Meet: The Magus aristocratic Black Metal band from Greece

Words Abigael Paquet:

Abby: Would you be able to introduce yourself and your band for those who don’t know you ?

George: Black Metal people might not know this band because it’s new. But they know me from my other bands. I have a long history in black metal. Our biography just came out last month. Last month in March, which also had comments from a lot of friends and musicians such as Darth from Behemoth, Kettle of Field, everybody, because we’ve been in the community for 30 years plus. We are kind of pioneers. I’m 53 now and I started playing music when I was around 19. The band is called The Magus; which is actually my magical name that I use in my musical projects. But it’s not like my solo project. It’s a full band. And the members are from other bands – also known bands in the Greek scene – for example, Janice Miles from the drummer. He has played in Necromantia, in Principality of Hell, and others. He’s one of the best drummers we have here. And the guitarist and I have cooperated in the past also with many others, so the members are quite known to the scene.

Abby: And how would you convince people who don’t know you to listen to your music ?

George: To hear something interesting, something unique ? Because from the moment we started the band in 1989 – my first band – we tried to create original music. Meaning, for example, we used saxophone in one of our songs. We used the piano. We used a lot of keyboards, things that people didn’t use back then, in the beginning of the 90s. So it was not as it is now, it’s not only straightforward black metal. The main thing with our music is the atmosphere that it creates. I mean, we create this dark nightmarish horror atmosphere that is connected to our lyric side. Because lyrics are important. For me, the music is as important – if not more sometimes, because the lyrics define the mood and the feeling of the songs. So, if you want to listen to something organic; meaning lots of riffs, lots of melodies, lots of stuff playing, not just this new model tendency that we have some rhythm section and then add something to make it sound a little bit … no. It’s kind of old school, in the sense that it has a lot of riffing. It’s not just: “we play two notes and then we have just an atmosphere, keyboards from above and we scream”. It’s actually playing all the instruments: drums, bass, guitars, keyboards. So if you want to hear something that is organic, really atmospheric and truly sinister in the sense that you can get into the atmosphere by listening to it, feel free to check it out.

Abby: And what can people expect from your shows ?

George: That’s one thing that you don’t know about us: we never play live.

Abby: Really ? You don’t give concerts at all ?

George: Not even with my other bands. I played a couple of shows with Rotting Christ when I was in them. I don’t like live shows. Okay, what does that mean? I think that our music, the music I make, it’s not something for a live show. It’s not a rock and roll show.It’s something you have to experience on your own, in your own mind, in solitude, in a way, to get into the atmosphere. That’s why I think that I don’t like playing this kind of music live – even for most of black metal bands, I don’t see the point. For some bands, yes. For example, when I go to a live show, it’s not a black metal band. I can easily go to a punk show though, like for example, Agnostic Front.  I love the feeling that is transmitted from the band to the audience and vice versa. And I can understand it, but for me; black metal is something much more artistic, much more diverse and natural.

Abby: Interesting. So we’ll never see you in Ireland ?

George: No. Well, I won’t say anything if nothing is confirmed.

Abby: Okay, so, no for now.

George: Yes.

Abby: Okay. So,  your new album is coming out soon …

George: Yeah, not very soon. It’s ready but you know, the situation with the pressing plans – I don’t know if you’re aware of it ? It takes a long time to make a vinyl.

Pre-orders are now available here:

Abby: Oh, yes !

George: Okay, so the album is ready, but it will be out in October. The first video will come out next month so people can – besides the teaser – have a new complete song. The reason actually is the pressing plans and the fact that we want all the formats to come out together.

Abby: Yeah, that makes sense. So, how do you feel about the wait then ?

George: Look, people tend to say that black metal is like very fast running, screaming vocals, and stuff like that. For me, no, this is just a part of black metal. I think the originators are Venom, Celtic, Frost, Merciful, Fate and Buffering. All these four bands are completely different from one another, okay ? Some are rougher, some are heavier, some are more melodic. My black metal is a combination of everything. For example, we also have live Choirs in the album. It can be hearts, like some tracks that we have which are based on the lyrical concept. We have a song with King Dude, and he has nothing to do with metal. He was in the past, when he was young, but his music is totally spiritual folk with a Luciferian/Satanic twist in the lyrics. 
And that song – the last song of the album – is what I call the “Black metal blues”: it’s half blues, half black metal. 
Another song – called Ama Lilith in the album – is dedicated to the female power of the universe. The dark female power of the universe. It has a three minutes ritual path that maybe will remind you that you can dance and stuff like that. And all the vocals are done by women,  because it’s kind of written about them in a way. So, our album is kind of diverse. It’s still metal, of course, and extreme metal in the sense that it’s very intense, atmospheric. It’s like watching a very intense but renaissance horror movie. This is how I always made music, I didn’t care what people would say as long as I was satisfied with what I did. And I’m sure that some people will like it too. Some people will hate it. I don’t give a damn. It’s a company’s interest in how many copies I will sell. I don’t care. And I never made it, although I’m 30 years in this, I never made it a profession, although I could but I decided not to. 

Abby: Why not ? 

George: You know the word “amateur” in Greek is “erasitéchnis”. “látris tis téchnis” 
means “lover of the art”.
And that’s why I want to be an amateur, not a professional. I want to be able to create the music I want, when I want, without the pressure and stress. Make an album, do a tour. Do a tour, make an album, I hate that. For me – as I told you – I think it kills the art. I understand the people that are doing it, I admire them. But for me, it’s not something that we do because it will kill my … How can I say that ? 

Abby: Creativity ?

George: Exactly. And the lyrics – as I showed you –  are very connected to the atmosphere of the whole album. It’s about Lucifer’s present to mankind. What do I mean? I see Lucifer in this alumnus with a Promethean twist, like he gave the flame of knowledge to humanity. But humanity fucked it up – as we already know – so, he’s now fucking up the humanity for what they did with his gift. It’s a lyrical concept that flows in all the lyrics, almost. 

Abby: Very interesting. And are you impatient for the album to come out or are you okay with waiting?

George: I’m okay with waiting because my job is actually finished, in a way. From the covers to the design to the box. So, I’m now kind of relaxing and wait until it comes out. There is preorder, from which you get a special box which some really special stuff. And the colour of the box is made by the Polish artist Mr Bielak. 
Anyway, the actual cover is also done by a guy called Karan Singh. He’s from India, and I have cooperated with him three times.

Abby: Too much suspense for me, I have no patience. I would be dying for it if I were you. Well, I was going to ask you what your favourite song to play live is, but what would be your favourite song then ?

George: What would be my favourite song to play live …

Abby: But you don’t play live.

George: Yes, but if I played live, my favourite song to play would be the black metal blues. Because when you listen to the song, it starts in a bar. You actually listen to people talking in a bar – it’s a very theatrical song – and then you start hearing a band that starts tuning, and then the band starts to play slowly. And it gets more intense. It’s like watching a play.

Abby: Nice. So … If you have played gigs, what was your worst moment on stage ?

George: I’ve played a few live shows in the past, but I didn’t have any worst moments. No, it was fun. We were pretty excited to be able to play outside of Greece back then, with Rotting Christ. And in some places – in the few lives that I’ve done – we were treated like we were Iron Maiden or something like that, it was crazy ! 

Abby: Are there questions that you wish journalists would ask you but that they never do or rarely do ?

George: No. You know why ? Because I’ve done so many interviews over these 30 years, I think I have been asked almost everything. I think there’s always something interesting to ask, but I don’t know what. And there are some things I have been asked that I cannot elaborate on in an interview. Especially how is my occult use, how I’m dealing with occultism and Satanism and stuff like that, … Which is something I don’t talk about in my interviews because I’m not a preacher. I do what I do. For me, if you want to do it, find your own path, find your own way. I’m not your messiah. I think it’s just personal and I never answer. I hate politics and music. I hate that, I don’t like when people mix them. Except in Punk music, because it’s the genre’s nature.

Abby: Yeah, I get you. And what else are you passionate about besides music ?

George: Coffee [as he sips from a cup]. I also am very passionate about historical fencing. Not Olympic fencing, the fencing as it was done before the Olympic sport.  I actually teach that.

Abby: Oh, is that your job ?

George: Yes. It’s how people fenced with swords and other weapons from the 13th to the 19th century. 

Abby: That’s amazing ! And quite uncommon. Now, what would be your most useless talent?

George: Cooking. I suck.


Abby: What was your first concert that you went to?

George: It was in 1986, Status Quo. What I remember from that is in 1986, the Chernobyl accident happened. It was around the same date. And we were waiting, because when you are a 16 year old, you are a dedicated heavy metal fan. We went very early to see the band entering. So, from around noon to … the band was playing around eight at night.
And it started raining. It was acid rain from Chernobyl. Our eyes and skin were burning. 

Abby: Oh, my God !

George: Yeah, I still remember that. We didn’t leave the stadium. We were waiting for the band. The band came, and we greeted them. We were very happy, soaked with acid rain. But the show didn’t happen that day because of the acid rain. So, it happened the next day. But believe me, it was something to have your ears burnt from the rain. It was like an apocalyptic movie.

1. This is My Church
2. The Fall of Man
3. ux Tenebrarum
5. Idolatrous Discord
6. Ama Lilith
7. Negative Renaissance
8. The Peacock King
9. Give the Devil his due: The story

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