By Nicholas Jason Lopez
In 2007, Lyricist/Composer Nicholas Alavanos formed The BitterSweet in Greece, with a driving creative force for the band being their love of 20th Century pop-rock music and how that influenced their blend of different styles.
Their debut album ‘Dancing in The Zoo’ (distributed by MINOS – EMI) was released in July 2012.
In November 2018, The BitterSweet put out a music video for “I Like Walking,” which spearheaded their second album ‘The Age Of New Delirium,’ released via Ikaros Records a month later, followed by a vinyl release on June 12, 2019.
Most recently, the official music video for “Sh#t” debuted on Nov. 15, 2019.
The Music Bugle recently had the opportunity to talk with Alavano about the band’s music and other recent happenings.
Music Bugle – What are your thoughts on the recent coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent effect on the music industry?
Nicholas Alavanos – We are very concerned and worried about this new reality. It is very sad, but it is real and it is a challenge. We should face up to it and be responsible. Stay home! Now, as musicians, this is a very fine opportunity to compose and be creative. I’ve already composed two new tunes dealing with the situation!
Music Bugle – Could you describe what it was like putting together ‘The Age Of New Delirium’ and what inspired the name?
Nicholas Alavanos – It was a quite funny, creative, inspiring and long process. It was very much a collective effort, a team thing, a ‘band record.’ We had a very good time and the spirits were high, though the sessions lasted five years! The title stems from the 2010-11 financial and political crisis in Greece. There was turmoil and turbulence all around, but I think it easily fits to the new coronavirus crisis quite well unfortunately.
Music Bugle – What would you say are some key differences between now and the band’s most earliest days?
Nicholas Alavanos – The writing has matured, the songs are better structured and we have made a name for ourselves in Greece. Our songs are played more on the radio and we are constantly improving as a band. What I miss from the past is a more friendly environment and a sense of companionship, of camaraderie. Now, things are more professional, but in terms of artistic expression, I think we’ve progressed a lot.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite music video to shoot?
Nicholas Alavanos – ‘I Like Walking’ was much fun to shoot. We did have a laugh, especially with the ‘smoking scene.’ I’m not a natural smoker, so I messed it up a lot! Thank God we managed to get it right somehow.
Music Bugle – Who are some of your musical influences?
Nicholas Alavanos – The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Radiohead, David Bowie, Nick Cave, early-era Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music, Nick Drake, Caravan, Genesis, The Doors, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, The Smiths, King Crimson, J.S. Bach, The Stooges, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Blur and The Cure to name a few. The catalogue is vast.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite moment onstage or at a show?
Nicholas Alavanos – Playing in front of 1,500 people at the Ardas 2014 Festival and opening up for Peter Hook and The Pet Shop Boys at the 2013 Ejekt Festival.
Music Bugle – What are your future plans?
Nicholas Alavanos – Prior to the coronavirus restrictions, we were in the studio recording our third LP, which is gonna be called “September’s Sons.” As soon as things get back to normal again, we will catch up with the recording sessions. Hopefully, it will come out at the end of the year or even earlier and if things get smoother, we are planning many live shows during the Summer in Greece and abroad.
Music Bugle – What should people know most about the band?
Nicholas Alavanos – We are a musical proposition based on the mixing of completely different musical styles. We blend various styles and musical genres in what I hope is an interesting artistic statement. We do not like to be labeled. I always hated playing a specific style, as much as I hated ‘revivals.’ We also try to be focused in melody and harmony and present a well-rehearsed and professional live show. We do not stick much to ‘atmosphere.’ Our live shows are more musical than energetic. We want people to follow the music and the melodies. The band’s name is influenced by Roxy Music’s track “Bitter-Sweet.”
Music Bugle – What’s the biggest challenge of standing out as a group in your genre?
Nicholas Alavanos – Endurance, appetite for persistence, the fans’ acceptance and appreciation and our posterity are the main challenges in my opinion. Also, offering good quality music to the people. As long as we still have the appetite to create, everything is gonna be well. So far, we’ve lasted quite a lot already. Our band was founded in 2007 and standing up for 13 long years in the Greek rock music scene is no way an easy task for an anglophone band, believe me, so surviving and lasting is our main priority. We’ll keep in doing it as long as it’s still entertaining and rewarding for us. Our drive is our passion for music, our passion to create and to offer a little bit, a small crumb to this exciting art. Our reward is the fans’ appreciation. No money earned unfortunately!
Music Bugle – Which would you say is your most meaningful song or set of lyrics?
Nicholas Alavanos – “Stand up for your dignity, respect the possibility of Life – in this Age Of New Delirium, Don’t forget to smell the flowers, don’t forget we all can start from scratch – in this Age Of New Delirium.”