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Kristi's Secrets

"I don't know. It happens to a lot of people. I don't care that much. I mean, what I want to do is to have the ability first to communicate with people and be able to play the music I like to play, and the only reason why I would somehow struggle, or try or work hard to 'get recognised' is to get better conditions in our live performance. To have better sound; to be able to spend more time in the studio. This is what I care about. I don't care about going out in the streets in Athens and people recognising me. Really, I don't care about that. I'm not sure that the big audience in Greece will ever be interested in the music that I am making. I am very realistic about it. What I would like is that people really get the messages that come out from the music and the lyrics, and that they like it and they recognise this thing because of what it is."

The Secrets Of The Rocks feels like a bigger jump than they made from Ifantókosmos to Echotropia, and comes across as a major achievement. Working largely at home - presumably in the very room where we're sitting talking - they've managed to accomplish a potentially difficult blend of beats, electronica and rock instruments, traditional instruments like saz, bagpipes, lyre, flute and accordeon, roots influences and environmental sounds they recorded on the Greek islands in a way that comes across as completely natural. Stylistically the whole thing hangs together and I get the impression that there was considerable benefit from recording it in this way (Stathis himself is quite a multi-instrumentalist). At Womex, their really excellent live band was something different again. So I'm curious to know if this album is a one-off project or will the next one continue seamlessly on from it? I get a surprising answer...

"We started by saying we were going to create something very strange and unpredictable, but when we finished the album we were not satisfied by that. I think that we didn't achieve the 100 percent that we wanted. And this will come in the next album. None of them up to now has achieved the feeling that we have in our minds. This is what we are trying to do. I hope that we won't get 100 years old trying to achieve it in the end. We are always very much amazed when people like it..." And this, remember, was before it had hit No.1 on the World Music Charts Europe in December, which must have completely flummoxed them.

"We don't believe it. I mean it. When we finished the mastering of this album we were both in a melancholy state. We quarrelled with Thalia because we said we didn't want to release it. I was getting crazy. I said: 'Let's disappear from the world. I don't want this album to go out.' And she's saying: 'But why do you always say you don't like it? It's so good.'"

This feature first appeared in fRoots 237, March 2003


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