How would you characterize the music style that you play?
C: That's always a tough one. Well I can't really compare the style to another band but we have heard different comparisons like a cross between Metallica's "Kill 'em all" and Amorphis, Kreator and Death and even a cross between Dissection and Dismember (!). When I write songs, I may get certain inspiration from some bands but it doesn't mean that it's going to sound like those bands. I listen to many different bands but I think it affects my playing rather than my songwriting.
Can you mention some things about the lyrics of "Timetraveller"?
C: Well, our singer, Martin, who used to sing in Protector (german thrash metal band), wrote all of the lyrics to Timetraveller. "Man on the roof" is based on an old swedish movie called
"Mannen pε taket", which means just man on the roof. "The Bellfounder" is based on a german poem I think and "Timetraveller" pretty much is what the title says. Martin draws inspiration from everything. He's a big Star Wars fan, especially of Boba Fett and so he wrote "Slave One" which is the name of Boba Fett's spaceship.
Who's exactly is the "Timetraveller"? And where is he heading for?
C: The timetraveller isn't really any specific person so far as I know. He's not headed anywhere particular. As Martin isn't only a Star Wars fan but also a Star Trek fan, you could say that the timetraveller is going wherever the timemachine takes him. The whole timetravelling and travelling into other dimensions is something I am very familiar with as I wrote most of the lyrics in my sideproject Sauron, in which Mathias also plays in.
Why do you call the band Ruins Of Time? Who thought it?
C: When we started the band we had to think of a name so we were brainstorming at a rock bar one night and I came up with the name Legacy. It sounded cool, and it would be a good name for us because both Juan and I come from a very rich culture and historical background. He is Mapuche (natives of southern Chile) and I am of course greek. So you could kind of base some of the lyrics around the name Legacy. But of course the name was already taken by a band in germany and later a stockholm band came by with that name so I'm glad that we changed it. Juan came up with Ruins of time. There's actually a painting by that name but I found out about that later. I didn't even know that Testament used to call themselves Legacy. Juan told me that after I came up with the name. The funny thing about Ruins of time is the initials which spell out R.O.T. It's not a coincidence, Juan told me.
Who made the artwork of the album and who made the production?
C: The artwork is done by Tomas Ekman, a good friend of ours who is a real talented artist. Although he doesn't make a living out of it, it's more like a hobby to him. He is also a great musician and has tons of projects going. Juan gave him his basic idea of what he wanted on the cover after going through the rest of the band and explaining what he wanted. Juan often has a certain vision and this is exactly what he wanted on the cover. The production is all ours. We wrote the songs, we arranged them, rehearsed them for a long time. The song "Timetraveller" was actually written right before we recorded our first cd, "For a new dawn". So we worked on that song for four years, many things on that song didn't sound the same. I played all the leads on that song so I had a lot of rehearsals to write the solo and the lead guitars. I never write a solo at home where I come up with a song. I always sort of improvise and whatever comes at that moment, whatever sounds good while playing it with the rest of the band, I'll use it. So one day I might come up with the first part but the second half might not sound good. So I just take off from the first part and try to come up with a good sounding second part. It takes time I'll admit that, because I'm not good at theory. If I knew what scales go over what chords, I could write the solo at home much quicker. But I never really sat down and practiced scales. I haven't practiced on my guitar for over two years. I'd rather just try to come up with good guitar riffs. The latest thing I've learned on guitar is screaming harmonics which you can hear near the end of Pantera's song "Cemetary Gates". That's the nearest thing I have come to practicing. As far as the drumming goes, Juan just takes a listen to the riff, asks us to play it over and over again as he tries to come up with something to play on the drums. He hates to play the regular 4/4 "boom chak" beat that every other drummer plays. He's really stubborn on that part, that he have to come up with different drumming all the time to be as original as possible. Everyone who has ever heard the drumming on Iced Earth's "Days of purgatory" collection can hear that the drums are really basic (which I find boring). Juan won't do that, even if I sometimes want him to play a basic 4/4 beat, he refuses. He always asks though which drum part sounds best because he comes up with two different versions sometimes. So I usually say use them both. (Laughs).
What are your next plans? Maybe a good contract with a label? How are things about that?
C: Hopefully, some label will see the originality in our music and sign us. But I'm not naive. I don't think that original music sells. Not even metal. Most people want a band that relates to another. That's why we have all these Slayer clones etc etc. A few years back every band in Salonici, Greece, sounded like Iced Earth because that was everyone's favorite band. And many musicians tend to sound like their favorite bands. But to keep to the subject, we have sent our cd to a few record labels that we think are into the style we play but so far we haven't had any positive responds or in some cases any response at all. I think some record labels are real bad at taking a few minutes to send an email to say, "Thanks, but were not interested". Other than a record deal, well.. We try to play as many live shows as possible, which is kind of hard in Stockholm because there aren't many places for unsigned heavy metal bands to play left. Actually, there are not many places to play to begin with. Those kind of clubs come and go, where the owners get bored and close down the club and the owners of the bar where that club had it's one night a week find another club owner and a new place opens.
Is there a better way for the fans to get your cd? Have you sign in a distributing company? Tell them how can they get Ruins Of Time's album?
C: The only way for fans to get the album is to order it from us, which suits everyone much better. It suits us because we get all the profit (which isn't much of a profit since we paid for everything ourselves, recording, covers, cd's...). The fans will get the cd at a lower price than from a record shop or such. We haven't put a price on the either cd on our site but with shipping & handling the price would be 80 skr (in Sweden), 10 euro (in whole of Europe) and $10 (for the rest of the world).
As far as I know you are working on some new songs. Will it be released from a company?
C: As I said earlier, if we get signed until that point we have enough songs and want to record them, a company will of course release them. Otherwise, we just keep on doing it ourselves. The hard part is the commercial bit of it all. You have to be seen to be heard. If many people know the name of the band, then people will start wondering what we sound like. Then things might get going a little easier. So spread the word, good people.
Some personal questions now. How's the life in a foreign country for a Greek? Is it hard to be part of the whole life there and especially to be part of the big Sweden metal scene?
C: Well, I was born here so it's home for me. That doesn't mean I don't feel at home in Greece. Some of the differences between Sweden and Greece is the alcohol consumption. I haven't seen many Greek youths drunk on the streets trying to walk home from the bar after ten beers as in Sweden I am one of those who will drink 8-10 beers (maybe one too much, but it's too late before I discover that, hehe) while listening to rock n roll and having a good time with my friends.
Of course there's a difference in the climate, although we have cold winters, we have warm summers. Take this summer for instance. One day we had 23 degrees celcius. Not that hot you might think. Yeah, correct, but there was 60% moisture in the air which makes those 23 celcius stick to your clothes and you sweat because the air is so thick. The heat in Greece isn't that moist, especially not in the countryside where I spend half my summer trips to Greece at. After twelve o 'clock in the night you're freezing out there. Then there's the metal scene. As you might know, Sweden have a lot of metal bands. As I live in the capital where half those bands are from I know a few folks from different bands. (I actually get asked a lot if I know Quorthon while I'm in Greece). Most of the Swedish metal bands don't play much live. The only band that still plays small clubs regularly are Entombed.
How's the Sweden Metal scene?
C: Well, first of all, it's not as big as it was around 1995. Around that time you had all the big Bay area death and thrash metal bands visiting regularly and playing sold out shows. I wasn't involved in the scene then so I never saw any of them. The last American band I saw was Iced Earth. I had the opportunity to see Opeth live, which is very rare because the only play like ten shows a year and that, was their first show in Stockholm in a long time. I also saw Satyricon as well. They too, don't play that many shows. Satyr really knows how to get a crowd going. He's more of a heavy metal kind of guy on stage than a black metal guy. He was the only one on stage without corpse paint might I add. Other than the bigger bands that play, I have no idea what's happening in the Swedish underground. I don't follow it anymore except the bands I have contact with; I don't really know any new unsigned metal acts from Sweden.
How do you think about your future as a musician?
C: Well, I've turned nine years old as a guitarist (and I still can't play Eddie Van Halen solo's, or any kind of fast solo at all, hehe). I have a few side projects, which aren't metal 100%, but they have some of that metal element. I wouldn't mind playing rock or rock n roll. I have even written a drum n bass song, which unfortunately was lost when Mathias (Ruins of time guitarist), formatted his hard drive and somehow lost the file while doing a backup cd. I don't know what I will be doing in ten years but I will still make music in one form or another. We have been playing in Ruins of time for five years soon. I hope it will be at least five more years. We had a lot of fun both playing music and just hanging out as friends. Nobody in the band knew each other before we started it so I've made some really good friends by this band.
A Weird question now. "!!!… If your girlfriend were selling your whole album-collection just to buy for her a good and expensive ring how would you react?
C: Haha! I'm lucky because my girlfriend won't even let me buy her a coke. She's not materialistic at all. But hypothetically what I would do if my girlfriend did that? I have no idea. You can always replace records, just buy them over again. But there's only one girlfriend exactly like the one you have, you know? You may find another but it's not the same individual. Nah! Who am I kidding? I would kill her!! (Laughs)
Where would you never go? And why?
C: I would never go to hell. Why? I can't stand that much heat. As I said, even Swedish summers are hot enough for me.
Thx Chris very much for your time. Add anything you want for the end.
C: I would like to recommend all the readers to log on to our web site (welcome.to/ruins_of_time), plow through the info/pictures, download some mp3's and finally leave a message in our guest book.
Rock 'n' roll!!!
Thanos (Mc) Aggelakis