Interview with Paladine
Christ Stergianidis (bass)
Sotiris Paraskevas (guitar)
John Kats (guitar)
Interview by Andrea Di Stasio
Hey and thank you for your time. Please state your name and position in the band.
(Christ) Greetings! This is Christ Stergianidis, bass player and founder of Paladine.
(Sotiris) Hello and thank you for the questions! I am Sotiris Paraskevas, guitarist of Paladine.
(John) Hi Andrea, thanks for the interview! My name is John Kats, I’m a guitarist and one of the most recent members of Paladine.
Congratulations on your second upcoming album, 4 years after “Finding Solace”: how would you describe it in 3 words?
(Christ) Thank you very much. After 4 years, our second album “Entering the Abyss” is out now. I would describe it in 3 words as: “We’re very proud!”
(Sotiris) Our latest record “Entering the Abyss” is a concept album that describes (through the music and the lyrics) an epic story based on the Dragonlance novels. It is a form of storytelling as each song is supposed to create a different feeling to the listeners, depending on which part of the story the lyrics talk about. Overall, the music is set in a dark atmosphere, while at the same time being epic and lyrical. It consists of 11 songs, including an intro and an outro and compared to “Finding Solace” it’s darker and a bit heavier. Actually, “Entering the Abyss” is my first album with Paladine and my first album with a band in general, so I really love this album!
(John) I like so much the final result of our new album and I think it would be a little difficult to describe it in 3 words. Epic, dark & heavy are probably the 3 words that reflect the overall album.
How did the pandemic affect the album production?
(Christ) Definitely the pandemic affected the album production, but actually, it had a positive effect. Due to the quarantine, practically everyone involved in the composition, songwriting and production, had no other obligations or commitments, and hence a lot of time to work on it. The only drawback was the fact that everybody worked remotely online and therefore, there was no physical presence and collaboration of all band members in the same place. It was a back-and-forth process, which involved exchanging files. In fact, the pandemic helped us a lot in doing the album faster than we expected. Obviously, this might not sound nice, but as far as the album production process is concerned, the pandemic was a good thing.
“Entering the Abyss” is a concept album based on the universe of Dragonlance saga, which is a favourite of Christ. Do all of you share the same love for the saga or was it a completely new concept for the rest of the band?
(Sotiris) Actually, when I became a member of the band I wasn’t even aware of the Dragonlance universe. My love for the style of music Paladine played was the reason I joined the band. However, as we started composing the songs for “Entering the Abyss”, our bassist Christ (who is the mastermind behind the concept of the band) had to describe to me the parts of the story our songs would talk about. Therefore, I started liking the Dragonlance saga and now I am just one extra fan of the Dragonlance universe!
(John) I would not say that we don’t share the same love with Christ but it’s an interesting experience for all of us.
Why was it chosen as the topic for this concept work apart from Christ’s love for it? Is there a deeper meaning to the mythical quest?
(Christ) Dragonlance stories are a way of living for me and they are connected entirely to my childhood and all of my middle age period until now. Except for epic stories and fantasy worlds, there have deeper meanings of the modern world. All the stories are connected to everyone in the world we are living and all the dilemmas we have in our lives and the difficulties we lived in. Through these fantasy stories, we put ourselves into the heroes’ substances and problems.
How did line-up changes affect the band and the sound? Does everyone bring something different to the table?
(Christ) Certainly, the line-up changes affected both the band and its sound. Definitely, now the band consists of musicians with better skills. This allows us to do more and have a better, clear sound, which is closer to the sound we are aiming for. In order to achieve that, the new musicians joining the band had to serve this purpose. Concerning the issue of bringing something to the table, Sotiris Paraskevas (guitar) composed three songs and composed/played all solos on the album. John Kats (guitar) wrote a solo and participated immensely in the production process by providing his input and sharing his own views and ideas. The same goes for Mpampis Tsolakis (drums) as well. Everyone, including the original singer Nick Protonotarios and myself, worked on the album together as a unit. It was a team effort regardless of each member’s individual contribution.
How did you know Thimios Krikos? And did this collaboration help shape the album?
(Christ) I’ve known Thimios for a long time. Apart from being our producer and our collaborator, he is also a very good friend of mine. We often talk about things that have nothing to do with music. We’ve known each other very well. Both my family and his family have a strong relationship as well. Did this collaboration help shape this album? Well, he made a significant contribution to the first album in terms of the arrangement, taking my ideas and giving his personal views about various aspects of the record as a producer. But as far as the new album is concerned, we – especially Nick and Sotiris – had a very clear idea about how the songs should sound like and what we wanted to do. So, we did not give Thimios the chance to do his own thing. As a matter of fact, he realized that did not need to make any changes or adjustments at all, since both the band and the songs were already more solid compared to the songs on the first album. Therefore, as the producer, he focused solely on the production, the recordings and the mixing of the album without contributing, for example, to the songwriting process or other aspects. I would like to thank him very much for everything.
Would you say any of the band members align well with characters from the Dragonlance saga?
(Sotiris) I don’t think so. Our goal is to compose music that describes the story and not resemble some fictional characters ourselves. However, you could say our singer Nick kind of resembles Raistlin when he sings our songs and that’s part of the storytelling. The storyteller-singer has to be both an actor and a singer at the same time and I think Nick achieved that. When I listen to our songs, I could imagine Raistlin being the singer and narrating the story.
Do you think that the Dragonlance saga could ever be staged as a rock opera and would Paladine be interested in that?
(Sotiris) If a story is able to inspire a concept album, to me that means it could easily inspire any form of musical as well and a rock opera would be a good example. I believe it is a possible scenario, assuming that enough people would want to make that happen. Of course, we would be interested in such an event and I think we could offer songs that could support it.
Are there any other noteworthy sources of inspiration for Paladine?
(Christ) Regarding the lyrics, as much as this might seem somewhat bad or strange, the only source of inspiration for Paladine is the world of Dragonlance and nothing else. As far as the music is concerned, certainly, a very significant source of inspiration is the 80s music scene and bands, which we had been listening to as teenagers and we are still listening to this day – for example, Manowar, Judas Priest, my favourite band Heaven’s Gate, and in general the entire 80s power metal, both the European and American scenes.
(Sotiris) As individuals, we have very different sources of inspiration, but there are a lot of bands that we all like. Overall, Paladine shares common elements and finds inspiration in bands like Heaven’s Gate, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Riot and Kamelot. However, the personal inspirations of each member have an effect on the songwriting and the result is a combination of modern and old school elements.
It is clear that metal is a lifestyle for the band, how did it all start?
(Christ) Everything started from myself just being a fan and because of my passion for heavy metal, especially the Greek scene. I wanted to contribute to the scene and so I had been working on a few songs and a concept based on some personal ideas. Then I got together again with a couple of former bandmates of mine, who used to play together in another amateur band and decided to create something new altogether. The motive was simply our common passion and love for metal music. In general, the metal community is so passionate about this genre to the point of treating it as a lifestyle, not just a simple music genre, and this is true for Paladine as well. I would say that firstly we consider ourselves as metal fans, and secondly as musicians. Each one of us within the band regularly buys CDs, attends live shows, talks about metal, etc. This showcases the true character of the band and the respect for the music itself.
What does it mean to be a power metal band in Greece?
(Sotiris) Here in Greece, people who listen to metal and love this kind of music are extremely supportive and helpful to power metal bands like us and basically any kind of metal bands. However, most of the people who are not metalheads don’t know or care about metal bands, so it is a little difficult to respected by a considerable amount of people. In order to achieve that you have to be very well-known and famous. In most cases, bands are well-known only in the metal community.
(John) Definitely, it’s not the best thing because there is not a large audience in the genres of Heavy Metal. Our goal is to do what we love and looking ahead step by step until our dreams come true.
Is there a guest musician that you would like to work with in the future?
(Sotiris) We don’t currently have any fixed plans for a guest in the future, but there are a lot of Greek musicians that we appreciate and we think they are very talented. There might be a guest in a future album, most likely a Greek musician, but we don’t know for sure yet.
(John) Of course, there are many musicians I would like to work with them but if I should pick some, definitely I would say my guitar teacher George “The Kid” Karafotis (Power Quest, Wild Willy’s Gang) and the mighty Andy James which is one of my biggest influences so far.
What is the first place where you would like to play once the current situation is over?
(Christ) The first place I would like to play is definitely my hometown, Athens. I would like to play a show as huge as possible, where we will be presenting live our new album. Hopefully, we will be able to do that soon enough in front of a large audience having a good time and drinking a lot of beer. This will definitely be a morale booster for all of us.
(Sotiris) Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to play many lives with Paladine yet here in Greece. So, the first place I would like to play at is my hometown, Athens. I haven’t had the chance to play many times here, so any other place comes next. Anyway, I hope this pandemic situation will be over soon and we will return on stage.
(John) Probably in my hometown Thessaloniki, GR.
What is 2021 looking like for Paladine as a band and as individuals?
(Christ) Apparently, 2021 is not looking good in terms of live shows. It is highly unlikely to hit any stage this year and we are not thinking about playing live shows at the moment. So, we intend to promote the new album as much as possible through magazines, webzines, fanzines, radio, social media, etc. and receive feedback. We’ve already got many thoughts and ideas about the third album, but we will not be working on that during this year. I think that this year is all about promoting the new album as much as possible and wherever possible. Individually, we will keep on practising and rehearsing, because we are eager to play live shows. We want to be ready for the stage in order to live up to the expectations of the fans, who miss attending shows so much.
(Sotiris) For Paladine as a band, we just released our album “Entering the Abyss” so it is the year we enjoy our new record that came out. Normally, we would like to play some lives and introduce our new songs to our fans, but because of the current situation, this is not possible. We will probably take advantage of this time to work on some new ideas for future material. As for me as an individual, at the moment I am trying to practice the things I learnt from this album and become a better musician. As I mentioned earlier, it was my first album with a band and it was a very meaningful experience, as I learnt a lot of important things about playing the guitar and composing music in general. I am trying to become better by evolving what I have learnt.
(John) First of all, we would like all this situation of the pandemic to be over as soon as possible and we will be all safe. After that, we are hoping to start the live shows in and outside of Greece
Thank you so much for your time, is there anything else that you would like to say to Metal Rules’ readers?
(Christ) Stay healthy, stay safe and stay metal! Do your best to support your local scenes, because bands really need this support, especially during this difficult period. I would like to thank Metal Rules UK and you, the readers, for your time. Always keep the flame burning…
(Sotiris) There is one thing I would like to say. Nowadays, because of the pandemic, most musicians are in a difficult situation, so it would be nice if we all tried to support the musicians we like. Even one click on one song on Spotify or one view on the Youtube channel of the musician is enough. After all, listening to music is something we all do while we stay home, the days we must do so.
(John) Thank you as well! To all the readers, thank you for taking the time to read the interview!
Follow, like and subscribe to Paladine’s official pages for more are coming…Stay safe!