Three years have gone by since we talked for your amazing ‘Titan’ album. During this time the world has gone even more mad. Did any of these experiences entered your inspiration for making the new milestone ‘Codex Omega’?
Indeed, inevitably I was influenced from this phase of great decline in the human affairs. So there are songs in the new album as ‘Enemy Of Truth’ and ‘Portrait Of A Headless Man’ that are dealing with what is happening right now.
Can you go a bit deeper into the choice of the title ‘Codex Omega’?
It is the title of the 3rd and final bible, the end of all bibles. As omega is the last letter on the Greek alphabet is indicating finality.
In the semi title track you speak about the third testament. Can we see this as a biblical sign of the apocalypse? Some thoughts about this would be nice…
Apocalypse is literally disclosure of knowledge, revelation. The actual message is that all books including all bibles were conceived by the human mind. I think it is about time for mankind to take responsibility for its actions. To stop wait for someone else to clean up its mess, or blaming a scapegoat for the bad results of its actions.
I think there are more references to religion or spirituality in the lyrics. For instance, what hides behind the title ‘Our Church, Below The Sea’? It really speaks to the imagination…
If you notice, I did a small wordplay and most of the titles of the songs have some religious implication. So I used words as Inferno, Martyr, Testament, Church, Gospels, Trinity etc. However the actual meaning of the lyrics is somehow twisted and not what someone would expect at a first glimpse. For instance, the song you are mentioning ‘Our Church, Below the Sea’ is a story connecting the Chtulhu mythos with Atlantis.
As always, the new album is a multi-layered musical experience. It must be a titan work (to keep close to your vocabulary hehe). How long did it take to record and can you tell a bit more about how you started and built up this multilayered art?
Yes it was indeed a titanic work. Actually, first we spent months on composing the songs and exchanging ideas. We always do a lot of home pre-recordings, in order to feel the progress of the songs, putting gradually all the layers of music together. Then, when we all feel 100% satisfied from the last version of the songs, we enter the studio for the final recordings. That way, at the final phase we are allowed to focus on performance and perfecting the small details. And the final phase is not picnic either. We used three different studios for the recordings of ‘Codex Omega’. Zero Gravity studios in Greece for the main recordings, Smecky studios in Czech Republic for the recordings of the orchestra and Fascination Street studios in Sweden for the recordings of the drums and the final mixing process.
I remember you worked with an American producer for ‘Titan’. How do you look back at this result and what was the reason for recruiting Jens Bogren this time? How was it to work with this busy Swede?
Both are great producers. In comparison, Jens has a more organic approach on the sound and we wanted to go to this direction on the new album. Our collaboration was very good and he grasped really fast what we wanted to achieve. And that is a feat by itself, as our music has a great deal of layers and we use many different instruments that need special treatment in order to be clearly heard. Jens did an amazing job and it is one of the best productions we had in our career.
When did you focus on writing the new songs for ‘Codex Omega’ and can you tell a bit more about this writing process?
I always ‘store’ ideas when they came to mind and so there is a pool of ideas at the ready before even planning to make a new album. But the real hard work starts when we actually decide to focus on the creation of a new album. Each member of the band is a composer and that means that there is artistic input from all directions. And a lot of ideas are put on the table. So eventually we have to make some harsh decisions about what will prevail and what will be thrown away. Also there are two different paths that we take in order to complete the songs. The one path is starting with the normal metal structure and gradually giving parts to the orchestra. The other path is the opposite. So some songs are starting as orchestra pieces with a soundtrack attitude and then we have to figure out the metal elements and the rhythmical decisions that will produce the correct flow. These are the hardest songs to complete, but also the songs that push us to surpass our limits.
Fotis Benardo is not in the band anymore. When and why did he leave? You even did not use his studio anymore. What was going on?
Unfortunately from some point and after, Fotis was not ‘in the same page’ with the others. His mind was elsewhere and it became obvious that things could not continue this way. I was very disappointed with this turn of events. But of course he is always an extremely talented musician and I hope that his future will be bright in whatever he wants to do next.
Can you tell a bit more about new drummer Krimh (an experienced guy I see) and his background and recruitment?
He played for Decapitated in the past and also helped Behemoth for some shows. Also he has a project band called appropriately Krimh. He is an amazing drummer and has also composing skills. Codex Omega is the first album with Krimh on the drums and he did an amazing job. If you want to demolish your house, put the album on high volume and the drums will do the job.
For ‘Titan’ you toured more than ever, but when we spoke for ‘Titan’ you were about to embark for South Africa. How was this experience at Witchfest?
The venue was full packed and the crowd was crazy. There are metal fans all around the world and it is great to find out that our music has gone multinational. There was really extended touring for Titan. Probably, as the popularity of Septicflesh has grown more, there is going to be an even more extended live attack for ‘Codex Omega’.
The music of Septicflesh is complex. Yet you manage to bring it live in an amazing way. Do you prefer puzzling in the studio or playing live? Do you see playing live as the crown on the work or a necessary obligation?
The studio recordings are capturing forever a creative moment in time, but it is a solitary process. The live shows are about interacting with the crowd and there is a feedback of emotions. So both have their magic and importance.
We talked earlier about the situation in Greece for people who are living there, like you. In the meantime you suffered from the exodus of refugees of war and economical fortune hunters. All mixed. How is a country like Greece facing this on top of its own economic crisis?
Things are rough as you can imagine. The problems seem to multiply instead of being solved. And of course there is the great economic problem and we keep paying more taxes but the debt of the country is still going up and business close and people lose their jobs and so on. It is the perfect shitstorm and we are in the middle of it.
Your apocalyptic view on the album is getting frightening real: wars all over, terror, new signs of coming war between East & West… North Korea, USA… you know. Is there still a glimpse of hope or is every civilization doomed to fail? Are we too much people on one globe acting like mice?
Indeed. I think that we are at a point that we must wake up, face the facts and completely change our course, because the course that humanity is taking today, leads straight to extinction. When you are standing with the back to the wall, the only way out is to stand up and fight. In this case we must fight stupidity, prejudice, pollution, hunger, illiteracy, religious fanaticism.
In this light I am starting to see theories about eschatology in a different way. Okay, I am raised as a Christian (not really practicing anymore, but well, you have that ‘knowledge’) and the Bible is full of doom prophecies. As a child it was rather depressing but interesting to read. What are you feelings about that? How did you experience that ‘education’ in your youth and how did it develop into what you are now?
I was raised in a Christian country and so inevitably I got acquainted with the Christian lore during childhood. However, even as a child I was questioning everything and as the answers weren’t satisfactory, I kept making questions. As my mother worked as a teacher, we had many interesting books in our library and a lot of them were about history and various civilizations. Soon I realized that Christianity borrowed a lot of elements from previous belief systems and everything started to make sense. My conclusion was that man created his gods and demons at his own image and not the other way around and that the religious lore was compatible with the mentality of the human race at the specific time. With the passing of time, new elements were added to the mix and the old elements were updated, tweaked. It seems however that the doom element you mentioned is a constant. Probably it has to do with the destructive nature of mankind.
Well, let us enjoy everything when still possible. Please tell me about your plans for the near future and on touring?
There will be an extensive tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse in Latin America this October-November and various other live shows are planned as for example the event-cruise 70.000 tons of metal on February 2018. We intend to cover as many areas of the world as possible.
Can you tell something more about the symbolism of the artwork of Seth this time?
The album cover portrays a strange figure with an elongated open womb like face, with a human embryo in the place of the brain. There are symbolic implications from various songs of the album, as ‘Faceless Queen’, ‘3rd Testament (Codex Omega)’, ‘The Gospels Of Fear’. I always work closely with Seth on the symbolism, exchanging ideas, in order for the visual element to fit perfectly with the lyrical approach.
When listening to ‘Trinity’, my thoughts were as follow. Actually you are a trinity now. How would you describe in your own words the bond between the Septicflesh members (Seth, Christos, Sotiris)?
Krimh is a full member of the band and is here to stay, so we are four. However indeed as me, Seth and Christos are the three oldest members of Septicflesh being on board from the starting point of the band, there is a special chemistry between us that plays the major role on our music identity and direction.
Do you still live pretty close to each other or is it a long distance but unbreakable bond?
Seth and Chris are living in Athens Greece and I live in Patras Greece, about three hours distance with a car. Krimh lives in Poland. But in the modern world distances are not a problem, as long as there is good planning. And of course the communication between us is constant.
Are there plans for music videos to spark up our imagination?
We have shot two video clips for the songs ‘Martyr’ and ‘Portrait of a headless man’. I don’t want to spoil the details about the screenplays. Very soon they will be available on the internet, so just keep an eye…
What are your wishes for the near future?
I wish that gradually logic will prevail in this world. For the time being let’s hope that things will become more stable.
If you want to add something, please feel free to do it right here…
Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts and present a glimpse of our new album ‘Codex Omega’ to your viewers. Keep the metal spirit alive.