We were lucky to catch up with musician Absinthe Green following the awesome release of ‘Dead Before My Eyes’. Enjoy the full interview now!
Hi Absinthe Green, tell us about yourself?
Hello there! I am a Greek-born songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. I have been part of different acts and projects of extreme sound, mainly in Germany, where I have been residing for almost a decade, making music, performing and teaching songwriting.
Then I temporarily relocated back to Athens, my hometown, where I reconnected with old friends, met new musicians and brought the Absinthe Green project to life with a full band.
Tell us about your latest release, ‘Dead Before My Eyes’?
‘Dead Before My Eyes’ is the first single of our upcoming debut album, ‘Of Love and Pain’. Someone who knows me from my previous bands and collaborations that had a ‘heavier’ sound may be surprised with the sonic direction I took with this project.
My goal was to make music that would be fun and enjoyable for me to play live. The heaviness is still sustained in the instrumentation, but the harmonic progressions, lyric melodies and vocals are intended to have a clean-cut pop approach.
‘Dead Before My Eyes’ is a song that I wrote after a very traumatic relationship had ended, and I was left feeling weak and intimidated. It was the first time I started experimenting with less poetic and more literal and -in your face- lyrics, and the songwriting process worked as catharsis for me. In that sense and feeling, I wanted this song to be a groovy, ‘football chant’ kind of anthem that can be sung by everybody.
Ultimately, it is about taking your power back whilst having a blast and feeling fierce at the same time.
We see you began writing ‘Dead Before My Eyes’ from a bass riff; what is your songwriting process?
That’s exactly right. I was fooling around with my bass and began playing the main riff. I picked up my guitar next and started recording a demo, and that’s how the song was born.
My songwriting process is not one and the same always. Sometimes a vocal melody comes to mind (oftentimes when I am in the middle of doing something totally irrelevant, and I can only sing the melody to my phone’s voice memos, haha), and other times I will sit down and play different harmonies on the guitar or keyboard, and a new music piece can spark out of it. Same thing when I experiment with different sounds.
Other times the song could start by reading one of my songs or poems out of my notebook, and then a new rhythm gets built in my mind around the lyric.
Who are your musical influences?
This is such a difficult question because my influences are all over the place. I grew up in a very musical home, where my parents would play from classical music to rock, metal, jazz, folk/ world music and everything in between. And I am very glad and grateful for that, as I have learnt to love all kinds of music and not be confined by genre.
Nevertheless, there is a common factor to the music I listen to, and that’s the taste and overall aesthetic. You could be the most skilful musician in the world and lack taste. That’s tragic, in my opinion. Aesthetic is of utmost importance, as it gives purpose to creation even if your aim is to not have a purpose.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Literature, art, personal life experiences and the state of the world today are for sure some of the things that influence me personally as well as artistically. Travelling, being exposed to different people and different cultures.
Anything that emits a strong emotion could move me, be it a beautiful work of art, fashion, politics or even crippling depression and desperation about things that are beyond my control.
In that sense, everything can spark creativity if I’ve got my eyes and mind open, but when I seek direct inspiration, I always resort to some of my favourite poetic works and movies.
You moved back to Greece in 2019; what is the music scene like in Covid times?
One of the reasons I was eager to go back to Greece was to experience again the lively and colourful Athenian underground scene, and because I was living like a hermit back in Germany, with very little social life, I was looking forward to going out and have fun with my friends as I did in the past, but much to my dismay, so many of the bars and venues I frequented a decade ago were closed down, and that was mainly due to the financial crisis that the country has been struggling with. You can imagine how the situation deteriorated once Covid hit.
On the other hand, these days, I notice many new acts of young, talented musicians starting to blossom here and there, and this is wonderful, as I see that many people put the lockdown time to good use, creating music and being eager to share their work with the world.
That’s amazing to me, as an artist as well as on a personal level, because the hopeless romantic in me believes that art and music will save the world. So this gives me hope.
We see an album is due for release later this year. Can you tell us any more?
The plan is to roll out a few more singles and then, most probably in the fall, release the album.
The album’s title is ‘Of Love and Pain’, and we worked together with Hiili Hilesmaa for its production. I was always a fan of his work, and it was a great honour for me that he liked my demos and agreed to make this album with me. In the process, we also realised how much similar our sonic and stylistic approach was, and I couldn’t be happier with the result, as it contains all the raw, spontaneous elements and punk rock attitude we were going for while at the same time it’s being fresh and modern.
The album blends together my various musical influences and personal experiences, and the main theme is life’s duality and inner struggles with love and pain, loss and recovery, destruction and creation, light and darkness.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
The music industry is constantly changing, and as the market is saturated, it’s getting more and more challenging to be heard by enough people to consider yourself even remotely successful. You always have to find a new way to introduce your music to more people, and that means that you always have to be alert and go along with the changes to get a chance of visibility.
We see that many agencies and labels these days are more driven to make quick money by searching for the next viral thing rather than focusing on music and artistry, so that’s another obstacle for someone who is trying to be true to themselves and their art, rather than being part of the next fad.
That being said, it’s also easier now than ever to put out your music, and you have all the tools at your fingertips to go out there and make it happen.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Taking good music and ambition for granted, I’d say, never give up and never compromise your art. Find your plan and your vision. We are lucky to live in this internet-oriented era, so you have countless resources to bring into service and learn about anything music-related.
Practice your instrument as much as possible and take every opportunity to gain experience, from performing live, writing music, collaborating with other artists and learning on the job. Leave your ego out of the door; I have seen many talented artists fail because of their bad attitude.
Be humble, and respect the people around you who are there to help your show, performance, recording, or whatever else you’re doing. When you feel frustrated and think about giving up, it’s when you need to push yourself even more, as this is when you level up, and usually, that’s when bigger things start to happen.
Don’t be scared or stubborn to re-evaluate and redefine your music. We are all works in progress, and we learn until the day we die. Just believe in yourself and have patience.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
Given the Covid situation, I really hope that the world will have returned to relative normalcy by then. I want to play as many shows in as many different towns and countries as possible and to feel this special connection and energy rocking out with numerous audiences. I miss performing so much. I’ve waited for so long!
Furthermore, and if everything goes as planned, the next album will also be ready and lined up for release by then.
FVMusicBlog April 2022