Hello guys and welcome to Metal Invader! It is a great honour to have you here, our sympathy towards you is known anyway. In what state are you at the moment? Talk to us about your show with In The Woods to start with.
The gig with In The Woods already happened and went very well. It is one of my favourite bands, I truly love them. These days we are arranging the last details for our tour and Roadburn Festival, we are going abroad for ten days and then we will focus on our next album.
I will try to keep my questions in a chronological progress, so let’s start with the basics. What is the Spirit Noir and what does it symbolize for you?
Spirit Noir is our mascot and a symbol that we believe fits our music. It is the free, uncompromising, cunning and vagrant spirit. It is a spirit doomed to be in the dark side of the moon, out of the lights on the background.
The creation of Hail Spirit Noir happened, as far as I know, after the conclusion of the third record of Transcending Bizzarre? Was it a deliberate change? Did you want to make a fresh start, so to say?
Transcending Bizzarre? was a band that me and Akis founded, but when he died we thought this chapter was over. And then HSN came and to tell you the truth, they were closer to what we were listening to then and now.
In spite of all that, according to pages like EncyclopediaMetallum, Transcending Bizzarre? are theoretically still active. Do you keep any window open? Is there any reason you don’t officially call it quits?
To tell you the truth we are not officially over, because with T.B.? we never had any page in any medium. Maybe we should do that actually.
If “The Magicians” were one step ahead of “The Spirit”, then “Mayhem In Blue” is a leap forward, an evolutionary ‘apocalypse’. The outcome is excellent and that’s why it was hailed by fans and the press. What changed and what remained the same in the music and the general approach of HSN?
Well, where the music will go is something that is not prearranged, but it depends on what we are listening to, our experiences and other more contingent things that are happening during the composition and the recordings. Of course what we have done in the previous albums counts as well, since we are trying to evolve and we will punish ourselves if we find us redoing older ideas. For example, the first two albums had a very vintage production and then we decided to try the same style in a more “strange” production, with analogue and retro elements, but modern as well. Nevertheless, I think the approach to music has remained psychedelic and proggy.
Your music in its core offers maybe the widest range on which one can experiment and “play” beyond any limit and produce music that can be put in shape. On the other hand, in the same music, there is always the danger to sound boring by repeating patterns or even your own self sometimes. How did Hail Spirit Noir manage not to copy themselves and at the same time to preserve their personality in such a highlighted way?
As I said before, evolution is always the band’s aim and ‘fetish’. Every part and every small detail are worked out for many hours and through our own tricks. For example, when we get stuck somewhere and we don’t know how to proceed, we leave that song on the side for some days or even a month and we come back to it with a more fresh approach. Usually, the new impression is much different than the initial one, so you know if you are going to keep the idea or not. Some other times I listen to the music in reverse, or in mono and not stereo and new ideas come up or old ones are being rejected.
I would say that in a general level, HSP’s music does not address to the big masses, although the listeners/fans are coming from different metal backgrounds. How do you explain that?
Look, the public which we address to are the music lovers, those who will buy the vinyl, will smell it, will sleep with it in their arms, the romantics in a cynical age. We don’t aim to make money, neither to a public that listens to us while washing the dishes. Of course it wouldn’t be a bad thing if everybody would listen to us, that would be a blessing, since washing dishes is not a bad thing for us. J As for the actual question, no, I don’t have an explanation.
What do you think is the ideal time / situation to take in and really understand HSP’s music? I consider it a very personal music.
Hm, the ideal situation varies and depends on the person. I, for example, like to listen to music when I walk, that’s when I observe many details. But in general, to have a good pair of closed headphones and listen to our music or any other music having access to the whole of the content of the sequences and the effects for which the musician has spent countless hours in the studio, is the ideal. I lately very much enjoy listening to music along with an Aperol Spritz… Ok, I know it’s a whimpy choice of drink, but anyway, I would suggest a good drink and closed headphones.
As far as I understood, HSP’s lyrics are based in small horror stories that move, even superficially, in the fantasy world. Could you say that some of these stories are somehow more real than they appear? Is it every day life and real experience the source of some at least of those HSN stories?
Some stories have no deeper meaning, they are just stories that go hand in hand with the music. Some others, the title track of our latest album for example, are short horror stories which hide a deeper feeling that me or Thanos have (we two write the lyrics). This particular song for example is an idea of mine for a massacre on Earth that starts from the sea and has a result the extinction of mankind. Life that started in the sea, is being terminated by sea itself, nature is revenging the humans for what they did to it.
The creation/composition of a musical expression, like that of HSN, seems a hard case, maybe because of its chaotic character or the overall mixes of different structures and sounds. Is it written spontaneously or is it a premeditated plan?
Above I shared some elements of what leads us to music. I would say for sure that nothing is premeditated, everything is more spontaneous.
How hard is it to translate and perform live Hail Spirit Noir’s music, given the fact that the dramatical and theatrical aspect of your music are two of its basic chracteristics?
The spontaneity about which I spoke before and the lack of a programmed direction, are being expressed also in the live performances of the band. Most songs contain improvisations and are being performed differently live in certain parts. Other songs are changed as far as orchestration goes, especially the older ones. The programmed and premeditated element seems to us somehow restrictive and we try to let the songs breathe when we play them live.
Is there new material or is it too early to talk about that, since you have many shows planned in Greece and abroad?
There is some material and ideas, but even we don’t know what is going to be the final direction of the album. We will focus on that after the tour.
Perfect. Thank you very much for your time and your honesty! I appreciate that! The epilogue is yours, would maybe like to send a message to our readers?
Thank you very much for the interview, we are waiting impatiently to see you in one of our upcoming shows !