Sometimes you hear things like “…the internet killed the underground…”, mostly by old geezers, purists or musicians who just found out their album leaked and is available for download. But a pleasant surprise can occur as well, as people are promoting their asses off on the message boards. Himonas is one of those surprises I accidentally stumble upon, a Black Metal band from Greece/Canada. Being influenced by the Scandinavian Black Metal scene, the Black Metal of Himonas has the best of both worlds: Rawness and Melodic hooks. The introduction of Himonas…(Ricardo)
First of all, can you tell our readers how things started, why you have chosen the Scandinavian Black Metal style for Himonas instead of the ancient yet great 1990s Greece style? What is the intent with the moniker Himonas?
Hails! The band started with Psychros and Akardos during the Spring of 2009, with the intention to play raw, aggressive and nostalgic Black Metal. We didn’t actually choose to play Scandinavian Black Metal. It was more like a natural effect on our music. Most of our favorite bands are form Norway and Finland. Our name “Χειμώνας”, (Himonas means “Winter” in Greek) came with our obsession for the dark and cold season of the year and the way that our musical intentions deal with reality. Cold and Black. We could also say that our hometown seems to be inside an endless winter for the last 6 years now… So the name “Himonas” seems quite representative for our music, for our band and for us as personalities. As we have already said in other interviews, we don’t have any sophisticated explanations for our band’s name. It’s Winter. Plain and simple.
The lyrics seems to pro-Hellenism, still you stated in advance Himonas has nothing to do with politics whatsoever.
Yes it’s true. We have nothing to do with the “bipolar” political system and way of thinking. The “two pole” theory is a really clever way to manipulate and divide the masses. We have nothing to do with this cancer.
Are you afraid or getting tired that Himonas could be connected with the NSBM scene?
No, I wouldn’t say that we are afraid of something like that. We have declared that we have nothing to do with politics with a very instant way. It’s quite obvious that we are not a NSBM band.
Also, are Greek bands with lyrics about ancestors, Hellenic pride or history being watched more closely, now with Kaiadas (Naer Mataron) as a member of the Greek Parliament for the political party Golden Dawn?
We are not aware of something like that. Mainstream media never really cared for underground metal in Greece and we hope they will never do.
Sorry to step aside of Himonas so quickly…As we are speaking of the Hellenic scene and the unique sound…what’s your opinion on the classic albums of Rotting Christ, Varathron and Necromantia? Why was there only a short period of time (or a few bands) who played that unique sound? And what about the more unknown bands like Macabre Omen, Agatus, Stutthof and Kawir? Feel free to add any of the bands you like of your own scene…
That was the most glorious era of all times for the Greek metal scene in general. Unfortunately we were too young back then, so we didn’t have the chance to feel its majesty. Our opinion for those 3 bands, is that their early releases kicked asses! We both like Varathron, Psychros adores Necromantia and I am obsessed with all Rotting Christ’s early releases. I can’t actually agree that they were just a few bands… Besides the bands you have already mentioned, we had Tatir, Legion of Doom, Nergal, Fiendysh Nymphe, Though Art Lord, Vorphalak and many more who have contributed for the creation of the Greek sound. Unfortunately this period ended really fast. Not quite differently from the Norwegian scene. Although Greece and Norway have a lot of new upcoming bands, none of these scenes have anything to do with their glorious past. I believe that Finland has and will have the throne for years.
As you are in Canada now, what do you think of the scene there? Is there a difference with Greece to attend live gigs, to promote your band or to get your hands on obscure releases?
The monsters of Canadian Black Metal (Blasphemy, Revenge e.t.c) are located miles away from Montreal so I can’t have a clear view. Montreal and the province of Quebec in general, have a lot of good bands like Forteresse, Akitsa, Gris and Monarque. One huge difference is that Quebecois buy many more cd’s and lp’s in comparison with the Athenians. Well… that’s quite logical, because they have 3 or 4 times higher salaries. In a general view, the extreme metal scene is quite interesting here in Montreal. I saw countless metal live shows. I must not forget to mention Messes du Morts festival. This is one of the best Black Metal festivals in the world and the best I have ever been for sure. I met several people who run interesting distros and of course I met Francisco, the owner of Profusion Metalstore. I found several obscure releases over there.
Back to Himonas, “To The Battlements”…no demo, but a full-length as first release. How are the reactions so far? I’m a huge fan of your “The Heart of Winter” track, an epic masterpiece in my humble opinion. A great opening riff, an acoustic intermezzo and the use of the violin was a pleasant surprise. Didn’t expect that last one.
We heard encouraging comments for our efforts so far. It’s obvious that we spent many hours for the preparation of our album. Black Metal fans are quite tired of all those handy, bedroom Black Metal bands and albums. Well.. as long as we know how to tune our guitars and know how to do a decent recording, (without “pseydo – cult” digital attitude) our material found its way for several distros and fans.
Can you tell us about the recording process? If I’m correct, it didn’t go smooth…
The recording process was fine but we had problems during the mixing and mastering. During the mixing and mastering procedures, both of the band members and our sound engineer were in 3 different countries. It’s quite logical to have collusion problems in a situation like that.
How did you get in contact with Nebular Winter Productions and Werewolf Promotion? Releasing “To the Battlements” on cassette, was it a suggestion from Himonas or the labels? Or did you get in contact with those labels because you only wanted to release “To the Battlements” on cassette?
First of all, we got in contact with Werewolf Promotion and we managed to a get a deal with him. Then Werewolf proposed us to co – release the album with Nebular Winter and we had no problem for that at all. Werewolf mentioned that he was interested in releasing our album in tape format and we accepted. We didn’t actually care if it was going to be a tape or a cd release.
Have you already written any new songs? If so, in what way do they differ from the “old” stuff if they differ at all?
Yes, we have about 11 new songs ready but unfortunately, we are not able to record them soon. I hope that in a year from now, we will be able for recording a new album. Some of the new songs are going to show a different face of Himonas. Our sad and hateful side is going to become much more evil and mysterious, while our other side will remain as proud and wrathful as it was. Speaking personally, during those days, I am preparing a song that will sound less Black Metal and more like a late 90’s Greek Death metal song. Keep in mind something like Nuclear Winter (Πυρηνικός Χειμώνας). There is also a chance that the lyrics will be only in Greek from now on, but I think that I already spoke enough. Let the actions talk!
What are your expectations for Himonas in the (near) future?
We have already prepared our new logo and new artwork for a Cd re – release. We have decided to change our logo because our lyrics and music are expanding in many more themes than war, battles and patriotism. The new artwork of “To the Battlements” is going to be much more representative for its music and message. I don’t want to give any more details about the re-release because nothing is for sure in this world.
It seems you are having a passion for the underground movement, as you encouraging to get involved by playing in a band, creating a small label, having a distro, organizing a live show and writing for a fanzine or webzine. Could you tell us more about that?
The majority of the metal audience nowadays believes that “likes” and video views are enough for supporting a band. It’s not like that. We have to support underground with actions and not only through useless internet support. A band needs real human presence. All underground bands need audience for their live shows and people to buy their merchandise. Underground bands are not multinational corporations. The musicians sacrifice a lot of money and time and they gain nothing back except than pleasure with music. They can’t continue if we don’t support them with actions. Sometimes I get really mad with this situation… Underground needs dedication. If you don’t want to get involved with the right way, it’s better not to get involved with it at all.
Well, that’s everything from the side of VM-Underground. Feel free to add anything which isn’t mentioned in my questions.
We just want to send a huge FUCK OFF to all those who only know how to look like metalheads or punks or whatever but they never pay even 5 dollars to buy a fucking album. They didn’t even know about extreme metal before their parents brought them an internet connection. And now everyone “supports”… That’s it, thank you for your time!