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Thanasis Lightbridge (Dol Theeta)

Interview with Thanasis Lightbridge from Dol Theeta
by Maria Kallinikou at 15 February 2009, 2:18 PM

With the release of their debut album The Universe Expands I took advantage of the occasion and contacted DOL THEETA, precisely Thanasis Lightbridge, the mastermind behind DOL AMMAD and DOL THEETA. I found him in his studio in Thessaloniki, GR and the conversation went like this…

Interview with: Thanasis Lightbridge from DOL THEETA

Hello Thanasis, first of all congratulations for the Universe Expands album. I could not believe that DOL THEETA was a Greek band.

Thank you very much. The truth is that we are trying to do something different in the Metal scene. Hence we invest enough effort in every section of the release procedure.

Tell me, how did you start in the music field?

I started getting seriously interested in music at the age of 15; I first discovered my love for composition through electronic music as expressed from the pioneers, like Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis etc. I bought my first synthesizer and for years I spent time learning about music technology. At a point I found Metal music and I was shocked with its lively and dynamic character. So, I did started experimenting with synthesizers and creating an amalgam of electronic and Metal music.

Apart from DOL THEETA, you are also the creator of DOL AMMAD, tell me a few things about that band.

At the beginning DOL AMMAD and my music general were destined to be instrumental. I am not getting along with solo singers as I come to believe that they characterize and stigmatize music.

Definitely, and about that was my next question. With DOL AMMAD not one, but 14 singers are participating.

Through my connections in the choir of Thessaloniki, I got the idea of trying something with choir and opera.

And it seems that it worked perfectly. How did they receive the idea of participating in so extraordinary a project, for the given situation in Greece?

Hehe, the truth is that they were quite surprised. I think none of them was accustomed to the Metal sound, but by listening to the result from the recordings and after Star Tales, they were really excited. The most important is that your colleagues should be distant from any kind of prejudice, because for example even in guitar parts, we do not work as a classic Metal band, so, one will not find many guitar solos in DOL AMMAD.

 I see, and at what point you came up with the idea of making DOL THEETA?

After Star Tales I started composing songs, which obviously where not matching with the style of DOL AMMAD and on the other hand it was what I use to call electronica-art-Metal. Hence, I thought that in order to express this new hybrid I had to create new projects. It is like different sides of the same coin. The projects are going to be three in total and will have DOL as the first part in their name to show the continuity.

 That is a nice idea, but why DOL?

Hmm, I borrowed dol ammad from a video game, dol in Tolkien's language means fortress.

…and tell me about this third project of yours.

The third project will come after the third DOL AMMAD album and is going to be the more extreme expression of the electronica-art-Metal experiment. It is going to be more dark, industrial and brutal. With DOL AMMAD we will sustain an epic atmosphere and with DOL THEETA a psychedelic/atmospheric sound.

 And what will be the name of this third project of yours?

Haha, would you mind if it would remain a secret for a while?

 Not at all!  I saw that for Star Tales you co-operated with Alex Holzwarth (drummer for RHAPSODY and SIEGES EVEN). How did this come up?

We have a common friend, Robert Hunecke Rizzo, you might know him, he is a member of HEAVENS GATE and of the solo project of Luca Turrilli. Robert is a very good friend; he suggested and helped in order to approach Alex for our project. Alex heard the music and as a progressive musician, he showed interest. We recorded the drum parts for Star Tales at the Gate Studio in Germany, but for Ocean Dynamics Alex came to Thessaloniki and we recorded with no pressure and moreover we had a great time.

 To be honest with you, I had no idea about these projects and I got acquainted with your music first time with The Universe Expands. So, my question is, how are things going with promotional issues? Let's talk firstly about Greece.

We released Star Tales through Black Lotus company. Our cooperation was not good and besides this, Black Lotus went to pot at the time we were preparing Ocean. I contacted other companies abroad but what they were offering was almost nothing in comparison to what they were asking for. So the most sensible move was to create my own company. Hence I possess full control in all the projects I am preparing. Of course it demands more work than having someone else doing everything for you, but if you find good colleagues I believe it is a great solution. As far as promotional work is concerned we are booking commercials, reviews, interviews and looking for distributors.

 I assume that you are not looking for distributors in Greece, haha.

At the moment we have a fixed distributor for England and Japan and trying for other countries as well. In Greece I will take care of supplying some stores with our CDs, I do not need a distributor here, and now that I heard that the basic distributors in Greece are the same persons who ran Black Lotus, I prefer doing it by myself.

I know what you mean. Since you mentioned England and Japan, how are things there?

DOL AMMAD are well received in Japan that is the first country in sales. The public there has not come in contact with DOL THEETA yet, but the news are very good from France and we had already had some offers from distributors there. The States of course are the second best market for our music. Look, with the expansion of Internet and with the mp3 players, which everyone carries in his pocket, CDs won't be difficult to exist in all the selves of the world. Of course, a CD release will always be important for the ones who grew up listening to music through CDs, as the same applies to those who grew up listening to music through LPs. For this reason we pay extra attention in the artwork and the whole packaging details.

 I agree that the music and the way you promote it should follow the same line. Let's go to DOL THEETA, in The Universe Expands, among the production and the composition, a highlight is the voice of Kortessa Tsifodimou.

Yes, of course, Kortessa apart from the fact that is a very good friend she has one of the most unique voices I have ever heard. She has the ability of fitting in, in every track and giving to it her own personal stigma. If you have noticed she adopts a different style in every song of The Universe Expands.

 Yes, mostly I translated it to the different feelings she wants to express.

Yes, in general I cannot put up with flat singers that you hear a full album and at the end you are left with only a stable frequency of their voice. In the album we worked a lot with the factor feeling. In DOL AMMAD things are stricter, every note has to be as it has to be and that's it. For DOL THEETA, we sat down, listened to the sounds, opened the mics and we allowed a more fluid performance.

 What messages are you trying to pass through The Universe Expands?

In this album I want to give a message that will connect the micro-cosmos with the macro-cosmos. What I mean is that all of us have a universe in out minds and in our souls. This universe, we ought to expand with knowledge, feelings and thoughts. At the same time every soul, every creature, every unique universe contributes to the total, unending and everlasting universe in which we move through our little planet. I wrote the lyrics for this album in difficult personal moments, when I was doing my military service, hence fears for what is about to be, what is our true nature and how do we continue our way, are reflected in this release.

 I read in an interview you gave, that you are not the low-budget type as far as live shows are concerned.

Hahahahaha, where did I say those things?…Yes, it is true.

 Are you preparing something?

Unfortunately, nothing yet. Everybody keeps asking and it makes sense. With DOL THEETA is probably easier to do something but I do not want something ordinary. I will dare it only if we manage to find a way to pass our music on the stage in the way I want it to be. With DOL AMMAD we are 19 people and is going to be more difficult and definitely I don't simply want to be on stage and just play, I want to provide another kind of experience. It demands a big budget and lot of work and for the moment I prefer releasing my music, which already exists in great amounts. I will use the disadvantage of lacking live shows in order to record albums with my projects.

 I understand the kind of live shows you want and the budget is the number one factor. When AYREON released the Into The Electric Castle, many people imagined of seeing this concept on stage, but Arjen did not put on a show like that.

Exactly, and I understand him because I have contact with Arjen. With DOL AMMAD I can imagine massive budget shows in music halls, with 100 people in the choir, with visual stimuli, fires, Alex Holzwath on triple drum set, hehehe. It is the big feeling of that music that leads you in thinking big.

 I would like you to tell me a few things about the production.

The production was completed here in Thessaloniki where I have my studio and work together with my colleague Argy Stream. We have given several names to this studio, at the time we call it Cosmos Studio. I and Argy are two people who become very excited with sound and technology and do the best for our productions.

 Well done, have you taken over productions for other bands as well?

We now started taking over full productions, and just finished the production for the album of LOONATTACK, (a post Rock band of the city), we have done several projects here, like the drum parts for the first album Of SYNESTHESIA, the band of my guitarist, Dim.

 Great, actually is an advantage doing mainly what you love and I wish you every success in your projects. Thank you for your time.

Thank you very much, I wish all the best to you.


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