Interviewed by David Felix
Date: March 22nd, 2005
Greece’s answer to YNGWIE MALMSTEEN is a 21-year-old guitar virtuoso, Overlord. After just releasing his first CD with Sonic Age entitled “Overlord’s Perpetual,” I was able to talk to this young maestro about the release and his plans for the upcoming year.
You’ve put out your first release at the young age of 21 and moreover, produced, arranged and wrote the CD in its entirety. That’s a very impressive accomplishment. Who did you study under and was there anyone who helped or guided you along the way?
I just want to make the music!! That’s what it’s all about.
How old were you when you first picked up a guitar and how long did it take for you to realize you had a talent for it?
I was 12 years old when I first picked up a guitar. I always loved the instrument so much!! I can still remember when I was a little boy… I could just imagine myself playing the guitar and now I realize that it was a passion for expression!!!
What kind of guitar was it?
It was a friend’s classical guitar.
What is your “weapon of choice” nowadays?
You mix in a lot of different styles in your arrangements. From classical to symphonic to all out speed, who are your influences as a guitar player and as a songwriter?
As a guitar player, I used to listen to all the kinds of instrumentalists as much as possible; Saxophone players, keyboard players & all styles. As a composer, I’m trying to listen to a variation of styles. Now, about my first Album “Overlord’s Perpetual”… I didn’t prove to myself and, of course, the audience what I ultimately wanted! I hope someday to introduce my specific personal style on stage!!
Where do you get your ideas from when you start working on a new song?
My feelings give me the ideas!! It’s simple.
Obviously, due to your style and technique, you are being compared to a young Yngwie Malmsteen. How do you feel about that and what do you think sets you apart?
I was 15 years old when I first heard Yngwie’s music. It was a TV program and I saw Yngwie doing his thing. It was the song called “The Only One” (Video Clip).
After that, I started to collect all of Yngwie’s stuff. So how can I describe it?!? The Y.J.M. experience!! Yngwie has a strong personality. I love his attitude and he has a big impact on me nowadays. I love his attitude as a person more than his music! I know it’s strange but... Now about the differences (between Yngwie and me), I don’t know what to say! I’ll leave that to your critique.
Now, let’s talk a little about the band itself. From what I have read, I’ve seen your drummer (Fotis Giankopoulos), keyboardist (Bob Katsionis), and vocalist (Vasilis Axiotis) all credited on the CD. Who plays bass on the album and live?
The guy who recorded the album was Leo Petropoulos. He has also played all the shows but these days, a new member has replaced him!
How did you put the band together?
I asked the guys to record it for me! Nowadays the line up of the band is new.
What is your live show like?
I’m trying to focus on the music!! That’s the basic target. Now a few words about the presentation of the band. Our Image and of course our behavior on the stage (I mean the way we look to the audience) is pretty basic and professional.
Are there any plans for a tour in support of the release?
Of course, but I haven’t arranged anything yet as far as tour dates go.
How old were you when you first stepped out on stage and what were you feeling at the time?
I was 17 years old. The Club called “ Woodstock” and it was in front of a crowd of about one hundred people. It was amazing! Various feelings… strange feelings!
How do you approach it now?
I just want to have fun when I’m doing it.
What is the crowd response usually like and is there any performance, which stands out in your mind for any reason, whether it be just a great show or performance or something interesting happened?
The crowd respects me because I’m a great master of the instrument! (No… I’m joking!!) Look, every new show brings me new experiences. The most exciting thing that had happened in 5 years was when a guy threw some fireworks onto the stage. I understood what had happened when this shit exploded. It was on the right corner of the stage beside Leo (The Bass player).
Getting back to the CD, Is there any track, which has any special meaning to you personally and why?
Generally, all the tracks represent something about my personality… but yeah, songs like “Prince of Darkness” and “The Overlord’ holds something special in them for me.
Was there any track you found to be more challenging than the others and why?
Maybe “Empire of Shadows”… it’s not so easy to play it live...
If you could change one thing about the CD, what would it be and why?
I made this CD two years ago (the recording sessions/production etc.). It represents what I was then! So I wouldn’t want to make a change on it!
So, now that you’ve got your first CD under your belt, are you looking forward to writing and working on your follow up?
Of course! I hope that my second album will be in the stores next year!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you the best of luck with the new album and in the future.
Thanks to you too, David!
Editor's Note: Read our review of Overlord's Perpetual - "Overlord's Perpetual"