We were lucky enough to catch up with musician GERASIMOS PAPADOPOULOS following the superb release, ‘Bazaar’. Read our full interview below!

Hi Gerasimos, what is your earliest music memory?

I would say being a child in the church where my father was serving as a priest at the time and listening to the cantor chanting Byzantine hymns.

How did you get into the music industry?

I don’t even know if I’m in that kind of industry… I definitely make money as a musician, playing in Athens, where I live traditional Greek music and, every now and then, some of my own songs. What’s for sure is that from what I’ve recorded so far, I’ve had almost no direct profit…

Who influenced your brilliant latest release, ‘Bazaar’?

First of all, thank you for the compliment… This instrumental belongs to a set of my compositions written especially for the fairy tale ‘Zahrenia’, written by the Greek philologist Fotini Kaimaki, which will soon be released as an album. I wouldn’t say there was a specific influence for this tune.

It is definitely connected to a certain portion of my listening that can be summarised under the term ‘Modal music of the East’, and in that, I mainly put Ottoman secular compositions, as well as the many Greek, Turkish and Arabic folk songs I have heard.

What draws you to the World genre?

Often these labels confuse rather than classify, as they are supposed to do. Not because they are to blame. Musical creation itself seems like a lively, mischievous child constantly escaping from the hands of its earnest guardians – music theorists, that is.

The term ‘World’ music is inherently problematic because it is hetero-defined by non-existent and unattainable non-world music. In any case, this term has come to mean – I have a feeling – music that is connected to folk traditions, but without reproducing them as caricatures of the past (so as to resemble tourist souvenirs), but in an artistic and creative way. If the meaning I give to the term is valid, then that’s where my work leans.

What draws me to it? I do it effortlessly. I come from specific musical traditions that I consider my mother tongues: the neo-Byzantine chant tradition, the tradition of Cyprus, Asia Minor, Aegean islands, the rebetiko song… My aim is effortless to be led to the creation without attempting to create my own musical languages from scratch – which is utopian and illusory anyway…

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I am a practical man. I work with people I have around me. My criterion is the general chemistry between us, not only the musical chemistry.

What’s your dream venue to play?

This is something that does concern me… I would like a place where the audience would not be passive recipients of the music; they are not just listeners but active participants. I would like them to sing along, dance, drink, and flirt to the sounds of my music… A place that is not at all concert-like, but rather ritualistic… I haven’t made my thoughts any clearer yet…

What is your favourite song to play live?

My song ‘The herb of love’. I haven’t recorded it yet. It talks about how we should surrender to pain as passionately as we surrender to love. We’ll end up in the dirt anyway. Don’t go back and see that we didn’t live.

Other than music, what are you passionate about?

I wouldn’t say that music per se is something I’m passionate about. My passion is generally all kinds of creation. Maybe passion is not a good word. It’s about my actual survival: Creativity saves me from boredom, and boredom is something I hate. The worst moments in my life are those of any waiting with no way out – in a public service, in traffic, at the bus station… Creativity is my breath in the suffocating boredom of existence.

What changes would you like to see in the music business?

You’re opening a big chapter now… How can I talk about change in a business that is constantly changing? What I see – and I like – is that we are gradually leading to an increasing demise of the big stars. Because they are now as useless to us as kings, in a world where melodies are moved like crazy memes from one end of the planet to the other, every creator will have their own small or large hyperlocal audience, and every listener will have their own favourite artists, and that will be perfectly healthy and beautiful – if it actually happens.

What would it be if you could choose one thing for fans to take away from your music?

The love for life and the totally guiltless treatment of all kinds of emotions. This is what I want my music to bring out, first and foremost: Redemption.

Have you started working on your next release?

Not just one release, many! I have the album ‘Zahrenia’ that’s ready, a children’s album that I’ve written the music for, and an album in the works with my songs. It will probably be called ‘The Herb of Love’!

FVMusicBlog February 2023

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