Interview with UNIVERSE217
The Band: Universe217
Answers by: Manos (guitar)
Universe217 is a band very popular in Greece with a very powerful live performance. They have released a great new album, their fourth full-length, under the name of “Chage”. We wanted to know more about it, although Manos, the guitar in the band, admits that they rarely answer any interview, another reason for us to feel more proud about it. Open your mind, because what you are about to read is everything except the typical answers. One-of-a-kind band, absolutely.
Hello Manos, you have released your fouth studio album, “Change”, how do you feel about it?
Having a record out always feels great. Like a cyrcle of endless recording and rearranging and redoing things is over. And People get to hear it, and with modern media, feedback is almost instant, so its great to have all that.
Your EP “Ease” from 2014 was very well received, I think this “Change” will not dissapoint anyone…
Ease was based on a live experiment we were doing for some time. And we really were glad, that it was received well. It meant that the outcome was more that an experiment. Well we dont do what we do because people are expecting stuff, it must be a force greater than pleasing others the one that drives you. But yes, I tend to agree that the 4th time around, the record is more “complete”
After listening to it serveral times I only can say: oh my God! How many rehearsing hours are behind “Change”?
Hehe, if you must know, 10hours a week for 2 years. Or something like that.
Logical. It’s difficult to define your sound with only one word or label, so I leave the task to you…
One word? Daring, I guess. We always aim for sincere though.
Now, tell us the truth… Has Tanya come from some far away star? She doesn’t seem a human being sometimes (in the good sense), she is fantastic! For sure, one of the strong points of the band
Tanya cames from a universe far far away. She had to leave her planet, 217, because it was burnt to the ground and came to earth. She formed a band to gather money for a spacesuit. So far, no spacesuit. She is also allergic to kryptonite, and her uncle is hans solo.
Logical, again. To have Tanya in the line-up is at the same time an incredible pushing force and a risk too. I explain myself. Don’t you feel that without Tanya Universe217 would not sound or not be the same?
Of course we would not sound the same. What I love about bands is that people must absolutely work together in perfect unison for magic to happen. One element changes, everything works differently. But to answer the question, having a voice that wants to push things that far, means music that does the same. If you really want to hear this band with other voices involved, you can actually check out our youtube channel, there are some interesting projects there.
Cool! When you get so high a level as you do with this new album, what can you expect to do in the future? How do you think of a next album?
Thank you for your kind words. Whats next? Actually its the first time we dont have like a million more songs that we are working on. In the past the moment the album was out, we were already experimenting onstage with new stuff. This time around, we kinda enjoy playing theese songs, so it will stick for a while, and when we’re ready, I guess we will release more stuff.
I think you actually deserve that time enjoying your output. Tanya is wonderful, but the atmospheres you create between guitar and rhythms are indescribable, you just have to listen to it
I think you just have to listen to it.
We do agree hahaha. What are the lyrics about?
You have to ask Tanya, and probably you will get a different answer every 4 hours. She actually changes them a lot as time goes by, so its never one thing. Maybe they are about living in Athens, or facing your demons, or just recipes for cookies, who knows?
Surprise after surprise… How did you get to fuse this sound? What influences you got in your way as musicians?
Cant really tell. It was never like we listened to some band and wanted to do what they do. We knew it has to be downtempo because it had to breathe. And then heavy guitars. We all get excited about it. And an atmosphere that will suck you in. Or else what the point in music if it doesnt take you places. If I had to name bands the list would be endless. Most of the times people are guessing our influences, and its so funny because they mention things we hardly ever listen.
Hahaha I believe you…. If I’m not wrong, in Greece Universe217 are very much appreciated, not only for their albums but also for their live shows, right?
I guess so. People are coming to them thats for sure.
What are the most important gigs you have played?
Being able to share the stage with people and learn about them and find what connects us all is important. We had the chance to tour a bit and this band has always been the means to get us places. It was also nice when we met some of our most beloved mucisians, and proved to be kind souls and spiritual people in general (like neurosis, or wovenhand).
You have a deal with Ván Records, how satisfied are you with the guys? They give the promotion you really deserve?
Van records is great. The first time we felt like we belong somewhere. Never cared about promotion, I guess you figured that out by now, but I think they are doing a fine job with that too. Sven, karro and the rest of the team, are awesome, enough said I guess.
It’s diffcult to say in the music world, but I am inclined to think that this “Change” will place Universe217 in all the maps, it would be fair, anyway…
Thank you once again for your kind words and support. I think hard work and dedication gets you closer to where you want to be, and yes with change, well, it feels closer is close.
By the way, I suppose they have asked you this many times, but I cannot resist myself, why Universe217 as the name for the band? It’s really atypical…
By now, I believe that it is obvious that lots of things are somehow atypical with this band, the name being the least of our problems. Amongst other things, we also dont have a website, a “proper” band photo, and a music gendre. So yes, u217 is a nice way to sum all that up.
True as the sky is above us. What can you say comparing “Change” with your debut album from 2007?
If I had a time machine I’d go back, erase half of the debut, and release it as an ep. I really dont like some stuff that are in there at all anymore. And If somehow I could listen to “change” when we were composing the debut, I’d probably would not like it at all. That being said, not changing is boring, counterproductive and too safe, and we try to be none of theese things.
Thanks for your absolute sincerity, apart of that I really share your vision of the necessity of changes. The album’s title has something to do with changes inside the band regarding any matter?
Absolutely not actually. Its a ritual. One word songs, one word album titles. For the most part anyway. Last song from never was never, last song from ease was ease and last song from change, yes its change. What that song is all about. Well good luck having Tanya explain that…
Some day we will ask her… Any tour dates scheduled? By the way, have you ever played in Spain?
Never played is spain. Really have plans to visit, I’ll guess well do that in 2016. A 2parts german/european tour is on its making, playing in greece a lot is essential, having a good time is also essential.
What are your plans for the future?
Play live as much as we can actually, and accomplish a few more live projects we really want to do I guess.
Mamos, thank you so much for your time and congratulations for your fabulous work!
Thank you so much