This feature is based around the split-EP “Alive Aftershock”, released by Eat Metal towards the end of last year, containing one self composed tune and a cover song by Greek comrades in metal, Convixion and Wrathblade. To celebrate this release, I decided to hook up with both bands to discuss both the split as well as future plans. This first part, focuses on Convixion, and all the questions are answered by drummer Manos Kehagias. Your self titled debut album was released back in 2010. How do you view this album today, and how big a progression was it really from your first release, the EP “Metal Drinkin Conspiracy”?
– Well yes, almost four years have already passed since our full length was released. To be honest, a lot of things could be better in this recording production wise and also with the artwork. It was a piece of work with a strict deadline, designated by ourselves unfortunately, and it’s clearly visible through the artwork, which was done in one night in order to “fix” the original artwork done by the artist, which was way worse. We are not completely disappointed by the production, but we could have changed a few things here and there. Anyway, we learned our lesson and we are not going to hurry things up again. The music of the album is quite close to the “Metal Drinkin’ Conspiracy” but with the natural touch of progress you get when you work on your material.
When you played here in Norway at the Metal Merchants festival early in 2011, a lot of people seemed to get the idea that the band was some sort of fun/joke band with bad artwork and lyrics about drinking, partying and playing metal. Was this the band you tried to be at this time, or have these people failed to understand what Convixion was/is all about?
– Well, here’s the funny thing. The songs that are actually “funny”, talking about beers, parties and at the same time full of inside jokes from our everyday life, are only three, maybe four in our whole discography! I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing that people can’t sort it out. Haha! Yes, a lot of our songs talk about heavy metal, but in a dead serious way, I can assure you. There’s nothing to joke about when you talk about something that accompanies you heavily in your everyday life. Also a lot of our latest songs have a “darker” approach, but it’s just something that came out naturally. About our on-stage attitude, it’s just who we are. Yes, drinking and having good time with friends and heavy metal it’s our everyday normality so it’s easy to express it even if we are not talking about such themes. Who you see onstage is who we are. We don’t care to pretend to be something we are not.
Since the album, you have also released a vinyl single called “Black Magic Night”, which shows a bit of the darker approach you talk about. Were the two songs on this release left over material from earlier, or were they written specifically to be on this release? Will these songs be exclusive to the single, or will one or both feature also on your upcoming album?
– These two songs were not left overs. They were composed and clearly sounded different from the rest of our material at that time, so we wanted to have them released as a separate release. They are not going to be included on any other release besides that single.
Your version of “Hard Times, Fast Ladies” was included on the Anvil tribute “Strong As Steel”. What is your relationship to Anvil, the “Forged In Fire”-album and this particular song? Was this the song you originally wanted to do, or the one you had to settle for because the other one was already taken by another band on the album?
– We are all fans of Anvil so this tribute was a great opportunity for us. This song is one of our favorites, among dozens of others of course, and so is “Forged In Fire” as an album. We had various tracks in mind to cover and a lot of them, yes, they were already taken, but we don’t think that there’s such a thing as “settle” or “compromise” when you are about to pay tribute to a band like this. You literally have countless kick ass tunes to choose from!
Who came up with the idea to do a split release between yourself and Wrathblade? Was the idea the same from the start – to do an own song as well as a cover version?
– The idea came one lazy night on a drinking session we were having in the studio where we all record and rehearse, which is Entasis Studios owned by Convixion’s singer/guitarist Nick Papakostas, and we immediately decided to do it. We thought that the perfect way to do it was to include one unreleased song and one cover by each band, and so it was done.
The cover art can be viewed as a homage to Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road, the bands you are covering. I guess it is not a coincidence that these two bands, probably the most important epic metal bands, were covered?
– Yes the cover absolutely had to pay homage to those bands, it was done by Aliki Raftaki and Dragon Star designs. You can’t call it a coincidence because “I’m Alive” is a song that we were already covering live for a long time before the release. Being specifically epic metal or anything else is something that never bothered us. It’s a band that we worship and have covered a couple of songs countless times, so it was about time to pay our tribute in the studio too!
Did you spend a lot of time discussing which band that should cover Manilla Road, and which band that should cover Cirith Ungol?
– No we didn’t have any troubles deciding this and that was not the idea at all. As I mentioned, each band was already covering those songs. So when we talked about a split release, things actually took place by themselves.
While Wrathblade has chosen a more unknown track by Manilla Road, you are doing Cirith Ungols “I’m Alive”, a quite well known song by them. How did you think when you picked this track? Is it a fave from the band, a song that fits Convixion, or what?
– Well this song happens to be one of our favorites. We were also covering “Black Machine” but this track fits pretty well with our tune, “Eyes Of The Beast” and both tracks fit with the whole concept of “sharing a split release with Wrathblade”, so it was an instant choice.
The picture on the back of the CD, with both bands together, indicates that this is something more than the usual split release, and also a release by to bands that has a special relationship. Even though the styles of metal you perform are different, do you feel you share some of the same philosophy and passion for metal? What else do the bands have in common?
– We are really glad that you noticed the “special” picture in this release because that was the reason we did it! We are really good friends and we didn’t want to have some “impersonated” attitude like sharing tracks with strangers for a record label’s sake. It’s not simply more than that, it’s just not that! We are nine people sharing the same passion for music, knowing each other for years and hanging together, drinking alcohol and having a blast really often, so it’s more than just “another release” for us.
Is “Eyes Of The Beast” a song that has been laying around for some time, or did you write it specially for this split release?
– It was written before the idea of this release, but we didn’t find the best way to use it. We just composed a song that was totally different than everything we had done up to that time. Due to this song’s special character, when we decided to do the split, we already had a song to put in that would fit perfectly to the whole atmosphere of the release.
As you know the guys in Wrathblade very well, which of the band’s qualities would you like to have in Convixion? Can you share any juicy stories about the band or its members?
– I think that none of the bands have a reason to be “jealous” of the other. As bands we both have different things and ideas going on, but at the end we get along with each other really well. And that is the reason that we share gigs really often! Something particularly juicy maybe not, at least not coming to mind right now, but you can find us wasted at various places on a weekly basis blabbering about various non-important issues with voices louder than our music. Haha! It’s something that’s always funny for others to watch!
If I am not completely wrong, you are working on your next album at the moment. Has it taken longer than you expected to finish the follow up to “Convixion”?
– Yes we are working on new songs right now. It has taken longer time, yes, but this time it’s not a problem. As mentioned earlier, we are never going to hassle things again, everything will be ready when it has to be.
Does it have something to do with the fact that especially Nikos seems to be a busy guy with other bands as well as producing/mixing/mastering-duties for other acts?
– Absolutely not. We try not to let other activities interfere in our main cause and passion which is Convixion. We just take our time, there is no reason for any rush this time.
A while ago you made a live in the studio recording of the new track “Winds Of Vengeance” available on YouTube. Was the purpose to give the fans a preview or an idea of how the new album will sound, or was it mainly for yourself to study your performance and evaluate the final outcome?
– This rehearsal track had a double purpose. One was of course to let anyone that is interested hear a new tune and get an idea of the forthcoming album. The other was to use it in a TV interview we had done along with our brothers Wrathblade and Sacral Rage for a great gig that we did together in December of 2013. So we all thought that we should share a new track as none had been released until now and after the interview was aired we uploaded the tracks on YouTube.
Is this song, “Winds Of Vengeance” representative for the direction of the new album? Can you give us any other details on it – like song titles, album title and so on?
– The new material will be, in our opinion, the strongest we have done to date. It will be furious, serious and a heavy-as-fuck meltdown of what drunk demons roam in our heads all this time. We will not spoil the material by giving it a “route” either in the vain of “Wings Of Vengeance” or anything else. Soon enough you will be able to judge by yourself!