As a guide to the vast array of bands in this universe I present to you an interview with PALADINE. Anders Ekdahl ©2021
A band name pretty much says it all. Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-The first thing that anyone finds out about any band is the band name itself – not an album, not even a song. People often ask “what’s the name of the band?” or “who is this?”. The name of Paladine is the name of the God of Justice and Truth in the epic fantasy world of Dragonlance. It means everything to us. When someone hears our name, especially fans of this world, they can immediately identify the lyricism and the whole rationale behind the band. We play music based on this world and the best-selling novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. So, Paladine is a name that fits us perfectly and it was not an easy one to find. We thought about many other names, but after much consideration, the decision was that this one was the best!
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-All the power metal bands from the 80s are the foundation of our music. For example, bands such as Heaven’s Gate, Helloween, Grave Digger, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Manowar, Virgin Steele, Warlord and Savatage. Having said that, while our sound is influenced and inspired by these bands, it is not a copy of them in any shape or form.
When you play slow do you have to think differently about arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-Of course, slower songs require different arrangements. The most important difference about that, from my point of view, is the vocals. More dynamic, speedy vocals are required for fast tracks and more emotional for slow ones. For example, a fast song will tolerate simple chord progression and the opposite applies to slow songs. In fast songs, the rhythm section tends to be more repetitive, while in slow songs the rhythm is more ‘interesting’ and changes its components. All these, from my point of view, are not necessary to be applied every time. Music is like sailing across an ocean with no boundaries while having both an open mind and heart.
How would you say that this new album differs from your previous one?
-First of all, the production of this album is definitely more accurate and closer to our expectations compared to the first one. This has to do with our efforts since the start of the entire process – the songwriting, the recordings and all of that. Everything went according to plan without having any problems at all. Secondly, the songwriting itself – it’s got more modern touches and more musicianship. The music was mostly written by Nick Protonotarios and Sotiris Paraskevas and these two guys have got a strong songwriting potential. On the other hand, the previous one was mostly written by me (Christ Stergianidis). Yes, it’s got great melodies, but definitely not the kind of melodies those two can write. I am very happy to admit that.
We live in strange times when the whole world is pretty much shut down. How does this new world order affect being a band? Have you had to rethink how to promote the band worldwide? What new channels have you found to spread the name?
-Unfortunately no one could have ever imagined that something like this would happen. The sad thing about this whole situation is that the music industry was hit like no other. We cancelled every live show like any other band. But we took advantage of this situation to write our second album. All band members and our associates (except myself since I am a butcher by profession and my work has doubled), had a lot of spare time and we took this chance. Being in a band during this period is like being a first level warrior in a dragon cave looking for gold and facing the dragon. In particular, this is true for bands being at the same level as we are in terms of finances. That is to say, everything is done and paid from the band’s own pocket. It is a very difficult and stressful situation indeed due to economic issues. We are trying steadily to promote the band through our social media, our promoter from No Remorse Records and through any other way possible. We would like to spread our music wherever and to whoever we can.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-A nice and difficult question indeed. Perhaps, just perhaps, but not necessarily, I would say that more keys and anthemic build-up choruses could have been added into our songs. That’s all.
Even a strong scene like the Swedish metal scene fluctuates. What state is the Greek scene in, or was before Covid-19? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-I believe that Greek bands view the pandemic as an opportunity to keep their strengths, write music, reorganize and compose themselves while waiting for the end of Covid-19. Before Covid-19, especially during the last five or six years, the Greek scene has been excelling worldwide with very good productions, very respected bands and great live performances in shows and festivals all over the world. The local scene is the heart of bands like Paladine. We are a part of it and have been growing within this scene. All the support for an up-and-coming band comes from the local scene. Apart from being a band founder, I am very proud to be a fan of the scene as well.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-First of all, I totally agree that a cover art could make a band successful or not. There was a time when a great cover was the sole reason for me to buy vinyl since there was no Internet or YouTube back in the day. I believe that the cover is the foundation of an album – the first thing a buyer notices. I have a personal preference for covers drawn by hand. I despise computerized, digital covers as well as covers produced via photo editing. I want the cover to be remarkable, memorable and relevant to the lyrics. I’ve got some sort of obsession with cover artworks.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is your experience with the live scene?
-Yes, you are right. Live shows have changed and people attending the shows have changed too. Nowadays, most people watch a song on YouTube, maybe they like it or comment about it and that’s it. Also, a big part of the audience takes photos, checks their phones or whatever and does not actually enjoy or watch the concert. I miss the time when attending a live show actually meant living the moment, singing, drinking beer and having a great time. Of course, there are some people who are still doing that, but they are only an exception. As a fan, I totally support bands in their live shows, especially new ones playing as a support act. With regard to Paladine, we have not really played many gigs because we are a new band, but these shows were successful and full of energy. I am very thankful to the local scene for their support.
What does the future hold?
-First of all, I hope and wish that everyone is well and everyday life will return back to normal soon. We wish to promote our new album by doing a lot of live shows in and out of Greece once all this ends. We do not have any closed deals for live shows because obviously everything is postponed due to the current circumstances. So, we have to wait, strengthen our forces and be ready for that. Of course, it will not take long to start working on the 3rd Paladine album, but until then, it’s all about practice and rehearsals.
Thank you very much for this great interview, for your hospitality and for giving us the chance to be featured on your pages! Keep the flame burning…..
Christ Stergianidis from Paladine