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Savvas Betinis (Kinetic)

Interview with Savvas Betinis from Kinetic
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 09 December 2007, 7:20 PM

I will not try to hide from you guys. I am a die hard fan of this band and since I reviewed their sophomore full-length effort Corrosion, there was no way I would miss the chance to interview the band's frontman (and good friend) Savvas Betinis. This guy is one of the finest and honest musicians in the Greek Metal scene and it is always a pleasure to have a friendly chat with him. Here is what he had to say about the band's new album, KINETIC's previous label, as well as the band's performance at this year's Rockwave Festival.

Hello Savvas! Congratulations on your latest album! It really kicked the living shit out of me! Even though you are already well known here in Greece, I would like you to give us a short bio of the band for the people that have never heard of KINETIC.

Hello Yiannis, thanks for this presentation and your good words of course! Yes, Corrosion is our new album. We started back in 2003 as a four-member band, I on bass and vocals, Manolis Mamas and Stavros Bonikos on guitars and Kostas Alexakis on drums. All of us were coming from other historical Greek underground bands, from ACID DEATH, BRAIN FADE and WISDOM. In 2003 we joined our forces to create KINETIC. Having our first self-released mini CD, titled Soul, Emotion, Flesh we inked a deal with Sleaszy Rider Records and in late 2004-early 2005 our The Chains That Bind Us full-length CD was out. We made our best to promote it by ourselves by making a lot of gigs and sending promo-packs that we created and finally we broke that contract. Now we are in Burning Star’s roster and things seem to be on a right way…

Why did you choose to feature keyboards and female vocals? Tell us a few things about the new members.

Well, finishing the The Chains That Bind Us Hellenic Tour we started processing the new songs. That season a new idea was born; Can we put the band into its limits? The second one was how we could do it. We decided to put two completely new instruments, keyboards and female vocals. The next problem was how these new instruments could work with the band having in mind that our style, this Swedish/American Death/Thrash with many Power/Heavy elements, isn’t flexible in such experiments and the last thing we wanted to do is to create another Gothic/Atmospheric/SomethingLikeThat band… Vaggelis Kakarougas (keyboards) and Margaret Staikou (female vocals) made to give the band a new feeling, more melodic and more aggressive. We think we made not to tear down what we had created but to drive it in a new era!

Why did you choose the name Corrosion for your new album?

It is the feeling that is born to someone that gets in touch with our new material. Having lyrics touching hate and music including Heavy/Thrash/Death/Black even experimental parts Corrosion was the better word we could use to describe the album. This feeling of hate is expressed through the artwork, having this doll really destroyed and even raped; in someone’s mind, this doll symbolizes all of as, humans…

You produced the album all by yourselves once again. Why such a move? Do you prefer having the complete control of your sound?

Yes, we made the whole work once again. Stavros Bonikos (lead & rhythm guitars) was the band’s sound engineer, he made the whole recording, mixing and mastering and we, the band, made all the work on production. We just did it once again because we think this was the better thing for the band. Having everything under YOUR control gives a kind of safety. Of course if you have such an experience to do it! Having enough one from our previous CD and even from our self-released mini CD, we took the decision that it is better for us to work alone.  

Corrosion features many more elements than your debut album did. Was that something you intended to do or did it just come up because of the band’s new members?

The most important thing for an artist is not to resume himself on anything new. After finishing everything with The Chains… we got into the idea of putting the band into limits; that means we tried to make our style better without tearing down everything and build up something other. Vaggelis Kakarougas and Margaret Staikou were the two persons and new members that made this idea to be true. Of course, we tried to make better songs including more things than just Thrash/Death.  

Who took care of the cover artwork and what does it represent?

In Corrosion all the artwork was made by Nick Gazetas, he helped us a lot on The Chains… artwork that was created by Kostas, our drummer. This time Nick made the whole work. We chose this cover between four ones. It symbolizes the feeling of hate that lyrics exude. This emotion is stronger in everyone’s soul nowadays and this destroyed and maybe raped doll that is seen at the cover symbolizes the personal hell of hate that anyone from us, the people, is hiding inside his soul…     

You have filmed a video clip for the song Venturing Hi And Low. How did the filming process go?

It was a cool experience! We had a lot of things to do during that season and filming a video was another trouble. John Tsigounakis was the person that made it come true; he was the one that made both our video clips for The Chains… CD. The filming took place at the famous Texas Club of Athens some days before our appearance at Athens Rockwave Festival. It is a dignified video clip on a song that include all the new elements that someone can find in Corrosion.

Are your two albums connected lyrically?

Haha, yes, we have the continuity of Never Ending Winter from our first album. It is Winter Still Remains. It is just the end of the story that Never Ending… describes, the man that hates himself and everyone from his environment takes the decision to take revenge for his loneliness…

The never-ending winter of The Chains That Bind Us still remains in Corrosion. What does this winter represent for you? Is there a way to end it?

It is all the negative emotions that everyone can feel sometimes. It is the feeling of hate, loneliness, discouragement that all of us have in our souls. Is there any way for all these to be just a past for everyone? No! That’s the way Winter Still Remains…

You managed to play in this year’s Rockwave Festival and share the stage with acts like ANATHEMA, ICED EARTH, DREAM THEATER and HEAVEN & HELL. How was this experience for KINETIC and you as an individual?

It was a dream that came true! Sharing a stage with megatherions like these is an experience that is never forgotten. I will never forget the day that my mobile rung and I was told that KINETIC will be the opening act for Rockwave’s second day under the names…….. Next period was a total alarm for us, the same time that we had to finish the recordings for the new CD. Fortunately everything worked well, we had a very good appearance, as about me… I just can’t forget Margaret’s face, she came to the band some weeks ago and her live experience was very-very small… a total terror!!!

Let’s move to some questions that are not so album oriented now. How do you see the Greek Metal scene today? Has anything attracted your attention?

Greek scene… An open wound… I am into this theater of madness almost 20 years. I have met bands that deserved to be in every metalhead’s heart… Anyway, things are much better than 10 years ago… At least there are some bands that work really hard to make their dream come true. On the other hand, the Greek fans are more receptive to the Greek bands. Of course there is a lot of work to be done but at least we are on a good way… That’s my opinion.

KINETIC have their own studio now. How do you feel when rehearsing and recording in your own home? Is there a feeling of freedom in everyone?

Yes, it was Manolis’s dream to have his own recording & rehearsing place. Stavros was his partner and yes, rehearsing and recording at home is a real blessing for a band! You can create from 0 point and you can tear everything down when you think you have to do it…  

You had some problems with your previous label Sleaszy Rider. Do you mind telling us what exactly happened with them?

There was a totally different view on how the label should work with the band. We love KINETIC, it is our child and we want to see it growing day by day. Sleasy Rider trying to give a kind of support to all the bands of its roaster forgot to give enough one to some people that showed they love what they do and they are willing to work and cooperate. That means many things. Just keep this; I made the whole promotion for KINETIC by pressing promos by myself, contacting media, arranging the interviews and the live shows… and many other things… Anyway…

How did you manage to sign with Burning Star Records? How are things with them until now?

After breaking the contract with the previous one, we got in touch with many other labels. Burning Star Records had the clearer plan for us. The thing that really impressed us was that although they were into the scene for just 3 years, they managed to have more foreign bands into their roster than Greek ones. Things are going well and our desire is to remain in that way.   

Your music contains many different elements. How would you describe KINETIC’s sound?

It is Death/Thrash with many Power/Heavy elements, including many melodic and dark parts…. I know it isn’t the correct description but I think that anyone that will hear the Corrosion will find something interesting in it.

What are your plans for now? Have you scheduled any live dates to promote your new album? You recently supported ARCH ENEMY here in Greece, definitely a good way for people to get in touch with your music.

We are on the way to arrange the appearances that will constitute Corrosion Hellenic Tour. Our plan is to start from late January 2008 and have gigs to many cities of Greece. We’ll try to play in some festivals out of Greece also, of course this is a big plan and there are many parameters that have to be arranged. On 11/11/2007, we had the chance to share the stage of Athens Gagarin Club with ARCH ENEMY something that was a really good way for the fans to get in touch with our music…

Now that I mentioned the ARCH ENEMY gig, what happened with the sound engineer? I heard some really bad things about you being muted on stage and stuff like that…

Nothing happened with the sound engineer! The problems started from the first moment we hit the stage, facing major problems with the stage monitors on such a way that I have never faced all the past years I or the other guys play on gigs… Bad machines? Maybe yes, maybe no. The most important thing was that someone that called himself Tour Manager had the idea that it was a good time to have conversation with Vaggelis when the band was on stage for the reason that our set was 27 minutes and not 25 as he commanded and finally at the last song I found my mic muted… In anyway we made to complete our set but of course that was a very unprofessional behavior that we will never forget!!!

Thank you a lot for your time Savvas! I feel honored you gave me the chance to talk with you and write a review on such a good album. I wish your band all the best and I hope you manage to fulfill every single dream of yours! I leave the last words to you…

Thanks a lot for your time and interest, too! Check KINETIC guys, we won’t disappoint you!


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