By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Despite growing up a part of the 1990’s Greek metal scene upon other power/thrash acts, the members of Desert Near The End felt that sound lost its edge with today’s generation and aspired to bring it back in a way that everybody could accept.
Desert Near The End is bassist/songwriter Akis Prasinikas, guitarist Panos Kalombratsos and vocalist Alexandros Papandreou, who’ve made a fierce impression with four albums, performances across Greece, Russia and Cyprus, as they’ve shared stages with the likes of Flotsam And Jetsam, Primordial and Wolfheart.
Their most recent release, ‘Of Fire And Stars,’ came out via Total Metal Records on March 22, 2019. Lyrically, it explored how fire and stars both literally and figuratively fueled human imagination throughout history for “good and bad.”
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Papandreou about the band’s music and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys get your band name?
Alexandros Papandreou – We went by various names before ending up with ‘’Desert Near The End’.” Well, it’s kinda like the name found us. It was the title track of our first full-length effort. We went by the name ‘’Eventide’’ at the time, but we felt it had to be something more personal before our first release.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your album ‘Of Fire And Stars’?
Alexandros Papandreou – ‘Of Fire and Stars,’ I would say it came pretty easily for some reason! We had a great time composing it and the preproduction went on smoothly enough. We had an amazing drummer behind the kit! Recordings went pretty good too! There were some problems while we were doing guitar recordings, but this stuff happens. The spirit remained intact!
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder for a band to stand out these days?
Alexandros Papandreou – Social media is just a tool, in my humble opinion. A very useful tool, but it needs to be used with caution. You don’t want to use it too much, not more than music itself. The first and most important thing that can make a band stand out was, is, and always will be, the making of good music and never-ending live shows!
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your particular genre?
Alexandros Papandreou – Well, we didn’t pick the genre. Rather, the genre picked us! I mean, when we first started playing, that was the thing that came up – our influences over the years as fans! I don’t really hold much thought in genres. I like to listen all kinds of stuff. I’m listening to Wolves in the Throne Room’s ‘Thrice Woven’ right now! (Laughs) What excites me in metal music in general is that it has so many layers – a colorful palette, from the gloomiest and darkest ones to the most cheerful and dreamy! From raw power to romantic melody!
Music Bugle – How would you describe the state of the Greek metal scene in today’s music industry?
Alexandros Papandreou – We have so many great bands here in Greece! I think the Greek metal scene is one of the most powerful worldwide. Bands keep emerging in almost every genre, but on the music industry map, I think we are left a little behind. There is a whole other world in the industry. There, it is business and Greece has a limited market in my opinion. That’s why the bands need to open some more in the world and play as much as they can! Until the final domination! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – How have you felt the band progress with every release?
Alexandros Papandreou – I believe that every new release is step further! We are becoming better and better and as we mature as people that has a direct impact on our music and how we want to portray it!
Music Bugle – What was your favorite show to play so far?
Alexandros Papandreou – We have been lucky more than once to be a part of shows with great bands such as Primordial, Metal Church, Flotsam and Jetsam, The Agonist, Wolfheart, etc.. Each show is unique and it doesn’t matter to us if there are 1000, 100 or 10 people participating! I have a couple of shows in mind that only had 50 people in the audience and the energy could blow your mind, so to finally answer your question, (Laughs), every show with a stage big enough to let us run around and have fun can be considered as favorite!
Music Bugle – How has COVID-19 affected the band?
Alexandros Papandreou – I guess it has affected us in ways that has affected every band! We cancelled shows and we cannot arrange anything with certainty. We found some time to proceed with our next effort though! Trying to make the best of it, I guess!
Music Bugle – If you had the chance to chat one-on-one with one of your musical influences, who would you choose?
Alexandros Papandreou – Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian! Everyone else I love as a composer or musician is an asshole! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – What’s something you feel people should know about the band?
Alexandros Papandreou – That we have been playing music since high school and ever since then, we try to get better and better, but when we go on stage, we feel like it’s still 1998 and we go crazy with loud guitars and fast double bass-drums! Let the metal flow and follow the path across the desert!