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Interviews : Rotting Christ – “We really look forward to visiting your land again” – (An interview with Sakis Tolis)

By on December 2, 2013

RottingChristEsterSegarra_5952_horizontal-1024x478Rotting Christ, the pioneers of Greek extreme metal and a predominant act in Europe’s underground metal scene, return to Australia next January to promote their brand new album, ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ (translated: “Do What Thou Wilt” in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Metal Obsession had the pleasure to speak with, Sakis Tolis. We discussed their upcoming tour early next year where Rotting Christ will be headlining as part of HeavyFest. Sakis also talked about their newest release and how Rotting Christ has stayed true to themselves for over 25 years now.

Sakis Tolis: Good morning there.

Metal Obsession: Hello, Sakis!

ST: How are you?

MO: Good, how are you?

ST: Ehhh, I’m okay, it’s midnight here. I’m about to sleep, but I am giving some interviews. And I’m very glad I’m currently talk with you.

MO: Yes, very glad! (I refer to myself here…) I’m a very big fan so… (Then I try my hardest not to dissolve into giggles as this would be the height of unprofessionalism…is that a word? It is now.)

ST: Really? Thank-you very much. My pleasure. Bear with me as I get through pleasantries and apologies.

MO: Also this is my first interview back from doing it in awhile so please forgive my amateur questions.

ST: And please forgive me also, Dilli, for my accent. I don’t know if you have a problem with it. I sound very Mediterranean, I sound very Greekish so I don’t know if you have any problem understanding my English, okay?

MO: Of course I don’t have a problem understanding your English, Sakis. I work in a job where I have to decipher the accents of many different nationalities everyday. Your apologies are appreciated, however. Moving onto the important stuff then.

How are you feeling about coming back to Australia for the second time, but first as a headliner?

ST: I feel great, I like going to a country that I know. Despite the fact that Australia is very far away from here. Or maybe we are away from you. But I feel great because from our last visit it felt like I was playing back home because we met a lot of Greek people. We met a lot of Europeans too, so it’s more or less like playing in our continent. And the fact that the response was really enthusiastic, I can say we really look forward to visiting your land again.

MO: Australia is being blessed, or damned whichever way you want to look at it by a lot more international bands touring. So how would you describe a Rotting Christ show to someone (like myself!) who hasn’t been to one before?

ST: I can describe it as a very passionate show. A show that is based in the old school way of playing music. We are trying to create an atmosphere. So you will see four passionate guys giving our best. You can maybe feel the vibrations, the mystical vibrations we create during our performance. We look forward to meeting you and our fans at the shows.

MO: Well, going by the way listening to songs like ‘Noctis Era’ on the train on the way to work, it gives me goosebumps, and I just want to get up and start moshing in the middle of the train. (True story…)

ST: [laughs] You will do that in the show, believe me. Everyone sound like ‘hoo ha, hoo ha’

Editors notes: Can’t say how life affirming this statement was for me! Images of the movie 300 playing out in my head as I’m transported to Ancient Greece…sorry, enough cheese.

Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy out now via Season of Mist

MO: So with the release of your new album, it’s loosely translated to ‘be true to yourself’ is that correct?

ST: Yes, be true to your spirit, do what you will. It’s an ancient Greek maxim.

MO: So in your opinion how has Rotting Christ achieved that over the past 25 years?

ST: Ehhh, I don’t know, we are a band where I am the only composer of the band, always seeking for new direction. I am faithful to my roots, I am faithful to my past. I respect my past, but I always try to create new things. I always try to experiment in my life. So after 25 years I have created 12 albums and, believe me, I am very glad and honoured when someone tell me that our last album was the best album I have created so far. That means that I am still active as a musician, as an artist. This is my goal. Despite the fact that I have never been rich in my bank account, but I can say that I am very rich in my soul and that is the most important for me as a person and as an individual after those 25 years.

MO: So how would you describe the evolution of your sound? I do apologise, Sakis, for practically interrogating you when it was past midnight and you had probably been asked this question to death.

ST: Very Sakis! It represents [and] reflects my personality. We started up as a band that didn’t know how to play our instruments. But then after 25 years we still create albums that have a very good feedback all over the world. But still we love our past, because if you don’t love your past, you don’t respect your present. So we keep the old school spirit alive. We have adapted into nowadays.

MO: How does it feel then to have created music that is distinct to Rotting Christ. I mean, when someone listens to a song by you, you just know it is a Rotting Christ song because of those elements.

ST: Yes, that’s right.

Editors notes: Finally, I have asked an appropriate question. Well, I can’t stress enough how much of a unique sound Rotting Christ have created and how their new album, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, truly defines the core of this band.

Rotting Christ Australia Tour 2014

MO: Not a lot of bands can say that.

ST: I am very glad when someone tell me, “How Rotting Christ sound? Ehhh, Rotting Christ sounds like Rotting Christ!” That makes me really glad and very honoured because it means I have created personality in our music. What more I can say? We have created our own style, maybe we are this kind of persons, these kinds of individuals. Always seeking for new worlds and new things and we are not satisfied by creating the same stuff. I can easily, you know, take one guitar and start writing a well established Rotting Christ record.

We could release an album every year in order to have more tours and maybe more income. But I don’t care about this. I care more about creating something unique, something soulful and something that can be in touch with you. You are living so far away from here and you told me that our music speaks to your soul. I am very glad and very honoured. That makes my day, my life, better.

Editors notes: No, thank-you for creating a sound that has stayed true to itself over the last 25 years. Not all bands can say they have been true to themselves, even though they do anyway. This is probably where I should have ended the interview to let the man get some sleep, but I couldn’t help but dig a little more.

MO: So where would you go from here or haven’t you thought about that yet?

ST: What do you mean? Where I’m going, my next step? I don’t dare to think about what’s my next step. I am currently enjoying the tours and when these tours are over, I will lock my door and I will talk with myself for a long, long time. I will read in order to find and feel some vibrations. If I feel them, then I will go ahead with something new. Really I don’t know what the next step will be, but the thing I can guarantee it will sound different than the last album.

We like to surprise our fans, our people. We will try to have something different, something unique still.

MO: But still Rotting Christ no doubt.

ST: Of course, of course, Dilli

Rotting Christ Australia Tour 2014

Tickets on sale now!

Thursday January 16th – Brisbane / Crowbar

Friday January 17th –  Sydney / The HiFi /  HEAVYFEST*

Saturday January 18th – Melb / The HiFi / HEAVYFEST*

For more information go to: