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Interview with Sakis Tolis from ROTTING CHRIST

bul version

interview-rottingchrist2Hello Sakis, I'm glad that I hear from you again.

Same here my friend! Is everything OK in Bulgaria?

Well yes, we can say so.

Ok, that's good.

So the new album „KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY" is going to be in the shops soon?

Yes it's almost out.

Yes, we heard the tracks from it because it was released for streaming online. Do you have some feedback from the fans already?

Well now I'm doing the promotion of the album and the feedback I receive its more than optimistic. Usually I'm not that optimistic person and I don't say good things about my work, but people had reacted really well. Yes, some of them are skeptic, but that is what ROTTING CHRIST wants to do with this album. It needs more than one listening. And sooner or later the people will realize that this is one of our darkest releases ever.

I see... You know, I heard friends of mine saying that this is the lightest album since "A Dead Poem"?

Lightest?!? Who is saying that?

Well, friends of mine... who are also ROTTING CHRIST fans.

Well I don't think so, but OK ... I respect every opinion.

If you take for example "AEALO", which is really straight album... The new release is referring so many cultures and probably is little hard to approach it.

Yes of course and that was the meaning of the album. That was the message I wanted to pass to the listeners. I didn't want something straight like "AEALO". In every album ROTTING CHRIST try to do something different and to take step forward. We tried to have something different with this album. We want it to be more occult, more apocryphal and more mystical, in the end I think we did it. I guess a lot of people expected something like "AEALO", but ROTTING CHRIST is not like that. We always try to reveal more and make the fans search even deeper.

Since the "Theognia" album this is your third record with Greek title and it seems that you guys are digging deep in your roots.


Please can you explain the title "KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY" for everyone that is not familiar with the Greek language?

Yes, we like to use titles from our native language because we don't think metal is only for English and Americans. The English is not our native language so we don't follow those rules and we would like to pass this multicultural way of thinking in general. We are Greek, so we use Greek elements in our music. That makes our music unique. Some people don't give a shit about that, but I don't care also because this is how we feel. "KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY" means "True to your own spirit" This is the maxim that is close to the ideology of the band, along with "Non Serviam"

I see "Serve to no one" and "Live by your own spirits" I guess that is why the phrase was written on Jim Morrison's grave?

Yes, I found that later because everyone was sending me links. Yes It is the same meaning.


In the new album you've included way too many cultures on one place. Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

"KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY" is a journey through the knowledge of ancient civilizations in to the occultism that is rising from each one of them. There are references to the civilizations from the Incas and Mayas to the Greek and Slavic. You can also hear some ancient language here and there. This multicultural puzzle characterizes the album.

It is really a puzzle that is genially put together... just mind blowing!

Thank you man, I'm glad you think like that!

I wanted to ask you about a particular song. The Romanian track "Cine Iubeşte şi Lasă". Translated it means "The one that loves and leaves" or something like that...

Yes it is not our song. It is something like a cover. It is Romanian traditional song that we did with two very good Greek singers Suzanna & Eleni Vougioukli .

Ok but what is hidden behind the Lyrics?

It is just a chorus actually and represents an old Transylvanian curse. It is a song that fits really well in the atmosphere of the album, and we really wanted to have a Balkan touch in our music.

Can we compare this song with the song with Diamanda Galas from "AEALO" (Ordes From The Dead)?

Maybe yes but not lyrically. "Orders From The Dead" is related to a historical event that took part in Greece.

You said that the album is accepted really well so far, but soon you will go on tour and which tracks from the album you are going to play live?

Oh, this is our nightmare: To prepare setlist and having twelve albums. We already played one show in Greece last week and we played 3 songs from the new album. So I guess we will continue to play only 3 songs, because we have really big discography and people that came to see us will want to hear tracks from the entire discography

Yes, but I guess the fans around the world would be glad to hear a song that is related to their culture. I mean it will be a mistake if you don't play "Cine Iubeşte şi Lasă" in Romania.

Yes I know... This is my nightmare, but we will have to bring two female singers with us, which will expand our expenses. And you know the trips are long and quite expensive.

So you will try to do your best?


I know that because I have seen Rotting Christ 3 times during the AEALO tour and it was amazing!

Oh, really I'm glad to hear that and I can assure you that now it will be much better, and we won't disappoint you when we pass through Bulgaria.

So that is my next question. Are there any plans for ROTTING CHRIST show in Bulgaria any time soon?

Oh yes we are currently in negotiations and working on it. We even have plans to play more than once in Bulgaria this year.


Yes I know there are already rumors circulating.

We are working on it man, because we consider Bulgaria as really friendly country and the people there are great. This is not a compliment, this is the reality. So we will try to play more than one show in Bulgaria.

Ok now back to the band. Since the "AEALO" album there was a general change in the lineup. Now only you and your brother are members of the band. Why did this happen and who participated in the writing and recording sessions of the album?

We split-up in a friendly way. Some things in life are changing and for personal reasons we don't play anymore with the other guys. As long as me and my brother Themis are in the band , nothing will change. I recorded everything by myself, except for the drums of course. We are currently working with two guys who will help us during live performances.

Who are they?

George Emmanuel – guitar and Vagelis Karzis – bass guitar

So they fit in the Rotting Christ Lineup

So far yes!

You recorded the album in Devasoundz Studios, but I expected you to record it again in "a studio far in the northern mountains of Greece"

I wish we could, but we didn't have enough time.

Who did the production?

I produced and mixed the album by myself. The guys from Devasoundz gave us very good price for that. The album was mixed in Sweden with Jens Bogren who is also known from his work with AMON AMARTH and PARADISE LOST.


It is clear that ROTTING CHRIST is one of the leading names in the Hellenic metal scene, but you are not alone. There are a lot of fans comparing ROTTING CHRIST with SEPTICFLESH, which for me is huge mistake...

Of course it is.

... Yes, but is there some sort of competition between the two bands, and are you guys in good relationship with each other?

You know people like to make rumors and competitions, but we will not follow. We don't have any competition with any Greek band and I don't care about what people are saying. We are good friends with SEPTICFLESH. We recorded the album in their studio.

Who did the artwork of the album and what it represents

We wanted something simple, something black and white, occult and mystical. Our friend Nurgeslag from Ukraine did the two sculptures for us that are on the cover.

So they are real sculptures, not digital art?

Yes, I got fed up seeing all those colorful covers with pictures and stuff. I wanted something simple like in the old days.

One thing that cached my mind on the cover is that the ROTTING CHRIST logo is missing. I you guys always had problem with the name so is this a way to hide it?

No, it's nothing like that. We wanted something non commercial. This is the underground attitude. We are not posing with the band name. It would be nothing special if we did the cover with the band name and album title below. This is the spirit of the album; we didn't want to follow any rules. And the cover looks better that way.


Ok, there is an new THOU ART LORD album coming on our way! Can you give us more details about that?

It is an old school album that is almost done and I'm very glad that that we keep the spirit. I also hope to be back on the read someday and do some shows with the guys. I like this idea very much, but the other guys are not on the same opinion, so I cross my fingers to do some shows with them. The album will be out in May and it will sound like the first demos.

Ok so back to rotting Christ again. There is a tour coming up and you guys already have been all over the world with your previous tours. You visited countries like Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Ireland. ROTTING CHRIST is typical Balkan band I I suppose sometimes it's hard to for the fans from different cultures to understand the music and the message. Where did you have the most amazing response?

Well everywhere except some big countries. The band had recently celebrated its 10000 show and as you said we had toured all around the world many times. And believe me; I have seen really great response for our music in every corner of the planet. We had played in places like Ecuador and Siberia everywhere was amazing. We were really surprised that the people in Ecuador, Peru and Chile know the songs really well, and this is really nice experience for us. That's why we try to push our music to every corner of the world where the metal hearts are beating.

The last time when I talked with you was when the AEALO album was released and you said that it's early for the band to think for new album. In order to release a new record you will have to take a rest and look in the deep corners of your soul, to see if you have something new to say and to make a step forward. So is this really a step forward and how can you see you step even further?

To step forward is the mission of the band and it very important thing for us. I'm really happy with that because this is our 12 album and we are really happy with it...

So the hardest number is up to come... The lucky 13?

Ha-ha of course it will be the hardest, with every album we release we go up and up, and is getting harder to go over ourselves. That's why every time I try to search if I have something new to say. That's what happened with this album and I'm really glad that I still have it and I am still active.

The fans are glad also I can assure you. So in the new album we can hear a song in Romanian, in the previous we heard songs on forgotten dead languages. Can the Bulgarian fan someday expect a song on strictly Bulgarian language?

Yes of course we were pretty close to do it in this album, but in the last minute the things changed. I wanted to cooperate with Bulgarian choir and to do something in Bulgarian because I consider the people, traditions and history pretty close to the Greek ones.

One of the most amazing things that happened to me during the last few years is seeing you guys 3 times in Greece and to see how the fans accept you there. For the Greek fans you are a total cult. I saw you guys bringing fans on the stage to sing "Non Serviam". Do you do that often and can we expect it in Sofia?

Yes of course this is the spirit of the show. This song is a classic from the old days and keeps the spirit alive.

Can we say that song is an anthem for the band?

Yes of course because it comes from a days when things were totally different, and we want to pass this idea to the new generation. That's why we bring fans on the stage, we are really close with them and we are also fans.


What are the future plans for the band? Till the end of the year you are touring and full with shows. But can we expect some surprises?

Yes we will do many shows. We also plan to release some EP's on 7 inch EPs, some vinyls and re-release some demo tapes. We like this old school underground idea.

Most of the bands have forgotten the vinyls nowadays and prefer to rerelease the old albums on cd's or some digital releases. But you guys are strictly holding on the black and classic vinyl.

Yes, I'm really fan of the vinyl and I'm paying it a lot of attention. That's why we are re-releasing our albums and demos on vinyl. We want to keep the vinyl idea and to be alive.

It is coming back to life aurally. The vinyl was forgotten, but now more and more bands are using it.

Yes because the fans feel that they really own something, and you can touch it and feel it.

Can I ask you to leave a message for the fans in Bulgaria?

I really hope you will have a great journey in to the past occult with our new album KATA TON DAIMONA EAYTOY and we are currently working to tour again in Bulgaria and until we meet again: "Non Serviam".

Awesome! Thank you very much for this interview and see you soon.

Thank you take care my friend.