POEM, one of the main attractions of this year’s DEFCON 6, collectively answer Rockway’s questions regarding their long, albeit adventurous history, the difficulties of being a Greek rock band, the current situation of the Greek scene and of course the future…
If I’m not mistaken, you’ve been around for about 8 years. How was the band formed? Did you go through any lineup changes?
Regarding how we were formed, the most qualified person to answer is George P.: I wanted to form a band that could make me realize my dreams. I knew Kamil from a previous collaboration, I called him and gave him the idea. After that we had auditions in order to find a suitable guitarist and finally arrived at Anagnostou. When the three of us played together for the first time, it was like something meant to happen. Just like that! Great feeling, as we were sharing the same dreams all together for the first time. Thereafter, the name came up effortlessly, as I wanted to find something appropriate for people to easily remember and that wouldn’t directly betray the genre of the music we were playing. We wanted to always be open-minded musically! The band has been through lineup changes a few times. Initially, we had to change a few bassists until we found Stratos and both sides were finally sure we wanted the same things and could keep going together. Subsequently, Kamil had to leave, but before leaving he found Stavros, a worthy replacement. Finally, last year George Anagnostou had to leave due to family obligations. We replaced him with Laurence, a very talented and excellent guitarist. At this moment, we’re all good friends and we all work for Poem.
Were there difficulties during these 8 years? Have there been moments that you’ve thought about breaking up or putting everything on ice?
Of course there were. All the aforementioned lineup changes hindered the band’s development, as we all had to get to know each other again and to restart our engines many times. That’s also the reason we have delayed the release of our second album. The band was forcefully put on ice, but we never thought about breaking up. Nowadays though, things are different. We have all agreed on what our targets and our dreams are and we all know we want to chase them together.
Is there something new on the way? In what state is it?
Yes, it’s “Skein Syndrome” with 7 songs – result of our soul-searching. We are in the final stages of Mastering these days and after that the we start chasing our dream…
I’ve seen you have a preference towards metal bands regarding the support acts you choose. Is that a conscious choice? Moreover, from what I know, you are also doing some unplugged acoustic shows. What do you prefer between those two? Electric or unplugged gigs?
The choice is not based on some specific criteria of course! It just happens! There are exceptional bands in this country, consisting of great musical minds. We wish we could have the opportunity to play with all of them. We started playing acoustic shows this summer, not as Poem, but as HeoraH Project – an idea proposed by Eleftheria, responsible for the general management of the band, in order to generate some extra income. It went really well and people seemed to like it a lot! Acoustic shows have their own style and we have a great time. Anyhow, Poem is a loud electric band and we have no plans whatsoever on changing that!
Is it possible to have a career in music in Greece? Are you working somewhere else except for POEM?
We all have second jobs in order to cope. Our goal is to one day be able to sustain ourselves financially just through the band or at least through music.
What are the band’s plans for the next year? Have you got any scheduled gigs?
We just returned from playing a fantastic festival in Rumania: Rockstadt Extreme Festival. We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to appear there, as we met great people and had the chance to be heard by a big audience. Early September, we played in Lamia at Bodrum Club alongside Allochiria, a great band, which we also ran into in Rumania. Next, this October, we’ll be playing the Defcon Festival at AN Club in Athens. Furthermore, we’re definitely not done with the HeoraH Project yet and we still got lot of work with the cd. We want to take it a step further even if that means delaying the release of the album in Greece.
Interview by Kallinikos Ridas