I came across this band in 2005 and they impressed me and everyone I talked to about them. Their music is full of vitality, full of energy and aggression, quite technical and last but not least very intense. Here is a band that you should not miss. And for this reason I have interviewed Efthimis for you.
1) Hello Efthimis. Thanks for this first interview. Because you’re for the first time on Metal Silvae Webzine and also you’re quite an unknown band in Romania, please let our readers know your history, line-up, etc…
Ethereal Blue is a band created back in 2002 in Ioannina Greece, where its members were studying several sciences in the local University. At the very beginning, we were playing atmospheric death metal in the style of Theater of Tragedy with female vocals etc. but as the years were passing by, we decided to play atmospheric music in a more extreme way and our first album “Black Heart Process” was totally in this direction. The album was well received by the metal media and the audience world-wide and we kept composing the songs, that will be included in our second full length album, titled “Essays in Rhyme On Passion And Ethics” .Through the years we had several line-up changes. The current line-up is: Efthimis V.: vocals, George A.: guitars, Miltos D.: bass guitar, Panos P: guitar, Dimitris K.: drums. At this point, I would not be fair if I did not mention our former members who contributed a lot to the creation of the band’s personal sound: Fok S : guitar, Eleana V.: vocals , Stavros D: keyboards and last but not least Akis P. ex keyboard player who handled all the lyrical concept of “Essays in Rhyme On Passion And Ethics” ,our second album, which will be out in 2009 by the English label Copro Records/Casket Music.
2) Why did you choose the name Ethereal Blue for the band? Does it mean something special for you?
The truth is that it sounded great to my ears and this reflection of the sky in the sea creates a depressive mood which fitted very well with our music. It has to do also with my girlfriend back then. We were listening to a song titled Ethereal Blue by a Greek band studying in Romania back then – On Thorns I Lay. We used to wake up and listen to this song repeatedly for hours. Great times!
3) Can you please tell me something about your musical backgrounds? Are any of you engaged in any side-projects?
Some of us have taken piano and guitar lessons at the local music schools, while others like our bass player are self-taught. As far as side-projects are concerned, two of us and more specifically guitarist George, drummer Dimitris play also in a post-rock band named Have You Ever Tasted a Cold Spring? and our second guitarist Panos also plays in Clover Haze(atmospheric death metal band).
4) Now, here’s a much asked question: Metal music means something special for you? If yes, why? What attracts you to this extreme part of music? What bands influenced you as a person, as a band?
This is really hard to answer. I know for sure I love metal music but on the other hand I see music as a whole and I can’t dissociate metal from ethnic, classical or jazz music if you see what I mean. What attracted me to this extreme kind of music, was the guitar distortion and its theatrical view. All band members have different influences but personally when I started composing music I was influenced by bands like Satyricon, Emperor, Opeth, My Dying Bride. If you ask the others bet they will tell you totally different influences and this is the magical part for the creation, a band
5) After the line-up change did your music change in any way (became more aggressive or more technical etc.)?
I would not say so, the old members were technical enough, at least most of them, well acquainted with their musical instrument and furthermore they were fans of metal music in a sense that they new during the composition, when a part should be more aggressive or more groovy and vice versa. We owe them a lot. Their leaving had to do mainly with the change of our lives through the years and the continuous change of priorities.
6) Can you tell me some inside stuff, like fights between members for an idea or for the same woman, any disagreements?
For Ethereal Blue members this is a daily routine concerning the musical part. We argue all the time during the rehearsals, but oddly these fights increase our creativity. In other words, fights work for us! I cannot recall a moment that we had a fight for a woman, the dominating idea in this matter is “let the best man win”, so no one has to fight….
7) Your first demo was called “A Mourning Ocean…” . What was the story behind it? It received some good reviews and gave you a chance to sign with DeadSun Records.
No there was no particular concept behind it. It was a title which combined the band’s name and the depression of its musical concept in the best possible way. Despite the fact that it was well received and it was basically the reason that we were offered a record deal I find, as the years pass, that it was a demo with small musical potential in comparison to the other masters of the particular music style. The fact is that the guys in Deadsun records saw it in a different way and we feel lucky for that.
8) In 2005, DeadSun released your debut album entitled “Black Heart Process”. How was it received by media and public? Were you satisfied with the promotion for it?
The album received really amazing reviews from the audience and press world wide .I don’t know but four years later, I still like listening to it. For me this means something. Now, concerning its promotion, we must always have in mind that we were a newcomer band in 2005 and that Deadsun Records is an underground label with small distribution potential. On the other hand, we would be ungrateful if we started complaining about the promotion, at least we had the chance to be heard somewhere outside Greece, I know thousands of bands that work their compositions for years and they have never been offered a record deal…
9) And speaking of promotion… Who is handling your promotion and PR? Does one of you do it or do you have an agency or something like that?
For about a year now Carlo Bellotti and the Italian Agency ALKEMIST-FANATIX EUROPE handles Ethereal Blue’s PR and promotion and we will keep working with them since we believe that they do a very good job.
10) Although you were a “new born” band, you’ve been invited to play alongside great masters: Arcturus, Moonspell, Rotting Christ (to name only a few). How were you accepted by them (part of the family or a big threat)?
Of course we were not a big threat for them. The afore-mentioned bands are musically enormous; they have nothing to fear. For us, it was a great honor and amazing experience to share the stage with them.
11) Do you enjoy life on tour, live activity etc.?
When we were students at the university, we enjoyed very much life on tour. You see, we had nothing to mind about back then. Now, in our daily routine we have to handle with many different things that render life on tour difficult. Despite all the difficulties we are trying to play everywhere we are invited and have a great time.
12) How do you see now the Black/Death Metal scene? Do you think that the newcomers bring real value to it or they are in for the money? Why not to be honest… many bands have a very commercial approach…
Quality bands exist, existed and will exist. The point for every band in the scene is to perform music that expresses its feelings. The audience is smart enough to understand who of us plays music in order to be expressed and who does it just for the money.
13) I’ve been to a concert in Bucharest this autumn to see Lord Belial, Graveworm and other support bands and I was really disappointed by Lord Belial… They didn’t put any feelings in their show: just play, no crowd involvement… Graveworm’s act was much much more attractive… they invited people to sing on the stage with them and you could really connect to them… Why did you think that this cult band performed so badly? I have to say that this concert was held in an open space theater and I estimate a presence of about 300 people.
I can’t really say, maybe they were in a bad mood, too tired touring, had a fight backstage… I really don’t know and I am not the appropriate person to judge. Maybe you should interview them and ask them, but there could be a thousand reasons for that.
14) You choose an interesting title for this new album, “Essays in Rhyme on Passion and Ethics” that will be released in 2009. Could you elaborate a little bit on it, especially on the lyrical concept of the album?
In the band three of us are literature teachers in the profession and i count Akis P. in us our former keyboard player who as I said is responsible for the lyrical concept of the album. This guy had to leave the band’s musical part because he was a mediocre keyboard player. On the other hand, he is a great lyricist with a deep knowledge of history and literature, who combined in his lyrics novel or history heroes, who fight inside them with their passion and morality and all of them end up in a different “life’s fiction”.
15) Why have you decided to leave from DeadSun? Was Copro Records/Casket music’s offer better?
Of course the offer is much better this time and Copro Records/Casket Music has Plastic Head as its main distributor, which is the best metal distributor world-wide. So, I guess we want to find our CD in the stores this time…
16) What are your future plans? Are you confident that this New Year 2009 will be better for Ethereal Blue?
All I know is that for the time being we are working in the production of a great album, which we like listening and performing it in the studio. We are very optimistic for its release and we hope that it will lead us to a 2009 full of music and passionate live moments.
17) This is the end of the interview. Thanks for the answers and I hope you’ll come to play in Romania this year (2009). All the best for you and Ethereal Blue.
We want to thank Metal Silvae and personally you Razvan for the chance you give us to present our views and our music to the Romanian metal fans. As for your hope, we have to find a live promoter, who intends to cover our expenses, in order to come and play there. Thanks again! Happy new year.
Editor’s note: all pictures courtesy of Ethereal Blue.
Ethereal Blue official MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/etherealblueband