We had a quick Q&A with Anastasis Valtsanis, the guitarist/vocalist from Greek death metal band Dead Congregation. They will be hitting Australia for a three date tour next week, starting with the Dark Mofo Festival in Hobart. You can catch up with all the latest Dead Congregation news and tour dates here: www.deadcongregation.com.
How did the band first come to exist?
Me and the drummer where working on Nuclear Winter but as soon as we found T.K. to join on second guitar we decided to form a new band and expand our sound to more obscure passages.
Is there an interesting story behind the name?
In fact, it is a song title from our previous band’s demo. When we were thinking of a name for the new band, a friend proposed we use ‘Dead Congregation’ and we’re really grateful to him as it was a very fitting name indeed.
What’s your most recent release?
Our last album ‘Promulgation of the Fall’, released in May 2014. People have been rushing to compare us with Incantation and although we never fully agreed to the comparison, this last album is definitely crafted with a more personal sound. We never tried to be innovative but we’re far from a tribute band and ‘Promulgation…’ is such a diverse album that trying to describe it just by namedropping does not give it justice. Although we’ve got not PR agency to back us up, it was still voted album of the year for 2014 in numerous publications and that’s extremely fulfilling. We also released a 7” recently but that features a 10 year old rehearsal recording, which has more of a historical value.
What’s the one must have item on the rider?
Double bass drums, no doubt. If a double bass drum set is not available we’re not going to play.
Any pre-show rituals?
Sometimes we might meditate individually before a show but no group rituals, no.
What do you think is the hardest aspect of being in a touring band?
Having to cope with your regular job not allowing you to tour as much as you want to. Fortunately we get enough offers to keep us busy even with single weekend fly-in shows.
What’s on the cards in the next few months for the band?
We have about 40 shows booked already, including a 2 week European tour in October/November, a 10 day Balkan/Eastern European tour in February 2017 and lots of festival appearances! Maybe a new release as well.
Any band, album, or song that you personally credit as a major influence?
Most prized music related item you own?
My record collection is too big to isolate a single item as ‘prized’ so I’ll have to say my custom made Pasaye guitar which is an Ibanez star / BC Rich headstock hybrid.
Last album you picked up?
Hm, probably HEXX ‘under the spell’ re-issue.
What album is currently on high rotation?
METALLICA ‘Ride the Lightning’ is in my car’s CD player on repeat mode for the last 10 days or so!
What do you think of online music sharing?
It’s good for checking out if something is good enough to buy in physical format but overall it kills music as a whole. Too much information, too easily accessible, it’s hard for people to remain focused on the truly great stuff.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Pretty common influences: HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, E.A. Poe, nature, the band itself and the excitement to share new material with my band mates.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Littering, smoking in public places (unfortunately still happens in Greece), growth of urban areas at the cost of our natural surroundings in the name of ‘development’. I’ll never stop bitching about all that.
When you’re not with the band, what are you usually found doing?
Spending time with my girlfriend and dog, watching TV Series and movies, reading, hiking, biking, travelling as much as possible even if it only means a couple of days out of the city.
The Final Say
Come to our shows if you want to see a band playing passionately and violently with no mumbo jumbo gimmickry.