Genia Tou Chaous Interview

(These questions were posed to Th[odoris] Iliakopoulos from KGB in 1997. The interview was translated from greek by automaton 3. A “[ ]” signifies a translator’s addition to the original text.)

Tell me a few things about Genia Tou Chaous splitting up.

Genia Tou Chaous split up right after the release of “Requiem” in ’89. We felt that the cycle that started on the Easter of ’82 was completed & it would be useless to go on in a rock scene that was only putting obstacles in our way. Apart from a few good friends, nobody helped us when times were bad, not even the record label which essentially “made its name” through us & had an interest to do so. Our demands had increased, as did the bills we ran as a band, but we were left out in the open on nearly every aspect. We had, then, to either compromisingly set music & lyrics to a milder setting or to break up, there was no middle ground. Thus, we broke up, staying loyal to what we believed in.

What’s your stance in life?

I’m trying to lead a life [that is] conscious & honest to myself & to the human beings around me. I’m trying to maintain directness & sincerity in my relationships & to avoid being slackened by any stabilities of any kind that life donates from time to time. I’m trying not to cower & to do what my conscience tells me is right, regardless of the price to pay & of the consequences. They’re crazed, these times that we live in are, & people are knee-deep in confusion but, when you live as cleanly as possible even under negative circumstances, somewhere, somehow, sometime you’ll be justified.

Have you been in touch with the current hardcore-punk scene? How do you find it? What kinds of places are you hanging out at? Squats? Villa Amalias/Varvara?

Judging from the little that I managed to keep in touch with contemporary HC-punk, I admit that it doesn’t move me anymore because of the repetition of the same motives that one encounters at earlier times. I can tell you straight out that I consider the punk revival as a well-orchestrated farce of the multinational corporations, which can only achieve to weaken any dissenting voice, [by] passing it as a fashion that comes & goes. As to squats etc., I don’t maintain close ties. Life goes on & I can’t carry outgrown idols with me. I went through these places years ago & we gave each other what we had to give each other, & now it’s over. Also, I disagree entirely with the ghettoization & the marginalization of the young people who seek alternative ways of life or of expression. I can’t accept “anarchists” with leaders & laws of cohabitation & rules of conduct. I feel asphyxiated in dogmatic places, no matter what the name they give themselves. On a personal level, nevertheless, this is the kind of place that one starts off from, & when one completes their opinions as a person, they ought to move on. Life has many faces to look at, as long as one doesn’t get stuck in adolescent situations, which, after all, loose their gleam at some point.

You had talked to me about a project of songs under construction. How is that going? Name of the new lineup?

For a few months already, I have started a new collaboration with Costas Hatzopoulos, the basic composer of Genia Tou Chaous. We are working on 13 tracks with lyrics of my own, & at this time we’re looking for the rest of the collaborators. Out orientation is towards forming not a band, but a core of musicians who will cooperate & create through a project[, instead]. We’ll busy ourselves with a name at the end. As to the style, it’s still [too] early for “labels.” When the recordings are complete, those who will listen to them will be at a position to also tell us what [is it that] they think we’re playing. Until then, patience.

Which are you favorite Genia Tou Chaous songs? What are you listening to nowdays?

All of our songs are loved ones. They comprise pieces of our lives [of] then. I’m not setting anyone apart. Each one has its own special value. During the last 3 years, I’ve been listening to the whole spectrum of Industrial. It’s the only genre I connect to. For now.

The compromises that a person is called to succumb to, because of life’s demands, & to which the person becomes enslaved. Tell me a few things.

As years go by & everything changes inside us & around us, we’re called ever more often to compromise in order to survive. Even those who had the way paved for them don’t escape. What’s important is knowing who one is, what one wants & one’s trying to reach, a thing that, in order to achieve it, one’ll certainly use a “medium” or a “vehicle.” It’s good not to loose yourself in the journey, & it’s even better when you know whether you’re on the right track or deviating from your aim at each & every moment. It’s also important not to identify yourself entirely with the “vehicle” that you’ll be using. Only those who feel so are servants & slaves. You’ll be deprived from the inner freedom of heart only by those whom you’ll allow to do so.

A message that you want to send to all conscientious activists, to those who turn “Late at Night” [a Genia Tou Chaous song] into reality?

First off, I’ll disagree with the term “conscientious activists,” because it sounds too heroic to me. Although all of us have to live together with a vast crowd of people devoid of conscience, that shouldn’t place us amidst them at a position of heroic defiance, simply because it’s the duty of anyone to live & act with the full faculties of their conscience & not as a well-tuned consumption machine. That is, after all, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom. From that point on, everyone must consciously select what they really feel suits them & helps them evolve as a personality. One of the big truths in life is that of the liquidity of notions & situations. Everything around us is constantly moving without reaching a standstill & without asking “why.” That’s the law of life. We ought to live life harmoniously, keeping in mind that all that we [now] know & live will sometime end & something new will be born in their place. The needs which we identify ourselves with today, will loose their gleam tomorrow & will stop serving an existing purpose. It’s reasonable, then, not to be absolute & fanatical, but rather to leave space inside us so that we can reconsider yesterday & arm ourselves with the knowledge of the self which will help us live tomorrow in a harmonic way. “Nothing lasts for ever, everything, everyone changes & resistance is futile, to say the least.” Don’t be afraid of life, live it, there’s a hidden truth in all the aspects of pain & joy. Find it.
“…now, lyrics-wise, things are much more personal, that is, there is an introspective tendency towards everything that happens in a person’s life. There’s not that sociopolitical phenomenon anymore. This is a given, it doesn’t change, I know it, I know how society works, I know the laws of authority, I know all these things, I see them in my life…”
“…persons who were hardcore[ the term, in its greek form (which is the one used) is literal & applies to their ideology] [&] in the protests & in Exarchia & in here & there are yuppies today in some shitty bank. & they were swearing eternal enmity to the system back then. Now, they serve it from the inside…”
“…the companies set the table for the game & all others dance [to their tune]…”
“…if you are into seeking & examining things, & if you want to move on, such games are played, you’ll also play them sometime…”

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