For someone who deals with the Greek metal scene for a long time, some people do not need special recommendations. One of them is Nick “Yngve” Samios, who is followed by a really heavy biography of participations in many important albums and bands of our domestic scene. Let’s see what he has to say to us!
Good evening Nick and welcome to Metal Invader. I do not know how to introduce you though, a drummer, guitarist, singer? And most importantly, for which of all the projects you have participated in from time to time … so let me leave that to you! How many bands do you participate in as we speak and how many have you been through so far?
Thank you very much for the invitation to the magazine, this time not as an editor, but as a musician. How to introduce me? I would say as a drummer, as the drums are my main instrument and will be hopefully for a long time to come. Yet, all those are pretty legit, at least for my own band, Gungnir. So we come to the second part of the question. Apart from Gungnir, I am a full member in Drama Noir, Sirius, AfterBlood, Repentless (Slayer tribute), Flames and Deviser. I am also a session drummer for Marauder and Horus Legion. In the 3rd part, it is probably a bit difficult to answer, but I can refer you to my page, where you can find a list of my complete discography over the years, from 1998 when I wrote my first demo until today. You will find my page at https://www.facebook.com/nicksamiosdrummer/
Let’s go with the two the latest releases, one has already taken its course and I’m talking about the new, second album of Drama Noir. Tell us some things about it, the new production label, how you got there, the record itself …
Drama Noir, is a band created as a one man band, by Mephisto (back then on guitars, bass and keys, now on guitars and keys), in Corinth, in 2017. After much searching and changes, he recorded with session members, me included, the first single, entitled “The Forgotten Warrior”. Shortly afterwards, the band’s first full-length album, “Princess Airam”, was recorded and released, self-funded, as due to the rush if you will, to be released, there was no label searching. After the recordings, I stayed in the band as a permanent member and the lineup was completed when Nyctelios (Synteleia) came on vocals and Peisithanatos on bass. We recorded our second album together, entitled “A Necromancy Lore” and this time everything went well. We sent the final result to many labels and finally the French Drakkar Productions responded, which on August 31, will release the album on digipak CD and gatefold LP. Here I would like to mention some very important contributors in this album, who are Nikos Tsiolis who created the logo and all the artwork, Savvas Betinis (Acid Death) who did the general mixing of the record and the mastering for the CD format and Achilleas Kalantzis (Varathron) who did the mastering for the LP format. We are very happy and already from the 2 tracks that have been released, we have received very positive comments. Of course if all goes well with all the virus thing going on, we will play as many live shows as we can to promote it.
Second release, first complete album and another band for which I would like to say a few things, is for Gungnir. After the EP you released, you now have your first L.P in the making.
Yes, after 2 years, we are already on the recordings of our first album, which will be titled “With Ravens on Our Side”. Maintaining the whole Bathory-ish atmosphere that existed in our debut, we will show a slightly more melodic side of the band, which partly goes beyond the framework of black metal, which dominated the debut EP. Of course this happened on purpose, but it also came out a little spontaneously. I believe that the final result will be liked and will have the same if not better acceptance than the “Ragnarok” EP from 2018.
I know that Gungnir’s viking themes are your personal love. The Vikings, the North, the very spear of Odin that gives his name to the band. How did this love really come about and how does it relate to the Bathory mentioned in the band’s Bandcamp?
The love for the period and the era of the Vikings, was developed during the years I listened to and played music. It’s not something I did in a hurry, but it is something that came out of me at every opportunity. And when I started listening to Bathory, it was like the puzzle was completed, as I loved this time of history from before that happened. As far as mentioning Bathory is concerned, it is well known, as we have said many times, that if Bathory did not exist, Gungnir would not exist. Simple things.
Apart from these two releases, you definitely have something else in the works! Tell us some things, what else will your signature have from what is coming for the domestic scene?
We are currently recording for Sirius’ first album. So far we have recorded all the drums and all the rhythm guitars and we are dealing with the solos. The order in which we write the instruments is a bit unorthodox, yes , but we also adapted according to everyone’s work schedules. I’m always excited when I come in for recordings, but in this case I’m almost ecstatic, as I have unimaginably fun playing with this band. Apart from Sirius, we are preparing the new album with AfterBlood and in addition there are some other nice things that will come, but I can not talk about yet. Also with Flames we are in the process of composing new tracks and with Deviser we are preparing the new album, which will be entitled “Evil Invites Evil”.
You presented your personal logo and announced a few days ago your first personal album and its cover artwork. In what genre will this range? Also, who edited the cover and this very beautiful logo? Will you go independently or have you found a record label?
Yes, I did that too. Α I decided to record some tracks, from riffs that I have, which do not fit in any of the bands I play in, so I thought why not? I will release a solo album. The cover was edited by me, with my basic knowledge of photoshop and the logo, which is really great, it was made by my very good friend Tim Nordstedt, who made the Gungnir logo and cover artwork. I told him I wanted a logo, he asked me what I was thinking and I just replied that I want it Viking themed. In 2-3 days he had already sent me what you see, which of course I loved. The album will move on heavy / speed metal trails, but there will be moments when you will hear a bit of CLASSIC heavy, even punk in The Misfits style. I believe that in this album I get literally ALL my influences out from the years I listen to this music. In how it will be released, initially definitely in digital format via bandcamp, but if I find a label that is interested, why not on CD, without this being necessary of course.
Having mentioned the domestic scene … During your career as a musician, you have been involved in a lot of things. The Greek metal scene is in an environment full of genres foreign to the idioms of the music you represent. However, in the metal space, what pros and cons do you find through your experience?
I will be as honest as I can. Cons, in terms of music I find almost nothing. But the biggest disadvantage is not this. It is that we kind of constantly fight each other. If we succeed in and eliminate this, the Greek metal scene will dominate. I know what I write sounds a bit weird, but I think the situation is like this.
Do you finally think that a young musician will find suitable ground to follow his dream in Greece? What do you think are the conditions?
I wish I could say that. Unfortunately, if a band wants to do something, it has to focus on the outside world. Simple and straightforward. Greece will offer absolutely nothing. Too bad? Yes. Yet, it is the bitter truth …
Let’s go a bit more about you … You have used many nicknames from time to time, with the most common used, being “Yngve”. Its origin is apparently from Dead from Mayhem. Why did you choose this as a nickname and what else would you mention as important to you?
I have been using this nickname since 2001, because I just liked Dead as a figure and Mayhem has always been one of my favorite bands. Growing up, he and it became more personal for reasons I do not need to mention and eventually stayed and was used in the bands too. In the 2nd part of your question, I will tell you that since I rarely used another name, none was important. It was just to serve a purpose. But I will single out a specific one, which the band chose for me. I am referring to Unholy Archangel, for whom I recorded 2 tracks for a split release in 2015. There the band chose for me the name Hyperion B’, in memory of their former drummer Hyperion, who is not with us since many years and with whom we were friends with. It was a great honor for me and yes, I consider this very special and beautiful as a gesture by the band.
As we said you can play guitar and do vocals but your main instrument is the drums. What was it that inspired you to choose it and which musicians would you consider your influence? Not only for the drums of course but in general.
My inspiration to become a drummer is Metallica and Lars (I already know some who smiled while reading it). Of course, as the years went by and I shaped my style, other elements and more influences came forward, from drummers such as Igor Cavalera, Vinnie Paul (R.I.P.), Paul Bostaph, Scott Columbus, Gene Hoglan and Hellhammer. In general, my influences come from the thrash and black metal space, but here and there you will find a bit of “80’s hard rock” style in my playing.
Of the many branches of metal, the one you chose for your personal work is the extreme one. So Black Metal. Why Black? It is a subspecies with various extensions. What drew you to it so much that you dedicate your art to it?
I wish I could say why … I was drawn to it without even realizing it. Maybe it was because I heard it when I was very young in metal, before I could listen to other things. Maybe the atmosphere attracted me … maybe … a lot of maybes. I really do not know what to tell you. Nevertheless, for the last 2-3 years, I feel full of the extreme metalthing and specifically of black and I have already turned my attention to other genres. They say it’s never too late, even in your 40s.
Of all the collaborations you have done so far, which of your works and which artists would you single out? Which jobs do you remember most fondly?
Sure some may feel wronged, but I would say W.E.B., Drama Noir, Nergal and Shrine Of Orpheus. The records I have made with these bands are easily some of the best I have ever recorded so far. But more are coming. Time will tell…
So two more questions, and this one in two parts. Which Greek bands does Yngve consider most important to him and which ones does he consider underrated?
The most important are of course Metallica, Savatage, Bathory, Cinderella (yes Cinderella…), Manowar, Sepultura, Dissection, Mayhem, Darkthrone and Hypocrisy so to name a few. Underestimated ones, I do not know if I can tell you … I have never thought about it to be honest … From the Greek scene, clearly Septicflesh, W.E.B., Varathron, Suicidal Angels.
Coming to the end, do you think that the Greek scene has an even bigger future ahead of it? What would you advise through your experience to those who want to deal with metal nowadays?
The Greek scene, with its bands, doesn’t just have a future, but the scene belongs to us. As I told you above, as long as we make the decision to get serious at last. In new bands, musicians or just listeners who want to deal with this genre, I will just say, catch the feeling, put aside fights and arguments and deal with the essence of the music. It has infinite things to look for and literally endless.
Thank you very much and I wish you good personal and musically speaking success!
Thank you very much again for this interview. In honor of Quorthon, I will close this interview by using the “joke” with which he always closed his interviews in Greek magazines:
“Where can you find the best fries? In grease ”…