When I have to introduce somebody to someone else, I do not like to say many things about him. Sometimes I even forget to mention the names of both persons around, because, after all, I am not supposed to do so. I prefer both sides to take the “risk” and reach each other. There is absolutely no reason for me to intervene. So, I will not tattle any more. Alectό is a hardcore band established in Volos city, Greece. It consists of three completely different youngsters who share the same views and ideas about the music they love playing, and in the age of twenty-one, they have managed to achieve much more things than the average of bands out there. They are now taking the risk to reach you!
Winterview: Hello Alectό! To start off, let me give you my congratulations about the name change! I believe it was time for such a thing. Besides, I can admit that ancient Greek mythology is quite fascinating. What did it lead you to this decision?
Alectό: Hello, we are really happy for this interview! Actually we had been thinking about changing our name for a while in the past, so when the line-up change happened (the vocalist left the band and we are now a 3-piece band) we decided that it was the perfect period for a name change, combined with the whole change. Ancient Greek mythology, as most ancient culture’s traditions, is really fascinating and has a lot to teach to modern humankind. The name Alectό came to my mind reading a CrimethInc. book called “Days Of War, Nights Of Love”, where there is a reference to the Furies, and it struck me immediately. We wanted a name that would be something more thaν a simple name, we needed something to make a statement about our politics / feelings (sometimes, if not always, these two are exactly the same), about our every day struggle in this life and about the way we feel for this world we live in. The times we live through are tough, the people who rule us are more corrupted than ever, and we think that morality in all its lengths has completely faded. Of course, the blame is not put only on the rulers but on the people who bow before them as well. We strongly believe that your own morality, your own strength and determination, can achieve some changes to your close environment, and then to society itself. We also have composed a text about our name and what it means to us and can be found in the insert of our 7″ Ep “Minyma”.
Winterview : I have already read the text you are talking about, and in combination with your passionate music I can honestly see this statement. Your way of life in a few words, but also a threat to the enemy. I feel that your brand new 7” Ep can easily threaten someone. Was something like that between your intentions? I didn’t knοw about this book, but all the bands involved in CrimethInc. collective are of those that can make someone to feel fear.
Alectό: Threat would be a great tactic to any other enemy. But how can you threat someone you don’t even conceive? We can clearly see poverty, stupidity and negativeness in the society. We can also see the individuals who advocate all of these. However, people are too scared to protect their dignity and their very selves! So, our major intention is to “drag” people in thoughts that can lead them to “individual act”. To act as warriors. And every warrior, in order to protect his / her cause should first learn to protect his / her own life. Otherwise we’re dead meat! We MUST regain the ability to protect our physical bodies and our minds. To do so, we should get to know them first. In the long run, the enemy is us. Every single person who chooses to act tomorrow instead of today. Every single person who is too addicted to “nothingness” to become active. Every single person who is afraid to live.
Winterview: Of course, after all we are our own worst enemy as you said. We have to do our self-criticism. It is really important and vital to do so, despite that the majority is afraid of it. What do you think? Have you ever been afraid of this thing? It is not very easy to make it.
Alectό: Well it is kinda scary at first. Facing your own self, your naked soul and your very being is really difficult. It is a step that everyone has to do though in order to receive lessons and give something back to life. We are our own experiences, and every time we try to understand them better, we understand our self and our needs and dreams better. Self-criticism is a process that can take a lot of time but it is clearly a healing process. Getting healed by situations that in the first place you thought they were nothing special, but in the end it seems that every little thing that happens to us affects us in some way. If we want to see a change in this world, we have to change our selves first. It is the first revolutionary step that we have to do. If we continue to live in misery, apathy and self hatredness we can never be able to make the change.
Winterview: I totally agree with you and I feel really sad when someone cannot even think of this step. Anyway. Let’s talk a bit about music now! You know, sounds, chords, screams, and stuff like that. As “Eternal Hated” you managed to release a great album called “26:48 Minutes Of Life”. Your early metalcore releases were not actually my cup of tea, but the aforementioned album is fucking sick. I really love it. Songs like “Boem” and “Exceptional Consequence” are unique. I need this on vinyl guys! Why didn’t you officially release this one? I remember that you only got out some CD-R copies of it.
Alectό: This record was the beginning of our musical turn and unfortunately or fortunately fell upon the change of our name. By changing the name, we decided to write lyrics only in social and political level, something which does not exist at “26:48 Minutes Of Life” so this idea to rewrite this album as Alectό was rejected automatically, but we still play four songs of this album in our shows.
Winterview: It is really nice that you now look so sure and stable as a band. It seems that you also, did your self-criticism and that you know who you are. You recently released your first ever record on vinyl, a 7” Ep called “Minyma”. It is a beautiful release that consists of four tracks of your late dark hardcore paranoia, along with some fresh stoner -let me say desert- influences that can be found in the last track for example, “The Furies”. Is your handsome brunet guitarist responsible for these influences?
Alectό (Stelios): It’ s true that we are three different personalities and that goes to our music influences. I’m also fan of slow music, so I think that sometimes I’ m responsible for these influences. But that doesn’t mean that all of our songs are gonna have the same music structure, and that is obvious!
Winterview: What I noticed in this release, is that the whole production is way more raw and dirty than your previous album and absolutely different from your very first steps. It is obviously a kind of live recording. Even though some things could sound better, it is fucking impetuous and violent and I like it. Why to choose this way when it’ s easy nowadays to record every instrument separately, even at a friend’s home studio? Do you want to show or “say” something by this, or is it just the lack of money?
Alectό: Usually, when music is composed, bands tend to express their influence, talent and musical taste. That’s good. But while recording, lots of bands can’t follow their own will. The sound engineer has a total advantage over the influence, because of knowledge. We have been in such a condition in the past. Thankfully, now our guitarist is also a capable sound engineer, so it is easier for us to direct the recordings. Eventually, we think that music must be real. By real I mean that a band should have the ability during a show to sound exactly or close to the album. There is no point of creating a great “digital” album and not being able to express that on stage. That’s kinda funny! Thus, we chose to play raw and direct music because that is what it should be, we play physical music instruments after all. We do not pose our consoles or our music software skills! Definitely, “Minyma” could sound even better, the recording was completed almost entirely by us. Time will help us fix that in the next albums!
Winterview: This is how hardcore should be played. Aggressively with purity. I am not also sure if things like metronome should exist in our music. Anyway. Speaking of lack of money, do you find it easy for a hardcore band to “live and breathe” here in Greece, in these difficult days? Is it easy to afford recordings, releases, and playing shows all over?
Alectό: That’s what we think too. Not only hardcore, but every music that comes from our souls, sincere and pure expression of our feelings. And by the way, we did not even use a metronome in the recording of “Minyma”. The phrase says that money makes the world go round, but we strongly reject that idea. It is true that if you wanna tour and record and release your music you will need money. But it’s all have to do with the priorities you set as a person / band. You can do simply everything if you make good plans about them.
Winterview: It seems that you manage to make it and I’ am really happy for this. You live and breathe for punk and hardcore and I know it. Can you imagine yourself out of this scene?
Alectό: We think it’s more than music. It’ s about the place you play, the people that you’re gonna meet. Every show has something special and something more than thirty minutes of playing the set list. Contact with other bands and people generally is the most important thing. Nowadays you know that the scene has some trestles. We knew people and bands that were involved to all this thing and somehow suddenly disappeared. That’s another reason to stay and keep it real. So the answer is no!
Winterview: I was going to mention these thirty minutes of life and you’ve just answered it by yourself. That means that your heart still beats for it. These thirty minutes and all the things that happen during a show are a whole life just in front of some amplifiers, in a moist basement, on a naked floor, with the most interesting -yet sweaty- individuals can someone meet. So let me ask something else. It is hard to describe a feeling, but try if you want and tell me your exact emotions when you’re on the “stage”. OK it is definitely exhaustive, I also know it, but what else?
Alectό (Stelios): In the first shows it was different. I mean that it was the first time that we didn’t have a singer so it was quite difficult. But after we started getting the feeling that everything is fine that way -so let’s make it-, we took revenge for the time we’ve spent practicing (if you know what I mean). After all of this I think we feel excited and that has to do with the music and the lyrics most of it. It’s like we have to give back what we feel to everyone around us. I don’t know how that is possible.
Winterview: I felt like a mom who cannot understand her little bastard with the previous question! However the fact is that society acts like a conservative mother, even if we aren’t actually their kids. It definitely does not understand our world, punk and hardcore, especially when someone is really active in it. You can feel it, right?
Alectό (Nikos): Yes we can definitely feel that. If we take it historically, punk and hardcore, and rock obviously, started as the music of the outcasts, of the people who could not fit into society’s needs and decided to have different dreams than that of their parents. So this feeling is still strong. This music (more than music of course) is the music of those who dream free of society’s standards, of those who choose to live differently than working from nine to five and do what ever they are told. This music is a message (“Minyma”) against the repression and the isolation that this greedy society causes to people with different ideas and needs. It is also a network where these people gather and find each other. And I will talk about myself now, this music, this subculture, is what made me feel alive for once in my life, and since then I chose Life. This is what Alectό tries to do, we try to Live Life through this ancient procedure of music and give something back to this world.
Winterview: I admire you guys. What I also admire in you is that you are probably twenty-one years old and you do not hesitate to put all your obligations aside, take a van, and hit the road to play (a)live. You have managed to play in Germany, Turkey, and the Balkans many times, except of your often shows in your country, Greece. Which are the obligations you put aside?
Alectό (Stelios): The only thing that I put aside was christmas, I think. And I was ready to spend the first day of the year on the road also, but it was impossible for one of us, so we stopped at six days of touring. To be honest I had to go with my family to gather olives but I don’t think that I would go if I had left behind on tour (laughs)! Anyway whatever we had to do, we left it behind for a week on the road and we can’t wait to face again all these beautiful feelings and shows.
Winterview: The last tour you did was again in Balkans, last Christmas. It seems that you love this area and that these countries love you too. You played six shows, three of them in Serbia. Which one was your favorite and which city was the most beautiful? Any funny stories? Was your tiny sexy bassist attacked by rabid blonde Serbian models?
Alectό (Nikos): We toured the Balkans for six days last Christmas and we had a really great time! Every show was unique and we can’t pick a most favorite one, every one of them was different and exceptional. We love the Balkans as they love us back (laughs)! We didn’t always have the time to see the cities, but I’ll have to say for myself that I really liked Belgrade, we had a great night walk in the city center and it was awesome. We have millions of funny stories from this week but it’d take some pages to tell them, so we’ll just say that we had the best time seeing friends from the previous time and meeting new friends which we hope we will stay in touch with. As for the attacks by models it seems that the cliché about the guitarists still exists, so no attacks on the bassist (laughs)!
Winterview: OK let me get some serious. I have never been there, except Macedonia. What I know is that these countries have been facing poverty for very long, pretty much before us. Some of them have even lived war in the 90’s! How did you find life there?
Alectό: Well, the Balkans is a very special area. It is a target If you seriously consider the quote of a US ex-minister of foreign affairs: “Don’t get too used to the current image of the Balkans, the colours and borders over there will change frequently”. These are not the precise words but the conclusion. So in the Balkans we have Greece with its artificial crisis and apathy which was put in people’s minds for over thirty years, Fyrom being bombarded with nationalist propaganda and inaccurate beliefs and ex-Yugoslavia trying to relieve her self from past crimes, hate and treachery. All of the above have a common source which is money and specifically from the other side of the Atlantic ocean. The good thing is that the kids of the scene in all of the places mentioned tend to realise that. We are really far from complete acceptance of each other but those kids made a great start.
Winterview: So in contrast with life there, how do you find -in every aspect- life in Volos, your home? You have definitely the best relationship with your city than the majority of Greek citizens. Why that? Do you miss your sea-shore when you are on tour? Between all the places that you have visited with Alectό is there any city that can replace Volos? (You may find my question senseless but believe me, I cannot relate to my hometown any more. I simply feel unlucky).
Alectό (Thanos): Volos to me is nothing less than the perfect place to call home. The scenery is almost heaven-like IF you ever dare to take a closer look. Looking in the Pagasitic gulf you can feel Argo and Jason! Looking through the forests of mount Pelion maybe you could hear Chiron! For real: One night, me and Nikos had a bike-walk in the Crausidon river, where Pelion starts. We could see nothing, but at a moment we started to hear various sounds, like steps! We almost believed it was a Centaur by walking on it (laughs), just a fox passed by and said “Hi” though. We were not high, we don’t use drugs. Imagination comes easy If you stay close to nature. Volos and Magnésia are ideal. If people in Volos abandon the city routine for some time and check around they will start being different. They live on a sacred place. They just don’t know, plastic needs are really tough to overcome.
Winterview: I guess, we have reached the end. We talked about your views, about your feelings, about your thoughts, about your creations and finally about your home. However you didn’t introduce yourselves. Who you are? What else do you do in your ordinary lives except of getting dirty in shitty rehearsal rooms? Tell us something about your music tastes and the last band you have been listening to. Do you participate in other bands / projects / collectives?
Alectό: So, Alectό consists of three people with different personalities. We listen to different styles of music and so everyone influences the band in his own unique way. Stelios (guitar and vocals) lives in our hometown, Volos, works from time to time at a music studio and helps his father at work. He is a stoner / sludge junkie and started playing drums at a stoner jam band some time ago. Thanos studies the material science in Patras. Drumming, meditating and tasting great food are included in the daily routine. He loves history and mythology and he runs a blog called Nus & Eros. He also plays drums for Crash Driven and is always on Deep Purple. He will also be a great farmer one day! Finally, Nikos lives in Thessaloniki, making his mind whether he’s gonna finish studies or not. He plays bass in another hardcore / punk band called My Turn from Athens, and he’s busy with that band too. He is a part of World’s Appreciated Kitsch Collective which puts shows in Athens, and co-runs a Vegan Straight Edge blog / distro called Feare Naturae XVX. He is also responsible for the smelling atmosphere on stage on our shows. Currently into Catharsis, Darkthrone and Rudimentary Peni.
Winterview: Believe it or not, this interview took us more than four hours and I am just feeling that we have many more things to discuss. However we have to put an end. This is the first Interview I do with this project and I am really thankful for all the answers you gave. You just forced me to climb a step and go from thought to action. So thanks for everything. I hope that some people will get to know you better with this interview. The next step to reach you is theirs.
Alectό: We really thank a lot for this interview, it means the world to us. After these five hours we might name a song five hours of life ’cause we discussed about everything (laughs)! Good luck with the blog / fanzine and never lose faith! Take care and stay true. Alectό