Take note of this band, MAHAKALA, because they are here to stay. They have gone through difficulties and they have gotten over them, delivering a fabulous second album of heavy and doom metal. But if you have a delightfully crazy and persistent guy as Jim Kotsis on board there is no other chance than going forward or going forward. And they did. Moreover, in this chat you will enjoy Jim’s refreshing ideas.
Hello Jim, your debut album was “Devil’s Music” in 2013, it was a good first step, how do you feel about it after 4 years?
To be honest with you, I don’t think I’d change anything in “Devil’s Music”. It was a good first step indeed and as I always say, just like every other record, it captured the moment, the feelings and the state of mind we were into, back then.
Jim, you have two new members on board, just happening this year I think. How was it?
Actually it’s three members. Apart from me (Jim – bass, vocals), every other member departed from the band and this is something that happened because of both personal and musical reasons. Hector.d (drums), John T. (guitars) and Mikko Chris Vlachos (guitars) are the new guys and in my humble opinion, they are perfectly suitable for what we do as a band. Hopefully they’re here to stay too. The procedure of changing members was –as it always is- painful and stressful as hell. It’s no surprise that bands with a solid line-up are the ones that always make a step forward.
Yeah, in the end it’s kinda a second family. I suppose they had not time to contribute to the composition of the new songs, right?
Surprisingly, when hector.d got in the band, the album was half-complete, songwriting-wise, so he contributed a lot, especially in the arrangements of the songs. John and Chris did their part, which was doing slight changes in the rhythm guitars and composing the solo parts (that was Chris), changing the songs a bit as well. Compared to the limited time the new members spent in the band, I consider their contribution really important.
This year you are releasing the follow-up to Devil’s Music , your second full-length «The Second Fall», how long have you worked on it?
I’ve been playing a few of the new riffs on my guitar, since the first days that “Devil’s Music” was released. If it wasn’t for the amazingly troubling procedure of changing members, “The Second Fall” would probably have been released a couple of years earlier. Despite that, the good thing is that we put no pressure in the composing procedure. We took our time so that each song would turn into a precise reflection of our thoughts, always serving the lyrical concept of the album, which undoubtedly was the main driving force behind its creation.
We find a heavy and doom approach, more heavy or more doom in your opinion?
Both equally. It took us quite some time to find a suitable term for our music, and now that “heavy doom metal” has landed, I have no intention to spoil it! Hahaha!
Hahaha. You are often compared to bands such as Trouble, Atlantean Kodex or Grand Magus, a good praise, isn’t it?
I love Trouble (a much underrated band in my opinion, given the fact that they kinda are the fathers of heavy doom metal), and Grand Magus have been one of my favorite acts, since their first heavy-rock-friendly days. Atlantean Kodex are just magnificent. Yeah that’s a good praise.
Doom Metal and Greece are two words that usually sound very well together…
That’s true. We have doom metallers Doomocracy, Aeon Aphelion, Sorrow’s Path, funeral doomsters Shattered Hope and DreamLongDead, ambient doomsters Omega Monolith, we have our good friends Universe217 and Agnes Vein and there is also a powerful heavy rock / stoner rock scene in Greece as you already probably know. It is no myth that Greece currently has one of the most rich and uprising rock / metal scenes worldwide. If only we had the resources… Fuck!
Yeah, you guys could reach for the stars… Before opening the digipack we will find a cool artwork, what was you intention with it?
The front cover artwork is designed by Dimitris Protopapas a crazy artist we met in Athens, Greece. There was no intention actually. We just saw the painting and went like “Hell yeah, this is our cover artwork”. You’ll hear a lot of people saying that it doesn’t fit our music pretty well, but if you listen to the album a couple of times, you’ll find out that it all blends together perfectly. It was meant to be, that’s all I can say.
What are the lyrics about in “The Second Fall”?
Rebel demons dethrone Lucifer, imprisoning him in a cage made of sand. He then escapes and travels through chaos to reach Heaven and ask for God’s help. God grants him the sword of Michael and a troop of cherubs and then begins a quest for the reclamation of Lucifer’s throne. It’s an epic story of treason and revenge.
What songs are you more proud of in this “The Second Fall” and why?
I am and we are proud of all songs. My personal favorites though are “Darkness in their Eyes” and “Wrath of Lucifer” with the participation of Sakis Tolis of Rotting Christ.
Awesome. You have released a video for the song «Better to Reign in Hell (Than Serve in Heaven)», I think you have based on an Italian film to make it, right?
That’s accurate. The material used for the specific video is taken from «L’Inferno», a 1911 Italian silent film, adapted from Dante Alighieri’s «The Divine Comedy» and inspired from the corresponding engravings of Gustave Doré. Actually the entire «The Second Fall» album is our humble tribute to great men like these, or John Milton and Neil Gaiman, and ispired from their respectable art.
Possibly the guitar work is the key and most brilliant element in your music
I think “Screw guitarists! Hail the bass!”. Hahaha! Well, all songs –even the vocal-driven ones- were composed on guitar. We like powerful compositions and we really fancy a memorable refrain, but there’s nothing in the world of music like a killer riff. That’s what Tony Iommi taught us at least.
Amen! I have read around that this new album was sheduled for release on May 26 through Supreme Music Creations, but limited to only 1000 copies, is this right? In that case, any reason for that limited number of copies?
CDs don’t sell that much anymore. That’s all. We’ll do a vinyl release later too, so it all makes sense.
Greek Metal is much appreciated internationally and many bands have jumped into the international arena, something that for example is not so usual in Spain. What do you think is the reason behind it?
I think that the whole financial crisis situation, turned us into the overlords of artistic creation! Hahaha! What can I say? Someone would expect that these days that misery has spread all over Greece, people wouldn’t be capable of creating new and interesting stuff. Eau contraire, most bands seem to have been created within these years of the so-called financial crisis and as years pass, music export is getting bigger and bigger too. There is a Greek saying that goes something like “Good things usually happen in bad times.” I tend to agree.
At least it’s a relief… Are you preparing a tour around to promote your new album?
We already played a bunch of dates in our homeland Greece, and also released a limited number of copies of “The Second Fall” for these shows and we are currently booking festivals in Greece and also trying to figure out a EU-tour situation for Fall of 2017.
Great, hopefully we will see your legions arriving to our coasts. Thank you very much Jim!
Stay true to yourself. Fuck society’s rules. We are here to change the world. Thanks for the interesting questions man. It was a pleasure and an honor.