Here is an interview that I?ve done with Marios from the band Nightrage. Nightrage have recently released their second album on Century Media and I asked him, of course, about the new album, about the member changes, about tour plans and what?s going to happen to Nightrage in the future.
Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Sweden for help with the interview
Thanks to Century Media for Promo pictures of the band
How was your debut SWEET VENGEANCE from 2003 greeted by the press and fans?
We got phenomenal response at that time when we released the first album ?Sweet vengeance?, it was quite unexpected and we get a lot of publicity and good exposure at the same time. The media and the fans were really enthusiastic and now they have a lot of expectations and good feelings about the new album as well. I hope that we will be able to satisfy them once again with the new album.
Are you happy with how the debut turned out?
I?m really satisfied with our debut album and I feel that everything that I had sacrificed in order to reach my goals for the band, really paid off now, and I?m glad that after my decision, to leave from Greece and move in Sweden, I manage to make NR a really strong/stable band now with a great future. I see the whole thing in the long run, and I?m sure that NR will continue releasing good albums and being a good live active band. The people now with the new album ?Descent into chaos? realized the fact that NR is not a project band and that we are really very serious in what we are doing.
It?s only you, Tompa and Gus left from the original line-up, are you three the essence of Nightrage?
We are the main core of the band so far and I?m the main composer in the band writing music and lyrics, this time I wrote also 5 songs on the new album with Gus and they turned out really well. Tomas also contributed in the vocal arrangements and he had more time to work on them and with the addition of the new members Fotis Benardo-drums and Henric Carsson-bass the band now is stronger than ever before. What we did on the new album it?s definitely a team effort and you can understand that from hearing the new songs.
Why didn?t the other guys from the debut participate on this new album?
Because they were not interested at all to stay as permanent members so I had to find a new rhythm section in order to make the band a more live act and a much stronger band. After we released the first album I understood that we had a problem with our rhythm section being so unstable, so I started immediately to search for new guys and I can tell you that now I?m really glad that I found Fotis and Henric so soon, and I managed to have their input on the recordings in the new album.
Is Nightrage a band or a project?
Nightrage is a real band and we were never being a project band, that was never our intention, but because on the first album we had some guests the people started to think that Nightrage will be an one album band, but now with our sophomore release we prove them wrong, only the album itself it?s the best example of that. We have a bright future because I consider the band a first priority in my life and I?m willing to do everything to make NR recognized in the metal scene, we have a good label, a good team, the chemistry is perfect, so I don?t see any problems around.
How did Henric on bass and Fotis on drums end up in Nightrage? Did you knew them from before?
I knew Fotis from before and we met once in Greece and talked, I saw in his personality that he was a really passionate musician, and he had a really good attitude, so when I got an e-mail from Sakis of Rotting Christ that he is interested to audition for NR I liked the idea a lot. He came and prove me to be one of the best drummers I ever saw in my entire life, whatever I asked him he was able to play with extreme precision, I was floored and I felt the positive vibes right there, he was officially our new drummer and we started to work on the new songs that turned out really well. As about Henric we met the guy at Studio Fredman while we were recording the new album and I asked him the idea to try for the band, he reply positively and after the audition he seemed to be and was the perfect man for the bass duties.
Is this line up permanent or are they only guesting?
As I said before this line up is permanent and we would to keep it like that in the future too, the chemistry also between us works really good, and we have a really good time when we are rehearsing or recording together. I feel that this is the best line up for NR so far.
Why did Brice Leclercq left?
He wasn?t interested to stay in the band anymore so he had to leave.
How much have you toured on the debut? I know that you?re played in Gothenburg Sweden last summer and in London England last year, how was that?
We didn?t have the opportunity to play a lot of shows on the first album because of the line up problems we had at the time, we played only one show at the summer of 2003 in Gothenburg Sweden opening for The Haunted, Mustasch, and Evergrey, on that show we had Nicolas barker ex-Dimmu Borgir to help us on the drums, it was a really cool show and the first ever live appearance of NR. Also we had the chance recently at December 2004 at Forum /London to present the new line up of the band in a live show opening for Arch enemy, The Haunted, and Dark Tranquility, That was really cool and we got really good response from the fans/media there.
The debut came 03 why has it taken you so long to follow it up?
I think it?s only 1.5 year that passed since the release of the first album, and I think that it?s an ok time, we don?t like to release albums every year and rush the creative process of the band?s music. I think that we need some time to be able to compose good music and feel good about the new stuff, something that is beneficial for our creativity and our responsibilities towards the band?s needs.
Why are there only clean vocals on one track (FROZEN) this time?
Because there?s no room for them in the new songs, when I was composing the new songs I felt that we are going in a heavier direction and that we don?t have to repeat some clean vocals only because we just did them on the first album. It?s always also a matter if they can fit in the songs and this time they didn?t.
How did you get Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquility to sing clean vocals on the new album?
It was a mutual idea that I had with our record company, we thought that it would be cool to have Mikael Stanne as a guest singer on the chorus of Frozen, so it was not so difficult to propose the idea to him. I know Mikael quite well and we have met plenty of times, so it was like having a guest friend in your album.
Why have you chosen to call the new album DESCENT INTO CHAOS?
That title has to do with the fact that everything around us seem to be so empty and we human beings we are so empty and lonely too. The lyrics on the title track they have to do with the fact that we as human beings we are descent to our own end, to our own chaos. We are lead to nothingness with our behaviour, and I think that only cold feelings is what we share and what we give every day to each other, but we have to try to do something for that, we have to find ourselves again from all this chaos, we have to resist and fight to make this world better, we have to treat each other with respect and try to be much better human beings.
How long did it take to write the new album?
It took me almost a year of hard work until I was satisfied with the new songs, I remember myself being closed in my room in front of my home recording studio working my ass off making new arrangements and playing guitar all the time.
Who has written the music and lyrics? Are the lyrics about anything in particular?
I?m the main responsible for all the lyrics and music except the 5 songs that I co-wrote with Gus G., songs like Poems, Frozen,Omen, Solus.There are different themes on the lyrics that I?m dealing with and the subjects this time has to do with the human being as a symbol in our society, and the responsibility we have in this world we are living in, how at the end of the day, after a lot of hardship, we have the ability to fulfil the dreams of a lifetime, the fact that we have to stay true to ourselves, and fight to stay human in such a cruel world we living in. Where is the world that we dreamed of, the world that they promised me? Is everything gone? That?s some other big questions that we need to search, and explore. Also the realization finally of the truth of life, nevermore grief and agony, we found happiness and the true meaning of life. The war of life is finished, with a jubilant cry.
I try to find and deal of how it is feels when people try to be bad with you, how you take that, and how you react. It?s a small journey on the psychology of a man?s lifetime. The fight against loneliness and the realisation of the bitter truth afterwards.
What we have learned, what we are, why we are so empty? In blind conformity all we have fallen? We are the poison on this earth? That?s some of the questions that I?m asking myself and I?m afraid that?s really hard to find an answer for that. But we have not to stop believing because then all our hope will be gone.
Human beings we are made to destroy each other, there?s so bad blood among people that they were friends, but there?s life after that, where in lies the truth? Fortitude and obstinacy are giving us hope and the power to survive to be winners at the difficulties of life.
The bio describes you as being a Swedish melodic death metal act but personally I think you?ve become even more angrier and harder compared to before is that a conscious move?
I think that our influences are quite varied and we get together different styles and genres of metal music. I?m a big fan of the 80`s metal band?s like Iron Maiden and Metallica, and I get a lot my inspiration from them, also I like a lot bands like Thin Lizzy and classic metal, bay area thrash metal, and some death metal. I think also that my collaboration with the Greek scene for ten years with my old band Exhumation make things even more original for the NR sound and our influences are overall very fresh and we are trying to boost them up with anything that sounds good to our ears. I think that the fact that I?m playing with Gus G is also another factor that helping us to sound more original, he has some very cool song writing skills and he is coming from the heavy metal style, we are totally different guitar players but our styles are fitting perfectly in The NR sound, and that gives us more ways to explore our creativity.
This time you have hired Patrik J Sten as a producer and not Fredrik Nordstr?m as last time, how come?
Patrik was really interested to work with us in the new album, he liked the new songs a lot and we had a really good time working together in the recordings at Studio Fredman. He is an exceptional producer and sound engineer and the new NR album is the first album that he did everything producing/editing/mixing the whole thing. I think that Fredric was on summer vacations at that time so he didn?t have the time to work with us.
For how long were you in the studio?
We were for 40 days in the studio if you count also the time that we needed for some extra re-recordings, it was an ok time for us and we managed to make everything sounded pretty good at the end, we worked really hard to have the best sound and the best performances from every member in the band.
Are you satisfied with the cover? I think it really captures the music.
I?m very satisfied and Seth made an awesome job working many hours until we were satisfied with the results. Seth is a new Greek artist that recently started to get a lot of recognition in the metal scene, he already made some cool covers for bands like Paradise lost, Septic Flesh, Rotting Christ, Cipher System, The Duskfall, Caliban, Heaven shall burn. The cover is really strong and cruel and reflects the feelings that we human beings have for ourselves and our society, you really get the picture when you see this image in the front cover and listen to the first song Being Nothing.
Have you read any review?s on DESCENT INTO CHAOS yet? What have the media to say about it?
Just go to our official web-site www.nightrage.com and there you can check many awesome reviews about the new release. We already got really positive vibes from everywhere and it?s really cool that the fans are interested in the band. In all the interviews I?m doing right now everybody seemed to be so excited and I?m very happy that we manage to made Descent into chaos a better follow up.
What do you think of the new member?s effort on the album? Are you happy with what you achieved on DESCENT INTO CHAOS?
Fotis Benardo and Henric Carlsson gave a lot of confidence in the band and they add with their contribution in the album recordings more dedication and plenty of good ideas, it was really nice that I had some time before the recordings to rehearse the new stuff with our new drummer Fotis and he added a lot of cool drum arrangements in the mix, he is a really talented drummer and he gave a kick on our sound, I?m also very satisfied with Henric and his playing abilities in the album, he cared a lot for the album, and he manage to play very nicely his bass parts, even if he didn?t have the proper time to learn the stuff from before, because he came in the band at the middle of the actual recordings, so it was pretty tough for him but he managed really well.
What do you think of this album compared to the old one?
I think that on the new album we succeeded to have a more mature sound, and our song writing abilities are much better, we wanted to have a more simplistic approach in the song arrangements something that made the album sounded heavier, and also it?s positive the fact that we had a really good collaboration with our producer Patrik J. Sten, something that make things easy at working on the studio recordings.
Who has done the mixing? And which of the band members were along when the mixing was done?
As I said before Patrik J. Sten did everything on the new album and he cared a lot for the band, I was the only one along in the mixing stage because the other guys had to go with their schedules.
Do you think that Century Media have done a good job with the debut? Are you happy with CM as your label?
I think that they are a really good and professional record label and they know how to work with a newcomer band such as NR, we have really good relationship with them and they liked the band a lot, they appreciate our professional attitude and they are working hard to make the NR name a trademark in the metal scene.
Is the album going to be released world wide?
Yes it?s already released in Europe at 21st of February 2005 followed by the USA release at 5th of April, also we have a license with King records in Japan that they will release the album later this year, with the addition of a bonus track called Black skies which Gus G. has wrote all music himself.
Are there any plans on going out on the road now that the album is out?
We are planning to play at a European tour at June or September and play also at summer German festivals, we already have some cool offers and we are waiting to confirm a good tour for the band. For sure we are going to play in Europe and we want to play as many possible places to spread our music. We would also to play at the USA/Canada because we have a lot of fans there and I get tons of e-mails from people that they are hungry to see the band live onstage.
If there are going to be a tour is all the members from the album going out on the road?
Yes and that?s the cool thing that we will play live shows from now on with the same line up all the time since all the members now are stable.
If you?re going out on tour are you going as a headline or a support act?
I think that we will try the band as a supporting act first in a bigger band and take it from there, of course that depends always from the sales of the new album, and what kind of potential we have to get better touring opportunities afterwards.
Do the fans having to wait as long for a new album as they had to wait for this one?
I think that in 1.5 year from now we will have a new album in the market, we didn?t start to work on that but eventually we will start work on that pretty soon.
Where do you live today?
I live in Sweden permanently 4 years now and everything going pretty well here with my life and the activities of the band.
What relations to you have with Sweden today?
I started recently to adapt to their culture and understand more about how things working here, it was pretty difficult for me at the beginning when I moved here and also I have to face many difficulties until I found a balance in my life, getting somewhere to stay, a proper job, simple things like that were a big problem at that time, but I?m glad that I managed to stay finally here and from now on everything looks very promising for me and the band.
Have you learnt any Swedish while you lived there?
Yes I can read/write quite well and I understand a lot of Swedish, it?s a really difficult language and you need some time until you feel comfortable with that, but I still getting better all the time.
At the beginning of last year you were out with your label mate The Forsaken as their session bassist on a tour through Europe, how did you landed that deal and how was life on the road?
I got a call from our label that The Forsaken looking for a bass player to help them in a European tour with Soilwork. So I just called them immediately letting know them that I?m interested to help them, they thought that was a cool idea and they send me their albums to start learning the songs for the tour. I learned some of the songs by ear first and after when I got to their rehearsal studio Patrik Persson who happens also to be an amazing guitar player help me finalize all the parts correctly. They were pretty satisfied with me in the first rehearsal because I was able to play 4 songs already, The Forsaken is an amazing band and I had a tremendous time playing on the tour with them, they are a really tight and dedicated band, and I can tell you for me it was a really good experience. Their music is very technical and brutal at the same time, amazing live band too, and super cool guys.
What have you been up to in between the debut release and the tour with The Forsaken?
It was at that time I started to work on some new songs for NR as well, and I can tell you that the tour it was a good kick for me to concentrate even more after, and being very creative composing new stuff.
Do you think Nightrage have a lot of fans? Can you walk around without being recognized?
I think that we started to have our fan base and I can see a lot of people liked what we do. Recently I was featured in the biggest morning Swedish newspaper Metro and also I had and Interview with the National Swedish radio P3 and they played some new NR songs as well. Things growing day by day and I?m sure that we will gain more fans when we will play a European tour. Especially with that Interview in Metro people here started to recognized me and they always telling me ?I saw you in Metro? hahahahahahahah, which I think it?s cool and it was something that I didn?t expect really, but for sure it?s beneficial for the band to have such a good exposure in the media.
How good of friends are with Gus? You both come from Greece.
He is simply my best friend the last 8 years, we are coming from the same area and we share a lot of things in common, we have been through a lot together and we always support each other both in good and bad times. He is one of the most dedicated musicians I ever had the chance to play with, and one of the best guitarist/song writers that I ever worked with.
How do you comment the fact that Nightrage are considered being a super-group?
Sounds pretty strange to me to be honest because I never expected to gather altogether those great musicians in the band. I guess everything happening for a reason and all the hard work I did for the band started to pay back now, I?m happy that people considered NR a cool band and we are trying our best to give them the best music we are capable to offer.
What are the plans for Nightrage during 2005?
To play a lot of tours/live gigs and being a live active band. We want to play our music live in the stage and meet all our fans on the tour.
Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
I wanna say a big thanx to you for your interest in NR and a big hello to all our fans out there, looking forward to meet you all soon in our tour.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thanks to you Anders
Read Nightrage Reviews HERE