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Interview with Desert Near The End

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Last Updated on 08:10 PM by Nikos Nakos

Some days ago we had a chat with Akis Prasinikas (bass) and Alexandros Papandreou, members of the thrash/power band Desert Near the End. We publish it today, while the band is amidst its tour in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria…Enjoy!

Hello guys! We’re glad to have you with us!

Good evening! Thank you for having us!

Let’s start this interview in a traditionally way… Tell us a few words about who you are…

Akis: The band was formed in 2009… Essentially we were formed back then with this name and this formation. I’ve playing with Alekos since 1998, about the time when we finished school. Our first album entitled “Crimson Dawn” was released independently by us in 2011. The second album, “Hunt for the Sun” was released in late 2014 via the Ukrainian label Total Metal. Currently we are searching for a new label in order to release our next record. Everything is set, the tracks have been recorded and we’re waiting for labels to show interest in us.

Does your name refer to a real or an imaginary place on this Earth, a post – apocalyptic situation on this planet or the difficulties before the end of a huge journey? The interpretations can vary…

Akis: Indeed… Our name can be translated into everything you want, in personal or general concepts.

Alexandros: Our name came from the title track. Before that, we were called Eventite; but that’s way in the past.

Akis: The creation of the track “Desert Near The End” coincided with the will to change our direction, therefore the new name was something that we needed. Also there were other bands with the same name. Regarding what the name is all about is a bit paradoxical. For us it symbolizes hope… Exactly the opposite meaning of what one may think of when seeing our name.  In a situation such as that one described in our name, a desert just before the end, the only think you can hold on to is hope. So that’s what it means to us… These are the lyrics of the song as well and the band’s concept, somehow…

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It’s been a year since you released “Hunt For The Sun”. I think the reviews you got were mostly praising… Are you satisfied by its course? Is there anything you’d like to change?

Alexandros: When you listen to something many years later, certainly you’d have the urge to change some things.

Akis: We could have changes some things in the recordings. We didn’t realize it then, as the record didn’t come out when it was actually recorded, but a few years later. However, we feel satisfied with the result in many levels, because the album was recorded and mixed by us. We are excited with the review, both from the local and foreign press. We’ve read reviews by webzines and magazines abroad and most of them were quite positive.

The record is based on a certain concept and it’s the second part of a trilogy. What’s this trilogy about and how will it be completed?

Akis: Well, we’ll never reveal its end, haha! Everything started with the name. In its core it’s the symbolic story of a man…

Alexandros: … who wakes up with no memory on a shore, under a “red dawn”, which is the beginning of the record.

Akis: It’s about the man’s quest to find a sun in a world that doesn’t exist. The sun could be inside of him, the real one… A sun that cannot blind you, only guide you. Everything builds up around the idea that nothing can be lost if it’s not forgotten… and if it’s not forgotten you will find it on your path again. That’s what the concept is about in a few words.

The record was released via the Ukrainian label “Total Metal”.  How did this cooperation happen?

Akis: In 2014 we did a tour in Russia with Memorain and Insider and Memorain’s label back then was Total Metal (aka Scrap Metal). Elias Papadakis introduced us to Anatoli of Total Metal and after some discussions we stroke a deal…

Your music seems to be a little bit aggressive comparing it to the Greek Power Metal sound. It’s close to the Thrash genre. However I think that this is what makes you stand out…

Akis: Yeah! That’s something that will become even more intense in the next record… Way more intense… As far as the term “power” goes, ok, we grew up to be a power metal band, but we’re now closer to thrash and we may visit other genres in the future. But, yeah, aggression is what characterizes our music.

What are the band’s main influences?

Akis: Well, at first I think our influences were old – school sounds… Iced Earth, Blind Guardian… However we listen to everything modern and extreme…

Alexandros: … we listen to Annal Nathrakh as well… we like them very much!

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Giorgos Tsekas: Don’t you feel that the influence by Iced Earth and the obsession that Greek fans have with this band might restrain you a bit?

Akis: I don’t think it’s restraining because there is more to the band than just this. As we live in Greece, it just happens that people put labels on us. The critics abroad never put the tag “Iced Earth” on top… yew, of course the band is a huge influence and love of ours, still that tag only follows us in Greece…

Where was the video-clip for “Storm By My Side” shot and with who? How would you describe this experience?

Alexander: It was shot on Parnitha. Looking for a place to shoot it we passed by the old sanatorium, which is next to the road, at the burnt forest, which is the place where everyone goes for shootings and we went at the opposite side, where no one ever goes. We really liked this site.

Akis: It was suggested by the maker of the video-clip, Nikos Mylonas, ex Eventdead bassist, who we met in our common tour. It was an awesome experience, though it was pretty windy. It was May, but the wind was tremendous, coming from our back. I really don’t know how strong that wind was. We couldn’t even stand on our feet.

You have some live show in Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria coming up… I would ask if this is your first live abroad, but you mentioned before that you played in Russia…

Akis: And we will be playing in Ukraine in the summer, if everything goes according to plan, at Black Sea Fest. We have played in Russia in Cyprus. We will be playing in Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus.

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Will you be “hunting” other appearances outside Greece?

Akis: We want to go for it, but the expenses are just too big. We’ll pursue it for as far as our finances allow it.

Is it true that the audience is more “thirsty” abroad for live shows?

Akis: It depends on the country.

Alexandros: In Russia, for instance, they were thirsty… but only in the small towns. In Moscow and St. Petersburg things were cooler.

Akis: In small cities it was like hell. Not that the audience knew the songs, but they had fun anyway. It was something like the “massacre” that we witnessed in Greece at the late 80s – early 90s. I guess in Western Europe things will be more chill, as people there watch live shows all the time.

Last year you played in a lot of important live gigs, beside known bands, like The Agonist and Wolfheart… Which one do you consider to be your best moment?

Akis: With Primordial in 2013. It is a beloved band…

Alexandros: …though musically we don’t have many things in common…

Akis: It was a great honor playing at that gig!

Did you feel nervous about your first unplugged appearance? How do you evaluate it? Would you do something similar in the future in front of a larger audience?

Akis and Alexander together: No way!

Akis: For one, we haven’t even heard it because no one sent it to us!

Perhaps you wouldn’t like to listen to it anyway (laughs)…

Akis: Ha, ha no we would like to listen to it but we didn’t get the chance yet. It was a weird experience, as our songs do not contain acoustic parts, apart from a few… so we tried to make a medley of all the acoustic parts of our songs, even the ones which have not been released yet. Meaning that we played some new songs in acoustic form… So, we made three five-minute long medleys.

What’s the story in Athens the last few years? Concerts, great bands playing live, recordings, studios… It seems like a novel:”Metal in the years of the memorandum”!

Alexander: I believe that it was quite the same before the last few years as well. The Greek scene was on the rise then too. But we’re talking about music…the worst thing the crisis can do is cut down your budget.

Akis: On the other hand, with the new technologies, even with a small budget one can get involved in the scene. They can even record it at home with satisfying quality and release it. So, if you find the right bandmembers and spent some money on rehearsals, you can make a band and become a part of the scene easier than before.

That’s about it, folks! Thank you for the interview! Cheers!

Thank you too!

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