With the new offering ‘The Heretics’, ROTTING CHRIST are opening a brand new chapter. With confidence and skills derived from experience, each song represents its own sonic universe. Guitarist and vocalist Sakis Tolis in collaboration with his brother Themis on drums achieve a perfect balance of amalgamating their classic and unique style of riffing and rhythm with exciting new elements sprinkled in to keep their material exciting and fresh.
Metal Wani’s Nadira Cee had a quick chat with mastermind Sakis Tolis in London. Here’s the conversation:
Welcome Sakis. Thanks for joining us today. You have used Jens Bogren as a producer for the upcoming album. Jens is known as a producer who always pushes bands to create something different and unique from individual members. How was it working with him?
Actually I self produced the album, I produced the album. He helped me very much in the mixing process and mastering process which gave me some good ideas. Actually, you know I have released 13 albums. I have been creating music since I was born so i need someone to refresh my ideas. So, I asked someone to put a little bit of input in my music. A little bit and still keep myself.
Has it changed the way you’d work again, would you do anything differently in future albums?
Not that much. I think that I’m stuck with what I’m doing the last thing here, which means that I’ve found a good part nowadays to keep on creating music. I keep some of my culture, I keep some of my past, but I still create something. It’s very important for me because I feel active when I create. I feel that I live and I find a reason to live if I create. Because many people tell me “why Sakis don’t play only the old stuff, come on?!” If I only play the old stuff that means I’ve never been active, lack of creation- this is not me. I hope to live the moment and be active and be surrounded by my people is very important for everyone. This is how we live. This is the path I choose, come on! So they don’t always go with the flow always…
So how is the album personal to you?
I composed this album because i think that there are some acts, authors, some writers that during the history of time that were guided by church like heretics. Some pick quotes, some pick er…during the history that are quite similar to what we are doing nowadays. Those people were called Heretics. I think we are also heretics. I have this feeling I don’t know… maybe not in England because England is quite open minded, but we consider ourselves fixed, this is the path I choose and I composed this album like this and called it like this (The Heretics)
You have 10 tracks which seems like an optimum amount of tracks to have on an album. It starts off slow, keeps listeners engaged and then it finishes on an explosion!
I think so. That means you listened to the whole album, that’s very important. Many people don’t listen to a whole album. I always work different- i put my soul and take it step by step. I want someone to listen to the whole album and have an idea. I try at least.
Are there any songs that didn’t make the cut for this album The Heretics? Did you have any demos that you composed for this album…?
I have 4 unreleased songs that I kept out of the album.
Do you think we will ever hear these live?
No, but I will play a couple of live songs from now on.
How would you define extreme metal in 2018 compared to the early days for example the 90’s?
S: It’s STILL extreme, musically it’s still extreme but not that passionate like in the past.ok, there are some people that are passionate, but many people do that for money sometimes, maybe to be famous. When I started the band I wanted to be rich, but in my show. When someone like says “I like your music” it made my day. People say “i have no money” but you made me rich today. This is life etc. I might a soulful, quite dramatic person that’s why I always face problems with myself because I see life a little differently. Maybe it doesn’t go with the flow nowadays.
I think that’s what a lot of people appreciate and admire about you…
S: I think so, yeah. First of all we are fans and people understand we are fans. We are not fake, we go to shows, support the shows, we see other bands. It’s very important for me to be a fan, of course! That’s why we started the music- not to be famous. Music unites people. Some people know about the music, people from all around the world that’s why many times I used many languages. Some people say “why you use Arabic?” Because there are people from Arabia that speak different they don’t like all the other extreme Islamists, they want to make something. I’m with them, but I can’t make a revolution. Nobody can make a revolution nowadays, but at least I put a little pin on the wall that I am here, we are metal heads. We are quite strange, quite weird persons we don’t do that well with everyday life. Of course we have to pay our bills etc, but we have to give something different otherwise that doesn’t make any sense.
If you had to pick 2 albums that culminate extreme at its best what would they be?
S: I would be stuck in the past. Venom and Bathory. Those are 2 of my favourite bands. Simple as that. They started everything. I give big respect to those people who started this.
2 quick-fire questions. Your favourite track from the album?
You kill me. You kill me, you know why? Because I consider them like a family. I cannot choose. But it’s something for you to choose. Particular songs, something unique for me. This album is a song a based album it’s not like a musical interest. Each album is different from the others. Each song, you choose, different culture, different concept blah blah blah.
How would you describe the album in one word?
[Short pause] this is very difficult. Metal. You can call it as you want. This album has even more guitars than the last one, solos and the riffs. Something I missed with the last album.
My favourite track is probably “Fire God and Fear” it’s explosive. I can’t wait to hear that live soon…
Thank you. It’s the first song we will play live.
A couple of years ago you played India how was your experience in that part of the world where extreme metal bands don’t tour much?
Do you know I saw the same people that I saw here there? Metalheads are the same all around the world. Metalheads are a strong community and even from India or England or anywhere they are the same, they act the same. And I like to play very much, people say “why you go there? It’s dangerous!” No, it’s not dangerous. Nothing is dangerous. Everyone is scared. I like to play all around the world that’s why I played some countries no one has ever played before. Metal should be like this. I will do that till I die. Sometimes I feel tired from travelling, but I have a purpose in life. I try to find a purpose.
I think this reflects in your music.
I think so and I’m very glad that some people understand this. I don’t give a s*** about publicity, I want to unite. If my music speaks to your soul that makes me happy. Rich. Very rich.