One of the most respected artists in Greece within the last 2 decades, no matter the genre, is certainly Vlassis Bakoyannis aka Vlastur. Being a dedicated bassist and electronic music producer, Vlastur has participated in many significant electronic events such as Ozora Festival, and he’s about to embark on a European tour within June. But, firstly those lucky ones who will be in Athens, will have to attend Black Box Methodia, for the Vlastur trance-formation in “Full Band Live In Trance” event. We hope you enjoy the interview!
Hi Vlassis & welcome to Last Day Deaf! Let’s start from you sharing the latest news regarding Vlastur. What have you been up to recently?
First of all thank you for inviting me for this one!
I am a bass player and music lover. I love playing my sets and jamming with new projects; I study, I travel. Music is my mobile to different places, landscapes/soundscapes and friendly gatherings. I feel blessed that I can work hard on projects which I love and help develop myself and techniques.
Last days of 2017 you released ‘The Free Download Album‘, a compilation featuring mostly collaborations with other artists. What was the motive for this free giveaway?
Hey!!!! I love to spread the music! Especially for free! It was a Christmas present! Last days of the year, as we all actually make our personal accounts, we estimate good times and achievements… And it all came up for me, in balance to my work; It was gratefulness. Gratefulness for people who believed and supported my project and soundz, so it was a personal need to make an offer to friends and fans, a collection of tracks which are nice but have been “hidden” in VA compilations, sounded a great idea which was realized by our parallel project Bassline Arrangements. Actually it went very well, giving us a great soul filling feedback.
Almost 9 years have passed since the ‘Interaxion Dub‘ debut album release! Should we expect your 2nd full-length anytime soon?
‘Reset‘ is my next album and is on its way to be released. It is a very different musical journey with a lot of different musicians, with ethnic and traditional alternatives to deep bass electronic soundz. is a reference to all these big music meetings I have had within the last years and sealed my new perception and knowledge in music production. ‘Reset‘ is a life journey and it is difficult for me to define its genre.
Would you like to share some info about your upcoming live performance as Vlastur Full Band Live In Trance on June 9th at Black Box Methodia? What about the participating names for this project?
I’d like to admit, I am very pleased with this upcoming performance. The formation, this year, is further more than last summer’s one. I’ve added drums, percussion and ,trancy bass boots to my compositions. More electronic, digital soundz and a melodic wind of change… More danceable, with a groovy psychedelic vibe. It seems a whole new project, though the music composition will sound familiar, the vibe is completely transformed. For this achievement, all members are also responsible. Dark Elf (digital sound), Adil Smaail (vox), Daniel Symons (percussion), Nikolas Yiakoumis (guitars) , Nikos Korkovilis (drums) and George Verikakis in sound engineering, they all bring their musical performances and impressions and the result is as unique as each one of us is, and our collaboration can bring. There is a great chemistry and respect to our unique backgrounds and that is profitable on stage. It is a live act … it can be different every time we perform! That is a blessing for musicians and we have just gained it. Much honoured and supported by my team.
Since you are considered one of the most significant names in the Greek dub scene, what’s your opinion about the local ‘scene’ and its evolution? Do you believe that dub has lost ground to psy-dub within the last decade? Which (Greek) dub artists should we take notice of?
Iit is not my position or my style to give advise and state observations. I believe music is a vast field, which needs open mind and will to research, experimentation and adaptation of new all the time. It needs practicing and love and only passion, will, and can stand up as an original sound, out of the box of labels and genres. I believe in creation as an artistic result than a following a genre.It can be trapping and limited.
Apart from Vlastur projects are you working on any other projects lately? Would you like to give us any hints?
Well, Vlastur as it appears these last years is a multiple project. I perform on downtempo, dubby sets with my own productions and my preferred compilations. We also love to present, as Parvati‘s representatives in downtempo tunes, playing our personal stuff or beloved tracks with Guiseppe and Leo Tengri. Last year was a great surprising musical journey which we upgraded this year. I also have been asked to give a personal set “in Parvatis forest” tracks, which were followed with great feedback and I’ll present in different stages this summer. And last but not least, Herbal Orchestra is a long-awaited and promising cooperation. A project meeting Merv Pepler (Eat Static) Basil Brooks, Gabor Banhazi. It came up last year in Artiban, a jam sessions sage in Ozora fields. Someone’s fabulous idea to give us space and time to jam gave spark and a mind-blowing result. I think the invitation of Dragon Nest stage this summer is just a beginning of a well tuned mystical music journey.
If someone asked you the definition of “dub”, what would you tell him?
Listen, I am sure people don’t try to find out through my view the Wikipedia definition to DUB… For my music to Dub it…Firstly means to love it… Let me clear this out. I am a bass player, so my perception from the nature of my music existence and production gives emphasis on bass. For me, to get inspired from a music part or a full track to “DUB” it, repeated in my way, emphasize bass and drums, surround it with my own basslines, multiply the soundzzz layers with echoes’ reverbs even with vocal sound systems, expand it or deconstruct TO DUB IT…. Well, I surely must be touched and love the primary stuff at the first play. Even to create a my own dubby track from scratch, basslines and melodies must be loved, looped and tuned in layers where I gradually adjust new soundscapes by putting in and out new sound elements.
Which artists do you admire and connect with this period?
Well appreciated artists and projects as well as upcoming potential collaborations I could mention Gaudi, Dubsahara, Eat Static, Pitch Black, Saafi Brothers, Torma and Ishdub and further more we would love to present a live act with Cedric Myton from The Congos in Athens, Greece. So many to come… I keep on dreaming.
You are among the artists who firmly believe that cannabis should be legalized. Would you like to discuss about this matter and the main reasons you are a supporter of this movement?
My opinion and attitude applies the same, years now. I have nothing new to comment.
What holds the near future in relation to releases and live shows for Vlastur project then?
My summer tour in Europe and a short trip to Brasil honoured by Soubiose Collectiva, Hopefully the release of the transformed “into trance” live, my new album ‘Reset‘, a new “Parvati in dub” is coming and many different co-operations are in talks and studio wait to be realised. I feel lucky and well honoured from friends and fans, artists and common people, who don’t fear to express their interest and love to my music projects. A great thank and a big motivation for more to follow.
Photo credits: Darya Sakalova Photography (2nd one)