Hi! Necromantia was a significant presence in the Greek black metal scene. How do you think your experiences with Necromantia influenced your musical style and artistic vision, especially considering the fusion of various genres in your music?
As you already know I never made “Popular” music. My music was always an extension of my subconscious self and knew no boundaries. So I create music for the few who could understand my vision. As with NECROMANTIA, so with THE MAGUS I follow the same path: create dark, sinister and intense music. In the upcoming album my focus was to create a nightmarish, horror feeling throughout the whole album. And I am really proud that we achieved that.
What prompted the shift from Necromantia to THE MAGUS? How did the loss of Baron Blood impact this decision, and how did it shape the direction of your new musical project?
After the loss of Baron Blood it was obvious for me that NECROMANTIA reached it’s finale. Baron Blood was half of the band so continuing without him it did not felt comfortable with myself and it would be a disgrace for his memory. For several months after the release of the last NECROMANTIA album I did not have the urge to write music again…. but after sometime ideas, images and visions flooded my mind and soul and that is when I decided to give all these ideas a pathway: a new band named THE MAGUS.
Can you walk us through the creative process behind your upcoming album “Βυσσοδομώντας”? What were the main inspirations, themes, and musical influences that guided the album’s creation?
All the music was written by me and our guitarist, El. Most of the time I came up with the first basic ideas and then we worked them together until it’s final form. I have written all the lyrics beforehand, as usual, because the lyrics were the decisive factor of how the music will be concerning the general atmosphere and feeling of the song. This is of the upmost importance for me. I always walk this way. Furthermore, our drummer Maelstrom also added his own drumming ideas into the whole so it is more or less a collective work. Even our producer, George Emmanuel (LUCIFER’S CHILD) have added something more in order to make the magic happen.
“Βυσσοδομώντας” features contributions from various musicians and artists. How did these collaborations come about, and how did each artist’s unique style enhance the overall narrative of the album?
First of all, KING DUDE was the obvious choice for the bluesy part of “Give the Devil His Due: The Story”, His voice fit perfectly with this darker Nick Cave, Johny Cash mood. When we asked him and sent him the song he gladly accepted because he loved the idea behind it and the music itself. With the participation of Manos Six (MANOS SIX & THE MUDDY DEVILS), another satanic bluesman completed the puzzle. As for “Ama Lilith” I worked with Hel Pyre (W.E.B., NERVOSA) and Idvx (1/2 SOUTHERN NORTH) because this song is about the glorification of the dark female force of nature: the one who creates and destroys. In this song, my voice can be heard only in the invocation to Lilith. All the other vocals were done by these wonderful ladies.
How do you perceive your musical evolution from your early days with Necromantia to the present day with THE MAGUS? In what ways has your approach to composing and performing music changed over the years?
All the band members of THE MAGUS are highly experienced ones. It would be very easy for us to make an album very similar to the most successful BM band or the most orthodox or “evil” one simply because we have all these years of experience on our backs. BUT we chose once again to create something different and highly artistic. After all these years into making music with various bands it tends to get easier to connect properly things and ideas BUT to generate new ideas it still remains a difficult task.
Both Necromantia and THE MAGUS incorporate elements of Greek folk music and classical music. Can you elaborate on how these cultural influences are woven into your music, and what significance they hold for you personally?
I love classical music. It is one of the few genres of music that I never stopped listening together with metal. It is SO full of grandeur and emotions that few music genres can generate. As for the more folkish parts: well I am not that big of a fun in general BUT there are sometimes real gems of inspiration and spiritual connection with this kind of music. It can be so pure and animistic sometimes, but not always
The name THE MAGUS suggests a connection to magic and mysticism. How does this theme translate into your music and lyrics? How important is mysticism in shaping your artistic expression?
It is the Alpha and Omega. It plays a big part in my being and much more on my artistic expression. In the physical, practical, everyday plane I am atheist and agnostic. In the metaphysical plane I am Luciferican and Ophidian. The real magic happens when these two planes collide and start influencing each other. My music and lyrics are part of this collaboration. But not the only one…
How do you visualize the listener’s experience with “Βυσσοδομώντας”? What emotions or states of mind do you hope to evoke through this album, and how does it align with your overall artistic vision?
In this album we are trying to convey Lucifer’s wrath on mankind. I view Lucifer as a benefactor and mankind misused his gifts of knowledge, empowerment and free will so mankind has transformed into this pathetic mass of mental zombies we see today. So through the album we try to channel horror, despair, nightmare, revenge, wrath and the cruel but rewarding of the Abyss itself. The Dragon, The Great Serpent, Lucifer or no matter how ever you want to name it. Infernal justice and negative renaissance.
Considering the meticulous detailing in your album, how do you plan to translate the complexity of your music into live performances? Are there any unique elements or surprises that fans can expect from THE MAGUS’ live shows?
As you may be aware of, I do not like much live shows. I think BM music is something to be experienced in solitude so that it can transfer you it’s full power and intensity. It is not a rock’n’roll thing. If I ever decided to make live shows and had the proper means it will be much more like a theatrical performance than a live show.
Can you tell us more about the collaboration with the graphic designers and the symbolism behind the artwork for “Βυσσοδομώντας”?
If we include our photographer, Stella Mouzi, who did an amazing job in capturing our spirit, then we have 5 different people involved into the artwork. Harshanand Singh who did the main cover. I have worked with him in the past with YOTH IRIA and NECROMANTIA. He is amazing. He was able to give an image to my vision and idea of the hooded Lucifer in the Depths. Hooded because he is multi-faced and he decides which face to show you. Then we have Rizely and the renowned Michal Karcz for the inside art. Their works were already made but they fitted so perfectly in my vision so I asked them and they are used under license. And for the end we have the grand Zbigniew M. Bielak known for his works with CARCASS, GHOST, WATAIN, MAYHEM etc. He made the cover for the limited box which is actually a golden larnax to preserve the living Serptagram. His work is so detailed and full of occult meanings that really stunned me the first time I saw that. Oh something more: in the box edition there is a painting on canvas included: the Arch Angel Lucifer painted in the Greek Orthodox tradition of the archangels by Malk Giamalakis Nikos. You see nothing in this album is by chance. Everything is pre-imagined….
Christos Antoniou arranged the live choir for the album. How did the inclusion of choral elements enhance the album’s atmosphere, and what significance do these arrangements hold within the context of the album’s narrative?
I am really excited that I managed to work with a live choir after all these years. The quality and grandeur that they add to the music is amazing. Beautiful. Christos, a long-time friend, was kind enough to help us with the orchestrations of the choir since he is a very good and experienced musician.
George Emmanuel handled the production, mixing, and mastering of the album. How did his expertise contribute to shaping the final sound of “Βυσσοδομώντας”? Were there any unique challenges faced during the production process?
When you have so many ideas and so many different elements the challenge is always to unify them and make them sound solid. George did a magnificent work. Actually is the only producer that I have chosen to work with from now on. Not only because he is capable but because he understands the vision of the artist perfectly.
How do you balance the exploration of darkness in your art with your personal experiences and emotions? What draws you to these themes, and how do you channel them into your creative work?
Whatever lies in the darkest corners of my inner self and my subconscious mind finds its way to my music. My personal visions, dreams, nightmares. My experiences and wanderings in the occult world. The way I perceive the world of the seen and unseen. I am a restless spirit. I am in an eternal quest for knowledge and evolution. The nest qualities are always hidden in the darkest places. And the darkness is enchanting, isn’t it?
Looking back on your musical career, how do you hope to be remembered in the metal community? What legacy do you aim to leave behind with your contributions to the genre, both through Necromantia and THE MAGUS?
I would like to be remembered as someone who created dark art of high quality through music and lyrics. Someone who put his own personal and eccentric stone in the building we call Black Metal.
Beyond “Βυσσοδομώντας,” what are your future aspirations for THE MAGUS? Are there specific musical territories you still wish to explore or collaborate with artists you dream of working with? Thank you for your time!
There are. A lot. But more of them are on the way… thank you for the very interesting interview.
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