The first meeting of the great Greek post-punkers with the Czech audience is coming and we talked to the band not only about their beginnings, roots, plans, state of the scene in Athens, or about life in Greece...
GREETINGS TO GREECE. THIS IS OUR FIRST INTERVIEW WITH CHAIN CULT, CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO OUR READERS? HOW DID YOU GUYS GET TOGETHER, HOW MUCH PLAYING EXPERIENCE DID YOU HAVE AT THE TIME OF FORMATION AND WHAT WAS YOUR AMBITION IN STARTING A NEW BAND?
Dino: Hey readers! We're Chain Cult, a post-punk band from Athens, Greece, formed in 2017. We first met through our involvement in the Greek DIY punk scene, and have been very good friends for years, more than a decade or so. We all grew up in Athens, but some of us studied in other cities, so when we found ourselves again in Athens we decided to make a band and play something different than the styles we had played before, which were more into hardcore punk and crust stuff. We are Jason on vocals and bass, Vangelis on the drums and me (Dino) on the guitars.
IT'S OBVIOUS THAT YOU ARE NOT BEGINNERS AND HAVE EXPERIENCE FROM OTHER BANDS, TOO. TELL US ABOUT YOUR PAST BANDS. DO YOU PLAY IN OTHER PROJECTS THAN CHAIN CULT NOW?
Dino: Well yeah, we've played in many bands before, and still play in a couple, in parallel with Chain Cult. From past bands we would mention Conspiracy Of Denial and Injekting Khaos (Jason), Λήθη / Lethe (Dino), Gutter (Vangelis). From bands that are on hiatus: Lifewreck (Jason & Vangelis), Dirty Wombs (Dino). And now we play in Feral Kids (Vangelis & Dino), Αρχή Του Τέλους (Vangelis), Junkheart (Vangelis), Gun Fever (Jason). Lots of stuff! (laughs)
YOUR EP "WE ARE NOT ALONE" IS THE ONLY (!) RECORD IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SITE THAT GOT 100 % REVIEW. ARE YOU FOLLOWING REVIEWS AT A TIME WHEN PRINT ZINES ARE BASICALLY DEAD AND THE ELECTRONIC FORM IS PUSHING EVERYONE INTO MORE AND MORE BREVITY AND SUPERFICIALITY?
Dino: First of all thank you so much for your kind words in that reveiw. It means a lot to us! I think that we still follow reviews, even on a digital format, but mostly for bands that we like, that we already know, or that someone that we trust has already told us good word about their work. On the contrary, printed reviews offered that magic of presenting some great bands for the first time to the eyes and ears of the reader! I got to know amazing bands from fanzines.
I KNOW SOME OF YOU HAVE DONE A ZINE. CAN YOU RECALL WHICH ZINE IT WAS? HOW DO YOU REMEMBER THIS TIME OF SENDING ZINES AROUND THE WORLD BY MAIL?
Dino: I was doing one, along with a friend! It was called Winterview (HERE) and we managed to print three issues back then. Those issues featured interviews of both Greek and foreign bands, articles, reviews and my favorite part: tour diaries. Nice times! I started buying zines almost 15 years ago and making my own zine around 10 years ago, so it's not that old. However, a beautiful memory that I have is keeping the same issue of a zine for months and reading it two or three times, literally digging every single mention inside its page.
IN GENERAL, YOU HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS DIY. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THESE THREE LETTERS MEAN TO YOU AS AN ARTIST?
Dino: It's a state of mind for us. It's the most sincere and humane form of expressing yourself through art and doing creative stuff both in a personal and a collective level. It's based on the respect among all parts involved, the band members, the bands and those who listen to the music, the promoters, the places hosting the gigs, the independent labels releasing the music, those writing about music, everyone. This spirit shaped us as personalities, and it is a big part of ourselves. There's no need for strict boundaries, and everyone can have a somewhat different idea around DIY, but the foundations remain the same.
I'VE NOTICED THAT GREEK BANDS OFTEN HAVE A SPECIFIC SENSE OF MELODY. WHETHER THEY ARE BLACK METAL OR DARKWAVE BANDS, THEY OFTEN SOUND DIFFERENT AND DISTINCTIVE. YOU ALSO HAVE YOUR OWN SOUND THAT THE LISTENER IDENTIFIES YOU BY. WHY DO YOU THINK IS IT?
Dino: To be honest, I'm not sure if I can tell it for genres such as black metal or dark-wave, but I can admit that especially the Greek hardcore punk has a really special and distinctive sound, especially the bands from the late '80s and the early '90s. Our dark-wave stuff could easily be in the same page with bands from other countries in my opinion. One could say that Greek people take also influences from eastern music and neighboring countries. I wouldn't say we have such influences though. I can't really tell why our melodies are built the way they are, I just think they come out naturally like that. What I can say for sure is that we love our music to be melodic, and you know stick in your mind and make you "singing" it after the end of each track. It's basically what we also like to hear from other bands.
WHAT IS THE DARK GREEK SCENE LIKE TODAY? WOULD YOU RECOMMEND ANY NEW BANDS TO LISTENERS? AND HOW IS ATHENS TODAY? CAN ONE FIND ANY GOTH EVENTS/CLUBS WHERE ONE CAN GO DANCING? YOU GUYS HAVE OFTEN PLAYED IN SQUATS AS WELL. GIVE US A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE CURRENT STATE OF THE UNDERGROUND IN YOUR CITY AND COUNTRY.
Dino: Dark-wave, synth, post-punk and goth are vary popular in Greece nowadays. Almost every week there is an event with that kind of music, there are a couple of bars only playing that style of music, and almost all the good bands of the genre have played here in Athens. People like it a lot, and historically it was always the same. We had a very interesting dark-wave scene back in the '80s, with a couple of magnificent obscure gems! Last year, one of the oldest dark-wave bars, Rebound discoteque closed, and it was a big blow for the night scene. So many people had passed from that place and danced for hours until late in the morning. In Greece, we have only played in squats, DIY basements, squares, universities, streets, outdoor spaces and such, and never in a club or something. It always had so many free, DIY, and non-commercial options, and we never felt the need to play elsewhere. Unfortunately, things have gotten very tough, and many of these places do not exist anymore and cops now try to prevent every single event that may happen in a public space, so I don't really know what the future has to bring. But generally, we always had a very vivid, radical and anti-commercial underground scene!
YOU ARE NOT AFRAID TO CONVEY POLITICAL VIEWS WITH YOUR MUSIC. SO, LET ME ASK YOU - HOW DO YOU LIVE IN GREECE TODAY?
Dino: The situation here is really tough and bleak. The cost of life is super high while the salaries are very low, and this contrast gets more intense day by day. Most of the rents aren't approachable, and the prices especially in the center of Athens are crazy. In fact, I believe that the state wants simple people, with simple jobs and not a lot of money, to move out from the center, and keep it for exclusively for tourism, big real estate companies, and investors from abroad. At the same time the government is super corrupted, super uneducated, with a far right wing agenda, deep in the shit of scandals of various natures, like economic, political, media scandals, sexual & child abuse scandals and more. And it's very sad that these people may be elected again. I believe that after all these years of economic crisis, Greek people have lost their hope, their strength, their ideals, they're super tired and cannot confront this monstrous system. There are still people fighting and trying to make this place better, providing at least a shelter for people like you and us, but it needs more work to be done.
IF I WERE TO ASK YOU ABOUT ONE SINGLE THING THAT UTTERLY PISSES YOU OFF AT THE MOMENT, AND ON THE CONTRARY SOMETHING POSITIVE THAT HAS REALLY PLEASED YOU LATELY?
Dino: It really pisses us off that we live in joke-state. I don't say that other countries are much better or something, but really here it's like you are mocked here every single day. And by travelling abroad, with the band, and seeing what's happening in other places, what we describe is more visible than ever for us. However, we're very happy lately that finally the whole Covid thing seems to be over, and all the things that we loved and marked our ordinary lives, like going to a nice indoor concert, or going to the bars, to drink and dance, are finally back!
FIRST THE AMERICAN TOUR FELL FOR YOU IN THE PAST FEW YEARS, THEN THE RUSSIAN TOUR FELL THROUGH FOR LOGICAL REASONS. HOW MUCH OF A DISAPPOINTMENT WAS THAT FOR YOU AND WHAT DOES PLAYING LIVE MEAN TO YOU?
Dino: The American tour cancellation was a fatal blow for all of us. We had always dreamed as teenagers to go there and play with a punk band -I did it once and it was the best time of my life- and you know at some point it got real with Chain Cult, and then it collapsed in a few weeks. Everything was perfectly booked, we had spent a lot of money to arrange it, and it sucked. And you know, up until that point I hadn't imagined that the activity with a punk band could bring such a big disappointment. I didn't want it to be like that. But then again, with a little more thought, all the world collapsed back in those days and life had to go on for every single human in the world under new terms, so in the end of the day our tour was of very secondary significance. With our Russian tour, which was also fully booked, we were just prepared for any possible scenario after the US taste, so it didn't really bother us on the band level, we only felt very unlucky. But we really worry for all people affected by this war on a bigger scale, and that's what is most important, there's no place for tours, concerts and such in such a serious issue. Fortunately, we managed to do a lot of gigs in 2022 and we got back a part of what was lost! Live shows mean the whole world to us, we feel a 100% of ourselves when we're up on stage, even if it's stressful at some points, and all the people we meet, all the moments we live before and after the shows are memories that we'll take to our graves.
Chain Cult - We´re Not Alone
HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO RECONCILE LIFE AS A MUSICIAN WITH NORMAL LIFE? WORK, FAMILY...
Dino: It's very hard to keep that pace living in Greece. Arts and music are so low respected and so low supported by the state that almost no one can survive only by doing his and her art. At the same time the salaries are very low, and part time jobs that can be decent almost never existed. So you basically work a lot and don't have enough money, neither the time to dedicate to the things that you love. We all have normal jobs, and try hard to find the golden balance between the job and the band, counting our anual leaves like beans..! No one of us has a family. That would make the whole thing a lot more difficult time-wise.
YOUR STYLE ALLOWS YOU TO PLAY BOTH WITH PUNK BANDS AND AMONG GOTHS. DO YOU FEEL ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PEOPLE FROM THESE SCENES? WHERE DO YOU FEEL MORE AT HOME?
Dino: There is difference of course! Playing for punks, in punk shows, feels a bit like home. We know how it's like to be there, it's very familiar for us, and makes us feel very comfortable. And we know all that we may come across, with all the prons and cons included. Playing in goth audiences is a bit more unexplored territory, it's very interesting though, and it would be fun to do it more, in parallel with punk gigs. What we can say is that since it's a new thing both for us and the goths, there is this beautiful humble, romantic, and shy feeling... dressed in black! Most of the people we've met in that scene are very gentle.
THE MAIN REASON FOR OUR CHAT IS YOUR CONCERT IN PRAGUE. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO THE CZECH REPUBLIC BEFORE? WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THIS PARTY AND WHAT CAN FANS EXPECT FROM YOU?
Dino: We all have been in Czech Republic previously, some for vacation, some for Fluff Festival, and some even by making a quick pass from the country with other bands. However, as Chain Cult we've never played before there before and we are very excited. We would definitely like to know what the scene looks like in Prague, meet locals, have conversations and meet new friends. And of course, we'd love to see the city! We hope that a lot people will decide to spend their Saturday night with us. Be sure that we'll play a big set with tracks from all our records!
HOW FAR ARE YOU WITH THE WORK ON YOUR SECOND FULL-LENGTH ALBUM AT THE MOMENT?
Dino: We have good news to deliver here, because we've already started writing new material for the second full-length! We are extremely happy about it, in fact it really changed our mood to the better after the summer ended, and we feel more ready than ever for this process. We've already worked for a couple complete tracks and have ideas probably for the whole album. All we need is some time to focus on it after the tour ends.
YOUR MUSIC IS VERY ENERGETIC, ARE YOU LIKE THAT AS A PERSONALITY? ANY MANIFESTATIONS OF ADHD? :) OR IS THERE A CALM NATURE AMONGST YOU AND YOU ONLY TAKE YOUR ENERGY OUT ON STAGE?
Dino: I think that yeah as personalities, we tend to be more the energetic and intense side (laughs). However, concerning our music, we're sure it is because of our strong hardcore punk background. We've always listened a lot to hardcore, played that style too, and it was impossible to not infuse this energy in Chain Cult
THANKS A LOT FOR THE INTERVIEW, WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN PRAGUE!
Dino: Can't wait for this one, we are very excited!!
Chain Cult (GR) + Huta Plastiku (PL)
Chapeau Rouge, Praha
vstup: 350 CZK, pouze na miste