Friday, 1 June 2012

~IB~ BABY~ E-MUTE~DEBUT INTERVIEW with this amazing new rock band

DEBUT INTERVIEW with ~IB ~THEO MAKAROUNIS~ Lead singer & spokesperson for new rock band E-MUTE !!
~IB~ are thrilled to be given the FIRST EVER interview with Theo, of rock band E-MUTE who have generated a great deal of interest in a very short space of time. This is the start of our new series following E-Mute, our latest ~IB~ BABY!! We will be watching their progress with anticipation and bringing you regular updates.

Introducing Band Members:
E-Mute AKA Theo M.~ vocals, keys, drums, lyrics, music
Tolis Zavaliaris~guitars, backing vocals
Svetlana Vassileva~bass, backing vocals
Darren Ashford~drums

Background info: Theo is from Greece however he has spent quite a few years in London studying music. During that period Theo did quite a bit of modelling, music teaching and also played drums in a band: session drumming including sessions with Bias (Moody Blues,) Pip Williams (producer of Dido, Uriah Heep and many more artists.)

Thriving on ambition... Theo realised he would not be able to achieve his goals if he remained a drummer so upon his return to London, following a time of personal sadness and reflection, Theo ultimatly formed his own band. Theo has played in many bands subsequently experiencing different genres (funk, jazz, rock, fusion, pop) however he is a rock guy at heart. Theo is excited to hear his earlier music transformed by the addition of the band into something that is inescapably and fundamentally rock! E-Mute is comprised of experienced musicians who individually have associations with big names in the music business... Chaka Khan, The Drifters, Moby, Vanessa May, Westlife, Backstreet boys... who once again span different genres so collectively they have an experimental and accomplished musical ear! We will now hear Theo speak about the band and his personal history.

Can you tell us a bit about when you started drumming?
(In Greece.) I started drumming when I was around 15 years old and straight away I started music school as well as formal school. When I finished both school & music school I did a music technology course and a course in classical harmony. When I had finished I moved to London and did a BA there mainly centred on drumming. Next I did a Masters based on drumming, performance and composition.

How did you go from drumming to modelling?
While playing in different bands and teaching music I met guitarist Scott James. Scott had just left the Stereophonics and we decided to form a band playing some of his own material. The band went on playing everywhere and in the end I found I couldn’t really be in the music school because I was cancelling lessons... too many lessons! I left music school and had to find something flexible, so my girlfriend at the time advised me to do promotional work and from there I found my way into modelling. Modelling is an on and off thing but as you know it’s good money and fun at the same time so I have been modelling since then.

What was your first band called?
It was Elixir.

Describe your journey from Elixir to E-Mute
When I was in Elixir I dedicated my whole life around it but unfortunately it split up. About a month later my Mum called me and told me that my Dad was ill with cancer. I was shocked so I just went back to Athens and stayed there. My Dad was in hospital and two months afterwards he died. All the time my Dad was in hospital it was a very strange period for me; it was like the whole world collapsed in two months. The band with Mr James was an amazing band and we played together for two & a half years. It was a really, really good band but we had massive arguments towards the end. We split up, my Dad got ill and it was a total disaster.

How did you cope during that period?
During that time all I was doing was exercising and I would run for 2 hours and became really fit. The other thing I was doing was constantly recording on my 4track digital recorder, Zoom H4N great little machine! When my Dad died I couldn’t come back to London and being emotionally upset it led me to write ideas on the recorder as a way of letting it all out.

How did you get back into music?
Luckily I ended up working as a drummer while I was in Greece. It just happened; I was just lucky. Maybe it was the Universe deciding that "that guy had enough for the moment." I was quite a successful session drummer and played with loads of people and toured the whole country. I was drumming and at the same time I kept playing piano which kind of became an obsession, so gradually I started having more complete ideas with the songs. Working as a drummer was like a sidekick because I really liked working on my songs. I started writing lyrics and got a rhyme book. After I had finished the first couple of tracks I asked a friend who was a singer and we were playing together in a successful musical, to come over to my "musical basement" in Athens and sing my songs so that I could hear how they sound properly. Soon I realised that he often had to cancel, so because of my experience with the band I got into the idea of doing everything on my own. I started taking singing lessons and took to arranging everything on my own which was the best thing I have done in my life. It makes you independent and you have total control of what you want to do.

When did you decide to return to London?
I came back to London when I had around 11 songs and decided to come for 11 days and record them because I knew a really good multi-instrumentalist who has a studio and his name is Koby Israelite. He can play 3000 instruments... he’s amazing! I had an attempt to record my songs in Greece with 2 people but it didn’t work out; it ended up getting confused and going in a direction I didn’t really like so I decided to go to London because it would just be 2 minds working on something. While in London I realised that London was my second home and was so excited those 11 days.

How did the London Sessions go?
I prepared guides at home for us to work from and we did a marathon of recording. I recorded all the drums fresh but I had the piano parts recorded from before because they were the guide and the drums went over the piano. After finishing the drums I had to stay up all night to write the bass because next day the bassist was coming to record. We recorded the bass... 11 songs in one day... it was mad! The day after I recorded the vocals. I started at 1pm and finished 5am the next day. It was mad and at 1am I was drinking olive oil for my throat. After this we brought in a backing vocalist and I actually finished the whole 11 tracks in 7 days in total.

Where did you take your songs?
After I recorded the songs I put some on Youtube and I opened a Myspace and floated the demos on there. I started getting subscribers and friends on Youtube and good feedback. While I was still in Athens working, I bumped into a friend of mine (Tolis)and we had studied together for our BA degree. He is now a teacher at the Guitar Institute in Kilburn, NW London and I played him the demos. He said ‘Good stuff and if you want to come to London let me know.’ I wasn’t thinking of moving back but I thanked him for the offer. Some months passed and I realised I was getting depressed playing for all these artists and not doing anything with my music. I was just doing a play, pay and go. The English speaking Greek rock bands in Greece have a tiny audience and I realised I wasn’t going anywhere there. It's a very small country 10.000.000 population, and in the middle of the biggest crisis ever faced. So I moved back to London.

How did you go about forming E-Mute?
I got in touch with Tolis and told him I wanted to get a band together. Tolis agreed so we tried to figure out who could be in the band and Tolis started playing the demos to people & made suggestions to me. One of those musicians was Svetlana, the bassist who was our teacher at University and also Moby’s bassist. When Tolis told me that Svetlana was interested I said, ’that’s amazing,’ because I really liked her; she’s a really great bassist and I was thrilled she liked my music. We had to wait for Svetlana to come back from Moby’s summer tour and had our first meeting end of September. The drummer Darren was teaching where Tolis teaches. Darren has played with loads of people; Chaka Khan, The Drifters, the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, in various West-End musicals (Mama Mia/Joseph) and with pop artists such as The Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Will Young and many more. He also liked the demos so decided to join us.

How do you describe your music Theo?
I think it’s a mix, a bit alternative... I’d say the genre’s alternative rock. If I compare it with other bands it’s a bit of Foo Fighters, Franz Ferdinand, Muse and Radiohead ... mix it all together and we have E-Mute... something original.

So the band has only been together 7 months! What’s happened in that time?
Since September I have been working non-stop on the project. We had to record the EP so Tolis introduced me to John Robertson who is an amazing guitarist. He also has a huge bio and he is producing too. He has played with Vanessa May and Grace Jones and he produced our EP.

Is John playing on the EP as well or just producing it?
Yes, he’s on it. What we did, we used the older recordings of the demos so the drumming is my drumming and he played the guitar for the EP. At the point when we were making the EP I was rehearsing with the band for the gigs so the EP is not how the band actually sounds now. The songs have naturally evolved; they’re exactly the same structure but with a different attitude because now it’s a band playing.

When do you plan to record as a band?
I am hoping in the next 3 months to go with the band and record a single.

How did you name the band?
I had the idea of the name ‘MUTE’ for a band- always liked it! Me and my girlfriend came up with the logo- the loudspeaker coming out of the stop sign. Some friends told me that it reminds them of MUSE so I turned it into E-MUTE... E stands for Electric. I love the word play with the logo and the debut EP title.

What is the title of the current EP?
‘Too Proud to Say Loud.’

What kind of interest is the band generating?
I have been approached by some management companies so I need to meet with them and see what they have to say. I might need to release songs under a label because they are on independent release. I have a meeting on Monday with one company and another company are coming to our gig on the 1st June to check us out. I have a big PR company coming to the same gig too to hear us live. It’s at a very early stage and they may want to do work on the EP, maybe re-master to make it better, we’ll see.

How many gig’s have you done so far?
Friday will be our fourth gig but we’ve been having calls from promoters asking us if we would like to play at different places. I am trying not to book too many gigs at the moment.

Describe your experience of the live gigs?
We started gigging a bit more than a month ago and were doing a gig a week because I wanted to get a portfolio going and see how we go. The first couple of gigs were more like a rehearsal because you have to learn the staging and things. In the past I was always the drummer so being the singer was a shock, it was kind of wow, I’m fronting a band now. It was a shock but now it’s much better, more natural.

Finally, what else is new?
We have another gig booked on the 29th June at Surya in Kings Cross but I only want a gig a month because we are a new band and want room to grow. I also heard that our song's being played on the radio, in fact I heard it myself on Salford radio, 94.4 FM. Keep getting e-mails from radio stations wanting to play it and the list is growing. I'm updating all the radio play info on our Facebook page and Twitter. Other stations: Canalside Radio 102.8FM, CY4Y Radio, Optical Radio and more.

BIG THANKS to Theo for ‘Bringing us the Braap’ on E-MUTE and engaging us in his journey. The progress made to date indicates great things to come so stay tuned for updates & do your best to attend their gigs, tune into the radio & support these guys!

Connect with E-MTUE:
Website: http://www.emute-music.com/the-band-e-mute
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/emutemusic
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/E-mute-music

We would love to involve you in the E-MUTE experience!! If you attend gigs, buy their music, take pics etc please send your info to itsbraap@live.co.uk for inclusion on Its Braap~Its Life. THANKS!!

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