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Electric Litany 2019

Electric Litany: "We are proud of the work we have done so far"

Electric Litany talk about their third album, explain why it doesn't contain any sample of Odysseas Elytis or Manos Hatzidakis, and declare that they do not care about becoming global or a household name.
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The latest, third, album of our beloved Electric Litany entitled "Under A Common Sky" was released in September. It may well be their album that requires the most time in order to feel it, that requires your very soul in order to touch you. While you dedicate the necessary time to "Under A Common Sky", take a break. Read our interview with Electric Litany just before the official release of the album and get ready for their tour in Greece (Patras 24/10, Athens 25/10, Herakleion 27/10, Ioannina 31/10 and Thessaloniki 01/11) and their mini European tour.

Mix Grill: Your long-anticipated third album is finally being released. We have been waiting patiently since 2016. Did it get delayed more than you wished/hoped for? How was the recording process?

Electric Litany: The recording process was definitely a lot longer than expected. We spent a lot of time working on this record. However, the biggest delay was finding the right platforms to release it. We were hoping to have it released a lot earlier.
Hopefully it’s worth the wait.

MG: "Under A Common Sky" set sail via the Greek Ιnner Ear, the American One RPM and the Norwegian Apollon Records. Which audience do you aspire to reach?

EL: We don't really pay too much attention to specific audiences, just anyone who connects with the music we make. We aspire to reach audiences that are actively and naturally drawn to such music - not through some type of over-advertising and promotion.

Under A Common Sky

MG: In your previous albums you included lyrics by Yiannis Ritsos and Allen Ginsberg. Which poet(s) will we encounter in "Under A Common Sky", that we didn't distinguish at the first listening?

EL: This album doesn't have any poets. We tend to use spoken work poets to get the feel and rhythm in the writing process of our music and then it's a matter of keeping it or not in the final stages of the recordings. 

We are using samples in a slightly different way this time around. At the start of "CFU" we use a recording of old Greek women from Corfu singing a local vocal polyphonic song which we love. We did have a sample of Manos Hatzidakis who we consider one of the most important composers worldwide, but we were refused the license to use it by its license holders.

MG: You have worked with Alan Parsons for your previous album. Are you planning or would like to work with another (Greek or not) artist in the future? Who would this be?

EL: We still keep ties with Alan and might work on some new material. We don't have any plans yet. Our minds are open to all possibilities. I think it would depend on the material we create and finding the right individual at that time.

MG: When you released a demo for "Azure" in 2015, you included a voice-over by Odysseas Elytis, which is not in the final album version. What led you to that decision?

EL: We added a lot more detail to the newer version of "Azure" and wanted to leave more space. His voice in the early version added a level of depth which we found to be overwhelming on the instrumentation. We decided to focus meticulously on the instrumentation itself and create a more detailed atmosphere thus taking the voice of the poet out of the mix.

MG: You have announced three more videos for songs from "Under A Common Sky", after "Azure", each of which will be directed by a different director. Specifically, "England" by Miguel Maldonado, "Sealight" by Sakari Lerkkanen, and "Refugee" by Morgan Matyjasik. Spanish, Finnish, and French, respectively. Is this coincidental or rather a step towards ethnic - and potentially cultural - diversity?

EL: These decisions were purely based on the quality of the work they produced previously. We have been in talks with all directors and admire each other's work. It's more of a mutual collaboration based solely on artistic values rather than anything else.

MG: Can you describe to us the album cover? We are not sure what it shows. Is it a kind of rainbow above a raft or are we completely mistaken?

EL: It's a simple rainbow above the sea by photographer Tae Kyun Wang who we talked with extensively to get the image to work in the end. He is an exceptional photographer. We wanted something understated but emotive. For some reason we have a fixation with the sea.

MG: You have already completed a decade as a band. In a couple of months, your first "child", the one that "wins the war", becomes ten years old. How are you going to celebrate? In retrospect, do you have any unsatisfied desires?

EL: We haven't discussed that but we would be open to the idea of a ten year anniversary gig. We didn't dwell too much on what we haven't achieved. We are proud of the work we have done so far and look forward to what the future brings with this new album. We are satisfied to have created the music we feel true to and meeting all those people around the world through our music.

MG: You own a strong fan base. Which is the fan reaction that has surprised or shocked you the most?

EL: Nothing insane to be perfectly honest. Our fans tend to be pretty introverted types. We still haven't seen anyone with an Electric Litany tattoo. We are always pleased to see fan videos or artwork based on our songs.
We make music that is neither singalong nor dancable. Our fans tend to self-project and not go wild in our shows and this is something we enjoy as it means they can find something of themselves while listening to it.

MG: How do Electric Litany make ends meet? Is music enough to support you or are you eating notes and instruments?

EL: We all have other jobs to support ourselves. Mainly in music, as sound engineers or producers. Whatever money we make through the band goes back to the band to fund albums, videos, etc.
There is a thin line of making money from the band as to what deals we make and what responsibilities that might bring creatively, so we rather have complete artistic autonomy and then worry about the money.

Electric Litany 2019

MG: How hard do you think it is for a band like you to gain global reputation? Do you think the chance has come and passed and your quality aspect did not succumb to the materialistic one?

EL: It all has to do [with how] one views art. What the purpose of doing such a thing is. We could not care less about becoming global or a household name. We focus on our integrity and [on] writing music that is true to ourselves regardless of all other aspects.
After having that esoterical agreement, there is a myriad of factors on if the music becomes global or not (chance, luck, global trends, investors, how much you wanna sell yourself to become well known etc).

MG: In 2014 you refused to perform specifically in Piraeus and Volos due to the local election results. Today, the very same persons are elected mayors. Do you still think that you took the right decision five years ago? Is the boycott still active?

EL: Our main reason behind these decision was a symbolic stand to raise awareness and to show our disgust for such "political" figures. It was clearly articulated at the time that we wanted to start a conversation about how such idiotic and dangerous figures, such as these two figures, can affect all aspects of social life including art.
We have a lot of friends, comrades and respect for people in Volos and Piraeus and we are in constant talks with them. We would gladly play these cities again on a more anti-populist anti-fascist setting of a show.

MG: This month you have two planned concerts in Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. What should we expect?

EL: We are in rehearsals now and working hard to bring new ideas to the stage. There will be some new material plus some tracks that haven't been played for a long time. We have now added Ioannina and Corfu next to these dates.

MG: Is there any other upcoming tour or concerts in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, or anywhere else?

EL: We have a few UK dates, a gig in December in Holland and planning now a mostly Scandinavian and mini European tour.

Thank you very much!

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