[Interview] Planet Of Zeus [GR]

Planet of Zeus
Planet of Zeus is a Greek band and with the release of their second album "Macho Libre" proved us that the American South isn't too far away from Greece at all. I had the chance to be in their gig in Larissa so I had a little talking with band's bass player, JayVee. And here it is, Downtuned's first interview with Planet Of Zeus.

Thanos: First of all, give me a brief history about the band just to let the public know you better.

JayVee:  Back in 2000, Babis (vocals-guitar) and Yog (drums) formed Planet of Zeus along with a friend. This mate left the band after a while due to personal reasons. After one year, I joined the band (bass). Band’s style then was more in 70’s psych rock paths. As time passed, the music started to become heavier and heavier. In 2004 we recorded one unofficial demo just to see how we sounded. We gathered songs until 2006 when we got in the studio for recordings. In 2008 we released our first album “Eleven The Hard Way” under the UK label “Casket Music”, which has done an excellent job on promoting us inside and outside of Greece.
Because our cd sounded quite heavy and it was difficult to sound the same with one guitar on stage, we decided to become a quartet. Then Syke who was our friend and liked PoZ joined the band behind the drums while Yog took the guitar which was his primal instrument. So, we managed to play live the album’s songs as they were meant to be played.
And from the time we had a second guitar and another member, we had more ideas which was good for the band and formed the band’s style in a more complex way, it has nothing to do with progressive stuff just raw heavy rock but with richer and thicker sound.

Thanos: Three years passed from the release of your first album but “Macho Libre” is out at last. It took you a little long to release a new work?

JayVee: You know when you are going to release your first work you have plenty of time to do it. I mean people don’t know you so much and you have all the time you want to prepare it. After that, there is a pressure coming from people who listen new songs in lives and ask you when you’re going to record them as well as and from ourselves. But you can’t fully control it. You must write the songs, work on them until you have a result that you’re satisfied with it and recorded them. And from the time this procedure is totally self-financed, things getting harder.

Thanos: You signed in a new label this time, right?

JayVee: Yes, we have changed label. We recorded the album by our own expenses, made a promo and sent it to Greek and foreign labels. We had a few answers from foreign labels but from what I understood from my experience is that labels don’t earn much by cd sales and the main income is from lives, shirts and merchandise generally. And this has an immediate impact in the band itself. So, with all the labels (at least the foreign ones) we talked, asked us a considerable amount of money to release our record but let’s not take it any further. We had a long way of discussions about where to sign but in the end we decided that the best way was B-Otherside Records. So, we signed with these guys who give us their full support in everything, starting from the album’s promotion to the merchandise they gave us to manage for our lives etc.

Thanos: Few days ago you had and your release party.

JayVee: Yes, we made it in Mo Club. And it was great!

Thanos: I heard “Macho Libre” and I have to say that you made an excellent job. Completely professional work, from the songs and production until the “Leftovers” video clip.  What’s the impressions until now?

JayVee: The album is going very well from what I see and read. People seem to like it and the feedback we get is very positive. We’re very pleased!

Thanos: Your tour has just started. You decided to tour in Greece instead of staying only in Athens and Thessaloniki to promote your album which I liked it because people in smaller cities don’t have often the chance to see lives in their place. And let’s be honest, they don’t have the money (especially these days) to travel for a gig.

JayVee: You're right. And that's one of the reasons we wanted to do it. To play wherever we can in Greece. The situation here is tough at the time and from the moment we can play all over Greece of course we’re going to do it. Furthermore, we believe that there are many people who support and are interested for the scene and we were proved right yesterday in our gig in Trikala. In smaller cities they are more hungry for lives and they show it.

Thanos: So first gig yesterday in Trikala. What are your impressions?

JayVee: It was unexpectedly good. I mean that it was the first time we were playing there so we didn’t know how it would be like, if there were people interested in our sound etc. But it was a great live, we played with Hidden in The Basement and Shock Absorber who gave a great performance. The crowd was energetic and made us feel amazing, you know when you see them having a good time and like what they see (and hear) it’s a big boost for you to give them even more.

Thanos: Today you play with Hidden In The Basement and Dope Flood.

JayVee: Yes, as I said HitB is a very good band and they give all their energy in their lives. As for Dope Flood, we have seen them 1½ year ago when we played in Larissa and (they had a different name and line-up then) we heard the demo they released now and I must say that they made a great improvement. They’re quite young and they have great potentials for the future. And that’s what I like to see, new and relatively older bands getting better and better which shows that they love what they do.

Thanos: Your tour continues until June, right?

JayVee: Yes, it takes so long because we planned our gigs for weekends so more people have the chance to see us. During the week people work and besides that I don’t think they have the money to go out 2 or 3 times.

Thanos: And then comes July when you are going to play at “Stoned From Underground” festival in Germany.  And I think it’s the first time you are going to play outside of Greece. How did you plan it?

JayVee: It is the first time we’re going to Europe and it was about time to do it. It was in our plans from last year but then we didn’t have new material, the previous album was sold-out so it wasn’t the best period to do it. But now we took the chance. A good friend of ours, Steffen Roedel (aka Banana, Brant Bjork’s sound engineer) helped us in this one. We met him last year when we were supporting Brant Bjork in his gigs in Greece and he liked us. So, we kept in touch, actually we became friends (we had the chance to accommodate him here in Greece) and he helped us to get in fest’s billing.

Thanos: So you’re going to play there, almost two months after your album’s release. I think it’s the best promotion you can have.

JayVee: Definitely. First of all, it is a festival and not a single live. That means bigger audience and more people are going to hear us. Also, it’s a great opportunity for us to meet new people from bands (and not only), to see how things are outside and of course to promote our new work. We have more and better material to play now. It’s a great experience for us to play in a fest like this. The billing isn’t completed yet but the sure thing is that we’re going to play on 9 July, the same day with Monster Magnet (*according to the present billing the same day are also Vibravoid, Church Of Misery, Sungrazer….). It’s a great start for us and we are excited about it.

Thanos: And after that, what are your plans?

JayVee: Well nothing it’s sure for now. We’re waiting to play in Germany, meet people, make some connections and try to plan something more. We don’t stop looking for chances either inside either outside of Greece’s borders. Now it’s the time to move forward and we’ll try for the best. I’ll let you know for any new plan comes up.

Thanos: Great. Now from new albums is there anything that got your attention lately?

JayVee: The last time something really blew my head off was Mastodon’s “Crack The Skye”. From the most recent ones, the new Foo Fighters’ album is awesome. I loved it for its songs, its whole aesthetics. It’s different phase from our music, more pop(ular) but really kicks off. From Greek bands there are more and more notable releases. Lucky Funeral’s recent album, Potergeist (which are in the same style as PoZ), “The Bliss” and “The Dive” new works… Personally, I mostly buy releases from Greek bands at the time.

Thanos: What do you think about downloading?

JayVee: To be honest it’s a good thing, the pros are more than the cons. It helps the listener to check and learn bands which otherwise maybe he hadn’t the chance to do it. And also helps bands to be listened in a bigger and wider audience. It’s a kind of promotion. Of course, this has an economical impact in labels, which is transferred in a degree to the bands and that’s why labels ask a quite big amount of money from bands in order to sign them. But everything has its positive and negative side. After our release party, the album was uploaded to 4-5 torrents and personally I was glad about it because our music is spreading.

Thanos: Of course. I think if someone likes a release is going to buy it no matter what. He’ll download it but he’ll buy it because he likes it and wants to support the band. Maybe there are generally less buyers but there are more supporters of bands which produce good music.

JayVee: Exactly. He, who liked it, is going to buy it either downloading existed or not. He’ll download it, check it and if he likes it, he’ll go to a band’s live, buy their release or merchandise.

Thanos: Well, that’s from me. Thank you for the chance to do this interview which is the first for Downtuned Mag. Wish you the best and good luck with your show in Germany. If you want to add something more, you’re welcome.

JayVee: We want to see people coming to our lives, like what they see and having a great time. We are glad to meet new people who like our work and support us in any way, meet other bands and generally we try to give the best from ourselves. I hope things go well in Germany too. Thanks for the interview and the support. Wish you the best for Downtuned Mag.

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  1. Nice interview, nice band. I didn't know them, I checked em in youtube and sounds really cool. Keep on the good work. Cheers