Excerpt from a recent interview I conducted with Sakis Tolis, guitarist & vocalist for Greek black metal institution Rotting Christ (edited slightly for clarity/grammar).
KK: Over the past two decades, the band has faced plenty of uproar from various Christian communities. How is the band received in Greece? Are people used to you by now, or do you still see trouble from time to time?
ST: We always had problems with Christians and generally with conservative ideas and close mind people.We never stepped back and we always keep on spreading our ideas and our music even though it was hard sometimes. I remember live cancellations, refusals to distribute our albums, “riots”, even threats, but this is METAL. Metal can not be compatible to the majority otherwise it will lose its meaning.
KK: On a side note, it’s been interesting following the controversy over Naer Mataron’s Giorgos Germenis’ election to the Greek Parliament. How do people within the metal scene view this event? Does the Golden Dawn have many supporters amongst Greek metalheads, or it it more of a fringe movement?
ST: 7% can not be a fringe movement! Something else drove people to vote for this extreme right party and the reason is something that we suffer as society.The corruption of the political system so the people voted for a hand that can punch politics' face. I have lived in Greece all my life and believe me that there are not half million extreme right citizens. Greece is a “left" country that has nothing to do with such movements. You know when there is crisis somewhere and a whole nation is ready to collapse then this situation is exploited from the extreme movements and Golden Dawn is one of them.
Now if there are supporters of Golden Dawn in Metal I guess mathematically there are but I see not such movement in Greek Metal scene.
METAL in my opinion has nothing to do with politics.I am also a political sensitive person but I leave that miles aways from what I call Metal and this is in my opinion what all journalists should do.
KK: How have Greece’s recent financial issues affected the way bands and artists operate within the country? Has it had an effect on your ability to practice your craft, or just provided fuel for the fire?
ST: It is said that a crisis or war or something miserable helps art. Yes I do agree with that but my friend, what we have lived through as citizens the last two years is worst than a war. In a war you know your enemy.Here we have to face a digital enemy ,an enemy with numbers that in reality does not exist, and this is worst than everything. And I am afraid that I will feedback positive to your question if that had effect the band or the musicians.When you wake up and you do not know if your country will collapse and if you see people with depression all around, if you see no jobs around, if you see people committing suicide, then I am afraid that this can affect your creation .I have get over my limits composing new songs all this year. First time that I ever worked so hard, as I had to pick up my mind from what is going on around and be focused to my point. I am glad that I finally came upo with new songs that I am currently recording but I have always my mind on what is going on down here that I am afraid…that is just the beginning!