Seduce the Heaven

There are some bands like Seduce the Heaven that have made their first steps and have also given gratitude to the Greek scene through hard work. It’s been a while since a Greek band surprised us nicely here on Grande Rock. Albums like “Field of Dreams” should be supported by all those who like good melodic, extreme, female fronted metal music. Alex Flouros the guitarist, songwriter and producer talks to Grande Roc about the band, the Greek scene and the debut album… for more see below…
Seduce the Heaven band pic

Hi Alex… “Field of Dreams” has nicely surprised us all here on Grande Rock. We’ve have added it in our “Gem” category! You have done a great job!
 
A: Hello everybody! Thank you very much. I’m happy you enjoy our work. We’re happy it’s available for everybody now after a considerable amount of time.
 
 
Thus, tell us how did it all start? How did you decide to form another band and play quite differently than you did on Fragile Vastness?
 
A: Fragile Vastness was the child of Vangelis Yalamas. His music, his vision. Seduce The Heaven is mine. I have always enjoyed playing prog rock/metal music. I’ve been a fan of the specific genre since my teen years. But me and Vangelis are two very different people with very different music tastes and mentality on how to work with a band. You can just say I felt it was time for a change. And although with a very different approach, progressive is also part of the STH palette.
 
 
Did you find the appropriate guys to start the band? Was it hard to find a vocalist like Elina? I know Greece is full of “wannabe” singers and a few can actually sing. Elina is one of them!
 
A: I do agree and she’ll be glad to know. I’ve known Elina for quite a long time now. So the easy answer would be that the perfect vocalist for the job was always in front of me. The first 3 songs that were composed were our little experiment that determined the future form of the band’s sound. I wrote the music. Elina wrote the lyrics and vocal lines. Then it was time to sit down and figure out exactly how we would work step by step in the studio or for stuff such as promotion, labels, video clips etc. The whole thing in order to form a full band, record a full album and present it to the world. Finding the rest of the band members wasn’t all that easy, but I’m pretty sure that they are perfect for our band and the way we work right now.
 
 
When did you start recording the 5-track demo and what songs were included?
 
A: There was no demo actually. Once all major decisions had been made regarding our plan for the album and all band members had been gathered, we entered the studio at the end of 2009 or early 2010 if I’m not mistaken.
 
Then as the recordings progressed we released a promo pack of 5 songs for the press and in order to start promoting our band over the internet. So we simply chose 5 songs from the overall 10 of the album. The selection was completely random and probably had to do with the studio process of the specific 5 songs, 5 being more complete than others at that point. I don’t write “filler” songs, so any track of the album would do for me as a sample. The 5 songs in the promo were “Reflection”, “Illusive Light”, “Field Of Dreams”, “Baseless Addiction”, “Falling”.

 
 
After the 5-track promo, did you start working on the first video for “Illusive Light”?
 
A: As I mentioned before the plans for the video clips were always in our mind before we entered the studio. We actually started filming the video clip for “Illusive Light” during the process of mixing the 5 track promo. It was released shortly after the promo pack was complete.
 
 
So, I guess it didn’t take you long to start recording the songs for your debut album, right? Except for the 5 promo songs, did you start composing from scratch?
 
A: 7 songs were composed from scratch by me. “Illusive Light” was actually already recorded in a different form for my solo instrumental album. But the way I deal with instrumental songs is actually like an actual song with lyrics. Main theme, verse, bridge, chorus, middle theme etc.
 
So, the specific song was always in the back of my head when I started writing music for the STH album. When Elina wrote the vocal melodies for it, I knew it had to be re-recorded for our album in its new form.
 
“In Close Distance” is a song composed and arranged by Elina. Also “Falling” is the only song we wrote together with Elina.

 
 
How did you come up with the title “Field of Dreams”? Where is that “Field”… if there’s one, of course? Is that what we saw on the cover artwork?
 
A: That’s a question probably suited for Elina, but I’ll do my best to answer. The field of dreams for me is everything we hide inside us. Our dreams, our hopes, anger, disappointment, regrets, fear, love, frustration, excitement, etc, everything good or bad that we all have inside us and deal with in our dreams or everyday life. The field of dreams is a place where everything of all that is abundant, available and within reach. So it’s really a matter of choice or line of action in order to deal with all that and find true happiness. Sometimes you find a way to overcome all obstacles in life no matter how hard it hits you. Sometimes you let yourself drown in trouble...
 
 
Can you give us some hints about the album’s songs?
 
A: “Reflection”: Balanced song to my ears. Melodic and aggressive in equal amounts.
 
“Walls of Oblivion”: My influence from Pantera is obvious here. Aggression and groove! Perfect for headbanging!
 
“Leave Me Alone”: Probably the most technical song of our debut album! Great exchange between growling and melodic vocals. Guitars all over the place!
 
“Field of Dreams”: Probably the most easy listening full band song. Nice groove.
 
“Illusive Light”: Big instrumental arrangement. Fun song with many interesting parts.
 
“Falling”: Melody more obvious here. Also power elements are also enhanced on this one.
 
“Ignorance”: Probably my favourite song. Very experimental with different music elements.
 
“Helpless Mind”: Dark sound and vibe in general.
 
“Baseless Addiction”: This one seems quite a bit theatrical to me for the vocal parts. Again contradiction between the growling and melodic vocals.
 
“In Close Distance”: The ballad of the album. Very melodic and soulful.
 
 
You also broke the curse of the Greek bands. You have a damn good & heavy production! After listening to the album for the first time, I thought that you might have recorded the album aboard. I bet that this is where all the Greek bands are having major issues. Moreover, these days they prefer to record on their laptops!
 
A: Thank you. I have always been a gear head and dealing with sound in music and recording. The possibilities today are huge with software. You can have a very decent result with low cost by working an album at home. But it really all depends on the people working on the sound and their abilities and what we call the “know how”. I have heard brilliant stuff from home recordings, I have heard terrible stuff. Same goes for the studio. The important thing is to know what you are actually doing and how to do it.
 
In my opinion though, today you really can’t afford to gamble with the sound of your album. The listeners are really demanding these days because the technology is available for a long time now and the industry demands it as well. So if you actually respect your work as a musician, you will present it in the best possible way and not by compromising in the name of cost.
(i.n.: Yeap, I totally agree with you. It’s a matter of people that have the knowledge to take the whole sound a step further…)
 
 
SoundFlakes Studio has done a wonderful job and this ain’t the first time. I’m aware of the band 4Bitten that had also recorded there and the result was very good. This is how a European studio should be like. I think we must give extra kudos to the guys. You also mixed and produced the album, right? Was it the first time? How was it like?
 
A: Yes! The people at Sounflakes studios definitely deserve some praise! I had the pleasure working in the specific studio in the past, for some instrumental songs for the solo album that I mentioned earlier, so I knew my way around.
 
I have said this before but I will say it again. It’s the best studio in Greece in my opinion. We didn’t record there because we could not book a studio abroad. It was simply a conscious decision and the only way for me to bring what I had in mind to life, soundwise.
 
I produced the album. That’s for general music direction and arrangement. The overall sound of the album. Responsible for the mixing process is Nick Papadopoulos, Soundflake’s studio mastermind! I have to thank him for his brilliant work! Also John Mcris with whom we recorded the guitar and bass tracks. It was a great experience! It requires a huge amount of hours working full time for the 60 min result. But of course it’s worth it. J
 
The guys from 4bitten are all good friends of mine. I love their work. Serious working musicians! Much work, less talk. That’s the way to go.
(i.n.: Soundflake Studios are indeed the best recording studios in Greece this time period. Greetings to my old friend from our Uni-years Akis from 4bitten…)
 
 
You have released two videos so far. One for “Illusive Light” and another for “Reflection”. I read that there’s gonna be another one. Is it true? And if yes, which song will it be for?
 
A: 2 more video clips are gonna be released in the near future. The songs are gonna be “Leave Me Alone” and “In close Distance”. We wanted people to get a good idea of Seduce the Heaven with those 4 video clips. So we chose an up-bit song with various elements, a kinda mainstream song with all our elements present, a very technical song, and a radio song. All 4 video clips are already filmed by LensOrama. Another company I have to thank here for their brilliant work!
 
 
After all this hard work, you decided to release the album on your own. Why’s that? We see more and more bands choosing the independent way nowadays. Is it better to control your own work?
 
A: Because to put this in a simple way, all labels are sinking slowly. Albums are not what they used to be as a merchant tool so their demands are the same, although the profit is significantly less. That makes contracts from labels to bands less of course and in most cases frustrating. Their budget is targeted on some “sure” investments and they don’t take chances with promising bands anymore. So it’s kind of a one way for new bands. We don’t have to listen to absurd demands and we also can manage our moves the way we seem fit. On the downside of course a big label is really connected and knows how to make big steps in the industry that most bands don’t.
 
It’s a matter of choice really. We already made ours, at least at this point. I would never say no to a good deal in the future as long as it’s reasonable and fair for both parties.

 
 
What are the difficulties till now, promoting, distributing and selling the album on your own?
 
A: The only problem I can see at this point is the amount of personal time we spend to keep making things ticking. That’s the toll we have to pay each day and it inflicts on our personal lives. It’s not an easy thing to do. But it keeps us happy doing what we love the most.
 
 
I think it’s great news that your album will be released in Japan. Tell us how did you get the deal?
 
A: The great thing that we noticed when we started promoting our band through the web with video clips, samples etc, was that we received contact from many people in the music industry. People that we didn’t try to reach ourselves. Sometimes these contacts come for a good reason, sometimes of course not.
 
Spinning records was one of those contacts. They approached us in a very nice way, stated very clearly what they could offer to us as a band and their demands and we came easily to a mutual agreement. I guess that’s the way everything should work with bands and labels, without shadows and fear. That’s not always the case though. We had to turn down quite a few offers from labels that were not meeting our simple standards and our vision and made some absurd demands. We also have a great agreement with FYB records, our European distributor!

 
Seduce the Heaven band pic

I’m sure that you spent a lot of money in order to do things professionally. Does it worth the shot? Would you advise other bands to go that way? Can actually the fans support the band they like these days? Is it enough?
 
A: If I wouldn’t advice someone to go that way I would not follow that road myself. So it’s kind of a given thing. I believe that in order for others to take you seriously you have to be a professional in your line of work. That includes the whole package. For me it’s do it and go all the way or don’t do it at all. I could be right or wrong here of course. (i.n.: Not at all, that should be the way… if you wanna do something professionally at least try to do it well…)
 
 
Quite a few things have been said about your band’s music style. So, how would you characterize it?
 
A: It’s metal music. I’m not fond of subgenres although I do realize it’s important to most listeners to determine what a band sounds like and name it somehow. I do know it’s metal. Not rock, not polka, not reggae or whatever. I also know it has elements from metalcore, Swedish melodic death, progressive , gothic, symphonic and power metal. Maybe one day someone will help us find a new word to describe our kind of music exactly because right now there isn’t one. I do enjoy this diversity though. I find it intriguing that someone can’t really spot what our style is. That means it’s not a given thing that he has heard a million times before.
 
 
Have you booked any live shows yet? Is there any chance to see you in any Summer Festival this year?
 
A: Nothing confirmed yet. We will start playing live shows near the summer here in Greece though for sure. The kind of live shows that we look into abroad usually are planned a year before so we can’t really announce something about those right now. We are a live band and we want to share our music live with the world. It’s just a matter of time and careful planning until we start confirming live shows non-stop!
 
 
“I’ve written: “…Seduce the Heaven are one of the most promising acts from the Greek metal scene. They seem to have a bright future and regarding the fact that this is just their debut release, they will have a lot more to give in the future…”. What’s your say?
 
A: I’d say we have to keep up to that expectation. And we will do our best to. If we rest now it’s over. We already make plans for one or two albums ahead. We are really devoted to what we do. And we have passion for music. That’s what we always wanted to do in our lives. And that’s what we’ll keep doing. (i.n.: That’s a good way to do things…)
 
 
What’s your opinion of people downloading free music from the Internet? What shall an artist do in order to avoid losing money and time?
 
A: I have mixed feelings about that one. I know it’s the sign of the times. Everybody does it. I would be really biased answering that one from the musician’s corner. I guess it really depends on each case for me. Huge names in the music world don’t really need CD sales. I think if I were in their shoes I would give away my albums for free. They all make big money from live shows. The income from CD sales is really insignificant next to the one from live shows. And I don’t really like greed.
 
But for starting bands. That’s a different story. They need the support to keep making moves in the music field and keep growing. That support won’t come from labels or downloads.

 
 
And some weird Questions now!!! Why did you call the band Seduce the Heaven?
 
A: A good friend of ours suggested that name in the very early stages of me working the first 3 songs for fun. The name was very good so when we made some serious plans for the band, we had to keep it! I think it describes our overall sound and image very well.
 
 
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
 
A: Ahh... Tough one. Maybe “Images and Words” by Dream Theater. That album made a really deep impact on me when it came out. I think it still seems perfect to me after all these years. Probably the most “complete” album I can think of.
 
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd as well. “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” is a perfect example for me on something that is so simple and yet so full of sound, emotion and so beautiful. Just perfect.

 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist? 
 
A: I would choose a Weird Al Yankovic album. That would probably screw them up for good. Hahaha… Never let the future of the human kind in my hands!
 
 
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
 
A: Late 70’s/early 80’s!! That whole era seems like pure magic to me in so many music genres! Classic rock, hard rock, AOR, hair metal, progressive rock, it’s all there!!! Would love to meet my idols and if able to be a part of that progressing scene!
 
 
What do you think of the economic crisis that’s threatening people’s lives over the profit of some rich men? Do we need a revolution again?
 
A: I would say we are waiting too much for it! The time is NOW! Aerosmith’s “Eat the Rich” is something to be taken seriously. (i.n.: I’m with you dude… Com’ on people wake up!)
 
 
You are standing in front of two transparent doors. Door number 1 leads to a huge garden full of naked models running, playing and kissing around while Door number 2 takes you to the Isles of the Blessed where you can interact with some great ancient philosophers and learn the deepest secrets of life, death and universe. Which one would you cross and why?
 
A: I enjoy a good time as the next guy... But my “party-animal/which country is this that I woke up to?” days are probably over. I’m also very happy in a relationship for a long time now so the playboy mansion thing is not my cup of tea anymore. The more you grow, you realize what’s important in life. I would chose door No2 for obvious reasons I explained above. I’m more curious than horny, at least when I’m alone. Now if you want a completely different answer, you should interview our male singer, Marios! That guys is a dick on wheels! (i.n.: hehehe…)
 
 
I will give you 3 colours, and you will tell me what album you believe best describes each colour...
 
A: Black: Metallica – Metallica ” (plain and simple)…
 
Red: “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” – Black Sabbath (that album cover used to haunt me in my sleep when I was a kid! Was one of my father’s records! lol)…
 
Yellow: Yellow is a colour for the yellow pages. Not album covers…
 
 
You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
 
A: You are trying to get me in trouble, aren’t you. lol. Ok... If I were single I would not say no to Megan Fox. I’m so gonna hear about this tonight.. Hahaha (i.n.: I’ll be damned if I didn’t’! haha…)
 
 
Beautiful or ugly woman? For girlfriend or for wife?
 
A: If a man is not looking for beauty in women he’s either gay or braindead. When it comes to marriage you probably need to think twice if you want to have a pretty girl next to you all your life that has the IQ of a doorknob.
 
 
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? J
 
A: Well… If she values her life she will know better than to move into that direction. AC units do not make pretty hats and real life Hulk aka Alex Flouros always likes to SMASH!
 
 
I think we’re over Alex. Thx so much for taking the time to do this interview. Close this interview in your own way… Take care!
 
A: Thank you very much! I enjoyed answering your questions. Thank you all for your help and support with Seduce the Heaven. We hope to see you all on a live stage near you soon! For more info in our activities please visit www.seducetheheaven.com and get informed on all recent STH activity!

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