Arrayan Path

Arrayan Path released one of the best melodic heavy/power metal albums of 2017. Grande Rock couldn’t miss the chance to talk with singer & songwriter Nicholas Leptos, guitarist Socrates Leptos and bass player Miguel Trapezaris about the album’s concept & music among other interesting things…
Arrayan Path band pic
Hi Nicholas, Socrates & Miguel and welcome to Grande Rock. Congrats on your new album “Dawn of Aquarius” – it’s truly one of the best albums of 2017!
Nicholas: Thank you and thanks for the support!
“Dawn of Aquarius” was released almost a year after “Chronicles of Light”. Which was that inner need of yours that made you release a new album so soon?
Nicholas: Nothing more than the need to keep creating! We never rest on our laurels and we always keep moving forward. We have so many ideas and songs that could set up tons of albums! So, we have to keep moving. It is our philosophy to not have huge gaps between albums although it has happened in the past.
And how about the use of oud and yaylin tambur and the more folk elements on the album this time?
Socrates: We were very fortunate to make the acquaintance of Christodoros Mnasonos, a musician with great knowledge in middle – eastern music and amazing instrumental skills. His playing contributed much to the oriental aura that we wanted to communicate and provided a captivating new color to our musical canvas.
How did you decide to deal with mother goddess Kali and the Hindu history and mythology?
Nicholas: We have always been into different mythologies and cultures. We have written about this theme in the past in our album “Ira Imperium” and the song “Kiss of Kali”, so it was a good chance to re-visit this culture. It is also important to note that the music really fit the subject.
Is it true that you cooperated with a Kali’s priest for the lyrics in order to be more precise and to the point?
Nicholas: We had a guide yes! An official Kali priest who “held our hand” throughout this whole procedure and helped us with the lyrics. We thank him dearly for that. We couldn’t have done it without him.
Hence that’s why you called the album “Dawn of Aquarius”? Also is that mother goddess Kali on the cover artwork?
Nicholas: Yes, that’s her. It’s not the traditional Kali that you see in books but we had to adjust her to a more “heavy metal” kind of cover. She is different but equally fierce!
Do you think that the Kali/Hindu theme is a bit “weird” for an epic/power metal band like Arrayan Path… or a good story is always a good story no matter what?
Miguel: Hello, Miguel here! I certainly don’t think the Kali/Hindu theme is weird – a good story is a good story no matter what. Epic/power metal has always, to my mind, been about telling stories. As far back as you can go with the genre, it was telling tales of many different kinds – usually of epic battles, or some great struggle. All of our favourite bands tell stories with their music, and we’re certainly no exception – our past albums have followed themes, and this time we went with one different from our “usual” ancient Greek roots. Mythology around the world is such an important part of society because that’s how cultures pass on their heritage and history, so it was a really interesting project to get into a mythology that was less familiar to us. We all learned a lot from the experience!
Do tell us about the guest appearances of Andreas Paraschos (Blynd) and George Eracleous (Oneirism) on the album.
Miguel: Andreas and George are good friends of ours – the metal scene in Cyprus is quite small, so we all know each other and for the most part support each other in our endeavours. Andreas has a really great brutal voice that we felt would give a powerful hit to the song, so we called him up for the session and he was totally up for it. With George, he was actually the sound engineer for bass and vocals on this album. While recording at Oneirism studios, he lent his voice to a track which was also a great impact to the song. We always welcome working with different musicians and artists, every one of whom will add their own unique character and approach to the music. We’re certainly lucky to have so many gifted friends!
Give us a hint about each track…
Nicholas: “Equilibrium”: A song “born” to open an album!
“The Flower Born of Itself”: Probably the most complex song in the album.
“Dark Daughter of the Snake”: Short and to the point.
“The Hundred Names of Kali Ma”: The essence of Arrayan Path!
“So It Shall Be Written”: We also love Helloween and Stratovarius!
“She Who Is Primordial Wisdom”: The “sexiest” riff of the whole album haha…
“Dawn of Aquarius”: If I had to choose a song to represent the album musically it is this song.
“Cremation Grounds”: Our middle-eastern side re-appears!
“Empress (Reality of All the Threes)”: Our drummer Stefan’s best performance with Arrayan Path!
“Lotus Eyes”: Our doom side and possibly my favourite (this week).
“The Eleventh Mantra”: We also love Rhapsody and Kamelot!
“Guardian Angel”: A personal song for me.
“Garland of Skulls”: Just play this one loud!
How did the cooperation with Simone Mularoni (DGM, Elvenking, Eldritch etc.) for the album’s mixing and mastering occur?
Nicholas: Simo was suggested by a common friend on Facebook. I also loved his work with Elvenking. He is very easy to work with, listens to your ideas and is very inventive! We are very happy to have found him.
I see there’s a live show on March 10th, 2018, at Remedy in Athens. Have you planned any other live shows as yet?
Miguel: We have another show in Larnaca, Cyprus, on 9th February. We will try to arrange more.
Which are those elements that make Arrayan Path’s music more compelling and lyrical on the whole?
Socrates: First and foremost, it is the strong sense of melody that pervades all the songs. Melody is the most dominant element in all music and it makes for a more immediate and powerful effect. Related to that is perhaps the avoidance of overly complex or self-indulging instrumental parts. We didn’t want anything to get in the way of beautiful melody.
Which are your expectations from “Dawn of Aquarius” and what do you wish to achieve with Arrayan Path over the next years?
Miguel: So far the album has received very positive reviews, people really seem to enjoy what we created which is obviously one of the main things! We worked hard on it and we feel proud of what we made, so it’s very gratifying to see that the critics have understood what we were trying to achieve. We expect more of the same to follow! As for the band, we are currently in the studio recording the next album, which will take more of an epic approach. It will be tough to follow up “Dawn of Aquarius”, but I am positive we can do it. The new album is already sounding amazing. We will try to play more shows to our fans everywhere, as far as the possibilities allow us to!
OK, time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Arrayan Path initially?
Nicholas: It came from a plant called “Arrayan”. It didn’t make any sense but I liked how the name “floated” when pronounced. So, we kept it. It’s like Edguy. Nobody knows what it means and who cares?!
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
Socrates: Today’s music suffocates under the pressure that the music industry and too often the musicians themselves impose on it. As a result, much of this music sounds the same. I would wish some of this pressure lifted so that musicians can create more for the sake of art. I believe that would also prove more profitable, at least for bands.
Nicholas: I would erase the elitists and the trolls!
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
Miguel: I think one major problem which everyone in the music industry is feeling, most of all the artists, is the fact that all music can be had for free. Of course, we can get into philosophical discussions about how music should be free, and that it is impossible to claim “ownership” over what is effectively vibrations in the air, but the fact of the matter is that these things take a lot of time and effort to create. We have bills to pay and kids to feed, after all.
But it’s also important to remember that while music as we know it has existed for thousands and thousands of years, the concept of a “music industry” is very recent – only a hundred years or so, when recording became a thing. Of course, just like anything else that is good and pure and genuine, people immediately jumped on in and tried to figure out how they could make money from it, which is how things have ended up as they have – you have record labels and media companies squeezing every single last cent out of an artist, before tossing them aside and replacing them with the new hot thing. There are so many eager people hungry for success and fame, and they can be easily given it, in exchange for their souls and their will to live. Obviously, this applies mostly to the mainstream area, where there is a bigger market and more money to be made, but celebrity really does harm music I believe. The metal world is a bit more insulated from it, but we are not immune.
You get people going on TV shows like X Factor or whatever, who are there primarily because they want to be famous, not because they have a passion for making music. You get pop stars who are famous because of what they look like or what stupid things they do or who they sleep with, rather than the music they create – I guess the thing I dislike most about the music industry nowadays is that the music is the least important part of it. I had the misfortune to be stuck in front of a TV playing the latest chart hits recently and it was honestly painful. There is zero passion, authenticity, feeling or artistry in any of it. It is all trash. Given that music is one of the most powerful forms of communication that we as humans have ever created, it’s sad to see such an incredible thing be used in such a crass way, not unlike watching someone use a Degas sculpture as target practice for paintball.
If you found a genie in a bottle and you only had 3 wishes what would they be?
Nicholas: Health for my family, money to record albums every year and the ability to eat chocolates without getting fat!
Miguel: Cure for cancer, make people understand that pollution is destroying our world, and for those stupid USB charging cables to not suddenly stop working for no reason, I hate it when that happens.
Top 3 epic movies of any era?
Nicholas: Gladiator, Troy and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Which are the top 3 Power Metal albums of all time according to you?
Nicholas: Ohh man… Helloween – “Keeper of the Seven Keys part 2”, Kamelot – “The Black halo” & Rhapsody – “Power of the Dragonflame”.
Fill in the phrase… “Power Metal music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
Nicholas: Kamelot, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Angra, Hammerfall and many more!
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
Nicholas: Kobra Paige man. She is the new Doro!
Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
Nicholas: Male: Bruce Dickinson, Female: Floor Jansen (the female Dickinson!)…
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
Nicholas: Bruce Dickinson!
Miguel: Franz Liszt. By far my favourite classical composer, and apparently he was a lot of fun to hang out with.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
Nicholas: The past of course. Probably ancient Greece or Rome!
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
Socrates: That’s a tough one… It’s really impossible for any music to carry the weight of the world on its shoulders. I could choose something that represents human music at its best… probably Queen’s “A Night at the Opera” or Extreme’s “III Sides to Every Story”.
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
Miguel: I only ever read the first book years ago, and don’t really remember much of it – sorry! If you’d asked me about Star Trek or something maybe I’d have been of more help…
Nicholas: I would choose any character that makes it through the season without getting his head chopped off!
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
Nicholas: Ha! I would sell her to get it back!
That’s all for now guys. Thx for talking to Grande Rock. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care!
Nicholas: Thanks for the interview, it was really fun! Check out our latest album “Dawn of Aquarius”!