A talk with
SPYROS LAFIAS (Vocals/ Guitar)
(Questionnaire by Stefan)
The last few months, I have elaborated a number of interviews with young aged Thrash Metal bands those who ensure the future of this genre, which was originally founded in the 80s. I immediately think of both German acts Toxic Waltz and Pessimist, last week I spoke with the frontman/guitarist of our own Belgian thrashers Warckon, now the time has come to introduce you to a Greek outfit named Chronosphere. They’re about to unleash their second album “Embracing Oblivion” through Punishment 18 Records, I had the privilege to provide this effort with a review which was terminated with a high rating. Intelligent and dynamic, fast and pretty technical… here’s the story of a highly potential band in terms of Thrash Metal, please make an advance note of Chronosphere.
Q: First things first, congrats from the heart with the new album guys ! How and by whom did Chronosphere arise?
A: Thank you very much Stefan for the words ! Chronosphere starts back in 2009, when me (Spyros) and Kostas Spades wanted to start a thrash band...that’s what we always loved and were good at. Band’s name at the time was “Homo Sapiens” and we released a demo called “Hypnosis”. Later on, we changed our name into “Chronosphere” and released 2 full-length albums, “Envirusment” by Athens thrash attack + Eat metal records + the recently released “Embracing Oblivion” by Punishment 18 records. And we keep on...
Q: Although Chronosphere consists of 4 young aged lads, you guys are fascinated by a style of music originally formed back in the 80s. Where the passion for this old style of Metal comes from?
A: Thrash metal (especially the old-school way) is very popular here in Greece. The very first shows we’ve ever attended and got us into metal were local thrash bands. That was a kind of inspiration for us. We started as an old-school thrash band too but as time passes by we try to be open-minded and involve a lot of metal elements in our music. That’s how you create your ID.
Q: Which bands would you name as impressionable sources?
A: The list is really huge ! There are a lot of bands that have influenced us, both in songwriting and way of thinking. For example Suicidal Angels is the 1st Greek thrash band that managed to grow a worldwide reputation and tour all over the world. We love technical stuff of bands like Revocation and Toxik along with simplicity of and Motörhead and Razor. We can’t hide also that we are huge Megadeth fans and were inspired by their music and attitude, fast loud n’ rude.
Q: What’s the story behind a band name like Chronosphere?
A: We had to change our name back in the day due to legal reasons. But was also a new start for the band. In our search for new name someone suggested “Chronosphere”, it sounded really cool to us so here we are ! Chronosphere is something imaginary that provokes fear, trapped in eternity. It can perfectly characterize our style...both technical and aggressive.
Q: The first line up was found to be unstable, guys teamed up but already left after a little while… what happened?
A: Previous members were not into “touring” thing, they had their way of life so we decided that it would be better to leave the band. Future proved us right, and we are stronger than ever with our latest line up !
Q: But finally, you’ve found the right musicians on the right spot. Would you like to introduce the current members? What about their musical background stories?
A: As I said before, we are a very strong team and I’m really glad for the co-operation with the guys. The funny thing is that Thanos was in a “core” band, Kostas in a “glam” band and Panos in a “thrash” band. Completely different music styles. But I’m so proud that we are all open-minded and left labels apart. After all, labels in music is a shitty invention, it’s all about the metal in your heart! Whether you like it or not...
Q: Tell me about the first recording ever, I suppose that must have been a demo in days your band was calling Homo Sapiens… am I correct?
A: Yeap, you guessed right. We thought then that we had to release a demo to gain some reputation in the underground scene. We recorded 5 songs at MIH (Made in Hell) studios in Athens. Inexperienced enough, but we made it. After 3 months, the demo was finally released (Self-released).
Q: Were the first reactions immediately promising – any idea how many copies you have sold?
A: Promising and quite encouraging! It earned some pretty good critics in the press.
Q: Around that period of time, the band became a member of Manifesto Music Movement. What can I imagine about that?
A: Well, it was a movement from Greek bands sharing the same dream. We teamed up and released 2 compilations along with some live shows in Greece.
Q: Athens Thrash Attack/Eat Metal Records brought out your full-length debut album “Envirusment”. I haven’t heard the effort so far, explain to me what’s going throughout the cut.
A: It was June of 2012 when our 1st full length album was officially released. Both labels contacted us to mention that were interested for collaboration. We met the owners in person, they were really cool so we took the shot. ‘Till now, the collaboration proved us right, the guys really helped us to gain a worldwide attention and distribution.
Q: It must have been a great album because, shortly after, you got the chance to play for a live audience. Chronosphere played at multiple Euro based concerts and festivals… tell me about the band’s first live experiences.
A: We were really excited that we managed to play at these concerts. We earned a lot of fans in there too. It was the perfect way to promote our 1st album in bigger audience. A little bit anxious but we did great.
Q: With which band you've shared the stage those days?
A: We recently played with worldwide legends Rotting Christ in Sofia/Bulgaria. We played also in Thessaloniki/Greece supporting the mighty Sodom.
Q: In my review for your new album, I mentioned the fact that Chronosphere has not missed its start. Agree or not?
A: If you mean that we don’t ignore our music roots, then I agree. We will always be a thrash metal band, no matter how we evolve from album to album.
Q: The new album “Embracing Oblivion’ is a killer album all the way out. The songs really blew me away right from the start. First on, why did you choose to work with Punishment 18 Records to release this product?
A: Punishment 18 has a very good distribution, people on the label are so cool and willing, so we chose to co-operate with them.
Q: Speak free about the creator of the eye catching cover artwork.
A: Andrei Bouzikov... No need for further explanation ! We just had something in mind and it was perfectly drawn by him. In case you haven’t checked, vivid colours exist only inside the bubble ! Everything else is just laying through oblivion... What a great art for the concept of the album, isn’t it ?
Q: The famous Fredrik Nordström yielded an excellent production, one of the greatest producer at the moment… how did you get involved with him?
A: Fredrik Nordström is responsible for the mastering duties of our record. He is a living legend, we do like his work so we came in contact with him. And as a result we are more than happy with the final form of the songs.
Q: “Embracing Oblivion” has become a concept album, right? What’s the main subject?
A: Exactly. As I said before, it’s a concept album describing how the world tends to self-destruct due to human sins. They violence we are into every day (politics, religion, science, wealth), how people react to this way of living and how we finally set our race to destruction ‘till it comes the redemption !
Q: In comparison with the previous album, how would you like to describe the new album? Which type of metalheads would have to buy it?
A: We took our music to the next level, something like an evolution. We tried to combine each music style we like into that record (for example some groove parts that our previous album lacked). So I can’t categorise metalheads that have to buy it. I’m pretty sure that fans of each metal genre will like the record or at least find some good moments in it.
Q: Listening to all of the tracks, no doubt about the fact you guys are all very technical trained. This must be the result of lots of practice, feel free to speak about.
A: I can’t tell for sure if we are a technical band or we are technically skilled. This is just
Q: Pretty interesting fact to me as 80s US Thrash Metal addict, Josh Christian (Toxik) offered his outstanding guitar skills for the records of ‘Herald The Uprising’. In what way this collaboration came to be?
A: Well, we wanted as hell to have someone of our influences involved in our record. And Josh Christian (Toxik in general) is by far some of our major ones. We came in contact with him through social network, we introduced ourselves, he liked us and we did it. Many thanks for one more time to this great person. (what a great solo too...)
Q: I will have a blast at the upcoming, Belgian based Alcatraz Metal festival 2014 where Toxik has been added to the bill on Saturday 09 of August. Do you consider you to attend this festival? Spread the word as good as possible !
A: We hope and it would be a pleasure to come next year and play at Alcatraz Metal fest. It seems to be a really good fest with lots of big bands performing. We will spread the word for sure...
Q: How do Chronosphere’s musical activities looks like during the upcoming Summer months?
A: We have some live shows to be announced really soon. We will play along with Enforcer in Patra on 12th June. But mores shows are to be announced as I said.
Q: Back to the new album, which song(s) earn your prefer and why?
A: We don’t have any special preferences. However we don’t use to perform “City of the living dead” live cause of its samples, haha...
Q: In which countries this album will be offered for sale, for those who want to order online, mention the address please.
A: The album will be officially distributed through whole Europe, Canada and we currently talking for a possible release in Japan, China etc. At the time, those who want to order our album (t-shirts, patches etc. as well), they can send a direct message to our official facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/ChronosphereGr or http://chronospheremerch.bigcartel.com
Q: How’s the current Metal scene in Greece actually – is there room for Thrash Metal music?
A: Luckily, there is something like a “thrash explosion” here in Greece, especially in Thrash Metal. That helped us a lot to grow a fan base. Bands like Exarsis, Bio-cancer, Fadom etc. have helped a lot too to gain some worldwide attention... In case you haven’t yet, take a look at these bands as well...
Q: Reaching the end of this conversation, I’d like to ask for Chronosphere’s future plans.
A: No big words at the time. We just released our 2nd full length album and we hope it finds some good feedback from people all over the world. We plan also to perform wherever we can to promote the album !
Q: Finally, what’s the ultimate dream for each one of yours?
A: Well, when we tour the world and gain some worldwide popularity we will have our dreams fulfilled somehow. Actually, this game never ends so we keep walking...
Q: You already have earned my approval for sure and am willing to spread the word of Chronosphere as good as possible. Thanks for your time and delivering stunning Thrash Metal music. Any last remarks?
A: We would like to thank you also both for your time and your good words. Keep spreading the word for CHRONOSPHERE and hope to see you soon. ‘Till then, let’s start embracing oblivion...