Thirty Fates – Singer Stelios Papakostas, drummer Nikos Tsintzilonis and guitarist Elias Tsintzilonis

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Singer Stelios Papakostas, drummer Nikos Tsintzilonis and guitarist Elias Tsintzilonis – Thirty Fates

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall

Thanks to Roberto at Rockshots Records for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Rockshots Records for the promo pictures of the band.

Singer Stelios Papakostas and two brothers (drummer Nikos Tsintzilonis and guitarist Elias Tsintzilonis) are the core in the new band Thirty Fates from Greece. Everyone in the trio has been a part of the band Black Fate and before that in the band Metal Invaders, drummer Nikos is still a member of the band Black Fate. Now the friends has a new band together. When it comes what is written about Black Fate in the Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives, not much is correct. Contrary to what is there, Black Fate is still going strong and Thirty Fates is a brand new act. I had the pleasure to talk to all three band members but it was mostly singer Stelios Papakostas that made his voice heard. We spoke abut the past, present, what is going to happen with the band, and why they featured covers of Black Fate songs on the album and only one new written song. If you are a fan of Black Fate you’re going to like this. CIRCUS BLACK is a great album all over however the interview was made a while back but is still valid, Enjoy……


Hi nice to talk with you today, how are you doing?

Hello, thank you for inviting us. Everything’s great as we are enjoying our release and all the beautiful feedback from around the world, so we must admit, it is a rather happy period for all of us.

What’s the status in Greece regarding restrictions and the pandemic?

Pretty much, I believe it’s the same difficult situation like in the rest of the world. Unfortunately, we are still facing a confusion on how to interact with the people around us, but we surely hope it will soon come to an end.

The predecessor to Thirty Fates was the band Metal Invaders which was formed back in 1988, did the band release any albums and who were the members in the band back then?

Back in the dawn of the 80’s the three of us (Stelios, Elias & Nick) formed the Band, with the name “Metal Invaders”.
During that period there were no live performances, only rehearsals and some song compositions, which were purely experimental. A few years later, and amidst some bass players swapping, Hercules Fanarakis joined the band, the name changed to Black Fate and our first demo tape was a fact.

In 1990 Metal Invaders changed name to Black Fate, what’s the story behind the name change?

To be honest, “Metal Invaders” defined our entry into the metal community. With Hercules coming a lot of things changed; there was a general revitalization of new ideas and in the way we were writing the songs, fresh material came up, so it was the right time to portray that change to the band’s name as well. Black Fate reflected us, our characters, our sound, and our music.

Was it Stelios that left Black Fate first? Why and when did he leave?

Yes, Stelios was the first one to leave the band, as he followed a solo career, and didn’t have enough time for the band. Hercules replaced him.

Is it correct that he had a side solo pop career and toured through Greece?

We can say that you are well informed (ha-ha). That is true, Stelios ventured on a solo career for more than 20 years, also forming the pop band “Blow’’ alongside.

Elias, you stayed a little longer in Black Fate, why and when did you leave, and what were you up to?

After Stelios left, Hercules became the lead singer-bassist and we recorded two demo tapes during that time. When in 1996 Hercules left the band, I also focused on my studies, so we postponed the Black Fate project until 1999, when we met with Stelios and released the Uncover album. I think I never left until 2005 as with Nick we were always experimenting in new ideas.

Nick you continued on in Black Fate and the band released its last album 2020, the info sheet say that you have been involved in other bands as well, could you tell us which bands?

I never gave up, even when there was silence for some years, I was working on new songs.
I also collaborated with several bands like Secret Theory, Vital, and many more in local scenes mostly, usually as a sessionist.

Nick, what made you stay to the end in Black Fate?

There is no ending with Black Fate, it’s the spirit that pushes me to move forward, I find no other explanation.
You can say I am a dreamer and Black Fate has always been my dream.

The site Encyclopedia Metallium stated that Black Fate was put on ice in 2020 and later emerged into Thirty Fate, is that correct and what happened with the rest of the members Gus Drax, Vasilis Liakos and Vasilis Georgiou in Black Fate, what are they up to now?

There is a misunderstanding here; Lets clarify some things. Black Fate is continuing with the members mentioned above.
Thirty Fates emerged out of necessity to play together again. As we know the rest of Black Fate members are also running their projects currently.

Who own the legal rights to the name Black Fate today?

Nick owns the legal rights, as Stelios, Elias and Hercules are no longer in the band.

Black Fate have continued to update its Facebook page until this year, who runs it and is the band still active?

The band members run the social media platforms and as mentioned above the band is still active.

How come Thirty Fate doesn’t have a proper website?

Our priority was to complete the album and the Videos, so to have enough material for our social pages, YouTube Channel and of course the website. Basically, the site is under construction, and our goal is to have it ready by the end of February.

The new band Thirty Fates

Are you still friends with former members in Black Fate?

Wow!!! Of course we are, those guys are amazing musicians, they gave a fresh new sound and character to the Band, and we are all happy that the brand Black Fate continues 30 years later.

The info sheet says that you met each other five years ago, rehearsing the old stuff reminiscing the good old times.. who got in touch with who and who came up with forming Thirty Fates?

Over the years there was always the thought lingering in the back of our heads, but it was never the right time to get together. Stelios came up with the idea of an anniversary release, using our songs from the first demo cassette, motivating us to do it now or never.

I’ve also read that you felt the need to reform the band after so long time because you missed playing music together again. Which band is it you want to reform?

In fact, it wasn’t about the band but the band’s members that still had the need to play together again! That feeling together with the encouragement from good friends all over the years, led us to become a band again. Τhe last thing on our minds was a band name, but as we Greeks say, appetite grows while eating!

How does it feel to make music in the shape of Thirty Fates?

Since day one, the feeling stays the same. The only difference is that nowadays we are more experienced with the procedure and the approach of writing music, than we were back in the 90’s.

How come you chose to name the band Thirty Fates? Does the name have any special meaning to you?

We choose Thirty Fates because it was suitable with the current anniversary release. Thirty Fates as a band name sounds great and reflects on our first period as bandmates and the new era coming. Meanwhile, Nick our drummer reformed Black Fate with new members and continues the story for ten years now, so we wouldn’t want this to become an obstacle for neither of us.

The band is a trio, but who plays bass and keyboard?

Our best friend and partner Kostas Junis form the Greek Band Konan, recorded all the bass parts, but unfortunately he is no longer with us (R.I.P). Marinos Tokas is playing all the keyboard parts and he also did this spooky amazing intro, Circus of Fate.

New album CIRCUS BLACK

The album contains four tracks originally recorded back in 1991 as well as three unreleased tracks from the 80’s and three songs from the Black Fate rear EP, are all the songs old Black Fates songs?

Yes exactly, all of them. To be more specific, Circus Black consists of four songs from our first demo and two more songs from the same era, performed only in some gigs. After the release of the album Uncover, we had also a four-track unofficial release, borrowing two songs from this one and our last song as “we fly” is completely new.

How come you chose to re-record old songs and only add one new track on the album?

Our first demo never had the chance to get out of the drawer, considering the other releases. It was a good idea to give the opportunity to those tracks by releasing them officially. “Because we fly” was a pleasant surprise for us and may mark a new era for the band.

Who writes the music and the lyrics in the band? And what are the lyrics about?

We follow the same pattern as when we started, both in the composition of the songs and in the recordings. Ιt is a collective effort, as all of us bring several ideas and then together we decide what is more suitable.

Did you add any new elements to the old songs when you re-recorded them?

Certainly, our first recordings may sounded like they were written by a young band, but as the compositions are concern, we think they were always interesting. Honestly all the melodies and the choruses are the same but we made some changes to the verse parts, and modify the orchestration to a more nowadays sound.

What’s the name of the new song you added?

It is the last song of the album, Because we Fly.

The album isn’t a concept one, but I read that if the listener read the track listing it feels like a concept album, what do you mean with that?

Combining the music and the CD hard copy material, it definitely reflects to a concept as a whole. By listening to the songs, I think it’s like a life’s puzzle. Each song has its own story for sure, by following the track list you will realize a life cycle which everyone can relate.

What are the longest songs “The Pretender” (4.08) and “Be Free” (4.01) about?

“The Pretender” is one of the very first songs ever written, from the time we were a trio. It is a pure Heavy Metal track with great riffs and lyrically depicts the personality of a person who is genuine and does not pretend. To be honest, the song reflects the course of a Metalhead over the years and how he struggles within an era that is flooded with other norms and habits while remaining genuine.

“Be free” was the fourth track of our first demo tape and from the first time it was an absolute priest alike song for us.
Freedom is different for everyone, there are many ways to interpret it, but you must search within yourself to find your own way to be free.

How come you named the album CIRCUS BLACK, is there a story behind the title?

We traveled a lot all those years, we have performed and entertained in many different places and scenes. After all, life is a game, and we all play in the same arena. Keep in mind that in ancient Rome the circus was a gaming arena. Ultimately our title was influenced from our personal life adventures, good or bad. Also, we believe that the reflection of this album is an atmosphere that is happily black.

Stelios you did the cover artwork, what was your idea behind the cover and were you given free hands to create?

There was nothing specific from the beginning. During the recordings I came up with the idea considering the above.
It was a challenge for me how music and the art cover would be conveyed, and I believe it was a success.

How would you like to describe what kind of music the band plays?

We think that it’s a combination of melodic, pure, emotional and loud songs, quiet frankly it is Heavy Metal.

Do you think old fans of Black Fate are going to appreciate the music of Thirty Fates?

From the reactions and feedback so far, it seems that the old fans like it, it is a pleasant surprise for them, and something they did not expect. The fact that new audiences also respond positive makes the release even more interesting.

The info sheet states that fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio and Ozzy Osbourne are going to like your music, can you agree with that and is the band inspired by those old heroes?

Honestly, I am not the right person to identify that, since I am one of the creators. In all the ways, it is an honor when Thirty Fates are mentioned among bands like Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Ozzy Osbourne etc. Grasped from all the classics of the 80’s & 90’s scene of course, also influenced subsequently by the newer metal genres, and I think this is reflected in Circus Black.

What can you tell us about the first single/video “Just For A Little” that was released at the end of September last year, how was it to shoot a video during a pandemic?

Filming “Just for a little” was quite difficult as we were getting ready for a new lockdown. The fact that we all live in different cities made it even more difficult to find the right location and to synchronize the whole procedure.
Finally, we managed to make 3 videos in 3 months.

Just for A Little (Official Music Video)

Tim “Ripper” Owens and Angel Wolf Black make guest appearances on the album, how did they end up working with the band and how was it to work with them?

With Angel we are friends, and we were lucky as when we were recording, she was in Greece, and she responded immediately. Angel is a great add up and, in the studio, we realized what a professional she turned out to be since she got straight into the mood and did all these vocals at once.

In Tim’s case Stelios dared to send him an email asking if he wants to collaborate in Be Free, as we were always thinking that this song was priest-like. We couldn’t believe that he responded and also liked the song, so in a few days the tracks were sent.

Has the pandemic made it hard for the band to promote the album?

During the pandemic a lot of people streams music so, this is the good part. But a good promotion derives from live performances and interacting with the people so, this is the bad part as we haven’t perform live yet.

I read a few reviews of the album which have been really positive, does the band care about what critics and media have to say about your work?

Certainly, when you make music, you hope it has the acceptance of the public and the media. In our case this seems to be the case and we are very happy about it. The truth with the media is somewhere in the middle, there are of course many experienced journalists and certainly any criticism is welcomed either positive or negative. At the end of the day, we believe that the public is the best judge.

The Pretender (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

Are there any differences in how the foreign and the native media treats and writes about the band?

There are no peculiarities in relation to the foreign media and the reviews are equally good here.

In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of the album or do you feel you should have done anything in a different way?

Being aware that we haven’t record a single note all those years, and the fact we were musically separate, we must admit we are very happy with the outcome. However we do acknowledge that in a future release, we have to improve and provide an upgraded material.

 

Studio and production

Where was the album recorded and how long did it take to finish the recording process?

The whole production finalized at thirty-three music lab studios (thirty on both occasions is a coincidence) owned by Christian & Stelios.

The orchestration and pre-production took about 6 months. Main recordings took almost 1, 1/2 year, due to pandemic issues.

Where did Owens and Black record their parts?

As we know Tim records his parts in Ohio.

Stelios you and Christian Rahm produced the album together, how was that and who took on the most responsibility?

Chris and I know each other for many years so, there is a perfect chemistry between us. From my side, I knew the sound the band wanted, and Christian knew how to get the best outcome possible from the production. We must say that Chris is responsible for this dynamic production, and we are thankful.

What do you think are your strongest feature as producer?

I have been involved in recording, orchestration and production for many years now, but I think it is more interesting to work with the band’s psychosynthesis, philosophy and sound. I think this engagement and hard work is the way to get the best result. I believe it’s a feature that sets me apart.

Who did the mastering/mixing and where did that take place?

The mixing was made by Christian Rahm in Thirty-Three music lab studios and the mastering in the same location by an expert.

Label

Was it easy to find a record label?

It has always been difficult to find a record company, especially when you are a new brand, and nowadays in particular with such increasing demands. We are lucky that Rock Shots Records appreciated our music, and we thank them.

How come you chose to ink a deal with Rockshots Records?

Initially Nick already had a contract with Black Fate, and this made the access easier. But surely, they liked Thirty Fates as a concept, so we began working together.

RR also released the last album with Black Fate back in 2020, Nick are you happy with the work the label put into the album?

We have Ithaka & Circus Black, two releases with such good reviews, meaning that there was a good promo, so yes, I can assure that both myself and my bandmates are satisfied.

Nick you have been co-working with different labels through the years and what have been the most positive with working with RR compared to other labels?

Each collaboration had its own benefits in the time of occurrence, and in general we remain friends with previous companies. As the music industry has changed in terms of mode of operation, I believe that the choice of RockShots was ideal as the guys have adapted to the current trends.

RR is releasing the album on CD and as download, any plans on putting it out on vinyl as well?

We do have mentioned that, but we are thinking is to early to talk about that at this moment. However, it would be great to have Circus Black on Vinyl format. Is the band fans of the vinyl format?

From the responses we had so far, most of the fans preferred Circus Black in vinyl rather than cd.

What’s the pros and cons with working with a smaller label as RR?

Collaborating with smaller record labels means more attention given to the release. Especially, you feel that the priority and importance to the band is much greater in relation to bigger record companies were you usually are the last in line.

Is RR releasing the album worldwide or only in Europe?

Yes, it is a worldwide release.

 

Past present and future

At the time of the release of the album the single/video “Be Free” was out and on that song Ripper Owens sings, why wasn’t he featured in the video?

It was a bad synch on both sides, as he was working on some new projects, as usual this guy is unstoppable, and we were in a hurry to launch the clip alongside with the album release. We wish to re-collaborate and make some cool staff in the future.

Any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs on the album?

We have already three Videos and someone would say it’s quite enough for a release but yes, we are planning to launch some more staff soon. We apologize, but we cannot announce more at this moment.

Besides Facebook and Instagram is the band active on other social forums?

We also have our YouTube channel and Spotify.

Do you think the release of CIRCUS BLACK is going to increase the number of followers on your Facebook which currently is about 900?

As the band (and its keyword) is completely new to most people and platforms, we are happy with our Facebook followers right now and will probably reach more in the future.

How come there’s not much info about the band on Facebook, I can’t find any info or info about shows and only a few pictures of the band?

Because we were so busy with the release; we are working on them and will be set soon along with the website.

Any plans on performing live during 2022?

In general, live performances in Greece is a nuisance with the pandemic prevailing. We believe that from March we will have a clearer plan for summer appearances.

Is the band currently working on any new material to the next album?

Basically, we are working on three new ideas but for us summer is the best period to get together and work on them.
Τhe process is done remotely at the moment.

Be Free ft. Tim Ripper Owens (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Thirty Fates?

Just push the play button and give it a try (ha-ha). Initially we just wish people to love the album as much as we do.
But surely if someone wants to dig deeper, by browsing the Booklet and the lyrics, he will discover many things that allegorically reflect the course of a band, a Metalhead, with a faded recollection of the past and an abnormal landing in today’s reality.

Is Thirty Fate here to stay?

The initial idea was to record those songs in vinyl only for ourselves. Some of our friends encouraged us to make a release and the rest is already known. Through the procedure of making this album, it affected us positively, it was a call to act again so, we must admit that we are planning to stay.

Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy CIRCUS BLACK?

If someone still like’s 80’s metal.
If someone love’s the combination of Heavy, Progressive, and Power metal sound.
In case you are a true Metalhead, then it is worth a listen.

Well, that was all I had this time around. Thanks for taking the time making the interview, I wish you all the best in the future, stay safe and healthy! Do you have any words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?

Thank you for the hospitality, it was a comprehensive interview for sure. For all you metalheads around the globe, keep the metal flame alive. Thank you for supporting our music .. and for the people that didn’t hit the link yet, it is worth a listen.

Thank you.

 

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