We did an interview with Y, guitarist, composer and lyricist, of post-punk / gothic rock band Remain In Light. A band from the northern town of Thessaloniki, Greece that released their third album "The Sentinel Diaries" in October 2018 on the Brazilian label Deepland records.

We see that the band has worked hard these last years releasing new material and playing live. What is like being in a band that is based in Thessaloniki?
Thessaloniki is a city with an important local rock scene. Gothic Rock and Post Punk   though, are not very present within this scene anymore. So it feels sort of lonely as there isn't much of a crowd for this genre. Also, and that is not only a local phenomenon, other similar bands lack the sense of camaraderie and mutual support, that could enhance a scene.

How do you feel the band is positioned on the local and global scene?
Remain in Light will soon be a 10 year old monster! I think we managed to build a certain name over the years with our 3 albums. We see that after our latest release "The Sentinel Diaries" on the Brazilian label (Deepland Records), our popularity has grown a lot in South America. We also seem to have quite a few fans in Germany, England and Eastern Europe.

Since forming in 2010 you have managed very well indeed, having released three albums and two singles. Tell us something about these releases and how you ended up on Deepland?
Our first album "Introduction to a Dream" was made and produced under strange circumstances! Members came and went, lyrics were altered at the last minute, songs were sung by other singers than those scheduled to do so, some drumming was real and some programmed and the whole lot was recorded in two completely separate crazy sessions with two different line-ups! Completely frantic. Thank God the magic of our excellent producer Asklepios Zambetas unified the whole in what I consider to be one of our most passionate efforts.
Our second child, "Splinters in Arcadia" saw us mature as a very specific and cohesive band with open eyes and ears. We also gigged a lot during that period. I think it was our most productive era so far despite the fact that alterations kept on happening. At that time we were still a band with 2 bassists and a guitar. During that period only one bass remained and I had to take up guitar duties. Also during that time we met a lot of people abroad who were very supportive and helped us with remixes, promotion, interviews and lots of air play on internet radios.
The third release "The Sentinel Diaries" was a real odyssey! It took only about a couple of days in total to record, as it's a one take live recording with a few overdubs, but two whole years to release. This difficult but inevitable delay took its toll as it resulted in the departure of two members but left us with what I consider to be a very solid album.
For many months, years actually, we kept on banging on record companies doors so that this material could be released. No one really wanted to take a chance with a band from Northern Greece. Keep in mind that we do everything ourselves. Songs, music, graphics, videos, booking, moving around, recordings, everything is arranged and decided (and of course payed) by ourselves. We, like most other serious bands, cherish this artistic liberty and struggle to maintain it.
I knew Nanda from Deepland Records through the net and she was already a fan of the band. So when Mad Sad from Anima Triste, told me that they planned to release something there, I made a contact too and it was frugal. The Brazilians had already released Mosquito's first release. The whole arrangement was very fast and within a month we made our final post production and all the graphics necessary for the release. Deepland embraced us and treated us very well, allowing us to maintain all the artistic freedom we need.
It is my conviction that nowadays that the rock'n'roll dream is dead and buried, artists need to invest in real and unrestricted creativity away from demands and obligations that record companies may impose.
Anyway we do not make money from this, we never did.

Do you feel more of a live band or a studio project? Any memorable moments you have encountered recording or playing live all these years?
We want to be more of a live band but so far it seems that we are more of a studio thing. I do not like the term project as it sounds very ephemeral. For various reasons it proved quite difficult to perform as often as we would like.
Yes, many memorable and often funny moments occurred during the band's life.
Our gig with And Also The Trees and Stained Veil are among the best live moments. By the way the footage for our latest video "Sons Of Terra" was shot during these gigs at the "Mavri Trypa" club.
One of the most memorable moments of the last years was when we went to Tyrnavos to record the third album. The studio was located in the middle of nowhere. Somewhere in the Thessaly prairie, in a semi-deserted area. When we arrived there, one hot midday of July in 2016, it really felt like we were somewhere in Arizona or Texas. An abandoned location, formerly a manufacture of some kind with big rusty iron gates. Scorching 45 degrees Celsius. Everything in it's big yard was in a state of decay and neglection. No one was there. We had to wait in the hot sun. When the sound people arrived, we were eager to get in, hoping for a nice air-conditioned space. Instead, when they opened the studio entrance, the whole place was reeking like an ancient tomb! It had been closed for more than 5 years at least! The place was smelling and hot, no trace of air condition… Old magazines awaited in the huge waiting room where we spent at least 4 hours before we could start playing, as everything was still disconnected and rusty…! A crazy place! The closest bar or cafĂ© to get something to drink was at a 20' drive by car! We were so angry, hungry, frustrated and exhausted when we started recording… I think that if one listens to the album carefully, he will hear those particular moments of wrath and frustration… So maybe this situation, added something to our playing! LOL!

Nowadays with all this technology and computers it is easy for new artists to record music. We see that Remain In Light are more oldschool in their approach, having recorded your latest album live in the studio with only a few overdubs.
Tell us about your method/philosophy of recording?
There isn't a method to our madness. We just take what's available and best for us at a given moment. It's also necessary for the band's survival. We just cannot afford all the technological gadgets and facilities. Also as we have grown in the 80's we do not need all that stuff really… We just play music in a rather old fashioned way. Guitars, drums and vocals. Let's go…
Truth is that we could use a permanent keyboard player with some technological aces in his sleeve. LOL!

How do you see the scene today in general? We see many new dark bands popping up and various genres becoming hype (minimal wave, coldwave etc.). Do you feel that the community is strong or is there something missing?
Ok let's face it. Gothic rock and Post punk are dying. Not because there aren't new artists but mostly because there aren’t enough fans to seriously support them. I am not the only one to claim that. Promoters in the UK are desperate. People are even more than before, into fashion and showing off than going to gigs and invest in the music. Very few bands manage to still sell music in a physical format in satisfactory numbers so as to allow for the expenses of the next release. And this is also a psychological let down. When you have to pay everything from your wallet … well, at some point the wallet is empty and your enthusiasm wanes… You really have to be determined and ignore everything but your heart…
As for this latest trend for minimal wave, synth wave and colwave, well these are very old styles that were resurrected by the eternal recycling of pop culture. There are some very good acts in these genres though.
Yes, there is something missing in this egocentric planet. Solidarity.

What are your future plans? Anything on the horizon?
At the moment the band is reinventing itself. It's just me and Constantine. After Elder K abandoned the band without an explanation, we are currently working with a new singer and we are restructuring our rhythm section. It will take time. But we are in no hurry. We are producing videos for the 3rd release and writing new material. It will be something different again. And personally I am eager to see how it will evolve and what it's going to look like in the end. I am just as excited as when the band started!

Interview by Nick Drivas
Photo 1-2 : Lambros Flioukas
Photo 3 : Stacy M.