EMQ’s with PECULIAR THREE

peculiar three Logo

EMQ’s with PECULIAR THREE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Livadia, Greece based Hard ‘n’ Heavy Rock/Prog band, “peculiar three”. Huge thanks to lyricist, vocalist & bassist, Valantis Dafkos, 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?

Hi Rick and thanks for having us!

I am Valantis Dafkos, lyricist, vocalist and bass player for the “peculiar three”. We are a studio project trio and we play hard ’n’ heavy rock with prog and metal elements since 2013, when we decided that playing in a cover band was just not enough for us and formed a “vessel” in which we could be ourselves musically and lyrically, as well as enjoy creating something from scratch! So, I together with Panos Karkanas (guitars & keys) and Paris Gatsios (drums) formed the band! As “peculiar three” we released our first EP “P3culiar” in 2014, followed by its remastered edition in 2019. Our debut full-length “Leap of Faith” was released in 2020.

In addition, you may also hear the π3 members play in “Redeye Caravan”, “The Magic Bus” and “Beyond This Earth”, too!

How did you come up with your band name?

We all love literature and a few years back, we accidentally found out that we had read the same Arthur Conan Doyle book at around the same (young) age! The book was “A Study In Scarlet” and we decided that we should use it somehow in our band. So, we “borrowed” one of the main character’s beloved phrases as part of our band’s name! Furthermore “peculiar” as a word has a strange ring to it, also meaning “strange/special”, just like the ideas we like to put on our music and lyrics! And since there’s three of us… “peculiar three”!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

The band is based in Livadia, a small city near Athens (Greece) with all the pros and cons you can imagine of such a place! It has a few beautiful spots, nice people and good food! Close to Livadia one can also find ancient monuments, like the well-known Delphi – the ancient religious sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Apollo, home to the Oracle of Delphi and the priestess Pythia. Despite its low population numbers, Livadia’s music scene is alive and strong, way better than anyone could probably anticipate! New bands pop up frequently and many of them consist of young people, thirsty to rock!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

A few months back we released our first full-length album and a few days back we released the first lyric video of the album! ‘Caliban’s End’ is an almost classical / orchestral oriented song, something we tried for the first time and we’re really glad we did! Lyrically it’s about Caliban, a peculiar W. Shakespeare character from the play “The Tempest” and my interpretation on his tragic storyline’s end. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

‘Caliban’s End’ (Official Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

We were all “raised” musically during the 90’s, the rock and metal influences of that period are subconsciously present in our music, although our personal preferences seem to differ between us! There’s a lot of good old prog rock for sure, but all the classics of the metal world are there, too. In “Leap of Faith” you can detect these influences in our music and lyrics, but they’re all distilled through our personal prism and character!

What first got you into music?

I was passionate about music from a very young age. I remember myself in the early nineties, through the…“tough” years before the internet, trying to discover more and more by any means necessary (recording radio shows on cassettes – man, what a bummer it was when the producer talked during a song! Watching any music video I could find on tv or searching for music related magazines!), while really paying attention to every detail. At around the age of 10, my parents bought me a keyboard (a “safe” instrument if you live in an apartment!) and that was the time my personal musical journey began. As years passed, I also tried classical and electric guitar, drums, darbuka, bouzouki, baglama and ultimately the bass, while singing all the way through. Then came the bands, the live shows and the recordings, dealing with them every time like it’s the first time! Music was and always will be a huge part of my life…

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Occasioned by “Caliban’s End” it would be truly fantastic if we could collaborate with a band like “Rage” and do something special together, along with their “Lingua Mortis Orchestra”!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

There’s no question about it: “70000 Tons of Metal” it is! A Heavy Metal festival, on a cruise ship, for 5 days and a Caribbean shore day…all right, what could possibly top that?

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Nothing weird so far, haha! There was this girl once that saw my “Legend of Zelda” related t-shirt and right after the show she brought me a handcrafted Zelda logo, which was really nice actually!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

“Support your local scene”! It may sound a little tedious, but is, in fact, what matters most for the underground scene and thus we hope more and more people would appreciate many of the upcoming bands!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

There are so many that had so much more to give and left so soon…I think it would be John Lennon.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Music is, above all, a passion to me and as such I serve it with pure love! If I had to choose only one, I’d have to say the gigs! Although creating something by yourself, composing, recording and in the end holding your own record in your hands is an amazing thing, the true experience and communication happens only during a live gig! Especially these times with the quarantine still on, I really miss playing in front of a crowd regardless if it’s a small pub or a big festival stage. Of course, there are some aspects that I wouldn’t…miss if they were to disappear, such as the after-show instrument, amp etc packing – God what a pain in the ass the after-show packing and packaging is, haha!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Although it’s just a midsummer night’s dream, I would somehow create equal media exposure possibilities for every band, giving them the opportunity to grandstand in their own ways!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

This must be the first time someone asks that question properly, with the key words being “one of”!!! Since it’s also ONE OF my all-time favourite books, Blind Guardian’s “Nightfall In Middle-Earth” is ONE OF my all-time favourite albums!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Depending on the occasion, they can all be the best! I would surely prefer the mp3 format when I’m driving, since I enjoy music variety as much as I enjoy long road trips, therefore it’s only fitting. When listening to music at home, I usually want to “touch” the music, so I’d prefer the vinyl (especially if the artwork is really detailed) or the CD (especially when my kids are playing too close to my record player), so I can enjoy reading the lyrics as well. Nope, no sound arguments here, sorry “sound purists”, it all just comes down to your actual medium and speakers’ quality, haha!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I always like to say that the best one is the one to come next! That being said, I had the time of my life when I played in my city sharing the stage with my “personal heroes”, the band I used to hear since I was a little child!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

In fact, I am a teacher, an elementary school principal! My whole family (parents and sister) are teachers, too! It was something I somehow knew from a very young age that would be the perfect job for me, and I have no doubts so far…

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Let me tell you about the best dinner parties I’m regularly having these past few days: My little son invites me in his bedroom for an all-you-can-eat Playmobil stuff buffet along with Ironman, Peppa & George pig, and baby Shark…cool gang, I should probably invite them over to my room sometime soon and have a blast with my Lego, hahaha! (Best Answer Yet – Rick)

What’s next for the band?

There’s a video clip and a second lyric video on the way, so…stay tuned! As for the future, we’ll surely start composing and writing again when we feel like we have something new and interesting to say!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

You’re welcome to find, hear and purchase both our albums digitally on Bandcamp (www.peculiarthree.bandcamp.com/) and also on most digital distribution platforms, such as Youtube (www.youtube.com/channel/UCX8fw1uaRazcX_8DyOdkTbg), Discogs, Spotify, Soundcloud, Amazon Music, iTunes, Deezer etc.

Of course, as romantics ourselves, we could not but release “Leap of Faith” in physical format too, as a sweet digipak CD, limited to three hundred copies, so send us a message on our Facebook’s like page (www.facebook.com/peculiarthree) for details!

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I wanted to say biscuit so much, but Wikipedia disagrees with me: “Jaffa Cakes are biscuit-sized cakes introduced by McVitie and Price in the UK in 1927 and named after Jaffa oranges.” And it’s a court decision – even if it’s just for tax purposes – so I guess we should comply…what a bummer, haha!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

We’re the ones who should be thanking you for your time and hospitality! We wish for you and your readers to remain adventurous while discovering new music and bands! Take care, stay healthy and…support your local scene!

peculiar three Promo Pic
Photo by Sotiris Kotsonis

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gentle Giant – 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissues

Gentle Giant – 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissues
Gentle Giant/Acquiring the Taste/Three Friends/Octopus
Alucard Music
Release Date: 03/04/2020
Running Time: 37:00/39:26/35:24/34:09
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10
6/10
8/10
9/10

One of the originators of Prog Rock and active between 1970 and 1980, Gentle Giant were a unique band and their mix of rock with jazz, folk, soul and classical music made them certainly stand out from the crowd. They were also certainly prolific, releasing eleven albums that charted their arc from their experimental titular first release through to the hard rock of “Civilian” at the end of their career. Having allegedly turned down Elton John as their vocalist, the core of the band consisted of three brothers, Derek, Ray and Phil Shulman, accompanied by Kerry Minnear and Gary Green with the line-up changing only slightly over the years with Phil leaving in 1973 and three various drummers coming in and out of the fold. The first four albums have now been re-released in their full glory and certainly make for interesting listening, their content at times challenging but always nothing less than rewarding and hugely enjoyable.

Their debut, “Gentle Giant” (8/10), treads a path that blends more traditional rock and blues with the classical, the multi-instrumentalist musicians and was produced by superstar producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie / T Rex). From the sweet ‘Funny Ways’ to the Beatle’s like eccentricity of ‘Isn’t It Quiet And Cold’ and onto the heavier psychedelic guitar-centric ‘Why Not’ the album bristles with great tracks that capture the spirit of their late 60’s origins and add a very new decade sensibility. It’s certainly a captivating experience and one that bears real exploration as you go on this fantastical journey with a band who were determined to break new ground.

Things got even more experimental on the follow up, “Acquiring The Taste” (6/10) which at times delves much more into jazz and electronica passages that mix in orchestral instruments and motif. With Visconti at the desk again, tracks like ‘Edge of Twighlight’ are a real melting pot of ideas and sounds with barely a hint of the more straight ahead influences rock shown in the first album. Whilst some things did stray off an entirely different path there are other moments that really work magnificently such as the blues and heavy soul album closer ‘Plain Truth’ which winds its merry way through some thrilling passages.

Gentle Giant seemed to reign in some of the more excessive limits of their musicality and head to calmer waters with “Three Friends” (8/10) and this concept album is considered one of the real highpoints of their career. With the band growing in confidence, they took over the job of producing themselves and created something that gave no quarter but sounded exactly how they wanted it to. Mixing their flair for classical music arrangements and some heavy R&B, the album follows the lives of its titular subjects as they grow up and go their separate ways in the world. Highlights include the fantastically evocative ‘School Days’ and the heavy blues bluster of ‘Strip The Paint’ as Gary Green’s guitar tears things up in no uncertain terms.

1972 was obviously a very fertile year for the band as “Octopus” (9/10) came hot on the heels of “Three Friends” and is considered by most people to be the finest in their canon. Lulling you with two relatively gentle tracks, the third, ‘A Cry for Everyone’ sees Gentle Giant heading into definite hard rock territory and the track shapes up to be their heaviest yet. More jaw dropping sideways moves and staggering musicianship draw the listener in to what is still an utterly compelling listening experience forty-eight years later. Of special note are the closing duo of tracks ‘Think of Me with Kindness’ with its lush and ever-changing patterns and the virtuoso ‘River’ that seems to pull in all their finest ideas into one perfectly formed six-minute track. If you’re brave and want something that will both challenge and entertain, you can’t go wrong with the brilliance of “Octopus”.

TRACKLISTING:
Gentle Giant (1970):
01. Giant
02. Funny Ways
03. Alucard
04. Isn’t It Quiet & Cold
05. Nothing At All
06. Why Not
07. The Queen

Acquiring The Taste (1971):
01. Pantagruel’s Nativity
02. Edge Of Twighlight
03. The House The Street The Room
04. Acquiring The Taste
05. Wreck
06. The Moon Is Down
07. Black Cat
08. Plain Truth

Three Friends (1972):
01. Prologue
02. School Days
03. Working All Day
04. Peel The Paint
05. Mr Class & Quality
06. Three Friends

Octopus (1972):
01. The Advent Of Panurge
02. Raconteur Troubadour
03. A Cry For Everyone
04. Knots
05. The Boys In The Band
06. Dog’s Life
07. Think Of Me With Kindness
08. River

LINKS:
www.gentlegiantmusic.com/GG/
www.facebook.com/gentlegiantband/
www.twitter.com/GGIANTMUSIC
www.instagram.com/gentlegiantband/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Matt Jones/Twisted Illusion – Live From The Flat

Matt Jones/Twisted Illusion – Live From The Flat
Somewhere in Manchester
20/03/2020
Review By Beth Jones

So… Its been a week since ‘THE EVENT’ really took hold in the UK. We are listening to Mitchell & Webb’s advice of ‘REMAIN INDOORS’ (if you’re not up on British comedy, google it). The kids are now off school indefinitely, and the only way to stop cabin fever setting in is going to be alcohol and live streams! The first of our live streams was to be the heart, soul, and lifeblood of Twisted Illusion; main man, Matt Jones. As with any other muso at this time, shit is difficult. Gigs cancelled, festivals postponed, merch sales unlikely, the future uncertain, livelihoods in the balance, and the ability to do what musos live for – performing live to a room full of people – curtailed for god knows how long. Times are bleak, but our community is two things – caring and resourceful. And to that end, we’ll pull together and get involved, right? It was also Matt’s birthday, so all the more reason to tune in and show our support.

If anybody has experienced Matt Jones and Twisted Illusion before, you’ll know that he is one talented guy, but this is unchartered waters for all of us. This is up close and personal, with nowhere to hide, just Matt, in his flat, with a guitar, a mic, and the lovely Hannah reading out the comments and requests from the gathered ‘watchers’ on Facebook. To that end, I have to commend Matt on his absolute stalwart tenacity to bring music to the people, by whatever means. This was his soul, right here on our tablets, or smart phones or TV, and it was a great and, if I’m honest, an emotional thing to witness. Yes, it was rough around the edges, yes it wasn’t the same as watching it in a bar or venue, yes it’s all a bit weird for everyone, but adopt, adapt and improve, right? (thanks for the quote John Cleese).

Matt has produced some amazing covers recently, which have been posted on Youtube, and he was taking requests for this performance! My favourite of his covers so far has been Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’. He performed it at my birthday back in December, and obviously I requested it again for this gig. And again, he delivered the goods, and choked me up in the process. It’s been a fairly emotional couple of weeks for everyone to be fair, but this really hit me in the feels. He also covered Ace of Spades superbly and hit us with a bit of the Tenacious D classic, ‘Tribute’, too, which is always a crowd pleaser!

The covers were interspersed with some TI songs too, which really is what Matt does best. His song-writing imagination is huge, and he has come up with some masterpieces that deserve more recognition than they get. I would recommend everybody check them out. If you like proggy hard rock/classic metal sounds, or anything Devin Townsend has ever done, you’ll like Twisted Illusion.

This show was definitely an experiment and ‘dipping toes in the water’ for Matt, yes he’s done live noodling before, but not a live streamed show of any formality. There wasn’t a set list, there was a lot of half songs and banter, it wasn’t the professional production that we’d see from a ‘bigger band’, but that made it endearing and real.

Whilst it wasn’t perfect, it was a great start in this new field of bringing music to the people. He started to look more comfortable as it went along, and this was definitely the biggest crowd he has pulled and sustained in a live stream to date. Who knows how long this way of delivering live music will be for, but I sincerely hope that Matt and Twisted Illusion are a big part of that. You can catch the next live stream from him on Friday 27th March 2020 by clicking on this event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/614868202435132/ Be sure to tune in!

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/
www.twitter.com/officialtiband
www.twistedillusion.bigcartel.com/
www.twistedillusion.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCK0IxAnfXG7ibOx4HUyOHQQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2ieaLzCnFgOvKhImBVWp0P

Disclaimer: This review and photograph is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.