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Nick Christolis (Potergeist)

Interview with Nick Christolis from Potergeist
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 08 October 2007, 5:53 PM

When I reviewed POTERGEIST's debut album Southwards, I realized that these guys are a band with great potential that can easily compete the top names in the Stoner/Southern Metal scene. If you belong to the ones that like to enjoy their beer (or whiskey, depends on your taste) while listening to a good, groovy and fucking heavy album, the Athenian potheads added one more groovy opus to accompany your alcoholic moments! Ride on brothers!

 Hello Nick. Congratulation on your debut album Southwards. Let’s start with the typical ones. Can you give us a short bio of the band?

Thanks! Well we have to go back to the late 2004 when Alex and Jim decide to make a band with heavy sound but a more bluesy orientation. I used to play with Jim in a cover band back then, so when he told me what they were planning and that they were looking for a second guitarist I offered to take the place without even being asked. Since then numerous bass players and drummers have joined the band and hopefully the last two, what we refer to as the Bill & Bill rhythm section will stick with us.

 How did you choose the name POTERGEIST?

Actually, our first names were FOOLHOUSE and FEAST OF FOOLS. We were really fond of those names until we found out they were already taken up. So we are all like searching for a new name and one day Alex comes across a misspelled Poltergeist on the Internet missing its l. It clicked. It’s actually quite a catchy pun once you figure it out. He called us right away , told us about it and, well, that’s pretty much how we ended up being called POTERGEIST.

 How did you manage to sign with Burning Star? Are you satisfied with your collaboration until now?

After banging on the door of every music label we could think of, we came across Burning Star. We were really desperate so we willingly sold all the rights of our tracks for 10 cents each and agreed to take no money from the sales as long as we would have some decent distribution… Seriously now when we found out about Burning Star Records we immediately sent our demo to them and they offered us a contract. Our collaboration is exceptional and we hope it stays this way for a long time.

 The music you have chosen to play is not so usual here in Greece. There may be some Stoner bands, but not exactly the style you play. How did you decide to play this specific kind of music?

Well it pretty much came out this way on its own. It’s mostly a matter of influences. Jim and I were just writing riffs trying to make songs out of them. We wanted to maintain a bluesy and southern rock feeling but it’s not like we had planned the kind of music we wanted to play. We just wanted to avoid writing conventional stoner music, that’s for sure. It’s the reason why there’s a lot of diversity from track to track in our album.

 Which was the greatest experience you have had from a live performance until now?

Undoubtedly that would be a live we performed at the Mo Better club. It was a grunge music party and there were a lot of other bands playing covers of grunge bands and their own songs as well. The word grunge was written all over the place. So we get on stage and play a COC cover, our track Beggar and a DOWN cover. Where’s the grunge in that? Don’t ask me. But the people really didn’t seem to care. There was so much pulse in the crowd it was unbelievable.

 Has the fact that Alex’s voice is pretty similar to Phil Anselmo’s been a negative factor to the press and the metal audience?

Well it has. And then again, it hasn’t. A year back all we would get was that we sound too much like PANTERA. And we were like what?  It’s true; we got a lot of negative critique mostly because people listened to the vocals and didn’t even bother to listen to our music. On the other hand, there have been a lot of people who appreciated our effort and fortunately, as time passes we’ve been getting even more of that.

 Which bands have influenced your music?

The BACKSTREET BOYS. Definitely. It is hard to believe, isn’t it? We got other influences too, like LYNYRD SKYNYRD, COC, PANTERA, DOWN, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, Buddy Guy and so on, but none of them has touched us like the BACKSTREET BOYS have. It is why we decided to have five members in our band. All guys of course.

 If you could have anyone you wanted make a guest appearance on your next album, who would it be?

Anyone? Really anyone? Ok, can we bring Dimebag back from the dead? Please?

 Beer or whiskey and why?

Both. Depending on the time of the day.

 You recently played an acoustic show and you played some covers like Lucille. Where are you based the most, on Metal or on Blues?

Let’s just say that Blues along with Southern Rock are the base of our music and Metal is our way of expression. This convolution adds up to quite a unique outcome.  

 Which is the procedure you follow when composing a song?

Mainly Jim and I write riffs and then we try to put them together and make something decent. It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Alex writes some riffs too. There are tracks that are entirely Jim’s or mine. Then Alex writes vocals and we make some arrangements so that the music of the verses and choruses matches the length of vocals. Some times too, Alex comes up with vocals and we figure out what music to play alongside. Hopefully from now on Bill & Bill will contribute to our song writing since we didn’t have any help from our previous bass players and drummers.

 Who is responsible for the lyrics and what is the main theme?

Alex writes everything. Except for Voodoo Mama which was an idea Jim and I had and it is based on some lyrics I got to write. It’s all about bikes, boobs, booze, romance, voodoo mamas, self-respect, social critique and getting out of jail. It gives you the feeling of something like a big road trip across the United States. On a bike.

 You have a guest appearance by Fotis Bernardo in your album. How did this happen?

Alex and Fotis go way back. We had just written Race You To Your Grave and we thought that Fotis could really make something of it. So Alex went up and asked him if he was interested and, well, here you go.

 What do we have to expect from POTERGEIST in the near future?

A lot of live shows in Greece, that’s for sure. Maybe some touring abroad too. And a new album, possibly at the end of the next year. Yeah, we got all this new material piling up so let’s say we have gathered up a lot of aces up our sleeves.

 Thank you for your time Nick! Ride on!

The pleasure is all mine. Hope you enjoy the ride on our new album!


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