The Black Capes… A new dark / goth act from Athens… Singer Alex S Swamp gives an insight on what these goth rockers are all about… By Tzina Dovve
Tzina: The Black Capes are a relatively new band on the dark/ goth scene. When and where were you formed and what prompted you to start such a band to begin with?
The Black Capes were formed in Athens, Greece, back in 2016. Both me and Thanos have this love for gothic rock, and have had the idea to create a band like this one for more than a decade. The problem always was that we were too busy with our other bands (Potergeist, Inactive Messiah). I think it just finally felt like the right time to do it.
Tzina: Who are the current members of The Black Capes and what is the story behind the band’s name?
Well, on the bass we have Dorian Gates, who is also the mastermind and bassist of Ghost Season. On the guitars we have Thanos Jan – also guitarist for Inactive Messiah – and Stavros Chilas. Behind the drum set is Christos Grekas. And on the vocals is yours truly. The name comes from the godfather of all Goth, Peter Murphy. It is taken out of the lyrics of Bela Lugosi’s Dead “White on white translucent black capes”, and is talking about vampire capes.
Tzina: Your band has a very intense goth rock sound which brings back memories of the grand days of The Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim. Who is the main songwriter in the band? Where do you get your inspiration from to create music and what are your musical influences? ( apart from the obvious )
Thank you! This is a great compliment. Thanos and I write almost everything when it comes to music, while I write all the lyrics. What you hear in the end, though, is the result of everybody bringing their unique style and ideas to every song. Anything can inspire us, if it speaks to our hearts. It can be a feeling, a book, a painting, a situation, a smell, anything. But, I think we inject a little darkness into everything. Every member in the band has different influences, but I think that we don’t hide our influences very well.
Tzina: Your second album ‘ Lullabies for the Dead ‘ was just released last month after your debut ‘ All these Monsters ‘ back in 2017. What makes this album different from your first, and what feedback has it received so far? How content are you with the results of this album as musicians, and how have you evolved over the last three years?
The new album is closer to the traditional Gothic rock sound than our debut. We keep it fresh, production wise, as we are not revivalists of the old sound. The feedback so far is really good. People that are into the Gothic subculture seem to like it, and we are getting high score reviews from around the world. Our evolution has to do with the fact that we are starting to know each other better, and to have a more signature sound as a band.
Tzina: ‘ Lullabies for the Dead ‘ features the cover version of The Cult’s classic song ‘ Rain ‘. Why this choice of song in particular? What is your opinion of bands doing cover versions in general? Are there any other songs The Black Capes would like to cover in the future?
Well, for starters, we love doing covers. It also helps the DJs when they want to introduce a band to a club, but are afraid that people might lose their interest in their playlist if a song no one knows kicks in. We love The Cult because like us, they are both a goth and a heavy rock band. I don’t care what the reason is for a band to do a cover of a song, as long as they do justice to the original. The list would never end, but I will say “Spellbound” by Siouxsie.
Tzina: Although a relatively new band on the dark/ goth scene you have quite a large number of video clips under your belt with your latest being ‘ From Beyond The Grave ‘. How important are videos for The Black Capes and where do you get your ideas from ?
Usually the lyrics guide us as to what the video will be about, unless it is a video of us performing live. Unfortunately, in our time and age, most people “listen” to the videos and not the full albums. So, we try to dress our music with images as much as we can, to promote our music better.
Tzina: As I understand, The Black Capes are an active live band. Do you have any plans for upcoming shows when this lockdown is finally over? Any plans for playing live abroad?
We will do as many shows as we can, in as many countries as we can. But to book a tour you must do that 6 to 8 months back and right now we don’t have a clue when live shows will be allowed, so, we cannot plan anything.
Tzina: What does goth mean to you? Do you believe there is some sort of goth revival happening in the music world at the moment? Are there any particular bands you admire and follow on the dark/goth scene today?
Goth to me is music before everything, and a lifestyle. The goth revival is happening as we speak, and it was about time. I see a lot of movement in the underground, with so many great bands. Sonsombre, The Kentucky Vampires, October Burns Black, Sometime The Wolf, A Cloud Of Ravens, Death Loves Veronica, Ghostland, Cold Remembrance , to name a few. The list could go on forever.
Tzina: How do you view the dark /goth scene in your home country? Do you believe it has changed a great deal over the years? Do you believe it differs from the rest of the world?
Even though we had a big goth crowd and many goth clubs in the past, we never had many goth bands. Now it is the other way around. Many new post punk and goth bands are finding their way to releasing great albums and a small community is starting to form.
Tzina: Anything else you would like to share with Black Capes fans? What can they expect from you in the near future?
Our fans have been very supportive through these hard times. They buy merch from our bandcamp page, even though many of them haven’t worked for months, they send us messages showing us their love and telling us our music kept them company through the lockdown. For so many reasons, we want to say a huge thank you to every single one of them. When we wake up from this nightmare, we will meet out there and party together. Until then, look out for one another and stay safe.