Drummer Fragiskos Samoilis – InnerWish
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Ulterium Records for setting up the interview
Thanks to Ulterium Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Thanks to Ulterium Records for the additional promo pictures of the band.
For some strange reason the music of InnerWish totally past me by, the band have been active for about 20 years and after a really long break the band released the album INNERWISH. The previous album came 6 years ago and I was interested in knowing more about what the band had been up to in between releases, so I got in touch with drummer Fragiskos Samoilis to know more about the status of the band. Members have come and gone, especially singers, and the new album is, like the previous one, mixed in Sweden by the legendary producer Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd. We talked about what the future has in store for the band and if you’re interested in learning more about traditional melodic metal sprinkled with great vocals make sure to read and listen to InnerWish.
Hi Fragiskos, how are you today? Are you ready to kick off the interview. First of all I have to say the new album is amazing, I really love it.
Hey Anders!! I’m fine and hope that you are fine too man! Yes, I’m ready, since I passed over the first shock when I saw all those questions! Hehe Thank you my friend! We really appreciate it! It’s always beautiful hearing that people love your work!
When did the band begin to work on material to INNERWISH?
I think it was something around the end of 2013. Somewhere around there. When we finally solved the lineup problems and found our new singer, George Eikosipentakis. We had some ideas already, but as you can understand it’s way different working on songs without knowing the voice that would sing them, because you can’t have a clear image of the result. So when George came in, everything started shaping.
The band has been called one of the most important bands to come from Greece in your 20 years of existence. Still, I haven’t heard about you until now. I thought I had knowledge of metal bands in Europe but apparently not… why haven’t I heard about InnerWish until now?
Maybe you were waiting for the right moment, even if not knowing it? Haha 🙂 Kidding! Well, I think the main problem was that we never made any actual tours in Europe. Just some shows in festivals or clubs, but not a proper and usual European tour. And if you don’t tour, things are difficult, especially with the vast number of metal bands nowadays. And I have the same thing with you. I think I have knowledge of many European bands, and I do, but I always discover new ones. And some of them are great. So I hope we are in that category: A band you just discovered, but you think it’s great! Hehe
Back in 2010-11 both your drummer and singer left the band, why? Was their departures expected?
About the drummer, I can’t say much, cause I’m his replacement! Haha I wasn’t in the band when he left actually, but as far as I know, the reasons were mainly personal and had to do with him wanting to be more with his family and stuff. They expected his departure, though the timing wasn’t the best one in the end. About our previous singer, though, Babis, he left because he graduated as a classical tenor. This is his life, his job. And he had to focus on that. And you can’t combine these two ways of singing when you are looking for a career as a tenor. We knew about his departure and we actually announced it when we supported CRIMSON GLORY in Athens.
Do you have any contact with them today?
Mostly with Babis. There are no hard feelings or stuff like that actually. Just that communication became a bit more difficult due to the different lives we have and the everyday obligations of each and every one of us. After all, he moved to Germany to follow his dream, so that made it even more difficult. But thanks to facebook distance isn’t a matter any more… hehe
Why did you chose to continue to work on the material instead of finding new members?
Well, we wanted to focus on writing songs. Maybe because we needed to express ourselves and then start searching for another new member. I was already in the band since 2010 (late 2010 actually), so the only spot left was the singer’s. But that choice, of working on new material without a singer, wasn’t the best one after all. You do things, you learn from them…
Was it their departures that delayed the release of INNERWISH? I mean it has taken you 6 years to get the album ready for release.
Yes, one of the reasons was the lineup changes of course. Not the only ones. But especially the drummer’s change postponed quite a lot of stuff that the band had planned. It was a strange and difficult period for us actually. Cause we had to deal with problems (the lineup changes) inside the band, but also with problems we faced as individuals in our lives. When we finally found George and everything was set, we started working full time on the new album. The real time of making it is about a year, a year and a half. Lets hope we won’t do another 6 years for the next one… which we won’t! Haha
How have the fans responded to the official audio video of “Rain Of A Thousand Years” on youtube?
Extremely well actually!!! We were anxious because of the 6 years time that we hadn’t released anything (except the two cover songs we made). And “Rain…” is a song that has a lot of stuff and might would have been tricky for the older INNERWISH fans. But we wanted to release it to show in a really cool way (at least in our minds) that we were back for good. I think the song went really well!
How many songs did you write to INNERWISH? Were there a lot of songs that wasn’t used on the final edition of the album?
All the songs we had finished, entered the album. We have some ideas left, or some songs that aren’t completely finished and they are a very good starting point for the next album. But for “InnerWish”, we used all the songs we had. Actually, to be more precise, we used all the songs we had ready and we were 100% confident about!
Who in the band writes the lyrics and the music?
In this album, I wrote the lyrics in most of the songs. In 11 out of the 13 songs of the album. In the previous albums, most of the lyrics were written by our two guitar players, Manolis and Thimios. But this time, they trusted me and I hope I delivered! About the music, the main songwriters in the band are Manolis and Thimios again. But this time, what you hear is a team-effort, more than ever before in the band’s history. I contributed in half of the album’s songs also and in general we worked a lot as a band. There are only 2 songs that the one who wrote them weren’t changed a lot. Imaging we have songs in the album that are totally changed from the form they first came in from their composers.
What are the lyrics about this time? Where do you find inspiration to write lyrics?
I don’t have a specific concept in the album, but you can say there’s a loose one and it has to do with life. Different aspects of today’s life from different perspectives. There are songs about suicide, about self-criticism, about problems we face as a country (and can adopted by the each and everyone of us, no matter where we are from), about problems we face as a world. Different stuff, all realistic though. No imaginary tales, just reality. My inspiration comes from the things I see, the ones I face, the ones I hear about from people I know or the news, from everyday’s life in general.
Rain Of A Thousand Years [OFFICIAL AUDIO]
Have you experienced any pressure from fans or the label of achieving something out of the ordinary this time?
Not actually. Our longtime fans just wanted to hear something new from us. The cool thing is that they totally trust us. They knew that we will release something good for them, despite our absence. The label on the other hand, especially when it comes to matters like those, is a musical paradise lets say! Hehe Ofcourse they wanted a new album, cause we had delayed it a lot, ofcourse they wanted it to be good, but they never pushed us and gave us a totally artistic freedom. I believe we managed to surpass their expectations in the end! At least from what the reactions of the media and the fans show.
Do you think the band have developed music wise since the previous album NO TURNING BACK?
Totally!!! I think this new album is the most mature and diverse we have ever released. And that also has to do with the fact that is more a team-effort than ever before, as I told you in another answer. We are 6 people in the band with totally different musical backgrounds and influences. And we manage to combine them in this band, by keeping though some characteristics, like the melodiousness and the groove for example. We also became wiser during this period of time, to stuff like recordings, productions, etc.
“Needles In My Mind” was the first official lyric video out from the album, what did the fans think of it?
I think it could also have been the first official video! Haha! The reactions were just great! Honestly, more than we could expect! We had faith to this song, the label also, and that’s why we decided to release it as a lyric video after all. But we surely didn’t expect the reactions. It seems that is a really good chorus… hehe
Needles In My Mind [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO]
How does it feel that over 60 000 people have seen it on youtube?
Over than 100,000 as we speak actually! Hehe How does it feel. Hm. Just imagine that the official video of the song “Burning desires” from our previous album, managed to reach 100000 views in 6 years and do the comparison! We feel really happy, proud and vindicated for all the work we have done! And we thank of course all of our fans for digging our new stuff and support us!
I’ve read melodic metal as description of InnerWish music, but how would you describe it?
I think melodic metal is a cool description. Some people also say we play power metal, though I don’t quite agree with that. But descriptions are there to make us, the fans, “argue” and talk for hours for stuff like that, right? Haha We combine melodiousness, with groove, with some modern elements (some breaks or grooves for example), we have symphonic elements also, we have more aggressive parts and songs and some more hard rock-ish in a way also. It’s a mixture of things. And I think melodic metal sums them up quite good. What do you think? Hehe
How come you named the album INNERWISH? What was the thought behind the choice of name?
Actually it was Thimios’ idea to be the self-titled album of the band. He always wanted to have a self-titled album and he felt that this should be it. That the timing was right! And we all agreed and felt the same way. This is like a new era for the band. With this new lineup, which we all believe is the best we ever had and we all feel stronger and more confident that ever before. And musically-wise, this album represents us and our current state, in the most specific way. We feel really proud of it, especially after all we went through until we released it, and we wanted to make a statement that we are here for good.
What do you think of the cover art work and design made by Felipe Machado Franco and Jan Yrlund?
I love it! I wanted to work with Felipe, cause I’m a big fan of his covers for bands like BLIND GUARDIAN (especially) or LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA or RHAPSODY OF FIRE. We gave him the general idea and Felipe transformed it to this beautiful work of art that you see on the cover. And Jan on the other hand, is an artist that we really feel happy we worked with him. Cool guy, really professional and with a great portfolio also. I think we upgraded in that part also… haha
Can you agree with the biography that says that INNERWISH is your best album so far?
Absolutely!!! And not because it’s our new album and we have to go through the typical stuff “this is the best record” etc etc etc. We really believe that this is the best album we ever released. If not, then surely is the most mature and diverse one! And the main reason is that it’s a team-effort, more than any other of our previous ones and the connection we have between us with this lineup. 6 different people in musical backgrounds, combined in one. Oh… it sounded like a super-hero commercial… haha
Was it your intention to make the album about 70 minutes long?
Not actually. And we had some second thoughts about it. If we should keep 2-3 songs out and stuff like that. But we really liked all of the songs that finally entered the album and we couldn’t decide to leave some out. Though we did it for the tape edition in the end! Haha And after all, it was the first new album after 6 whole years, so we wanted to give to our fans as more music as we could.
The longest song “Rain Of A Thousand Years” clocks in on 6.48 what’s it about? And the shortest “Roll The Dice”, what’s it about?
You picked two songs that I wrote about my country actually! Haha But I think they have lyrics that more or less can be adopted by people and countries around the world, cause we face some similar problems. “Rain of a thousand years”, which by the way is my favourite track also, is about what this country used to be, looking back in it’s history and what has become nowadays. It’s not a nationalist song of course! Haha But all of us should be proud of our countries. Especially of their past, if they have any, cause they kind of shows us the way to follow for a better future! “Roll the dice” on the other hand, is about the economical/political situation we deal with here in Greece. But some other countries in Europe especially deal with the same problems. People must stand up, claim their rights, fight for them, cause if they just stand in apathy, nothing will become better.
What is the ballad “Cross The Line” about?
This is a song that it’s lyrics were written by Manolis, one of our guitar players. He is a surgeon actually in the “real life”… hehe! And it’s quite a personal one, that has to do with a situation he dealt with in his job. I think with these two clues, someone might understand what it is all about.
Metal-rules.com awarded the album with a 4 out of 5, how does that feel? Do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
It sucks man!!! Just 4 out of 5? Was it difficult to give us one more and make it 5 out of 5? Hahaha Kidding of course! It feels great and we really thank you a lot for that!!! Yes, we care about the critics, because criticism, when it’s true, can make you even better. Every critic, good or bad, is worth checking, cause it’s the opinion people have for your work. It’s different when you release an album and you think everything’s great and different when others listen to your work. We respect all opinions. You don’t have to agree with an opinion to respect it. But we respect them all. And of course when these opinions are as great as yours, things seem a lot better! hehe
What does the fans think of INNERWISH?
From the reactions so far, I think they come to the same conclusion with us: That this is our best album so far! And of course they need another one sooner than in 6 years! Haha
Are you happy with the outcome of the album? I think that Eikosipentakis, Krikos and Tsigos impresses big time.
I think that the biggest “bet” lets say, was George Eikosipentakis, cause he is the new voice of InnerWish. And yes, I agree he is impressive! And that’s what people say also. We are really glad that everyone accepted him that easily. He has a great voice with a lot of potentials. He can be aggressive, lyrical or even softer at the same time and with the same ease. Krikos and Tsigos are always getting better and better with time! Like a good old wine! Haha Don’t tell them I called them old though! Haha In general, we are more than happy with the outcome. We are proud!
Studio, production and mixing
You once again returned to the Devasoundz Studio in Athens Greece where you recorded NO TURNING BACK to record INNERWISH, why did you chose to use that studio again?
Because we knew that the result would be just great! Fotis Benardo, ex- Septic Flesh drummer, who is one of the owners and works there and worked with us, is a close friend, more like a brother to us! Actually he was in the band also, before our previous drummer. He is an extremely good drummer, but above all a great musician and producer in general. Thimios also, our guitarist, works there sometimes, so the “team” was ready and we didn’t had to think about it. We will return there for the next album for sure!
Is the studio a well-known one?
In Athens, Greece, it is, yes! And I think it might become well-known in Europe in general, cause some foreign bands come to record stuff there. It’s a really great studio and above all stuff, the knowledge of the ones running it, is exceptional!
Band member Krikos and producer Benardo produced the album, who had the main responsible?
Thimios (Krikos) had the main responsibility. But Fotis (Benardo) was next to him in all the stuff we did there. Especially when it comes to my drumming, cause Fotis is a tremendous player, he did a great job! But as I said, we are brothers, so the communication between us was very easy. And we all shared the same enthusiasm for this album!
How was it to be produced by a band member?
Something normal for us I guess. The previous album too was produced by Thimios and Fotis. We did a lot of work in the pre-production of this album and since Thimios is also a producer for other bands, it seemed quite normal for us.
How come you wanted the album to be mixed by the Swedish master mind Fredrik Nordström?
Because he is Fredrik Nordstrom! Hehe We worked with him for our previous album also and we were more than satisfied with the result of his mix. And just looking at his portfolio is enough to convince you working with him. I think this time he did an even better work!
He also mixed your previous album, was it easy to convince him to work with you again?
Quite easy actually! We contacted him and everything was agreed and planned in no time. He also liked the album very much and that’s an honour for us.
Was any of the members a part of the mixing process in Sweden?
Not actually. And I think this is one thing that will change for the next album. Not that we didn’t communicate with Fredrik. We did and quite easily. But it’s surely different having someone there, cause everything’s done way faster.
Another Swede, Peter In De Betou, took care of the mastering in Tailor Made Production, how come you wanted to work with Swedes?
Well, we didn’t choose Peter due to his origin! Hehe But when it comes to metal productions I think Sweden is the capital in the European map. Not only in productions, but we talk about them now. Fredrik and Peter have worked together quite a few times before and we wanted to try something different for the mastering. And we didn’t regret it at all! They make a great team together.
How long took it altogether to get the album ready for release?
You mean mixing and mastering or the recordings too? Well, having the recordings included, it took us about 3 months to have the final result in our hands. But in general, lets say something like a year and a half. We wanted everything to be in the highest level possible for this album. Don’t know if we achieved it in the end, but what I know is that we surely are proud for it.
What’s it like to be signed to a Swedish label? Are you happy with the work Ulterium Records have put into the album and band so far and do you see any problems in the fact you and the label aren’t based in the same country?
Yes, we are more than happy with the work of Ulterium Records for us! It’s great when a label faces your band as it’s priority and shows with every movement the respect and faith towards you and your work. I can’t say we have seen any problems so far. The best thing with this label is that we can communicate and understand each other perfectly. And always talk about everything and find the best possible solution. And the fact that the label isn’t based in our country, it’s not a problem at all. After all, it’s the internet age! Hehe Maybe we should try to make them Greek in the end… hahaha
Prior to Ulterium Records you were signed to Limb Music, why did you leave them?
It was time for us to search for something different and something new. We surely thank Limb for all that has done for INNERWISH, but that’s how things go in the music industry. There aren’t any hard feelings or things behind the curtains. Just that it was time for something different.
What’s the main difference in between working with UR and Limb Music?
I would prefer to avoid this. I just don’t want to be injustice for no one and as I said before, since there aren’t any hard feelings with Limb and since I explained about Ulterium, I would propably say “pass” here… 🙂
Who owns the legal rights to your older albums today?
Well, that’s a pretty messed situation here. We are working on some stuff at the moment, so I would rather not get into this matter a lot. Most of them our ours. But let’s skip this for now.
What did UR think of that you got both a new drummer and lead singer?
It’s something we couldn’t avoid actually, so UR couldn’t avoid either! Hehe I like to believe, since I am the new drummer of the band, that UR is more than happy with this change and the effect that it had to the new material of the band! Haha As far as I know though, seriously speaking, UR is more than satisfied with our status at the moment.
UR is releasing the album in Europe and North America but what about the rest of the world?
The album is also released in Japan through the label Bickee Music. You can also find the album in South America and the rest of the world, but you have to dig a bit deeper. The album is available in digital form worldwide as well.
Are your albums available on Spotify and Itunes?
Our new album, and the previous album are both available on iTunes and Spotify worldwide.
With all the downloading and streaming that goes on today many bands and artists consider the record industry being close to dead, what do you think?
I think so too, that the record industry is close to dead. At least for the smaller bands and not for the major ones. Although you see that the major bands also try and book more and more live shows and tours. Touring and live shows are the best income for a band nowdays and not the record sales. And I don’t think that downloading is the biggest problem. If you download an album and you like it, you might also buy it. But how many albums will you buy in a month for example? There are so many releases coming out, that it’s very difficult for all of them to have a “success” lets say when it comes to sales. I think internet, downloading and streaming is very helpful for smaller bands. People might learn bands that they didn’t know about. It’s a vast map of metal bands, thousands of bands, trying to be heard. Internet helps. In the end, it’s the use of the internet/downloading/streaming that makes it good or bad. Not the possibility of doing so.
Does the band currently work with any management or booking agency?
No, not at the moment. But we are working with people trying to book shows wherever we can. Lets see what the future brings!
Are there any plans on re-release any of the older albums?
Some thoughts maybe, but not plans. As a band we were thinking of doing something like that, especially with our current lineup. But for now all we have are just thoughts. We are focused on promoting “InnerWish” album and thinking about the next one.
Why do you chose to release only 500 copies of the album world wide on vinyl?
I will tell you a secret: I bought the 499 of them, so I can sell them online later on to collectors and become rich! Haha Well, this is something you should ask UR. In my opinion, 500 copies is a fair number for vinyls. Although vinyl is back in fashion lets say these last years, something that I really like, cause I’m a vinyl fan myself.
When and where and by whom was the band founded?
The band was founded by Thimios Krikos, our guitar player and the only remaining member from the very first lineup of INNERWISH actually. It all began in Athens, our hometown, back in 1995.
Where does the band name come from and who came up with it?
As far as I know, since I wasn’t there from the beginning, one of the members of the band at that time came up with the idea for the name. It represents our deepest wishes. You can say our dreams. The things we want to achieve. The ones deep inside, which usually are the most important for us and many times the most difficult ones, since, unfortunately, in life, you can’t always achieve and do whatever you would dream of. But you can try. And the desire of achieving gives you the strength to do so.
Did all of the members knew each other when the band started out?
No! There were many lineup changes, especially in the first years of the band. It took some years for the guys to have a solid lineup. And then me and George Eikosipentakis came to break their calmness and make them have two more changes! Hehe
Did you began to write your own material from the very start?
More or less, yes. Of course there were the usual covers. Covers of songs from bands that the guys loved at that time. But the main reason creating a band was to write their songs. To express themselves musically.
What did critics think of your debut album WAITING FOR the DAWN from 1998?
Especially in Greece, that album was really loved by critics and people. Back then, the metal scene in Greece was totally different than it is today. “Waiting for the dawn”, for the time it was released, was a really strong album. Everything in music is a matter of taste of course, but if you consider that it was the ticket for the band to sign in Limb Music after that, then I believe it was a very successful debut release.
What can you tell us about the split CD with Reflection you released in 2001?
The guys at Reflection were and still are great friends of ours. So, one night, when both bands were hanging out at Reflection’s studio, one of the Reflection members, Stathis, made the proposal and the rest was quite easy for both bands. It was written at Reflection’s studio and it was the first recording with the new lineup of INNERWISH at the moment. I think it’s a pretty cool split, with a cool artwork, made by Giannis Nakos (RemedyArt Design).
Have the members been parts of any other bands besides InnerWish?
In every lineup INNERWISH had, most of the members were parts of other bands too. I can’t name all of the bands for all the band members that have been in INNERWISH, cause they are quite a lot! Haha For example Fotis Benardo, ex- drummer of Septic Flesh, was in INNERWISH and recorded the split with Reflection and the “Silent faces” album. Me, Thimios and Yiannis Papanikolaou (singer of INNERWISH at the debut album of the band) play together in DIVINER. This is a very big list and I would injustice members and bands in the end, cause I will forget some!
Did you do a lot of live shows during the first active year?
Don’t quite know to be honest. For sure the guys made very strong live shows and some of them really long! For example their first live show in Agrinio (a city in Greece) lasted about 3 hours or something. With only one album released! You can imagine the set list I think! haha
The band have gone through some member changes during the years, do you think your music have been effected by that in order of influences etc?
Yes. I think it has and I can see that with this current lineup for example. After all, if you listen to all our albums in order, you will spot differences in each and everyone of them. The main composers might have been the same, but in a band, each member can bring it’s individual influences. Even a change in the way of playing a part can change the final result. From what it seems, over time, the lineup changes was for the best of the band.
What did the fans and critics have to say about the second and third album SILENT FACES and INNER STRENGTH?
These albums opened some doors for INNERWISH in countries besides Greece. In Europe. It gave the opportunity to the band to play live shows in many countries, with big names of the metal scene and have the chance to make the band’s name more popular in a way. You will always have some critics that aren’t that good as others. But overall, those albums were very well accepted.
It was with SILENT FACES you signed with Limb Music, what was it like to be signed with them?
Back then, it was a huge step for a greek metal band. Not many metal bands from Greece had a contract with a foreign label and a really good one as Limb was at that time. Especially from the heavy or heavy/power genres. Limb Music, back then, had some great heavy/power metal bands, so that was a great opportunity for INNERWISH. The guys should feel proud for that signing.
Do you feel the band have gained new fans for each album?
I think so, yes! And that is something we can realize both from sales, but also from simple facts like the views of our official videos on YouTube. For example, our new video, for “Modern Babylon”, surpassed 100000 views in less than two months. The official video of our previous album, for the song “Burning desires”, surpassed the same number some weeks ago, which means in 6 years time. There quite a big difference there! Haha But I think that the fact that we always try to create a better album than the previous one and keep trying to evolve, is something that people appreciate.
According to the bio the band is big in Japan and Europe, is that correct? And you have performed with acts like Judas Priest, U.D.O, Helloween, Therion, Cavalera Conspiracy and Manowar, have you opened for them or played together at festivals?
I don’t know if that’s correct. It’s something you should ask the fans etc You won’t hear me say stuff like “we are a big band” or similar. We just play our music, the music we love and express ourselves. If people think we are big, it’s wonderful of course! About the bands you mentioned, we’ve played with them in festivals and club shows as main support act. You can also count Saxon and Accept in the list and hopefully more and more bands will be added the following months.
Has the band toured a lot in Greece?
Yes. Up to the point that is possible of course, but I think we covered the biggest part of the greek map! Hehe At least of the places that live shows have a meaning, cause there aren’t that many metal fans all over the country, or, to say it a bit differently, a metal live show isn’t easily possible to be done, from economical perspective. But we always play in as many places in Greece we can. We just love it!
Why has it taken you so long to follow up the 2010 album NO TURNING BACK?
A variety of reasons actually. First of all, we had to face the lineup changes within the band. There were two of them which both postponed quite a few plans we had. And especially when Babis left, we couldn’t write songs without having the voice to sing them. We tried actually, when we decided first to write songs and then search for a singer, but it’s completely different composing and imagining the vocals, than listening to the song at once. We also had some individual problems, as persons in our lives and things were quite blurry in the IW camp. But finally, when the lineup was established, everything was on track. I don’t think we will make another 6 years until the next album.. haha
That album was also mixed by Fredrik Nordström and mastered by Mikka Jussila, how come you wanted to work with them?
I wasn’t in the band at the time, so I don’t know the whole story. All I know is that the guys wanted to try something different than in the previous albums. And Fredrik is a tremendous professional with a great portfolio! Thimios, our guitar player, is a big fan of his work. They contacted him and the rest is history. About Mika Jussila now, he is also a really well-known and established professional. So in the vein of working with some top-notch professionals, they chose him for the mastering.
NO TURNING BACK was also the first release by UR, how was it to ink a deal with them?
As far as I know, the guys had already come to a first agreement with another, really huge metal label back then. It was that label and Ulterium Records actually. But in the end, Ulterium was the choice and I think it was the best possible, especially for that particular period. UR showed the guys that they would be a priority and the work it provided, proved that. I think Ulterium is a great company, cause year by year becomes bigger. Not major still, but with a very respectful name and pretty cool releases!
At the end of 2010 drummer Moros left and earlier that year you joined the band, was his departure expected?
Up to a point, yes, it was expected. He had already talked with the band about his departure and I was practising with them since the summer I think of 2010. He was supposed to leave a bit later though, but OK… that’s life and sometimes things don’t go as planned. I can’t say that this was a problem though, since I was ready. It wasn’t something totally unexpected or that became very quick.
Were you friends of the band before you joined InnerWish?
No. I didn’t even know the guys actually. Personally I mean. I knew the band ofcourse and imagine I once wrote a review for one of their albums (I’m also an editor at Rock Hard magazine of Greece)… haha! Fotis Benardo (ex- Septic Flesh drummer, ex- InnerWish drummer also, producer and our brother) actually was the one that told them about me and insisted actually. I was recording at this studio with the band I was with at the time and when we finished, he told me about InnerWish. I think the guys didn’t regret it… at least they still talk to him! haha
Have you been involved in other bands or projects before joining InnerWish?
Yes. But nothing that big as InnerWish before. I have played in some bands, of various types of metal music. I was in a doom/death band once, a melodic death metal one also and in a power metal one. I was also a member of a band with which we were playing covers of rock songs in clubs and bars here in Athens.
Did you become a solid member from the start?
No. In the beginning I was the “newbie” lets say! Hehe You know, it’s weird when you have your drummer for so many years and now you have to deal with someone you didn’t even know before as a person. And for me it was a bit demanding in the beginning, because I had to learn the songs, feel totally confident for myself, etc. But the good thing is that InnerWish are like a family and it doesn’t take long for someone to feel a member of it. Now I think I will fire them all and hire new guys.. hahaha 🙂
Why did singer Alexandropolos leave the band in 2011?
Babis is a classical tenor. That’s his job, that’s what he has studied. And he is great at that! He graduated from the National Opera of Greece with distinction, so he had to follow his path. It’s his life, his survival. He wasn’t able to sing both metal and opera, cause it’s a totally different way of singing and it would probably hurt his voice, so the choice was obvious.
What did the rest of the members think of his departure?
Weird. On one hand, we were all happy for him, cause he was now able to follow his dream and we knew his potentials and felt very positive about it! On the other hand, he was the singer of the band for so many years and a friend of course. But life is above all, isn’t it?
What did the fans think of the band losing a drummer and singer?
I think there were people that believed that this was the end for us. Without anything released for quite a few years and with the lineup changes, people might have thought that the band would never be the same again. Well, all those who believed that, were right in the end. We are even better I think! Hahaha Seriously, it’s very normal for fans to believe something like that. The good thing is that the same fans believe we released our best album up to date.
Are you friends with those guys today?
Personally I never had the time to become friends with Moros, cause I only saw him in the rehearsal room 1 or 2 times…hehe With Babis though, yes. We still talk and share our news. He is in Germany actually, living there, trying to make his own path as a tenor. They might have left the band, but there are so many memories there, especially for the other guys, so…
Was it hard to find new singer and drummer and how did singer Eikosipentakos end up in the band?
I told you my story lets say. I think also that I was the only one the guys tried. Haha About George now, when we decided to search for our new singer, we asked from some people we believed would be suitable for us to come for a rehearsal. We only saw 2 of them before George. And when we listened to George, we didn’t feel the need to test more. We knew we found our singer from the first 2-3 minutes. We knew his voice, we knew his potentials, but the way he fitted with the rest of us, was something we didn’t expect. Actually, Babis suggested George from the beginning! Haha
What has he been up to before joining the band and what did the fans think of he as the new singer?
No, he isn’t a new singer. He has a lot of experience in singing. He was in a progressive metal band here in Greece and also a member of a cover band. At least these are the two bands I know of. Lets don’t tell him that… hahaha The fans actually loved him at once! He has a very powerful voice and with a lot of diversity, so he can deliver the new songs of course, but the older ones with the same ease and result. They all agree we made the best choice there!
The first thing the new line-up recorded was “Neon Knights” for a Black Sabbath compilation made by Metal Hammer Greece as well as the Warlord cover “Black Mass” to a compilation made by Metal Breed Records in USA, how was it to record with the new guys?
You can say that these two recordings was something like a test-drive for the new lineup. It was the first time me and George were recording with the band. And the experience was different than the ones we had in the past. Every band has it’s own way of recording, working, etc. But I think we did pretty good in the end. It was a good chance for us, but for the band also, to check how this lineup works in the studio and become certain for the recordings of the new album. Besides that though, it was also a good opportunity to release something again after so many years, to let people know we were active again. And recording covers of two beloved songs felt just great!
Past present and future
Is it correct you performed at the Metal Hammer Live Party in Athens Greece last year? How was that?
It was great actually! Great atmosphere, some beloved friends, a great venue full of energy and the first time we played one of our new songs live. It was “Machines of fear”, which we also recorder that night and will release it as an official live video these next weeks. I think we gained some new fans that night. And we “warmed-up” for the live shows for the new album.
Was that the first time you performed live with the new line-up?
No. We had played some shows before with the new lineup. But it was the first time we played live after the recordings of the new album and the first time playing a new song live.
You also did a few shows in April in Greece, how was that?
Pretty cool actually! People seem to really enjoy our new stuff and the band is in great shape I think. At least from my point of view, back there, hidden behind the cymbals and drums! Haha We have one show left now, on the 21st of May and then back in October and November probably for the two big Greek shows in Athens and Thessaloniki. Really looking forward for these shows!
Are there any plans on heading out on a European tour now that INNERWISH is out?
That would be like a dream coming true! But a headlining tour is something very difficult for us I think. It would be better to be the main support at a very good European tour, than headliners. One step at a time is better. The main problem though is financial. It’s very difficult, due to the position of Greece in the European map, for a Greek band to afford a European tour. But we are working on it! At least to play at as many countries as we can!
Does the band have any festival shows booked so far for the summer?
No. It was very difficult due to the date of release of our new album and to the fact that most European festivals were already booked. But we are already working in order to play to summer festival of 2017. Lets hope for the best!
How would you describe a live show with InnerWish as?
A live show full of energy, passion and the will of having a great time! This is what we always try to do, no matter how many people are watching the show. It doesn’t matter for us if we play for 10, 100, 1000, or 10000 people. Our energy is the same, our passion is the same and the feeling that we must make each and everyone that attended the show to have such a good time, that wouldn’t need to consider it coming again!
Late last year, the icon, Lemmy passed away. Has Motorhead, or Lemmy, had any impact on your music? What did you think when you got the news of his passing?
I can’t say that Lemmy had an obvious impact on our music. But hey, it is Lemmy we are talking about. Without Motorhead many things would have been different in the metal scene. Yes, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest etc are bigger names, but there are only a few people that can stand next to Lemmy when it comes to rock/metal icons. Motorhead made rock n roll a part of heavy metal culture. And the way Lemmy lived (OK, leaving the drugs aside) was so unique that inspired many people around the world. Man, he and Motorhead wrote history. One of the reasons many people play is Motorhead. The news weren’t that shocking, cause everyone was expecting that. But ofcourse is totally different when it actually happens. We were all really sad. Especially because he didn’t leave the stage even in his final days. He stood for what he was his entire life, up to his last breath. Nothing less than RESPECT and THANK YOU!
Which era and albums with Motorhead is your favorite?
Hmmm. I like actually all of Motorhead’s eras. But my favourite album is “Another perfect day”. I know many would disagree, but hey, Lemmy had something for us all, didn’t he? Hehe I just LOVE this album. Together with “Sacrifice” (the sick drum groove of Mikkey Dee on the same titled song) they are my two favourites.
Which is the current biggest metal band you have in Greece at the moment?
Without any second thoughts, ROTTING CHRIST! Great guys, totally respectful and a band that helped the greek metal scene as no other. Rotting Christ managed to put greek metal bands in the metal map, back in the days that something like that sounded extremely difficult. Nothing less than respect!
The majority of the Syrian refugees are coming to Greece, have that in any way effected you personally or the band? In Sweden we can see on a daily basis how boats with refugees are coming to Greece and it’s not a pretty sight. One can wonder what the future has in store for mankind.
It might be something “new” for many European countries to see such images of refugees coming to Greece, but it’s not a new situation for us as a country. Greece, due to the geographical position that has, is the “passage” to Europe for many people. And in general we are used in having refugees or immigrants all these years. Though this time is even harder. Especially for those poor people. Cause they found many borders closed and are stuck in places that don’t even have the necessary for their survival. And since politicians over the EU just pretend to care but don’t actually, the problem will becoming bigger and bigger. We are doing many things wrong in Europe. EU is not a union unfortunately. Each country decides to act only when the “problem knocks at its door”. But then it’s too late. Individuals can’t do the difference. “We stand united or fall”. And of course all those stuff affect me and the band in general. Especially when we also face the economical crisis in Greece. Combine these two problems together and you will understand. Most of my lyrics on this album were written after thoughts, reflections and worries concerning situations like the ones we leave. I’m afraid that if we don’t change immediately both as individuals and as whole world in general, the worst things are about to come.
Who runs the bands website? It’s really nice by the way!
Actually our singer, George, made the changes to our website. And I think too it’s really nice! I think we will keep him as web-designer when we fire him… haha Kidding!
Do you think it’s important to be active on the social forums of today?
Absolutely! Without the internet, forums, facebook, etc, it’s very difficult for a band to distinguish, cause there are millions of bands out there. Personally, I can’t be that much active, but I think it’s really important for a band. Well, internet and music is a HUGE discussion.
What can you tell us about the video you shot to “Modern Babylon”?
It’s the song UR chose for our first official video. We were between this one and “Needles in my mind”, which turned out to be the lyric video in the end. And we haven’t regret any of those choices. We wanted a simple metal clip for this song, due to his music also. So we found this abandoned factory in Athens and the rest is what you see in the video. I think it is a video that does its work. And people seem to like it a lot!
Modern Babylon [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs?
Yes there are actually! We will release a live video, as I told you before. But we will also make another official video for a song that seems to be one of the favourites in most people’s reviews and choices from the album. It sure is one of my favourites in the album and I’m curious about the outcome of the video, cause we want to try something different than the “Modern Babylon” video. I don’t know what will come out in the end, but I’m very positive. Oh, I forgot to mention the song! Haha Well, just a little patience. It has quite a lot double-bass drum in there to give a clue.
Do you see any problems of difficulties that the members all are involved in other bands?
Not actually! We all know our priorities. And the priority for each and every member of InnerWish, is InnerWish! So with that in mind, there can’t be any problems. Of course all of us are free to be involved in as many bands or projects as we want. But we know which our main band is, so we avoid scheduling problems and stuff.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered the music of InnerWish yet?
That I feel sorry for them! Hahaha 🙂 Kidding of course. I think that if they would like to find a band that plays melodic metal, but combines modern touch, aggressiveness, groove, symphonic elements and melodiousness at the same time, should check us out. If they don’t I think I will curse their CD players or PCs… haha
Well thanks for taking the time to making the interview, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the readers?
What? We are done? Just in time that I was starting to get in shape! Haha I don’t know about wisdom, but what I know is that people should respect one another. We might have differences, but individuality is not an enemy. Keep your eyes open, don’t trust whatever you see and stand united, or else we will fall! May all your inner wishes come true! And thank you for all the support so far! I really hope we meet in person some day!
I really hope to see InnerWish in Scandinavia soon, I wish you and the band all the best!!
I really hope it will happen!!! I don’t know though if I will return or stay there! Haha I wish you all the best too and thank you for this opportunity and interview!!
//Take care! Frank