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Above Us The Waves

Ook in Griekenland is er een metalcore scene. Weliswaar doen ze het op hun eigen manier, net zoals de meer black gerichte landgenoten van Rotting Christ en SepticFlesh al jaren doen, maar dat harde werk en koppig hun eigen ding doen, heeft deze twee wel aan de top gebracht. Zo ga je vroeg of laat de naam Above Us The Waves zeker nog eens tegenkomen. Luister maar eens naar hun tweede album Rough On High Seas’. Tijd dus om hen eens aan de tand te voelen. Gitarist Vasilis was mijn gesprekspartner.

Door: Koen W. | Archiveer onder metalcore

Above Us The Waves is a metalcore band from Greece and right now not very well-known in our part of Europe. Can you tell us shortly something about the bands history?
The story dates back in 2009 when three out of five current members (Vasilis, Dinos and Vangelis) got together and started covering Heaven Shall Burn and Sepultura! Can’t be sure if we were good at it but it was not long till we wanted to play our own songs and do more shows, so we recorded two demo’s. This was followed by George joining the band, a full-length album 'Anchors Aweigh' in 2013 and many shows around Greece and abroad. It was a crazy ride from a bedroom band to playing big stages next to some of the bands we grew up listening to! Stratos, our current drummer, was the last to join AUTW and at that point we started working on our latest album. We spent the last two years either touring around the Balkan region or stuck in the studio writing, adding details or completely deleting our new music till we felt confident that the world can give a listen to 'Rough On High Seas'

Recently you released your second album ‘Rough On High Seas’. The first 'Anchors Aweigh’ alas never reached us. Is your current label Growl Records much better in seeking publicity? Did a lot things changed with your new label?
As I said before we didn’t really know what to expect when we first recorded an album. We were happy to just have our music out there and play shows so didn’t really follow up on the business side of it all… Spreading Dysphoria (our previous label) was a new independent label giving us a 'home' and it was a more DIY 'friends helping friends' kind of thing. We love the guys and they are still supporting what we do! When we finished writing 'Rough On High Seas' though, we wanted to give our music a better chance to go places! Working with Growl Records made total sense, they are big fans of our band and they have the perfect work ethic for growing into a big label. It was love at first sight!

It has many times been said that making a second album is much harder than recording a debut. How did you guys experience this?
We had to learn this the hard way! Even the title of the album describes the tough times we went through trying to record it. We wanted to be sure that every single person that attended a show, bought a t-shirt or wrote a nice review could listen to the new album and say, 'I knew these guys had it'! This resulted in a lot of pressure, over details trying to push our limits and deliver something we would be proud of. At the same time, we all battled changes in our personal lives, a lot of uncertainty and even keeping the band together was a big effort. But all these difficulties and hard times found their way into the music and in the end, it proved to be a redeeming experience and an album that will always be special for us.

‘Rough On High Seas’ has a playing time of half an hour. Now thirty minutes isn’t that long, but it has the advantage the listener stays focused. Was it a deliberate choice to make such a short album, or did it just happen along the way?
We would never settle for fillers. We had a bunch of songs and ideas and only the ones we felt good about ended in the album. So yes, it is not a long album, but it feels complete and we still get this feeling when we listen to it front to back. I mean, 'Reign In Blood' is only 29 minutes long so who cares! Haha!

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Metalcore is a genre with its limits, yet you have managed to come up with a lot of variation. What are the main ingredients that for you make a good song?
We believe that the variation comes from the fact that we don’t belong strictly to the metalcore cliché genre. It’s mainly riff- oriented modern metal enriched with core and post influences. Someone can call it metalcore, but we are definitely not poster boys of the genre. When it comes to composing, our aim is to deliver a song to be remembered in many ways, catchy riffs, crowd singing melodies, intricate rhythm section but on the same time we are trying to avoid being generic and cheesy. For us the recipe is being honest with our music having a clear message to convey and touch someone with your music is way more important than massive breakdowns.

The name of the band, the name of the album and a lot of songs refers to the sea. Your hometown Kavala is a place at the Mediterranean Sea, so the nautical theme is obvious. How would you describe this special bond between you and the sea?
A few years back strong winds hit our city and the waves destroyed the seafront. This gave birth to our name and it was the perfect metaphor of how we envisioned our music in this small town. The first album 'Anchors Aweigh' was the start of the trip, 'Rough On High Seas' is the first hardship that made us stronger. The sea will always be a big inspiration for us even if we don’t use it as a reference but can’t see that happening soon!

Greece is best known as the land of more dark metal such as Rotting Christ and SepticFlesh. How is the metalcore scene there?
Yes, this is true and in the last five years we have also experienced a significant breakthrough of the Greek stoner rock/metal scene. The bottom line is that people around the world can learn about Greece’s metal scene via these bands and find out a very wide spectrum of genres and many remarkable bands. The metalcore scene had its ups and downs but there are bands still going strong and putting out great albums (End Sight, Kin Beneath Chorus, End Cycle, Embrace The Paradox, All Vows Collapse and Forway Between Ocean, to name a few).

You even played as support for Rotting Christ and SepticFlesh. They mainly attract a black and death metal audience. So how did the crowd react when they hear and saw a metalcore band?
We’ve also played as a support act for HIM so imagine the surprise of their fans! We always bring 100% of our energy on stage and this seems to counterbalance any hesitation fans of different genres might have. It might also help that we don’t look like your typical metalcore band so they don’t realize it till we are midway through our set and then it’s too late to boo us off! There is not a challenge we won’t take as the stage is where we feel the most confident!

So what will the future bring? Are there any shows or tours scheduled for the rest of Europe?
At the moment, we are on the process of booking a European tour for October and we are aiming to expand our route to central Europe as well (mainly Austria and Germany). We are DIY-ing the whole thing, so promoters feel free to get in touch.

I thank you for your time. Do you have any last words for our readers?
We thank you for this great chance to present our work! Will be more than thrilled to read the comments of your readers for our new album! Just stay safe and positive and remember: We are lost when we are apart!

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