Interview with Sakis of Rotting Christ
The Greek band was founded as early as 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Sakis Tolis together with his brother Themis on drums. They started out playing Deathgrind, but had already turned to darker paths by the time their debut full-length “Thy Mighty Contract” (1993) was unleashed. On the following seven albums covering a ten year period from “Non Serviam” (1994) to “Sanctus Diavolos” (2004), ROTTING CHRIST steadily refined their style by experimenting with elements from Death, Heavy and Gothic Metal without betraying their black roots. At the same time the band went from underground heroes to headliner status. Yet with the highly acclaimed “Theogonia” (2007) the Greek veterans added an unmistakable native element to their sound, which gave their ninth full-length a very distinctive and individual twist. Such a masterpiece can hardly be surpassed, but ROTTING CHRIST held their ground with “AEALO” (2010). Their country’s rich ancient heritage was translated into the universal language of Metal with added female choirs, ancient reed pipes as well as folkloristic melodies and rhythms. Now “KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY” takes this musical and lyrical concept another step further.
ROTTING CHRIST have clearly found their very own sound, which they skilfully vary with female vocals, piano, bagpipes, horns and by other means. Their excellent songwriting is extremely confident and displays a maturity and perfection born out of long years of composing and experience. This band knows exactly what it is doing. The principle of “Do What Thou Wilt” is the threat leading through this amazing album, which is inspired by ancient cultures around the globe. ROTTING CHRIST employ poetry from the Sumerians and Incas as well as a Romanian folk song, the tale of an undead Russian water spirit, Voodoo, Zoroastrianism and other sources. Dive deep into “KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY” and witness its wonders!
HMA: Welcome Rotting Christ to Heavy Music Artwork. Promoting Metal as art and culture.
Rotting Christ: Nice to meet you my friend and i hope to keep supporting metal and most important to keep the spirit alive. We all musicians respect your unselfish action you are doing all you the magazines.
HMA: First of… tell us about your newest addition to already impressive discography.
Rotting Christ: Yes we have just came up with a brand new album an album that we worked more than a year composing and half year to record, this is the album number twelve and i want to believe that we have came up with our more Apocryphgal release since the conception of the band.
HMA: The album title reads “Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού” which translate to “True to His Own Spirit”?
Rotting Christ: Yes exactly. An ideology that has been in the band since the “Non Serviam” days.
HMA: But it also has Alistair Crowley’s Thelemas philosophical motto “Do what thou wilt” as title.
Rotting Christ: Not that much but it could be if you want in a very open translation.
HMA: Is any of the Rotting Christ crew involved or initiated member in organizations such as O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis)?
Rotting Christ: Old members yes but the current ones.
HMA: How would you describe this offering, a hymn to man or curse to the Gods?
Rotting Christ: A quite logic wonder that i will agree with its first leg more than the second.
HMA: Your sound has an epic feel, how has this challenged the band in the writing process?
Rotting Christ: We just worked with a choir that was driven from me and added some elements that was usefull for the final apocalyptic mystical atmosphere i wanted to create with our new opus.
HMA: What was the creative direction taken for the album artwork? It seems a substantial departure from your previous albums?
Rotting Christ: Minimalism. We have fed up with all those photoshoped edited multi-coloured covers and we wanted to be expressed with the majesty of simpleness. Black and white, two demons that express your own spirit and we are done. A new artistic proposal for the band.
HMA: What type of setting would you say the artwork fits?
Rotting Christ: Dark because that’s the feeling that you can have once you have listened to the album.
HMA: The first part of “Cine iubeşte şi lasă” has a very Diamanda Galas feel. What is the song about?
Rotting Christ: This is a Transylvanian/Roamnian curse that laso could be easily a part of the multicultural feeling we wanted to pass with our new album.The song got the help of the two very talented female Greek singers called Bougioukli sisters that in my opinion lifted tyhe whole song up.
HMA: You have an incredible thirteen albums in your career, are you satisfied to what the band has achieved since 1991 “Passage To Arcturo”?
Rotting Christ: If i say no i would be a lying. You know when you start up a band you never have or better you never had such long and big dreams. Especially in our era it was a mission impossible even to think something like this. More romantic eras with only goal to play some gigs and to share couple of beers with friends. I never thought that i would have played 1000show in my life when i formed the band so despite of the fact that’s some things could be different i can say that i am satisfied with what i have done with my band and be sure that the dreams has not came to an end.
HMA: You often draw inspiration to your Greek cultural background. Why is this important to Rotting Christ?
Rotting Christ: Is not that important as you may think but definitely an unique spot to our music a touch from the Hellenic ancient culture which som much has inspired western civilazation and why not our band.
HMA: Rotting Christ approach to lyrical content has more substance than the average Black/Death Metal band. Do share your source of literature and influence, any obscure book titles or writers that we should give attention to?
Rotting Christ: I am glad that you are saying and you feel that my friend. Yes we are taking seriously and the lyrical part of our music and always are doing researches before we start writing a new song or a new album. Something that we did very much with our last album. A really deepo research into the ancient civilazation of many cultures. Really I cannot recommend something specific. Just follow your heart… It never lies!
HMA: Thanks for the interview and your time!!!
Rotting Christ: Thanks also for your interest in including our horde to your pages.
Keep the spirit alive my friend and always… NON SERVIAM
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