I love Greek bands. So far I haven’t been let down to badly by any Greek band. I don’t see any reasons why ALTER SELF should be that band. Read this interview to find out why Greek bands are so good. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
I think an introduction to the band would be in order before we set out on our journey?
-Hello and thanks a lot for the opportunity to present our work! Alter Self was formed in Athens, Greece back in the summer of 2007 and we have faced many line-up changes since then. At February 2009 we released our first demo/EP entitled ‘Ashes Over Eden’ which went really well and received great reviews from press and audience. At 2011 we entered the studio again to record our debut full-length album which is entitled ‘Seven Deadly Blessings’ and will be officially available worldwide by Noisehead Records at February 22nd 2013. The musical style cannot be easily categorized but it could be described as a blend of death and thrash metal combined with a wide range of influences.
I’m of the kind that instead of replacing one thing with another tend to stack them all on top of each other, hence my love for all things metal. When you are a band how do you end up with the sound you got?
-Well, you’ve got a point there because that’s exactly what we are trying to do. Our goal is to blend and balance our influences in an attempt to create a personal style. This requires a lot of work because you can easily mess things up. The base of our music is definitely death metal but we listen to a lot of different stuff and always try to expand (and not replace) our influences to evolve and keep the whole thing interesting. That’s why we consider each of our songs to have its own identity. It’s like paying tribute to our love for all things metal like you said.
What kind of response did you get to your debut album? What did the band gain from releasing it
-As I mentioned before, the full album hasn’t been released yet, it will be officially available at February 2013. However, the three-track teaser promo that we released a few months ago which contained three songs off ‘Seven Deadly Blessings’ got some excellent reviews and comments worldwide and that filled us with confidence. We just hope for the best.
I often wonder how do you know when to stop promoting one album and move on to the next?
-I’d say that there is no particular answer on this, you just know it. It’s all about the need to express yourself, you can’t help it, it just happens. When you feel that you have enough material to make a new album then this is the time.
What does it mean to have a label backing you? How much work is it to get an album out and noticed?
Having a label backing you is vital for any band that wants to make a step further. The label definitely knows how to promote and distribute an album and can also support a band in many ways. Creating an album is a slow procedure that requires a lot of effort and hard work to make it right. Releasing it and having it noticed is equally hard because there is a lot of competition and many good bands out there and a label surely knows how to handle these things and make an album stand out way better than a DIY effort.
Is Greece a great place to be a metal band? Or does the audience pay more attention to foreign bands visiting?
-Well, there are actually two sides on this matter. Undoubtedly Greece has one of the strongest metal scenes worldwide. There are lots of good bands and musicians here that constantly put out excellent works but these sadly most times go unnoticed because the vast majority of the audience seems to prefer the foreign bands. However, the local death metal scene has lately managed to build a strong and loyal fan base that supports these efforts by purchasing their works and attending their gigs. Things tend to get better day by day and we get to see even more bands breaking the borders and touring outside Greece.
When you formed the band how far did you expect this to go? Were you prepared for the journey that the band would take you on?
-We didn’t expect anything in particular, we just began to write material hoping for the best. We still do think this way. I think that it is far better to begin a musical journey based on true love on creating and playing music rather than having a specific ‘success plan’. If you are good in what you’re doing and put your soul into it, sooner or later will pay off as long as you keep your faith alive.
Is playing live still a great way to promote your band or has the social media replaced that?
-Social media such as Facebook or Twitter are certainly a great way to promote your work nowadays and they can expose you to a bigger audience if they are used right. However, I strongly believe that playing live is and always will be the best way to promote a band. Nothing can really top this.
How do you get the digital listener to go physical (i. e. buying the CD, coming to a gig etc.)?
-Simply by trying to offer the best that we can in any case. For example the best way to convince the listener to go physical is to deliver a complete package with a good cover and layout that fulfills the general idea behind an album. Same goes for the gigs as well. You have to give your best for all those who come to see you and this way you can gain respect and help your reputation grow little by little. Sooner or later your audience will begin to grow.
What kind of future do you see for the band?
-Our main priority right now is the official release of ‘Seven Deadly Blessings’ and its promotion, mostly through live shows. Also, we are already writing new material for a second album but it’s too early to think about this for now. We have some other plans as well but as I told you before, we prefer to make one small step at a time because no one really knows what the future holds. One thing for sure is that we will continue to work hard hoping that the best is yet to come.