Heart of Steel: Interviews


Interview With Nightrage 
Guitarist Marios Iliopoulos

Interview By Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Cindy at Century Media Sweden for the promo pictures of the band

Here is an interview I did with with band leader Marios from Nightrage. We discussed the band's recently released debut album Sweet Vengeance, band/project in general, and what currently is going to happen next.

When was Nightrage formed and where?

Nightrage was formed in Greece in the summer of 2000, by me and my friend Gus. It was after my previous band Exhumation split up, and I felt pretty frustrated by that. I needed to go forward and find my creativity and inspiration working and playing with dedicated musicians. So in order to do that I decided to move in Sweden permanently in late 2000. I can tell you I faced very hard times here, to make a living and survive, and also it was very difficult to found the musicians I really wanted to play with. But my dedication and faith in my vision helped me survive all this hardship, and negativity.

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Why did you old band Exhumation record their albums in Sweden and not in Greece?

We were perfectionists also with Exhumation, and we really wanted to have a professional sound in our albums. So in order to do that and because of the lack of talent and professionalism from studios and producers in Greece, we decided to record all of our albums in Sweden, because we knew that there we would get the right sound for the band.



How many members are there in Nightrage now?

On the recording it’s Marios Iliopoulos on the Guitars, Gus G. on guitars, Tomas Lindberg on brutal vocals, Tom S. Englund on the clean vocals, Per Möller Jensen on the drums and Brice Lecrercq on the bass guitar. But now the more stable guys in the band it’s me and Brice, we got some help from Tomas on the nightrage live shows, and Nicholas Barker on the drums. Gus unfortunately can’t help us with Nightrage because our programs and schedules are so different. So there are 4 guys in the band right now. And I hope that we can continue like that on the next Nightrage album as well. Are Nightrage a band or a project? I consider Nightrage like a real band. And that’s the vision I had from the beginning when I started with Nightrage. I know that It’s really difficult to find the right guys for us, because all the good and dedicated musicians we know they are committed to their own bands. So we prefer to work now with some session guys until we can be able to have a more stable line up. I mean we make this sacrifice in order to work with cool musicians that we get along together have a good time, and play some killer music together.



How has the press responded on the album? Have you read any reviews?

The response from the press so far, has been amazing, we got some killer reviews and a very warm touch from many magazines worldwide. . We feel very excited and happy about that. Countries like Germany, Greece, Canada, and France seems to love Sweet Vengeance, and they gave tremendous rates in our album. This is a great beginning for Nightrage, and I hope that soon we will have the opportunity to play in a tour for all the crazy metal fans out there.



What has response been like from metal listeners? Have you received any e-mail from fans? Has there been many visitors on the website?

All the time I get e-mail, and entries on the Nightrage guestbook and forum from a lot of Nightrage fans that love and listen to our album all the time. I’m not sure of how many people have visited our website so far, but I feel very confident about the fact that a lot of people started to give attention in the band, and gave us respect and credit for what we are trying to do with our music.


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How was it to work with the demon-producer Fredrik Nordström at the legendary Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden?

It wasn’t the first time for me working with Fredrik in his studio. I knew him from the Exhumation recordings as well, and I can tell you that this time we had pretty cool tome together, since we knew each other very well. He gave us a chance to record the album in his studio, and after he took care to help us producing/mixing it, and found us a decent recording contract, with the good contacts he already has. I want to say a big thanks to him, because he believed in our music and vision from the beginning, and he wanted to help us make this dream come true.



How did you come up with the idea to use both Tomas Lindberg and Tom S. Englund as singers?

For Tomas Lindberg it was my idea to bring him in the studio, since I really believed from the first time I was in Sweden, that his voice fits perfectly with our music. So I invited him to the studio while we were recording, to listen to a few tracks. He came finally, and he listened to some songs and he told us that he really wanted to do it, because he was into the music and he saw that our attitude and dedication was the right one. About Tom S. Englund; it was Fredrik’s idea to bring him into the picture, because we had some clean parts in the album, and he felt that Tom voice fit perfectly to our concept and feelings we wanted to express. I think Tom also made a really cool performance on the album, and he brought some different dynamics to our sound.



Are you're going to tour? Is everyone on the album going to participate on the tour?

Tom, Per and Gus they were only sessions guys for the recordings of the album. They are not going to follow the band in any tours or live shows. We are looking forward to playing some live gigs. We are planning to play in Greece in January 2004, and maybe some tours in Europe, U.S.A., and Japan.


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If you are going out on tour, how are you going to untie Gus G. and Tomas from their ordinary bands?

The line up right now for the live shows, consists Marios on Guitars, Brice on Bass, Tomas Lindberg, on Vocals, and Nicholas Barker on the drums. Tomas Lindberg main band is The Great Deceiver, something we totally respect, but as far as his schedule allows it he will help us doing the vocals for the band. The same goes for Nicholas, he is committed to Dimmu Borgir, but whenever he has free time he likes to help us playing the drums for Nightrage, in our live shows.



Have you done any live gigs so far? If so, how was it?

We already played our first live show with Nightrage, here in our hometown Gothenburg, in a big festival called Gothenburg’s Kalaset. You can go in the official Nightrage web-site www.nightrage.com to check some live pictures from the show. It was a great gig for the band, and we got a really positive feedback from the crowd. We had Tomas Lindberg on the vocals, and Nicholas Barker on the drums, and we had a really good time playing our music with those awesome musicians. We want to play more live gigs now, because the chemistry and the feelings between the band members is very good.



If both Tom and Per are session musicians who is going to take their parts on tour?

I’m doing the clean vocals in the live shows of Nightrage, since I was the singer in the clean parts from the beginning. My voice its a bit similar to Tom’s voice, and I don’t think that it will be a problem to recreate the clean vocals in a live show. About Per, Nicholas will take his place in the Nightrage live shows. We already played a live show here in Gothenburg, and I think that he is also an awesome drummer, and he played the stuff very precise and tight.


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You have written all of the music and lyrics on the album, is the lyrics about anything special?

The lyrics are all written by me, and we are dealing with the emptiness of the human existence. I take inspiration from personal matters and situations that I faced in the past, and affect my personality, I wanted to express all the negative emotions I’ve been through, and write about some things that disturbed me. Its a trip to the inner emotions of a man that was hurt from his past, he is searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to take this vengeance for some “people” that they tried to hurt me and put me down, I just thought that they were my friends, but finally I realise how evil and miserable they were. This album is a middle finger for all those scumbags, some day they will regret for what they done to me, and they will realise their own big faults.



Has the other guys helped out with the music/lyrics writing?

Gus G. Helped me with some riffs, and arranging with Nightrage, also I got some assistance from Fredrik Nordstrom, because he is very good in song arrangements and structure. Mostly all the music is written from me, it took me 2.5 years to finished all this material, it wasn’t so easy because I wanted to have the best possible material in the album.



Why did you choose the name Nightrage? Does it mean anything special for you?

This was Gus idea when we started the band, I wanted to name the band “Traumaticon” the title from my previous last Exhumation album. Because I wanted to make this band sounds like a better continuation of Exhumation. But Gus finally proposed the idea for Nightrage, there was a song on the last Exhumation album as well, and we liked the idea to make our new name Nightrage, I know there are a million bands out there using these Night and Rage but we liked it, and we didn’t care so much about anything else.


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Does the album title "SWEET VENGEANCE" stands for anything special?

As I told you before this title means a lot to me, as I wanted to show to some people that I used to call them friends, that there is something better in this life, than egoism and misery, you have to believe in your self and your dreams. They never believed in the vision I had for the band, and with their stupid and totally unprofessional attitude they destroy Exhumation, I guess they never believed in themselves, and now I show them that they were totally wrong, this “Sweet Vengeance” is for them to see where is the truth, and that if you are pure and dedicated there is a light at the end of the road.



Are Nightrage based in Gothenburg, Sweden?

Yes we are living here permanently, with my bass player Brice, since we know that here is the right country to play and working in a very professional and positive environment. I mean its pretty limited to try to play metal in our countries since there the society and the people, they are against other forms of music, and they don’t support anybody else interest playing something else. So its like a dead end, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to be creative there, and so we decided to move and live in Sweden permanently.



I have listened to the album a lot,  and I have given it maximum points in the fanzine metal-rules.com, what is you comment on that?

You are welcome, thanks a lot for your positive review, it's something we always appreciate. It's our aim to be able to make good music that pleases ourselves first. If we feel good about our music, its always cool when we see other people liked what we do. I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to share our music with all the metal fans out there. This is what we want to achieve with Nightrage, to communicate and take energy from the people that support our music. Its mutual power and it gives us strength and confidence to carry on.


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Why did you sign on for Century Media?

Because they are one of the best metal labels around, they really liked our music, and from the first place they wanted to help us, broaden our music to the public. I think that we have a very good relationship with them, they listen to what we believe, and most probably they are into this kind of music we play, something really important. They are very professional and they know how to handle a band if they see that this band has the potential to become a strength unit.



Is there any particular song that you're more/less satisfied with on the album?

I think that I liked all the songs we have on “Sweet Vengeance”. We tried to put all the best songs that we have on the album. Its a mix with old and newer songs and we wanted to have a balance with mid tempo and faster songs. My personal favorites are "The Tremor", "In My Heart", and "The Glow Of The Setting Sun".



How was it to work with the other guys in Nightrage? You couild say that you're a European super unit of famous metal musicians!

This was one of the most cooler things that happened to the band so far. We had the opportunity to work with most of the best metal musicians around. I think a reason for that was the killer songs we had, and all those musicians saw something in our music. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it. We had already set high standards for Nightrage, and we want to keep it like that. It was definitely an awesome experience to work with all those amazing musicians, they gave us the extra spice that we needed.



Are there any plans on a follow up the album soon?

So far it's a little to early to think about the next album. I want to feel inspired first so I can start to write some new killer songs. But I’m sure that the next album will be more intense and powerful. Wait for some more killer metal from Nightrage.


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How would you describe what kind of music that Nightrage plays?

Its a mixture of different styles of metal music. I grew up listening to the great 80`s metal bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden and they really inspired me to catch a guitar and try to play some metal. I’m a big fan of bay area thrash metal and the Florida death metal scenes. Also I liked some acoustic guitar music, and all I’m doing with Nightrage is to try to combine all those elements in our sound, we are very open minded about our influences and we play music from the heart.



What do you think of Gothenburg, Sweden?

I think that its a small, nice and very quiet town. Honestly it was a bit of culture shock for me when I was in Sweden at the first place, a totally different way of life from my country. Some Swedish people think that we are crazy, that we just left our warm countries for such a cold country like Sweden. But we came here for a reason, not to save metal ha ha ha ha ha, but to put our energy and creativity, in the metal scene.



Have you learned any Swedish?

I can understand and read a lot, soon I will start some Swedish courses in school, to be able to talk better. It is a difficult language to pronounce and you need a lot of time to be better. But the cool think here is that everybody can talk good English so communication its never a problem.



Who is the bass player Brice? Is he famous out in Europe? Has he played in any bigger bands?

He is from France and I met him here in Sweden. He came here for the same reason as me. We get along together very well. Nightrage is his first band, so everything is new for him. But he is very dedicated and he is learning fast. He is my partner now with Nightrage and a stable guy in the band, and I feel very good that I had the chance to meet a guy like him. He cares a lot for the band and he is always there for me.



Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?

I want to say a big thanks to you, for giving us the chance to have a cool interview with your webzine. I want to say a hello to all the Nightrage fans out there, and a big thanks to them for the awesome support that they giving us. Stay metal and always believe in yourselves, Nightrage is the light at the end of the tunnel. In metal.



Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.


Band Website: www.nightrage.com

Label Website: www.centurymedia.com