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Crimson Fire's Giannis Britsas: "The Phoenix is ready to fly high and we are even more ready for it all! The other dimension is there and waiting for us"

Interview with Giannis Britsas from Crimson Fire
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 15 September 2021, 1:56 PM

Melody always wins, but the question is if whether changes can also grant a win. There are always risks taken when going through a change, especially in Metal music, and in particular, who is your target audience. There are those who state that a change, even minor, is imperative in order to continue a band's longevity, surviving the test of time. Nonetheless, there have been examples of changes that were ample destruction. The Greek Crimson Fire, took a chance, soften a little bit their traditional Metal efforts and created a hybrid. Steinmetal had a talk with vocalist, Giannis Britsas about the band's new album “Another Dimension”, which marks a new musical era for the band. Would it survive or continue, tune in.

Hello Giannis, it is a sheer pleasure of mine to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Thank you very much for the invitation, it is my great pleasure that you are hosting me in Metal Temple. I am very well and quite happy for the release of the album and for the comments we receive!

Currently it appears that the world is experiencing the fourth wave of the Covid-19, with yet one or two variants that are taking over. Truth be told, it has been a lot to handle. How is the situation going on in Greece?

You are right in what you say. It is not the easiest thing to manage such a situation. All I wish and hope is to end all this as soon as possible so that the world can return to what it was before. Now, for Greece, things are quite strange here. We had a very long lockdown period, about 7 months. In the summer things are better because of tourism but again I do not see any concern from the Greek government. They have left everything in God’s mercy. They cannot manage the situation and this is clear to most Greeks.

Something I have been wondering, and asking about quite often, there have been artists, musicians that took quite a hit throughout the pandemic, especially with the live scene closed, leading them to a sort of a stand still. Nevertheless, there are those that took on the opportunity and continued writing as much as possible, some even are releasing their second album through this pandemic. How do you face this pandemic yourself? Have you felt motivated right from the get go and pushed on?

Personally, the only thing that affected me during the pandemic situation was that I could not move around comfortably. In fact, the pandemic helped us finish the album without much stress. And as time went by, we tried to be as creative as possible to fill the void. I do not hide from you, that all this time, except for this album, we have almost the next one ready! So, the pandemic did us good!

After your sophomore album, “Fireborn”, you went on forward, storming stages, continuing to forge your name. However, from there on, when it comes to new material, silence. Was it life being the monkey on your back or rather you took your time and focused on merely performing live?

The truth is that we did several concerts mainly in Greece for about 2 years. Then we had a proposal for a mini tour in the summer of 2018, which we did. At the same time, we were recording the album so, at least for Greece, our name was not forgotten. Obviously our fans abroad took a long time to learn our news but I think we gave them a very good album!

Recently you made an important step and signed with one of the renowned labels in Greece, No Remorse Records. I bet it feels even closer to be part of your home base right? What do you intend to achieve with the relations with No Remorse Records?

It is very important that your label understands you and feels close to you. It is also equally important that the company is located in Greece. We can have personal contact whenever we want without having to send 100 emails to chat. No Remorse is a very strong label with big names on its roster. We want to grow the band through No Remorse. We know what potential it has and we want to be part of its success!

Your new album “Another Dimension” delivers Crimson Fire in an almost totally new image, in comparison to your past. How do you see this new image? What made you strive for that image?

It's something new for the people who follow the band, not for us. All we did was spread our influence over our songs. We talked with Stelios and Dinos and decided that it would not be nice to record an album that sounded exactly the same as the previous one. This approach to sound is what we want to follow, the one that expresses 100% the band. And if we can develop it even better!

Talking about “Another Dimension”, it actually fits the change that you have been going on in your music. What is your opinion in regards for such a title? Is it that deep or rather a cool title to give a record?

We wanted the title to be strong and to have a direct impact with the change of musical direction. So I think that's part of the title. And let's go to the other place. The title was an idea of Dinos. He mentioned it to us and we liked it very much. He developed his idea to us and we got excited! Later he told us that this title was intended for an IRON MAIDEN album and specifically for BRAVE NEW WORLD. So we said if MAIDEN wanted to use it, it’s very good! This is the story behind the album title.

Judging by the artwork, which shows a futuristic version of a phoenix, it seems that you are celebrating a kind of rebirth. Is that the direction or is there something even more benevolent?

That's exactly what you said. Rebirth. The Phoenix is ready to fly high and we are even more ready for it all! The other dimension is there and waiting for us. Or are we too late?

From a form of Metal that is more traditional, of course with a wide set of 80s values, to a rather melodic tune, treading in fields of Hard Rock and AOR, while maintaining that 80s vibe. I heard about such transitions but actually within the 80s decade, and there are numerous examples. Was it just enough for you with being a heavier band or simply it is a direction in music that you just waited for the right timing to explore?

I believe that in music you should not limit yourself and stay in a musical idiom. You are bogged down and it is difficult to get out after all this. We want to go where the music takes us. Like what QUEEN did. To present something different every time. Either this is a song, or an entire album!

With the newfound mixture that you implemented in your music, how do you capture the band’s development while working “Another Dimension”? What makes your approach as mature in comparison to your past?

We first mature within ourselves. I think I am a better musician than I was in 2010 when we made our first record. Situations change, hearings change. Maturity comes out of the songs, what approach do you want to give. Make it clear to the listener, do not confuse him! This is the direction we have chosen!

Following your melodic nature of late, how has it been viewed by your fanbase in Greece? I know how old school, and wonderful, the Metal scene is in your country

Surprisingly, no one has said anything about this change and we are very impressed. I guess you know that Greek fans cannot stand the big changes. But in our case such a thing has not happened yet and I hope it does not happen!

A general question, yet there are ties to your music. In your view, decades after the 80s, what still sparks magic in that golden age of Metal music nowadays?

The 80's were fantastic and are our biggest influence. We do not need to mention anything more. As long as there are children who feel the flame inside them, music will continue to be written. It's just that the following decades after the 80s did not have the metal in the public's eye. Metal became underground. And that is where our music was born again. With bands like us who liked to play music!

As a songwriter, how did such a record as “Another Dimension” change your perception in how to approach a song, how to arrange the material to form something that is different from what you were used to writing? How did the album’s process make you a better songwriter?

We changed the way we approached the songs. Previously we did not think to put keyboards or write 5 guitar parts for a chorus or something similar. All this helped me in the way I sing and my performance on the album. I recorded the keyboards myself so I could worry about how I would sing to these melodies I had written. Do not forget that I am also a vocal teacher and the contact with my students made me even better because I also study with them!

The AOR side of your tunes generated that steaming feel that has been a trait in the 80s, where also this direction of Rock took flight. How do you perceive the emotive touch of this softer music direction on some of the songs on “Another Dimension”?

We are fans who write music for fans. Emotion is the driving force to write a song. At that time when AOR was in its glory, the melody was dominant in every song. We wanted to do what our idols did in those days! I repeat that without emotion you cannot write music!

Since the album is quite a dangerous meeting between Melodic Metal and Melodic Rock, it would be awesome if you can open up for discussion one of the album’s songs that you believe to be your foremost achievement. And yes I know that is tough nut question to answer

I think there are two songs. The first is “On the edge” and the other is the “Set the night on fire”. The first is my song and the second was written by Stelios. “On the edge” is in the style of BON JOVI is something we had not done in the past. Was it a risk? Of course it was. You cannot know how people will react. The same goes for Stelios' song. It has something inside that reminds me of BEAST IN BLACK. Something completely new for the band as well. I believe that these two songs were a goal that was fulfilled!

After taking a different turn in your music, do you see Crimson Fire continuing flying the same flag for its next releases, or there is a chance to get back to the traditional side of things?

I do not know hahaha. As I told you before, we do not want to put limits on our music. We write what we feel. The only thing for sure, in the next album you will hear a lot of melody and a lot of rock and roll!

Since it seems that 2021 is rather lost when it comes to performing live again, especially with the current wave, do you have any plans that are already being set for 2022?

Of course. We are in discussions with some bands and we are waiting to see their schedule so that we can do our tour to promote the album!

Giannis, or rather Johnny, I wish you thank you so much for your time for this conversation, thank you for bringing back the melodious 80s to life. If it is old school, it is bound to be from Greece. All the best. Cheers

I thank you for your time and for your invitation! I am happy and I want to thank you for your kind words. And do not forget. Melody always wins! KEEP THE FIRE BURNING!


 



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