The greek guitarist Thanos talks about his first solo album: UNHOLY
Thanasis Bertsatos, Thanos, is a Greek guitarist and singer who began at the end of the eighties playing in Powerdrops, his first band, with which he released two demos and a full length entitled: Seven Feelings (1998). He was also a part of Power Crue in the 1990s. His most recent inclusion was in Lightfold, which occurred in 2018, with whom he released the album a year later: Deathwalkers.
Committed to the local scene, he decided to create the Wreck Athens Fest, where he hosted emerging bands between 2011 and 2016. He has dedicated the last few years to composing for the simple joy of doing it and gradually accumulated material that he began to publish on his channel of Youtube. Motivated by that same creative impulse, a few weeks ago he presented his first solo album. UNHOLY, which he tells us about in this interview.
With a career spanning over 30 years, why release a solo album now?
That’s a great question! I believe it’s the right time. .Last 5 years I have been working on music production at my own studio. I had more free time so I composed a lot of music that didn’t fit the bands I play with. This music material became huge so at first I started with a YouTube channel uploading instrumental songs but I had more some of which I decided to use for the UNHOLY album.
Why did you decide to make a concept album about a vampire, what motivated you to do it?
I love concept albums, I’ve already released two, one with Power Crue and another with Lightfold. The UNHOLY concept is parabolic. It talks about the will to make decisions in life. The vampire is a person who struggles between his unholy nature and his will to become human again.
The songs we listen to are newly created or did you already have them saved from a long time ago?
All songs are composed within the last four years.
Confirm this information for me: did you record all the instruments on the album? If so, why did you decide to do it all on your own without looking for another musician?
Yes I did. I collaborate with many musicians in other projects or bands but for this one it was a challenge to do it by myself in order to create a more personal sound.
Did you have any collaboration during any stage of the creation process of this album?
I worked with CNF studio for the mastering.
The album is only available online or are there physical copies?
Oh! I have also hard copies for distribution, anyone can find them on Bandcamp.
How difficult it has been to publicize this work; have the doors been opened to you?
Not difficult at all. I am against record labels anyway so I wasn’t looking for one to sign in. Any band or artist nowadays can release his/its work on his own via internet distributors where they can get paid all his rights with a minimum cost. I have also over 600 connections for promo through Media PR, so maybe big labels doors are closed for most of the musicians, but if people are willing to find something different to listen then the internet is a big open door. It’s just a matter of will.
I really liked the “Road to Madness” song, how is your compositional process becoming this melodic?
There is no typical process. It’s just about ideas flowing down my mind. I’ve always been melodic; you can check it out on my YouTube channel.
So far, how has been the response to the album, do you consider the possibility of making another one in the future?
People like various stuff. Some will love my music, others will not. Doesn’t really matter. I make music by inspiration and not for big sales. I have 2 more albums to release for the next 12 months. You’ll hear from me again very soon.
How did you decide to make your own music festival?
Many bands don’t have the chance to play in big venues so i thought if we have a festival which gives the opportunity to any underground band to deliver its music, it would be great. And so it was done.
I understand that you focus on local bands, how is the local Greek scene, does any genre predominate?
Metal and rock music has been fading in Europe the last 20 years and so does also here in Greece. Fewer audience but many bands. Fortunately there is a good production of music. As for the audience, it runs in circles and people will come back to metal again at some time.
What are the main complications that you have had to overcome to get the festival going?
No main complication at all. If every detail is organized then everything runs perfect. The secret is always having a plan B.
What is the projection of the festival, do you want to increase its spectrum or do you plan to keep it underground?
The fest will remain underground for sure.
I read that you are preparing a play, is it your first experience as a playwright or have you written plays before?
Well this is not my play. I was invited to compose the music part by Siraina Koutra who is the scriptwriter and director. It’s self financed as most of the plays are and everyone gets paid from the tickets. That’s how it goes here. Very similar to the music reality. This is my first time composing music for a theatrical act. It’s a big challenge to combine music with real time acting. Needs a great deal of work with the actor so everything may run properly. Unfortunately the Covid situation caught us first and the play haven’t reach the theaters yet.
How is the theater scene in Greece; does it live more on government support or private initiative?
The big shows may sometimes get some finance help from the government, but most are self-financed. Unfortunately the State here doesn’t support culture and art sufficiently as it should.
With so many projects ahead, what will you focus on in the coming months and where can we find out more about your work?
With the Covid situation the bands’ activity is paused. So I am focusing on my personal projects. Next to come is the instrumental music from the theatrical play i mentioned. Also these days will begin recordings for my second personal album. Everyone can listen and get my music on many internet music platforms.
Thank you very much for your time, any final words for Latin American readers?
Thank you very much for the interview and keep supporting music.