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Marios Iliopoulos (Nightrage)

Interview with Marios Iliopoulos from Nightrage
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 08 June 2009, 9:24 AM

When I reviewed the latest NIGHTRAGE album I wanted to have an interview with Marios Iliopoulos. Mail interview? Nah, too cold. Phoner? Good but, what about instant messaging while drinking an ice cold beer and talking with a down to earth guy and a fucking true metalhead? Marios is one of the best guys someone can meet in Metal and a talkative and friendly person. Here is what he had to say about NIGHTRAGE, his past and his homecountry Greece…

Interview with: Marios Iliopoulos from NIGHTRAGE

Hello Marios! First of all congratulations on your new album.

Thank you for your kind words. We are all satisfied with the outcome of this effort, since we worked really hard the last year recording demos in our personal studio. The new album reflects the passion and the appetite we had.

I remember us talking last year at your Athenian gig, and you had told me that you were already working on new ideas.

Exactly. In May 2008 we started recording, but we were already working before to perfect the new songs.

I guess now you have found some time to rest before your obligations with NIGHTRAGE start.

No, we have a lot of work right now with the interviews and the promotion of the new album. This keeps us really busy…

I see. So the work has already started.

Yes, it has been some time since we started working on it.

Regarding the new album now… Does the more aggressive sound of Wearing A Martyr's Crown have something to do with the line up changes?

Not really. We wanted to make an album that has its roots in NIGHTRAGE's start. On the other hand if you have a really wacko guy like Antony it gives you the opportunity to create more brutal music.

Hahahaha!

This time, I wanted to create the most brutal and melodic riffs. I believe that the last album had some elements that didn't fit NIGHTRAGE. I gave free space to the other guys back then to do stuff, but as it seems it was something that didn't go well.

So the new album was not a back to the roots move, but something that came out naturally…

Yes, we always work like that. We don't want to be a band that plays for the others, but for our own selves, once we are fans of Death.

Did the new members play a role in this change or was it something personal?

They definitely played their part, although I write most of the riffs. On the other hand I couldn't have done this album without the guys. Olof is really good and has great ideas! I worked together with Antony for the lyrics, and with Olof we wrote all the music, arranging and stuff. It is just that this time we were a band more than ever, with me behind the wheel.

After all these line up changes, do you think you found the appropriate musicians for the band?

That's exactly how I feel. I know we had member changes many times, but on the other hand it was the only way I could keep the band alive. Some people wanted to take advantage of the band, some left for different reasons. The only thing that matters is that we are a good team with great people for sure!

Back to the album. How are the reactions from the press and your fans until now? They must be kind of ecstatic from what I have seen on your Myspace page!

The reactions are really positive and we are all optimistic that the album is going to do really good! Everyone likes it.

You worked with Fredrik Nordstrom for the recordings of the new album. How was it working with him?

I have worked with Fredrik for 5 albums until now, 2 with EXHUMATION and 3 with NIGHTRAGE, so it feels like working with a friend, since I know him well and he is really into NIGHTRAGE. Everything went really smooth, we had a great collaboration and he gave us an incredible sound.

If I am not mistaken the producer in your last album was Jacob Hansen. Could you compare these two producers? Who helped you the most?

They are both incredible, each in his own way. I could never compare them. I really like Jacob because he is totally down to earth and friendly. On the other hand Fredrik is a bit crazy and he is funny as hell, so I like them both the same.

Who designed the cover artwork for Wearing A Martyr's Crown? How can someone link it to the album's title?

It's designed by Gustavo Sazes, who is fantastic! The album actually hides a concept. It talks about people being crucified for just being good, so that is how someone can relate it to the cover.

Something that reflects the current social-political state…

Yes, people step on corpses to survive nowadays (Greek phrase) and we generally talk about dark feelings each human hides and hardly expresses.

This is your second release through Lifeforce Records. How are things with them? Are you satisfied? Do you think it was the right move?

Things are really good! I am happy that they are still behind the band supporting us. They have helped us in any possible way. I believe Lifeforce is a really good label that is always getting better and it obviously was a good move for the band to sign there. I think it is better to be in such a label and being a priority than being in a big label and be put aside. With all these problems we had they could surely be disappointed, but they like our music and they want to continue working with us.

That's really nice to hear! So I guess that your collaboration will go on for many years if things go well.

Yeah, we would also like something like this, but you can never predict the future since such things change.

You're right…

For the time being things go really well and they are always doing their best.

Something I imagine Century Media didn't do…

I couldn't say something like that. They surely didn't do the best they could, but on the other hand they helped us make a start and made NIGHTRAGE known, since they are a big label and have much power. I believe we had a lot of help from them and I am grateful for that.

Backtracking a bit to the line up thingie… Is there someone from NIGHTRAGE you miss as a musician or as a person?

Yes, the one I miss, and I miss him a lot, is Gus G, who happens to be my best friend. I totally understand the reason he left and I am with him. He wanted to devote himself to his band, FIREWIND and I am really glad they are going well. And by the way, they are a fucking awesome band!

I imagine you would do the same thing if you were in his place. I mean if you were in FIREWIND, you would like to have more time to spend on NIGHTRAGE.

Yeah, I believe I would do the best for both parties, no matter how hard it would be. The truth is I miss him though. We started NIGHTRAGE together, but I am happy with the new kids!

Yeah, I remember him doing the vocals on your demos!

Exactly… Great times full of dreams and hard work…

Was the band you started with Gus the natural evolution of EXHUMATION or something brand new?

It was the continuation of EXHUMATION in some way, but it was something more professional. With EXHUMATION we had many great songs, which I actually miss some times, but yes, NIGHTRAGE was actually the new form of EXHUMATION.

Is there any material that never found its way into an EXHUMATION album and you ended up using it in NIGHTRAGE?

No, no way! Even though we kind of have the same influences. Hahahaha!

Hahahah!

Since I wrote all the music there, too. Great band but unfortunately never got the credit it deserved.

I admit I agree with you here…

Yeah, I believe we didn't get the credit we deserved. Maybe because we didn't know the appropriate people, we did everything on our own. Maybe even the fact that we were a band outside of Athens was a negative thing.

Hahaha! Thessaloniki held you back?

Yeah, something like that. Though Thessaloniki has produced many great bands and great musicians. FIREWIND, HOMO IRATUS, LESS THAN HUMAN, STIGMA, NORTHWIND

Hahaha! And I was just about to ask you to mention some bands!

BREAKING SILENCE, VAVEL, CONAN, VENGEANCE, SARISSA for those who remember…

And in my humble opinion PSYCHO CHOKE.

How could I forget these guys! I played a lead in their new work, as well as Olof and Gus G. They are going to mix with Jacob Hansen. Great band and incredible guys!

Since we talked about EXHUMATION and Thessaloniki. Do you miss the EXHUMATION days?

Yeah, I definitely miss the good days of the band. We went through a lot with those guys. I can't hide that I miss them. We worked for about 10 years and we did 3 albums together, all in Sweden. A lot of personal work, we could have accomplished many things…

Unfortunately though…

That's the Greek reality. It swallowed one more band…

Like many others. Anyway, is there a chance we may see an EXHUMATION reunion? For an album or a special live show.

I really don't know. It may sound stupid, but I haven't talked to the guys from EXHUMATION for almost 10 years! Hahaha! We lost contact. I wish I could find them sometime and talk. I would be really glad!

I would personally love to see something like this!

Yeah, sure! The fact is some people change, they make their own choices. Life can be hard sometimes. I just wish they are good and they succeed in everything they do.

Really, how hard was it to leave Greece and relocate to Sweden?

The most difficult and craziest choice I have ever made! I had to leave everything behind. I am glad though that I managed to make NIGHTRAGE a band that can put its music out there. This by itself can be something important.

Definitely. And may I add that leaving the land you were born was never an easy decision, but life is full of risks. You are the only one who really knows if you succeeded in this journey.

I took a really big risk and I set a goal that I didn't want to leave as just an idea. Who dares wins.

And I believe that you came out of this as a winner.

I believe this, too. I worked really hard to get to this point. Work never stops!

So after all these years you still believe you made the right decision.

Yes, and I don't regret it. NIGHTRAGE wouldn't be the same if I stayed in Greece.

How are things there?

Stranger in a strange land… This by itself can be hard. It is a fantastic country though! But you always miss a lot of stuff…

Like?

Homeland, family, friends, neighbourhood, being carefree…

I understand… As we speak you are at work, and to be more precise in the studio. This is how you make a living there?

Yes, I work in a building with 17 rehearsal rooms and a small recording studio. That's what I like doing, being involved in music all the time. I couldn't do a job that is boring or doesn't fit me. This is where NIGHTRAGE rehearse and this is where we record our demos, so I am actually in my own place.

Feels like home…

Yeah, exactly!

Have you ever thought about returning to Greece permanently?

Yes, many times, but this is one more hard decision. Here is my work, my band. It is really difficult to leave them behind at the time being, but this thought is always spinning in my mind. I miss Greece… It is the best country in the whole world!

I have nothing left to ask you. A huge thank you for this interview. It was a real honour talking to a true metalhead!

You are welcome man! I hope all our crazy Greek fans like the new album! Thanks for the support and everything! I hope I see you when we get there again for a show! Hail to all our crazy Greek fans!

I am sure that many people will be waiting for you, including me! Hahaha!

It is always an honour playing live in Greece and all the guys in NIGHTRAGE fucking love playing there!



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