Interview mit Sänger Michael Stavrakakis

DOOMOCRACY aus Kreta haben mit ihrem erstaunlich ausgereift klingenden Erstwerk ´The End Is Written´ gerade eines der besten Genre-Alben des Jahres veröffentlicht. Seinen Live-Einstand in Deutschland gibt das sympathische Quintett beim Hammer Of Doom – Festival am 14./15. November in der Würzburger Posthalle.

Vorab gibt’s das Streetclip-Interview mit Sänger Michael Stavrakakis.

Here we go!

Michael, you have been trained in classical and byzantine music and sang in several bands of different musical styles including funk. Do you remember your first touch with metal?

I’ve had many years of classical training, but I always wanted to explore the byzantine-eastern music scales. So I took some training in byzantine music as well, to enrich my way of singing and it really helped me develop the way I’m singing right now.

I’ve sang in various bands in my hometown Iraklion, Crete for the last ten years. My first touch with metal/rock singing was with Angelos Tzanis and Minas Vasilakis back in 2004 in a hardrock/metal band. We were trying different styles back then. I also made some guest clean vocals in a Death Metal band called ELANOR, which also featured our bass player Manolis Schizakis. In 2007 I started another band called MASTER RESET, with the intention to play progressive metal, but very soon the musical style changed radically to more alternative and nu metal music. I found myself in unfamiliar waters, so I left the band in search of something that would fit me better.

I guess from one point of view, you can say that my first touch with metal music is in DOOMOCRACY. Here I’ve really found my home. Doom Metal is the musical style that I always loved and I am more than excited to perform with DOOMOCRACY.

Hearing your album a friend of mine asked me: Is this a male or female voice? Is this the first time you hear this question?

Ha! I’ve heard this comment once or twice before maybe! I’ve always liked high pitched vocals and I am a big fan of singers like Steve Benito, Midnight, Tom Mallicoat, Robert Lowe and John Arch! I enjoy my voice more when I sing in my higher register. It’s a sweet challenge to balance and control my voice when I am singing high, plus I can give more emotion and passion to my vocals.

What was the crucial impulse, the spark, to found DOOMOCRACY?

Me and my bandmates were always into Doom Metal music – and in our hearts we had this everlasting thirst and desire to play it someday. We didn’t have the chance before, because we were all involved in other projects, but I remember that me, our drummer Minas Vasilakis and Angelos Tzanis our guitarist, got together in the studio sometime in July 2011 to jam and we really liked what we were hearing. We jammed some ideas (that later developed into the song “Hanging Puppet” which is included in the album) and all that was coming out of the studio was Doom Metal music. The vibes were great and the time seemed right to start DOOMOCRACY. So we called our good friends and musicians Manolis Schizakis on bass and Harry Dokos on guitar to complete the line up and start composing music for “The End Is Written”.

Why did you and the other two founding members choose the doom-genre? What makes this style of metal so fascinating for you?

Oh man, where can I begin?! The emotions that go through us when we listen to songs like ´Solitude´ from CANDLEMASS and ´Seeds Of The desolate´ from SOLITUDE AETURNUS, are simply ecstatic! I remember sitting with Angelos Tzanis and Minas Vasilakis back at my home many years ago, listening to the vinyl of ´Ancient Dreams´ by CANDLEMASS and being overwhelmed by ´Darkness In Paradise´ and the performance of the great Messiah Marcolin. I don’t know how to put it man, but when we listen to Doom Metal, the slow pace, the emotion and melancholy that flows from it, is simply stunning! Plus it’s the heaviest music genre out there!

Who came up with the name DOOMOCRACY and what is the background? Athens as the cradle of Democracy perhaps?

We are definitely influenced by what’s going on around us. Athens as you say was the cradle of Democracy, but what we have nowadays in Greece, is in a way a Doomed Democracy. It’s almost like a Dictatorship that wears the face of Democracy. Constitutional rights are being violated every day, people are unable to pay the heavy government taxes and end up in jail or in the street. Deeply moved by the feeling of our times and by Doom Metal music I came up with the word Doomocracy for our band name.

Your music is influenced by CANDLEMASS, SOLITUDE AETURNUS and – of course – BLACK SABBATH. How would you describe DOOMOCRACY’s own musical identity?

Of course we love the bands you mentioned and we’ve grown up listening to them. We are honored to pave the path that these heavy metal pioneers have built. Still, although our influences are evident and we never tried to hide them, I think that in DOOMOCRACY we have developed our own music style. Like I said earlier, all band members love Doom Metal music, but of course we listen to other metal genres like Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal, Power Metal and many more. The Doom element is always there, but the music of DOOMOCRACY is a combination of all these things. It is important to use your influences to take your music a step further and not copy them.

The first album is finished for almost one year now. How much new material is in the pipeline for the second one? Has your style changed significantly?

We have new songs and ideas on the way and from what I’ve heard so far I can tell you that it sounds very good! We are fortunate, as everyone in the band composes music, so you can understand that we have many ideas and compositions waiting to be transformed into DOOMOCRACY’s next album. Still right now we want to focus in promoting our new album “The End Is Written” by touring and playing in festivals around the world. When the time is right and we feel ready we will record DOOMOCRACY’s sophomore album.

You come from Iraklion. Is there a special Crete-metal-scene?

I can tell you that there are some remarkable metal bands in Crete. I would mention WINTER CRESCENT, EVERFAILED, OBZERV, BIOTOXIC WARFARE, REFLECTIONS REVERT, COSMIC PLUNGE, CHAOS ETERNAL, SOUNDGEIST and many more… People should check them out; you will find some real gems there!

DOOMOCRACY is not a band of musical greenhorns. Can you and your band-members make a living from music? Or do you have other jobs besides the music?

DOOMOCRACY-members don’t make a living from music. It would be nice if we could support ourselves through it, but that’s not the reason we play music in the first place. ´The End Is Written´ CD and T-Shirt sales are going very well but that’s just enough to keep us going. I don’t know what the future will bring but for now we all have day jobs and have to work to make a living. I think very few new metal bands make a living out of music. In other countries you get paid from the government when you play live or release an album, because you contribute in spreading the culture of your country. However in Greece that is not the case…

You’ll play at the german Hammer Of Doom Festival in November. What does it mean for you sharing the stage with Doom-Metal-Legends like Leif Edling?

Oh man, it is a great honor for us to play at Hammer of Doom festival in Germany on 15th of November and share the stage with Doom Metal legends SAINT VITUS, TROUBLE, and Leif Edling’s AVATARIUM.

We’d really like to thank Oliver Weinsheimer for inviting us to the festival! We’ve grown up listening to Leif’s songs with CANDLEMASS. Leif for me is the soul of Doom Metal and I have the utmost respect towards him. I met Leif back in 2002 when CANDLEMASS played a reunion show in Athens and I must say, he is a great guy! It will be fantastic to share the stage with him and to drink some beers together after the show!

Famous last words?

Thank you very much Ludwig and thanks to Strike! The Magazine for this interesting interview, for the great review of our album and for all your support!

We are looking forward in seeing you at Hammer of Doom festival in November!

Support good metal music!

Doom on!