29 July 2011

[Interview] Beyond Perception [GR]

Beyond Perception

Given the chance by the review I made for Beyond Perception's latest cool album "Blood & Whiskey", I had a chat with band's drummer, Tolis Toleas about their music, the situation in Greece and the band's plans for the future.

Thanos: First of all, give us some info about band's background just to let people know you better.
Tolis: Beyond Perception was originally formed in the summer of 2004 as a progressive rock band by Kostas Kalavrezos (guitar), Panos Kalavrezos (bass) Tolis Toleas (percussion) and Paris Poukamisas (vocals, guitar). After a while the band takes a different direction. Mainly influenced by Metal / Rock music, we drastically changed our musical intentions. Having composed the musical material that expresses us, we recorded and released our first demo, which had a positive feedback from the fans. We went on tour in Greece, while our music started to evolve into something more serious and aggressive. Two years later Paris left the band, due to different music approaches. We were facing many difficulties since we had a new musical material and we need a singer too. Panos Karnaris (former singer of W.F.D.D.) a musician with unusual attitude and extraordinary music preferences, became our new singer and enhanced the band.

We recorded another demo with Panos and after several months of hard work, we recorded our first full album, with the encouragement of our fans. Soon after the release of the album, we hit the road again, playing with famous bands of the Greek metal scene. We signed a contract with Casket Music and we quickly became known abroad, through various music websites.

On September 2010, Blood & Whiskey was released through DSN Music, an American independent label in Arizona. Soon after this release, we lead a quite successful tour in England and Ireland, where our material had a very warm reception. We were also the support group to Spiritual Beggars and Annihilator.

Thanos: As you mentioned, you released your latest album through a US indie label, DSN. How did you decide it? Are you satisfied from your collaboration with DSN?
Tolis: We were searching for a label for a few months. At some point, we had an interesting proposal from DSN so we took the decision to sign. Our contract with DNS regarded to “Blood & Whiskey” digital worldwide distribution for a year. Their stance was 100% professional and consistent to our contract.

Thanos: When did you decide to record and release a new album? And how the whole songwriting process works for you?
Tolis: “Blood & Whiskey” was recorded and mixed in July of 2009 at Nemesis Recording Studios in Kavala and our producer was Tasos Karapapatzoglou. The mastering was done after a few months at R.D. Liapakis & C.Shmid at the Prophecy & Music Factory Studios in Germany. As a band we’re doing a lot of rehearsals. So the songwriting process is the result of these rehearsals, where each one of us brings his ideas to the table and by working on them, we create our songs.

Thanos: If someone hasn’t heard anything from you, how would you describe your music and which bands would you use as references?
Tolis: Well since Beyond Perception is a blend of different characters and musical influences and we don’t like categorizing music in genres, we simply describe it as rock ‘n’ roll. Our musical influences are coming from many and different scenes and styles, from Death and Pantera to Blues Brothers and Elvis Presley. Anything we like, it becomes a part of our influences.

Thanos: From Blood & Whiskey’s release, has passed a respectable amount of time. What’s the feedback you received from people who listened to it?
Tolis: We’re very pleased and satisfied for all the positive comments we’ve got for our songs, the album’s production and the artwork (which was a work by John Kranis) from the Greek and the foreign audience.

Thanos: Last October you gave some gigs in UK and Ireland. Was it your first time playing outside of Greece? How was the experience?
Tolis: When you start playing music in a young age, having a gig in a foreign country is everyone’s dream. This was our dream too and we made it happen. Only good memories were left to remember and it’s definitely something we're hoping to do again.

Thanos: You have performed a lot of lives until now. Is there any particular which you’re going to remember through the years?
Tolis: Well there are a lot of things to remember from our gigs. We’ll never forget our first live as Beyond Perception as well as our first live with our current singer Panos Karnaris. Of course, we’ll remember the times we shared the stage with bands like Annihilator and Spiritual Beggars. Also our gigs in UK and Ireland will be hard to forget. Especially our show in Dublin where beer crates were flying in the air…

Thanos: Are there any bands you wish to play with?
Tolis: We would like to share the scene with several bands. I believe that we all agree to one, Motorhead!

Thanos: Do you prefer to be in a studio or on a stage?
Tolis: They are two different things and of course each one has its pros. But personally I prefer the stage because you have a more personal contact with the fans and you're definitely having more fun from being in a studio.

Thanos: You’re a part of Greek heavy scene for a long time. How different things are now from when you started?
Tolis: Before Beyond Perception, we were experimenting with other bands from the late 90’s. From my experience all these years, there are several great bands in our scene formed by totally professional and very talented musicians who really improve themselves through time. I believe that as long as the bands stick together, helping and supporting each other, things will become even better for the Greek scene.

Thanos: This is a very difficult time for Greece with the economic crisis and all this stuff. How do you see the future?
Tolis: Generally here in Greece things are going from bad to worse. But we don’t lose our confidence because we’re passing our most creative phase. With simple words, world passes a full on combo phase which touches the levels of ONLY-THRASH…..

Thanos: In this situation is there room for new bands to release new works, give lives etc.? I mean maybe people, due to the problems and difficulties they’re facing every day, lost their interest in digging music and attending lives.
Tolis: Bands like us never stopped trying and people seem to understand the difficulties a heavy rock band has during the crisis, as well as before this whole situation happened. Greek audience continue to support our lives while more and more bands trying to give as much as free entrance gigs they can.

Thanos: From recent releases, are there any that got your attention?
Tolis: Well there are many releases out there which are really good. Personally, I think that the latest works of Alice In Chains (“Black Gives Way To Blue”) and Testament (“The Dark Roots Of Earth”) are really great. Also from our local scene, Planet of Zeus’ “Macho Libre”, Potergeist’s “Muddy Mermaids” and The Bliss’ “Gabbatha” are excellent ones too.

Thanos: At this point I would like to thank you for the interview and wish you the best for the future. Any info about your future plans?
Tolis: We have finished the recordings for our third album at SCA Studio in Athens and we’re in the middle of the mixing process. We’re preparing a tour for November in many Greek cities and maybe in Germany and Scotland. You can learn about the band updates and come in touch with us through our MySpace  or Facebook. Thank you for the interview and for the support!

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