NIGHTRAGE Interview with Marios Iliopoulos and Antony Hämäläinen
XM: For starters how has this year been treating you and the band so far?
Marios: So far everything it’s going great we have just released the new album in Europe (in North America comes out on 11th of October), and getting ready for the North American tour on October. We getting a warm response from the fans and the press about the new album and that make us really happy.
XM: “Insidious” is a killer album! What was it like going into the studio this time around? Did the band do anything differently? What are your expectations for the album?
Marios: Thanks for your nice words we were composing this album the last 2 years and we felt really inspired getting the best ideas and make them the best songs we can. We recorded the album at Zero Gravity studios on Athens with Terry Nikas engineering and we produced the album together. We had a really good time, the studio was nice and we felt very relaxed and also got in the mood really smoothly. Then we mixed and mastered at Fredman studios and the guys there they were really happy with the material that we gave them to work on.
XM: Does the new album build on the last or do you think it leaps further ahead or takes a different path?
Marios: I think it’s a different album and contains all the best elements of the past 4 albums. Insidious its straight forward melodic death metal the way we really wanted to be. It contains songs and ideas that fulfill our expectations about how a metal album should sound nowadays, we are trying to not take away from the metal sound only add to it and make it more interesting. This time we introduced some cool vocalists and also experiment a bit with string orchestrations, as we wanted to give to some songs a special feel that will make the album songs more melodic and interesting for the listener.
XM: Impressive lineup of guest appearances on the album, how did all that come in to play?
Marios: We wanted to bring back some good old friends and let them add their magic on Insidious. That really felt great and it was like the first album Sweet vengeance. Gus g is my best friend and always willing to help us, the same with Tomas Lindberg he is always there when we asked his help and also loves Nightrage. We are very happy that Tom from Evergrey was with us again this time and we introduce also Apollo from Firewind, those 2 guys have amazing voices, and their performances really adds to the whole thing. Also John K. from Biomechanical did some cool orchestral songs for us, and George Baharidis from Breaking Silence, their collaborations is very crucial and gave the right mood and an extra different tone on the new album.
XM: How do you guys compose then? Does everyone have a specific job, or does everybody come with various elements that you put together?
Marios: Im the main man when it comes on the composing of the songs, but will be never be able to make the albums without the help of the other guys, Jo and Anders putting their own ideas on drums and bass and I always let the guys add their own feel on the songs, Olof, and I have wrote some songs together and I did some on my own. Antony worked out his vocal melodies on his own, and he and I wrote the lyrics together as usual. Its pretty easy with the studio that I have to make a lot of demos and getting the ideas for the songs on a pre production demo stage.
XM: You have been playing for more than ten years now, are there any goals yet to achieve?
Marios: We want to continue writing good albums and also play a lot of tours, I think the best albums will be the future ones as I feel now we have a lot more to offer and we feel good to make the music we love. We will still be fans and loyal on metal music in general, because that’s the reason we play this music, we really love it.
XM: Who was an artist you admired growing up that directly influenced your style of playing and the way that you looked at music?
Marios: I think that is Iron Maiden I have always been and will always be a huge fan, I got inspired to grab the guitar from those guys and they really show me how u can write a good song, and connect with your fans.
XM: If you could have been involved in the writing, recording or production of any album which would it be and why?
Antony: Maybe a Hypocrisy album. Only to do a guest. That would be amazing. They are just one of my favorite all time bands.
XM: If you could choose any historical figures, from any time period, who would you most like to sit down and have a conversation with?
Antony: Charles Manson. I would like to see and explore his mind. If he'd let me of course (laughs).
XM: What do you personally do during the downtime in between albums and tours?
Antony: I mostly hang out with friends, watch sports, drinking. The usual normal stuff.
XM: Do you ever visit metal sites and read the news and gossip or other people’s reviews?
Antony: I read news on blabbermouth all the time. And the SmN detail metal forum is very funny, I am always there reading these guys' crazy comments.
XM: What has been your proudest achievement with Nightrage so far?
Antony: Playing live and recording with Tomas Lindberg. Other than that, Marios' hometown show in Thessaloniki was an amazing event as well.
XM: Do you guys share any favorites like music, video games, or sports?
Antony: I would say we share music and movies the most. I'm the sport guy, and most of these guys in the band don't care much for them.
XM: Are there any relatively unknown bands out there that you would like to throw out a plug to?
Antony: Rising Pain from Arizona.
XM: On behalf of xplosivemetal.com I would like to thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions with us and would also like to thank you for the continuing success of you and your band and bringing out great albums. Is there anything else that you would like to add or promote?
Antony: Thanks for the interview!