KAWIR - Therthonax

\r\nI wanted this interview for a very long time since it is quite known my affection for this specific Greek band. Kawir one of the first black metal Greek bands has just released their new work "Ophiolatreia". With this occasion the founder and mainman of Kawir, Therthonax (former Mentor, guitar/vocals) accepted our request to discuss about the new album, the band’s plans regarding their live appearances, the upcoming split with Zemial, his other band, Kabeiros and their first forthcoming work and lots of other interesting topics. So just read what has to say to us a historical black metal band that fortunately appears to return very strongly in the limelight.
\r\n
\r\nMetalzone: Well, before we talk about the new album I want you to tell me what’s the current lineup of the band? Who is Kawir at the moment?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Well, with the album we had some pullouts, as soon as the album was released Porphyrion left and went to Acherontas and we have a new vocalist right now, his name is Zagreus and we work on the songs with him. I play the guitars and we have also a second session guitarist. Vriareos is always behind the drums and Nosfistis who plays the bass. That’s five members. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: There was also a woman at some point in the band, Orfni. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No, we parted our ways with Orfni, in the last album there is no female presence.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Your fourth album "Ophiolatreia" has just been released. And if we count out the collection that you released in 2006 it’s been quite some time till the release of your new material. Was this a conscious decision or there were just problems that didn’t allow you to release a new album earlier?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Well, "ΑRAI" came out in 2005. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Yes, 2005 to 2008... it’s a long time. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Well, in 2007 we were more involved in doing live, we did two tours abroad, as soon as we returned we started writing the album. I think that’s fine. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Yes, alright it isn’t the best thing to release an album every year, I’m simply saying whether you wanted to release it earlier and there were just problems that delayed it. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Basically the group reconstructed in late 2006 because I waited too long to find members since up to then I did not have any members and then we began to do some gigs and we also wrote the new album. Because we hadn’t played any live for years, that’s true.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: I want you to tell me about the new album musically how different it is concerning the past releases or how similar it is or what is better this time or what you were careful with when you were recording.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The difference is that it has a more live feeling, I would say. It is not so much of a studio album, it is more live and I can say that it reminds me a little bit of the old Greek sound in a more modern edition perhaps. The lyrics are again in ancient Greek.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Currently I have only listened to the tracks you posted in your myspacepage and the truth is that I really liked them.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The album’s duration is about an hour so it is the longer work that we have ever made. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: So you are quite pleased with it. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes, I am quite pleased and this is the sound that I wanted to achieve. This live feeling and not so much a digital and a studio sound. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Where did you record this time?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: In a new studio and the mix and the mastering were handled by Alexis Gigas, who is also our sound recordist. The production was ours. Basically before we leave for our second tour that was in October, we recorded the album in August/September, for two months. Although the tracks were old.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: What do you mean old?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I mean some riffs maybe even be before 2000 and I just composed them these days. And maybe that is the reason why they have the old greek sound.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Did you want to go after this old feeling from the beginning; \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes, absolutely. And so far the first reviews are that they really like it because there is no Greek sound any more.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: The compositions and the lyrics are all your responsibility? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: So could you tell me some things about the lyrics? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The lyrics are always praising and sometimes are our own hymns, mine anyway, or Orpheus’ or Proclus’ or Callimachus’ proportionally. Or Homer’s. The specific deity that we want each time to dedicate the song to.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: What’s the meaning behind the title of the album "Ophiolatreia", what is it precisely reported in?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Basically Ophiolatreia is the worship of the primitive. Substantially before Dodekatheism, we’re talking about ancient time and the feeling at the time was very sacred. For example Cecropas in Athens, we’re talking about an age, when Athens was still called Cecropia. And substantially the worship of the serpent has to do with the Orphic cosmic egg, which is about the creation of the universe. The Eternal Circle, The Ouroboros Serpent and all that. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: This time you collaborate with Those Opposed rec. How are things so far? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: We are very pleased. It is a new label which we believed in and it seems up to now that it was a good decision. We signed in July and in August we entered the studio but it is only a one album deal and we will not continue with them although of course I’m not sure, the future will show. So far we are very pleased and right now we are preparing our new effort. It will be released a split LP / CD with Nergal, another historical Greek band that also has decided to reform and this will come out by No Sign Of Life, a Finnish label. The release is due in April/ May. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: So you have already entered the studio with Nergal? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Basically we enter the studio next week, yes, we write three new tracks and each group will have twenty minutes, one side of the record substantially. Of course I must tell you that the new songs will have some new elements because there are two new members in the band. The second guitar will bring a lot of changes as well as the new vocalist.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: When you say changes?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I believe musical changes to a best result. It will be a mix of classic Greek sound with some new ideas. And it will also the precursor to the new album because right after that we will prepare the new album. I mean it will have some differences from "Ophiolatreia" and from all the previous efforts. I would say that it will be a little bit similar to "Eymenides" our 7’ EP with a mix of "Ophiolatreia". \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Generally however your sound has always been something really special. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes I want to believe that we have our own style and sound. And perhaps the ancient Greek are also accountable for this because the language is this and in any case it differs. It is a more musical language. Of course the bad aspect is that no one does understand the lyrics and further more the fans from other countries but that was mostly when we started the band cause now the different language is not a bid of a deal anymore. There are so many groups that sing in other languages as in Russian, Lettonian, Finnish, Norwegian, so ok. Everyone is putting the elements of his own land and this is also what pagan is all about. Speaking for your gods and each and everyone one shows what his country has to offer.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: You were just one of the first bands that did this and I’m not only referring to Greece.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes that’s true. When we started they were only the Norwegian groups that did something like that at the time, Enslaved and some other bands. But all the others came out afterwards, that’s true. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: As a band however always you kept a very low profile even though abroad you receive a bigger recognition. In Greece you have been pursued and I don’t know why.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes me neither! I believe this is simply due to our ideology and that we never succumb, or rather we did not reconcile. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you believe that it has to do with the Greek mentality in general?
\r\n
\r\nTherthonax:
I think so. There is no way, basically the only way right now in Greece in to come in contact with our fans is by playing live. Because no one simply knows anything about us here. In our country and this is quite inconsisent.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: At least those that do know you they really love this band but either because you didn’t promote yourselves and I’m not saying this with the bad meaning plus that you had seized playing live… \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes, that’s true and more generally we had many offers all those years to make a tour, I can tell you even since ’94. In fact at the time Cacophonous has sent us to play with Cradle Of Filth and Sigh, to make a tour in England, something that didn’t happen because I was alone then in the band. And even later on in ’97. Finally we managed to get in the road in 2007. I was just never thinking about this. I wasn’t thinking about playing live. We started to do shows much later in`96. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: What was the reason you came then to that decision to stop playing live? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Simply there weren’t any serious musicians in Greece you could rely on and do a tour abroad and I decided to remain as I was. Now that I found them, basically I believe that the new generation has much better musicians and more serious than the old one. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you believe that the old generation didn’t have the neccesary die-hardism?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: They were die-hard. But they didn’t take the decision to get on the road. The ones that took this decision were a few bands as we all know, Rotting Christ, etc. And to be very honest this is really hard. Because you must abandon your job, you must devote yourself on this. If you are away for one month or two, it is difficult. Unfortunately that’s the Greek reality.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you think that with the new lineup things will be better for you? Because I suppose the continuous change of the members isn’t what’s best for a band. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I would say that things are more serious. But this is inevitable. There is always the core, there is me who compose the music and drummer Vriareos and from there we work with session …But you can never be certain because very simply if there is a tour and we are away for a very long time, someone may have his job so we must always be in vigilance. And if you have got problems I really understand that because we are not making a living out of it.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Were there any moments at all in the past when you were thinking about dissolving the band? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes, and there was also a big interval when we didn’t do anything at all. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Yes, but the band existed. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I just did not take the decision to write something. From ’98 that "Epoptia" was recorded up to 2003, all those five years we were inactice, nothing.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: You didn’t even write any music?
\r\n
\r\nTherthonax: Not even that. And in 2003 I decided and we released the split with Zemial and we did also a live in Athens with Zemial. And then it just took a spark because the flame came in 2007 substantially. Basically up to then I was disappointed with the members, there was no seriousness in Greece. And you cannot hire foreign musicians. What we create is really special, for example we can’t have a German singing in ancient Greek. And this was always our only problem. The same if I go to another country and write in English. It will be pointless, in that case it would be best to form a new band. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: You already exist for more than ten years... \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: To be more precise fifteen. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Yes, since ’93. I want you to tell me how were things then and particularly in the black metal scene and how they are now. Do you think that then it was more difficult, now they are more difficult, what’s your opinion?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: In ’93 I started Kawir. Of course I was in the scene since ’89, with Nocturnal Death, ater on me and Dimitrios we formed Zemial and in ’93 I withdrew from Zemial and I created Kawir. Back then things was more pure than it is today. It was more friendlily, we were all friends and of course this Greek sound is owed mostly in Magus and Sakis who at the time in Storm studio, well, I think that everyone who had recorded over there today is a big band. And this sound is still alive and many people in abroad are still seeking it.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: I remember talking to Primordial who always mention the Greek bands.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Well, then there were only two scenes, the Greek and the Norwegian and in fact Darkthrone were listening to Necromantia and Rotting Christ and vice versa of course. But for some reason we stayed behind. Perhaps this was because of what I was telling you about, the seriousness in the members while Norwegians support one another. You can see the same people playing in 5 bands, for example Hellhammer. They supported each other, while here that didn’t happen. Here they could even remove your eye. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you think that the fans had to do anything in this, how supportive were they?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: In the beginning the fans were very much fervent. I believe that they accepted us really well. Afterwards I don’t know what happened. There were several rumors that we were part of Xrysh Aygh, they were said several things but the time the band was formed all those things didn’t exist yet. I do not know if you understand what I mean.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Yes but I imagine that your lyrics, the appearance and generally the whole attitude of the band had a great role in all of that. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes but why do they accuse us and they don’t accuse for example Enslaved or Skyforger or others. This is something I do not understand. These things happen only in Greece. And it is indeed odd. But I will tell you what I have seen all those years because you asked me about the people. Well, I believe that in Greece and I do not know if this situation still exists but back then there was this complex of inferiority. Greeks listened more pleasantly to a foreigner band than a Greek one and Rotting Christ accomplished to turn this around. Necromantia as well, and maybe us then. And yet, this scene along with the Norwegian were the ones that started black metal.
\r\n
\r\nMetalzone: Do you think that things are better now?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I believe that the new generation is better, yes. They simply tend to forget the Greek sound, they imitate the Norwegian groups and this is not good, for me. The Greek scene has been loved by foreigners and not as an imitation of the Norwegian. In any case it is true that ther are many good Greek bands lately and I believe that there will be many more and there are very good musicians and more serious people than they were in the past. As I see it ther is going to be a big explosion in Greece and in fact it’s going to happen real shortly. We have too many good bands proportionally to our population today. Of course most of them are once again in Athens, another odd thing also. I would love a good band from Thessalonica or Crete or Xanthi. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Tell me. Is there any chance that you are going to collaborate with Necroabyssious once more? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No, no. Stefanos was a session member then, he helped in the two first 7’s but I don’t think so. Although, I cannot be absolutely sure but I wouldn’t have a problem with that. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Generally do you keep any contacts with the old members?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No particularly. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: This year have you have scheduled any live in Greece? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Not yet. But we would like to play and mostly in the province, not only in Athens. We would want also to play in Crete and Patra where we have never played, also in Northern Greece naturally but there are organization’s problems. It is much easier to book an appearance outside than it is in our country. Don’t you find it strange, we don’t have a good organization here. And I will tell you what I have seen. The clubs in other countries in order to keep the ticket price low what they do. To book a venue they can pay for example 200 Euros. But the club does not ask money from the bands or from the organizer, it takes those 200 Euros and also the money from the bar. It doesn’t ask anything else on the contrary to Greece where they ask plenty of money and this is the reason why the tickets are so much expensive. You can see 30, 35, 50 Euros. I’ll give you an example, we were playing 6 bands in Holland with Kampfar, Elite, Zemial and two other Dutch bands, Salacious Gods and Walpurgisnacht and the ticket there was 10 Euros. And after that Rotting Christ happened to tour in the same place with Incantation and Malevolent Creation and the ticket was again 12 Euros with 5, 6 great bands. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Basically I want to ask you about your tour last year with Zemial in Europe.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: In February yes. This was for one month.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Even though I know that generally in abroad you have a really good acceptance, I want you to tell me how was the correspondence you received and how the tour was generally.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The correspondence was great. There were older people that were coming to us and they didn’t believe that they were seeing us. They were coming and said, finally we get to see you. We never believed that we were going to see you live. Yes it was very good. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you schedule something proportional for this year also? I mean something extensive and not randomly only in festivals.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Right now we are looking only to play in big festivals. Like the three-day festival in Portugal April 26, where we will play with Enslaved on Saturday and after that at the Under The Black Sun festival in Berlin, which is also one of the biggest festivals and only with black metal bands, then we have another proposal for a festival in Czech Republic and there are others too. At this moment we are interested in festivals for the summertime \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you consider at all the possibility of a live DVD something very in fashioned lately?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes, of course. We would love that and I think that with forthcoming the festivals it will be a very good opportunity. Maybe. We are thinking of making a video clip for the track Ophiolatreia. We have some plans, we’ve just got to put them together and perhaps it will come out really soon. Basically the Portuguese and the Spanish television asked us to do something like that due to our appearance at the festival, also in Germany and we must finish it at some point \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: What’s your opinion on myspace and the internet in general? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Myspace is a good tool for the musicians and to be honest it brought me in contact with some really old friends of mine that I had lost or they were even ignoring the fact that I still exist, the same as I did and it brought us back together again. It seems inconsistent but I believe that with myspace you have a direct picture of a group. Someone in America can hear your music even if he ignores your existence, he can like your music, and he can send you an e-mail that I can see your work and these things have already happened. You have direct access with the group. If Myspace existed let’s say in early ’90s things would have been very different. It would have been a big help basically because we were very isolated in those days. We still are but due to the internet not so much anymore \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Fine. Let’s go now to Kabeiros. Tell me somethings about them. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Kabeiros was an idea that I had from the beginning of the group in ’93, let’s say, to create an acoustical band form that would exclusively play without electronic instruments and without any use of electricity. Only acoustical music and worshiping hymns. We managed to achieve that of course now and more specific in December. I found members who play traditional instruments, we did our first live on December 8 in the hall of Ekatevolos. Of course I should mention for those that are not aware of this that all the members of the band are also members in YSEE and it is the Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes, one of the few organizations that can perform, and the only one that has the authorization to practice ceremonies in open and in archaeological places \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Although in a recent event there were several reactions by some people. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No, no. We did celebrate at the Columns of Olympiou Dios with the authorization of the archaeological service and we already have booked and other celebrations in archaeological locations like at the altar of Dionysos, we do not have any problem at all with the State at the moment. There is a regular permission. And all the members, this is what I wanted to say, they are all members of YSEE and they are doing this strictly for the act of worship. We will play live on April 20 in Olympia, the exact place is yet to be announced and soon we will enter in the studio to record our first work. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Is the music once again exclusively yours?\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The compositions are mine and the others contribute either with the melodies of the flogera, with the recitation, with the lyrics, basically it is collaboration between many people. We are about seven members. And generally I believe that it will be something really good. It is completely traditional of course, so do not except anything metal \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Either way there are also such patterns in Kawir so anyone can easily understand the direction of Kabeiros and I don’t think that it will go sour on someone. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No, whoever knows our sound, sure. But it’s applied to a larger audience. It is not exclusively for the metal audience. Shortly there will be also a sample, therefore...\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Have you launched a myspacepage yet? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: No, nothing yet. However, it will be created very soon and we will also announce the appearance too. We have been asked to play also in some festivals perhaps in the summertime, we shall see. Currently the only appearance is in April 20. In Athens of course. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Well, I want you to tell me something that I haven’t asked you about the new album, the band, anything. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: The new album came out just few days ago. The first elements are very positive, the first reviews are very positive and what I want is to play live in Greece and to promote the album substantially and also to hear the opinions of our fans. After that our new work is going to be released too, the split with Nergal as I told you and I also believe that it will do great as well. It has a lot of new elements in it. Generally we are working too much at this point, there are Kabeiros as well, and there is a lot of inspiration right now.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Do you want to say a last word before we close this interview? \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: What I want to say, because many people ask me about this, because there is this t-shirt and they always ask me what‘s behind the symbol and about our phrase ÎŒργια Φρικτά ΘεÏŽν Άρρητα Βροτοίσιν (Orgies Terrible of Gods Unspeakable to Mortals) which we always write. This phrase was said by the initiated into the Kabeiria Mysteries to the uninitiated and this means that… the word orgies here doesn’t have the definition it has today. Orgies means acts. Acts Terrible of Gods Unspeakable to Mortals but the man for the initiated is the uninitiated. And very simply this is not how they define orgies. They meant something like studies. They taught mathematics, they taught astronomy, medicine and there weren’t any orgies as the Christians will probably think. Of course this definition was given later from the Romans and it does not have any relation at all. Relating to the symbol if you think about it, pay attention and you shall see. It has the crescent, it has the cross and it has also the triangle. All those three were one unit in the mysteries, and today they are all taken by three big religions. The crescent is taken by Islam, the cross by the Christians and the triangle by the so called Illuminati, Masons, and all those. But substantially it was one thing and it symbolized for us, the triangle means knowledge, the knowledge for where you are, the cross symbolized earth and the four elements and the crescent symbolized the stars. Where we came from, they knew that we were made by stellar dust. It is somehow odd that they took all three symbols and incorporated them into their own religions.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Either way I do not think that there is anything left that the other countries haven’t adopted. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: Yes this is true. Simply because they were asking us what this means, from there whoever wants he can just make a research of his own. \r\n

\r\n

\r\nMetalzone: Well, I want to thank you very much for this interview.\r\n

\r\n

\r\nTherthonax: I thank you too.\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nVaso Prassa \r\n

\r\n

\r\n \r\n

\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n \r\n

\r\n

Copyright 2023. All Right Reserved.