Photo: Fotis Benard. Photo editing by: Dimitris Tzortzis
To start off, let’s rewind to the very beginning and talk about how you first discovered your interest in music.
Well, I started by watching TV shows with live bands and from reading music magazines, as I was very attracted from the images and also the sounds that I was hearing, and eventually got very much into it and started dreaming about getting my first guitar. For a reason I always felt attracted to things that were not normal, and metal and rock music always had that edge and that rebellious spirit that I always liked and got drawn to.
Was guitar always your one and only option? What got you hooked on the instrument and which are some of the players that you think helped shape your sound?
I think guitar was the only option for me and when I listened to Manowar and Iron Maiden for the first time, I felt that the music was so different and so special at the same time, not the ordinary music that everybody was listening to, and the power that I was hearing in the riffs and the overall vibes of metal, I became obsessed with it, and from that moment the only thing that I really wanted to do was to be able to play my own riffs and be in a band. I think the defining moment for me was watching the concert in 1983 Dortmund in Germany with Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Ozzy, Scorpions, Judas Priest, and also Venom live from some old video tapes, and that was it for me – I got hooked for life! I think Adrian Smith, Alex Skolnick, James Hetfield, Erik Peterson, these kinds of players were and still are huge for me.
Today, which guitarists do you think stand out (in any genre)?
The ones that now standing in a garage and dreaming of becoming something and finding a connection with their music. I love honesty in music and players that express themselves with love and passion without expecting anything in return, only trying to find creativity and follow their passion to the death.
You formed the band in Greece back in 2000 but later relocated to Sweden. What prompted the move?
I used to play in another band, Exhumation, and when this band split up, I made the decision to move permanently to Sweden to find a better future and more opportunities for my music and for Nightrage. It was a great risk for me as I didn’t have any money or place to stay, only my desire to record that first album “Sweet Vengeance,” so basically I had nothing except for the songs in my mind and a crocodile tenacity to make-it-or-die attitude. I was tired of lazy people back in my home country crying that nothing happens and I knew that I was determined to change that for me and my musical dreams.
Over the years, Nightrage has had many line-up changes and members come and go…but you have been there at the helm since day one. What drives you?
Yeah, we got to the point of being like a hotel haha…but yeah, it was necessary first for the band to survive and move on, and also find the right people that will love this band and will follow its path to where it belongs to be. What drives me is my passion for playing the music and also, I love Nightrage to the death and I will not let anything or anyone destroy that for me. But now I see it actually kind of positive that this line up thing happened, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to meet the guys that we have now in the band and that we are making a great bond!
On that note: You are coming up on 22 years with the band! If you look back on this entire journey, what would you say some of your personal highlights along the way are? Any standout moments or events that you will remember or cherish forever?
Yeah, it’s kind of incredible that we are still here after so many years and so many ups and downs. I think the fact that when we signed our first deal with Century Media back in 2003, was a high note and also now the fact that we have survived so many struggles and our love for the music, brought us where we are now, having this great team of people in the band. Also, I feel another high note for us is when we signed the deal with Despotz Records, that they believe so much in the band and they are fans of the music we are playing and we have a very nice and open communication and a really nice friendship outside of the business side of things.
Out of everything that comes with being a musician in a band – writing, recording, jamming, touring, traveling (the list goes on)…what is your favorite part and why?
I think for me, the fact that you meet all these nice people, make friends for life and share, give and take enormous tons of energy and love, is what is makes it so special. Also the fact that we share all these nice moments among us in the band and that we work with a family spirit that makes everyone happy and inspired to keep it up.
On the subject of writing: Which Toontrack products do you use and what role do they play in your creative process?
We are using EZdrummer and Superior Drummer with different expansions, which really make the composing side of things very easy for us, getting solid demo songs. That way, we have a very good idea of what kind of songs we have in our hands. Toontrack drums are always sound so amazing and realistic, which makes the songwriting process fun and easy.
Nightrage is coming out with a new album very shortly. Tell us more!
Yeah, our new album “Abyss Rising,” is coming out next year on the 18th of February 2022 (after almost a year of delays). We have already put out two music videos as well as lyric videos and digital singles that you can check out on our channels. We are very happy and excited about the new songs and that we got very positive vibes so far. We hope that metal fans will like the new album on a whole.
Nightrage “Abyss Rising”
Finally, what’s next on the agenda for you personally…and the band?
Stay down to earth and be creative, keep feeling inspired and release many albums and play as many shows as possible…keep looking for that great connection with our fans, because without them we are nothing. We also want to thank you for the nice chance to let us speak about Nightrage and what we do in the band.