Times flow, things change... Today the music of the legendary Greeks has little in common with the one they played on ęPassage To ArcturoĽ and ęThe Mighty ContractĽ, the albums which earthquacked all the metal underground back then. The today ROTTING CHRIST is... smooth, melodic, less extreme and... Hey! They havenít become a pop trendy band so far! So far so good. As long as they have such a ędivineĽ name they wonít turn to a pop band. Have you already heard their latest album ęSleeping Of The AngelsĽ? Hey, are you confused with divine angel stuff? Donít worry, folks! ęChristĽ is still ęrottingĽ!!!
How did you celebrate the new year of 1999?
I was just resting in my town, spending time with the friends of mine. Just in normal situation. I am really looking forward for the next millennium as thatís the main thing.
Did you celebrate the new year party with your band members?
No, no actually.
So you wanted to have some rest from each other, didnít you?
Oh yeah! Sometimes we get really tired of each other. We are together a lot and you need to have another company, you know.
They say the last year of the millennium is going to be really hard, some drastic changes must happen. What do you think of these forecasts?
I donít belong to this kind of people. I am a more realistic person. I donít think the world will be destroyed as it will be a year 2000.
You have been playing for ten years, for one decade already. How do you feel about it?
Sometimes I feel very proud. Of course, in the beginning we were an amateur band, we didnít carry that much. But a few years ago, since we signed to Century Media, we started a new era, we play in Europe, we spend a lot of time with the band. Actually, I donít complain as metal music for me is the best drug, I should say. I canít live without it.
Do you still have that desire to play extreme music for another decade? Yeah. If the people still like the band, of course we will keep on playing.
Is it difficult to be a professional musician in Greece trying to earn your living playing music?
Actually, a lot of people live from playing music, but they play traditional stuff, you know. But itís really difficult to earn for your living by playing music of ROTTING CHRIST. I donít have enough money from playing music, I used to work. But two years ago I had to quit Ďcos I have so many things to do with ROTTING CHRIST! I really face financial problems, thatís true. But I play the music I like and I donít give a shit if I have any financial problems.
I remember the time back at the beginning of the Ď90s when the situation with extreme music was literally extreme in Greece. This music was forbidden by the government!
Not really forbidden. But we had really big problems, as you know, Satanism and murders are not the things the government may like! Thatís stupid, of course, but during last five years we donít have any problems with heavy metal. Greece has become a part of Europe, and it has to accept some progressive ideas and stop thinking that heavy metal music is a sin! Now Greece is a good place for playing gigs, it has a good market for extreme music. Almost all the venues are sold out during metal concerts. And there are a lot of diehard fans here in Greece, especially for power metal.
You toured Turkey and Cyprus, your neighbour countries. Is there any underground scene there?
Yes of course! Thereís heavy metal music in countries like Israel, Brazil and Mexico as well! There are diehard fans for metal music all over the world. And that makes me really happy. Metal music is a world wide phenomenon. We pulled a lot of people in those countries!
Could you still admit that you keep on playing black metal music? You have changed during all these years and itís becoming more difficult to classify your music as ęblack metalĽ, donít you think so?
I think we play metal and you can call us as you wish.
Greek black metal is a quite unique stuff, it differs from, say, Norwegian black metal greatly.
Yes, itís a really good question. I agree with you. All around the world bands play different kind of black metal. Some times - more melodic and emotional, some times - more brutal. Greek black metal comes from our Mediterranean temperament. People here are really different from people living in the North.
ęNorthernĽ black metal musicians used to argue a great deal about who was the truest and most evil musician in the world. Did you have such quarrels?
No. I am tired of such a behavior! We spend our lives playing this music, and if you really like it, you donít have to prove it. And you also canít decide if you are true. I donít like this kind if shit. We all play black metal music and I donít think there should be a competition between us. We used to be very good friends with the first generation of the Norwegian black metal bands, like DIMMU BORGIR, EMPEROR, MAYHEM. Nowadays we donít have the best relations with the new generation of the black musicians from Norway. I donít know why. Well, I know some bands donít want to play in Italy, for example, because they think that people living there were niggers! That really makes me nervous! We all play the same music and I donít think that your geographical situation plays that important role. There are some problems with racism and I wanna say that ROTTING CHRIST is against it.
Several years ago you moved labels switching to Century Media from Osmose. What was the main reason of such a change? Rumor has it that you had a big scandal with the French...
We had some problems, actually, but I donít want to mention them again. It belongs to the past and I donít want to put it again in the fire. Yeah, there were some problems and thatís why we quitted Osmose. Thatís it. Now we are satisfied with Century Media. Of course, not one hundred percent. This is label, and bands and labels do different stories. But Century Media helped us a lot, we are satisfied with the way they promote our albums.
ROTTING CHRIST is one of the most challenging and scandal names on the metal scene. How did you come up with such a title?
From the beginning we wanted to have something really shocking. And we still have this name because, first of all, we donít want to forget our roots. On the other hand, I think we live in a democratic country and in a free society. And I think we have a right to call religion as we want. And I think that religions everywhere are rotting!
Some people might confuse the notions ęSatanistĽ and ęatheistĽ. Who are you?
I canít call myself an atheist. I donít believe in any religion, in any God. Religion is something fake for me. But we also canít call ourselves Satanists as Satanism is religion as well. We donít struggle for our beliefs. I wonít get on the streets saying: ęDonít believe in Christ or Buddha!Ľ I am really democratic and I believe everyone has the right to believe in what you want. I wonít be the one who force someone to believe in what I believe. But I sometimes feel very sorry for people, especially here, in Greece. People believe so much, you know!
Did you have any problems with your extravagant name?
Yes. Especially in the USA. A lot of albums were censored because of our name. And also we had some problems in Germany. We live in democratic countries, and that what I struggle for. We have the right to do what we want and donít give a shit! If people donít want to listen to our music - itís up to them.
Personally I think that you could have sold more copies of your albums if you had had a different name, donít you think so?
I thought about that. And sometimes I am really disappointed with out losing a lot of copies. But I first of all think about my beliefs. ROTTING CHRIST expresses my own beliefs as a band.
If one day you recorded a very good album that can be sold one million copies and Century Media told you to change the name, would you do that?
Ha ha! This music will never be sold one million copies. But I canít say that I will betray out roots. I must be proud of myself, respect myself.
It goes without saying that the earlier albums of ROTTING CHRIST were more extreme and heavier than the music you are doing nowadays. Can you agree that you have become less brutal and less heavy these years?
Yes, thatís true. We always wanted to appear with different faces. We donít want to remain the same. We want to evolve, we have different influences.
Does it mean that the next album will be even less heavier?
I donít know how we are going to play in one year. Time will show.
You have recently recorded your latest album ęSleeping Of The AngelsĽ. How could you introduce it to those who havenít heard it yet?
I think itís a dark metal album. Itís really heavy metal, itís really well-plaid, it has a really good production as we recorded it in Germany. If somebody wants something dark and extreme, then they should listen to the album. The lyrics of the album deal with fantastic and dark stories. And you also can find some hidden dark messages. The title of the album is allegoric. We didnít want to be straight at that point. We didnít want to say straight: ęFuck the politicsĽ or whatever. We wanted everybody to find his own message. And ęsleep of the angelsĽ means death of the angels, death of all beliefs.
OK, I got it. So, while the angels are sleeping the Christ is still rotting...
Yeah, ha ha! I like this!!!