I am really glad that this interview with She Tames Chaos’ Evi Hassapides Watson turned out to be an ace one! Yep, apart from her being a living legend in the local indie underground scene, Evi is a lively, immediate, humorous person, not afraid to speak out of her difficulties. A real rock star, with ups and downs! So, have to thank her for this one.
She Tames Chaos appear (Robert Sin & The Huckleberries is the support act) at ILION Plus, on Thursday, November 2nd. Don’t you dare miss them, if you are anywhere near Athens…
Hi there She Tames Chaos. Although Evi is well-known in the local u/g scene from legendary bands such as Echo Tattoo & No Man’s Land, She Tames Chaos is a newly formed band.. So, please introduce the band to our readers!
Hi there Deaf readers! This is Evi on behalf of She Tames Chaos. Funny how you guys are interested in music! (lol – no offence to the hearing impaired intended). I must say this is some weird name you got there Last Day Deaf! I wonder how you came about it.
Well, a more appropriate introduction would be a song, or a show, don’t you think? But since this is not a video, and our upcoming show is in Athens while your readers might well be in Alaska, let me tell you a few things about the band and myself as best I can, with words:
She Tames Chaos got together in 2014. I was done with my son’s breastfeeding which kept me at home a lot, and Orion was pretty much autonomous, so I was able to get back on the saddle and tame that chaos which had been brewing while I was away from almost all things music.
We started playing some songs of mine. The songs that kind of erupted during and after a period during which I was juggling immense pain and joy, simultaneously. My mom was sick and I had a new baby. And I had little to no help at times. I had to take care of them both just as if they both were newborns. So there was plenty of pent-up emotion and the fact that everything around us in Greece was slowly deteriorating only added to the ambiguous mix.
My band-mates were devoted to me from the beginning and didn’t mind my iron fist leadership. They were my escape, the support I was in so much need of, after my mother’s death, a few months back. And they worked hard. They put so much work into the sound. They put up with my ups and downs and my terrible drinking back then, pretty heroically. I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t sure how to get there, so I tortured them quite a bit, but I think it was worth it. Or was it?
We have already had one change of members, our rhythm section split for reasons seemingly unrelated to events stated above herein. Legally speaking I have been acquitted. But only time will tell. If the band eventually chop me up into little bits and eat me with gravy, it will be a strong indication they haven’t been very happy. I however, do wish I make a scrumptious dish, if it comes to that.
We are currently six people in this outfit:
Yours Truly, Alfonso Migdanis, Robert Sin, Uncle Karabalis, Sotiris Petridis and George Kassapides. We do get along famously thus far into our fourth year of existence.
I will not describe our sound however, as that is a job better left to the Deaf (lol).
‘Oh Fair Father Where Art Thou?’, your debut was released in December 2016, and was an excellent hybrid of progressive, indie, psychedelia, female-fronted rock. How long and under what circumstances was this gem recorded, released?
The album was recorded over ten months, in three stages, in three different studios in which the band played live. I have to say that on our final session we were much more the pros than ever before. When that too was over, we took the tracks home. And we started working on them. The main frame was kept, as were most tracks. But things were added and things were erased. Most vocals were recorded at home! And I mixed most of the album at home, with a little bit of help from Robert initially.
I edited a lot, but a lot less than I had previously done on Echo Tattoo’s last album ‘Mind Your Step‘ which admittedly was a freak of nature in some technical respects with tracks adding up to 90 (ninety, yes). The circumstances… Well there were lots of bumps along the way, and I must confess there came a time when I thought this project would never be completed. But we stuck it out, and it worked. And that in itself is happiness.
To sum it all up, it was a roller coaster ride, one of the best I’ve ever been on.
One of the most distinctive tracks of your debut is ‘Toyland’. Any special story behind it?
Orion! Orion, my son, is the story. And ‘Toyland‘ is his song. I wrote it when I realized what beauty and wisdom were present in him. What marvels kids and their untamed egos are.
I was watching him run around the house, so free and wild and so sponge-like, in the sense that he was absorbing his environment while pursuing pleasure, the way kids do, hungrily and completely void of shame. The way all kids do, before we take the glorious vessels that they are and fill them up with all kinds of negativity via example.
He was immersed in joy. Be it music, be it the sea or the sun, be it an airplane ride on the soles of my feet, or a mere stick of gum, he was exuberant each time the opportunity arose.
“Never a day uncelebrated. Never a sleepless night. All happy endings anticipated. Things would be alright”.
And I was a kid again thanks to him. He gave me that non-judgmental love I had been craving and he himself is the unconditional love I was looking for, all my life. I just didn’t know I was to give it instead of receiving it.
This one is for Evi, one of the most important figures of the Greek indie scene. Correct me if I am wrong it was quite a while that you were not active music-wise. What happened all these years? Why did you choose to return with a new band and not with Echo Tattoo/No Man’s Land, or even solo?
I have answered part of this question already so I’ll skip to the Echo Tattoo bit. Echo Tattoo has always been a great love and a thorn in my side. It was difficult to keep that band together. So many members had come and gone, and after so many years of recruiting and training them I just wasn’t up for it anymore. I was fed up. And so was Panos, the other half of the band’s core. When I was busy playing super hero with my mom and son, Panos got himself a new band: Forbidden Forest. Echo Tattoo was put on ice.
But in 2014 an indie label owner approached us in the interest of issuing a vinyl edition of Echo Tattoo’s ‘Mind Your Step‘ which previously had only been released on CD.
With the aid of some members of Panos’ band, Echo Tattoo were back for a while. But one fine evening over drinks at Spirto in Exarchia, as we were discussing the possibility of a new Echo Tattoo album, a ridiculous fight broke out between our friend-slash-drummer and the label guy. It was ugly. I don’t want to go into details. The album in question was never recorded or released of course, and everything was put back on ice.
No Man’s Land are my friends, I would never do that to them. Just kidding. I don’t think there was ever a question of me going back or Vassilis wanting me back.
Solo? Han Solo?
What is solo exactly? Is it a band under a brand name, with disposable musicians? Or is it a brand name and a band who follow orders? How do you do solo? I’m not sure.
I have however released a digital album with some of my home recordings. Go to https://evihassapideswatson.bandcamp.com and listen to ‘Peachy Poems Of Pompei’. It’s lo-fi, but there are big chunks of candy in there.
You released your debut via G.O.D Records? Did you approach Michalis Mathaiou’s label? How did it come to happen? Satisfied so far?
We met, we did business, we split the album release budget 50/50, we are done.
I am still waiting for them to remove my intellectual property from the sites they are selling their stuff on. I hope that they do so, asap. I am not happy about it being there as it violates our contract and we never got a cent from digital sales.
What is it like to perform live? Feeling nervous right before the gig or have you got used to it and live it 100%? Any special moment you would like to share with us?
There’s always a hint of anxiety. Sometimes more than just a hint. I think that’s part of the rush.
A special moment that I’d like to share… Well, getting together with friends on stage for ‘Oh Fair Father Where Art Thou?’’s live presentation was pretty special. Alex K, Nikos Fysakis, Panos, my Echo Tattoo twin, precious Vassilis Athanassiades of No Man’s Land, they all joined us on stage. It was an honor and I am not just saying that. It made me feel loved and appreciated. And I have a very hard time feeling connected and loved, it’s a difficult thing for me to achieve.
Which other Greek indie/alternative bands/acts should we pay attention to?
All of them. ALL. OF. THEM. Except some I don’t really like.
Listen to Robert Sin & the Huckleberries (who is also my guitarist with Chaos) . I am a Huckleberry. I play the bass in Robert’s band and sing backing vocals. And we got some pretty kewl songs.
On November 2nd you are performing live at ILION Plus, along with Robert Sin & The Huckleberries, an event organized by Merlin’s Music Box. What are you going to present to the audience?
All seven album tracks will be played of course, and they sound so much better live! I will probably play a couple new songs acoustically on the keyboard and guitar and we will add a few new ones that we play full band. But it is a Thursday mind you, and we will try to keep it short and sweet. Come early if you are in Athens, you don’t wanna miss my other band, do you?
2018 is fast approaching! So what should we expect from She Tames Chaos, next year?
The plan was to have a new album by January 2018, but that got derailed, much due to our former bass player and drummer fleeing Chaos. ‘Oh Fair Father…’ which was released in December 2016, only stayed in “Year’s Best” lists for a couple of weeks before those lists were pushed aside by the new year’s lists.
So, in order to be on lists that last a whole year instead of just a few days, maybe we’ll go straight to 2019. But we’ll certainly work on it during 2018.
Look out for gigs tho, they’ll be crazy. I’m changing the sound.
Anything else you’d like to add and haven’t been asked?
Can’t think of anything really. It’s nearly 3:30 in the morning and I have to take O to school in about four hours. So, Christos! Thanks so much for the interview, it’s been a pleasure! Nice bunch of questions!
Also, anyone donating money to single mothers with a knack for masterpieces, I’m volunteering as a recipient.
Get our album on Bandcamp. Like us on Facebook and so on and so forth…
Also we got Echo Tattoo vinyls and CDs for sale. Please direct all messages to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes to all, hope you get your hearing back (listen to our album and maybe you will).
P.S. Imagine how long this section would be if I HAD thought of something!
Photo credits: QoQ Photography (1st one)