was out of the country for much of the writing. Some of the riffs were swapped back and forth via short videos. It all worked out in the end, and we put out something that we felt proud of and represented well as a band.

I don’t write the lyrics; Tony does. The topics he comes up with are personal, and it’s his way of expressing himself. Sometimes we’ll just come up with a song title, and he’ll write the lyrics on his interpretation of the title itself.

We have different beliefs regarding life, religion, the universe, etc. To say it’s a fixation, not really. Tony practices Islam, and a little of that has shown up in the lyrics/titles. Still, the rest of the inspiration has some history, conspiracy theory/science fiction and paranormal sprinkled throughout.

How was I introduced to metal? My best friend at the time was playing AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” on his boombox, and I was instantly hooked. We must have played that cassette about 15 times that day. After that, I discovered Iron Maiden, Rush, Dio, and the list continues. Several months later, I was at the mall with the same friend, and some random dude approached us. He had just moved to Phoenix from California and asked where to find some heavy music. We asked him if he meant AC/DC, Iron Maiden, or Ozzy, and he said fuck no. He noted that it wasn’t heavy anymore. He started to name off bands such as Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, S.O.D. and Raven. We had never heard of any of those bands at that point (it was 1985) and tried to remember as many as we could to look for ourselves the next time we went to the record store. That episode was a watershed moment for me.

Music is important because it can manifest emotions and reactions. It can be a time machine; it’ll bring you back to a memory you had forgotten about. It can also change your mood in an instant. It can work as a motivator or even as an aphrodisiac. Or it can just be entertainment as well.
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