Interview with Cinemascope by Tzina Dovve (DJ Lady Davinia)… Cinemascope… A darkwave/goth act to emerge on the underground scene of Athens Greece almost a decade ago… Frontman and mastermind behind this act Leo Skiadas gives a deep insight about his project, lockdown days, new album and future plans… Cinemascope… By Tzina Dovve (DJ Lady Davinia)…
Tzina: Welcome to Absolution NYC Leo.. Cinemascope are a darkwave/goth act that emerged on the Athenian underground scene almost a decade ago. How and when exactly did you create this band/project and what prompted you to do so to begin with? Who are the members of Cinemascope?
Leo: Nice to meet you Tzina. Thanks so much for your invitation to talk to Absolution NYC.
Even though I was writing songs for many years I guess that Cinemascope started taking shape at the beginning of the 2010’s when I decided to move a little further with the songs that I was composing and not keep them hidden deep inside my PC anymore. The next step was to find a label to spread them to the world and that was all. Cinemascope is actually a one man band. I compose the songs, do the arrangements and instrumentations, sing and write the lyrics. During the making of the latest album ‘A Crack On The Wall’ I felt like I had a bandmate though, Ioannis Papaioannou from Thessaloníki. He played the guitars that I had so amateurish played on my demo and his input was so crucial as to how the songs finally sound. We were working online since there is a 500 km distance between us. During these past few months it feels even more like a band since there is a guitar and a bass player and we are rehearsing and getting prepared for our first ever live show. Now is not the time to reveal their identity but they are both very talented and well known musicians on the Greek underground scene.
Tzina: What is the story behind the band’s name? Why the name ‘Cinemascope’ in particular? Is there any symbolic meaning behind this title? Can you elaborate…
Leo: When I started making music my intention was to sing in Greek. Actually, my first demo tape was in Greek but I wanted to have a name that was kind of international, a name that was easy to understand in Greece and worldwide as well. I also wanted to have a name that was kind of cinematic because of the feeling that I had (and I still have I guess) that we are just observers of our own lives. There are not so many things we can do instead of just watching our lives move through time, because of political and personal obstacles. That’s how Cinemascope came up.
Tzina: Your music is quintessentially dark with some catchy melodies that bring back memories of some of the finest dark eighties tunes we all know and love.. How is a Cinemascope creation brought to life? What inspires you the most to write music and what are your main musical influences (apart from the obvious)?
Leo: I always start with a drum machine and a bass line and always end with the lyrics. Since I am a big fan of pop music a song is not done until I’m satisfied with the chorus. It always has to have a good chorus.
What inspires me are the obvious bands of the 80’s but I feel quite satisfied with myself when I manage to write something that slips outside the box dealing with some other music genres that I listen to, like indie pop for example.
Tzina: You just released your second full-length album ‘Crack On The Wall’ via the independent Brazilian label ‘Wave Records’ last month. An album both in digital and physical form with vinyl pressings,digipacks etc, etc… What is ‘Crack On The Wall’ all about and what feedback has it received so far?
Leo: It has been eight years since I released my debut album (Stains Of Love / Wave Records). Eight years that brought a lot of personal changes, new experiences and a pandemic that besides all the tragedy that it brought, it offered me some time to slow down for a while and give shape to the eight new songs of the brand new album. Songs overflowing with melancholy, betrayal, and self disappointment. But, it is not all about doom and gloom, since there is a strong urge to find this crack on the wall that might allow a slight ray of light come in.
The feedback is great so far. Wave Records is doing a great job, especially in North America that has a big ‘goth’ audience. I guess that most of the people that listen to my music come from this part of the world.
The two digital singles that have already been released (In Silence and Ocean) have gotten a lot of airplay on many radio shows around the world. The album was released almost a month ago and the reviews and sales so far are amazing.
Less than a month after the release the cd is almost sold out and most of the vinyl editions – that are expected at the end of June – have already been pre-ordered. So, I am quite satisfied I must say.
Tzina: As I understand your debut album ‘Stains Of Love’ was released eight years ago.. An album which featured some collaboration with the darkwave veteran Ronny Moorings. How did this come about for you back then?
Leo: I had worked with Ronny promoting Clan of Xymox shows in Athens for many years. I had a song that I thought that my vocals did not fit quite well and I thought that it had a Xymox feeling to it so I asked for his collaboration. He did say yes and sang on ‘Five More Minutes’. The track was now ready to go. It’s so cool to have him on my debut album, that was quite an honour.
Tzina: How much does ‘Crack On The Wall’ differ from ‘Stains Of Love’ and why did it take such a long period of time for your second release? Can you elaborate…
Leo: I was quite busy after the release of my debut album since I opened a club in Athens called ‘Death Disco’, that is a very active place, hosting parties, concerts, exhibitions, shows etc etc.. Most of my energy goes there. So, there was not much time for me to write new stuff. Actually, I wrote down some new ideas but I had no time to spend on taking care of them and make them actual songs. That’s when Covid came, it closed my club for many months and gave me the time that I needed.
I feel that it sounds quite different from the previous album even though the songwriting approach is quite the same. The guitar work is more present than before, the mixing and mastering of Panos Tsekouras at Top Floor Studios is amazing and the lyrics are straight from my heart.
Tzina: Cinemascope also recently released two videos for the singles ‘In Silence’ and ‘Ocean’ on YouTube? How important do you think the visual side to a band is today Leo? Do you believe it’s as fundamental as the music? Do Cinemascope have any more videos in the pipeline?
Leo: Well, to be honest, I do not think that videos are that important. Some of my all time favourite songs do not have a video clip. That’s why I made the decision to take the risk and the blame and make my videos on my own. It was like a challenge for me to start learning how to do video clips in such limited time and I must say I quite enjoyed the ride. I know that the result might not be a piece of art or something but I feel good with myself that I managed to create them. And still, it’s better than having a still image on YouTube, isn’t it?
Tzina: Are there any plans to take Cinemascope to the stage at some point? Can we expect to see you live in the near future?
Leo: I’m so happy during these past few months that I’m rehearsing with two great musicians. It’s so good to see my studio project actually becoming a live band. The songs are getting different energy and I am really looking forward to hitting the stage sometime soon but, nothing to announce at the moment.
Tzina: It is well known on the goth/dark/alternative scene in Athens that you have been a successful club DJ,gig promoter and owner of the great ‘Death Disco’ club for many years now.. A darkwave/goth veteran one would say.. How do you view the scene today in your home country? Do you think it differs from the rest of the world?
Leo: I think that the Greek scene is in its heyday.
There are so many good Greek bands, a lot of concerts from local and international acts and quite a lot of people that go out for a ‘goth’ Saturday night clubbing. I think that we stand much better than a lot of other European cities, no complains.
Tzina: The past two years have been extremely difficult for us all especially the music industry and artists in particular. How did the pandemic and lockdowns affect you both as a club owner and music artist? Do you think things are back to normal now that the world has reopened?
Leo: This is quite a tricky situation. It affected clubbing and nightlife in general. But, to be honest, it came when I was this close to a breakdown and I needed a break from it all.. I needed some time to myself and Covid gave it to me.
Now the batteries are fully charged again, I had time to get some rest and be creative as an artist and it seems like we are back on track. Of course, there are still people that are afraid to get out of their houses so I guess that we will need some more time to get back to exactly like what we were used to.
From an artist’s point of view, Cinemascope is not a touring band so the pandemic did not have a bad impact on us.
Tzina: The pandemic did help livestreams flourish on social media during lockdown days. What are your views on these livestreams and the virtual music world in general? Do you think this music world is something that has become permanent now?
Leo: It’s a new thing that I guess is here to stay. I spent some good hours watching some friends of mine livestreaming. I do not believe that this could be something like a substitute for going out to a club or to a live show but it’s a new thing that comes to fill some new space. It’s a nice add on to music entertainment.
Tzina: Thank you for your time Leo.. Anything else you would like to share with your fans? What can they expect from Cinemascope in the near future?
Leo: The album is still very fresh so I’m really looking forward to getting more and more people’s reaction to it. When you decide to get your music out in the open air people’s reaction is what you are looking for. At the present time we are rehearsing and plan to do a live show sometime soon. Also, I’m in contact with some great musicians that will remix some of the new tracks. I have already received two finished remixes and they sound amazing. There is also a thought of doing a proper video clip for the song ‘Die In Summer’ which I think is a breakthrough song and maybe deserves extra care from me. That’s all I guess, quite busy if you think that Cinemascope was on a hiatus for almost eight years, don’t you think?
Thanks for having me!
Cinemascope is on Facebook…
Cinemascope is on Instagram…
Cinemascope is on Bandcamp…
Cinemascope is on YouTube…