Interview with Illusory for Macedonia Wreck Fest and Metal Invader, by Apostolos Tzotzis.
First of all, we’d like you to give us a small bio of the band; give the crowd the opportunity to know you better!
Dimitris Theodorou: Between 19922 and 1996, the band was in search of its sound, its compositions. We rehearsed as much as we could and tried to compose our first tracks. In 1996 there was a first big pause, due to military and duties and university studies. Around the end of 1999 we did a project with Giorgos Papantonis, Nikos Aravanopoulos, Kostas Charalambidis and Apostolis Koskinas. It was the “Time Stands Still” track that made us re-visit “Ivories”! We started composing tracks and recording demos. Till 2003 everything fell into place and with the addition of (at that time) guitarist Dimitris Kormousis, we went full throttle! We found a good drummer, as well, Spuros Kupriotis, we rehearsed a lot, we performed many times and started to write our first promo CD in order to find a label. Our promo album was recorded in my home studio, with the only change in lineup being our drummer Vasilis Mastoris. Its critiques were praising, in Greek Metal Hammer it was the album of the month, which was the kickstart on finding a label to release our first album with professional production, of course. When we actually found a label, we had to face our greatest nightmare, the change of our name. You see in 1992 I had found “Ivory Tower” (which came up through Iron Maiden’s “Be Quick or Be Dead”). I didn’t think that the band would last that long and I should have copyrighted the name. Four years later, a German band released an album entitled “Ivory Tower”; then we lost the game. “Illusory” is very close to one of the interpretations of “Ivory Tower” and means “something created by false senses”. We concluded into that name after months of searching the most suitable name for the band. Today, everything flows well, we like our name and the crowd likes our name, our debut album did exceptionally good and we’re now in a period with many live performances inside and outside Athens and of course we are recording in our studio our second album, which is going to be released during summer 2015.
Talk to us about your influences, the way you work on your compositions and the way you set the tracks.
Giorgos Papantonis: Our influences come from classic metal bands that shone bright in the 80s decade. Maiden, Metallica, Sabbath, Priest, Dio, Savatage, Queensryche are some of them. Of course we have also progressive and rock influences, especially from the 70s, like Pink Floyd, Queen, Rush and more. With Grigoris’s arrival (Mpakos – guitar) we gained fresh air and at the same time new influences, as a result of his young age. As far as compositions and sets go, we try to work as a time as tight as we can. An idea is brought to the studio by someone, but we all work on it together, letting everybody leave his mark. We see Illusory as a team, a family and for that reason we reach a result satisfying everyone, even if we agree or disagree in the process.
What happened between the release of “The Ivory Tower” and now? What was the feedback on that?
Nikitas Danos: Since the release, we started trying to promote “The Ivory Tower” via interviews, critiques etc. We couldn’t support this whole thing with live performances, which is a result of our low cooperation with the label, Nevertheless, during that period, we started recording our new album, which kept the band fully occupied! As far as the last past of the question is concerned, “The Ivory Tower” has surely passed successfully the reviews torture. Apart from the good reviews and the high ranks, what I personally consider a win is the acceptance of the crow; the metal audience is tough and what I get is that they dig our music, which is the essence of our try.
Are there any plans for recording the next album? If yes, where are you now?
Giorgos Konstantakelos: We are already preparing our second album, which we hope to release in September – October, if all goes right. Recordings at our studio have already started; we are in the phase where we’ve finished drumming and the rhythm guitars. Mixing and mastering will be done in matric Studio by Giannis Petrogiannis, whom we trust for the final result. Apart from the second record which will be released in September, as I said before, our first record can be ordered via our site www.illusoryband.com or via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/illusoryband.
What do your lyrics involve? What messages do you want to convey?
Kostas Koulis: Our first record is a concept one, so the lyrics narrate a story. In “The Ivory Tower” case, libretto talks about a tycoon, Steven Towers, who created a huge fortune based on his unique ability “selling” lies. He’s so good at this that no one believes he could be lying. Having this “dark” ability as a guide, he builds his own empire, gains wealth, “friends” and “fans” and pushes his vanity to an extreme level. As natural, a lie needs a bigger lie to stand and at some point all this unholy creation blows up in his phase. Wealth vanished, “friends” leave, and even his wife abandons him. The decline is certain and harsh; that’s what we unfold. There are many messages; each one can listen and distinguish them. In the record we’re preparing we have various tracks (one of them will refer to Steven – we don’t forget) which have to do with a variety of subjects. The fear of futuristic society, the ultimate evil that dwells into the human souls and its influence on the masses… On the other hand, we’ve written tracks referring to myths, stories that amazed us; in general, we write about the things that inspire us. These stories can be interpreted one way or another and the messages they convey is what each of you get through every hearing. We let people conclude its own thoughts and we believe that each of us gets the message according to his own way of thinking.
It’s the first time you visit Thessaloniki. You’re late! What can we expect from your performance?
Giorgos Papantonis: Unfortunately, it took us a long time to book a gig in Thessaloniki. This is not entirely our fault, since we tried to go there in the past, but we failed to find the silver lining. Now it’s time to visit Thessaloniki in Macedonia Wreck Fest, an opportunity we grabbed instantly. In 31st of May, at Eightball Club, we will present tracks from “The Ivory Tower” and if time is on our side, we may have some surprises for Thessaloniki’s crowd.
Any plans for the future? End this interview anyway you want. I hope for the best and we’ll see each other at the gig!
Dimitris Theodorou: Our aim is to book live performances all over Greece as many as we can and even visit abroad and every year or a year and a half, we want to present new material. Thank you very much for the interview and your interest in us; we’ll meet in May on Eightball’s stage.