Thrash metal act AMKEN got their start with their debut EP and soon will release their debut full-length. That said, they have plans to play in various spots and hope to see everything at one of their gigs! Guitarist Giannis K discusses the band's history, releases, and plans to play those shows and much more.
1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Giannis: AMKEN was founded by the two guitarists, Vanias and myself, back in 2011. Our first “real” line-up was the one that took place about two years ago with Sokratis on the drums and Kostas on the bass guitar, leading us to release our debut EP. Not very long after this event Vasilis entered the band replacing our previous bassist, forming our current line-up. We were feeling stronger than ever at the time so we made some pretty cool gigs in Greece, Germany, Cyprus and a tour in Italy just a few months ago. We also played Schoolwave Festival last summer in front of more than a thousand people! That was pretty dope experience I must say by the way. And here we are now having recorded our upcoming first full-length album, ready for its official release! Time to go crazy again! (laughs).
2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?
Giannis: To start with, AMKEN doesn't really mean anything...! There came the time that we wanted to find a name for our band, but we preferred it to be a one-word one, so after a long beer-drinking session someone came up with AMKEN... and we kept it! Now in some languages it does mean something I think, but I can't really remember what... sorry!
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Giannis: AMKEN is based in the heart of the Greek metal scene in Athens, the capital of Greece. Our scene is growing pretty fast the last years; especially on thrash people around the world are talking about “the new wave of Greek thrash metal”, whatever that may mean... I would prefer not to mention anybody in case I don't do justice to somebody else, 'cause there are really so many good bands that set the bar higher and higher nowadays. You know, making good live shows, recording albums that are worth checking out, in general trying to take the next step forward... It's an amazing time for Greek metal actually!
4. How would you describe your style?
Giannis: I'd say we obviously play thrash metal, but neither between the norms of old-school nor modern. We are trying to create our own style in a way, but OK, you could say we are closer to the more old school flair...! What we play is aggressive, kind of fast and evil at times... or fun. What's important to us anyway is to create primarily good songs that ourselves, as fans, would like to listen to. I mean, we don't say one day "now we'll write a thrash song" and do so; the music comes out naturally, without any labels. If we like it we'll definitely work on it.
5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?
Giannis: On November 30th 2014 we released our first EP called "Adrenaline Shot", which consists of our four first songs. It was pretty well received by the fans and the reviews were very supportive, enabling us to make some cool shows and re-release it as a split via EBM Records last year with Peruvian thrashers Maze Of Terror. Our first video clip for “Zombie Pets” came out before even the EP was released, which really gave us a good push in the underground scene at the start. You should check it out if you want to catch the spirit of those days!
6. Do you have any new music in the works?
Giannis: At the time being our first full-length album is ready and expecting to see the light of day. I am pretty sure that people who liked our first EP are going to love this one! When you listen to it you can feel that we have matured as musicians and as people, too. It is angrier and more thrashy than "Adrenaline Shot" and it becomes obvious that Vasilis has helped a million in writing better music! It consists of eight brand new songs that we are really proud of and it is due to be released in 2016. Keep an eye open for our forthcoming video clip!
7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?
Giannis: Of course we do! There are already plans for Greece, Spain and the Netherlands that will actually be announced in the coming weeks. We do our best to book even more shows and see you all in one of our gigs!
8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
Giannis: We want to try the hardest we possibly can to get people to listen to our band, tour as much as possible supporting our first full-length album and grow better every day.
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Giannis: Our Bandcamp page amken.bandcamp.com does pretty much all that, but you can also check our Facebook page facebook.com/amkenthrash for the latest news and more info. If you're in for more videos and stuff check us out on youtube.com/amkenthrash and find our official store on amken.bigcartel.com.
10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Giannis: What we try to do is to be a thrash band in our own unique way. When someone listens to our record we don't want them to be like "I've already heard that a thousand times"... That's a bit hard, but it's our ultimate goal! We want the listener to be like "Already? I have to listen to this again!" after finishing listening to our record.