Rotting Christ: Interview with Sakis

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It´s always so great to talk to him- a very friendly and modest person Sakis Tolis, Rotting Christ singer. We talked about the band, their new album and much more. Enjoy!

Gravenkiss: Hello from Obscuro! You´ve been active in metal scene for 27 years. When you look back on your career, was it difficult to get to the top?

Sakis: To the top? I don´t know if we are on the top, but definitely it was difficult even to play one show when we formed the band back in the late 80s. Our dream, our goal was to play even one show. Now we have played more than 1,200 shows, which means that we´ve definitely fulfilled our dreams. Of course I don´t know if we are on the top or something, but with really hard work and deep dedication we have a band that has been around 25 years.

G: Last year you toured the USA again and I found out that you´re going to play in South Africa. Can you tell me more about your tour?

Sakis: Yeah, we are supposed to play in South Africa. It´s a nice experience for us to play in strange territories because for us metal is not only a matter of big or well-known countries. Last year we played in countries like Siberia, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand- we played all around the world and everywhere there are metal heads because this is a spirit for us.

G: You can compare because you travel a lot. Which country has the craziest fans?

Sakis: Every country has great fans, in my opinion, because metal heads are the same all around the world. Maybe there are some differences like playing in South America, for instance, where the people are even more crazy, but more or less, you know, the craziness is everywhere the same.

 

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G: Last year you finally decided to release your first official live album Lucifer Over Athens. Why did it appear after such a long time?

Sakis: We had some videos, some DVDs, some bootlegs, so we said- all right, time has come for one official release. After 25 years and more than 12 albums I think we were in the situation that we could release such an album. It was delayed a lot because, you know, we wanted the album to have a lot of songs, include all of our history and of course to be well-recorded.

G: You are going to release your new album on the 12th February and it´s called Rituals. As you put it ´Rituals is the darkest and most personal-sounding Rotting Christ album that we’ve ever made.´ What was your greatest inspiration for this album?

Sakis: Before I start up with a song, with an album, first I talk to myself, I have a kind of meditation, then I come up with an album. So I asked myself, I read a lot and my main inspiration was the dark side, the ritual side, actually I have included 11 songs with 11 more or less different rituals from all around the world. Rituals for me are a very important matter, so this is where I was inspired from.

G: You spent 4 months in the studio. Where was your new album recorded and was it hard to be in the studio again?

Sakis: Yes, the studio process is always hard, especially these days when we have some problems here in Greece, especially this summer made my life really a nightmare. You know, having those big problems, seeing so much misery in the streets and you´re supposed to record something. Sometimes I felt it wasn´t fair. But on the other hand, I fight very much with myself. I said- all right I´m also a part of this society, but I have to keep on working in my own path, so the process took place here in Athens and I´m very glad that I came up with an album that sounds really good, in my opinion and it was mixed in Sweden.

G: This is exactly what I was going to ask about- the economic situation in Greece.

Sakis: It´s hard nowadays. It´s getting worse and worse, but surprisingly new bands are coming up on the streets over last five years. There is a motto- when the society is decadent, the artists rise up and this is what´s going on in Greece now.

G: So they (Greek bands) are still active and motivated…

Sakis: Now more than ever, we have anger, we have to resist.

 

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G: You have recently released 3 new songs from the new album. Are you satisfied with the first reactions of your fans?

Sakis: Yes, quite satisfied. You can never be satisfied one hundred percent. But so far we are satisfied. I feel that people are slowly getting into the idea of our new album and it takes time, in my opinion. You cannot judge an album from some songs. It takes time to listen again, but I´m very glad that slowly people are getting into our idea for this album.

G: I read some comments on Facebook and people were really enthusiastic about your new album.

Sakis: Yes, more or less yes, but there are also some people that expected us to play something different, but unfortunately you cannot satisfy everyone.

G: You will be headlining Gothoom Festival in Slovakia this summer. Are you going to focus on your new material during the show?

Sakis: No, best of. We wanna play songs from all of our material, from all of our albums.

G: We are looking forward to seeing you- because I´m also going there:)

Sakis: I once played there and it was a really nice festival so I really look forward to being back in Slovakia and giving the best show there.

G: You are a world famous band and music that you create is original and I think that Rotting Christ is a very strong brand. Is there anything else that you would like to achieve as a musician?

Sakis: Yes, maybe keep on playing until I die. The path was recently shown by Lemmy from Motörhead, he played and did his own thing until the end of his life. This is my next goal- to play until the end of my life. We started the band very early and I never had the idea to play more than 1,000 shows in my life. Now that I have played all around the world, I feel like- all right, let´s keep on playing until the end, this is my mission actually. And I have to fulfil it.

G: You always say: ´Keep the spirit alive.´

Sakis: Oh, yeah, this is very important for us, for our personality- very hard nowadays, though. You must fight with yourself to be yourself, to keep on being yourself, not a slave to something else.

G: Do you have a final message for your fans and our readers?

Sakis: Dear brothers and sisters, this is Sakis and I hope you will enjoy our upcoming album- our brand new album Rituals. I look forward to performing at Gothoom Festival and play for you a setlist that will include the songs from all of our discography. Until then keep the spirit alive!

G: Thank you very much for your time.:)

Sakis: Thank you too.:)

 

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Photo: band´s archive

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