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31 March 2012

[Interview] Reversed Nature [GR]

Reversed Nature
While the Greek heavy rock scene is growing day by day, it surely lacks by bands of psychedelic/kraut rock sound. So Reversed Nature are one of this kind of hard to find bands which come to fill this gap. The truth is I hadn't listened about them since recently, when a couple of months ago I contacted them in order to dig their music. The guys send me right away their two albums which were released completely DIY (thanks guys for the copies!).

Of course I told them that I was going to write a review about both their albums. But as I was listening to them and after a couple of unsuccessful tries to write a post, I find it quite hard to write something (neither in my mother tongue...). This happened 'cause their music is quite -allow me to say- "strange". It's something happening a lot of times to me when I'm trying to describe some kinds of music. You know the tracks derive completely from a jamming process where feelings, thoughts and improvisation play a major role. The themed lyrics where a story is taken place double the difficulty for me. Anyway, it's something hard to describe.


So I decided that the best way to present their music through Downtuned Magazine is to arrange an interview with them. They responded in a positive way right away. And thank god I thought about it 'cause it was one of the most interesting things I've made for Downtuned. Reversed Nature's drummer, Lefteris, is an interesting person to talk to and the greatest thing is that he didn't got bored answering. So the interview became quite long (but very interesting at the same time) and we talked for their music as well as some social concerns, situation in Greece, the strange ways of nature and many more.

I think it's time to stop writing and let Lefteris take the lead. Get over there, put their music playing and read what Reversed Nature is about. Thanks again guys for the interview!

If you're interesting in both their albums' physical copies, you can contact them through their Facebook page or in this email: reversednature[at]yahoo[dot]gr.


Thanos: First of all let’s start with the basics… Give me a brief bio of the band. Who are you, how did you start etc.
Lefteris: The band is Antonis on the bass, me on the drums and Dimitra on vocals. We started in the beginning of 2007 with a different name - Natural High - but we had to change it because other bands had the same name.
Well the basic reason this band started was boredom and escape from our everyday life. Me and Antonis met when we played for a hardcore/punk band with greek lyrics called “R.B.X.P”. But something happened and we left the band. One day Antonis came to my house together with Anna and his bass. He told me if we could jam some ideas he had and I said ok. And so we started on my basement a lot of jam sessions. And here we are in 2012’s Reversed Nature having some live gigs, 2 records and still keep going. We don’t know where this will go but we enjoy every moment of it.

Thanos: From what I saw the main core of the band are you and Antonis. But there are some other people contributing too. Tell us a few things for your line-up, how you’re working the ideas that soon become songs and generally the whole band’s attitude towards music.
Lefteris: The core is me and Antonis but the core by itself cannot make a full functioning organism. Those people, past and active members, are very important to the band. Me and Antonis never saw ourselves as leaders or something like that. We’re bringing ideas but we’re accepting ideas too. Everything you hear is out of jamming... Ok there is a main riff or a main rhythm but we let it evolve. We are not saying that here we have to play like this and there we have to play like that. No... We start playing and sometimes we are forgetting to stop. And jam after jam you get what you hear...

In the begging was Anna on the voice and George on m-audio and laptop. Anna left the band due to music differences and then Angelica came to take the vocals but she and George couldn’t stay because both of them since they had jobs and university obligations and a band among those things isn’t an easy thing to do.And it is something you have to respect since this is not a band that give pay checks
So for some time it was just me and Antonis but then we met Dimitra and we’re having a female singer again and we are very happy about it.
And Nick (Sapios) is a very good friend who helped us on our shows where he was doing some stage performances and that’s the reason we have him “as the one who suffers everything”... hehe….

Thanos: Are you using some kind of special equipment besides the “traditional” instruments?
Lefteris: Special equipment…… Some lightsabers, the Sword of omens, the power of Grayskull and stuff like that….hehehehe
Just kidding…. Our laptop and some pedals for the bass…. There is nothing special and super. Me and my drums, Antonis and his bass, Dimitra and her voice…and the laptop….hehe….

Thanos: Before passing to your releases, I would like to ask, how would you describe your music to someone haven’t heard you before? And what are the main influences of your sound?
Lefteris: Describe our music….well I would say psychedelic kraut rock kind of thing…hehe.. If someone wants to label it. But I never was a friend of labels so…. you can listen and tell us what you think. I know this is a typical kind of answer but really I can’t say psychedelic rock so let’s leave it that way…hehe… Our main influences besides life itself, are bands like Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Neurosis, Isis, Sleep and stuff like that…!!!

Thanos: So far you've released two albums, “Nature Reversed” (2009) and “Junkie For A Guide” (2011), which are the first two parts of a themed trilogy. Could you tell us a few things about the story? And what happens in these two albums of course.
Lefteris: The story is about a guy that we call him Nameless Visionary. In the first album. “Nature Reversed”, Earth is destroyed and Nameless Visionary travels to outer space in search of a planet, During his travel there are a lot of inner search and struggle that he has to go through so that he can keep going on his journey. The album ends where he founds a planet.
And there starts our second album “Junkie for a guide” in which Nameless Visionary finds a planet but this planet is a barren wasteland with nothing but desert and sun. On that planet he finds a caravan of unknown life forms. Those life forms are being lead by a clown and having a junkie for a guide and they try to find their way out of that desert hell. But as you understand they fail and our hero is going to the spirit world. Where our third album starts….to be continued….and who knows it might not be a trilogy… hehe!!!

Thanos: How did you come up with the idea of creating a concept trilogy?
Lefteris: The idea of concept albums to tell you the truth came by accident when we were making our first album. We were putting the tracks on an order and we saw from the lyrics that track by track a story took place….And out of the blue a story and ideas for that story were created…

Thanos: Did you write the story at once and then started recording each album? Or does the concept evolve through the writing process of each album?
Lefteris: As I told you before…..Our concept around music and lyrics are made out of jamming it is not something that we come up with and we start working it…..I mean the entire story about Nameless Visionary just came out… When we were jamming the music for “Nature Reversed”, we didn’t had in mind of a concept type of lyrics and songs. Even the music on “Junkie for a guide” for example, there were a main riff and a main rhythm but most of it was created during the recordings... We were jamming and we were recording it…. That is the deal with lyrics too….. Jamming. We are playing and saying what we’re feeling at that moment….and we like it..hehe!!!

Thanos: I really liked your artwork especially from your second album. Have you created it by yourselves?
Lefteris: Both albums covers where drawn by me… And Antonis took it, photoshop it and put the colors and rest of the stuff on the covers…You see, we like to keep our heads busy with a lot of things not only music... I mean if we could produce our own cd boxes… then we would also do that……hehe!!!


Thanos: What kind of feedback do you get for your music here in Greece? Are people interested in experimental stuff?
Lefteris: Feedback from our music...Normal… There is no madness or ignorance around our name, but a normal reaction where people liking it or people not liking it.
People are very interested in experimental stuff… But they find weird that we don’t use a guitar, especially when we are getting on stage, you see them looking around for the forgotten member of the band somewhere in the space.

And sometimes this is a problem with closing gigs with other bands. I mean there are people listening to a lot of ambient, post rock/metal, stoner psychedelic rock/metal but it’s like they don’t support most of the experimental music scene in Greece but that’s another subject and not what you've asked me ..
We know that 15 and 20 and 30 minutes tracks are not the easiest to hear… or to be played on the radio so that more people can listen to it…. But so far so good; We’re enjoying every moment of it and the fact that we could cover the recording expenses from the sales of our first album it is something very important to us and we are very happy with that..….hehe

Thanos: Since you came up with the lack of guitar in Reversed Nature. A lot of really good bands have never used it (see Om). Have you ever considered to add one? Or do you think it's fine as you are? Maybe it’ll give you more ideas for experimenting…
Lefteris: We don’t have problem with guitar as an instrument… Its an amazing one. We've tried some guitar players but there was no chemistry… I mean me and Antonis were playing - and with one exception of a good friend of ours -  all the others… I just can't explain it… But somehow they didn't fit. I am not saying that they were bad guitar players; No not at all…We jammed with some amazing players, they really knew what they were doing but there was something missing... Maybe it is our fault… Maybe it's their fault… Just didn’t fit in... One person could fit but obligations….because you know there is also life…and as I told you before, since we're not a gainful employment band, sometimes we are jamming on the basement. But ideas for experimenting are plenty….plenty… You see electric guitar is not the only musical instrument someone can use to play music. There are many interesting instruments out there… But you have to find someone who can play them…hehe… Or learn. We just have to sit and learn how to do it…..hehe……

Thanos: And since you mentioned the not so supportive Greek audience in experimental stuff, I cannot resist in asking you. Why do you think this is happening? Are they close minded in general? Or they become when it comes to Greek bands?
Lefteris: No no I don’t think Greek audience is close minded, I hope not… It won't be good for us…hehehe… You see music in general is how our ears, heart and mind can accept it. It isn't wrong if someone says “I don’t like Reversed Nature’s music”. It's logical... It's music we are talking about. So even if someone listens to a lot of psychedelic experimental stuff, might not like what we are doing; it is a matter of taste. I can’t force you to eat, listen or drink something you don’t like. But we have to understand that Greeks in general, even the ones with more experimental music tastes than those with mainstream music tastes, don’t have in their entertainment the word live gigs, which in my opinion is the most important thing for a band. They prefer going to bars and clubs than live gigs or they will go to a foreign band because it comes once a year or may never come again. This is something you have to respect. Because I am not going to say to you or anybody else how you are going to spend your free time and money... For god sakes no.

Also sometimes maybe a band's music isn't suitable for the audience they are playing to and maybe they could try playing for a different audience. For example a friend of ours, told us one day why don’t you try playing at a psychedelic/trance festival/gig. We haven’t tried it to tell you the truth... Maybe we should. Not because someone might think that Greek rock crowd is close minded, no… But because the majority might not like what we are playing. It doesn't mean that they are stupid, close minded people; it might not be nice music for them…. Maybe it is for someone else. That's very normal. Thinking that some people like your music and others don’t…

Ok sometimes you might see people overreacting either in a positive or in a negative way with Greek bands. It is something the majority in this country have. You know we want our neighbor's donkey to die and not to buy our own or sometime you will see people acting like “rockstars” to others etc etc…
But I think that is something that happens all over the world. Not only here in Greece. Time to close this subject because I said to much. It's all about music! You like it, you'll support it! You don’t like it you won’t support it! That's all...hehe!!!

Thanos: So Reversed Nature… How did you come up with the name?
Lefteris: As I told you, in the beggining it was Natural High but due to synonymy with other bands we changed it. Reversed Nature is the state that we are living the last years as a mankind. Nature is destroyed as an unnecessary thing so that mankind can have a “better” life. There is no harmony and no balance, trees destroyed, lakes dried out, animals butchered even though it is not needed, overpopulated cities with too much waste etc etc. So if you think of it, this is a Reversed Nature more or less.

Thanos: Let’s go into little more “philosophical” paths. You talked about the reversed nature of mankind. Someone could state that mankind’s arrogance is something coming from the nature itself. Human dominance in earth will make its circle and at some point a new era will start. I mean a long time ago, earth was conquered by dinosaurs eg. And this changed by nature itself. What I’m trying to say is that nature/earth always finds a way to prevail and maintain the balances. What’s your opinion about it? Do you think that Homo Sapiens' era comes to an end and something new will rise? And what do you think that would be?
Lefteris: Honestly I don’t really know what will happen in the future. If I did, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation that I am now…hehe…. Just kidding.

Nature always takes its course, but from my point of view it’s like we are forcing her to take some kind of course. A course that a small part of humanity wants.. If you know what I mean. The planet will not be destroyed (except from a supernova), but it seems like something it’s not right. It seems like it’s going too fast this so called circle. And even though we are small against nature’s power, it seems like humanity tries to fight her, tries to beat her and not to cooperate with her. I am not saying to live like animals, but take for example lions; they hunt only when they feel hungry and only for hunger, they are not doing it so that they can stock gazelles and sell them to other lions….I mean somehow all of us must say enough is enough. How much more must be destroyed? Why do you have to force that circle and not let it flow and come on its own...

Thanos: From the little time I know you, you’re quite concerned about social themes, society, politics etc. We all know the current situation in Greece. In your opinion how did we get here? And who is to blame for it?
Lefteris: Of course all of us in the band have social concerns. I mean only people with bricks for brains don’t concern even a little bit about the situation in the country they are living.
How did we get here… Lust for money, power, material “needs”, ego, the fact that we don’t care about our fellow citizens and that we care only for ourselves. The most logical explanation I can give. And who’s to blame? Every single one who started this situation and has benefits from it. And of course those who tolerate this situation with the excuse that nothing is going to change.

Thanos: What is the future of Greece? What is going to happen?
Lefteris: If our minds don’t change, if we don’t stop worshiping ourselves and trying to stab each other’s back so that we can get a better job position or more money in our bank account…Then the situation will be as it is…. The rich are going to get richer and the poor, poorer. The most important is to believe in ourselves but also stop thinking only ourselves. Utopian as it may sound there is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the first step is to rise up and take what is rightfully ours...our lives... If someone thinks that we have lives because SOME of us have a roof above our heads, and we can go a Saturday night out and then to our beds because tomorrow we have to go to work for 200 euros per month….then I don’t know what to say.

Thanos: Is music a way to resist or even to change things and make people think different?
Lefteris: I am not going to lie to you. We would really like this to happen. That someone might say "Reversed Nature with their music made me think and see even further". I think this is the ultimate reward for a band. But to tell you the truth other bands did that before us, they were pioneers both musically and lyrically and so I am not expecting something like this to happen with us. We have our feet on the ground; we are not inventing fire or the wheel…..hehe…. Because I don’t think that we're doing something that never existed before. We really like what we are doing… but it’s not revolutionary…..hehe

I mean in our records, a story is taking place with a symbolic meaning. That no matter how hard is going to be, never stop fighting for something better as an individual and as society. There is a positive meaning behind that, we are not negative people, we don’t like negativity no matter how hard things are or are going to get. Heads up, move forward with respect to yourself and to others around you and things will get better... Utopian opinions I know…. but still, it is better to think of Utopia and moving forward trying to reach it than just sitting in a corner saying “nothing is going to change, everything sucks and I'm so alone that only darkness needs me….” with tears in your eyes…!!

Thanos: You as a band, do you have any thoughts/ideas on how you can promote a different kind of thinking? Or it isn’t in your primal concerns as a band?
Lefteris: When we first started, we didn’t have any thoughts at all. We didn’t even know what kind of music we will play, so to promote a different way of thinking? I don’t know… I mean being positive, always trying and never giving up… But with respect to each other. I don’t think is a different way of thinking, it is common sense..hehe... Also being creative and not consuming all the time like maniac… It’s something a lot of people say…..
But being creative, not by making other suffer like stoke market agents for example. They think that they are creative by stealing lives and making money out of it… this is NOT creative….. It is a characteristic of egoism and the need for power provided by material values. And as we say “the shrouds don’t have pockets”.

Thanos: Since recently we had a few problems with ACTA/SOPA laws. What’s your opinion about the measures? And what do you think about the free spreading of music through downloads?
Lefteris: Music industry kills music and "piracy" helps it... Just think where would Metallica be if there wasn’t for tape trading… All these happen because lot of money-graving bastards were loosing their power over people, they don’t give a shit about music, movies, books and stuff like that. They want to know every move you make and every word you say… So they said let's do something about it... And here comes ACTA/SOPA etc etc. All for the “creators rights”… Yeah OK we believe you. Big Brother says so… And all that for pieces of paper that they have no value...!!!Surreal….

Thanos: Let’s go back to your music. I would like to ask you how are your live shows? I mean your music isn’t the most straightforward kind. Is there a special interaction between you and your audience? And is there a different way playing your music live from a studio?
Lefteris: It depends on how much time we have to play on stage…..hehe….. We don’t have a plan on how our show will go, sometimes we have live interaction with friends helping us and performing an improvised stage show, we might project some visuals behind us or both stage show and visuals. Our music is based on jamming so if we feel like playing our music differently than the album then why not? But of course sometimes it isn’t easy when they say that you have a 30-minute set to play and most of our tracks are from 10 minutes to 30 minutes... And since we have a new album, we're trying mostly to play from our new album… not that most of people know our old songs but you know what I mean…hehe!!!
Thanos: How hard is for a band like you to arrange gigs? I believe there is hope in Athens but in smaller cities I find it quite impossible…
Lefteris: The fact that people can not say what we are playing…(and to tell you the truth I find it strange…because we are playing music) sometimes makes it hard even in Athens… And since most of the bands out there play stoner, hardcore, thrash/death metal and now it's in fashion the cover bands, most of the promoters saying…you have a woman singing but it isn't atmospheric metal…or punk… I could put you with stoner bands…but…you don’t have a guitar….maybe a chill out more ambient kind of gig….but sometimes you use fuzz and you are not that chill out…and sometimes we are like…huh???
And the truth is that all these sounds to their ears... They (promoters) don’t like what we're playing so they are not going to put you on a show they're planning. And that’s fine with me. I don’t mind but you know…say it! I am not going to bite you!

But I wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention Panos from Magic Potion Promotion and Anna from Catch The Soap who gave us the opportunity to play in some of their shows. I hope we didn’t disappoint them but we had a lot of fun and we gained experiences.

So mostly we try on our own to organise some live shows, finding bands, closing places stuff like that. Most of them are bands, we know them personally and we have a good relationship. We try to put on live gigs so that bands and people will have fun…. We have made some organising mistakes but we are not promoters...so..hehe… But we've played only in Athens, not in other places. We don’t have the experience to tell you how things are inThessaloniki, Patra, Crete or other places……!!!

Thanos: Your plans for this year? Either about recording new stuff or gigs, even a tour?
Lefteris: Promoting our music with live shows, interviews and more live shows….hehe. And a tour would be nice…but…it is not as easy as it sounds… And of course recording our third album whenever we feel like we have to record it….
There is no rush on both promotion and recording because we don’t have a contract over our shoulders forcing us to do this and that. Also we have a life to live and under those conditions in Greece….hmmmm a bit tough, as we say in Greece ”it needs saliva and patience” especially in music…hehehehe!!!

Thanos: Any 2011’s releases that really grab your attention? And any albums you’re expecting in 2012?
Lefteris: There are many good albums released on 2011. Brotherhood Of Sleep “Dark As Light” is simply astonishing …really…. These guys  create such an amazing soundscape…
Long Distance Calling with their self titled album which was a good album also….
Ulcerate with the “Destroyers Of All”. Now that was some death metal with character. They make a difference in the death metal scene.
2011 was full of releases but really I am not saying that just because they are a Greek band... Brotherhood Of Sleep made me forget everything I listened on 2011… Really they overcome everyone else to my ears. But this is my opinion. Antonis and Dimitra and everybody else might say something else….hehe!!!

Thanos: I would like to thank you for this great interview. It was a very interesting one, at least for me and it was great talking with you. Last words are yours…
Lefteris: Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you and everyone out there that will read this interview……
LOVE PSYCHEDELIA AND COLORS!!

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