Closer is one of the most important bands for the Greek indie scene. Since forming, back in the early 90’s, they managed to stand out with their unique violin-driven, addictive melodies always “serving” the alternative/indie genre. Rightfully, the band has been chosen for the An Club’s 30th Anniversary/Gagarin 205’s 15th Fest, and they were kind enough to answer our questions, before their 24th November live appearance at AN Club.
Hello Closer! Starting with this one; What led you revive the band after almost a 10-year hiatus since your 3rd and latest album ‘Closer’?
Even though there was an absence from discography in these past ten years, Closer never ceased to be a band. We would always get together to play and write music and we also had some live gigs. In parallel some of our group members were being active in other bands and working on their own side projects. In 2013 the band teams up the original ‘In The Market‘ line up with the addition of Vaso in violin and enters a new and more creative phase. In 2016 we sign with a record label and get in the studio with the intention to record a trilogy consisting of 3 EPs. We recorded the first one, titled ‘Renaissance‘ that was released in 300 copies. Unfortunately due to some miscommunication issues, we had with the label, we decided to part ways. Now we are working on new material which we are planning to release in the near future.
Did you enjoy the live experience at SNFCC last April? What was the reaction of the audience?
We had a blast, despite of that fact that the SNFCC rooftop was an unconventional choice of venue for us, since it was not designed to function as a concert hall. So even though the overall experience was quite different than playing in a bar or a club, the warm welcome of the audience, the perfect sound, the amazing collaboration with the super professional SNFCC team and our everlasting “thirst” for playing music, turned it into a really memorable night that we are really looking forward to repeating it.
Back to past! Your debut album ‘In The Market’ was one of the breakthrough alternative albums for the local scene. Specifically, the use of violin and the classic ‘Wine’ made you differ from the rest. Would you like to talk about this album a bit? What motivated you as a band to use the violin in your music in the first place?
Our first full length album ‘In The Market‘ is a landmark for us, not only because it put us in the Athenian alternative scene but mainly because it symbolizes our passage from adolescence to adulthood (both literally and metaphorically). The album was structured around one melody that climaxes in the track ‘Ecstasy‘ and ends in the track ‘When Morricone Is Hypnotized‘. As for the use of violin in our sound, it was a choice that we made very early while trying to create our own unique sound that would differentiate us from other bands and it wouldn’t sound like “traditional” Greek folk music. What we had in mind was a mix of Tuxedomoon‘s sound with the ‘Siamese Dream‘ of Smashing Pumpkins.
How does the music affect the lyrics and vise versa? How would you describe the evolution of the band’s sound over the years?
Music has always been our main drive. When we are working in the studio on new tracks, we start by jamming and using the voice like another instrument. After the musical part is almost finalized and we have a general idea on the melody and atmosphere of the song as well as some scattered words, we focus on the lyrics. Generally we depend on the inspiration of the moment.
Tell us about your influences and the role of each member to help us dig deeper into the band…
Our influences are mainly bands and artists form the late 80s, early 90s, but we should definitely mention the enormous influence that the music of Greg Sage and Thurston Moore had on us. However we always believed that even though our favourite artists surely affect the way we play as individuals, we should constantly try to find a way to meddle them creatively so as to create a unique sound that would identify us.
At this specific point the band is so close that is hard to talk of assigned roles. There is a certain chemistry that never faded away and makes us still enjoy playing music together after twenty five years and most importantly it makes Closer who we are.
Describe to us a Closer day (& night) in the studio….
Our studio experience has changed deeply over the years along with our own lives. In the early years we would have plenty of time and resources to work in the studio and experiment. Nowadays that we have to cope with a very heavy everyday schedule, our latest studio experiences are completely different even though not less creative and we dear to say that they bear resemblances to a forbidden thus exciting “love affair”. They are thrilling, short termed, a break from reality and they keep us going.
The track ‘In My Hours Of Need’ and its lyrics: “I wonder where you are, What you do, Nothing’s right, And nothing I can prove“. What had you been thinking when you wrote that song ?
The best Muse for us is reality. It has always been and will always be.
How do you feel to participate on An Club’s 30th Anniversary/Gagarin 205’s 15th Fest? What should we expect from you that night?
We are very excited to be participating in this party, sharing the stage with great bands and valued musicians. Throughout these years we have developed an emotive relationship with both venues, having the opportunity to perform in multiple occasions in both AN Club and Gagarin 205 and also the privilege to attend many live concerts that defined us and changed our perspective. As for the live on Friday 24, we have prepared a very tight and high-speed music set so that we could party like we should, to honour this legendary venue.
Any plans for your 4th studio album? If yes, what will sound like? Any hints?
As I mentioned earlier, we are currently working on new material, some of which, we have already included in our latest gigs. The new album we are working on will be based our own familiar sound but at the same time we are trying to experiment with some new ideas like using poems of poets that we admire.
Last but not least! Still in memory that night at RODON Club, supporting Doves. You overwhelmed the stage (at least for me) leaving nothing for loveable headliners Doves! I wonder, can you recall this night?
At the time both bands were signed at EMI, and the label suggested that we should do a double bill gig where we would get to play first since we were the hosts. We were super excited and decided to do the honorable thing and get out and play without having to drink not even a drop of alcohol (has never happened since, liquid courage is essential). Our choice proved us right since we were really focused and were able to give one of our best performances. Doves really liked our performance but unfortunately they had too much of a good time that resulted in a rather wasted drummer :). We received raving reviews for that night and we felt really proud when everyone was claiming that we managed to steal their thunder.
End this one the way you like… Anything you’d like to add?
See you all on Friday. There is a party you wouldn’t want to miss.
Photo credits: Annie Parnassou
Christos Doukakis-Nena Gioti