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The Greek co-promoter of the 1000mods First Ever Australian Tour 2019 & Mojo Burning Festival | Interview

todayMarch 30, 2019

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Interview by Haroula Nikolaidou

Mojo Burning Festival is a music event that takes place every year in Queensland, Australia over the last six years.

It was started by Christian Tryhorn , a musician and booker agent, his love for music and his will to promote Australia’s Rock, Psych, Blues, Roots, and Stoner Blues bands. 

This year, at the 6th Festival, the Greeks 1000mods participate as the headline band. This is a very important moment for the band, but also to the Greek rock scene in general.

I was very happy to see that this year’s Mojo Burning co-promoter is Christos Athanasias from Greece, who is the person responsible for the arrival of the 1000mods at the festival.

Christos went to Australia at the age of fourteen, around 2000. He is a guitar player in two bands,The Ugly Kings (hard rock, blues rock) and Devil Electric (stoner rock, doom metal) as well as in the Black Bird Rising solo project.

I contacted Christos in late February with great longing to learn about the festival, 1000mods , but also to get a picture of the modern rock scene in Australia. At that time he was in a busy period as he was recording with Devil Electric their second album.

I am sure that the following discussion with Christos Athanasias will be very interesting for music lovers and musicians as well.

– Is it a creative time for you these days?

Yes indeed! Look, a lot of things are happening. Music, photography, work .. so many things!

-Thank you for responding immediately. You are multi-talented. You are not dealing only with concerts, but you are also an active musician and from what I see you are “running” the bands you are participating in.

I’ve always liked music and business. I’ve been working for eleven years at Ericsson and at the same time I’m the person most involved in the promotion of my bands (i.e.social media).

-I would like you to give me a good picture of the rock music scene in Melbourne. This new scene of psych/stoner/doom which is doing so well. How did you get involved in this?

In the last four years, since 2014, there has been a lot of bands coming from Melbourne. Melbourne has always been the place where many rock groups as long as pop and various styles were created. What I think is that some bands started doing too well, not only here but also in Europe and America and so, one has actually promoted the other. There are so many good bands in Melbourne. It’s a test bed as we say!

So, because there are so many bands coming from here, each new group must be competitive. It has to make music that is, not better, but quite different from the others. On second thought maybe it has to be better so it will stand out. As a result we have bands one better than the other! Whether it’s doom or stoner or psychedelic rock.

Yesterday for example I went and saw Seedy Jeezus who supported Earthless from America at Maxx Watt in Melbourne.

-Is Maxx Watt a standard music stage for such a live?

Yes, it is a great place. It fills with 800 people, or so. Seedy Jeezus were amazing. They are from Melbourne. And Earthless were great too. Both bands are psychedelic rock style. Shred guitars, many organic parts, it was great. There were certainly 600 people in there.

-So there is interest from people and support.

Surely there is. Every day of the week if you want to go and watch a rock band you can do it. Either they will play in front of 10 people in a manner of speaking or in front of 1000 people. But there are venues and there are bands to perform every day of the week. We have several venues that are open five or six days a week with bands performing there.

Well, because there are so many shows, of course it’s not 100% mainstream, so not all rooms are filled every night. But the culture for the stoner, the rock ‘n’ roll and it’s genres, the underground in general is there.

-Tell me about the Mojo Burning Festival. How did you participate in this event this year?

This year is the the sixth Mojo Burning Festival. Started and run by Christian Tryhorn. The bands involved are stoner blues, heavy blues etc.

Christian Tryhorn

Every year it becomes even bigger. I also participated with The Ugly Kings in 2016. Last year he had headliners Wolfmother (Australia) and it was a sold out. More than 1000 people. It went very well.

This year Christian was looking over various bands. Meanwhile, last year I had a communication with Stef Dimou who made the Naxatras and 1000mods tour. So I told him that Naxatras, 1000mods and Planet of Zeus must come to Australia sometime. He replied that if there is someone who wants to bring them and make the deal, then they would definitely come.

Around the end of 2018, Christian sent me a message and asked me if I knew 1000mods and what is my opinion on having them for the festival. I told him of course I know them. I had already done this conversation with their tour guy. Do you want a partner? And he said yes.

-What were the necessary procedures so they could come?

Essentially the costs, that is air tickets and accommodation. And of course the whole organisation. For example their tour, how many days it will last, how many concerts they will be etc.

-Mojo Burning hosts foreign and domestic bands. In what proportion? More foreigners or Australians;

Local more. It started out to support and promote this kind of music from Australia. Every year, however, Christian tries to bring an international band or two. The rest of the bands are local. For example, Radio Moscow were also brought to Australia by Christian last year and they were very successful. 

-Therefore, this year 1000mods are definitely the one. This is very important for Mods. To participate in such an event. What are the basic criteria for sorting a band each year?

Every year Christian Tryhorn tries to include new groups. Like Whoopie Cat (Australia) who have not played again. But also some more well-known names as to cut tickets. This year1000mods will make a great tour in Australia. In all major states: Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane (Mojo Burning) Hobart, Adelaide, Perth.
I will be with them as a tour manager in the first and a half week. We’ll go to Canberra first, then Sidney, then fly to Melbourne, then fly to Mojo Burning in Queensland, then back here to Melbourne.

-You are enjoying it! You like this job.

Look I like it a lot. It is a challenge. And of course, the fact that they are from Greece makes it a personal matter too!

-Australia has a strong history in rock ‘n’ roll. So many important bands have come out so I think it makes sense to have love and support from the world. In Greece the rock audience is definitely a minority and there are not many of us going to concerts of new bands.

(laughs) Wait a minute now! It’s funny to say this because I could say exactly the same thing about Australians and the other culture that is pop, electro, R&B, house music etc. This is the mainstream music and basically even here rock ‘n’ roll is underground right now. Quite a lot of people are listening to rock ‘n’ roll but many rock radio stations still play the classics. For example, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, Nirvana as if there were no new bands!

– Why do you think this is happening?

Because they are classics. And it’s the “easy” solution for the rock audience. But if they do not promote the new talent, it will remain unknown.

We see Europe and Greece, from here, and we say “well that’s a real scene over there!”

– That’s very interesting!

We look, not specifically Greece but Europe in general. Each rock ‘n’ roll band that begins here in Australia has as its sole purpose to go to Europe and make a tour! Or in America, but it is a bit harder with visas and it’s also too expensive. Europe is more accessible.

There are bands here like Airbourne, who live in Melbourne. I played as a support band with The Ugly Kings to their concert here in 2017 in three concerts and in 2017 it was the last time they played in Australia. In Europe, however, they play at all major European festivals such as Hell Festival (France), and they tour there. Basically they are more popular in Europe than they are in Australia. And they live and they are from Australia! And there is no reason why they cannot be more popular here since they have a hard rock sound like AC/DC. If people listen to them, they will definitely like them. But there is no such promotion in Australia for rock ‘n’ roll and so they earn their money from Europe instead of here.

-I want you to describe me the main problem, the biggest difficulty for something more active to happen in Greece or in Europe for the bands in Australia or the other way around. Is it always the financial part the issue or the communication with those in charge?

Generally, for Europe, I think it is both. To me communication does not seem to be the biggest problem. It depends on what you want to do. If you want to make your first tour in Europe as a support band in a music group where you can play in front of 200 people, at least every night as to worth it, then your band must earn their trust so they will have you.

-How is this trust gained?

You need to have a booking agency, someone who books good shows. When you have that, then maybe something good will happen.

-What does book good shows mean?

I mean the booking that includes a band that will bring big number of people. Look, there are two ways. One is: I will do the speaking; I will do the research and I will do it on my own. I’ll book shows, talk to bookers, venues, like we do here in Australia and so you book yourself in Europe too. The bands themselves do all this alone many times. This works sometimes but sometimes it doesn’t.

After the first tour many bands break up. Because they start to live together for a long time. When the hardships start, they can’t stand each other. Then financial problems begin. For example they spend all of their money on their first tour and then they are not able to record their next album. And that’s it. The band is finished.

In order to keep the band together, the members first of all must have strong bonds between them. And secondly they must have the will for the long term. You will not get millions out of your first tour in a foreign country.

But the most important is your music to “arrive” where you want to play before you get there.

I will mention, for example, Royal Blood from Britain. They have signed with Warner Brothers. They came to Australia with an EP before making their first record. I saw them in 2014 at Corner Hotel which accommodates 850 people. And it was sold out! Only with one EP.

And here’s the point that makes the difference. Many times, both the managers and the bands think you have to go and perform 150 times in front of 15 people in a manner of speaking to get to one point to play a concert in front of 1000 people. On one hand this is right. On the other hand, if you have support as far as the business aspect is concered, like Royal Blood, where their music had already arrived, then you will make more successful concerts.

-And ultimately how will your music reach the world? Do you mean the internet?

Yes, of course, the internet. Badcamp, YouTube and Spotify. Spotify is essentially free radio for many. So, you have to get to one point where you have many followers there. And then you have influence. The “discovery” on Spotify and on Bandcamp is very important.

There are hundreds of bands. The musician himself must involve. Everything starts from him. If I do not know how to promote myself, how will anyone listen to my work?

-Would you wish to play in Greece sometime?

Of course. Either with Ugly Kings or Devil Electric. And not just me, many other bands from Melbourne.

-I wish you good luck with the Mojo Burning Festival and the 1000mods tour. 

Thank you very much Haroula. And I to you and your radio show that supports our music scene here in Australia.

______________________________________________________________________________

1000mods start their tour on Wednesday 3th April and complete it on Saturday 13th.

1000mods tour dates:https://www.facebook.com/pg/1000mods/events/?ref=page_internal

Mojo Burning Festival on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mojoburning/


Written by: New Generation Radio

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