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Jim A.D. Selalmazidis (Sarissa)

Interview with Jim A.D. Selalmazidis from Sarissa
by Grigoris Chronis at 06 November 2004, 1:38 AM

Sarissa is a Heavy Metal band from Greece and they've been around for quite some time now already but have always faced tons of problems which resulted in their being grounded in the underground sewer - the Greek Underground Heavy Metal scene. Times have changed though my dear readers and now Sarissa have been given their chance (at last) to spread their music through Greece's premium Black Lotus Records, starting with their latest album (and debut with Black Lotus) Masters Of Sins. Read what Jim A.D. Selalmazidis had to tell Metal Temple Magazine's Grigoris and also read what a close friend of the band had to comment, Christos Lambroudis of Greek En Touto Nika.

Hello Jim, greetings from magazine. Since many of our readers may not be familiar with the band’s history, can you give us a brief Sarissa bio and current band status? I guess later in this in interview many details will also come out.

Sarissa exists since 1985, we have three CD releases out, and our current one is entitled Masters Of Sins.

Finally, Sarissa’s comeback is a fact and I can’t wait to hear what’s your feeling for the band’s new release, Masters Of Sins! Also, how did things going regarding the recording period? I think you recorded this CD in your own Marathon studios. Are your expectations for Masters Of Sins initially fulfilled with the album’s production?

I believe we did the best we could, and we are satisfied with the result, the only thing we needed I think a little more time was for the vocal parts, since our singer Nick Iglezos had his army duties and the record company was pushing us to finalize the recordings.  

I was pleased to remark that the general look of your new album shows a band obviously not trapped in its own sound as presented in past recordings. On the contrary, it seems that experience, technical skills, influences from a variety of Hard/Heavy sub-genres and keeping of an update with the who-is-who on today’s Metal scene, altogether were mixed elegantly to create an extremely qualitative album, interesting – I have to say - for every Metal fan. Do you also believe that Masters Of Sins has to offer stimulating moments to both e.g. the typical classic 80’s Metal fan and the demanding Prog Metal listener?

As you mentioned, the musical spectrum covers a lot of ground from the eighties till now, if someone wants to listen to something a little bit different but also with roots, he’s in the right place.

The songs included in Masters Of Sins are all newly-composed or there are songs originally included in any of Sarissa’s two previous releases (1987 Demo and Sarissa CD)?

All the songs are brand new except Nemesis, and the struggle which goes back one decade, but we only finished them before a year and half.

I guess the CD cover has to do with all the shit that keep’s goin’ on in the Middle East. Did this situation inspired the band before starting writing the material for what would be called Masters Of Sins or the central idea occurred while listening to the first chords coming out? Who’s mainly responsible for the lyrical content?

Jim: The idea occurred after listening to the first ideas of the album. At this point I should mention that most of the lyrics are written by Christos Lambroudis from En Touto Nika. So it would be better to answer himself.

Christos Lambroudis: First of all I would like to send my best greetings to all and to thank you for giving me the opportunity to say some words about the lyrics. I believe that it is obvious that most part of Masters Of Sins is a concept. It’s not only the Middle East. We are totally against the whole New World Order. We can’t accept all these things that have happened and still happen to Serbia, Afganistan, the Middle East, Iraq, Africa etc. Genocides, the killing of children, massacres of innocent people. We are first of all HUMANS and with this CD we want to show our aversion and abomination. This is the least we can do about it. Also it is a message about human existence. To keep our soul free and pure. We must resist in this siege to our personalities and to the free way of thinking and living. We must always respect each other but not the way Globalization wants. We don’t need Saviors. So as you see we have a different way of war. Having all these in mind my personal belief is that this CD is an epic one too. Epic is not just mythology, history, ancient battles etc. Epic is also same life itself. There are many kinds of Thermopyles to defend everyday. As an end I would like to say that I’m very glad about this cooperation with Sarissa. Our principles are the same and they are very good friends of ours. The most important thing is that this work of Sarissa really worthy!!! So I would like to ask from everyone to give them the chance to prove it.

Masters Of Sins is coming out through Black Lotus Records. Was Black Lotus the easy-to-find label to cooperate with – in terms of being located in Greece – or was it of the same view as Sarissa’s goals? Was there any crush made to foreign labels?

There were some crushes to foreign labels, but Black Lotus had the same vision with us, to grow together and bring Hellenic Metal to the world.

Sarissa seem to be – unfortunately – more known for the difficulties they’ve faced during their 20-year career rather than the band’s music itself. My intention is not to lament, so I will only have to ask: what’s the driving force behind your patience and insistence all this years?

The driving force is a virus called Heavy Metal, and the love and need for creating music.

All these lineup changes during the band’s activities make me think that they also contributed as obstacles to Sarissa’s development as a band – apart from all – with ensured chemistry. Do you feel you’re too demanding with people you cooperate with, so as to better share your vision with appropriate partners? The famous problems of Greek reality e.g. military duties, is without doubt an extra setback.

Of course the military duty is one of the biggest enemies of all the bands in Hellas. The main reason is that most of the bands are doing it not in a professional way, with pro I mean we’re not living from the music but on the contrary we have to invest a lot of money for equipment, recordings etc. and when you don’t get rewarded financially, for how long you think you can go on? This is the main reason while most bands give up the battle. It’s a shame, but deal with it, that’s Hellenic reality for most of the bands including us too.

Depending on the approval of your new effort from the Press and fans, are there any plans for touring, in Greece or around Europe? If this is likely to happen, how difficult do you think it should be to adjust your daily activities (e.g. work, family) so as to promote better Sarissa’s new release?

I think I answered this one on the previous question, it all depends how serious the promoters are, in most situations it is a fact that the Hellenic bands don’t get paid , except for the traveling expenses and that doesn’t happen all the time. I know it sounds rough and frustrating, but that’s the situation in Hellas.  

It’s a little bit weird that, even though many bands were formed in Greece in the 80’s delivering real qualitative Heavy Metal music (e.g. Sarissa, Crush, Spitfire, Northwind, Vice Human, Vavel, Deceptor etc), it was the 90’s that gave the chance to Greek bands – especially from the Extreme Metal sub-genres (e.g. Rotting Christ, Nightfall, Septic Flesh) – to establish a more popular name in Greece and/or in Europe. Other epoch then & other now, but do you think that Sarissa can now get the slice of the pie they definitely deserve (I’d surely would like all 80’s Greek Metal bands to achieve recognition)?

I think it depends on how good our label promotes our new release, so it can be delivered to the rest of the world also outside of Hellas. With the right promotion I think we can gain our slice of the pie.

Jim, how much interested are you in purchasing new bands’releases? Do you personally have the fan feeling in your veins? Do you hang out in Rock/Metal clubs or you prefer to focus and spend your spare time in the band?

I’m a Heavy for about 25 years now, I don’t hang out so much in the Rock/Metal clubs, but yes I’m very interested in purchasing new bands’ releases, so to all you heavy bands out there , if you think I can contribute to your music go on  don’t  hesitate, disturb me.

The other two members of the band, Nick Iglezos (Vocals) and Bill Kanakis (Drums), are well known friends from the past or you’ve recently met them and decided to embody the in Sarissa? Are they performing as session musicians or there’s an intention of them being members of a steady lineup? Were they members of any other bands before Sarissa?

Nick and Bill are steady members in Sarissa, and I hope they’ll be for a long time.

How would things be now, in your opinion, if Sarissa HAD signed that so spoken about contract with Noise Records back in the late 80’s? It seems, in our days, that the average band can hit upon a contract rather easily. Thus, two many bands deliver in total second-rate releases (in my mere opinion, at least).

If we had signed the deal, the picture about Sarissa would seem very different today. As I told you before, it’s much easier to write great music if you can live from it, and you don’t have to spend most of your time with something else, so you can really concentrate 100% on your music, and give your best.

How would you define band progress in your own words? Which Metal band would you present as an example, even if you are a fan of its music or not? What do the words true, old school and cult mean to you nowadays

These words mean to me, having roots. Without them you miss a lot, but on the other hand if you get stocked with them, it means you’re a nostalgic, and you are loosing the presence.

Apart from the Masters Of Sins brand new release, is there any chance of re-releasing the band’s previous discography some time in the near future? Otherwise, how possible is it to see old Sarissa classic songs to be included in the band’s future releases? I ‘m sure many Sarissa fans would like to hear old tunes with today’s sound!

There is an idea to record with the new line up something like a ’best of’ from the older stuff, and I think this is gonna happen in the near future.

Well, I guess it’s about time to draw the line here. Last words are gladly welcome from you!

Thank you for the Interview and the nice Review, we hope we see you all out here, at a live gig, if not I hope we can reach you with our new release Masters Of Sins.

Visit Sarissa’s Official Website at


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