Fading Echoes – Shadow Of Another

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FADING ECHOES is a new progressive metal band from Volos and recently released their first single, “Acceptance” from the upcoming album “Shadow of Another” presenting a very important collaboration with Zak Stevens (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA). Dimitris Stratikis, founding member of the band, spoke to our magazine about the album, the collaborations and the dreams he has for FADING ECHOES.

-Good afternoon Dimitri! Welcome to THE GALLERY! As far as I know this is your first interview.

Dimitris Stratikis: Yes! It’s the first interview. It’s very strange. The whole process is strange. To hear your music on the radio, to have people sending you messages asking where they can find your cd. It’s definitely exciting.

-How did you decide to start the band, which other musicians are involved and how did you meet?

Dimitris Stratikis: We started very differently, around 2015, from what we ended up now. Various musicians from Volos wanted to create an atmospheric band for covers, as most start at the beginning. The only one left from that period is Vassilis Sarou on keyboards as a founding member. We had Michalis Gountis on guitar, but for work-related reasons he moved to Crete. Kostas Anagnostou, drummer and sound engineer, hosted us to do our rehearsals and finally we created a band to play music that we liked. Little by little, the synthetic part came in as well. Someone came up with an idea, another one developed it. Michalis Gountis, who as we said before is no longer in the band but we love him, had the idea one day to do a pentalogy with the five stages of grief. We really liked the idea because it was in the style we wanted to present and we started working in that direction. Now, the members are me, on voice and bass, Vassilis on keyboards and in 2019 Petros Printezis was added on guitar, who comes from Syros and studied in Volos. We had a really hard time finding people and finalizing our line up. Various collaborations did not work out but finally in 2022-2023 Dimitris Politis on guitar and Nikos Velentzas on drums were added as session musicians and with this formation we ended up recording the album.

-So this will be the line-up you will be moving forward with?

Dimitris Stratikis: This is the plan as long as there is no problem with the planning since the guys participate in many projects. We will try to run it all together, see how it goes and hope for the best!

-I know that you play progressive metal. What other bands or musicians are do you follow and what do you listen to individually and as a band?

Dimitris Stratikis: A favorite band for everyone is SAVATAGE who use the piano a lot and present some classical compositions. Other bands are EVERGREY, OPETH, more recently SOEN but despite the influences we have, we have produced a result that you will hardly hear and say that it reminds you of something else. There have been people who tell me, for example, that our songs remind them of PAIN OF SALVATION, which I have never heard a lot. But I like this as an observation. That our music is like something that I don’t have as a direct influence because it shows an effect closer to parthenogenesis, even though there is no such thing, and that what we created is not a copy of something else.

-What are your dreams for FADING ECHOES? Is it something that you would like to develop into, let’s say, a full time job or as a side project with the rest of your daily activities?

Dimitris Stratikis: Obviously the dream of any musician is to do what they love. Simply because it is very difficult to make this a full-time job, what we are aiming for at this stage is to make a good and strong release of the first record, to be able to support it with very good live shows, to spread the name of our band to the world and to continue very dynamically afterwards with a second, third, fourth album if everything goes as we wish. So, the plan is to chase it where it goes and if it works out for us, good. If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine too since we’ll do it anyway because we love it!

-A few days ago, you released your first single “The Stages of Grief: Part V – Acceptance” which will be included in your first full length album “Shadow of Another”! First of all, tell me how the collaboration with the giant Zak Stevens came about. It is not easy for a new band to make such important collaborations as it is difficult to have the necessary acquaintances.

Dimitris Stratikis: This particular collaboration was not a matter of acquaintances. I personally have no acquaintances, I am not involved in the music industry. Regarding the collaboration with Zak Stevens… we had talked in the past and we had exchanged a couple of words. At some point, when we had composed “Acceptace” with the band, I thought that compositionally it fits the lyrics to be sung by two,  the hero who suffered the damage and the one who was left behind. So, there are two perspectives presented lyrically. And I thought someone else might be on board. Initially we thought of musicians from Volos who could sing but I decided to start sending messages to important singers and see if there will be a response. The truth is, I originally sent Zak Stevens a message and it was awesome how friendly and approachable he is. You wouldn’t believe it. Very friendly, very helpful. He also corrected our English grammar a bit. He did a lot of work since he also wrote choral parts that I hadn’t asked him to and in general he was very excited about the song. From the first moment he was 100% in to participate and that gave us a big push to move forward. So, I just texted him, he liked the song and agreed. We thought it was a really good sign that Stevens got involved and he even recently posted the song on his personal social media accounts and the comments below are very encouraging.

-Who else did you send to? Who else did you have in mind that his voice could be a fit to this particular song?

Dimitris Stratikis: In the end he was the only one I sent but I try as a fan to keep in touch with a few more. A few years back I had also talked with Tom Englund of EVERGREY about a guest with voice and guitar, but while he had replied that he would like me to send him material to listen to but due to the COVID-19 we kind of lost touch.

– EVERGREY will come to the Rethymno Rocks Festival in the summer, so it’s a chance meet them in person!

Dimitris Stratikis: The plan is to be there!

-Since we mentioned the festival, as a band have you done any live? Do you generally have experience of performing live with other bands?

Dimitris Stratikis: As FADING ECHOES, we haven’t performed live yet, but we have experience with some other bands, either metal or mainly acoustic. The truth is that I’m not chasing it because I don’t find it interesting to play coversongs so I thought I’ll wait to do my own live with my own music. All of us really want to get on stage because the musicians participating are very strong and we think that the live performance of the album can turn out even better than the studio version.

– Describe a dream festival line up that you would like to be part of?

Dimitris Stratikis: The top 3 would definitely be SAVATAGE, OPETH, EVERGREY but anything that fits so that the listener can come and have an experience of a powerful, melodic live performance I would love to be a part of.

George Constantine Kratsas

-Another important musician who participates in the production of the album is George Constantine Kratsas who guarantees that the quality of the musical result will be excellent. What is the story behind this collaboration?

Dimitris Stratikis: I must say that the contribution of Dimitris Politis is very important. He is a great guitarist with has a huge experience in the music. Apart from the fact that he was also very generously interested in helping as a session musician in the production of the record, since the recording schedule did not coincide with the schedule of Petros, our guitarist, due to work, he also introduced George Kratsas to us as a sound engineer. Dimitris loved the project as if it were his own, he did a lot of work and raised the guitar playing two or three levels higher. As for Kratsas, apart from his amazing work as a sound engineer, he also turned out to be the best choice on a personal level as he made me feel comfortable as I was very stressed about the process. Musically we got along very well, he knew what he had to do and in the end it turned out a very good result. We are very proud of the people who participated in the production of the record as well as the final result.

-I confirm that the quality of the production is excellent. Do you plan to release the album also in physical form, cd or vinyl?

Dimitris Stratikis: Yes, we are still trying to find a way to do this. Either it will be through a label or as an independent release although the latter requires a lot of effort and time that we don’t have at the moment. Soon we will decide since there are already offers, so the release date of the album will be announced. Regarding the format, it will be a CD since for new bands especially vinyl is not very easy and if it is done it will be at our expense and in a very limited number of copies because they really ask for it.

-From the title of the single it is clear that you are dealing with the subject of grief, mourning and that the album will also include the remaining 4 stages. How did you decide to deal with this subject on your first album?

Dimitris Stratikis: We have made a concept album where the first five songs are the five stages of grief as they are also mentioned in psychology books, namely denial, anger, negotiation, depression and finally acceptance. Each stage is a different song. From personal experiences we got into the psychology needed to create five songs that everyone can listen to without having a very specific theme and limiting the listener to what has happened. Someone might feel this way because they were fired from their job, because they got divorced, because they lost a loved one. Anyone who listens to the music without reading the lyrics will lose 50% of the experience. Compositionally, the approach is special because you never hear the same verse or the same riff twice. The only exception is “Acceptance” in the chorus part sung by Zak Stevens that is repeated once. But nothing is repeated throughout the rest of the disc. The whole philosophy is that each song is a story, like when you narrate something or read a book you move from the introduction to the main theme and then to the epilogue. Words are not repeated because when someone is telling you a story, they don’t need to repeat the same things. They are essentially like short stories in music. Every song is a story and the music evolve with the lyrics. This is something that many have given me as feedback. That they haven’t seen it before and that they did not get bored and I hope that’s another point that will make this release go well.

-What struck me when I heard the album, for which I thank you for doing me the honor of sending it to me before it was released, is that the music matched the stage the hero was in and his emotional state.

Dimitris Stratikis: We made sure that there was a relation between the song and the emotional state as you said. “Denial” is instrumental since when the catastrophe hits you, you are bewildered, you don’t know how to react and you are speechless. It’s an atmospheric track which is even connected to a heartbeat that gets stronger at the end before “Anger” which is a very strong and fast song where the hero angrily blames  God for the misfortune that befell him. The third song, “Bargaining” is a calm track where the hero gets down on his knees asking for God’s forgiveness for the way he exlpoded and asking for help in order to overcome the problem. In this song we had a huge help from George Kratsas. “Depression” is a mid-tempo song, it has a special compositional development that lets you understand that the hero is in a vicious cycle of depression and finally “Acceptance” which is also the one that was released in the previous days as a single is a more open and epic song for the listener to feel the cleansing and redemption. I am glad you felt that way. We wanted this to happen. I don’t expect someone to listen to the songs without knowing what they’re talking about and say it’s the five stages of grief, but I want someone who knows what they’re listening to say “ yes, I agree”.

Zak Stevens (SAVATAGE)

-Why did you choose “Acceptance” as the first single?

Dimitris Stratikis: We chose it because of the participation of Zak Stevens to make a bigger impression.

– How are the rest of the songs on the album connected to the overall concept?

Dimitris Stratikis: The sixth song, “The First Step Forward” is informally the sixth stage of grief, the first step forward, and is about someone recognizing the problem and deciding to take the first step instead of insisting on and never getting away. The next song, ‘Rumination’ is a really heavy song and we are seriously considering it for a very epic video clip because it is 07:30 minutes and it will be released as a short film. It has a sad subject since it is about someone who is troubled and lives in his past and cannot escape. Finally, “Final Act”, which happened to be called that and to be the last song on the record, is the only track that has a small glimmer of optimism. The hero speaks to another person and tells him that together they will move forward and succeed as long as they love each other.

-Your base is in Volos, which generally has a good tradition of important Greek metal bands. What are the difficulties you faced due to the fact that you are far from Athens or Thessaloniki?

Dimitris Stratikis: All the years we’ve been trying to set up the band as a five-piece we hadn’t succeeded because at every moment we were missing something. We couldn’t convince some good musicians, we settled for others whose way of playing did not fit progressive metal just to be able to play. Networking is of course also an issue that I may not have developed personally, talking, asking, making acquaintances. But it is definitely difficult since all the musicians know each other here in Volos, we know who is who, who plays the guitar, who plays the drums. So, it’s not like you’re trying to find someone you don’t know. Also, lately we don’t even have a proper live stage in Volos, so there is also a difficulty there since we definitely have to play somewhere else. Fortunately, there is Golden R Festival in Volos which gives opportunities to local bands but within the framework of a festival. You can’t do a concert by yourself. In general, it is definitely more difficult.

-What can we expect from you in the future?

Dimitris Stratikis: Apart from the issue of the live shos that we will definitely pursue, we already have ideas and material for the next album. We already have three more songs ready but we couldn’t include them on ‘Shadow Of Another’ as it would be longer than 60 minutes. And we also have quite a few more ideas.

-I think we covered everything! I would like to thank you once again and wish you the best because you have really done a very serious and professional job!

Dimitris Stratikis: Kostas, I would like to sincerely thank you for the interest because I have never done this before and it is very encouraging for me!

Interview: Kostas Boudoukos
Text Translation: Kostas Boudoukos
Design & Editing: Kostas Boudoukos
Date: February 25th, 2024
External Link: FADING ECHOES – Facebook Page
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