Greece isn’t having much luck at the moment. With an economy that’s seen better days, unemployment on a monumental scale and an understandably angry population that are still coming to terms with what’s going on. They say that when a country is on its knees its finest creative minds come to light. For all the horror that the Thatcher years in Britain dealt the population we did have the most inspiring politically motivated music, comedy’s and films.
Greece are currently building their own creative army to fend off the dark years to come and one of their many soldiers is Katerina Panopoulou aka Katrin the Thrill. Armed with a sultry voice and PJ Harvey-esque brutal riffs Katrin is here to show us what Greece has to offer the world (and that’s a lot in case you were wondering). Katrin spoke to Don’t Dance Her Down Boys about writing music, the making of her album and what’s happening in Greece.
Don’t Dance Her Down Boys: How did you first get involved with music?
Katrin The Thrill: Music was always in my life. Even as a toddler I would perform concerts for my family. I joined my first band at the age of 17 and a year later when the band broke up I started writing my own music.
DDHDBs: How did you choose the name Katrin The Thrill?
KTT: In 2007 I participated in the Coca Cola Soundwave Music Contest using Katrin the Thrill as a funny nickname, but after winning a place among the five best music acts I decided to hold on to it.
DDHDBs: Who are your musical influences?
KTT: Radiohead was a great inspiration and influence for me. I just love Tom York’s voice; so sentimental and beautiful. The Pixies is also one of my favorite bands and a great influence for me. I grew up listening to their albums and I absolutely love their energy and genius simplicity. Of course there are many others, I absolutely love music, I wouldn’t know where to start.
DDHDBs: Your album Evil Eye Charm is coming out later this year. Can you tell us a bit about the making of it?
KTT: It took 8 months of work in the studio to finish the album. For the second time I’ve worked with Sakis Bastas, who is the producer of the album. Working with Sakis is always a great pleasure because, his work is excellent and he is an amazing person. The only difficulty was traveling to Patra and back, which is a two hour trip from Athens and I had to do it quite often, but it was still worth the effort and it was a bit adventurous and fun as well.
DDHDBs: The album was originally due to come out last year but it got delayed, could you tell us what happened? Was it disappointing to delay the album?
KTT: Yes, it was really disappointing because the album was ready to be released in December 2011 but at the last minute the deal with the record company broke down and the release was cancelled. It was like a nightmare to me because the record company owned the production without releasing it for almost three months. Then they decided that I should pay for the production and move our separate ways. It was a really difficult period for me. Luckily, I had great friends that stood by me and came up with ideas to raise money. An Indiegogo campaign was one of these ideas and people were responsive to help and participate.
DDHDBs: What’s your favourite song to play live?
KTT: I don’t know. It goes with my mood. I always enjoy ‘Sorry’ though, maybe because it feels liberating.
DDHDBs: I love ‘Under the Skylight’, it has a very 90s PJ Harvey feel about it. Could you tell us a bit about that song?
KTT: I love this song too. I wrote it in 2006, if I remember correctly, when I used to live in London. I was in love and a little bit drunk when it came to me.
DDHDBs: A lot of musicians cite various experiences or feelings that drive them to create. What drives you to make music?
KTT: I write music to express my feelings and sometimes it feels like it’s the only safe way. It also seems like it is a positive way to express sadness, anger and all the unpleasant feelings and transform them into something positive and possibly meaningful.
DDHDBs: What new bands are you listening to at the moment?
KTT: I have just discovered Grizzly Bear and I fell in love with their song ‘Shift’ from the Blue Valentine Soundtrack.
DDHDBs: You’re based in Athens, Greece, what is the climate and economy like there now?
KTT: Greece is a wonderful country, but sadly our economy is getting worse every day. Our government is not trying to make our economy better, although there are other countries that benefit from our debt. We are in a major political, financial and social crisis. On the other hand the whole world is on a crisis. I always thought that this is a chance for humanity to realise and focus on what is important. We are all connected and therefore need to understand that our personal benefit is to care for the common benefit. But, the question is, are we going to realise that in time and change our course or are we going to lead ourselves to destruction?
DDHDBs: Is there a music scene in Athens and has it been affected by the recession if musicians can’t afford to be in a band anymore?
KTT: Lovers will always find a way to be together.
DDHDBs: What’s next for Katrin The Thrill? Will you be coming to the UK at any point?
KTT: My priorities at the moment are the release of my new album this September and to perform live in as many places as possible. The UK is definitely on my list.