Interview by Cristóbal Torres
Black Fate is just about to release its fourth album this very October: ITHACA, and, just like the Odyssey, this album will be a great journey through music. It is the first time in six years that the band has released new material, and we wondered why it took so long. Nikos Sintzilonis, drummer and band founder, answers this and more for Metal-Rules.com.
Why did you take six years to release a new album; what were the factors that determined this circumstance?
Nikos Tsintzilonis (NT): After the release of our previous album, BETWEEN VISIONS AND LIES, we already had some of our songs ready but different kinds of circumstances were the reasons for this delay. Vasilis Georgiou, our singer, and Gus Drux, our guitar player, where in the middle of their own project releasing the album of Sunburst; also Gus was on the road with Suicidal Angels for quite a while so we couldn’t get in touch to get our own project on the run. The other reason for our delay was the sudden change of labels that arose and of course the corona virus crisis so here we are six years later and ITHACA is here.
What opportunity does a record like ITHACA give us to survive the current confinement?
NT: Music is always a ship that takes us to a trip beyond our problems, beyond reality, so ITHACA is here to take us to a trip full of melodies, full of visions from another era and gives us pleasure and joy in our souls and in our state of mind.
Greece is a nation with a very rich culture, the name of your album: Ithaca, immediately refers us to the Odyssey, but is there a meaning beyond the literary reference or what was the reason for naming the album like that?
NT: The reason we named the album ‘’Ithaca’’ is that in everybody’s life we have had a trip like Odyssey through storms, through rough seas, but always in the end you reach home, you reach Ithaca.
When did you start working on the songs on this album, how different was the writing process compared to your previous works?
NT: We started working in our songs right after the release of our previous album. This time was totally different the way we wrote the songs. As always, I started the themes but this time Vasilis worked all the vocal melody lines and the lyrics, and Gus worked and changed some riffs so he enriched all the melodies and, of course, our new keyboard player, Themis (Koparanidis) gave us new arrangements and sounds. It’s teamwork and when you hear our new album you will understand that this worked for us.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time the band has released two consecutive albums with the same lineup, right? Did this help during the writing process?
NT: Yes, you are right, we have the same lineup. Of course, it helped that we’ve known each other for so long now and we know what to expect from one another and everyone gives 100% to our projects.
How was the recording process, how long did it take, and how easy (or difficult) was it to do it taking into account that it is already your fourth studio album.
NT: I will start from the second part of your question. The process of making an album is always difficult because of the lack of time and because we all do other occupations, but it’s our pleasure to be in the process of writing and making the album.
We start by writing the rhythm, the drum parts; then Gus and Vasillis Liakos, our bass player, take over writing the riffs and the bass lines; then keyboards get on board and finally our singer Vasilis writes the vocal lines. It took us approximately 3 years or more.
You achieved a very good production. Did you have a producer to help you in that part or you worked on your own?
NT: After the writing process we started looking for a producer that could cover what we needed for our work. We looked in Greece and we looked overseas and we decided that the person that we wanted to work with was the very talented producer Steve Lado from Athens, Greece.
Why did you choose ‘’Savior Machine’’ as your first single; what does that song have in particular?
NT: ‘’Savior machine’’ is one of our favorite songs in this album. It has a catchy chorus. It’s the fastest song in the album and we think it’s a song that will give you the mood of our whole album.
There are bands that change their sound over time, but you seemed to evolve by improving the production of your recordings, are you aware of the direction you want to go on each album, or you let everything flow spontaneously?
NT: Black Fate is a band that has an identity in music and we’ve had it for quite a while now so spontaneously, our identity overflows us, that’s what we know how to do and I think we’re doing it pretty well, so no, we don’t have any directions before we go to where our heart and souls take us.
Greece has been one of the hardest-hit countries economically in recent years, how has this been reflected in the music scene; has it been more difficult for you to move forward, or has it not had much influence?
NT: Of course, the economic crisis of our country for the last decade has been very hard on our band as it was in every band in our country. We need to work beside our music career, we all have other occupations and when things are hard on our jobs it influences all the levels in our lives including music, this is one of the reasons that this album was delayed after all.
It seemed that Greece had taken control of the pandemic very well, but there have recently been considerable outbreaks, how will this affect your plans to promote the new album; do you think you are closer than in other parts of the world to be able to play live?
NT: Yes our country was lucky in the pandemic crisis but over the last month we had a big outbreak so of course, it affects our band and our future programming as far as the lives goes, so while the pandemic crisis is so unstable right now in all through Europe we can’t program anything, the only thing that we can do is wish that everyone is okay, everyone is healthy and our lives will go as we had it in our minds in the future.
How will you spend the rest of the year taking into account the strong restrictions that there are to go out; will you rehearse, compose new material; will you promote the album?
NT: Τhe only thing that we can do right now is promote our album through the internet and social media. We have some ideas for our new material so yes, now we have the time to compose, not rehearse because we have to keep our social distance but it’s a nice time to compose and think of the right steps ahead for our band.
Thank you very much for your time! Any final words for readers?
NT: We hope our fans will enjoy our new album ‘’Ithaca’’, keep safe, keep healthy everyone, and hope to see you live in the near future. Thanks for the opportunity that you give me to communicate with our fans. I wish you all the best, Nikos.
BLACK FATE – Nemesis (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)
BLACK FATE – Savior Machine (VISUALIZER)