Interview by: Marianne Jacobsen
Pictures Sourced from: Memorain Facebook Page
So when you think of Greece what is the first thing that comes to mind? Olives? Gods? Ancient Ruins?
How about some of the best Thrash and Speed metal with contributions over the years by the likes of Gene Hoglan, Michael Gilbert, Nick Menza, Blayze Bayley, Tim “Ripper” Owens and David Ellefson.
What band I am talking (or writing) about, of course is Memorain. Through the magic of Internet technology over the years as well as this day. I had the utmost pleasure of speaking with my “cyber friend” and founder of Memorain – Ilias Papadakis (IP) about the band, their new release Duality of Man as well as how cool it must be to not only meet but make music with your heroes.
If you believe in fan dreams coming true – benchmark Ilias as a Maverick of the practice of the same.
Ring Ring (or whatever that Skype noise is)…
MGM: Is this the Coolest Rock Star in Athens who has a birthday today calling me?
IP: Hey how are you doing?
MGM: Good! How are you today
IP: I’m good. I’m a bit tired but ok.
MGM: You know that this is the first time we have physically spoken on the phone.
IP: Yeah but we have known each other for what? 7, 8 years?
MGM: However old your daughter is, that’s how long we have known each other.
IP: She’s 7.5
MGM: Well there you go that’s how long we have known each other! Time Flies eh?
MGM: So I’ve been living the life of a 14-year-old fangurl for the 9 months writing for MGM and having a blast! Maybe you can share with everyone what you have done as a fan to make your dreams come to life with Memorain. So I’m really excited. I got to listen to Duality of Man and I love it – My little thrasher inside is so happy! Memorain is on a level, as far as I am concerned, musically with some of the top Thrasher in music. AWESOME! How long has Memorain been around now?
IP: It’s around 15 or 16 years that Memorain has been around. We started back in 1999. If you include 1 EP and one “Best Of” album, we have 9 releases.
MGM: WOW! I remember that video TV Wars
IP: Yes of course that’s how we met! TV Wars was the theme song for the TV show Metal Hammer here in Greece. This intro has opened the show for the last 17 years.
MGM: Is the show still on?
IP: Yes it is!
MGM: NO Way! So Cool!
IP: So the song had been used on the show for six or seven years and I wanted to do a new version of that song. The new version had Nick Menza and Jeff Waters. I contacted David Ellefson via his MySpace page asking him if he would like to contribute. So eventually TV Wars had me on guitar, Nick on drums, David on bass and Jeff also provided the solo. Funny thing is that this version of the song has not been released on any of our albums.
MGM: David Ellefson appears on this album too right?
IP: Yep – David has appeared on more than one track for Memorain over the years.
MGM: You have other guests this time as well yes?
IP: Yes! Besides David we have Blaze Bailey.
MGM: Ok for Birthday and old time’s sake lets roll it back and ask the most important question. What made you want to be a rock star?
IP: To be honest, I never thought that Memorain would get me that far. I started Memorain as a hobby because I love music. I also used to study piano as a young boy and always enjoyed playing music, and I never felt that after 16 years I would still be doing this. So I am extremely happy! Memorain back then we started with a small EP with 5 tracks and began to work on what direction we wanted to follow. The EP turned out really well and we did our first concert. It was for a small local label – a very good label, they supported us really well. We did two albums for that label. The first was in 2001/2 – the Digital Crimes album. Then a year later we did the White Line album.
MGM: Ok so who was in the lineup then?
IP: Actually it was a group of friends I’d known since my school days.
MGM: So Cool!
IP: I am still in touch with some of them and we have a really good relationship still. With my guitarist back then – Alex – we are living right now actually in the same building and I see him almost every day.
IP: And the drummer I had back then now lives in Canada.
MGM: Good Location Choice! Ok, so how did Nick Menza get involved with Memorain?
IP: You know I always wanted to do something with my Icons. So the first really big name that I had a chance to work with was James Murphy the guitarist of Testament and Obituary (MGM – etc etc etc – Murphy is EVERYWHERE!). It all started by me sending him a few emails with some demos of Memorain that I had and he really liked the whole thing and he ended up doing half of the solos on the White Line album. That was the first chance that I had to work with a big name in music. It was great!
MGM: And the cool part about his appearance is that you never were technically in the studio together. James laid down his tracks somewhere else and with the gift of technology you all came together.
IP: Yes that’s right. He recorded his parts in Florida where he was living in his own studio.
MGM: I think that is the coolest thing ever that you don’t have to be in the studio together or even in the same part of the world as someone else and beautiful music can be made.
IP: You know technology helps a lot and its cool but you are losing the magic that you have when you meet and play with someone face to face.
MGM: Nick Menza was in the studio with you face to face right?
IP: Yes with Nick it was totally different. I came to Los Angeles in 2004 and we recorded the whole album in his studio that was released by EMI records in 2005. It was a great experience for me because I never has the chance to fly anywhere outside of Europe before this.
MGM: OMG Culture Shock!
IP: Yeah it was! I still remember getting off of the plane and I saw Nick (Menza) waiting for me and I said to myself “OK this is the real thing!”
MGM: It must be a surreal feeling when you not only get to meet your hero but that they want to make music with you.
IP: Yeah I remember when we were rehearsing some of the songs we were trying to record. I started to play “Symphony of Destruction” and Nick followed in. I wanted to say “forget the rehearsal lets jam Megadeth!!” It is an incredible feeling to work with such great musicians.
MGM: Dude, you are not giving yourself enough credit. You are an amazing guitarist!
IP: I don’t know I’m just playing my best. I let other decide what I am when it comes to music. I know that I am happy and complete in my life. Whenever I create something new I hope that everyone will like it and enjoy it. That’s all I’ve got to say for myself.
MGM: Well the new album (out February 3, 2016) is fucking heavy! It’s like you tapped into an area of music that needed some fresh noise! Even the name of the album “Duality of Man” is fucking great!
IP: Thanks! The new album is being released by a local label here in Greece who is also working with a major label over in Germany for distribution. So in Europe we have a really good opportunity to be represented. I’m still trying to think of a way to best promote the album in North America. When you deal with small and medium size labels, distribution outside of the territories is very difficult.
MGM: Will this Help?
Guardians of Knight Video:
MGM: Also I guess we should let everyone know, as you know, that I don’t promote things that suck. So if this album sucked I would not help you!
MGM: Ok so who is on Duality of Man? When was the inception of the idea for this album?
IP: I started working immediately on Duality of Man songs right after the release of Zero Hour. About 70% of the album is my creation however, the other guys that participate on the album, they have always had space available so they can write songs if they want – everyone is always putting their special touch on the music. I will and have never said that this is MY project. I mean giving a direction and then my band mates will put the final touches on it and make it ours.
MGM: Which I guess is the difference between a band and a solo artist.
IP: Exactly. The lineup on this album is 100% Greek
IP: Yes I was really excited about this because I was finally able to get that studio magic with us all together at the same time. I had never been able to completely accomplish this before with Memorain.
MGM: So in achieving that – Duality of Man is really a super special album!
IP: And as you know I also enjoy very much working with my icons. So for this album I asked David Ellefson again to participate on one song. We also were able to get Blayze Bayley). The song is called The Last of Light.
The Last Of Light (Featuring David Ellefson & Blaze Bayley)
MGM: Like even the names of the songs on this album are awesome.
IP: Well with English not being our first language and choosing to write lyrics and song titles in English we wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. My priorities are to have my conscious clean and to make great honest music. I’m just trying to keep the right balance.
MGM: I think you’ve found it Ilias!
Check out Memorain and if you are in North America make sure to hit up your local promoters so we can see them live as soon as possible!!! If you are in Europe and anywhere else in the world – spread the word about this well kept secret. Follow them on their Official Facebook Page.