George Tsalikis Ц vocalist of the American band ZANDELLE has told in interview to our site about his debut solo album, about vampires, about oldschool heavy metal sound and why ZANDELLE is no more.
Q: You'll release debut solo album in the end of August. Please tell me about your album. Why do you release this material under own name but not as ZANDELLE? Who helped you with this release? Is ZANDELLE still active?
Let me start with the last part of the question first. Unfortunately Zandelle is no longer active. Other projects and responsibilities from various members made it impossible to keep Zandelle active in any form. There was no way to coordinate everyone's varying schedules to rehearse, write, record or put on shows. This is why I decided to release a solo album. With a solo album I was less restricted by other people's schedules and conflicts. Plus, it was something I always wanted to do. The reason I didn't do it under Zandelle was because it wouldn't be fair to the fans of Zandelle or the other Zandelle members since the material was not written collectively with the other musicians of Zandelle. I did however have some help with this album. Michael Paradine of Arctic Flame helped me out by recording drums and Richie Blackwood wrote and recorded all the guitar solos. I also had five singers / actors who took on various roles on the album as well as the videos. More on that later.
Q: "The Sacrifice" is a conceptual album in 10 chapters. Please explain to me your 'libretto'. Why do you write about vampires? How did this theme touch you? Are you fond of other vampire stuff? Movies, TV shows? Maybe you have listened to last JORN's DRACULA?
As you've stated, "The Sacrifice" is a concept album. This too is something I've always wanted to do. The story involves our protagonist who is attacked by a female vampire and manages to kill her. This enrages the female vampire's mate who then decides to seek retribution by turning the protagonist's love interest into a vampire and as a result binding her to him (the vampire). The protagonist must then find a way to get her back so he turns to his oldest friend who is an expert on vampires and learns that the only way to free her from the bond would be to kill the vampire that turned her. The protagonist tries to kill the vampire but is unable to mach his strength and speed. His love then offers to turn him into a vampire as well so that he could have a fighting chance. The protagonist then faces the dilemma of losing his love forever or sacrificing his humanity so that he can have the chance to save her. What happens next... you'll have to listen to the album to find out.
Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by movie monsters and vampires were one of my favorites. I watched almost all the classic movies from Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee all the way up to many of the modern ones (with the exception of those crappy teenage ones which I will not do them the honor of mentioning their titles). I basically came to the decision to make the story of the album about vampires after I produced the Zandelle video for the song "Shadow Slaves" which was also about vampires. I had so much fun filming and editing the video that I thought it would be fun to do an entire concept album on the subject and then to do something that has never been done before (as far as I know)... and that is to film and produce a video for each and every song on the album so that the fans can actually see the story, not just hear it. And that is exactly what I did. I plan on releasing each video one chapter at a time once the album is released.
I haven't had a chance to listen to Jorn's Dracula but I hope to soon.
Q: Your album was recorded in a very old school type. Why is it so? Is it your special idea or some lacks of funds for record? How do you think, could old school sound find itself on the modern heavy metal scene with blastbeats and harsh riffes? What could you say if somebody points you sound as obsolete?
Having released 5 albums with Zandelle, I learned a lot, not only about recording and production but about what people like and don't like. The bottom line is you can never please everyone so that is not something I'm trying to do. I'm sure there are some people who will think the sound is obsolete. To them I say, "Then don't listen to it." With Zandelle we started with a more traditional Metal sound in the beginning. Then we tried a more contemporary Power Metal sound, followed by a heavier, aggressive sound and then lastly a more Progressive sound. What I found was that the first official release (the one with the more traditional sound) was the best received Zandelle album, even though the production quality and the performance on the other albums was far superior. So I decided that for my solo album I will go back to my roots and do what I do best. I happen to very much like the traditional Metal sound and don't think any music is obsolete. Music is about what sounds good to you, not what is trendy or stylish. I still listen to bands from the 70's and 80's as well as more contemporary bands with the more harsh sound. So this was my choice because I decided to write what I would like to listen to and not what I thought others might like. Besides, if everyone is doing something different, isn't this a good way to stand out in the crowd?
Q: What's your plan with GEORGE TSALIKIS project? Will it go on tour? Have you plan about any future activities? Or it's just one time project?
First I'd very much like to see how the album and videos are received. The videos are a critical part of this project. Working with musicians can be challenging when it comes to scheduling things like shows and tours. But with videos, once they are done you can put them out there for the world to see at any time. Plus, they gave me the opportunity to incorporate many of the other creative attributes I have been working on over the years, including acting, fight choreography, directing, cinematography, etc. So as of now, my immediate plans are to get the videos released and perhaps start writing my followup album which will also be a concept album. I have a couple of ideas of what the concept should be but nothing is definite yet. As far as touring, I would have to see just how much of a demand there will be for that. If there is then I would love to. There's nothing I enjoy more than performing live.