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RAW SILK brand new 2017 interview - BeRock Radio.

March 14, 2017



GEORGE: Welcome to BeRock Radio guys, the most melodic place! I am George, please make yourself comfortable!
We’re glad to have you here. It has been 27 years since the release of “Silk Under the Skin” in 1990.
What took so long for the second album to be released? What happened during that time?

KOSTAS: After the end of the Silk Under the Skin era I went on to do further studies in classical composition and film music at Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal College of Music, London which led to opportunities to write the music forDog a Suzie Templeton animation that won a BAFTA and some music for Channel 4 TV.

In 2000 I returned back to Greece and shortly after that the opportunity came to re-release Silk Under the Skin on CD which
led to a couple of reunion gigs and plans to releasing a second album. Unfortunately that didn’t materialize and also it
quickly became obvious that the sound of the new tracks was too different - much heavier - and eventually the project
morphed into the Nostalgia for a Belief EP that I released independently with Vasilis Axiotis on vocals.
Then I relocated permanently to the UK with my partner, got myself married and worked with a couple of local bands
so there’s been plenty going on.

The idea of releasing a second Raw Silk album came about again in 2010 when I contacted original singer and good mate
George Florakis and bass player Leonidas Petropoulos (Jeff Scott Sotto, Pink Cream 69 and Winger reunion gigs) and we
started working on new songs. Unfortunately the problems of trying to make it work with band members in different countries
proved to be far greater than we had anticipated. The project kept dragging on for too long and it just wasn't moving forward
so we more or less had to abandon it again. However, I knew the material I’d got was really strong, in fact I’d say it is by far
the best I’ve written to date and I desperately wanted to take it out there to the fans.
I knew that if I let it drift away this time then it might have drifted away for good. In April 2016, when a random search
brought up an ad for a new recording and production studio that was opening nearby I decided to go and have a look around.
That’s where I met Chris Dando (vocalist, producer for The Borders of Light). I discussed the project with him and listened to
some examples of his previous work. I was blown away by his vocal skills and also loved the style and sound of everything
he had produced. He was also very excited about being part of the project and therefore we decided to give it a go.
Things started moving real fast after that. In June I started tracking the drums for the new album and by October 2016 the
new album was fully recorded and mixed! It sounded amazing!

GEORGE: Due to its quality, melodic hard rock music is a very difficult genre to stand out with for a band.
Even so, you had great success with your first album. How do you feel about that?

KOSTAS: Well I’m so grateful to the fans who really made it happen and kept things alive.
I get such a buzz from the fact that 27 years later the Silk Under the Skin album still captures their imagination and maintains
a strong presence in the AOR scene. I also think the excitement and positivity that the band members felt at the time was caught
perfectly in the recordings and that surely helped in why it’s stood the test of time.
The scene in the early 90s of course was very different and I think we were looked up to as pioneers
on the Greek scene as we were one of the 1st Greek bands to make an album with a really professional production.
It actually took 4 years to record and Kostas Kalimeris’ influence really made things happen and got it out there.

GEORGE: Tell us a few words about the current line-up.

KOSTAS: They. Are. Absolutely. Awesome. Chris Dando, vocalist and producer was of paramount importance to the completing
of this album with his enthusiasm, drive and commitment to the project. He brought me into contact with the rest of the guys.
They’re a fantastically talented group of players though. They made all the difference with how the project developed with their
enthusiasm and professionalism. They all gave it absolutely 100% and we had a real blast during the recording sessions.

From my perspective it was my 1st experience recording my songs with a British line-up who really understood the genre of
music and didn’t really need too much direction in terms of interpreting and arranging it. It was a real treat working with them.
In a way Metal is ‘their’ music really as they come from that whole Metal/Rock heritage of the Black Country - birthplace to so
many rock giants. I’m really looking forward to taking this music on the road with them and who knows, possibly future albums?

There’s some more info on the www.rawsilk-official.com band bio section if anyone’s interested.

GEORGE: Let’s talk a bit about the music. You are preparing to release your second album.
The first sample you’ve released, a teaser for "The Borders of Light", sounds amazing!
It has given us high expectations. Tell us what to expect from the tracks of the album.

KOSTAS: I’d say the concept to The Borders of Light is a nostalgic view, a tribute to my generation, the generation of the
hopeless romantics and incurable dreamers that were fortunate enough to grow up and come of age during the amazing
decades of the 70s, 80s and early 90s (We are talking about a whole different species here :)
It’s about uniting through memory and celebrating our achievements while at the same time coming to terms with our losses
and defeats. I guess I was longing to revisit and relive the sounds of the past, to write and record the songs that I didn’t get a
chance to write and record with Raw Silk back then but also with my other beloved band Spitfire! I was finally spurred on to
get the album completed by the loss of a close personal friend that inspired the Solitude of Pain and Borders of Light tracks.
The album is dedicated to his memory and I trust we've done him proud with it.

This new album is certainly not a replica of Silk Under the Skin. I didn’t want to do that but even if I wanted to it wouldn’t have
been possible. As you realize more than 27years have passed since I wrote the pieces for Silk Under the Skin and since then
loads of things have happened. I’ve grown as a musician and been influenced by so many new and different musical
experiences - including classical and film music - and all this will definitely have influenced the material. However,
I’d say this new album is still very melodic but much more expansive in style and quite heavier.
There are plenty of strong melodic hooks and rich keyboard texture in there alongside some heavier guitar riffs that
I felt were missing from the first album. There are a few progressive elements in there as well.
The epic title track The Borders of Light for example runs for a whopping 12 mins and includes orchestral arrangements
(Heroes Don’t Cry style) and operatic vocals. In the final verse of the song Chris Dando is singing in Greek!
Watch out for that, you don’t want to miss it! There’s also 2 awesome melodic rock ballads which count amongst my
favorite tracks of the album.

GEORGE: What were your inspirations while writing the tracks?

KOSTAS: Oh wow, I had various inspirations for the album including literary, music and film but real life itself has been
as always the greatest inspiration. Greek mythology features a lot in the lyrics and artwork.
There are loads of references to that throughout. This is also reflected in the new album’s cover which links to the
album cover of Silk Under the Skin. It is the same girl/character, but she has now turned into a Chimera (which obviously
links to the overall album concept that I explained earlier).

Also, how could I not be inspired writing songs right in the birthplace of Heavy Metal?
The whole environment, the industrial heritage that you see signs of everywhere,
even the UK weather affects you emotionally and I can fully understand how so much great metal music began here.

GEORGE: Did you encounter any problems during the recording of the album?
If so, how did you overcome them?

KOSTAS: For me personally the recording of an album is the most exciting part of the whole process.
It’s the time when you see all the individual elements of the music coming together and taking shape.

I immensely enjoyed the recording sessions and it went really smoothly.
There was a great rapport between all the players, we were constantly bouncing ideas off of each other
and it has been a real blast.

I love the fact that the whole recording project didn’t drag on for ages but was completed within 5 months As already said,
we started it in June and had completed that part by October 2016.
The album features very strong performances from all the players, they gave it their all and that’s what makes it all so
rewarding an experience and brings us such an awesome end result. The guys were amazing though, they came to
the studio and totally nailed it almost immediately so it was a really enjoyable time.

GEORGE: What are your plans for the promotion of the album, as well as any plans in general?

KOSTAS: This is an independent release so we are doing the best we can with limited resources however the response
of the fans has been incredible so far and we’ve already had contacts from promoters for gigs etc We are determined to
do the best we can to make this a success and have high hopes for the album. We definitely want to take it on the road,
in front of live audiences as that’s something we love. It’d be great if we could do more albums with the same team in the
future too.

GEORGE: Should we wait for a video clip?
What plans do you have for live shows/tours, will we see you in other European countries as well?

KOSTAS: We’re planning to release several lyric videos and a band video too at some point soon.
We have plans in place to work with promoters and PR people to gain as much exposure for the album as possible.
It’s a bit early days but we are definitely positioned well to do some European tours and I’m certainly up for it!
GEORGE: For the past 4-5 years, we’ve been seeing a boom in Melodic Hard Rock.
Do you believe that rockers want more quality in the music and listen to more of this genre?
What is your opinion on this?

KOSTAS: The industry has changed significantly in the past few years and there’s good and bad sides to that.
The good is the amount of material available and fans of the scene are more conscious of that and they are actively
seeking out high quality projects.

Classic rock at the moment has been pushed to a great extent to the sidelines by new genres of metal that stray further
and further away from the norm of the classic metal sound so it’s a challenge and you really need something outstanding
or exceptional for mainstream rockers to be able to survive in this environment. However, I firmly believe when you do
a quality project backed up with hard work and honesty eventually you are going to reap the rewards and the true fans
are intelligent enough to recognize and support this, you can’t lie to them any more.

GEORGE: It’s not just the music industry that has changed over the years.
Nowadays, we see social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc...) have become hugely widespread.
How much support do these sites offer to a band and in what way?

KOSTAS: Well this interview is a perfect example of social media working in a good way - especially for strong niche markets.
It’s a mutually beneficial collaboration which builds up a really positive community feel and easily puts you in touch with
people of similar tastes and interests from across the world who you would never have come into contact with otherwise
and things can snowball massively if you’re lucky. It’s beautiful when it works that way. We’ve been getting airplay and
messages from Japan, USA, as well as across Europe – I had no idea how far Raw Silk had spread and that must be in
large part down to Social Media. Of course, there is a dark side to it to but then that holds true for any area of life I guess.
Social media and technology in general are not good or bad, they are just powerful.
It’s up to individuals to try and harness them in a positive manner where possible.

GEORGE: Thank you for your time, I wish you all the best for the future!
The last words are yours for this interview.
Feel free to say whatever you want to all BeRock’s Radio minizine readers!

KOSTAS: I would like to thank all the friends and fans for the amazing support and enthusiasm with which they embraced
the news of the Raw Silk comeback and upcoming new album. I would like to end this interview with the opening lyrics of Chimera, one of my favorite tracks from The Borders of Light.

“She comes to me,
her whispers will bring me unquiet dreams
A full moon above high enchanted seas
that lie inside of me”

George "Snaki" Karatzas
For BeRock Radio's MiniZine (2017)





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