EMQ’s with THE SULLEN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Greek Metal project The Sullen. Huge thanks to Petros Petalas for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I am Petros, I write, play and record all the instruments and vocals for The Sullen. The band was formed in 2018, right after we split up Final Words of Sorrow, my previous band, for a variety of reasons, mostly of a personal nature.
How did you come up with your band name?
It’s a description of the faces I’d come across outside on a daily basis. It resembles that aspect of the big city: millions of people going about their lives, bottling up their emotions behind an emotionless and kinda melancholic face.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I am from Athens, Greece, currently residing in Trikala. The Metal and Rock scene here has a lot to offer, both in terms of quantity as well as quality, but it’s really rare for a band to “stick to it” and break through. There’s a lot of reasons for that though, and it’s not entirely the fault of one single factor. Corruption, poverty, the problematic mindset around the distribution of music, the fact that music has to, more often than not, take the back seat in a person’s priorities -since it’s unlikely it will pay the bills- are all factors that hinder a band’s ability to put in the effort needed to “make it”.
That said, there are these few bands that make it despite all of that, and it’s something that fills me and most musicians with hope.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
It’s the “Rituals of Death” EP, which came out on May 25th, 2020. It consists of 3 tracks: ‘Crimson’, ‘Earthen Sky’ and ‘Rituals of Death’. You can watch our lyric video for “Crimson” here:
Who have been your greatest influences?
Mainly Melodic Black Metal and Doom/Gothic bands like Tribulation, Dissection, Primordial, Paradise Lost, Opeth, but I’d also like to explore adding elements of pop-punk and metalcore into the mix, like sum41, A Day to Remember and others.
What first got you into music?
Well, listening to it, haha. I’ve always been keen on music, since 5th grade or so, be it videogame soundtracks, music videos on TV or Radio songs. And it was always the “darker”, or rather “sadder” stuff that got my attention, even at that age.
How I got into metal though is funnier: when I first got my internet connection, I’d heard about “Limewire”, where I could find any song (and virus) out there! So, I was browsing the genre tags at some point and the label “Death Metal” caught my eye. Subsequently we can say that my transition into Metal was pretty unorthodox, with bands like Cannibal Corpse, Lamb of God, Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
You know, collaborations are a weird thing, you never know beforehand if it’s going to go good or sour, so I wouldn’t like to prejudge anything. If the question refers to any collaboration that would be sort of a dream-come-true though, then that would be Tobias Forge, Ghost.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
In terms of “Oh my God, we played there!!” then Wacken, because it’s the oldest (and biggest?) European festival that hosts extreme metal music.
In practical terms, any festival that’s held in a good closed venue, with similar-vibe bands. I am not well aware of such fests though.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Can’t think of any really weird ones, it’s been mostly drinks, CD’s and books. What a boring answer, haha.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be true to yourselves and what you want. Not to what your peers want of you.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
That would be Freddie Mercury. Even though I am not the biggest Queen fan out there, I think the world of music lost a lot with his death.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I enjoy being able to express abstractions in sound, to manifest physically that melody that’s been stuck in my head. I enjoy the process of writing music, start to finish. It’s a really unique kind of fulfilment.
I hate the industry part of it. Especially the marketing. I’m not saying that it’s bad that it is there, it’s more of a necessary evil, but I really hate that I have to do it. Maybe because I’m bad at it? Sure. But I thoroughly dislike it.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
The “pay to play” deals. Be it for concerts, “record labels” or magazine reviews. I find it unethical; I find that it puts musician in the place of the customer rather than that of the creator. I’m all for a scene that’s harder to get into rather than that. We have the tools to change these things, it’s time we put them in good use.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“The Funeral Album” by Sentenced. It’s kept me company countless times.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Cassettes I find to be good exclusively for nostalgia purposes, so they’re a no-go.
Vinyl gives the best medium to enjoy the art of an album, and it’s also the most show-off-ish medium. I don’t own Vinyl records, but I get the appeal and I do enjoy looking at them. Sound-wise they are not the more accurate in the era of digital recording. Maybe it was back in day where music was recorded in analog gear. Vinyl adds its own “colour” to the sound which might be preferable to some, but not to others.
CD’s are kind of a baby Vinyl: smaller, more convenient but they don’t decorate the walls as good as Vinyl.
Digital mediums are by far the most convenient. I’d like to see anyone make a Vinyl playlist. Or even skip 7 songs on an album. Or better yet listen to them on the road. Sound-wise it can be 100% accurate, but it can also be of the absolute worst quality.
So, verdict: Downloads/Streaming for listening to the music, Vinyl for showing off your collection.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
As “The Sullen”, we haven’t played any. We aren’t even “we” as of yet.
As Petros, it has to be supporting Septic Flesh with W.E.B., in 2016.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I mean, I have a vast variety of interests, ranging from arts like photography and cinematography, to philosophy and politics, to programming and “hardcore science”… So probably something out of these.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
The Pope, Till Lindemann, Kim Kardashian, Gary Holt and Her Majesty the Queen of England.
What’s next for the band?
Full length album and becoming a band. Both are currently in the process.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I’ve always considered them a biscuit, but then why are they called Cakes? Really makes you think.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Well thank you for hosting us and supporting musicians! Stay safe, stay strong!
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