Ravenheart Music: Interviews
I have known about the band CHRYSILIA from Greece for around two years now. They have now recorded what to my ears is an awesome album. I have been truly honoured to have heard this record and to be honest, this band deserves BIG success on the strength of this recording. I wanted to talk with them, so I set up a chat with their vocalist (and Cellist) Chryso (pictured above), and here it is:
Can we here at Ravenheart Music be introduced to members of your band?
- Hello! Let me introduce our band “Chrysilia”. I am Chryso, lead singer and co-composer, and our wonderful team consists of Teo Ross on guitars, John Matzakos on keyboards, Johny Litinakis on bass guitar, Terry Moros on drums and Odysseas on violin and viola. On a broader note, co-composer Elias Pero and our producer Bob Katsionis are also members of this project!
How was Chrysilia conceived and can you tell us about the history of the band?
- Our band started as a music project of composer Elias Pero (Sovereign) and myself, who were the main composers for most of the songs and came up with the concept of the album. Very soon Chrysilia became a full band, preparing the debut album with producer and close friend, Bob Katsionis (Firewind, Serious Black, Outloud). He played an important role in helping us arrange and produce all songs and we are now ready to release our work and hit the stage.
Are any band members involved in any other musical projects that may of interest to us here?
- Most members are involved in very interesting side projects and have their own discography, like Teo Ross with Reload and Johny Litinakis with Sorrowful Angels and Reflection.
Chryso...when did you realise you wanted to be a singer in a rock band?
- Although I come from a more classical/jazz background, I realised at the age of 13 that rock is the vehicle for my energetic nature and it didn’t take long before I opened my horizon and became a fan of the ‘heavier’ sound! Since then, I always wanted to form a rock/metal band and it was only a matter of time, so here we are!
You also play the Cello Chryso. I played the cello in my school orchestra. Do you have any other hidden talents?
- It is great that you also played the cello, it’s such a powerful and emotional instrument, isn’t it? To be completely honest, I only play the cello when I’m not hopping on the stage! I also play the piano, compose both music and lyrics, I am a musical theater actress and a vocal teacher. And well, I love painting and ballet, but not many people know about that! But a lot do know about my hidden talent in cooking!
How would you describe the band's music to a complete stranger?
- Our music travels from symphonic power metal to folk, also touching jazz and minimalistic paths. I would describe it as listening to a motion picture soundtrack, just a little bit on the metal side.
I have had the pleasure of listening to your forthcoming album and I must be honest and say that it is one of the best albums I have listened too in a while. Can you tell us more about the album, the people involved and the recording process?
- Let me start with a big ‘thank you’! It is an honor for us to know that our work is so much appreciated! The main theme of the album is Arcadia, which is a stunning place in mountainous Greece, full of mythology and history, but also known in the Renaissance as Utopia, the dreamland that our souls travel in the afterlife or just by achieving a higher state of intuitive enlightenment. Our album however has a metaphorical meaning. It is a journey in time and fantasy, myths and reality, fairytales and politics, life and death itself, through the eyes of a girl growing up: her name is...Chrysilia! A great production by Bob Katsionis with full choirs, real classic and folk instruments, songs that tell a powerful story through an epic/soundtrack metal point of view with many celtic elements, but also quite a few sensitive moments, like a song that Bob wrote for our album that reaches a more minimalistic colour of music.
How did Bob Katsionis (Firewind) become involved?
- We have known Bob for quite a while and apart from being friends, we always appreciated his personal and band work. He is one of the very few Greek rock/metal musicians to have an international career and he is a lovely person, so down to earth and funny. We love him! We asked him to direct our first video clip, as he also has a portfolio of over 100 video clips, and then he was the one to believe in our compositions so that they can become a full album. His careful production, his great arrangement talent and his well-trained ear, gave our album the substance we dreamed of. And he was very happy to contribute to the album with a brand new song of his.
And how do you feel personally about the new record?
- I am a professional performer for some years and it is only now that I feel I made one of my dreams come true: a band and an album that really speaks to my heart and my diverse music nature.
Who are the main song writers within the band?
- All the songs were composed by Elias Pero and myself, with the exception of a song written by Bob.
The title of the album.. 'Et In Arcadia Ego'. Can you explain its meaning?
- The translation of the latin phrase is ‘I was in Arcadia too’. A phrase taken from the Renaissance and paintings of Nicolas Poussin and Guercino. Arcadia , a nostalgic paradise, a remembrance of our innocence and a place where our higher self goes. Our album is a story through the eyes of a young girl (Chrysilia) that makes the journey from her childhood Utopia to the real world. At the same time, Arcadia is a place that’s very central to Greek mythology, but also recent Greek history, like in the independence war against the Ottoman empire.
Does the cover artwork do you think help sell an album?
- We live in times that people don’t go to a store anymore and look around to check new albums, great covers and great logos. This is the digital age and in order to sell an album, the whole ‘package’ has to be appealing. That of course, includes a very carefully made artwork.
Do you have any fave songs on the album? I must say that my fave track currently is 'Desperate Wings', and I just love the video that I have had the pleasure of viewing.
- Would I be very typical to say that I love all of them? Well, I do actually, and that is because they are very different songs, so connected by the story, but so different in the emotions they create! Some are powerful, some epic and uplifting, some others more sentimental. So, no, I don’t really have a favorite song , they are all in my heart.
I must add to that and say that I think every song on the album is awesome too. Now Chryso...your voice is absolutely amazing. Have you had any vocal training and how do you keep your vocal chords in trim?
- Wow, thank you very much for that! Along with my music studies, I had vocal lessons with a soprano of the National Greek Opera, although I have developed a more personal and contemporary style and since then, I have carefully protected my voice through the years. For some years now, I am a vocal teacher also and this is something that also keeps my chords in shape!
What do you think will make Chrysilia stand out from the rest of the crowd, especially as there are some rather good female fronted Rock & Metal bands out there at the moment?
- The competition is indeed very high and it is difficult for any band to stand out nowadays, but we think that the combination that we made, with very diverse backgrounds and musical genres, is something that you don’t easily find out there in one band. I believe that this element is what makes our music interesting and in many ways, different.
What is the female fronted Rock & Metal scene like in Greece as to be perfectly frank, there seems to be some good bands coming out of your country at the moment?
- Greece may be a smaller country than Germany, UK, Scandinavia etc., but there is a very good metal scene and some really decent female fronted bands that are taking a step abroad. That is really great considering the pop/oriental music that most Greeks like.
What music inspires you today and when chilling out, what music do you generally listen too?
- I find different kinds of music inspiring, many of which I have blended in the songs of this album. I love Rock and metal, Jazz and Classical music, Opera and musicals. When I want to chill out, I usually listen to piano minimalists, or my favorite songs from old musicals.
When not making awesome music, what hobbies do you have?
- Well, my main hobby is music! But I really like to dance (ballet mostly), paint and I adore cooking. It is one of my greatest pleasures to create music dishes.. I literally sing and dance when I cook!
And if you had the choice to tour with a specific act, who would that act be?
- Well, there are a lot of bands I would like us to play with and I would really like to be on the same stage with Within Temptation, Anneke Van Giesbergen who is one of our favorites, but not only female fronted female bands. We love Kamelot, Rhapsody, Eluveitie,Turisas, Falconer and many others.
On a lighter note: What type of music do you find annoying? :)
- Oh, well that is where I can easily tell you with two or three words : Techno-rave-trance dance music. I really can’t stand the continuous beat with no melody at all!
I agree with you there :) And if you was not a singer, what do you think you would be doing?
- I could never imagine myself doing anything that didn’t include music, so I would probably be composing, teaching music or dancing with the music I love. Or even, have a restaurant where I would cook and sing at the same time!
And what do you hope the future holds for the band?
- These are really uncertain times and planning years ahead, is somehow a luxury. But nevertheless, me and all of us in this band, believe in our music, we love making songs and performing and we won’t stop doing so. We hope for the best future for our music, supported by a decent label and having great gigs!
Thank you so so much for this interview. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers before we sign off?
- I would like to thank you too for this wonderful chance to talk about Chrysilia. For anyone interested in finding out more about our music journey, please do visit our website www.chrysilia.com
where you can listen to samples of our music and don’t hesitate to contact us!
Dave Smith (Apr 5, 2017)