Interview date

25 Septembre 2012


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Bob Katsionis (face to face)

Hi Bob, thanks for answering these questions for Aux Portes Du Metal. How has this tour been so far?

Well, it’s been great. We’ve just finished the UK leg of the tour and British fans are crazy. We’ve played London over eight times, we have lots of fans and friends there. It’s a great fan-base, I think it’s like that because England is the birthplace of classic rock or metal like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and stuff, and on the other hand, English music has always evolved and had a progressive approach with bands like Queen… and they also have great new bands like Enter Shikari… So, I think people appreciate what we do because we try to put something modern in the classic sound or put the classic sound into modern compositions. Now, we start the second leg of the tour and it’s great to start with Paris, one of our favourite cities in the world because it’s so lovely and people are lovely here… and the catering is always fantastic! (laughs)

How have the fans reacted to your new material on stage so far? Do you feel the same enthusiasm for the new songs as there is for the older ones?

I think that “Losing My Mind” is becoming a hit. From the first day we played that song in Athens, because it was originally shot for a video, people have been going crazy. The fans usually need some time to appreciate new songs, when we played “World On Fire” for the first time nobody gave a shit and now it has become a classic. But this time, people seem to react very well to the new songs, which is very cool.

Talking about the new album, some people have enjoyed it very much but others have complained about the heavier/darker more guitar oriented sound and miss more melodic songs like “Mercenary Man”, “Tyranny”, etc. Do you understand their frustration?

Yes, I completely understand because when you love a band for some thing then you expect that thing from the band. You know, I don’t expect Iron Maiden to play progressive rock or long big songs. When they do, I go “Ok… but where’s the good stuff?” you know? …

Yes, but on the other hand, you can’t expect people to do the same thing forever, can you?

Yes, you’re right… but maybe people like it when bands do the same stuff. Because when they buy something, they like it for what is is and not for what it will be. You like a band as it is now and not for what they will play on their third album. But, you know, our album is not that different from the previous ones, we didn’t change our style, it just is a bit heavier. Gus wrote most of the songs when he had some free time touring with Ozzy and we were busy with our different projects, Apollo was working with Spiritual Beggars, I was with Outloud, we didn’t have so much input into it, I brought ideas for “Another Dimension” and “Edge of a Dream”, Apollo wrote “Glorious” and that was it, we had a new album. It just came like this, we didn’t do so much thinking about it.

What inspired this darker aspect?

Well, mostly, we wanted to do something a little bit different, and I think that Gus wanted to do a more metal album… maybe because he’s been influenced a little bit by the American heavy metal scene lately, you know, he’s been living in Los Angeles a lot more for the past two years. And we don’t have a problem with that. You know, we listen to a song and we go “Hmm, interesting… why not go this direction?” I think it’s interesting to try new things from time to time. Maybe, in the future, we’ll go back to something that some fans like, we don’t know.

The keyboards are not as important as they used to be on this album...

That’s right. That’s why I’m releasing a solo album in the next few months! (laughs)

What can you tell us about it?

It’s a very keyboard oriented album, and it’s full of ideas and songs I’ve had in my mind for quite some time. It’s great, because on a solo album, you can do what you want, you don’t make a solo album to do exactly what people would expect you to do in your own band.

Will there be songs or is it an instrumental album?

It’s an instrumental album but I’ve got two songs, one with Peter Ellis from the British metal band Monument, he’s a fantastic singer, like a mixture of Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, I don’t know how he does it… And the other song features a female vocalist, Maxi Nil from Visions of Atlantis, who is from Greece as well… And there’ll be other special guests. I believe in this album so much. I hope the fans will like it… It’s not just for keyboard geeks, you know, it’s really about music and there’s plenty of stuff in it… for everybody. And there are also some songs I composed for Firewind but we didn’t use on our albums, so I think that some Firewind fans might like them as well.

Do you have a label for this release?

I’m looking for it but I’m wondering if I’m not gonna release it myself, for many reasons. Mostly because I want to have a personal connection with people… Even if it’s five hundred people all over the world, I wanna have a personal thing with them … and I think that when it is released officially and well distributed, it will be more easily stolen. But then, if Inside Out want the album, which is my dream, it would be great.

From the last interview we had with Gus, we expected Firewind to be on a sort of break in 2013, because he was supposed to work on a new Ozzy Osbourne record. But since then, Black Sabbath have officially reunited. Does it mean more time for Firewind and more things to come from the band next year?

Yes, you’re right. So, we’re gonna have as many gigs as we can next year. We’re gonna tour some more and try to play summer festivals. And then, maybe Gus will take a break and work with Ozzy again, so everybody will do their personal stuff… And then, we’ll be back and come up with an album that’s gonna be… awesome! But maybe, we need a break anyway. We did seven studio albums in ten years. That’s too much. Back in the 70’s or the 80’s, it was normal, but nowadays…

I understand, but sometimes, when you’re a fan, you don’t like to wait too much for a new album. Some bands release albums every three, four or five years…

That’s right. But on the other hand, the wait makes it more exciting. That’s what happens with… let’s say… Machine Head. They make a new album every four or five years, and it’s fantastic every time. Maybe it would not be so fantastic if they had made it in two years. But there’s another reality to it that you have to take into account: you have to be there with your music. Because there’s so much new music coming all the time, albums don’t last long, they die after two or three months now… There’s a new tour coming, new bands, new releases… So you have to do it and release something quite regularly or people might forget… Anyway, I still think it’s time to take a little break…

Any other projects coming next?

Well, as you know Gus will go back with Ozzy at some point, next year, everybody has their own stuff, I think Apollo will do another album with Spiritual Beggars, and I have my other band, Outloud which is more hard rock oriented. When I find the time, I will put all my efforts in this band because it really is a band, not just a project. I think it has so much potential, and we have many fans, they are asking for it… You should check it out.

OK, I will. You’ve released a live DVD a few years ago. Now that people have big HD televisions, would you consider releasing it again as a blu-ray or maybe film another show and a blu-ray release?

No, not really. If you’re a big band with a big show, then you can release a blu-ray or something because it looks good. We’re not exactly that kind of band, so we’re gonna concentrate on the music more and leave this to Metallica and the other bands.

A word to your French fans to conclude this interview?

Yes… “Je t’aime” (laughs)… and keep your head up high!

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