CVLT Nation Interviews: Dialogue with Dephosphorus
Dephosphorus have grown in overall instrumental atmosphere too. Axiom was a feverish birth, while Night Sky Transform felt colder and more expansive, as it dealt with a superior consciousness’ perspective of our realm. On Ravenous Solemnity there’s a new confidence and urgency and I was wondering if this is intentional as part of the new development in Dephosphorus’ metaphorical pursuit, was it chemistry related, or simply a result of patience and dedication with your individual crafts?
PANOS: What has decisively defined “Ravenous Solemnity” on all levels, both musically and lyrically, is that its conception was instinctive and spontaneous. It all started out when John joined the band. His enthusiasm and sheer will to make this happen have put us in a trajectory that we honestly couldn’t foresee a few months before. We felt that we had solid foundations on top of which we could build what we were preparing for all those years.
I enjoy all of the lyrical offerings Dephosphorus devise, and I know that introspection and reflection on the origins of life motive your musings generally. However the song “Astrocyte Portal” is particularly interesting to me when looking at the lyrics. I’m curious as to the inspiration for it, do you think you can elaborate on it’s themes?
I ask because this song is not only killer in execution, but substantively, the theme seems more intimate and based in murky verity rather than purely sci-fi fantasy operatics. At least compared to other songs – I could be wrong of course!
PANOS: This song is indeed unique as far as its lyrics go, and that’s because Thanos gave the starting idea that I’ve further developed. He was studying astrocytes during his biotechnology research and he mentioned them to me as an interesting idea. I then figured out the whole story which is that an analogy occurs to a researcher between the shape of a specific astrocyte and a rogue solar system escaping the galaxy. This leads to the discovery of a dark matter sort of stream: “Invisible blood flows into the universal veins”.
The lyrics can be confusing because they don’t follow the exact order that I’ve just mentioned. This is due to a last minute re-arrangement in the studio for the sake of the vocal lines.
Talking about the tight guitar work, your noteworthy sound and the great natural balance of styles you’ve always gathered feels stronger, more poised than even past efforts. Thanos, was there any specific influence that led the incremental change in your sound on Ravenous Solemnity which differs from the debut forward?
THANOS: Thank you for the comments. I would blame Sweden for the specific influence. It’s the whole atmosphere in this country that awakens grim and stark feelings from deep inside of you. Or at least this is my perception. I would also say that playing very often helps a lot. There are many things that can influence me on the same time. Say I just heard a band and I was transmitted some energy from them; I will grab the guitar and this energy will help my hands release the riff which is lurking, but not showing up until that moment, you know. So, it’s nothing in specific.
I feel that I have a special relationship with the guitar in general and I like to spend time with the instrument, when I feel there is space for that. If I feel there is not much going on, then I will just do something else. I realized after many years that when you push things, especially in music, it never goes with the flow. It’s fair to say, though, that building up your own equipment as a guitarist is fundamental. I changed some electrical parts in my guitar and got some new gear. I always try to experiment with new stuff before recording, so the change in my sound from our debut until now is obvious due to the gear as well. Gear can make you feel like flying, sometimes.
Was there anything on the record that was reformed and adapted from maybe past sessions that were incomplete or is this completely fresh?
THANOS: No, as I mentioned above nothing comes from past sessions in “Ravenous Solemnity”. All songs are new.
This was also your second Dephosphorus record where you contribute a significant vocal attack, specifically on “Astrocyte Portal”. I know you’ve contributed to vocals in several other tracks in the course of Dephosphorus’ history, do you enjoy the added element when playing and how was it being alongside Panos in this particularly atmospheric track?
THANOS: Sometimes I hear very specific vocal lines in my head when I listen to the complete tracks. One of the things which inspire me, in general, is Greek old folk songs called rembetika. There the vocals are unique and have very interesting lines and combinations. There are some moments I just feel I can contribute to a song, since I play and sing these songs for more than seven years now, almost every day. So, it’s actually a conscious thing.
This might be a question more directed at Panos as he’s the lyricist but I’d be interested in what each of your responses are.
Events such as those in 2008 drastically affect life on the ground and socio-political behavior. It obviously alters art and the band was conceived around the same time if I’m not mistaken. How much do global or local socio-political issues feed into song content and writing for Dephosphorus? I know your prior group Straighthate incorporated political topics into the lyrics overtly.
PANOS: Our local and global environment certainly affects our mentality and feelings. The crisis has made evident two things:
a) The educational, political and social problems of Modern Greece.
b) The extent to which the international banking and financial system can affect and change our everyday lives for the worst in a few years/months.
Things started to escalate and get really bad after “Night Sky Transform” has been written, so some of the grimness and frustration resulting from the two realizations mentioned above plus the overall wreck of nerves of living in Greece, have certainly found their way into “Ravenous Solemnity”’s lyrics and possibly music. Lyrics like those of “Dark On Dark” describe the way I feel about life in this country/society and globally as a human on this planet, as well as about the hope for change however unlikely it may be.
On the same topic this anti-theistic element is always lurking in the background of your group’s ethos (“Stargazing & Violence” or “Cold Omen” for example) and in Ravenous Solemnity it appears more boldly; in tracks like “Hammer of Logic”, “Towards The Cold, Mysterious Infinity”, and “Buried In Obsolescence”.
I was curious as to what caused this sharpened focus over time on reproaching such attacks on rational, critical analysis and exploration to surface more vividly in this record compared to in the group’s past?
PANOS: Organized religions and the obsolete belief in a creator god must be destroyed if humanity is to advance and survive.
We come from Greece, the only theocratic state in Europe. Part of the taxes I’m paying go to the church, for fuck’s sake! Orthodoxy is a very hardcore and suffocating flavor of Christianity. Over here, Christians are baptized when they’re infants (from 1 to 3 years old mostly!), which is a custom originally devised centuries ago in order to ridicule and break down the resistance of heathens. Slogans like “Orthodoxy or death” are literally sprayed all over the walls. The recent rise of the local neo-nazis who pretend to be devout Christians made it oh so clear that Christianity and extreme right wing go hand in hand here and elsewhere, then and now.
If you add to the local situation the rise of the creationist dumbfucks in the States and the Islamists, you can understand why my hate towards Christianity and monotheism isn’t going away any time soon. Monotheism is the worst tragedy that has ever happened to humanity. We are in a war for civilization, RESIST THE RISE OF THEOCRACY!