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Konstantin Papavassilou (Head Of The Demon)

Interview with Konstantin Papavassilou from Head Of The Demon
by Spyros Stasis at 21 March 2013, 1:23 AM

Combining black, death and doom metal with H.P. Lovecraft inspired lyrics, Sweden’s HEAD OF THE DEMON have just released their self-titled debut record through America’s The Ajna Offensive record label. In fact, their name is taken direct from Lovecraft-ian lore. Their impressive debut is filled with raw cold riffs that would make CELTIC FROST, DARKTHRONE and BLACK SABBATH proud. Spyros had a chance to speak with Konstantin Papavassilou about his latest venture.

Hi Konstantin. First of all I want to thank you for finding the time to do this interview. Really appreciate it. Would you prefer if we did it in Greek? Just joking. Do you want to introduce HEAD OF THE DEMON?

Head of the Demon is a band that is out to create dark metal without the confines of genre. We’ll use whatever we feel that enhances the songs and pretty much don’t care about any rules or any genre. The only rule is to follow our musical inspiration. Just recently we released our debut album on LP ourselves and CD on Ajna Offensive. I guess that’s pretty much it, short and concise. If I took it in Greek I don’t think you’d understand me though, no other Greek speaking person either for that matter.

What have you been doing the past few years, until the HEAD OF THE DEMON album, we have not heard anything from you since the SATURNALIA TEMPLE demo, “UR”?

He, he, well, I have been working and rehearsing the songs for the Head of the Demon album. Worked with music in general from another point, with simpler recordings and things like that. Experimenting with sounds and just exploring that side. But I have also kept a promise I made to myself a long time ago to submit deeper into my interests within the occult.

If I am not mistaken you are collaborating again with Thomas Aberg (first drummer of KAAMOS). How is it working with him again?

That is correctly observed by you. It is very good working with him and together we are extremely efficient. No bullshit so to speak. I believe that we both find it very inspiring to work together and we are keen on really experimenting with the ideas and have plenty of them. Also we are high school mates and go back quite some time. Come to think about it I have only played in one band where he hasn’t been the drummer.

You have the unique ability to work in different genres, from the death metal of KAAMOS, to the experimental doom metal of SATURNALIA TEMPLE and now to the black/doom of HEAD OF THE DEMON. Do you find it easy to write songs in different areas of extreme metal?

Yes and no. I can adapt my playing style but not always my writing style. Some styles like Death and Black are easier for me because I have always written riffs like that. But I find it harder for genres that I haven’t been much into.  But my advantage is that I can view a genre from outside when writing music and having weird ideas about it.

Which would you say are the main influences in HEAD OF THE DEMON? Personally I find some input from early CELTIC FROST and early BLACK SABBATH to be quite prevalent on the record.

I know that many have referred to these bands in connection to the album. And to a certain degree I think it is the reference frame of the listener. I am not saying that this is wrong. But there isn’t any band in particular that has influenced Head of the Demon. Rather it is a vision that I have sought out to recreate and illustrate through music. We experimented quite a bit to get there and with a determination to reach it we changed tons of things. Like taking away double bass drums, tuning up the guitars, removing more than half of the distortion and several other details. But of course the mentioned bands together with many other have shaped my musical creativity and taste.

One other thing that I noticed is that compared to your previous work, you have included more trippy and psychedelic parts on your songs, for instance in “Phantasmagoria”. Do you agree or am I just talking nonsense?

I agree with it and we have tried to make it mesmerizing, hypnotic and monotonous in order to reflect the vibe we felt guided by. But it’s not wholly that we decided to do it in a certain way. Rather this is how the music was written and came out after working with it. We just followed where it directed us more or less.

Whose idea was it to use Lovecraft-ian influences for the lyrics on the album? I have heard quite a lot of underground bands recently incorporating that to their music (SULPHUR AEON and DREAMLONGDEAD for example). Do you think that the Cthulhu Mythos is making a comeback?

The idea came rather automatically and wasn’t rationally decided upon. For the past two or three years and during the period where I wrote much of the material I listened to Lovecraft stories each and every night more or less. This resulted in a certain feeling and of course dreams and encounters that somehow spawned the concept of the album. However, I wish to stress that it isn’t his stories literally that are the inspiration. Rather it is the worlds, feelings and emotions they manage to stir up in me. Terror, dread, doom, metaphysical darkness and evil as represented by the ancient ones together with the witches, black magic, the supernatural and eerie. But I’d say that the Chthulu-mythos never has been gone so I wouldn’t call it a comeback.

Can you give us any info about how the recording for the album was done? Where was it recorded and by whom?

We recorded and mixed in sessions in a studio and then also used simpler means for some recordings. Like rehearsal spaces and home environment. The latter foremost for Tibetan singing bowls, mantras, chants and the likes. The studio we used doesn’t really have a name but is held by a guy called King Kalle. We did have good timing though since he had just purchased an analog tape recorder which we could use together with some digital recordings.  It was a long process, the recording that is, since we did it in sessions and also mixing during a longer period of time.  But it was meant to be like this I assume because the result is very satisfying.

HEAD OF THE DEMON is now signed to The Ajna Offensive if I am not mistaken. How is it working with them?

We kept a very low profile with the band up until we had something recorded to show up for it. So when we decided on recording a full length to start with we also decided to do it ourselves all the way up to releasing it. So the vinyl version of the album we released on our own. When it was more or less on its way to the pressing plant I had sent samples of it to some friends. Tyler being one of them and he wanted to co-operate with us. Since the record was more or less being pressed we asked if he would be interested in releasing a CD-version of the album. He was and here we are. The co-operation has worked really well and we are very happy to have a label of Ajna’s character working with us.

I know that it is probably to soon to ask but are there any plans for a second album?

Yes, but they are very initial so not much to say about it yet. But we do have some new material that we are working with and we’ll see where it guides us. It’s quite the process from start to finish and currently we hardly have started yet. We don’t really lack the ideas, rather the opposite. It’s just a matter of picking the gems.

Do you have plans for any gigs in the future?

We are not strangers to the idea. But practically it is not possible right now. We are short of musicians and the singer resides in Liverpool for the time being. So it isn’t really the best time to start doing gigs. Which is why we also are focusing on writing new material and outlining ideas for a follow up.

Just out of curiosity is there any possibility of you doing something in the future more in the vein of what you used to do with KAAMOS or are those days behind you?

To be honest with you I don’t know. I have gotten this question a lot and have said that I don’t think I will create a band in the vein of Kaamos again. Because I have done the best I can with Kaamos and it won’t be better than that. But if I get the chance to play in a Death Metal band where I am foremost a musician and not a driving force then maybe. Like what I did for Dead Congregation’s mini-tour in Germany for example.

I am not going to ask you: which are your favorite releases of all time, or something equally cruel, but what are you enjoying listening to at the moment?

- Funeral Mist, Tangerine Dream, Master’s Hammer, Sabbath Assembly, Reveal, Goblin, Tormentor, Samael, Venom, Negative Plane, I guess this is what I have been listening mostly to lately.

OK Konstantin, thanks again for answering my questions. Wish you all the best and hopefully I will see you guys playing soon in the near future. Take care!!

Efcharisto poli!


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Edited 05 February 2023

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