Summon: How did the band get started?
GR: The band started in 2010/2011 as a studio project of mine. At least the was the idea initially. In the rest of the bands I used to be part of, there was always a lack of nerve in our music, or a member of us would hold the band tied down, not letting the output reach its maximum potential. So, I teamed up with myself in order to extract my inner, organic pulse into a couple of songs which would end up in the First Step To Nowhere E.P. After the production was over, I knew I wanted to take this a few steps further so I started looking for other musicians to join the cause.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
GR: The music, if you want to put a label on it, is yet to be defined by a single term. It definitely has classic rock influences which are the most obvious ones, then there is a lot of riffing in the vain of NWOBHM and Scandinavian melodic death metal. Especially in the last few tracks, we have taken a serious step into obscurity, hard to grasp yet but the feeling’s lurking somewhere among the disharmonic parts.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
GR: So far we have been treated a lot better than we expected. Whenever people show up to our gigs, they buy our t-shirts, demos, walk up to us and let us know what they think of our performance. We are growing fan wise every day, although I reckon the next release might disappoint a lot of them as it won’t be as easy listening as the FSTN E.P. In my opinion the tracks in there are really good, but they are only a fragment of the musical range we are aiming for to cover.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
GR: The band’s name is something I came up with. It happened in the studio while I was working with George Bokos (eex-Rotting Christ).He was part of the production and after the recordings of drums and ass were over, we needed a name for the output files. So when he asked me what the name of the band’s gonna be, I used my nickname ‘Skandal’.He smiled and then nodded acknowledging it was catchy enough. That was a good enough sign for me to go on with it.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
GR: I’ll start from Cris Haris, the last member that joined us. He moved in Leeds to join the band and help me manage it as well. Also plays the guitar in Dope Flood, a stoner/heavy rock band based in Greece. Then there’s Paul Daly, an experienced Leeds bred drummer, who’s always there to help us avoid stepping on landmines. As a multi-instumentalist, he has better understanding of a composition than the average drummer which helps a lot. Also plays the drums in Hypnovoid. Check out their Centre of the Omniverse E.P. which came straight from the future. Then there is Sam Tom Baker who’s the band’s lead guitarist. He helped a lot setting the foundations for our future and put a lot of effort helping me choose who to welcome in the band to complete the line-up. At last, there’s me (Giorgos Raphael Skandalakis) who sings and plays the bass, solely devoted to this band.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
GR: So far I’ve written 99% of the music but that’s only because the material preexisted of the band. I came up with stuff and showed everything to the rest in the practice space we use. From this point on, it was all about finding a common ground in the way the songs would be executed, which I’d say is the most difficult process of all as we all come from different musical backgrounds. As soon as we’re done pulling of the already existing material, we’ll work on the rest of the members’ ideas. The lyrics in the EP where written by me in their entirety. The new unreleased songs have some lyrics our former Sam Thomason came up with. Some of them we’ll keep, some we won’t.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
GR: I’ve been using mythology as well as my observations of society as references. There’s always a general obvious truth and patterns we fail to see in the cases above because we are blinded by our fake need to co-exist with parasites, afraid to live solidarily with the few that deserve our time or tend to forget about the magic of the ancient practices and rituals. Note that I’m not promoting elitism in any way but you just can’t find quality in large groups. It’s a law of nature. The higher the number of people in a group, the greater the probability for someone to stand out and get ”decapitated” if you will, festering the rest of the group. I hope that makes as much sense to you as it does for me. Try to visualize it.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
GR: Truth is I haven’t studied Satanism as I’m not interested in figuring out what’s right and what’s wrong moving on axises set by humans during one of the worst periods of mankind’s history. To me, and I hope I don’t offend too many by saying this, Satanism is a byproduct of those who wanted to oppose to the maggots of Christianity, a religion which hit every tradition it affected really hard, to the point of making its first wave of followers wanting to detest the beliefs of their ancestors, embracing their new religion without second thought. How convenient right? Although I have to admit there is a romantic sound to Lucifer’s name, the bringer of light, I won’t agree to the fact that he actually exists. I will also admit there are daemons out there and inside us who are not necessarily harmful. As a Greek(enters Occultism) I’ve studied the history of the ancient people, and concluded to the fact that we ourselves can extract knowledge from every inch of existence. There’s no need of a Bringer of Light. The knowledge is always there for you to observe and conquer. At least that’s what people where able to do thousands of years ago without the aid of modern technology. I’d suggest to everyone reading this, to study world’s mythology and ancient history. Personal favorite bit of it is the story Zeus/Deus, king of the Greek pantheon. You can also contact some of the members of Zeus’s cult no matter where you’re from. There’s always an interesting story or lesson to be told by them. All in all I’d say that if one can read read between the lines, proceeding with caution, occultism can be his/her ticket to the bibliotheke of universal information.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
GR: So far there’s just this E.P. I told you about earlier, almost sold out the last copies, but at the moment we are working on the pre-production of our next release. We still haven’t decided if it’s gonna be an E.P. or a full length album.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
GR: Well the 2 tracks are both related to Time it is an always present element KIng is a heavy metal/rock song, I’d dare to say there’s a Zeppelin touch to it, which explains that no matter what you do you cannot escape death, BUT you can always learn how to die. There’s some food for thought right there. DIstance, the second track is a totally different type of track baptized in Mediterranean scales and it’s dedicated to a mentor/family member/friend I lost just a few days before I turned 18.A constant reminder of the need I have, to make peace with myself so whenever the departure time comes, I won’t have any regrets or promises incomplete. Both tracks though came out of a common source so for me it’s easy to see how they are related.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
GR: Not at the moment. Nothing music related anyway. I know there is a great amount of diversity in my music, but as long as it’s above a certain quality level, I want to keep it all under the label of Skandal. I’m always up for jamming with friends though and helping them out whenever they need someone to fill in.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
GR: If we are talking about individuals related to music, then definitely Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore, Phil Lynott, Cliff Burton, Kirk Windstein, Peter Steele, Dave Mustaine, Jimmy Page. I could go on forever.
Summon: Which current bands?
GR: That’s surprisingly easy to answer if you consider that I couldn’t think of anyone who would drive me crazy while rocking out on stage. As you can figure out I’m mostly amazed by live performing bands such as Forsaken Memoriam, a bluesy rock/metal band from Greece, Plastic Gods, black n roll metallers from the land of the ice and snow, thrash metal maniacs Exarsis, Chronosphere and Biocancer from Athens, Planet of Zeus, and then there are the Big Boys such as Lock Up, At the Gates, Opeth and Down.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
GR: Our first gig with the line up as it is now will take place in Crete’s Chania rock festival, opening for legendary Holocaust(even Metallica covered them), and Planet of Zeus. We have yet to experience what it feels like to rock with each other onstage as we are at the moment. Before Cris joined us, we were a three-piece. Things would often go crazy on stage(broken monitors, heads bumping on each other, broken part of the stage once so there was a gap between me and the mic stand til the end of the show, which made me trip more than a few times).We are relatively new to gigging in general so I haven’t caught up on all the little details that take place while we play, there is always a certain level of communication, there are some specific parts of our sets during which we give each other ”the look” you know what I mean?
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
GR: So far we have played a few shows in the UK, FuzzFezt in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik and Greece(Athens, Chania, Herakleon). We also got a slot in Born Wild festival in Germany in November. Can’t wait to explore Europe’s mainlands.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
GR: Well so far we’ve played for 10-20 people crowds a couple of times but most of the times it’s about 100 to 200 people big we always share the stage with other bands as well so it wouldn’t be fair to say that these people showed up just for us. We are fairly new as a band so at the moment we are working on building the band’s fan base as well.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
GR: There have been a few awkward times, I won’t lie, but that’s mostly because the Brits have no fuckin sense of humor, so I end up offending them and laughing by myself while on stage. When I’m not doing stand up comedy and actually play music boys will be banging their heads, girls will be dancing to the groove and there will always be a few, who just aren’t prepared for the intensity of some of the unreleased songs, so they end up standing still not knowing what to make of the whole moment
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
GR: There are definitely great bands out there, ”mainstream” and underground. The new stuff I liked a lot was Nachtmystium’s first record, Decrepit Birth and Suffocation releases. Obviously the old-school Florida’s scene is full of legends,classic bands(Death,Obituary, Deicide,Massacre,Morbid Angel).This where death metal was shaped. I haven’t gone that deep in the American Black Metal so if you have any recommendations I’d be more than happy to give them a listen.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
GR: Well I’d say that South America carries the flag when it comes to thrash-thirsty audiences (let’s not forget that the crowd is part of the scene), emmiting lunacy and craving blood to be spilled upon the stage. There are so many many bands from America who are defining thrash nowadays. Lazarus A.D., Havok, Fueled by Fire, these are all exceptional bands. One can easily get trapped in the swamp metal/rock of the southern states as well. Sometimes might overstay his welcome like I did. The damage is permanent but it was definitely worth the time digging up underground doom/sludge bands. I’m quite annoyed by the overwhelming reproduction of the nu/djent/metalcore bands. It’s a hype in the U.K. as well like stoner rock, but they will both burn out pretty soon. It’s obvious to me.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
GR: You should totally check out Ravencult’s Morid Blood. Pure gold. Sounds like the bastard offspring of Kill ’em all and Pleasure to Kill. Death n Roll that won’t let you dow. Check em out now. Dead Congregation is another band you have to see before you die,They played in New York a few years ago. Check out Graves Of The Archangels album.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
GR: We never stop.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
GR: That I cannot foretell but in case you’re interested in finding out, here’s the link to our facebook page. We’ll be updating from time to time.
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