DESERT NEAR THE END is yet another band from the ever fertile Greek metal scene that has come my way. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
How hard was it to come up with a band name and how does the name fit the music?
-Actually it was really difficult and we struggled with it for many years. Because a name is in a way the identity of the band and it must fit with the music, the lyrics and most of all, since music is or it should be a way of self expression, it must reflects the musician’s vision about the band! So it should be personal and unique and not only impressive and “metal”. For us the name “Desert Near The End”, although it seems bleak, stands for hope! Because it symbolize the last thing that you have when everything seems lost and barren!
As I am new to your band perhaps a short introduction might be in order?
-Ok, so.. we are Desert Near The End a Power/Thrash band from Athens, Greece. We began our journey back in 1997 and we changed many names and line-ups since but the core of the band was always Alexandros (vocals) and me: Akis (bass). We have released three albums: A Crimson Dawn in 2011, Hunt For The Sun in 2014 and Theater of War in 2016, the last two were released from Total Metal Records. We consider ourselves a missing link between the mid 90’s Power/Thrash Metal and the edge of today’s metal and our mission is to connect these two sounds!
As I am no musician I have no idea how it works, but how do you make your own music based on what influences you? What parts do you pick?
-Even if you were a musician my answer could be a lot different than yours! There are more than one answer on this question and everyone works differently! I personally like to mix all my influences and not “pick” something but let everything in! And when I say everything I mean it! I still like everything that made me a metalhead and thankfully I keep adding to that list! Because that’s my secret, I can’t be a “musician” whose job is to write music, I have to be a fan first of all! If I don’t have fresh and new things to listen and be excited about, I lose my enthusiasm and my drive to create music!
When you are in a band does it feel like you are a part of a worldwide movement?
-Definitely, but not only when you are in a band, even if you are a just a listener can or should make you feel like that! That’s the important thing that we share, we love the same kind of music! And that something more than just playing an instrument.
How important is it that you look the part in promo shots and stuff? How important is the graphic side of the band?
-It is very important, not as the music or the lyrics of course, but everything from the covers, to the logos and photos are a medium that helps you communicate your vision for your art to others! So you have to deal with it with respect because it would propably be the first thing that someone will see from you. But also you have to remember not to judge a “book from it’s cover” and that a good cover has never saved a bad album, It’s the other way around!
What would you say influences your lyrics? How important are they?
-First of all they are very important, almost as important as the music, something we tend to forget especially those of us who don’t have English as our mother tongue! Lyrics matter! Learn what you are singing about!! As for what influences I have on my lyrics I can say that everything that has an influence and an impact to me as a person does the same on my lyrics! From books, films and music to life in general! Everything that makes you think and feel will find it’s way to your lyrics. Also I have to say that the first three albums of Desert Near The End form a trilogy based on the same concept. It’s about absolutes and how they enslave people with their blinding light. It’s a symbolical story about a quest for a Sun that guides and not only blinds. Whatever this means for every one of us.
Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-You know, I don’t know (or really care) if digital is killing the album as a format, I’m more concerned about what is doing to the album as a musical proposition, you know a bunch of songs that form a musical and aesthetic entity, and also what impact is having on the way we listen to music. I think it’s killing the experience of listening and discovering an album. The whole experience nowadays is fast, easy and a litle no-brainer, songs needs their time to sink in. And we just don’t give them that.. a little bit of streaming here and a little bit of streaming there. And it may work for pop music for example but it doesn’t work for metal. You have to invest (time) in order to take something back.
Where will the future of format end – digital verses physical verses whatever?
-I don’t know, it’s as the question above, I mostly care about how we listen to music and not from where. But if I may add, I’m a little old school and I like to have thing that I can touch, smell and turn their pages and obviously I’m not talking about the songs now, but I’m referring to the whole experience that a musical album is. And no, a jpeg file on my screen doesn’t do the job the same way! I know that is easier and most of all cheaper and things can’t turn around and it may be a good thing after all you know, to be able to listen to everything from anywhere with just a press of a button. But why I have the feeling that although its becoming cheaper, easier and with so much more music to choose from, people are listening to less and less music?
How much of a touring entity are you guys? What is a live experiencevwith you like?
-We can’t tour and play as much as we would like because time and money are making it more and more difficult. Also some of us have families and kids and since we are not playing music for a living (unfortunately) we try to work our schedule around these things! As for our lives we try to make them as intense as possible. We don’t have them as often we would like so every live is special!
What lies in the future?
-At the moment we are working for the successor of Theater of War! It’s almost ready and I believe that we can start recordings in the summer! So more music and more lives I hope!
Thank you very much for the questions!