The intermission (RO) Interview (2016)

Poem is that kind of band that can’t be labeled easily, but its musical style combines progressive with alternative metal and with elements of grunge metal. The Greek band loves to experiment and this can be felt on their newest album, Skein Syndrome.

We are talking today with Poem band about their latest album, Skein Syndrome, about their tour with Amorphis and Textures, but we also talk about what the process of creating music means to them, what it implies and about what the band has planned for the near future.

I first listened to you at Rockstadt Extreme Fest in Râșnovand I was pleasantly impressed. I was so happy to listen to you again this April. How did it feel to go on tour with Amorphis, a band that is a bit different from your musical style? How did you end up as part of the Under the Red Cloud World Tour?

Hi, thank you for your kind words! It was pretty amazing to perform in Romania for a second time! Our manager informed us that Amorphis will be on tour and that they are looking for a support act and he asked us if we would like to be this support act! We said yes and a few days later he told us that Amorphis liked our music, so… they chose us to tour with! For us, to be on tour with such an amazing band was indescribable, even if our musical styles might be a little bit different.  Amorphis have influenced so many people in the metal world! What we received from their audience, was pretty positive for us, so we can surely say that it was a right choice to be on that tour!

There were some line-up changes, but I feel that your sound matured now. Laurence Bergström (lead guitars) joined you in 2014 and Stratos Chaidos (bass) and Stavros Rigos (drums) joined Poem in 2011. How did the new members influence Poem’s sound? What are their major contributions on Skein Syndrome?

When Stavros (drums) and a little bit later, Stratos (bass) joined the band, we started creating the Skein Syndrome material, together with our former guitarist George Anagnostou and our vocalist George Prokopiou. So Skein Syndrome is a ¾ product of the new synthesis of the band. We must say that George Anagnostou did an amazing job with the guitars! Skein Syndrome presents more progressive and complex sound than the debut “the great secret show”. We could say that Skein Syndrome is our progress, our next step. Of course this has to do with the lineup changes, and the different musical backgrounds. The creation process -we create music through the procedure of jamming – includes experimenting with different sounds and rhythmic patterns and gives us the opportunity not to stay attached to the “rules”, but to experiment. Laurence, who’s the only one who wasn’t a member during the creative process of the album, showed us how much he respected and loved the material, which is something that someone can understand by the effort he put in during the recordings (he recorded the guitars for the album).

The word “skein” has several entries in the English dictionary. What is the concept, the meaning behind the name of your latest album, Skein Syndrome?

Skein Syndrome expresses mostly the vanity of humanity. That somewhere along the way we lost our goal as human beings. That after we are born we mostly live our lives as materialists, and the more we seek for the matter, the more we wrap ourselves with this skein that controls our past, present and future, constantly destroying everything that’s pure and simple. We only discover the purpose of our existence when we grow old, moments before death. At this point Skein Syndrome has two trails, the optimistic and the pessimistic. After the end, the listener is free to give his own interpretation. Either humanity regrets and understands, or dies as it has lived – in vanity.

Can you describe the songwriting process? How do four musicians with different ideas manage to create such amazing music? What do you do when some of you have different ideas when it comes to a particular song?

We are a group of musicians who feel very lucky being able to work with each other! As we wrote before, we jam the material and that’s very unifying for us. If someone has an idea, he brings it into the studio and we develop it. We really enjoy the different musical backgrounds because we let ourselves go and we allow the music to take us where it wants to take us!

Why did you choose the name „Poem” for your band? What does it mean to you?

 Our vocalist George Prokopiou, who’s the oldest member of the band, came up with this name! He wanted a word, that would be easy to remember and that wouldn’t give away the genre and the musical style of the band! So Poem it was!

 It took you about three years to release Skein Syndrome. It was worth the wait since the fans really seem to love your new album, but why did it take so long?

Well, we actually had the whole album recorded before Laurence joined the band, but the final result disappointed us in terms of quality and sound.  We wanted to give justice to our creation and the only possible way to achieve that was to re-record everything until we would be satisfied enough with the result. We strive to take the next step, musically and professionally, so as it turned out, our decision to delay the release until everything was as we wanted it to be, was wise!

I really like your eclectic music style. It can’t be easily defined, which is always a good thing. However, how would you describe your musical style?

The description we give is Progressive, Alternative Metal with some Grunge Metal elements. If someone wants to name our style, is free to do it.

 What is the funniest moment that happened on stage?

We have had some pretty funny moments on stage! It was quite funny when Stratos broke by mistake a bass stand on Rockstadt during the show! And it was funny that at our last day on tour in Bochum – Germany, Textures and Amorphis decided to prank us and put the sound of a funny video on the monitors on which Stavros and Laurence were trying to say the Greek word „malakas” really really fast, so instead of hearing the instruments, we were hearing „malakas, malakas, malakas, malakas…..” repeatedly!

PS: “Malakas” is a Greek word that we use very often

 What is your biggest goal as a band?

Goals and priorities tend to be fluid, but what we’ve always wanted as a band and individual musicians is to be able to support ourselves through music, to play, compose and spread our work to the world.

What are your top five musical influences?

Only  5? Ok… Pink Floyd, Tool, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, and so so many others.

Do you have any new tours in mind or special surprises for your fans?

We are constantly in touch with our manager! We will be on tour very soon!

 What is your greatest achievement so far?

For sure our month on tour with Amorhis, Textures and Omnium Gatherum! But we want more and we’ll work hard to make it happen.