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Spitfire's Tassos Krokodilos: "…here in Greece we use a lot of sayings, and one of those is that “you’d better be first one in a village, than a second one in a city”"

Interview with Tassos Krokodilos from Spitfire
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 22 January 2022, 10:32 PM

Keeping a certain flow of music for decades that is quite a challenge, especially when a band isn't necessarily career driven. Life can be kind, yet life can also be unexpected, things can change, and what life brings can affect every decision made, even when it comes to a music career. Spitfire have been legendary in Greece due to a debut album that made them a name, yet it has been hard to keep a stream of music flowing. They returned once, and now once again, but this time, proving that had all the tools in order to make something big. That something is called "Denial To Fall". Steinmetal had a chat with the band's new vocalist, and promise, Tassos Krokodilos, about his experience from the new album

Hello Tassos, it is a major honor to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how are you sir?

Perfectly fine and healthy! I wish you the same!

Diving right in, with the band coming back from the cold after years without new material, and the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Mentally speaking, how did it affect your motivation within the Spitfire camp?

Well thankfully the album composition and recordings were completed long before COVID 19 pandemic so in terms of composition didn't affect us at all. I can say that if we wrote the album during the pandemic, we would now have a totally different Album. Darker and claustrophobic, I guess… Unfortunately, the pandemic affected us in other parts of our daily and musical routine. Cancelled concerts, festivals and even rehearsals that we were unable to attend due to lockdowns. We all wish this comes to an end soon.

Eventually, and gladly, whether for yours truly or other crazy Metalheads around the world, Spitfire returned, and with most of the “Die Fighting” lineup, yet with a new skinman and yourself as the new singer. What was the trigger that caused the band to start working on new tunes? I guess that the pandemic, which caused so many lockdowns, had something to do with it?

The causes for those changes were basically that the previous members made their life choices which is (and always should be) totally respectful by each one in the band. However, the band is a living organism and has to go on. Did the new line up reach up to the fan’s expectations? We’ll see on the album and concert reviews, hehe!

Signing with your local old school Metal hero of a label, No Remorse Records, was more than a simple logical decision, closer to home the better. In your view, how can this label take such a veteran band as Spitfire forward? What do you expect from this cooperation between the parties?

As you know here in Greece we use a lot of sayings, and one of those is that “you’d better be first one in a village, than a second one in a city”. We knew from the beginning that the guys in No Remorse Records know the band, respect the band, and will do what it takes for Spitfire to claim their place again among the great bands of the Greek metal scene.

Carrying such a strong title as “Denial To Fall”, your newly third album appears to be coming up with a tough statement, as if you are reforming your old status as an important factor in your own local scene, and perhaps even beyond. Is this a sort of a phoenix rising in your perspective? Do you believe that Spitfire has to prove itself once again to the world?

Well, unfortunately yes. We weren’t so consistent through the years to “feed” our fans in a constant basis with studio albums. We all know that almost 40 years of history with only 3 studio albums is a poor catch. So, I would say that this is the only reason that Spitfire have to prove itself. Denial to fall is not another “death to false metal” - like statement, it’s a statement of a veteran that still has tons of skills in battle!

Similar to the title, the record feels to me about survival, and restarting from the ground up, everything in order to cover for the loss of time, and for Spitfire time flew by way too fast it seems. In your opinion, what form of morals can a listener take in from “Denial To Fall”? What kind of advice does it carry to whoever heeds the album’s call?

As a record it has lots of elements that cover a wide spectrum of metal fans. It is very difficult for a band to satisfy the fans of Accept, Manowar, Metallica and of course Spitfire at the same time. I believe that Denial to fall achieves that very easily. As for the advice? Play it loud!

As an old school Metal band, fueled up by the sounds of the 80s, maintaining the old flame with finesse, I never really expected anything less from you guys. Nevertheless, “Denial To Fall” is tough, strong willed, probably your heaviest effort to date, with sprouts of proto-Thrash Metal looming. How do you find the progress of your musical efforts on this record? Which form of influences led you forward in order to reach this outcome heard on the record?

Well, we all in the band have different influences that build the whole structure. Elias, who is the main composer, is a musician that even though has his old school influences, he never settles down and is always willing to discover new paths. Of course, walking on these paths with your “old shoes” is the key to maintain your identity.

In your opinion, what makes “Denial To Fall” an oddity in comparison to the sea of albums that have been flooding the market, thanks to technological advancements that have been ongoing, sharing a similar style to yours?

We don’t try to be on oddity. We don’t want that. We want to make good heavy metal that the people that are following the band through the years and -why not – new fans will choose to accompany some moments of their lives. Music is moments, never forget that.

Similar to me expecting nothing but an old school approach from Spitfire, the songwriting is more or less the same coming to mind. Being straightforward isn’t a stranger trait to your approach towards songs, and their arrangements. What is your take on that? Were there lessons of the past that were implemented on the songwriting process for this album?

The keys to make a good song are: 1st, it is you that have to like the material before anyone else. You must feel confident with what you deliver to your fans. 2nd, the music must come from your heart. Not your mind. Play what you feel, not what you think. I believe that an average listener can identify whether you write because you feel like and not because you have to.

Talking about songwriting, what can you say that you, and the other members of the band, learned from the process of “Denial To Fall”?

It’s not that I learned something. Each work makes you better at certain points. If I have to name some for myself, those would be that I learned to be more cautious but mostly patient.

Following the fact that the band presented new members, with you included, what can you comment about the chemistry state within the band?

The greatest principles a musician in a band must have are self-respect and maturity. Although we have a wide age range, the maturity that all the members show, when it comes to the way this band must work, musically and generally is something that I personally admire.

I have the feeling that both of us are in a shared belief that Spitfire found its sound on “Denial To Fall”. The joint effort by your producer, George Aspiotis, and mastering engineer, Kostas Savvidis, really paid off. How do you find the band’s new sound?

The sound of this album is a step beyond, I guess. I’m glad that it sounds exactly as we wanted…until our next album hehe.

A song that is bang on the head, bread and butter in its nature when it comes to simplicity is the self-titled, “Denial To Fall”. It has that NWOBHM spirit, making its mark with passion. What can you tell about the track’s impact on the album?

Well Denial to fall is a traditional track that we all in the band enjoy playing…It’s a good thing that this was the first ever to be released as a lyric video. It showed more or less to the people what to expect.

 “Back To Zero”, probably with a connection to your 2013’s documentary sharing a similar name, takes you forward musically, along with a strong voice as a guide for excellence. What can you tell about the background of this track? How do you find it personally? What do you make of it?

Back to zero is a one of the first songs that Spitfire ever composed. Its story goes back to the 80s but it never managed it’s way through your speakers. Everything happens for a reason, I guess. It’s one of my favorite tracks with strong, personally affected lyrics.

The pandemic certainly made it hard for bands to book shows, whether on a local level or out of the country. Have you started making plans to support the new album in a way?

Although it’s very difficult, yes. There are some plans for some festivals here in Greece and some separate. We are always open for new challenges!

With such a strong title as “Denial To Fall”, is there a chance to expect that the next in line wouldn’t be far behind?

History proved us that fate is not only in our hands. Of course if everything is scheduled right and with the right partners this time, I think that the next album won’t take so long…

Tassos, it was a pleasure sir, thank you for your time for this talk. I am glad that I could get a fuller picture from such a respected artist, hailing from one of the greatest Metal scenes in the world. Cheers

It was my pleasure also sir Lior Stein! Wish you and all the readers of Metal Temple a happy and prosperous metal year!


 



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Edited 23 May 2022
 

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