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Avant de partir en vacances d'été, VS avait mouillé son slip avec le black progressif du groupe grec NO HAND PATH.
No Hand Path interview (october 2011)
English version below
Prince de Lu : Hails No Hand Path, and thanks to answer the questions of the french website VS Webzine!
Antonis and Vassilis (guitars) : Hails to you! We are very glad that your webzine has shown such interest and is now hosting this interview. The support we have had from the French audience and press has been great, both for our demo and especially now for the album - and we have to thank all the french folks for that!
Can you tell us the story of No Hand Path between your first demo First Farewell and your new album?
The demo was recorded and released in 2006. For a while we sat back and waited for the response that we would get from the press and audience. The fact that we were getting mostly positive reviews and that people seemed to like our stuff was the second thing that motivated us to work on the new ideas that we had. The first was of course that we were enjoying too much to compose songs together and we wanted to see where this could lead us. So by 2008 we had enough material to decide to go into a studio and record.
The whole process needed much attention and work, and with us living in different cities took a bit more time than expected, but in late 2010 everything was ready and “An Existence Regained” was finally released.
The main point of your new album is that's whole lyrical concept. Can you describe to our readers the purpose of this one-hour story?
The story deals with the rebirth of the Human who by developing his conscience (“To Be Reborn”), destroying the values and “norms” that are forced to him through today’s society (“To Be Awake”) and by coming to a self-realization through inner exploration (“To Be Complete”), can eventually walk the “No Hand Path”: a Path free of influences from any kind of oppressor - whether you call it religion, family or society.
As your album is a concept-album, I wonder what "leads" the writing process? Lyrics or music? How do you build your sophisticated songs? Who is involved in the writing?
It might be that the lyrics are written after the music, but the whole concept exists in Ramin’s head before the music starts to take proper form. So he is using the music to express what he wants to say depending on what the music expresses. On the other hand, the music is using the concept to build up the proper atmosphere.
All the members are involved in the process of composing the songs. We might be more responsible for the riffing and Ramin for the lyrics, but for example one of the songs was composed by Harris (our drummer) - we won’t say which one, take a guess haha! The only criterion that we are using in the composing process is that everyone has to be satisfied with an idea.
The third and final part is composed by the three tracks of your first demo. Can I guess that first demo was the root of the concept?
Exactly, it was the starting point on which the whole concept was developed. It turned out to be the perfect ending to the concept and we had no other choice than to include the three songs also in the album.
What are the musical influences of No Hand Path? As you're guardians of artistic freedom, I imagine you have no bounds in the music you listen to. Are you strictly metalheads?
You are totally correct, there are no boundaries in the types of music that we are listening to, and we are far from “strictly metalheads”. An obvious influence in our music is, of course, Black Metal, however our influences vary not only between band members but also between different periods in our lives.
For example some albums that the two of us are enjoying at the moment are the latest albums by Ulcerate, Sun of Nothing, Primordial, Agalloch, but also bands like Dead Man’s Bones, Grinderman and Portishead, whereas a while ago we might have been listening to Greek traditional music, crust, post rock, or electronic music.
We also enjoy discovering new bands in the underground scene and do not like to stick only in the mainstream ones.
Back in 2007, when I heard the first riff of "The Deepest Journey", I told myself "that's definitively a greek band, with a Rotting Christ melodic feeling". Listening now to your album, this touch has quite disappeared, melted with too many influences. Do you feel that your music is more mature? Have you evolved as musicians since the demo?
We have definitively evolved as musicians, not that much in the technical aspect, but mostly in the way we approach our instruments, in the way we think during the composition process. As a result our music has definitively become more mature, a bit more complex maybe, and we believe that we have started developing a more personal way of musical expression. And it is great to hear that you think the same!
If I'm not wrong, you have recorded in four different studios. Can you tell us more about the recording process? Had you, since the early days of recording, a clear idea of the kind of production you wanted?
We worked too hard during the recording and the mixing/mastering process where we tried to pay attention to the smallest detail and get the best possible outcome.
The recordings took place in 3 different studios, actually. The drums were recorded in “Unreal” studio in Athens, the bass in “Revolting Sound Studios” in Patras and the guitars and vocals in “Estia Patron/Steki P.O.F.P.P” in Patras. We chose these studios to combine the best possible sound but also to be able to work on our own schedules and collaborate with certain people. We had a quite vague idea of the production we were aiming for, but in this part Alexandros Kakaroumpas was more than helpful and inspiring! We were most of the time working together trying to figure out the sound of the album and his ideas were a very important part of what you can hear in our album. Our collaboration was not only very professional, but very friendly as well and we would never hesitate working with him again!
Who is responsible for the artwork? The booklet is amazing, in a kind of faery style.
We very quickly concluded that the artwork that would back up our concept should be equally important as the music. It was created by Stathis Karabateas (he can be contacted at the address creativelight714[at]yahoo[dot]com), based on his discussions with Ramin about the concept of the album, and it consists of 11 different drawings, one for each song and the front and back cover. We worked with him first of all because we love his works but also because he was not at any point involved in this kind of music - we wanted something fresh and not another “black metal cover” (although we enjoy them!). Apart from the general directions based on the concept, we did not get much involved in the process in order to get something original from the artist.
The layout was then done by Antrikos - ADMC07 (admczeroseven[at]yahoo[dot]com) that gave the album its final form.
You have self-released An Existence Regained. Have you been in contact with labels or was self-production the only way to keep an artistic freedom?
We have been contacted by a few small labels, but we wanted to produce the album exactly as you see it today, and we thought that this might have never been feasible (cost-wise) by a label. So we did not actually think about it much, we wanted to have everything under our control and this is exactly what happened, and we are really happy with it.
How can you sell your new release for only 5 euros? Do you lose money in this operation?
No, every penny that we spent has been returned to us by the sales of the album. HA HA HA. We are joking, of course. Yes, we have “lost” a lot of money, but we do not really consider this as a loss. We only did this in order to share our music with people, and this is what is important for us now. This is why we are keeping the price so low, and this is why we are providing a digital version of the album in our website for free.
What are the feedbacks about your album? Maybe the main difficulty is to have feedbacks...
The main feedback that we have is the reviews from the press, and so far most of them are more than encouraging! We are still working though in promoting the album as much as possible.
I read that the members of the band are living in three different countries over Europa. Obviously, there's no chance to see you on stage. Is that no frustrating to write such good songs and can not share this music with people?
We are a bit sad by this fact, of course a live performance is important and we would love to play the songs live. But we have always been far from each other since the beginning of the band and we have kind of accepted this as a fact. But we would grasp the first chance that would appear, we promise you that.
What are the new steps for No Hand Path?
We are at the moment working on some new material that we have. We are not sure what we will do with them, we are working on that, too. Maybe a 7”, maybe another album.
Which greek bands do you recommend to our readers?
Well, if we start from Bohemian Grove, Sun of Nothing, Agnes Vein, the new stuff from Varathron, Aenaon, Dead Congregation, End, Inveracity, Universe 217, Epithanatios Rogxos, Macabre Omen, Since (Time) ...we would not know where to finish!
I know you listen to Deathspell Omega. Are there any other french bands you know?
Blut aus Nord of course, Arkhon Infaustus, Alcest, Amesoeurs, Antaeus, Mystic Forest, Asmodee... These are the ones that come to mind at least!
Thanks for your time! I let you the final words.
We thank you again for your support to the No Hand Path! The French audience’s support has been significant! Feel free to visit our website at www.nohandpath.net or contact us at nohandpath[at]gmail[dot]com.