About Me

Interview with Nightfall

Nightfall was the first extreme act in Greece to sign an international deal, introducing the world to the Mediterranean scene in the early 90’s. While the band has been absent from the scene since the release of 2013’s “Cassiopeia”, their legacy has not been forgotten. Now, the band makes a triumphant return with “At Night We Prey”, the darkest of their career. For this new chapter, Karadimas has reunited with guitarist Mike Galiatsos, drummer and producer Fotis Benardo (ex-SepticFlesh) and guitarist Kostas Kyriakopoulos (The Slayerking). In addition to the long-awaited new music, Season of Mist is re-issuing the band’s original albums that were produced by Holy Records.
“At Night We Prey” is a very dark and personal effort, tackling the topic of Karadimas’ battle with depression. The master himself had a sincere and open conversation with Metal Imperium in which he addressed his own demons, the new exciting album and the upcoming tour. 

M.I. - Before anything else, let me thank you for the great music throughout all these years and for taking the time to answer my questions.

Thank you, Sonia, you are very kind. 

M.I. - The band re-released the classic albums and Eps: January 29th, saw the re-releases of 1992’s Parade Into Centuries, 1993’s Macabre Sunsets, and 1995’s Athenian Echoes and Eons Aura. Then two weeks later, on February 12th, the classic album Lesbian Show and the EPs Diva Futura and Electronegative were re-issued. Is it a kind of celebration of Nightfall’s career?

Yes, you can say that too. The demand for these albums has been strong for many years, but first we had to strike a deal with the label that released them back then, before we were allowed to reissue them. It is finally happening, and it is wonderful. 

M.I. - How are the reactions to these releases so far? Do you still stand proud behind all of them or is there one that you would eliminate from the band’s catalog if you could?

Every one of them represent an important period to the band and to the scene. Nightfall never produced a similar album, but always tried to go a step further by incorporating modern elements. Going through each one now, one can get a very good picture of how the 90s sounded like. There are two categories of people who buy them: older ones to recall memories of the glorious 90s, and younger ones who get to know how the most original decade sounded like. The roots of almost any band we are listening to now, are in the 90s.

M.I. - So, Nightfall celebrates 30 years of existence this year… what will you do in order to mark this milestone?

“At Night We Prey” and the reissues is the best we can do until venues open up again. Then, we are gonna tour. That would be the best to do.

M.I. - The last album “Cassiopeia” was released in 2013… it has taken you 8 years to release a new one… despite your personal struggle, was there anything else that caused this delay?

It was mainly my personal struggle, and serious family issues. Also, the fact I did not feel we had something interesting to say as band, after “Cassiopeia”. But hey, you know that is happening often in our camp. Nightfall’s story is equally divided into 4 seasons, like a Netflix series. And each one with a different lineup and label. The 90s with Holy Records; the 00s with Black Lotus; the 10s with Metal Blade; and the 20s with Season of Mist. Isn’t that great? We did not do it on purpose. 

M.I. - “At Night We Prey” is the title of your new album… is it because it is at night that all our demons and evil thoughts invade our minds, trying to make us go insane? Everything seems better in the morning…

This nasty thing called depression is more intent when one is by him/herself, usually at night hours, when one is trying to relax and get energy for the next day. But the title “At Night We Prey” is about people suffering from depression that leads to suppressed anger. "Prey" is a play on words manifesting the struggle of the depressed one whose inner pray for help fails to show, leaving others with the false impression that he or she or it is preying on people, while literally is becoming prey to depression. This is a tribute to the victims and a cry for help from those struggling with it. I tell it exactly as I put it in the press statement. I wanna be clear about it. I want the message to be crystal clear. 

M.I. - The album is a tribute to the victims of depression and a cry for help from those struggling with it. Do you think sharing your personal experience will help someone? 

I don’t think of it, I am living with it and I must put an extra effort to feel happy. I could have discovered it earlier if I visited a certified person. I did not, because I was too influenced by society’s stereotypes. You know, like someone who is depressed is “crazy”, or “cannot do things right”, or “weak”, etc. Through this confession of mine I want to alert others to pay no attention to such misconceptions and address the problem right away. They are gonna save time and save themselves and others from big pain. Suicide is not a solution. Also, booze or drugs don’t help. 

M.I. - The reviews of the new album have been great. Do you read them at all? Do you care about what’s written?

I care about any constructive comment. When someone is paying money and put his or her time on our music, it is our pleasure to hear and read what he/she feels about it. A good in-depth review takes time, effort, and requires work. I appreciate that a lot. 

M.I. - ““At Night We Prey” is about people suffering from depression that leads to suppressed anger.”. How complicated was it writing all the lyrics? How much of a negative impact did this have in your life? Have you managed to turn it around by now?

I am still fighting it, and I am doing alright. Writing is a good habit of mine. I always do it. And then, when I get back to read about my thoughts, sometime later, I feel good ‘cause I get to know myself better. Give it a try, it works. 

M.I. - “Prey” is a play on words manifesting the struggle of the depressed one whose inner pray for help fails to show leaving others with the false impression that he or she or it is preying on people while literally is becoming prey to depression”. What triggered your depression? How old were you when you were diagnosed? 

I got diagnosed about 2 years ago. And I got angry I did not go to the doctor earlier. I mean, the signs were there for years. I refused to check and, as I said, that was mainly due to the misconception about mental disorders. This is my story, and through this I try to alert others to avoid wasting time. If you feel like it, befriend it and ask for certified assistance. What would you do if you had a broken leg, or something?! You would go and see a doctor. 

M.I. - Of all the tracks, in your opinion, which one is the “strongest”? Which one has a more special meaning? Why?

“Agita”. I wrote it right after my mother’s death. 

M.I. - How much has depression affected your life? Has it “stopped” you from evolving somehow? Or has it contributed to your own personal growth? Has there ever been a time in which you thought life was worthless and pointless?

I have a feeling those stoppages, the 4 seasons I mentioned before, should have had something to do with this situation. The no-live policy too. We had it until our previous album “Cassiopeia”. All those might be for the same reason. 

M.I. - Did you ever hide depression from people because you feared they would judge you somehow? Do you think many people hide it?

Absolutely. Previous generations had a very stupid way to cope with mental disorders; they simply said one is either normal, or crazy, madman, lunatic. We are built with attitudes like that. Hence it is very hard to open up and speak about it. 

M.I. - I believe you have studied the subject thoroughly… is depression only “curable” through medicine or are there healthier ways to do it, like meditation, yoga, food?

Oops, you see that you just used the phrase “healthier ways”? Medicines for depression are not the sort of chemicals that affect your body, the bad chemicals everyone is afraid of. This is yet another misconception. Meditation, yoga, food, religion, or whatever have nothing to do with a scientifically proved disorder. Depression is not melancholy, or boredom, or sadness. It’s a disease.

M.I. - Do you think mental health is still not valued?

Absolutely. And we must change this. Collectively. It’s not a personal business. It refers to all. One sick person might lead to a potentially sick society. 

M.I. - “Darkness Forever” is a blistering track about depression and its awful effects in a person. Writing about something so personal works out as a therapy? Is writing your feelings enough therapy or are you accompanied by a professional?

It is. You somehow spit the poison out and feel better. It is a relieving process. Transcendence. I recommend it to everybody. If you are true to yourself when writing down stuff, you’re gonna be surprised about aspects of yourself you probably hadn’t noticed yet, but you do now, as you read your stuff some time later. 

M.I. - The video for “Darkness Forever” starts with a quote from Jude 1:13 and it has many flashing images, mostly red and black… Why? What’s its connection to the song? Is it a kind of version of one’s personal hell?

You can say that too, yes. I could not think of any other colors for that purpose. 

M.I. - The cover of the new album features a female figure slaying herself from within… why do you associate depression to a female figure? 

The word “depression” is of feminine nature in Greek language. That helped me to personify it into female form, and picturize it. Moreover, feminine nature is the source of life. And that makes the analogy, between the disorder and the havoc it creates, even more tragic. The source of life turns against life. I did not want to have a nice-looking cover to this album. It should have been ugly, and nasty as depression is. Travis delivered. 

M.I. - Apart from Efthimis, this new album features a whole new lineup, even though Kostas and Michalis have already played in the band before. How is the chemistry between the band members? 

It’s great. This lineup is devoted to play live. We agreed it’s about time to do it. The no-live policy I had for almost two decades is over. As soon as Covid calms down, we go live. 

M.I. - Being this an album that deals with your own issues, how do the other members connect to them? How do they transmit feeling into the music? Have they gone through the same or know someone who has?

The concept might come out of my personal experience, but that does not mean others do not suffer by this state of mind, or never heard of it before. I might be the reason, but I am not the only one hurt by it. Everybody I know has either personal experience or know people who suffer by it in their close environment. 

M.I. - You think people need to speak about their demons openly, otherwise it will eat them alive. How important is mental sanity? Has the pandemic and lockdowns affected your depression even more or has it helped you somehow?

Lockdown is challenging, but I was facing my fights well before this. I am used to it. Mental health is as important as our civilization. Only recently science is trying to cope with the problem. I guess it is due to technological advance that people now understand it is not the end of the world. Previous generations preferred to keep it silent and pretended everything was ok. Or if things went out of control, they used names like crazy, lunatic, etc. This must stop. 

M.I. - So, you’ve talked about your demons… how complicated /easy will it be for you to tour in order to promote the album and revisit those dark times over and over again? Or does pain soften as time goes by?

It’s not like that. It’s not an open wound you scratch each time you talk about it. Quite the opposite. It’s a real part of you, you only need to befriend it and walk along. 

M.I. - How much of an impact do positive thoughts and actions have in your life? Are they life savers or not exactly?

Happiness is everyone’s holy grail. Mandatory positivity though is bullshit. People are not programmed machines. And since we are living in societies, we ought to understand or at least try to walk in others shoes, before we come up with any conclusions. 

M.I. - Season of Mist is now your label. How was it starting a new “relationship” after being with Metal Blade for so many years? What drove you apart? How are things with the new label?

French and Greek mentality have a lot in common. That shows when entities from both countries come together. It was my honor to be part of Metal Blade roster, but now I feel at home. Season of Mist reminds me of the Holy Records years back in the 90s, when the label’s staff was fan of the music and of the band members they signed. 

M.I. - The band will be touring Europe with Draconian in late 2021… what are your expectations? Do you honestly believe it will happen? I hope it does!

The tour already moved to March 2022. One year from now. We are so much looking forward to it. 

M.I. - The band plans on playing live some tracks that has never played. Why? 

Mainly because we did not play live for so long, and many songs have never been performed on stage. 

M.I. - The band has managed to keep its popularity even though you haven’t been too active lately… what’s the secret to this?

We’ve always been true to ourselves and to our fans. We never released something because we had to. We always produce albums that have something to say, and that’s very important. It’s a decision that has commercial cost to the band. But more and more people seem to appreciate that.

M.I. - The metal and rock n’ roll scene has often been associated with drugs and alcohol. Being both negative for people, how much has it affected you throughout your career? I mean, you were probably tempted too many times… do you surround yourself only with positive vibes these days?

Nightfall have never been there for the party, but rather for the tragedy. Positivity and negativity go along like a couple. Sustaining a balance in life is everything. 

M.I. - Any final message you’d like to share with Metal Imperium’s readers? 

Mind your minds everyone and keep the spirit alive. Hopefully we’ll see you when this pandemic wears out. At Night We Prey! Thank you, Sonia, for your time.

Follow Nightfall:

Listen the new album here

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca