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Filippos Gougoumis, Danilo "Sakko" Saccotelli (The Oneira)

Interview with Filippos Gougoumis, Danilo "Sakko" Saccotelli from The Oneira
by Mark Machlay at 06 March 2020, 6:23 AM

THE ONEIRA recently release their latest album titled "Injection." Metal Temple writer Mark Machlay recently caught up with the band to talk about who they are, their styling, and their latest album.

Greetings, and thank for this opportunity, The Oneira! First, I’m curious about something I read online. What made guitarist and main composer Filippos Gougoumis decide to suddenly pursue his musical passion after getting a degree in Medicine? Why wait so long in your desire to create music?

Danilo: Filippos is larger than life, but also very shy and introspective person.

Filippos: There’s no separation about Music and my job as a Doctor. Certainly Medical degrees was priority than music step back for a little while. But I’m always in a writing mood so The Oneira was, and still in my mind since the early age. The wait was just a matter of time and coincidences.

Did your friendship with Oliver Philipps influence the forming of the band? How did you become friends? How is it working with him as a producer? The album even seems to have bit of EVERON vibe to it and even has guest vocals from Philips.

Danilo: Oliver is very important still today but in a different way, good friend since 1997. The band is more mature now. The first album was Only Filippos, Banjo and Olly with a bunch of guest on it. Then the “Everon vibe” were much bigger cause Olly was much involved in vocal stuff, that was a big honour for us. We’re close friend and his contribution is primary a way to find our style, obviously Everyone is just ONE influences, but not the only one. We’re a big melting pot right now, in constant evolution. It’s fun to read some reviews and everyone has opinions and different comparison for us. I think  “Injection” really push ourselfves to another level. Right now The Oneira has is own identity.

There was only a three year difference between your debut, “Natural Prestige” and “Hyperconscious” and this new album has been six years since your previous release. Why such a long time between releases? Is the passion to create just as strong as when you started?

Danilo:The Oneira starts writing when everything’s on the right way and mood. There’s no outside pressure. We want the right songs for the album and focus on that. This time the effort is much bigger, our new label ( Rockshots Records) really push us through new vision and panorama, and Filippos is growing as a composer so everything’s a reflection of our time.

When approaching this third album, where did you want to go with this as compared to your first two albums? What would you say your primary influences on this album for you were? What bands or albums were similar to what you wanted to achieve or, for that matter, avoid?

Danilo: Very simple, make the best record every time and try to push yourself way beyond your possibilities, that’s prog. We’re very proud about our evolution as a band. We’re still growing that way. About influences, I think we’re still an 80’ vibe about the past and very interested in modern form of prog rock and metal.

As a fellow musician myself, it’s fascinating to hear about the creative process of how a band writes. Is there a typical formula/process that the band employs when it approaches the writing process or is it different every time? If there is, did it evolve and change from album to album?

Danilo: The process is quite the same, but more professional now. Everything’s start from Filippos, nobody knows what happened in his mind. But the magic came out, that’s great. Oliver Philipps help us many ways and make us better musicians every time. Later the whole band starts arrangements and makes all organic. “Injection” is more a band effort than the previous one.

Filippos: In my music I can express myself and all the visions in my mind…is pretty simple, a song can be inspired by landscape, mood, picture or whatever.

This is your second album with vocals. Was there a shift in your process to arrange a vocal part and lyrics and how did you approach that?

Danilo: This one is more than ever the “Manuel album” cause in Hyperconscious he came out the very last minute and he did great. But this one is a perfect combination about my lyrics and his way to write Vocals. Filippos get some visions or ideas here and there. Approachin’ lyrics is difficult when music is write for the 90% but I think we’re did a great job, cause Filippos’s music is very “visual” so it’s easy to find words to describe it.

This also being your second album with drummer Danilo “Sakko” Saccotelli and singer Manuel Ruscigno, how is the overall band vibe with them now as opposed to on 2014’s Hyperconscious”?

Filippos: As we told you, we’re a very close band now. Our friendship is growing and it’s reflect on music. Working with the same positive people makes music stronger.

Surely there are many parts written for songs but your tracks are written very concisely without any unnecessary filler and makes for some very packed yet controlled arrangements. How do you decide which elements to keep in the final cut of each song?

Filippos: I’m the main guy, so guitars are in the very front, but we don’t like to showing off. Music and songs are more important then individuals.

Do you see your albums as cohesive pieces that tell an entire story or as an anthology of songs? Do you mix it up per album, or do you prefer one style of album composition (one coherent piece v. a bunch of different songs) over another?

Danilo: Every records speak by itself…Hyperconscious was a concept, but in another way the albums are  always connected, for example the artwork and some details in the lyrics reminds stuff from the previous one.

s there a specific way you structure your tracks if it’s not a concept album? Do you have a specific order or formula to place songs that you prefer? How has this changed from the first two albums?

Filippos: The main issues is to be harmonic and mix some feelings in the songs. The setlist is a combination between mellow and hard songs. You know, is like a Puzzle. About concept, the songs are obviously based in the lyrics and story line.

How do you decide how an album is mixed, or which elements of the song are brought forward or back? Do you get much say in that your do you leave much of the production of the album to your producer?

Danilo: It’s a team process, sometimes we’re like “less is more” and otherwise “going nuts and play whatever you want”. Producer is the best outside looking guy who really held our decision and advice. Sometimes is good to step back about your music, cause you’re little bit tired during the process and your hear could be not conscious enough. At the end every records has is own life and mood.

This is something I like to ask every progressive band as everyone seems to have a different definition, what does being a progressive band mean to you? Additionally, is it the combinations of unexpected elements or the addition of new ones that makes a band progressive?

Danilo: Interesting. Prog is like a Tree, I think Prog leads in some ways, but the main are:

Be different every time and transform yourself every record.
Play technical, fast, jazzy, classical and rock at the same time.

It doesn’t seem as if there are can be any information online about you playing live. Will you be taking the show on the road, so to speak, or will there at least be able to play some one-off shows where fans could see the songs and musicians live?

Filippos: It will be great. We don’t see it in the nearly future but will see. The main goal is to put on stage the people and the songs in the same way we played on the record. Otherwise we live far from each other and right now is difficult to get together. We really want to play live, but we need some important situation to fill in.

Thank you very much for sharing your time with us and hope to catch you live if you are ever stateside!

Filippos: Thanx a lot for you for bringing us to your world…we need to support and share our music.


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