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Interview with Grá

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Last Updated on 16:38 by Giorgos Tsekas

It’s been exactly one year since the release of “Lycaon”, the fourth addition to Gra’s catalogue. How has this year for the band been like?

It has been good. We have done a few concerts and the general reception has been great! Some line up adjustments have been made and it feels like we are on the right track.

Going back to the album as a listener, would you change anything today on it?

Actually no, I think it turned out exactly as we intended it to. We have the fortune of being able to take all the time we need for our albums and Avantgarde has been very patient and good with us. There’s been zero stress, I think that is the most important thing.

I think compared to “Väsen”, “Lycaon” is more “speed-oriented” if you may. Was that on purpose, or it happened naturally?

We are always trying to evolve with every release, it gives very little satisfaction for me as a songwriter to do the same album over and over. Even though I’m sure I have a certain style or way of composing. Actually Väsen is overall a much faster album when it comes to blastbeats and BPM, but it is a different album. Where we focused a lot on finding a certain atmosphere on Väsen, we wanted Lycaon to be more heavy metal oriented with the riffs in the frontline. A different kind of darkness.

Since there had been five years between these two releases, and a pandemic that cut off everything music related for a while, how had that affected Grá as a project?

It gave us time to focus and work in peace I think. We did the “Corona rehearsal” videos that can be seen on our YouTube channel and also composing demos for Lycaon in the background. Perhaps the pandemic, and the lockdowns that came with it, had an influence in the way of making it a less “dense” album. Perhaps we needed something with more headbang and “in your face” attitude as a counterweight to all the shit the pandemic brought us.

As of last year, there have been changes in the headquarters of Grá, with the band welcoming two new guitarists. How did you come in touch with the new members so that they became members of Gra?

Yes we have had some line-up modifications and actually we are still in motion to perfect the line up further, more about that will be known later on but we stand very strong right now.

At this point, I am very curious to ask. Why Motley Crue, and why “Shout at the Devil”?

Well, as we started out as heavy metal fans back when we were kids, with Maiden, Motörhead, Mötley, Priest, Sabbath and all that, we felt like making a homage to that era in our lives. The choice of Shout at the Devil is quite simple, it’s a great song that we all like, it has a topic that we all like and as Vince Neil isn’t really singing in such an advanced way (as for example Bruce Dickinson) we figured that it could actually sound pretty good in the Grá style, especially in relation with the Lycaon album, as it’s very riff based and inspired by 80’s heavy metal. We didn’t actually put it on the album though, we chose to instead include a cover of Bathory’s Chariots of Fire as it fit better into the album context. They were both recorded during the album recording sessions and we were already from the start clear with that one of them would end up as a B side or something on the side from the album.

The band has been active for almost 14 years today. There must have been ups and downs during this longer than a decade run. What’s the worst time for the band, if you can recall?

Yeah we’ve been around. We’ve all been around much longer than that too, but in other bands and formations. We have been working basically non stop since the start in 2010 and I really don’t see any particularly bad times for us. We’ve been doing our thing, sometimes in the shadows, sometimes in public. We care not for fame and fortune, we are not dependant on anything. Everything we do is because we want to and we have the luxury to get along and to seriously and passionately love what we do with the band. Musically and spiritually.

On the other side, what has been a very important lesson that you had to learn through the band?

Oh there’s been a lot of things, how the business works, what deals to make and which ones to avoid and so on.

It’s been almost 6 years since the last time you played in Greece with Grá. What can you remember from these nights, if you can remember anything at all?

Well we have been holding concerts in Athens twice in the past and I remember the crowd as being amazing, the venues as being good. We have a lot of friends in Greece and we are really looking forward to seeing everyone again!

What should we expect from your performance at Temple In Athens, alongside with our own legendary Yoth Iria?

We are very happy to be doing this concert. The promoters, Bowel of Noise, are long time friends of us and I’ve been in a lot of contact with Jim Mutilator too. We will deliver a Hell of a night together, Yoth Iria, Grá, Sad and Dark Vision. If i wasn’t already there on stage, this is a concert that I definitely would attend myself! We will deliver a very strong setlist with emphasis on our last two albums (as we never really got the chance to present “Väsen” properly on stage due to the pandemic).

Any last words?

Thanks for the support and interest. Greece have a special place in our black hearts, ever since our debut EP “Helfärd” was released by a Greek label back in 2010 we’ve had a special relationship. See you soon!

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