Athens

Unleash The (Mechanical) Animal Within

An interview with Mechanimal

Text: Fivos Vogiatzis & Eleni Zoe | Photos: Thomas Gravanis
If you ever find yourself near the Syngrou-Fix station in Koukaki on a Sunday, be quiet. You may just hear the first strummings of a new album being brought to life. Okay probably not, given that Mechanimal's studio is fully soundproofed. In any case, Eleni Tzavara (former singer of Film) is taking over the vocals on their third album, so the result will be very different from what we've come to expect from them. Take a listen to their new single "Radio On" here and clear your calendar on Tuesday, July 21: Mechanimal will be doing a musical horror show at "Train at Rouf."

You’ve stated in previous interviews that Mechanimal is a "perpetual experiment." What does that mean for a music band?
Mechanical isn’t a band in the traditional sense of the word. It’s a musical group composed of musicians who want to combine (each in their own way) beauty with music and image with sound. Every person of this musical family, from founding to new members, had a different journey and experiences until our paths crossed and we decided to work together. The fact that we can combine these different approaches and views and produce a multi-layered musical identity proves that as a band our work is characterized by consistency, continuity and development.

Okay, let's say you’re talking to someone who is not familiar with the city's music scene. Describe what they’ll hear if they buy one of your albums. 
We don’t know to what degree our music is related to the wider music scene of Athens. We don’t label our music, but, that being said, it's at its core electronic music. A hybrid spirit that hides elements from 70's krautrock, 80's post-punk, shoegazing indie-pop and techno industrial drones. We express ourselves through personal influences and loves.

[Note: Judge for yourself if this description is apt by listening to their new single here.]


We read on your website that on your next album, Etten (aka Eleni Tzavara (former singer of Film) will take over the vocals. That’s a significant change. Any other changes we should expect? 
The main change in the third album is that there will be exclusively female vocals, those of Eleni.  It also sees the fierce return of our first guitarist Tasos Nikogiannis.

 

You have been touted to "express the urban reality" of Athens. To what extent do you agree with that statement? Do you think it has more to do with your sound or with the lyrics?
Both. Our first 2 albums were inspired from the imagery and urban reality of Athens. Naturally, more weight falls on the lyrics that describe those “images.” In our next step, however, the "mechanical monster" has escaped the stranglehold of the city and of borders in general.

What is your favorite place in Athens? We imagine you each have one. 
Eleni Tzavara: Ymittos
Tasos Nikogiannis: Ymittos
Giannis Papaioannou: The National Gardens

 

The audiovisual Mechanimal project ended with a wonderful video by Angeliki Vrettou. What’s the difference between visuals and a music video?
A music video describes the specific story within the song. Video visuals during live performances act as something more abstract. But at the same time, they harmoniously integrate in our aesthetic identity.

We thought your new single “Radio On” was exceptional. Are any other tracks ready? Will we hear them at your upcoming gigs? 
Thank you! At our most recent performance at Key Bar Echo Festival, we almost exclusively played songs from our new album. Our aim is to play them as much as possible before they’re officially released. 

What’s the title of the new album?
It’s still too early for us to announce it. But the album is ready and we hope that the current situation will allow for it to be released, by our friends at Inner Ear, before Christmas.

 

When is your next gig? Can we expect to see a lot of you this summer?
We won’t be playing many gigs this summer. After an invitation we received from the 5th Athens Open Air Festival, we’re currently putting the finishing touches on the soundtrack to the silent movie Nosferatu by FW Murnau. It was, and is, a great challenge and honor, to dress this masterful film in our music. The screening will take place on July 21 at Train at Rouf, and will be accompanied live by the soundtrack we wrote as Mechanimal.
 

Mechanimal is a musical project started by Giannis ION Papaioannou (electronics & beats). Current members include: Eleni Tzavara (vocals), Tasos Nikogiannis (guitar) and Antonis Charalampidis (drums). Listen to their new single "Radio On" below.