Interview: Kostas Ladopoulos (81db)

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Greece has been and will be the cradle of western culture since ancient times. Even today, when everyone seems to remember the Hellenic country in another direction, is giving us new talent. This applies to our guest today, a founding member and songwriter for the progressive 81db, an Italian-based band is ready to leave no stone cold! Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kostas Ladopoulos!

Hi Kostas, how are you? First of all, thank you a lot for give us your time!
Hi, I thank you for giving us the chance to talk to our friends from Spain!

When I try to explain which kind of music plays 81db, an internal maze appears on my mind. How can you describe 81db? 
What we want to show with our sound is music that would make the ear, the sentiment and the brain work together. I believe that each time that somebody listens to our album, discovers something new. It has happened to me a lot of times to listen to someone saying to me “Hey you know, this is the first time, I notice that!” in some songs, thus making him understand more and more its meaning. I consider the whole “Impressions” as an album that as long as more you listen to it, so much more it becomes yours. That’s why we picked such a title. Regarding the band’s influences I would say that we are influenced by alternative groups like Faith No More and Tool, classic ones like Megadeth and Metallica but also more progressive like Pain Of Salvation, Dream Theater, Rush, Watchtower etc. Many elements from the legendary scene of 70’s: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath etc. Adding also the traditional Mediterranean sound, that’s what you take as a result! As you see it’s a musical kaleidoscope!

Maybe prog metal could be a good label, but most people always give this one to bands like Dream Theater… don’t you think?
I have to say that I love Dream Theater. Their music was a progression of the Rush sound in to something more complex and metal. Nowadays there are too many bands playing this style and therefore in my opinion it cannot be called progressive anymore. Maybe technical metal would be more appropriate. For me Faith No More, Dillinger Escape Plan, Pain of Salvation or Tool can be as much “progressive” too…

It has been a year ago when “Impressions” arrived to our ears ¿how does it work nowadays? Does it met your expectation?
“Impressions” is the natural follower of “Evaluation”. It is even more complex and heavier sounding and still has some more of this crazy mixes of metal riffs with Mediterranean sounds. It contains songs that are more direct like “the Last Laugh” and at the same time songs that require much more mental and listening process to grasp like “Freakshow” and “Jabberwocky". I believe anyone who loves rock and metal sounds and is open minded enough to accept all these elements could love this album.

With your first album (“Evaluation”), 81 db got good reviews and a great response from the media and the public. Has "Impressions" go a little further?
Well, I am pretty convinced that this album is better than our first one, more mature and technical, more progressive in a certain way if you will. As usual, the first album is made of ideas that existed many years before its final creation. This new album is fresh, full of new ideas at the time and paths we explored for the first time (as the use of the trombone in Jabberwocky) and the use of an electric Sitar in the final track. This album is full of new ideas and experiments, heavy riffs and new melodies. We are more than happy with it!

Did things change in the band’s life since the album debut?
Well, one can say that we now see the band more of a full time and serious occupation than before. We dedicate much more time and attention, so yes, in that field we have surely changed. We are also more mature and still growing musically something that you may hear on our 3
rd album that we are currently working on…

What means the name Sylvia Massy for 81 db? And talking about names… what does 81 db means???
Working with Sylvia in her studio was a unique experience! The studio was fully equipped with everything that a musician may need and full of great and capable people like our sound engineer. Sylvia loved our sound since the beginning and followed some special procedures for recording our songs since they were more complex and technical than the average songs. She has a great spirit of making you feel comfortable and gave us ideas whenever she felt that there was something to improve. We went there with the tracks almost completed and she changed some few parts where she felt it could sound stronger and more interesting. In any case, working with a person with such an experience is by itself a psychological bonus! It really helped us a lot!

About the name. It is 81 decibels. It stands for a certain limit (80dB) that above that, in a normal situation, the sound could be considered as noise pollution. It was written on the door of a studio I used to work and suggested that the sound coming out of the studio door should not surpass the 80dB limit. So 81db could be considered as noise pollution in a way, but as the great AC/DC have said “Rock ‘n Roll ain’t noise pollution”!

When I did the “Impressions” review, I wrote something like “if Daniel Glindelow and Mike Patton has a baby, it could be 81db!!”… Was I wrong?
I guess it’s one of the most accurate descriptions I have ever read for our sound! We love this two composers and their music and it’s more than an honor to follow their difficult and crazy soundpath!

In 2007 you opened the Deep Purple show in Torino; in 2009 your video “Voices” was played in MTV Greece and MAD TV… wich is the most important highlight in your career?
I don’t know exactly the procedural details, but I know that our then managers came in contact with those of Deep Purple, they listened to our work and the next thing I know is that we played in the same stage, just before the band of the most classic rock riff of all times. Personally, remembering that when I have took my guitar for first time “Smoke on the Water” was the first song I learnt to play, and suddenly as I have been in the same stage with Steve Morse, I felt awe…Our pleasure was even more, when the road crew of Deep Purple, as well their keyboard player showed particular interest about our live. Some of them left with the 81db T-shirt, that we of course gave them as a gift. It was really an unforgettable experience!

A few months ago you published a video for “Jabberwocky”, one of the most intrincated songs of “Impressions”. What can you tell me about this? Don’t you think this one could be a double edge sword? I mean, it´s a great and curious song with a lot of changes and music styles, but maybe it  could be a problem for people who looks for a direct and “simple” single.

I’ll be honest, we didn’t care that much if it isn’t straightforward or simple for the radio or TV. We don’t hope that the (mainstream) TV or Radio guys would ever appreciate what we do.  What was important is that Jabberwocky can resemble our crazy and melodic part pretty well, that’s why we chose it for the video. It is also one of my favorites of the album. In a few days we will release the video for another song from the album, Petrified (Medusa) that will reveal our darkest and heavier musical side.

How about your future plans in 81db? Can we wait a new album soon?
We are working as we speak for the new songs of a 3rd album. It’s early to say much yet but the new songs are heavier and more complex. I’m pretty sure our friends with more heavy taste will be satisfied!

Finally, thanks for your time! Do you want to send any message to the spanish metalheads?
We all love you guys and we really hope to come and visit you soon! There are some plans for the early 2012 so stay updated! Rock on!

Interview: Kostas Ladopoulos (81db) Interview: Kostas Ladopoulos (81db) Reviewed by ABdMetal on 22:21 Rating: 5

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