LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?
SKAGS: In 2017, founding members vocalist Spyretta Driva, Kostas Sokos (guitar), and Sotiris Angelidis (bass/vocals) came together with others to form a cover band, taking the first letter from each other’s name to form the acronym, and band name – SKAGS. Keyboardist Christina Papandreou and drummer Christos Alexandris would later join the band, as SKAGS found a solid line-up. Even though 2020 was a turbulent year for many, SKAGS used it to their benefit as they created what would become their debut album – ‘Digital Cage Of A Cursed Generation’. Released in November 2020, the record fuses together several style and influences, giving way to a unique sound for SKAGS. With its theatrical grandeur, euphoric synth lines and guitar-led soundscapes, ‘Digital Cage Of A Cursed Generation’ is a compelling collection as the Athens five-piece tell thought-provoking stories.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?
Chris: Our album was recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic which made all the procedure very hard for all of us, because we had to reschedule and postpone recording sessions, rearrange new dates for rehearsals and so on. The second lockdown came during the official release of the album. So as you can see, it was a bunch of misfortunes that we overcame and managed to release this album. Apart from that, our rehearsals have been left behind and in reality we can contact each other only digitally for now.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
Sotiris: The only good thing, at least for the band, is that we had the time to prepare new ideas and songs, and this way we have already composed material for 2 more albums. But we miss the concerts so much. We haven’t even presented our new album live.
LOMM: Tell us about your genre, what does it means to you, why did you choose this genre?
Sotiris: Although we do not believe in certain “labels” in music genres, we think that our music is best described as Alternative Electronic Psychedelic Rock. It is not that we sit down and decided that we want to play a specific style of music. This really came up after putting everyone’s idea in the studio and for sure it is not constant. We really want to experiment a lot on our sound and for sure our next albums will have new sound scapes.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? What aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
SKAGS: We really believe that overall the sound quality and the musical parts are by far above average taking in account also that it is completely funded by us, so the budget is limited. What we want to improve on the next album is our performance in the studio and to have a better and different sound from Digital Cage Of A Cursed Generation.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
SKAGS: So far the reviews we are receiving from all around the world are excellent and this gives us so much power to continue writing music.
LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
SKAGS: We have been on some small tours around Greece and it is something that we miss so much. We are really looking forward to getting back on stage again and going abroad.
LOMM: What is the next step for you? How is the future looking?
SKAGS: The band has many plans for the future and only some of them are:
-A release party for our album
-A live videoclip
-A new photography session
-Recording and releasing our second full album
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Sotiris: The lyrics are written mostly by my side, except from “Zak” that it was in cooperation with Spyretta. The main intention of the songs is to alter your perspective on the world. From “Zak” which talks on victims of law and violence, to “The Guillotine” which talks about the inevitable destruction of our planet. Our songs concern a multitude of subjects, mainly social and political, such as discrimination of any kind and the alienation we experience in modern societies.
LOMM: Who is composing the songs?
Christina: Sotiris is constantly composing new songs! So, whenever he does, he presents us the new songs and we exchange opinions. We all make additions and through rehearsals we agree on the final form of the songs.
LOMM: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Chris: We come from a wide variety of music backgrounds, so we are inspired by many music genres. Some of them include Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Archive, Porcupine Tree which are more obvious in our songs but there are also others not so obvious like Opeth, Dream Theater, Guns n’ Roses, Deep Purple and many more.
LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Spyeretta: While the process of recording an album is most important and it is the core of every work, playing live in front of your fans and connecting with a variety of artists, seeing new places, feeling the vibe of a large venue is always the ultimate experience.
LOMM: What first got you into music?
Spyretta: Ever since I was little, my life always included music: from having piano lessons, to singing in choirs, to just listening to it. Being in a band, though, is the most intense experience I’ve had, concerning music. It is a much-needed way of self-expression.
Chris: Music has been part of my life since I can remember myself. Listening to the radio and records from friends and family shaped my overall taste in different styles and genres.
Sotiris: My first encounter with music was at the age of ten when I started learning classical guitar. 3 years later, when I was a teenager, my father bought me an electric guitar and this was the time that I realized music is a big part of my life. I instantly started writing my own songs, creating bands with my friends and spending almost all of my free time playing the guitar.
Christina: Ever since I was a little girl we were listening to music with my parents. I started piano lessons at the age of 9 and violin two years later. Deep down I was convinced that I was going to be a musician. I have spent innumerable hours practicing and there are still more to come…
LOMM: What do you like the best about being a musician? And what is it that you do not like much?
Sotiris: Being a musician is a blessing. Especially being in a band, where you are somehow connected with other people, is a unique form of expression. It is a gift. What we hate is that you always need to invest money in order to improve your sound and it is very difficult to make a living out of it.
LOMM: If you weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?
Spyretta: If I hadn’t gotten into it, I’d probably look for a different way to convey my feelings, most probably theatre.
Chris: Not into music? I think I would be a really boring person. Music is a way of life, so not being into it, is not living.
Sotiris: If I had not gotten into music maybe I would be a chef or a football player.
Christina: If I had not gotten into music, I would be an animal rights lawyer.
LOMM: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
SKAGS: We would give more opportunities to independent artists.
LOMM: What is the most memorable gig that you have played to date?
Spyretta: Well, the best show we played was about 1 and a half year ago, at a bar in the center of Athens. The vibe that we were getting from the crowd and the connection we had, was very unique and we couldn’t stop playing for them.
LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Chris: We have many proud moments during our music journey so far, including our first gig, our first music composition, our first single release. But the most overall emotional moment by far until today is the release of our first album “Digital Cage of a Cursed Generation” especially since we received our CD copies. We think that it’s a “once in a lifetime” feeling for every artist and knowing that it’s our small contribution in the music history makes us very proud.
LOMM: Who would you like to collaborate with?
SKAGS: Pink Floyd , Radiohead , Dream Theater , Guns N Roses and many more.
LOMM: If you could play any festival in the world, which one would you choose? Tell us why.
Sotiris: Glastonbury, because it is one of the top5 greatest festivals worldwide and we also believe that we fit musically.
LOMM: Name some of your all-time favorite albums? Include controversial ones.
SKAGS: Deep Purple – Machine Head , Pink Floyd – The Division Bell, Radiohead – OK Computer , Guns N Roses – Appetite for destruction
LOMM: What does your collection look like? Mostly Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, Digital? A bit of everything? A total mess?
Sotiris: Mostly Vinyls and Cds, apart from the guitars and basses. 😊
LOMM: What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Sotiris: We are located in Athens, Greece. The music scene here is mostly focused on mainstream pop, folk and hip-hop hits. In terms of metal there a few great bands from Athens such as Rotting Christ, which in fact are from the same neighborhood with us . Moreover there is also a popular heavy rock scene building up lately. There are quite a few Greek bands like Planet of Zeus, 1000 Mods, Puta Volcano, Villagers of Ioannina City (VIC) etc. who have established a strong fan base with dedicated followers even outside Greece.
LOMM: You can invite 5 people to a dinner party, from the future, the past, rock stars, a movie characters, you name it. Who are you having dinner with?
SKAGS: David Gilmour, John Petrucci, Thom Yorke, Axl Rose and Richie Blackmore. And we would cook moussaka for them (hahaha)
LOMM: What is your weirdest memory in your music career?
Spyretta: After the end of a concert, a fan followed me to the toilet and opened the door, in order to ask for my cellphone number.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
SKAGS: Thank you very much guys for your support so far. You should expect a lot of new things coming from SKAGS.
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