Interview with BOB KATSIONIS
The Band: Bob Katsionis
Answers by: Bob (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Songwriting, Lyrics)
With a solo career that expands for more than a decade and five albums, Bob Katsionis is an artist capable to work for many bands and finish up his new solo album Prognosis & Synopsis in only two weeks, and the best is that it still sounds great! Maybe the secret lies on the Playstation gear, who knows, what is sure is that he has his own style and that is worth more than almost any other thing. Enjoy this cool interview with the man behind the keyboards, guitar, bass and game console.
Hello Bob, on February you released your fifth solo album, this is your main project right now?
BOB: Unfortunately…not. It seems like I chose to work more for other people by producing their music, shooting their videos rather than focusing on my own music. But I love everything so I try to give each project some time. Like I give a small piece of myself to a lot of people. Not bad, I still like it!
Bob Katsionis is known for his work and worldwide touring with Firewind, as past member of bands as Revolution Renaissance, Septic Flesh, Nightfall, etc as well as the collaboration with Kamelot for the songwriting of the last 3 albums. Which of those you enjoyed more? What is worse and better in a solo project compared with a standard band?
BOB: Firewind is definitely my home, my band, and the biggest source of experience. Serious Black was a very good “school” of how the things work in Germany regarding power metal business plus it was a great band where I wrote a lot of my own music too. OUTLOUD is my very own rock & roll party where we are happy to write so feel-good music for people to enjoy, while my solo albums are like my…dirty music fetish, hahaha!
You started your early solo career in 2002, nothing less than 16 years ago, looking back what is the balance?
BOB: Looking back at those times it’s so strange…there were not much of solo artists back then, especially artists who could release a solo album. It took some seriously big balls to go and do it, find a label and make it, while now all it takes is a pc and an internet connection! My solo albums are the place where you can learn a lot about me, since its 101% of my self in them. Even if they probably didn’t sell much I am happy that some thousands of people around the world got deep in my music and my heart through these albums and perhaps made them believe that keyboards can be a very strong piece of arsenal in the guitar dominated metal music.
Between your new album Prognosis & Synopsis and your first one Turn of My Century many things will have happened, how has it affected your music and came to be expressed in your songs?
BOB: The only thing that changed is…the model of Playstation I have on each album hahahahaha! I surely learned a lot since the 17-songs of “Turn Of My Centruy”. First of all, I do everything myself, release them through my own Symmetric Records and sell them through Bandcamp exclusively. No itunes/Spotify or record stores. Directly from me to the fans. Musically…they are definitely more mature. I dont have to prove anyone how fast or complex I can play. I just try to tell a story but whithout the words. And I think that’s the key. But what I have enjoyed the most is that from the first song of “Turn Of My Centruy” of my first album till the last note of “Synopsis” I can say that I’m happy that they all sound like ME. I might have clear references (to the point of a secret tribute) to my idols and influences (like Kevin Moore, Johannsson) but it’s always like “Hmm,this sounds like Bob Katsionis” And to me,nowadays with millions of people making music…it’s a great achievement.
It actually is in a global world with global trends like the current one. How do you start the composition of a new album? What is the spark? Is there something similar to the novelist fear to the “white page”?
BOB: It usually starts with a keyboard riff. then I think that I have the whole song in my head and I just need to play it. I don’t really “work” on the music. It comes out naturally. If the next part doesnt come out by itself it means…its not good.
I have read that you composed & recorded Prognosis & Synopsis in 15 days. Is that true? It seems far apart from the current trend where an album needs months to see the day of light
BOB: Yes thats totally true! Last August I found some free time to finally play some music FOR ME. The ideas were flowing like a river! Every day I was just composing a new song! Then making a break to play some Playstation VR games and then back to my studio. There were also some ideas lying down there for some years which I managed to develop and complete and..BAM! You got your album! And that’s the point of making an album: to capture the feeling of a period of your life. Thats how all these great 70-80s albums were made. I hate the idea of working on your music for ages. To me it sounds like…it wasnt good enough to begin with 😉
Yeah, something to think about. Any collaboration in the album or just yourself?
BOB: This time I decided to just use a drummer and no guests. Guests can be cool and give a bit of spice to your music but on the other side,sometimes it stops being your solo album! And when you make a solo album it has to be YOU. So I wanted people to listen what was in my head and not anybody else’s,right?
If we pay attention to the title “Synopsis” (for summary) and “Prognosis” (for Prediction), this new album could be something like fusing past and future of your music?
BOB: EXACTLY! I used these two greek words also to help people expand their vocabulary since most of the bands use words like “Catharsis” or other cool sounding greek words. And its true that in this album you can hear everything that sums up my music from my first album but you also get an idea of where I might be going. Like the more atmospheric-cinematic music or more experimental. But as i told you before, thankfully they all sound like me 100% (Ok, I might sound like Vangelis a bit but thats only good)
Prognosis & Synopsis delivers a rich variety of sounds & styles, power, progresive, more electronic and ambient music… Which style you like more nowadays?
BOB: I still get goosebumps from Megadeth & Annihilator equally as from Stranger Things soundtrack or Vangelis. I love a lot of stuff. But I’m always a metalhead. And I thank God (Dio) for that,hehe!
Horns up! Surprisingly, for a guitarist, the keyboards play an important role in the album, so maybe we cannot talk of the typical guitar hero album. Guitar is still your preferred instrument?
BOB: Nope. I’m first a keyboard player who HAD to become good enough to match the shred factor of the keyboards in his solo albums!
Prognosis & Synopsis is an instrumental album, no lyrics, but is there a story behind the songs, something that have inspired you in the composition?
BOB: Yes, and that’s the whole concept. Its like reading a book versus the movie. I give people the melodies and grooves and they just make the emotions. I dont want a singer put his signature over my music. It will not be a solo album then! Plus I love instrumental albums, i grew up with Vangleis, Jean Michel Jarre, Vinnie Moore, Tribal Tech, Johannson, Tony Macalpine, and the two LTE albums changed my life. Why put vocals? Everyone else is doing it and they are called “songs”. I just make “music”. Also to answer your question…I think my inspiration comes from 80% Playstation games and 20% from some emotions I might be feeling on a particular day.
A good publicity for the guys of Playstation haha and a source of inspiration for many young guys surely. How would you define yourself as a guitar player?
BOB: Good enough to play in the same band with Gus G, while I have my own playing style which -to me- sounds like Jeff Waters play keyboards with a plectrum. Wait…WHAT!?!?!?!?
Hahaha. Please, name two guys you would like to play a G3 around with.
BOB: I would love to make an instrumental album with Gus G and George Kollias! I think it would be crazy!
We wait for it. In your opinion, what will be the future of Metal music in general?
BOB: Strange. I don’t know. To me, with all the big bands getting older, there is no “heavy metal” anymore. It’s more like pop music with distortion and blood and a themed packaged.
Again, something to reflect on, truly. Any chance to enjoy a live performance of Prognosis & Synopsis in forthcoming dates?
BOB: Thats my secret dream but I don’t see it happening. It doesn’t worth it business wise. But I might do a World Tour one day in the style of Spinal Tap: ONE SHOW for the whole world to come and see, hahahahaha!
Thank you very much for your attention and fresh comments, Bob, if you wish to add something…
BOB: Thanks for the really nice questions and your focus on my solo effort,I really appreciate that. I would encourage people to check my music not only through my bandcamp page:
but also through my revolutionary ICON DISC for iOS and Android devices, Im sure the prog metal guys will definitely appreciate it.
You can find them here,with my previous album “Rest In Keys” being FREE to install: