In Order of Disappearance is the brand new musical vehicle of Panos Gryllis (Indico, Mandrake). Deeply involved in the Greek DIY scene, Panos was kind enough to give us the following interview. No better timing for this since ‘One Floating Shipwreck’, the debut album of In Order of Disappearance was released a few weeks ago.
Panos, please introduce yourself to LDD readers. What is your musical background? How did it all start?
Hi Chris and thanks for having me. So, my name is Panos Gryllis. I started playing electric guitar at the age of 12 and began to form and play with bands around 1999. My first love was metal music which gradually progressed to other genres like punk rock, hardcore etc. My first serious attempt with a band was Mandrake, a heavy metal band with brutal elements which was active from 1999 to 2007 and produced 4 demos. After that, in 2009 I joined Indico a Greek DIY punk rock band and until 2014, when I left the band, we had recorded a full-length album and made plenty of gigs at squats and autonomous spaces throughout Greece. After my departure I began to grow a fascination for the acoustic guitar, trying out covers at first and then, gradually, composing. Eventually, this led to the formation of In Order Of Disappearance.
So, In Order Of Disappearance. After years in bands like Indico and Mandrake is this a step to maturity? How was it working on your own?
It’s something totally new and different for me. I wouldn’t say more mature as I am still into all the stuff that I have recorded. Working on my own was also new for me at least as far as the composing procedure is concerned. You get total freedom of expression but at the same time you get full responsibility and a lot more workload! You also run the danger of sounding one-dimensional, something I tried to avoid by cooperating with lots of different musicians and using various instruments like the violin, cello and accordion.
The ethnic element is quite strong thorough the album. Was this deliberate or spontaneous?
It was spontaneous. Working with a very good violinist like George Andrikopoulos who comes from a traditional music background I saw that many of the songs were leaning towards an ethnic sound. It sounded great to us so we decided to go all the way. I am 33 years old now so the last thing I am concerned with are labels in music. I would explore towards any genre if it felt right.
Apart from ‘Synastria’ the rest of the album contains English lyrics. Did you want to catch the local market?
There are actually two tracks with Greek lyrics, ‘Synastria’ and ‘Crossroads’. It comes natural to express in both languages and this is how I worked with my two old bands as well. Depending on the subject and the mood of the song, sometimes Greek lyrics sound more to the point.
If you had to make a brief track-to-track description, how would you describe each of the album’s tracks?
There is a ‘loose’ concept on the album, that is describing the journey of life from my point of view, visiting some landmark events of my life which I am sure many will relate to. The lyrics reflect on issues like love, loss, adventure, friendship, dependencies etc. I always prefer not to specifically describe the lyrics as I like listening to how listeners distill them.
Are you satisfied with the reception of ‘One Floating Shipwreck’ so far? Is your label, FM Records, supportive enough?
It’s my first attempt with music business matters as all of my background was in DIY music, so to be honest I don’t really know what to expect. Mr. Kourtis of FM Records expressed an honest interest in our music and I consider him a man who cares more for good music than big profit. Additionally, the roster of FM records includes some great fresh artists like String Demons, Echo Basement, Sempreviva and others, so we decided to go for it. Time will tell as we are only in the first two months since the release of the album.
What’s your opinion on the current Greek DIY scene then? Any bands/acts we should take notice of?
Greek DIY scene is always strong and active. Some good albums you should check out, if you are into hardcore and punk rock music, are the latest from Kataxnia, Indico, Sarabante, Despite Everything and Bazooka. There are also lots of interesting gigs and you can find out about new amazing bands on your own. Keep eyes and ears open!
Being lucky enough to hold your CD, I couldn’t resist asking about the fine artwork. Could you please share some words about it?
Thank you for saying this. We decided to make a deluxe, expensive packaging with a 35-page booklet, lots of original paintings, photos and artwork and still sell it at a low price. It is something I feel that enhances the feeling of listening to the album and understanding the depth of the concept. I still collect LPs and CDs and I grew up at a time when we would discuss for hours over an album’s artwork with my school friends, so I am not willing to give up on this. The paintings are Manolis Zoulakis’s work (aka Manolo Drawings), a great friend and artist that you should definitely check out.
There are a lot of collaborations in your debut album. Could you discuss about each one of them?
I am very honoured that all of these artists trusted me to work together on this album. To begin with, doing vocals we have Kostas ‘Gadless’ Antoniades (vocals-GAD.) singing on ‘Elsewhere‘. He brought his melancholic arty pop feeling which I thought would suit perfect the song. On ‘Self Explanation’ we have Dimitris Arapoglou (vocals-Bent By Sorrow), a versatile rock/metal voice with lots of feeling and depth. In ‘Melting The Red Sun’ there is the huge voice of Chris Fakiolas (vocals-Ganzi Gun) at a southern meets GNR crescendo! Then it’s Gely Mitropoulou singing Greek lyrics on ‘Crossroads’, a very sentimental voice full of expression. Stratis K. (vocals-Indico) manages to sound intense and bitter at the most personal song of the album, ‘Synastria’, and finally we have the majestic voice of Micrina (vocals –Ghostland) that makes me shiver every single time.
How did all these collaborations come about? Did you have these musicians in mind before starting to record your album?
Some of them like Gadless, Stratis K. and Dim Arap were already good friends of mine whose work I respected, so that came easily. Some others, like Micrina and Chris Fakiolas, I liked their work and I tried to reach them to explore the possibility of working together and it went well. And there were a few, like Gely Mitropoulou, whom I met during the creative process and we blended musically very well.
What’s your opinion on Brexit? Do you believe that there is an alternative way outside the EU?
It’s true that the EU is a rotting corpse that needed a good electric shock. Unfortunately, this comes from far right movements and nationalist scum, so I am not happy at all about it. It’s the dark ages again and either in or out of the EU won’t make a difference to the working class and people on the margins of society neither in Britain nor in any other country.
In what way do you think music could affect politics? Do you think there could be a music wave that could shake this ‘rotten corpse’?
Music can always provide food for thought, but I don’t think that a music ‘movement’ alone can do much about the current situation. There is a huge turn to individualism as far as I can see in Greece and lots of people tend to turn socially active only when they see their own privileges threatened, so I am not really optimistic concerning revolutionary music waves.
Future plans regarding the project?
I hope we can get the music to as many people as possible. We will try to make a live presentation of the album next autumn and hopefully start composing for the next album soon.
Last space belongs to you…
Thanks to all people that took interest in our music. Let new music be heard and distributed. After all, we are always more music fans than musicians and we like a lot the people that feel the same way. I know that applies to you too, Chris!
Photo credits: Debbie Nd