Hail to Menace! Thanks for giving me the chance to make this interview!
Greetings. We’d like to thank you too for giving us the chance to tell a few things through this interview.
Starting this little interview I want to know when where and under what circumstances the band started?
Even though Menace was formed in 2006 the roots of the band go way back, in around 1999/2000, when Stelios Kartsonis and Kostas Tzetzas formed a thrash band called Evocation in high school (also played together in a band called Angel Execution for a while before starting Evocation). After a couple of live appearances in Chania alongside other local bands Evocation disbanded due to studies, military service etc… In 2006, when Stelios Kartsonis and Kostas Gavrilos were in the army they started talking about forming a band and so Menace came to be.
Which was the initial line up of the band? Have you gone any line up changes through the years? Introduce the current line up to the readers.
The initial line up of the band was:
Stelios Kartsonis – Vocals/Guitars
George Koutalonis – Guitars
Kostas Gavrilos – Bass
Kostas Tzetzas – Drums
In around 2009 Kostas Tzetzas suffered a severe injury and could not play drums for a while so a friend of us by the name of Nikitas came in to fill the gap and help the band for as long as needed. In 2011 Kostas were able to play again so he came back but this time Gavrilos had to temporary leave the band for personal reasons so another friend came to complete the band’s line up by the name of Kostas Livas. This is the line up that recorded ”Blacklist”for the split 7” and the ”Mentally Ill” demo. After the demo was complete a couple of live appearances (one at Chania and one at Thessaloniki) were scheduled but Kostas Livas left the band and Kostas Tzetzas could not attend so Kostas Gavrilos and Nikitas were mobilized once again (in Bass and Drums respectively) so that the band would not cancel the scheduled live appearances. As Gavrilos could not stay at the band due to overstretched program and while Nikitas became the stable drummer of the band, Kostas Tzetzas undertook the bass so the bands current line up is:
Stelios Kartsonis – Vocals/Guitars
George Koutalonis – Guitars
Kostas Tzetzas – Bass
Nikitas Panik – Drums
At this point we’d like to express our gratitude to former members Livas and Gavrilos for everything they’ve done.
Very clever name for a thrash band! How it came on foreground and who had the idea for it?
Stelios came up with the idea for the band name and it was the first and last suggestion as we all loved it from the very beginning. We actually loved that name even before the Evocation days, from when we first encountered it at Kreator’s album ”Terrible Certainty” at the song “Storming With Menace”…
Was your main goal to deliver this old school Thrash Metal or this was built under jamming and rehearsals?
Our main goal was to express ourselves playing the music we like. It comes out natural, it’s not that we say today we’ll play oldschool or anything. But this is the music we grew up with so it’s just natural that these influences will come out on the surface…
Which are the bands that you may want to point as main influences for Menace?
Our influences vary, including the 80’s metal scene as a whole. From Heavy Metal to Thrash and from the well known and successful bands of the era to the less known heroes of the underground. We listen to legends such as QUEENSRYCHE, MANILLA ROAD and CIRITH UNGOL as well as bands like MATAKOPAS, APOLLO RA, ION BRITTON, NIGHTCRAWLER, AXTON PRYTE etc and everything in between. And of course a lots of thrash where our main influences as a band lie. To give but a few names for your question we’d point out the obvious: RAZOR, DARK ANGEL, POSSESSED, WHIPLASH, VIOLENCE, AGENT STEEL, HOLY TERROR, BLIND ILLUSION, MORTAL SIN, HALLOWS EVE, FLOTSAM & JETSAM and many more…
There was a split 7” that was never released. For this release you recorded the track “Blacklist” Can you give some more info about this song? Where and when it was recorded?
Blacklist was recorded in April 2011 at Diapason studios in Chania and was mixed and mastered by our good friend Manthos Chnarras.
As you pointed, song “Blacklist” mixed, re-mixed and mastered by Manthos Chnaras (DEVISER). How you came in touch with him?
Manthos is a good friend of us as stated above, a brother in the Menace family and he has helped us a lot with his valuable experience and knowledge. He mixed and mastered Blaklist, he is a great friend and all his help is much appreciated (Thanks Matt, open fire!!!).
Why the 7” never show the light of the day? with which band were you going to release it? Why it never came out?
We were talking about the split 7” with some good friends of us that had a band in Heraclion called EXECUTE. The reason that the split never came out is that EXECUTE disbanded.
Focusing more on your recorded stuff I would like to know some more information about your “Mentally Ill” demo. when and where was it recorded, how many songs it contain and anything else you could share with us.
“Mentally Ill” is our first demo and contains the following songs:
1.) Mentally Ill
2.) Fatal Trust
“Mentally Ill” and “Fatal Trust” were recorded in 23 & 24 February 2012 at Groove Studios at Heraclion, Crete and were mixed and mastered by John Pratikakis at Groove Studios. “Blacklist” is the same recording as the one mentioned before.
The demo is released on CD-r and there will also a case for a tape edition to be released. In general, do you like tapes? Why have you selected the tape format as an alternative option?
Yes, of course we like tapes and thought that a printed tape would be a great idea, something more ”official” mostly for ourselves and those close to us. But before proceeding with the pressing of the tapes an offer was made for the release of a 7” single including the demo recordings so we abandoned the tape idea as we like vinyl more. The release of the single took several delays one after another and finally months later the deal fall through and we’re left with the CD-r.
In how many copies have you released the CD-r edition and what about the tape edition how many copies are you going to make?
The original plan was to print 200 tapes. The CD-r is not limited, as long as people ask for copies we’ll make more.
The song “Blacklist” however made it to the demo… You mentioned it before (on the demo songs details) but please confirm that is is the same recording…
Yes, it’s the same… The reason we decided to include it at the demo is that the split 7” didn’t came out.
Can I have a little comment about your lyrics in general?
Our lyrics are written by our singer Stelios and deal personal thoughts/experiences and more general problems about corruption, difficulties we encounter in our daily life etc… The lyrics are printed in the booklet and can also be found on the net so anyone can read them and translate them under his own perception.
The band hails form Chania, Crete, how difficult is to handle a band when you live far away from the main states of the scene (Athens, Salonica)? Is it a hard quest for you to rehearse and / or record? What kind of problems do you have to face living in Crete?
Well, there are difficulties in handling a band in Crete (like in most provincial cities as we can guess). First of all there are not many chances for playing live, there are not many people that are interested in this kind of music, there are not places to record (the studio we recorded the “Blacklist” track was the only recording studio with some base equipment for recording this kind of music in Chania and it closed down) and more little things that can make your life a little difficult but these are details. Our main problem is that we do not have a place of our own to rehearse and we encounter problems constantly in that matter. But if your will is strong and you have people by your side you can come up against anything and we are lucky enough to have a strong will and the greatest people by our side.
The band expresses an old school attitude first of musically. Expanding this we got your stuff released on tape. On the other hand you are using the Internet to promote your music which I understand is a good promotion tool. But is the move going partially against the old school attitude of the band? And in general what is your opinion about using of the Internet for music and Metal stuff? Is it a valuable tool for fans and musicians?
First of all we do not ”express an oldschool attitude” by any retro way, meaning that we are not a band that cares more for their haircut than their music or want to have a sound that’s bad by choice as to create the impression/illusion of the so called oldschool attitude. We know pretty well that we live in 2013 and we’re about to use whatever we have in our possession as we think is best. Internet is a tool that given the right use can be very helpful to bands and fans alike. What could possible be wrong at having the oportunity to spread your music to anyone who may be interrested to listen to it and decide for himself if he’s about to spend his hard earned money on it or contact you directly (let’s not forget that even this interview is done through the net)? Also the internet can be a way to fight back the greedy major labels/companies that think they own music and treat bands and fans like nothing more than easy profit (trying to sell their products pressenting them as the new Messiahs of Metal and in some extreme situations even doom a whole scene in non-existance). There are catches of course but yes, Internet can be a very helpful tool.
The 7” was postponed. However do we have any high hopes for a future vinyl release of Menace?
We’re currently on the process of making our first full length, we’re about to start recording and if things go as planned it should be out by September / Octomber. And as we adore vinyl there will be a vinyl press as well as a CD…
Are you in contact with other bands that shares the same musical style / passion for metal with you? Do you plan something together?
We’re in touch with a lot of people that share the same passion for metal, bands and fans alike, but we do not have anything specific planned right now. We would not be negative though given the chance. Who knows, we’ll see…
Is Metal a way of life after all. How you manage to combine your everyday life -jobs families- etc with your passion for Metal?
It may sound a little cliche but yes, metal is a way of life and not a passing trend. Whatever the circumstances may be, people will always find time for their passions.
Is your singer the most dedicated RAZOR fan in the world?
Hahaha, Razor??? Who are Razor??? Seriously now he’s a HUGE Razor fan, as all of us are…
That was it. Close it the way you like!
Many thanks again for giving us the chance to express ourselves through this interview, keep up the good work and support the underground!!! Anyone interested can contact us at: ”menace oldschool thrash metal” at facebook. We’d also like to thank the menace family for believing in us more that we believe in ourselves and anyone who came in touch and supported us in any possible way. …..Let them EAT METAL!