Matricide Interview

-It's been a long time since your last record "Nostimon Hemar"
-Almost seven years, yes! Well .. a lot of things happened. To take the things from the start, after the release of "Nostimon Hemar", which was the biggest artistic and commercial success for the band, we decided that the existing line up had reached its limits.

We all had given our best, but any team consists of individuals who have ambitions, priorities and dreams of their own! Ima had to follow her personal dreams and had no time for the band; I had nothing more to give playing the bass guitar and wanted to return to the keyboards, Nick Kassavetis had a family to feed, worked hard, and had no time for LTN, and K. Savvides worked full time sound engineer. That left LTN with two members, two keyboardists, me and Alix! In face of these difficulties we decided to react by making a big step forward. We decided to take the best we could find for the group. We started with the rhythm section. There we hit a mine of gold! We found, for the bass guitar, Gavin Scott, of Berklee College of Music in Boston MA, recipient of the Quincy Jones Award for Musicianship. He has worked with artists like Earth Wind & Fire, Liza Minnelli, Rod Stewart and Elton John! He has toured Europe and the USA, repeatedly and he was crazy enough to join LTN due to temporary insanity I guess! And not only that but Michael Osborn (Ozzy), drummer and percussionist, who studied percussion at the ..Royal Academy of Music was available too, due to permanent insanity! He has played for many of the London Orchestras and has also worked, recorded and toured with many varied artists including Bette Midler, Kiri Te Kanawa, Rick Astley, Vanessa Mae, Freddie Mercury as well as many jazz artists. At the same time we found Marios Mourmouras for the Guitars. Marios is a well known session musician he has participated in various rock groups and he is also a professor in classical and electric guitar. When Gavin and Ozzy came from London and we began rehearsing or playing live we discovered the band had a really good sound!
That raised the expectations for the new singer to a more demanding level! After a long search we hit .. bingo! Julie Massi was available for the band! Julie Massi is a well known American-English singer, vocal teacher and actress. She is the most celebrated vocals teacher in Greece. She has participated in many groups and has recorded many albums of excellent quality in many fields of music (rock, jazz, pop etc). She is known, nationwide, for her participation as panelist in many TV music shows!! Julie helped a lot in lyrics, since English is her mother language, and in vocal arrangements! With the last addition I can honestly say that the present line up of LTN is the strongest ever! Except from me ... the rest are gifted, highly talented, extremely skillful musicians who all added their personality to the recordings of "Matricide"!
-What's the idea of "Matricide"
-The idea of Matricide comes from the Greek Mythology. In Ancient Greece Gaia was the Goddess of Earth. Our planet was seen as a living entity and humans were considered sons of Gaia. In our modern world we try to do everything to hurt and ultimately kill environment, driven by greed, ambition, hatred, egoism etc. Hurting each other is also a crime against our mother. Judging by the behavior of Gaia's sons we can see they did not respect their mother, they did not care about her and if things do not change they will ultimately let her die, and when our mother dies we will die as well.
- I read the booklet. In it there is something more than lyrics there is a whole story can you tell it in brief?
-Since I was a child I was asking myself, how the human actions would look to an alien? So the story begins sometime in the not so distant future. An alien exploring expedition has come to Earth. It finds a dead planet. The Oceans after flooding the land have finally gone away! What's left of the continents is an endless desert. The expedition lands near a ruined city. Searching among a pile of debris they find a little round object which they soon realize it contains sound. They decipher it and they discover a series of songs.
So Enitharmon the head of the archaeologists presents his findings to Mnemon the captain and he tries to explain the lyrics of each song to his captain.
The first song is "Letter from Patmos"
-Is this a reference to John's Apocalypse? He wrote it in the island of Patmos, I think.
-Yes you are right. He wrote it inside a cave in the island of Patmos. We took some passages of Apocalypse and added Choir.
-This is the first song of the album, the second one?
-It is "Death Chamber". As desert spreads, because of the global warming, the last remnants of humanity find refuge in a castle waiting for the inevitable end. There they watch their Queen, their Mother, Earth been poisoned by her trusted advisors Autorio, Capito and Exploito.
-What comes next?
-"Trust" a song about money and greed. The rich people of this planet like to collect little green papers that have written on its surfaces "In God we trust". Really? Do we? Do they? Or they trust to Evil? Do they live luxurious and easy lives or they just crawl in the mud?
- The third song is "Midas' Touch". Midas was the legendary king of Phrygia who was very greedy and the Gods cursed him and whatever he touched turned into Gold. So he eventually died of hunger!
-What this story has to do with the concept of Matricide?
- Like Midas, we are cursed, to touch many foods, but we cannot eat them, because they contain many dangerous chemicals or they are mutated etc. Did you know that for a famous health organization, the definition of safety is that any substance that will definitely cause cancer in a hundred years, is safe, since we do not live for so long?
-You say we are cursed like Midas?
-Indeed! We are Midas' sons!
-After a short narration of Apocalypse excerpts titled "Tear 1" follows "Radio Days". As far as I can tell, it refers to the use of weapons of low radiation. A girl loses her love, which develops a blood disease, because, when he was young, he was exposed to depleted Uranium weapons.
-More or less this is the story of the song.
-I would expect to hear a sad ballad with this theme, but instead, I heard something bitter sweet, which surprised me as it worked very well in an unexpected way. Why did you not follow the usual cliché approach?
-Everyone who had the bad luck of losing a beloved person knows that memory recalls pleasant and unpleasant moments at the same time. I tried to give this sweet - bitter feeling we experience every time we recall to our memory a beloved person which is now gone! We remember happy moments and moments of pain at the same time.
-In "Setting Sun" I had an impression that a train comes over me, is this the feeling you wanted to give?
-"Setting Sun" is the story of a soldier who is sent thousands of miles away from home to kill and be killed for the interests of some guys who stay home and make business. When this person learns that his parents were drowned back home helpless, he is losing his mind and starts shooting all around him. It is always the fate of the poor to fight rich people's wars and suffer for them!
-"Nemesis" was the Goddess of revenge?
-Not exactly. Nemesis represented the revenge of justice not just any kind of revenge. We gave this title to song as the lyrics tell about a biological weapon which leaked in a city, infecting everyone and killing most of them and in the end the city is nuked to prevent the contamination from spreading. A nightmare scenario no doubt but, as long as we store bio weapons, we will inevitably face one day something like that because history tells "If something can happen it will happen" ... and then the revenge of nature will come on our heads and on our children's heads, as the bible says.
-Next is Posseidon's Wrath.
-Poseidon was the Greek God of Sea, the Neptune of Romans. Do I understand correctly that the lyrics refer to the great tsunami of 200.. ?
-Yes my friend. I was completely shocked when I saw at the news the great pain of the people who lost their own or their properties and next to them some happy tourists dancing!
-After Tear 2 is Funeral Pyre. Why did you choose this title?
-Have you ever walked on the remains of a burnt forest?
-I must admit, no!
-I had several times in my life this bad luck. Walking among burnt trees, which look like black skeletons, setting your feet on the thick grey ash, which absorbs all sound, is a frightening and awe inspiring experience! You feel you are in another world, a world of death and horror and ultimate loneliness!!
As the planet will begin warming, huge wildfires will erupt and smoke will fill the heavens. I imagined how lonely and desperate will feel the last human being on Earth as he will be dragging his feet on a ground filled with the ashes of burned trees!
-And then to my biggest surprise I heard "Epimythion" a song with .... alien lyrics?
-After Mnemon has heard all the story, he feels sad and confused! So he inserts all the archaeological findings to the ship's computer and he asks "What had this race done to this planet?" The answer will haunt him for the rest of his life! The computer's screen will fill with one word in red, like blood letters, "Matricide"! The race had killed its own mother! Shattered by this answer Mnemon writes a song of his own, "Epimythion", which in Ancient Greek means ".. after the story".
-What do the lyrics say? I cannot understand them since they are written in an alien alphabet!
-Nor can I! Why don't you ask Mnemon?

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