Deep Beneath spoke with Nick Sidiropoulos from Greek black metal band Isolert. He did not skimp on words. Just press play to listen to the E.p. and dedicate the next ten minutes in reading the interview…
As an introduction, please give us some info about Isolert… the members of the band, what were the steps of the band up to date and what is the cause of Isolert’s existence?
Isolert is a black metal band originated in Volos, Greece. We were formed in the first months of 2015 and we started off with just two members. We recorded our first demo entitled “Isolated Soul” in 2015. In this recording we received a lot of help from Fiende. After a short period of time we decided that Isolert should not be a duet any longer, so I contacted two good friends, Giannis and Apostolis who joined the band.
As a four piece group we released our first full length with the title “No Hope, No Light…Only Death” in middle 2016 and an Ep in March 2017 bearing the name of the band. We have played in three carefully picked gigs (two in Greece and one in Cyprus) and it will probably be a while until we perform live again.
The purpose for Isolert’s being is simple. We don’t believe in nothing, in no God and we are not aiming in spreading any kind of message about any religion with our music. We love music and we are friend for many years and that is why this band was formed, so that we could express ourselves through it. Nothing more and nothing less… Isolert is a subjective thing. Every member of the band may interpret its purpose individually. Call it an outburst, call it therapy… I don’t really know!
What language is the band’s name in and what does it mean? In what way does it represent the band?
Isolert means isolated in Norwegian. The truth is that, when we were looking for a name, we got stuck, because we wanted it to be one word and not to have been used again. Initially we came up with the name Secretum and before the recordings we thought of Isolert, which we liked better and fit more with the music in the demo. On the other hand, we named Secretum the first song in the demo. Isolert is not a random name, because when one listens to it darkness and isolation comes in mind. I believe it represent our music perfectly.
Let’s talk about your new E.p…. Give us some details about its recording.
Our E.p. “Isolert” was recorded at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. It consists of three new songs and a cover in Slayer’s “Evil Has no Boundaries”. The truth is that we have some issues with the cover, so we didn’t include it in the cd or the tape. The recordings were made in my Home Studio in Volos, apart from the drums which were recorded in Kalovidouris Sound. It was mixed by my brother, Iordanis Sidiropoulos, as in our previous recordings and the mastering was done by Dionisis (Descent Studio).
I believe that in terms of sound and musicianship you have made a few steps forward in the E.p. What is the feedback you’ve been receiving from the press and the fans?
Thank you for your positive comments! In these recordings we invested more time in developing and orchestrating the songs. Moreover, our technical experience in recording was bigger for sure and as time passes we are becoming more efficient musicians. I believe that all these details are portrayed in the E.P. Besides that, it is crucial that in this genre the audience is always focused on the essence and not on the surface (production, sound etc). Most of the people that listened to the E.p. spoke of it highly. Some prefer the older stuff – to each his own. We always play the kind of music that we dig.
The cover, though simple, it is very powerful! Who made it and under what principle?
The cover was made by Nikos Stavridakis, a very good collaborator of ours and a person involved with the underground in Greece, as he owns Visionblack, which undertakes graphic projects. He also owns the underground label Razorbleed Productions, which makes only a few, well picked releases. We worked with Nikos on the layout of the vinyl edition of “No Hope, No Light…Only Death”. When we were crafting it, I told to him to do whatever he wants as long as there is gallows somewhere. So it happened. We liked the sketch so much we decided to use it as kind of a second logo. When we decided that the E.p. will be named “Isolert” it was a unanimous decision that this specific cover would be used.
Is covering “Evil Has No Boundaries” something like a tribute to Slayer?
Yes, this cover is absolutely a tribute to Slayer. On the other hand, this is the last song cover one is expecting to find in a release like this. The E.p. is dark with lengthy songs and repeating riffs. In theory a cover of some other band would be more suitable. But, as long as I am concerned, this was the BEST choice we could make. As weird as this may seem this song that lasts 2:30 gave us a hard time, especially on the vocals, because we wanted to keep it traditional and not make it brutal, while at the same time keeping our identity. We pitched the BPM a little higher, cut a few bars, changed the vocals about seven times and finally we actually made it…brutal!
Will the E.p. be released only in cassette form or will there be other formats as well?
Sadly, for the time being it has not yet been released in physical form. For now, if one wants to acquire it the only possible way is through Bandcamp, or some torrent site or everywhere that there is a free download. It will be released at late April by Liver Damage Records in 100 copies and by Celtic Fog Productions in CD-R again in 100 copies.
Through your band I also discovered Ogmios Underground label. Can you give us some info about it?
Ogmios Underground is a French label with a lot of underground releases. We contacted when I was looking for a label to distribute our debut and they displayed a lot of interest in us. So we worked together. They released our debut in Digipack, Pro-Tape and vinyl, so we are very pleased for our cooperation. After Isolert, Human Serpent is also working with the label and Ogmios will release the band’s third album and Insanity Cult as well, having released its second album.
You have recently re-released “No Hope No Light…Only Death” in vinyl format, with a different cover art, almost a year after its first release. Is this a typicality of the underground… that every step a band will make takes longer?
Well everything about the underground is difficult! We decided to go with the black cover art, because black is epic. We like to keep things simple. Giorgos, it is difficult for a new band like Isolert, to release all three formats at once. We are happy that we finally have our debut in vinyl format as well.
Would you ever give a thrust at Isolert by using a fan funding platform? There is a lot of talk if this is a legit and moral way of doing things…
Well, this question is difficult to answer. We would never be a part of such a funding, because it is against our beliefs to begin with and I believe there must not be many black metal musicians that would make such a decision, as we generally like to keep things more “true”. Would I stand against it? I wouldn’t criticize a band which asks for 5.000-6.000 from its fans, because the band might ACTUALLY not be able to pay for the recording (not that a recording is always that expensive… It might be cheaper or even more expensive). I will not criticize an artist who will say: “give us 15€ and get the cd and your name on the thanks list”, neither do I think that this is a cool thing to do. On the other hand, when one asks for 500.000 to build his own studio, then yes I despise him! When you exploit tour fans in cold blood and they don’t have the mind to know what’s really happening. I have seen bands asking for 30 or 40 euro just to sell high quality covers and the songs without vocals. For fuck’s sake…every musician knows that it is a two minute task to make the songs without vocals. You just press mute voice and export. Well, this discussion will be endless. No member of Isolert makes money through music and never will and everyone is free to support a band he likes any way he wishes/can – we mustn’t forget the difficult financial environment we are living in. We are ok with someone downloading our music. That’s how thing are working nowadays anyway!
Would you care to give us some details about your lyrics? I haven’t read them, but from what I can assume there must be a lot of despair and rage towards the human race in them.
The lyrical is an awkward subject. In general it is something very personal concerning the writer, so we will never publish them. Our lyric will NEVER be published in NO form. Not in a booklet, nor in Encyclopedia Metallum or somewhere else. But I will give the general idea… Yes, Isolert’s lyrics are about despair, rage, sadness and other problems a person might be facing. In this point I must mention that the lyrics for “Depression Crawls in Mankind’s Cage” were written by Χ. from Human Serpent.
What is there in the horizon when it comes to live shows? Will you be playing live in Greece? Can I ask if there are any plans for any show abroad or is the cost over the top?
We had some offers but this year is so full with other stuff that it is out of the question. We have our jobs and our projects at the same time and due to Isolert’s tight schedule we had to neglect them. So, the answer is that there is nothing on the horizon. Moreover, we have our feet on the ground and we know that if we tried to go abroad with this discography in our luggage we would probably drink some beers with the venue owners and go to sleep. A European tour is out of our league for now. After our second album there will be a European tour together with two or three Greek bands. And when I say a European tour I do not mean Bulgaria and Serbia. Either we do this fucking thing right or NOT AT ALL. When it comes to the costs, sure, it costs a lot and there must be a budget, but if you save money and do sacrifices you might save an extra buck to buy a hot dog on the tour!
Are there any other bands from Volos that we should keep an eye on? I have noticed that there isn’t much going on there when it comes to metal shows, contrary to the other cities in Thessaly. How come?
Bands from Volos? Hmmm, the truth is that the scene had a long fuse but eventually it is on the rise. There are only a few metal bands, but we are making huge efforts….you know, by the same old people all the time. Imagine that Isolert’s members are in four bands. Some bands from our city are Atavism, Convicted, Stormbringer, Faithreat, A Diadem of Dead Stars. A few good bands surfaced the last couple of years. We have Stheno, which is a remarkable grind/black (?) band which released its debut not long ago and Dendrites, a stoner/rock band. (sorry about the genre-placement of the bands, I’m not really good at this).
Yes, it is true that Volos is at its low when it comes to organizing live shows, because there is a lack of proper venues for that. On the other hand, we have the Matsagou squat, where many bands play and thing are going on. Now, if one wanted to organize a metal festival in Volos, it would probably be out of the question as there is neither the place nor the audience for such an endeavor!
Let’s close this discussion with a cliché question (just because…). Name some releases that you were impressed by lately…
Well, as my time for listening to music is very limited I will name a few that really impressed me. For starters the new Azelisassath album –I WAS LOOKING FORWARD FOR THIS FUCKER for a long time. And it was worth waiting for! Kickass record! Then I also liked the new Black Cilice. Cold as hell! And, of course, the new super album by Mastodon!
Thank you for your time! Hope to see you on stage again asap!
Thank you too, George! Keep up the good work with the site! Until the next show…
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