[Interview] Grandmaster Cockroach [GR]

Grandmaster Cockroach band photo
Grandmaster Cockroach is a fairly new rock duet based in Athens, Greece. They have just released their debut album "Music for lousy speakers" so we took the chance to have a little chat with the band to introduce them to you and present them in a proper way the public.

01.-Hello and welcome to Downtuned. First of all, give us some info about the band's background just to let people know you better. Where did you get started? How did you meet?
We played together for the first time back in 2006 in a band, called the Junkie Opera Choir. Loukas saw an advertisement that the Junkie Opera Choir were searching for a bassist player, and decided to join. After breaking up Junkie Opera Choir, years later Loukas had an idea about a two-member band, composed solely from bass and drums. From the very first moment he realized that Takis, who he had played with in Junkie Opera Choir, was the most suitable person in order to bring this idea into life.  So we started to experiment with some premature ideas back in 2015, however, 2017 was the year where important decisions were taking place and we decided to start putting together an album.

02.-Did the members of the band participate in other projects or bands in the past and what kind of music did they play?
After breaking up Junkie Opera Choir, Loukas joined Barbara’s Straight Son, a live electronica cinematic band, with live visuals, then Bordeline Syndrome, an experimental progressive rock band. On the other hand, Takis’ main musical participation was in Junkie Opera Choir and after the break up he did not pursue further projects until 2017.
Grandmaster Cockroach band photo
03.-How did you come up with the name "GRANDMASTER COCKROACH"? Does it mean something particular for you?
Every band knows that finding a name can either be the most difficult or the easiest part of the initial formation. After a whole day of brainstorming names for the band, we realized that our nicknames combined together sounded just right!

04.-How would you describe your music to someone who doesn't know you yet? Is that the style that defines "GRANDMASTER COCKROACH" or is there room for further experimentation?
One can say that our music belongs to the alternative rock style but we believe that our music can be described by the term polystylism. It’s groovy, noisy and melodic.
There is always room for further experimentation and what we are planning to do on the next album is to take a step further into creating our own sound. Our music is a mix of the alternative rock of the past two decades with Rage Against the Machine

05.-What were the main reasons and influences that made you adopt this music style?
During the process of composing material for this album, our goal as a duet was to create a complete sound. So we used every idea no matter how it might differ from the others, resulting in a combination of different elements reflecting our vast influences.

06.-A few days ago you released your debut album "Music for Lousy Speakers". Is there a story behind this name? How did you decide to name it that way?
After having completed the recording sessions, we moved to the mixing process, which like every mixing process takes a long time and is tiring. While listening to our songs playing on repeat from a set of monitors, we thought that ours songs must be heard from lousy speakers in order for them to be fully understood.

Grandmaster Cockroach band photo
07.-Are you satisfied with the result or there are things you would have done differently under different circumstances?
When we began the production of the record we were really open on how it would sound but we didn’t have a clue what to expect. It was Alexis Chatziioanou, our producer, that after having heard us at rehearsals, he guided us into finding our sound and our feel on this record. We can now say that we are fully satisfied with the result of our debut album.

08.-What were the biggest difficulties that you encountered in producing and releasing your debut? Are those difficulties going to affect the way you'll handle your future releases?
Creating a sound for the bass part was easier as there was plenty of room to experiment with different elements. It could be considered difficult in terms of the use of the right recording and mixing techniques that were achieved to create a wall of sound full of layers.
Concerning the releasing process we can easily say that there are a lot of sequential steps that a band needs to take in order to make it successful. One difficulty that we faced as a new band was to find the appropriate media pages for our music.

09.-How does the whole songwriting process work for you? What are the emotions you want people to receive when they hear your music? What are your lyrics about?
Once we have something to work on, like a riff, a vocal melody or a beat, we arrange a song together.  We have examples like Clown of the Universe, where we first wrote the lyrics and the music came afterwards or Ecstasy, where the exact opposite happened, where music came first. During the songwriting process, we always work on our parts together, as suggestions can turn out to be valuable for the final result of the song.
We have a lot of different vibes in the album, from cheerful and uplifting songs to dark and esoteric ones. Our main goal is for our songs to spark something personal to the individual listener.
Our lyrics talk about heartbreak, living and loving life and sometimes act as a stepping stone to encourage the listener’s mind to search for the deeper meaning.

10.-During a gig, is the communication with the crowd important for you? Does the positive feedback from the crowd motivate you to perform with more passion?
We believe that a successful performance is something that is composed of two parts. So every time we perform we try to give it our best. We try to challenge and encourage the audience to react on the same way and interact.

11.-Are there any "special" bands that you dream to share the stage with?
We would really like to be in a gig with Beastie Boys and Prodigy, but you never know what life will throw your way..

12.-What are your plans for this year and how do you plan to promote your brand new album? Have
you scheduled any live appearances or a release party? Is it a priority for you to try and participate in gigs outside Greece?
We have come to realize that the promotion of an album is as important as the production process. Now that we have released our debut album, our goal is to get as much people as possible to listen to it and we do believe that the best way to do that is to schedule several live shows.
Grandmaster Cockroach release showOur release show will take in place on 10th May at Death Disco in Athens and a Greek tour will follow in various cities. Playing outside Greece is the next step that we want to take and hope to do so at the the end of the summer (2019).

13.-How do you imagine "GRANDMASTER COCKROACH" in 2029?
We imagine ourselves with more records and more actively taking part in the beautiful process that it takes to produce them, with our music spread throughout the world doing shows wherever we can. And most importantly, with more goals and further development.  We would like to afford a lifestyle that will allow us to give our 100% on making music and focus on that solely, because that’s what we love doing the most.

14.-We wish you good luck to whatever you do in the future, the epilogue is yours...

First we would like to thank you for the support and give a big shout out to all of our friends that helped us all this time. And last:
F#CK OFF ! LIVE LIFE ! THESE ARE LIFEFUL TIMES AND THIS OUR MUSIC, FOR YOUR LOUSY SPEAKERS!
See you on the 10th of May at Death Disco with Soothsayer with a special show we have prepared for you.


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