Varathron (Greece) 26/04/2011
Almost after 23 years of existence, Varathron are still here stronger than ever. Stefan talked to us about that long journey of the band inside the Greek music history, about the underground in Greece and the relationship between the bands of that era. He analyzes how the old classic Greek sound meets the fresh youth view and how important is the cooperation with the new members. Read what Stefan Necroabyssious of VARATHRON said to us.
1. Hi Stefan, thank you very much for the interview. Do you want to give me some information about Varathron?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Hi, I also thank you for support! Varathron is one of the most cult bands of the second generation of the international Black Metal. They are the first who played that peculiar music which characterize them, in Greece. They are the first who played Black Metal in Greece! We were formed in 1988 and since then we stay in the scene that we loved and we are loved! A relentless journey in the space-time of Metal that we would never want it to end! We released some demos, 7’’ split – LP and LP’s that everyone can find in our webpage, WWW.VARATHRON.NET!!!
2. In the band you are in charge of vocals. Do you write music and lyrics? What inspires you to write?
Stefan Necroabyssious: In the band I write the lyrics. The music is written by the other guys of the band and I only give my opinion. So all together we decide the final form of the tracks! About the lyrics, I get inspired by several books, situations, religions, legends and nightmares! Usually it’s a wild river of thoughts that I write it down as it is and I edit it later. It’s something like an experience in another dimension, in a different reality!
3. The music that you composed especially during 90ies, with some other bands, set the bases for the creation of the Greek scene and created the Greek Black Metal sound. Which is your opinion on that?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Yes this is acceptable by everyone. I believe that the Unholy trinity, VARATHRON, NECROMANTIA, ROTTING CHRIST were and will be the bases of Greek Black Metal! Of course there were other remarkable bands that followed and continue until today! That’s how the Greek Black Metal scene has a serious possession in the international Black Metal!
4. Continuing from the last question, that sound was so fresh, new and original. How do you believe that it came out?
Stefan Necroabyssious: You know, I hear and see this question a lot in interviews. Generally the Greek Black Metal sound is peculiar, unique, wonderful! It is a mixture of metal with the lyricism and the melody of ancient music and of hard music of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s!!! Although they say so many for the Greeks, I believe that we have knowledge on music. That’s for sure, at least for a big part of people who deal with music! For us personally that sound came out when we connected all of our influences! My and Spyros (Captain Death) older with a big music past of the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s, Mimis (Mutilator) with Metal influences and Giannis (John) with thrash metal influences, we made tracks that we would like them first – (and that’s how we work until now with the new members, we are fans of our group first) – and afterwards to the rest of the listeners! A moment, some ideas, big excitement, that’s how the sound was created and that’s how it continues to be created and survive!!!RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. You live in Ioannina as I know. That during the ‘90ies when, I imagine, there weren’t so many means (good studios etc.) in Ioannina as well as the direct contact with the Athenian labels wasn’t easy. Do you think that living in Ioannina was a suspending factor for the growth of your music?
Stefan Necroabyssious: I come from Ioannina, a very beautiful mountain city and I live here since 1995, In fact! The band was formed in Athens in 1988 and we did our first steps there! Until 2000, the members of VARATHRON, all of them were living in Athens so I had to travel all the time for rehearsals and for album recordings. In 2001, I decided – as soon as the rest of the members couldn’t devote to the band – to transfer the band in Ioannina!!! Here I firstly found Achilleas, the guitarist of the band and after that Charis, the drummer and Sotiris, our other guitarist and brother of Charis, followed! Of course if the band was formed here, it would still be unknown!! The province back then – it still exists that thing but in a minimum level – was isolated and with it every form of creation was buried, just as a music band!!! I was lucky that I was in Athens but at the same time I was unlucky that I wasn’t in Scandinavia!!! There we would be gods, with the labels’ marketing and the total music industry!
6. What do people think of you in Ioannina and generally in south Greece?
Stefan Necroabyssious: They think that we are just another Greek metal band. There are very few friends – fans that respect our music. The biggest part of people are pseudo – metalheads fans of “big” bands which are promoted by the labels! Basically, that thing that interested me and still interests me, I have it! The total respect in the name of the band of abroad! You see as the old used to say: nobody was ever respected in his country! The foreigners worship – I really lived that – VARATHRON!!! They recognize the value of the band and its offering internationally. That fills me with satisfaction and gives me power to continue!!!
7. How things were in the Greek Black Metal scene when Varathron were formed? Did you have any cooperation, relations and contact with other bands of that era?
Stefan Necroabyssious: As I mentioned, VARATHRON were the first who played Black Metal in Greece. Close to us – chronologically – we have NECROMANTIA and ROTTING CHRIST!! We altogether were a party! We had our own music, as in Athens of 5.000.000 residents in 1988, it was just us (around 20 people) that we were in mail contact with the greatest – and later the best – bands of the genre. Back then I was in contact with BATHORY, SARCOFAGO, MORBID ANGEL, POSSESSED, MORTUARY DRAPE, MAYHEM, TREBLINKA (now TIAMAT), AMPUTATION (now IMMORTAL), PARADISE LOST, SCHIZO, ASPHYX, NECRODEATH, SAMAEL, IMMOLATION, BLASPHEMY, INCANTATION, DERKETA, ABSU, CARNAGE, GRAVE, NECROPHOBIC, IMPALED NAZARENE, BEHERIT, ARCHGOAT, EMPEROR, ATROCITY, ALASTIS, CARCASS, NAPALM DEATH, VOLCANO, MYSTIFIER, SIGH, IMPIETY, ARMOURED ANGEL and many more bands (with some of them I have been in contact until now)!!! It was a huge party which was exchanging demos, information about the scene, several ideas and thoughts!
8. Are there bands and musicians that you respect for their music and/or their attitude?
Stefan Necroabyssious: If you speak generally about metal scene, there are a lot of bands that I respect for their work, I respect that they offered, and that was a motive for me and many more youngsters to involve with metal. There are bands of the ’70ies, as BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, AC/DC, MOTORHEAD, B.O.G. and more… Bands from the ’80ies, as VEROM, BATHORY, HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST, SLAYER, MERCYFUL FATE, MORBID ANGEL and the catalogue is endless!!! Bands from the ’90ies, as BLASPHEMY, BEHERIT, SARCOFAGO, IMMOCATION, ASPHYX, SAMAEL, MORTUARY DRAPE, MASTER’S HAMMER and all the «army» of the second generation of Black Metal. Finally in the first decade of the new millennium, there aren’t any new mentionable groups. Fortunately there are the old ones who reunite and create superb albums!!!
9. After so many years in the underground, do you observe many changes between then and nowadays?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Of course and the changes are big! Back then there was a more «pure» situation. I believe that there wasn’t the malice and jealousy that nowadays exist. Like «gloat women» one band «attacks» the other! A «mutual devouring» without any matter!!!! Back then we had a general friendship. The personal letters, the tape trading, the several magazines (zines) were uniting us all. Now the internet – may benefits the bands in marketing – from the other hand it creates an informal routine of going away of the main purpose! It isolates you, although it sound strange to our ears! Today labels are deep inside the game and so inside marketing and money, they have erased the pure spirit and devotion of the «first» days!!!! Everything is an image and for that everything change, are sold, are mutated!!! Pity!!! So now, there are many garbage, many worthless shit that they are so fake!!! What can I say, times don’t stay the same!!! What’s comforting though is that there still exist some serious bands that resisted and resist in time and release mentionable works!!!! So they deserve to be supported as much as possible!!!!
10. How do you find the Greek scene of nowadays? Are there any new bands that you support?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The Greek scene is remarkable, many good and powerful bands in all genres of metal! New bands that I like are: AENAON, SWAMP, HELL’S POEMER and I love the return of NERGAL!!!
11. The rest of the members of Varathron are new… I imagine that they are young. How is your cooperation? Do you think that they help you to fit the old sound and old mentality with the views of the new era?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The rest of the members are younger than me! But this is so positive both for me and the band! Their arrival was the new, fresh «blood» that came in the band and gave new ideas and made the old ones modern!! The sound is still the same, the tracks and the riffs are “back to the roots” but with a fresh style!!! I believe that it was a «resurrection» that the band needed! I thank them for that!!!!
12. Your more recent releases appears to me very different from your first ones. Why did that happen? What do your old fans tell you about your more recent albums?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Let’s talk about the releases of the new millennium, I believe that those releases you call «recent releases»!!!! In 2004, “GROWSREIGN” is released, an album the tracks of which are ideas – primary riffs which were left in demo-tape from the previous formation of the band! The album has highlights but some «elements» degrade it compared to the older releases!! The first thing is the awful cover created by Spyros (Seth) and the second is the «polished» - production of PRAXIS STUDIOS combined with the degraded bass!!! So an album that «kills» with riffs and tracks, «is lost» because of those details!! Especially with the cover – knowing the tradition of Varathron in that part – people of music expressed somehow negatively!!!! The album was quite enjoyed but…., there was that «but». Now in our last album, «STYGIAN FORCES OF SCORN» I think that it is a “comeback to the roots” that the people worshiped!!!! I have gotten only positive comments by the press worldwide and the fans and I believe that with the new (which is released the next few months) we will get tired in order to make a better album!!! I don’t believe that our later releases are different! All of them remain in the peculiar sound of Varathron, all of them have the identity of the band and we will stick devoted to that!!! That’s why I’m glad that we are signed by underground Labels and not by some which impose you to change logos, sound and mainly your «beliefs»!!!!
13. What do you do apart from music?
Stefan Necroabyssious: I have several hobbies, I like the cinema, reading books, Kick boxing (generally I exercise a lot), traveling. Over all I love music!!!
14. What kind of music do you listen to in general?
Stefan Necroabyssious: As I said I love music. I am a music producer in an emission at Dimotiko Radiofono Ioanninon, called «TWILIGHT ZONE», and it’s online every Saturday and Sunday at 98,7 FM (www.dimotikoradiofono.gr), 4 - 5 in the evening! So I listen to most of the albums released in the metal scene, heavy – thrash – death – black. Moreover, I love progressive rock of ‘70ies and dark psychedelia of ‘60ies. I have a discography of thousands of Lps and CD’s that begins from the ‘60ies until today!!!
15. What is your opinion for the great increase of ns groups in Greece? What is your opinion generally for that scene?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The globalization and the social decay has lead to the development of that movement. Personally I don’t mix politics with music! There are good bands in this genre, as in all sub – branches of extreme metal.
16. Varathron began with Satanic and Occult themes in lyrics. Are you a Satanist? What is your opinion generally about religion?
Stefan Necroabyssious: VARATHRON began and continues with this subjects, from 1988 until now!!! My «beliefs» are reflected in my lyrics, in a big level!!!! I am an occultist and I’m in that since I was 15 years old. I like to read about all religions and by taking some ideas to «build» my philosophical view for everything. I don’t endorse “sects” that lead you as a sheep, as a puppet either for good or for evil! Several «cash collecting churches» with faithful brainless followers and «leaders» with blinkers!!! Religion, that internal need of man in any direction, it shouldn’t become commerce, it shouldn’t be taught for «brain wash» in the young age! Unfortunately the society we live in, the society of idiots and puppets creates that kind of situations!! However there will always be those who don’t give in to the «shackles» of any kind. There will always be those who live in the «dark side»!!! They will pray and call the unborn son of ultimate blasphemy!
17. Are you working on new material at the moment? How will it sound?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The new album will be called “UNTRODDEN CORRIDORS OF HADES” and it will continue the style of our last album. A “comeback to the roots” still exists, as the tracks – most of them – sound mid – tempo, classical sound for VARATHRON!!! We will also release a 3 – way split – CD/LP with BLACK ALTAR (from Poland) and THORNSPAWN (from Texas) and a Split - 7’ with an old big Greek band. There is much will for work and I like it very much!!!
18. Do you have planed any live shows in Greece or abroad? In which countries have Varathron played live?
Stefan Necroabyssious: I have thought of some lives there is already a suggestion for a mini – tour in Colombia and for the next __________NUCLEAR WAR NOW FEST. The suggestion was also for this year’s NWN FEST with BLASPHEMY, but Haris is abroad, Sotiris in Athens and generally there wasn’t enough time for rehearsals!!! Our latest live shows were in Athens with PRIMORDIAL and ROTTING CHRIST!!!
19. Do you want to tell me your future plans and if you want to add something for conclusion?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Thank you very much for supporting my band. Wait for our new «invasion» of VARATHRON!! The “Untrodden corridors”…. are coming!!!! Beware!!! The No mercy Beast awake!!!! STEFAN__
20. Hails Achilleas, thanks for the interview. How did you get involved with Varathron? Did you know Stefan before this cooperation?
Achilleas: I met Stefan during our cooperation for a project that we had around 2003, Chaotic Symmetry. However Stefan did and does radio shows and the most people in Ioannina who are into this music, they know him and they appreciate him for his knowledge and his devotion on extreme sound.
21. How do you feel that you are a member of a band – legend for not only the Greek scene? Does the band’s legacy make you nervous for the quality of your new material?
Achilleas: The responsibility and awe makes me nervous! All of us want to keep Varathron and their identity alive. Fortunately both for us and the fans that as time goes by from 2003 until now we come more and more closer to that that made Varathron to be different from the beginning. In Crowsreign there was an inevitable but in my opinion interesting deviation. In Stygian we came closer to our roots but at the same time we gave new elements to Varathron. I think that the next album will be that that everyone expects for. «Rotten», occult, with a view in the Greek Black Metal but as it was defined by Varathron at late of 80’s and early 90’s.
22. Except from Varathron you participate in some other bands. Do you want to tell me about them?
Achilleas: In the only band I participate at the moment is Aenaon in which I compose and play the guitar. It is a band that is very far from the sound of Varathron with more experimental and «Scandinavian» character.
23. In Varathron do you write music or lyrics? Which is the cooperation between the members of the band?
Achilleas: Stefan always writes the lyrics but also he directs the composition. Me, Haris and Sotiris compose the most of the tracks but usually the result is a team work.
24. Tell me which are your goals and ambition for the future regarding music.
Achilleas: My goals concerning Varathron are to release albums as good as those of the glorious past. This applies for all of us. From the other hand we can also give something new without departing from the philosophy of the band. More personal goals are to compose music and to offer with innovations to the extreme sound away of cheap, mainstream recipes.