bob-katsionis-interviewHello Bob, how are you?

I'm fine thank you. We just finished rehearsals and we placed some posters on the walls of Athens. Pretty much old-school stuff.

So you are preparing for the show in Sofia?

Yes we are preparing for our mini tour. We really can't wait to play in Sofia. It will be our first show we do with OUTLOUD outside of Greece.

Why it took so long for OUTLOUD to play outside Greece?

We really hate the fact that we couldn't play before, but the things are really difficult. Judging from my experience with FIREWIND, you need a lot of things in order to start playing outside of your country. You need a manager to book the shows and money to invest of course. The biggest problem was because I was playing with FIREWIND, which is not a problem at all, but I didn't have the time to concentrate in OUTLOUD. Now we have a new album – "Let's Get Serious" and Gus G is concentrated in his solo album, so I have all the time in the world. And here we are!

This won't be your first time in Sofia but what are your expectations now with OUTLOUD?

The truth is that I love the place and I know so many people in Sofia. Every time I come there I see my friends from PROJECT ARCADIA. I have done some video clips with them there. Besides that we have met a lot of people when we played 3-4 times with FIREWIND. It's really cool to visit all those friends again. But to be honest I really don't know what to expect from the show. I really want more people to show up because it's fun music and the show will be great. Our singer Chandler is really nice guy and great at what he is doing.

You shared a lot of good memories from Sofia, but do you have any bad memories from your previous visits.?

No, not really? But I remember that every time we play there is really cold.

I know that it's difficult for a Greek guy to handle the Bulgarian cold.

Yes. We are from Athens and it's always a little bit warmer. I remember that the last time we played there with FIREWIND I forgot to bring my stage clothes. So I was playing with sports clothes and I was felling terrible, but I guess nobody noticed.

The new album is called "Let's get serious" What is hiding behind the title. Are you just getting serious or what?

Actually yes! We did a lot of fun stuff like the cover of Enola Gay and there are a lot of different elements. But when you give this title to an album, people expect it to be serious and really focus on the lyrics and the music. And actually this is the first album we did without our founder Tony. He founded the band but he was not that good as a musician and he was really struggling if we wanted to play more difficult things. Now when he left the band we really can play more groovy stuff like MR. BIG. That's why I think the album is much more serious, but at the same time fun enough.

How are the fans accepting it so far?

This is the reason I decided to do this tour. The people and the media are really loving it and we got so much requests to play everywhere. Usually you are begging the people to come to shows, but this time they were asking us to do shows. Which is really serious.

Besides a musician you also are shooting videos for bands. Which one you enjoy the most? Keys, strings or the camera.

Ha-ha .. Playstation!.. No really I Like to play keyboards – that is true. But when I play with OUTLOUD I don't want to play keyboards. The thing with the camera is more fun because I'm not a director. I don't know the terms and principles to shoot a video. I never studied for this, I just like doing it. It's really interesting to capture the performance of the band. And since I am a musician I can do it better than somebody who is not. This is how I have the chance to meet a lot of bands and we really have fun shooting the videos. But the video shooting is the most difficult and tiring thing I have ever done. You know every time you shoot a video and go back home you realize that no money is worth it.

Is it more difficult than playing guitar and keyboard at the same time?

Yes it's easy when you play keyboard since 1989. But the difficult in the camera thing is you only have one time in certain place to shoot a video. And you have to do it even if everything goes wrong. People have paid a lot of money for equipment and rent and you can't go back home and say .. "Oh I haven't got the singer right let's do it again!". The last time I was in Sofia with PROJECT ARCADIA we were shooting 2 video clips for their new album A Time Of Changes (Buy it from here) Which by the way is great and I love their music. So we did the two clips in abandoned train factory outside Sofia. There was a guy who was guarding it. He was around 20-30 and was looking like a mafia guy. He even had a gun in his pocket. He was not even a guard.. he was more like a guy with a gun!

Photo by Belinda Breed

What is your favorite song for playing live and why?

What I see from the rehearsals now the more difficult songs are more fun to play! We have a song called "A While To Go" , so when we wrote that song I decided to call the album "Let's Get Serious". "Death Rock" is also a good song and of course the old stuff like "We Run".

Lets now go to FIREWIND.. any news there?

Yes! ... Nothing! I was talking with Gus G the other day and he is going to do a second solo album I guess. And in the same time Ozzy will be busy with Black Sabbath. We will have to sit down and to see if we have some really good songs in order to do another Firewind album. We don't want to go back to FIREWIND unless we have a fantastic album. Until now Gus wanted to have a new album on every two years and I agree with that. Because If you wait for an album to be perfect it will never be. Only "Master Of Puppets" is perfect! But if you cannot do an album like that there is no reason to do anything.

How do you see yourself in 10 years time.. What would you be doing?

Oh man that is fantastic question! Actually that is the thing I am thinking every night. I'm really interested in producing albums for other bands. I have interesting ideas and I love arranging stuff. There are a lot of kids coming to my place and they need help and have great ideas but don't know how to turn them in to songs. I would love to help the out. On the other hand I have my solo stuff and I have a top secret plan in my head to do more Bob Katsionis music and to be more piano stuff. To be appropriate for large audience but not pop.. you know what I mean Something like the music of Yanni or Vangelis. That is my secret desire but I don't know probably in the end I will be a director.

Ok let me ask you the opposite! If you had the chance to go back 10 years ...would you change something in your life?

Wow... fantastic question!... Hm... I'm looking at the wall right now and I really don't know what to answer. You know the really obvious answer would be "Oh no everything is there for a reason", but if you really think about it... Maybe if I had concentrated and did my own music .. probably now I would be 10 years ahead like I told you before. But probably then I would never met Gus G and be in Firewind. But I think everything went really well with me. Maybe i would concentrate on my solo stuff and make it work better

You are involved in a lot of musical projects and bands in the past. Do you have a favorite?

Apart from FIREWIND which is my main band I loved what we did with KAMELOT when I wrote 2 songs for their last album. I also remember the times when I played with SEPTIC FLESH. Now they are getting bigger and bigger but back then i did some tours with them and it was really nice because I learned a lot of stuff. Unfortunately the thing with Timo Tolkki never worked out because I really wanted to do it. I can say that OUTLOUD is my best hobby so far

I would ask you to leave a message for the fans.

Even if you are not familiar with OUTLOUD, just give us a chance to prove to you that we are a lot of fun. And I can guarantee that the show will be great and I can't wait to meet my old and new friends in Sofia!

Author: Nikola Petras

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