R. D. Liapakis of Mystic Prophecy
Mystic Prophecy has recently released their third album “NEVER ENDING”. I?ve got in touch with lead singer R. D. Liapakis to ask some questions about the new album, about the band in general and a little about their plans for the future.
Interview By Anders Sandvall
Pictures provided by Sound Pollution.
Thanks to Niklas “Hobbe” Andersson at Sound Pollution for help with the interview.
Would you please like to tell us a bit about the band?
Hello and thanks for the interest. I?ve established MYSTIC PROPHECY in 1999 Martin Albrecht (on bass) was with me from day one and after checking out 40 guitar players we?ve ended up with Gus G. who was ?at the time- a rough diamond. He then brought Dennis (drums) along with him and this is the line up of the band from the first up to this, our third album.
Where do you guys live?
Me and Martin in Germany, Gus ? who like myself is Greek – in Hellas (Greece), Dennis in Sweden. Martin is German and Dennis Swedish.
Are Mystic Prophecy a band or a project?
We always get asked this question and the answer remains the same as it was 4 years ago. It is not a project when you produce 3 albums in 4 years; it?s a proper band. That along pretty much tells the complete and accurate story. However in my opinion the question whether if it is “a band or a project” is totally relevant, because in any case a professional musician should always give 100% and whatever music is getting produced should by definition be to the absolute highest standard and should come from the heart and the soul of the artist! It is true that we are involved in other bands and projects, that is by no means a secret, but we always try to set our priorities right, otherwise if we don?t we are “wrong” for this band
Why the name Mystic Prophecy?
My idea; and it is directly linked to the concept of our trilogy. All three of our albums are based in this trilogy. I do believe that it is a “strong” and powerful name and that it represents the band and the style of our music perfectly.
How does the co-operation with your label work? Have you been on the same label all the way?
Our first album was released by a small German label (B.MIND), which after a few years seized to exist. Our second album “Regressus” and the new one was released by NUCLEAR BLAST a label that is doing a great job for us. We are very satisfied with them and the promotion that they are offering to us! They know exactly what they are doing, how to promote metal and keep the flag of metal waving.
You have released two albums prior this one, how did that two go?
Since a small label released the first album, it was not very easy to promote the band, even though the band received overwhelmingly good reviews and sold well enough even though we were newcomers at the time. Obviously since we got signed to N.Blast the band got heard and now the name is becoming more and more familiar to the Metalheads across the world. Thankfully since we keep receiving fantastic reviews the label has the motivation to push the band even further and so they do for “Never-ending” our new album
How did the press receive the two earlier albums? Have you read any reviews on them?
We could not have hoped for better reviews. We are totally ecstatic by the response that we have received.
Your first album came ?02, the second one the year after and now the third one, that?s quite a tempo. Do you think you?re always are going to work so fast in order to release albums?
Since we all have other bands too, I am not really able to tell you when the next album will be released, but what I can tell you is that we have already written 5 songs for our next album. However Gus, is currently writing material for his other band Firewind and Dennis is working with Raise Hell. However, I do hope that the next album will be released sometime in 2006. Even though we are releasing albums outside of M.P. we always work with a common goal and this ?I guess- is the reason why we are coming up with an album per year. I would not have liked our fans to have to wait each time for three years to hear our band?s albums. This is not the way that true and dedicated bands work. I hope that you get my drift.
Have you done many live-shows yet? If so when and where?
We went on a European tour With Death Angel in November 2003. We then played Wacken festival in August 20004. We spent the rest of the time in studio working on our new album NEVER ? ENDING so that we can afford the 25 October release. With regards to a new tour to support the new album we will have to wait and see how the album does first and then we are hoping to tour at about February or March. We are hoping to tour as much as possible as a token of appreciation to our fans, because they supported the band by buying the album. It?s our way of thanking them for their great support.
How do you comment the fact that the band are considered an all-star band?
Well, it?s nice when the members of a band are pros and they know what they are after and how to work so that they can achieve their goals. In our case the chemistry that we have in M.P is absolutely great both on a personal level but also on what we want to do with the band on a musical level. We want the same thing; we have the same aim. We want to have a successful band.
Have you always have the same line-up or have you gone through some changes there? In that case who has come and gone?
M.P?s line up is the same from day number one and everyone is giving their 100% to this band (and their other bands too, if truth be told?it? s a fact). So, obviously why ARE a proper band and not a project, because we maintain a super steady line up, which is totally different from what you will see in projects where musicians change all the time and from album to album
Gus G has recently left the band Dream Evil, are you worried he should do the same thing to you?
I am not afraid of a situation when someone decides to leave. Like the ancient Hellines (Greeks) were saying “none is irreplaceable”. It?s very true. Bands are not and should not be just about one individual. Bands are strong when they function as a tight unit, as a fist that is aiming your way and is going to punch you with great venom not when every single musician only cares about his own skin. It is true that Gus G. works very very hard, which can obviously be stressful, but this is something that he chose to do; none twisted his hand to do it. Don?t forget that he is a true pro. He makes a living out of playing, composing music and gigging. Therefore it?s a bit pointless to discuss about the possibility of him leaving the band. None is obliged to stay in this band, everyone is feel to follow what they feel is best for their musical career. Obviously Gus had his reasons for leaving Dream Evil, but I am not his spokesman, you better ask him directly if you want to know more / investigate on the issue.
How long did it take to write your new album “NEVER ENDING”?
3 weeks all in all; we were writing songs on our own and we sat together and just chose the best ones for the album.
Who has written the music and lyrics on that album?
I exclusively write the lyrics, Gus and me wrote the music for the album REGRESSUS and in our new one NEVER ? ENDING we have a three-way involvement. Me, Gus and Martin
Are the lyrics about anything in particular?
Well, if you need a very shortened version of what the lyrics are all about, well it?s about a monk that ends up being burned alive by fire, as a?.Satanist! As he is burning, he is selling his soul to the 7 horsemen of the apocalypse, so that he can extract his revenge on those that tortured him. The lyrical concept of the first album Vengeance is about the monk who is returning to haunt their prosecutors in their dreams. So he is in their nightmares and he is pushing them to the very limits, so they end up committing suicide.
In Regressus our second album, he is returning in life and each song in the album is a different murder story. In Never Ending he is done extracting his revenge and the 7 horsemen are coming to take him back to hell forever. The monk has a curse on him that he can just not shake; the curse of God. He is punished to leave in eternity so that he can suffer eternally, because he is the soldier that impaled Jesus when he was dying in the cross
How does it work when you write the material? Which one does what in the band?
We all work on our own and put whatever ideas we have on our 8 tracks. We then exchange ideas so that we can see what he have produced individually and be able to figure out what can and will work and what not. Then we are getting together for a week and we are working on the final arrangements of the songs that will make it in the new album. Like I told you I do the lyrics on my own and we work on the music together, so if someone comes with a better idea, that idea can be placed within the final “shape” or frame of the song?whatever you call that.
How long did it take to record the album?
Never ending took 12 days for the recording and then another 10 for the mixing and the mastering
Why did you choose to call it “NEVER ENDING”? Is there any reason or does it mean anything special to you?
The title is about the monk?s torture that is never ending because he is immortal and God is punishing him relentlessly. At this point I should probably stop explaining further. I think that by now it is quite clear why we picked this title. I just hope that people will make the effort to read the lyrics and find out how the story ends.
How is it to be produced by a band member compared to a producer? Is there any difference?
There is absolutely no reason to utilize the services of an expensive producer, who ?by definition- doesn?t know as well as we do, what the band is all about and how the band wants to sound. I knew how I wanted this band to sound for the very start. Very fucking heavy Metal. And this is how it does sound. Loud guitars, powerful drums up front, (not on the background) and unlike some other band vocal lines and chorus that should powerful instead of way too cheerful. Some bands sound like the Smurfs singing in unison whilst they are having a barbeque at the forest. We never wanted to sound like that at all. Everybody, including the band member, think that the production is super professional and as a result we constantly receive lots of offers to produce bands. INNER WISH, DUNGEON. Jack stars? GURDIAN OF THE FLAME, ELDRITCH, MAGIC KINGDOM and last but not least DAVID CHASTAIN had their albums done by me.
Have you read any reviews on this album so far? What have the media to say about it?
I?ve read the reviews and thankfully we are doing great. We are also amongst the top 5 bands in the sound-checks. That pretty much says it all. Obviously there are always going to be a few that won?t and don?t like what you do. You can?t avoid that and you can?t avoid the occasional bad review. That?s only normal, it?s part of the game and everyone has to accept that.
Do you have any plans on going out on tour at the moment? If so are you going to come to Scandinavia?
Like I said before there is a specific process that we have to follow. First wait to see the sales and general reaction and then plan for the tour. Needless to say that we would absolutely love to play all the Scandinavian countries, even more so Sweden. Don?t forget we have a Swedish drummer too. However so far we did not have the opportunity, but once the opportunity arrives we will only be too happy to oblige.
Are you going to make any video for any of the songs?
We already did one for the opening song BURNING BRIDGES and we are absolutely delighted. It came out really great. The director that worked for the videos of TORY AMOS shot it. All the metal TV stations will have that in their programs and I hope that this type of promotion will help the band significantly
Are you satisfied with the cover of the album? Who has done it and why did you choose exactly that cover?
We are very happy with the cover too, which depicts the lyrical content, which I have already explained to you in detail. It was done by Jan Meininghaus who has done covers for BRAINSTORM, CRUCK Up and several other metal bands. What I like about it is that it is a painted cover that looks very natural. None of these computer animations etc., thank you very much!
Are you happy with what Mystic Prophecy have achieved on the album? Is there anything you would have done different on the album if you look back?
Of course I am. We started of with a small label and at the moment we work with the biggest label in Metal. There is nothing that I would have liked to change. In any case we should always look ahead, not behind.
How many interviews are you scheduled for and how many have you done so far, in order to promote the album I mean?
We?ve done 90 phone interviews and 40 written interviews for our last album Regressus, but for this one, even before the album is released, we done 50 phone interviews and 50 written interviews and the promo team of label informed us that another 150 interviews are on the pipeline! As you can probably figure out that?s lots of work from our side, but at least that means that there is lots of interest for the band and these is very pleasing to us.
Have you got any particular favorite song on “NEVER ENDING”?
My personal favored songs include BURNING BRIDGES , TIME WILL TELL, WARRIORS OF LIES
The info provided with the CD describes your music like being power metal, do you agree with that? And how would you describe you music?
Yes, we do believe that we are a power metal band, which has it?s own identity in this field of music. I do believe that we are not the run of the mill Metal band with the choruses that I have mentioned before that has a mellow song and has no real balls and power. People are soon realizing that we have brought a new dimension to power metal.
Are the members of Mystic Prophecy also involved in other bands or projects?
Gus is with FIREWIND & NIGHTRAGE, Dennis with RAISE HELL, Martin and myself still have VALLEY?S EVE.
2004 is going to an end pretty soon, what are the plans for Mystic Prophecy for ?05?
We want to tour as much as possible, so that we can show to people what real metal sounds on stage. We want to see our fans on the road and bang our heads together in front of the stage.
Finally is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Yes, a big Hail to all of you. All we want is that people give us a chance, by listening to our album, because truthfully, bands are big nothings without the fans and sadly this is something that many bands often tend to forget. The fans KICK US TO THE LIMIT, so a big thank you goes out to all of you who have supported us in any way possible. Don?t forget to tell us your opinions by visiting our homepage at www.mysticprophecy.com
Take care an see you ………………………….. ON TOUR
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
We thank YOU ANDERS ;-))))
Read the review on the new cd “Never ending” here
(coming this month to Metal-Rules.com)
More info on the band: www.mysticprophecy.com