It doesn’t happen very often to have a complete band for an interview. But in October 2015 all the guys from greek’s Modern Progressive Metal Band Tardive Dyskinesia agreed to meet at a american sports bar in Cologne, where they were to play Euroblast Festival. Back then, although only six months ago, the main media topic in Germany was the finanical crisis of Greece, on the edge of bancrupcy. People were losing their Jobs, their To it was very natural not only to talk about Music, but also about their lives in Greece as Musicians. Manthos (vocals), Nicos (drums), Petros (guitar), Steve (guitar) and Kornelios (bass) spoke very open-heartedly about what’s on their minds. It was a fun Meeting, but it was also very profound, maybe even a little serious. Enjoy the interview with These great five lads as much as I did enjoy Meeting them.
WS: Tell us something about your band that you guys consider as important. What kind of music do you guys stand for.
Manthos: We are a band for about 10 years, our name is Tardive Dyskinesia. We’ve been involved in the greek music scene for about 15 years. We’ve release three full length albums and have been on several tours. Our latest work is the single „The Electric Sun“, which we have released on vinyl. We dig bands like Meshuggah or Textures – progressive stuff. ALL progressive stuff, not only the newest. We really like the classical stuff like Rush or King Crimson also very much.
Steve: You will hear their influences on our coming album.
Nicos: We’d love to put our music in the first place in our lives, but actually it’s the second place right now. We all have to work for a living, so all of us are doing something else in the morning. With our music, we try to give whatever we have inside of us.
WS: So what do you guys do in your everydays jobs?
Manthos: I’m a graphic designer.
Steve: I am a music producer.
Nicos: I’m a lawyer.
Petros: I’m a barber.
Kornelius: I work in a music bar and am also a software designer.
Nicos: And I’m his lawyer. (everbody laughs)
WS: This was actually a question that I was going to ask you later. Because greece has been in the news very much. Because of the financial crisis a lot of people lost their jobs, unemployment and poverty are on the rise. Some people may even have to leave their families behind to make a living in another country. So you seem to be in a rather lucky position.
Manthos: In the moment. We are in the moment. We have enough money to pay our bills, the rent for our houses and to eat. Even enough to come here to attend Euroblast Festival. So we are glad we can afford the basic stuff.
WS: My overall question was if it has become even harder to make a living as a musician?
Manthos: All of that stuff happening is effecting us. Not so much ourselves, but we have many friends that don’t have jobs. We have seen this situation growing for five years and we don’t know how the future is gonna look like.
Nicos: Even if you have your job, your money and your life, what happens to a lot of your friends and family effects you psychologically.
Steve: It’s hard to focus on the music in this situation.
Manthos: Not only the music, but all of your life.
Nicos: You just have to switch on the TV and watch the news – and your going crazy.
Manthos: We quit watching TV (laughs).
Steve: But we keep doing our stuff. The stuff we like.
WS: But compared to the overall situation, you seem to be in a rather lucky position. At least everyone of you appears to have a job.
Petros: We’re all here. Obviously. But we did work hard to come here.
WS: I’m glad to hear that, because I really wondered about that when I prepared myself for the interview. Because there have been so many bad news from Greece.
Manthos: It’s a media war.
WS: Yeah, I always try to look beyond the mainstream media in Germany and inform myself in alternative media as well. I’ve seen reports lately that told me that quite a lot of people don’t even have health care anymore. The state cut it, the salaries of the people working in the hospitals are not paid anymore and sort of that stuff.
Manthos: You see people looking at the garbage. Not so many, but you do see them. That wasn’t usual a few years ago. It’s something new, even though it’s a minority. You see that in other countries as well, maybe Greece is only the first one in Europe and there a more countries coming.
Nicos: I think it’s a general, geo-political situation. Maybe, I say maybe – the other countries and America wann hit Europe through the weakest.
WS: Yeah, maybe. A few years ago I wouldn’t have believed that, but today, I’m not so sure anymore what’s going on behind closed doors.
Petros: But even though we have our difficulties to do „our thing“, we also see the coin from the opposite side. So you can say that the financial crisis effects the band, but on the other hand, it’s even useful in a certain way. Because it makes you feel: „I’m not going to stop this. I will try harder. Maybe I find something else to do with my music. I won’t stop doing this!“
WS: You try to put the emotions, the anger in the creative process to make more music. So your next album will probably be the best to date, because there’s so much anger and emotion.
Manthos: We hope so. We have already a great album, but of course every band says that. All of our albums characterize a special period that we went through in our lives. And of course it’s the same with the new album. We’ve been working on it for almost three years now and it’s finally on the mix with Mr. Steve Lado.
WS: So it’s coming very soon? Did you produce all of your albums on your own and put it out independently?
Steve: I only produced the last one. „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“.
Manthos: Our first album, in 2006, we put out over a greek independent label. After that, we signed with an italian label, Coroner Records. They brought out „The Sea of see Through Skins“ in 2009. Our latest album was released with another greek independent label called „Catch the Soap“. Now we’re looking for a better deal for us. Maybe it will never come, maybe we will release it with ourselves. You never know. But of course we will try for the best.
WS: What kind of things do you absolutely dislike when you read reviews about your music?
Manthos: I have something. I think when people say that we play Djent. I don’t think that we play Djent. Maybe we have some influences, like Meshuggah. But nowadays it has become quite clear what Djent represents. And I don’t know if we represent that. It doesn’t bother me that much but I don’t think that we fit so much with all those bands that represent Djent today.
Petros: For me, it’s a simple thing. I don’t have a problem with freedom of speech. Everybody can say whatever they want. Of course we want to hear things like „They’re a great band“, it doesn’t matter if they call us Djent or Progressive or whatever. So I don’t have a problem with reading reviews. Everybody can say whatever they want. The point is: Honest reactions matter to me.
WS: Do you try to put constructive feedback into your music, if you read something that appeals to you?
Manthos: We play the music that we want to listen ourselves. When I write music, I write music that I want to hear from other bands. That’s my concept. It doesn’t really matter to me what people write about our music, if they like it or not. Of course I like to hear that the people like it and of course that’s a reward. But we will put the same effort to a show, even if only ten people show up. But we don’t look to the music press. Whatever that means.
WS: That’s something that I really respect and like about the so called „Progressive“ Bands. Because that’s what „progressive“ means in the first place, doesn’t it? Go beyond the boundaries, beyond the expectations, beyond clicheés and Genres. And that’s usually very passionate and authentic music, even though it might not be the best idea in terms of record sales.
Manthos: There’s no limit. If you start a band and you are only focused to sell records, there are many other sorts of music where that easier.
WS: The title of your last Album is „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“. Did you have something special in your mind when choosing that Title? Has it something to do with the special situation that your country is in? We talked about that already.
Petros: A little bit, but not only in Greece but globally. „Static Apathy In Fast Forward“. You can see that everywhere. Everyone is moving with a hundred miles an hour. Everyone is watching this without doing anything at all. You have your computer, you have access to everything, you can comment on the social media, but it doesn’t change anything.
Nicos: Die Menschheit ist ein Krebsgeschwür.
WS: Seems like a quite political approach to how you guys see the world. Do you see yourself as a political band?
Manthos: Not so much. We are all part of the problem. In my job as a graphic designer, I work with my computer a lot. I read news on the computer, I see people die at the computer. I see all this shit that’s going on. But I stay at my computer. And this is tragic.
WS: So you guys have a great opportunity to express all your thoughts and feelings in your music. And that’s awesome because it’s a way a lot of people can relate to, maybe even more than in most other ways.
WS: What do you think about guitars with more than six strings?
Manthos: Well, sometimes it’s also a little bit of pretending. There are bands that play eight string guitars, but only use four of them. (Laughs)
Kornelios: I have my own theory. I think eight string guitars are a fake bass. They play the same frequences as a bass player does.
Petros: It doesn’t have to do anything with frequences. I think seven or eight strings are useful for guys who have the abilities to use them. Also, the bands want to hear themselves heavier. But it’s not useful for us as a band. I strive already with six strings. (smiles)
Manthos: Yeah, bands like Animals as Leaders. You know, these guys acutally USE all the strings.
WS: Last question: What does the world need?
Kornelios: A restart.
Petros: Well, I think that what we just experience, is kind of a new start. In a sick way. There are a few guys that want it for everybody on this planet. This is my opinion, this is not the bands opinion.
WS: I’m on you side. Because everytime if there is a big thing going on, it’s a good questions to ask: Who benefits? And for the most part, that is not what the mass media is telling you, of course.
Kornelios: The mass media lies. All the time.
Petros: And it has been that way before over the centuries. Few against many.
Manthos: Yeah, and it seems obvious to me that the german media draws a whole different picture then the greek media does.
WS: But there’s still great music out there. At least!
Manthos: Yeah, and that’s sort of why we came here. To share our music and to have a few beers. Prost!