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23/07/2008 – Interview with BATTLEROAR

The Greek Heavy Metallers from BATTLEROAR released their third album, "To Death And Beyond..." (review), about three months ago. It's a serious step forward compared to their previous one, "Age Of Chaos", which came out in 2005. Since Black Lotus Records went bankrupt two years ago, BATTLEROAR and other bands had to find a new label home. The Italian Cruz Del Sur Music was also interested in the band and seemed to have offered them the better deal compared to other labels.

As a result of this release, I was curious to know more about the band, their ideas, music and some other, small things. Guitarist Kostas Tzortzis was picked as the one to answer them all. Enjoy!

Battleroar logo

The new album, "To Death And Beyond...", has been out since a few months. How satisfied are you so far and how have the comments and reviews been?

Firstly, I would like to thank you in the name of all members,for your kind words and your interest. Well,I have to say that up to now, the album gets only good reviews and I hope that this will go on. Obviously,that means that we are satisfied enough up to now.

How important are reviews and fans' comments when you think of writing new songs? Do you follow your own ideas or do you try to keep the fanbase satisfied?

Actually, we try to play the music we like and want to play 'cause we are not professional musicians and that means that we are not after some kind of motivation like money, fame or whatever. Ofcourse,our fanbase's opinion is pretty important to us 'cause we owe a lot to them and because we have a good core of fans and friends who have been supporting us for a long time now and we wouldn't like to disappoint them. So,the only thing we have to do, I think, is just to be ourselves, 'cause this is what they liked about us and this is what we want them to like. As for the reviews now, they are important too for us and to the audience, but sometimes,these can be just the personal opinion of someone and not the actual truth. So, reviews have mostly to do with whom is behind them.

If one day you would like to make a different kind of Metal (something extremer or perhaps softer, more mainstream), would you release under BATTLEROAR or choose a different name?

Interesting question! To be honest, I have never thought of it before. Well, definitely, if I or someone else from the band would like to do something like this, it wouldn't be under BATTLEROAR's name.For us and many more people this name represents a lot - important things in life and in a way they are pretty sacred for us to be stained with something out of all this.

As good as "Age Of Chaos" was, I find that the new album shows improvements on several levels: production, musicianship, compositions, ... Is this a normal evolution or did you work differently compared to the previous albums?

I think it's a normal evolution after three years of rehearsing, practising, touring, etc. Of course, every time we enter the studio for a new album we are more and more experienced and that is something really useful that can be heard on "To Death And Beyond".

What was the most challenging this time, be it in the writing or recording process?

I think that time restriction was the hardest part in this album. Composing is something that has to do with inspiration and this is something that you can not have an appointment with! So, it just happened. As for the recording, it went as normal. That means, really challenging! Else, I don't think that there is a process of any album in general that can be easy.

Hear Their Cries coverThere is a connection between the three albums via the covers, as they all have a battle scene. Is there also a specific lyrical connection or is it just a recurring theme (battles and everything around it) that you use?

Well, regarding the covers, it's a trilogy. The begining of a battle in the first album, where you can hear the "Battleroar" of the warriors, total chaos in the middle of the battle in the second one, "Age of Chaos" and the end of a battle in this world and the begining of a new a new dimension..."To Death and Beyond". As for the lyrics, no, there is no connection between them.

Did you consult books and websites for this? And how much do you care about the accuracy?

I have to say that we use books, movies and music as inspiration and guidance and we like to act pretty accurate in historical or literature subjects,up to the level that this is possible.

"Age of Chaos" was released via Black Lotus Records, but they went bankrupt two years ago. Did it have an impact on the band or were you confident that a new label home would soon be found?

The fact you mention had an important financial impact on the band. Also, it affected us in a negative way in our continouity towards our fans. Although we were always pretty confident that we would find another label home, we couldn't be so sure about the terms that we would have to sign for.

How satisfied are you of the work of Black Lotus?

I want to be fair towards Black Lotus, that's why I will say that they were doing a really good job until the moment that they started to have their (and our, unfortunately) financial issues and problems.

The label you signed with is the small Italian Cruz Del Sur Music. How soon was this deal concluded and why did you choose them and not, for example, a German label?

We checked a lot of proposals from labels from different countries and we took all the possible options at the time. The profile of this label was the big advantage of it. The terms of the contract were also ok and the owner of the label has a good and trustworthy reputation to the "circle". That was really important for us after the issue with Black Lotus.

This line-up has worked on the three albums. I take it you are friends enough to know each other and strenghten the confidence when creating a new album and doing gigs? And frictions are easier resolved as well? ;-)

Hehe, see,.sometimes it's better for the members to live in three different countries.

Live performances are important for bands to get their name out, to promote albums. Has this had a significant impact on your popularity (in Greece and of course other countries), on sales, etc..?

Yes, I think it had. It's always nice to be able to present your work to the audience and understand its reaction from the letters, e-mails and handshakes.

You've played on many festivals so far and even supported MANOWAR. I take it this was quite an experience for you? And what do Joey and co. think of BATTLEROAR?

Well, yes, we have a lot of memories and experiences from festivals and tours that I wouldn't change for nothing. As for MANOWAR, we played with them in Greece and of course it was an amazing experience! But, I can not know what Joey and co. say about us. Maybeyou should ask him personally.

With a new record out, are you going to tour Europe or just stick to a festival here and there? If a tour, with whom?

We already made some shows in Germany, Switzerland and France with MANILLA ROAD. There is a plan to play in Italy and Spain next November and of course in Greece a little earlier, I think. So every option is open, 'cause there are some proposals from all over Europe and a couple from USA, so we'll see.

Battleroar bandAny plans for a live album and/or DVD or do you think it's a bit too early?

I think, it's a little early for a live album, but a DVD is something that we are really interested in doing. I think we will do something about it soon.

There is also a special BATTLEROAR fanclub. What can you tell about this? And how often are you in contact with them? Are there special events in that context?

We are in frequent contact with the owner (Michael "Man of War" Nochos) and with some members. The fanclub is the core of our fans and we always try to keep them satisfied with extra stuff only for them or with special events like previews of new stuff, gatherings and parties, invitations to our rehearsals and exclusive merchandise.

Several other bands also have a fanclub, but with the massive amount of releases coming out these days, and everyone being a musician, not everyone has the time to join a fanclub. In your opinion, what extras can a fanclub contribute to a band and are they still of use?

Well, I think that it's a matter of how the band thinks of it. For us, it means something special,there are people there who followed us since the begining and they have a place in this really special section of our fanbase. Also,I have to mention that there are places taken there from people who left this cruel world and we keep counting on them as members in their neverlasting memory. So, as you understand, it's not the most important thing in life, but it can be something nice.

How often do you practise? And do you practise more when you have gigs planned?

As I said before, we live in three different countries, so practising as a band doesn't happen too often. But we keep on practising pretty hard as individuals and working on our stuff for personal studying. Of course, we practise more often for any upcoming show.

Next to BATTLEROAR, what else keeps you occupied? (jobs, hobbies, other bands, ...)

Of course, we have our regular jobs and several hobbies. As goes for other bands, we sometimes jam with friends here and there. I have an inactive project named ARPYIAN HORDE and I work on a side-project with our violin player Alex Papadiamantis. But in general,we are pretty busy.

That's it for me. Many thanks for taking the time for this interview. If there's anything you wish to add, fire away.

Thank you for the interview, Tim. Hope to meet you one day and have some beers together!


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