by MythofRock

On the 6th of April, 2024, the heart of the Greek rock scene will beat in Temple, Athens. Empty Frame are going to celebrate then the release of their new album, “Underdogs”, where we find the band sounding heavier, more electric and psychedelic/post, but mainly, very inspired! Myth of Rock, some days before this live album presentation, spoke with the band, who gave very interesting and to-the-point answers…  

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos

How did the idea for the formation of Empty Frame come about?

It was almost twenty years ago. We were a group of friends playing in different bands when we decided to form a project in order to combine our heavy influences with the sound of classical organs like cello, violin and piano (all of our previous albums had piano). After a couple of rehearsals we realized that we wanted to create something new so we started working on our own songs pretty early.


What are your main musical influences and how do they manifest in your music?

We are all music aficionados, therefore we buy and listen to records regardless of genre. There’s a lot of influences everyone brings to the table which we’d like to think they reflect on our style. There are elements coming from 70s hard, prog and folk, to alternative music from the 90s and on, stoner rock and metal.


How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music before?

Well this has always been a tricky topic for us, for the critics and for our fans. We don’t like to label our music and one part that has always made us different is that we combine lots of musical elements. This has changed a bit in our new release “Underdogs”. Our sound is much more compact and maybe it could be described as post alternative? Alternative post? Does these terms even exist? We definitely have more heavy, riff-based sound and more post-rock elements this time.

How has the sound of Empty Frame evolved from your first album to the most recent one (“Underdogs”)?

Our first album has more folk and pop influences, bands like Tindersticks or The Walkabouts easily come to mind. The sound gets darker and heavier with each release, culminating in our latest effort.


Describe the recording sessions and the whole production of your new album “Underdogs”, please.

We chose to record in Dope Of Sound studio, which is actually our rehearsal space for more than a decade. There was a need for comfort and camaraderie on our part, plus Kostas (Savvidis) is family and a top engineer. Ease of communication was key to choosing to work there than collaborating with an outside engineer.
Basic tracks for drums, bass and guitars were recorded live in 1-2 takes, we then slowly layered the rest on top. Getting an accurate live vibe was crucial to the whole thing.


Your songs contain also violin and cello. How do you combine these classical instruments with heavy/post rock, in the context of your music?
Well it seems natural for us. Violin and cello have been integral parts of our musical process from day one. Nikos (Violin) and Kaiti (cello/vocals) are full members of the band and are always with us on stage.

What themes do you explore in your lyrics, and what is the main source of inspiration for them? Why did you name the new album “Underdogs”?
We usually examine social issues and daily things that reflect on our psyche, it rarely gets too personal. Social injustice, decay and alienation, the need for inclusion, rising against oppression, these have surely been constants from day one.

What is your creative process like, when composing songs?
We don’t jam too much, it’s usually someone who brings a basic or more strongly composed idea, we establish a basic groove and then everyone adds to it. Then it becomes too much and we cut down stuff, that’s pretty much it! We then play it relentlessly ‘til we are sure it works well.

What was the most difficult moment you faced as a band, and how did you overcome it?

Probably the most difficult moment for the band was the period of confinement during the pandemic. A period with no music, no rehearsals, no live performances. This stagnation set us back quite a bit in terms of the schedule we had for recording Underdogs. This is why there was a delay of 6 years between our previous release and this one. Plus Antonis (Vavagiannis) has been a founding member and –still is- a close friend and decided to leave just before the pandemic to work on other things,  that was also a pretty shocking thing for us to overcome. In retrospect, we think that losing such a valuable member of our group brought the rest of us much closer and solidified our belief in the band.


What is the most significant development that has occurred for you since the founding of Empty Frame up to now?

The most important development over the years for our band is that we have managed to have a distinctive sound, which is recognizable to anyone who listens to it. Whether the compositions have a heavier sound or are more orchestral, the final result will always have our unique musical identity.

How do you perceive the role of your music in the Greek rock music scene?
Well it is not for us for decide, we’d just like to think of ourselves as a hard working band with a distinctive sound.

What is your biggest dream as a band?

Our goal is to be able to share our music with as many people as possible. And especially the people that haven’t met us yet. In order to achieve this goal, we have to do a lot of live performances. So, we plan to do many live shows in Greece and hopefully abroad.


What is the next step for Empty Frame after the release of “Underdogs”?
We are planning a few live shows in and out of Athens for the promotion of the new album. The official live presentation is scheduled for April 6th at Temple Athens, so the time is near.


Send your message to our readers!
Give a listen to our new album and then come to our live show on April 6th to get to know each other. And as always: Support your local scene!


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