Musik und Geschwindigkeit Dank Wahan kam der Kontakt während der Trommeltage in Karlsruhe zum gebürtigen Griechen zustande.
Sehr ausführlich und aufschlussreich beantwortete der Drummer von Nile die bekannten Fragen. Vielen Dank an alle, die das Interview ermöglichten.
DF: When did you start playing drums and why did you choose this instrument?
GK: I actually started with guitar when I was 10 but I always had something with the drums, I could easily understand what’s going on by ear and I was always able to get into the groove. So, I bought my first drum set at the age of 12 and made my dream come true. Before I get my first kit, I had no contact with the drum set but I knew that was „my thing“...
There wasn’t any particular reason I picked up the drums, I just felt like I wanted to play drums. It’s was somehow easy for me to get into the instrument. And although drums were always my priority, I never quit from guitar or any other instruments I play; in fact I play more and more the last few years and it’s so much fun. It makes feel as a complete musician, I have a better idea on what’s going on and I understand music better.
DF: What is the meaning of drums for you?
GK: The meaning....well, it’s my whole life. First thing I think when I wake up and last thing before I go to bed. It’s fun, intense, relaxing, creative....everything together. I grew up playing drums and playing in bands so drumming became a part of my life very soon.
But, again, drumming to me is music. I mean, a part of my expression on what I really love since I was a kid and that’s music. It’s very important to know the use of the drums in the music and not just play for you, this is what I am trying for years and it gets better and better. Drums is music, music is my life....that would be my explanation about drumming.
DF: When did you start playing professional?
GK: I played professionally way before I got my first paycheck from music and with that I mean my dedication to the instrument. I was doing dozens of studio and live session works, I was playing for 3 official bands with multiple shows and studio albums plus many other session bands.....although, we have to face the truth: There is a long way till you get paid from what you like to do, especially if this is Extreme Metal, like in my case. When I say „like to do“ I mean actually play what you feel to, the music you like the most. Never played any band I didn’t like so far, I had always a strong belief in my music no matter how much extreme or underground it was and that paid off after years, didn’t came soon but it did came....
Being a professional drummer is different, even though my attitude towards my bands were always professional, when you get into the music business it’s different. There are many sacrifices you need to get yourself into, family and everything goes aside cause you have to get „out there“ and tour the world. That happened to me in 2004 when I joined Nile and I had to leave my job and almost all the bands I was into by that time. Touring is a great thing, it just takes so much away from you and you need to sacrifice a lot for it. Aside from the band, I do many drum clinics, studio albums, drum DVDs, I teach professionally in Modern Music School and I have also my own project band. So, free time in my life? No....not for me...
DF: Can you tell some impressions of Germany?
GK: I did so many shows in Germany all these years with Nile and many clinics as well, lately I did almost 20 clinics for Germany only. So, I know the scene there a lot, I know how important Germany is to music and I always have a great time playing there. I grew up with German metal bands, I know many bands there and I think the German crowd is very nice too! Germany is the main land in Europe when it comes to music...
As for the country, I am really happy I did these clinic tours last year because I got the chance to see the country a lot more than I do usual. I had the chance to go in some places we will never go with Nile and I loved it! Some really graphic places, with so munch things to see and get into the country’s history, I loved it! I’m looking forward to get there very soon again!
DF: What do you like on your job as a professional drummer and what is not so good?
GK: Like every job music has good moments and bad moments, you meet good people and bad people....but at the end of the day, I never really thought drumming as a „job“ but more as a passion. Being able to get paid from playing drums....well that’s awesome!
What I really like,
is the connection with our fans, I love playing music live, that’s me! Watching the crowd getting into your music that much, I don’t think there is any better feeling. The energy the stage has is massive, nothing comes even close. Especially in rock music, the tougher the music is-the crazier the crowd goes so it’s super intense! Everything else involved with the band is fun, too, travelling is fun most times, rehearsals, creating music...all unbelievable stuff!
What I don’t like,
too busy travelling, and all the obligations you have as a musician and takes away your personal life. When I did my first photo shooting I thought it was cool, nowadays I just want to run away, I had too many I guess. Sometimes on tour I get bored also, my job is to do the sound check and the show, that’s like 2 and a half hours for the whole day so there is nothing else to do during the day, I have to sleep so I am rested for the show. Too much free time while when I get back home to do things I have no free time at all. I don’t know, it’s a very weird situation that I am always trying to find better ways to balance it out.
DF: How would you describe a good drummer and what is his part inside a band?
GK: A good drummer should be able to:
- Work well with his band members. No matter how good you are, you’re still a „part“ of a team and you should learn to be a team player.
- Listen and see beyond his drum set, play for the music. A crazy fill is a useless fill when it doesn’t fit the music, it might be impressive when you are jamming alone but does it say anything in the song? If not you fail, if yes maybe this is what will make you a „great“drummer....
- Be honest with the fans. Those make you who you are; you got to be honest with your music, your interviews and all.
- Take part on the compositions, I was always against all these bands that have a drummer but they write the drum parts on drum machines and give it to the drummer saying „here you go mate, learn this“...are you kidding me? Who can write better drums than the drummer?
That’s just a few ideas of what a good drummer means to me, there are of course more things that all of us discover inside the bands every single day. A band is a team of people, everybody needs to show respect and get respect. In any other situation, it’s a bad thing and all of us should change it...
DF: How important is human communication in a band and able to deal with it?
GK: It’s one of the most important things...if not the most important one. How can somebody create music with someone that can’t communicate with? I think it’s impossible...or, if it gets possible I think you will be able to „hear“ this miscommunication in the music...You can’t hide behind your instrument...music talks itself.
I always make sure I give respect and get respect in the bands I was with, and of course I am not going to lie to you, I had very bad moments in the past. I had people telling me what to do, or trying to pass their ideas in my head. Which is ok, most times we should all work for the best of the song, but if the idea is bad and you tell them they are like „yes but that’s what I want, it’s my song“. I am so sick of this, whenever I see this I give them my sticks and I am like „you play then, bye bye“...ha ha, it’s funny!
DF: Should a drummer have a good personality?
GK: Of course, it’s a big part of everyone’s carrier. I don’t think you can go anywhere without a good personality. Who wants an idiot in his band? Nobody....I met some people like that, some of them were very big influence to me and I got disappointed. This is the way it is.
On the other hand, since we listen about all these Rock scandals all the time let’s not forget the image. Some people pretend to be tough guys just for image, it’s a part of their look, somebody actually tells them how to act so this is how most of the Rock Stars were made.
Other than these silly situations, the best drummers I met were totally cool so that’s a positive thing right?
DF: Are drummers a special type of musicians?
GK: Drummers are more practical, in life in general. This is what we build and it’s very obvious. We have to be like that otherwise it doesn’t work. We are the base of the music, we keep the time, drummers have the utter control of the music without fancy solos or show offs. I think makes sense, more practical, more into the point.
DF: What are your future plans?
GK: I am getting ready for two big things right now, the first one is my next DVD which I will start shooting in a few months and will be released sometime around fall time this year. This will be my second DVD, after Intense Metal Drumming, and everything looks very positive to go for a really good release.
The next thing is my solo project release, I have a solo project where I write all the music/lyrics and I also play all the instruments myself. This is a one-man-band where I have the opportunity to write music myself and I started it for fun. After I tracked a couple demos and got them online the feedback was crazy! That made me really happy so now I am getting ready for my debut release. Like I said this is a project I do for fun so no labels or managers will get involved, I just want to have fun writing and playing and then I will probably give it away for free.
This year I will be having a break from Touring since we will be writing our new album so I am getting ready for a few clinic tours in different countries like Australia, Finland, West Europe, UK and more. I am really into clinics and I am always trying to do as many as possible, I think this is great opportunity to go out there and share what you do. Entertain and get more people in your music!
DF: How will you describe the future of the music industry and how important is the internet for you?
GK: Hm, tough to say...
Sales are going down, that's for sure...labels are not paying even half of what they were used to pay, it’s very tough to find a contract nowadays and really tough to keep up with a contract if you got one already. Music is all over the place and available for free, so that makes it bad for the labels and so for the bands.
What I see happening soon is bands giving away their music for free, and labels to turn to vinyl again and sell to collectors...i don‘t see anything else really. Even though budgets are very low for the bands, technology helps out and every band can actually record in their home studio nowadays; and bands making money from touring anyways so they will survive...
I think free music is good and bad, mostly bad and will show in a few years. Plus, everybody got so much from all these new bands that become famous next day via Facebook and they are all fed up...Like anywhere else, only the strong will survive....anything that doesn’t worth today will go away soon. This is what’s happening every time.
DF: Your tip for young drummers and the user of Drummerforum?
GK: Love what you do and do it as much as you can... One day you will find my words wise!
Greetings to everyone and keep drumming!