Another aspect of Ravenous Solemnity is the use of words from Tolis Yovanitis (who has created some vivid art for your label) specifically in “There Is A Color”, “A Fountain of Daggers”, and “Glorification of the Anti-life Equation”. How did his input in the new record come to be, and did you sort it out together before recording or did you offer him a chance to contribute once things were already rolling?
PANOS: Tolis Yovanitis is a fellow scenester and a friend. We have been writing together for Metal Hammer Greece from 1998 until last year. He’s a designer and even though he keeps a low profile, he has done some cool work over the years for bands like Black Witchery. He also used to be the singer of Sonichaos Aeon, one of the most cult bands of the Greek underground.
He submitted to us the lyrics of “A Fountain of Daggers” and “Glorification of the Anti-life Equation” back in 2008, in the first few months after Dephosphorus’ conception. We have used them in some early demo tracks which were scrapped later. I always had them in mind though and counted on eventually re-using them. The right opportunity occurred with “R.S.” and when I informed him that they would finally be used, he came back to me the next morning with “There Is A Color”!
Because it does surface in your music somewhat, I wanted to pose a few more questions in the realm of culture and politics in relation to the band.
Greece has been center stage in the initial global financial crisis, and as time passes, this will fade from memory in the global community. How have things been since the inception of Ravenous Solemnity compared to the outset of the crash for the band and for Greece from your perspective?
PANOS: Things have been constantly getting worse financially, politically and socially. I think that by now it is clear that what was perceived abroad as a lazy southern country getting punished for its sins, is in fact the result of the global banking/financial system conducting an experiment on an easy target: a small, corrupt country located in a strategic position in the Balkans.
The crisis has given the opportunity for Greek society to look at itself in the mirror and behold its real face. The result certainly isn’t pretty! We desperately need change, but aren’t committed to leaving our comfort zone and jumping into the unknown by taking risks. The next months will be interesting, because there are municipal and European elections coming, which can lead to the fall of the current government. Whether a left government will ignite change, help us overcome deep depression and inspire people to start working together for the country’s reconstruction is something that remains to be seen. We’re pretty much with our backs against the wall, anyway.
On the topic of politics, as you originate from the Mediterranean region, what can be said of the Ukraine-Crimea-Russia situation from your perspective? The many movements of discontent fomenting globally – and we here have our own struggles – but specifically in the historically complex regions you are close to, sentiments and movements have been bubbling over it would seem.
PANOS: The developments in Ukraine are interesting. First, they show what can happen when a society revolts, which is something that we have yet to see in Greece – and which says a lot about how much guts the average Greek has!
Second, they are an excellent example of how corporate media can be manipulated in order to interpret the facts according to their government’s (or their allies’) international agenda. Indeed, the Ukrainian revolt has been presented in the beginning by some as a nationalistic revolt with ultra-nationalists and neonazis on the front lines. While the rise of ultra-nationalism and neo-nazism in Ukraine (and in Europe in general) is certainly something to be extremely worried about, according to interviews with locals from the other side of the political spectrum, anarchists for example, it seems that reality is quite different. This appears to have been a genuine and widely popular revolt, with the ultra-nationalists and neo-nazis trying to gain political momentum out of it – which they have been successful at. Therefore things are not what they seem and in the way they are presented by the media.
Third, indeed, this situation is worrying for the stability of the region and it’s quite close to us. Having a war situation close to your region is always bad. Let me remind you that in the 90’s, we had in our close neighborhood the Yugoslav wars, where the USA have used depleted uranium in bombs and anti-armor shells provoking a rise of cancers…