What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you? Hello Robex, thank you so much for giving us a plug! Residuos Mentales consist of Stratos Morianos on the keyboards and Alexandros Mantas on the guitars, the flute and the bass. Of course, quite many people have contributed with their inspiration and performance. But the core members are the two aforementioned individuals who are currently walking through the fourth decade of their life!
Have any of you played in other bands? Stratos is also a member of Verbal Delirium. He was a fan of them and, as things turned out, he’s reforming with them now! For my part, if we exclude a band (where actually Stratos and I were playing together!) when I was 20 years old, I haven’t played with anyone else. Pretty much confined in the walls of my room, fooling around.
Have you had other previous members? No, never. However, we meant to develop the band into a fully-fledged one, but we kept it as a duo.
How is it that you started playing music? Well, I was feeling very fired up when I was 13-14 years old while listening to music. I had a piece of wood and drawn some lines on it for strings (I think it was five because I didn’t know back then that the guitar has six strings – in most of the cases anyway!). Fortunately, my brother is four years my senior and he introduced me to some rock stuff (AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, you know, the basics!). I got my first real one when I was eighteen years old and had finished school. Stratos on the other hand was jealous of his sister who was taking piano lessons and he began at the age of eight. He was immersed in Chopin until one day a friend gave him a tape with Sepultura! And that was it! Perhaps this explains a lot about his erratic ideas!
Where do you come from and what year did the band form? Residuos Mentales are from Athens, Greece and it was in 2012 when Stratos floated the idea to write some original material instead of just fooling around by playing cover songs in his house!
What's your style of genre? That’s a good question. Introspection, the first album we did and came out in the August of 2018, is somewhere in the area of cinematic music, but you’ll find in there many elements from 70s prog rock with a healthy dose of Greek music and dashes from electronic music too, always in instrumental surroundings, excluding some scattered vocals on Home. We love instrumental music, it’s very challenging.
What inspires you?
Hmm, personally swifts of mood will do the trick. Yes, music is a major factor, but in Introspection it was all this futility I was, and maybe still feel in my life that I wanted to express. It was a story we needed to
tell and maybe that’s why it ended up so cinematic in nature. Stratos will get the idea out of the blue. It is a gift.
How often and where do you rehearse? It depends. Since we are a studio project (for the time being at least) and gigs are out of the picture, we meet when we want to develop ideas or go to the studio. Twice a week is the norm in the Residuos Mentales headquarters, namely Stratos’ place! We mix at Home Studio though, where we get immense help!
How have you developed since you started with the music? Quite a bit, but is a common feeling we share that there is so much to find out and it takes a lot of trial-and-error if you want to come up with something relatively fresh and interesting that sometimes it feels as if we have just started out and we are positively novices.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band? Oh yes, of course we have. Stratos has a dab hand in photography and he is an avid Netflix fan. I love to read, hard to put down a book if it grabs me and I’m fascinated by translating anything I like from Greek to English. We both wish that our days were longer!
Are you looking for a booking agency and/or a label and what are your thoughts around that? Ah, a very important question. Judging not only by our limited experience, but also the experience of other people who know a thing or two more, is that this factor is as important, or even more important, than music itself, if commercial success is included in the band’s agenda. Truth is we don’t, first and foremost because, as we said before, live shows is not an option right now since our current daily schedule is so compressed and secondly because we haven’t set up a full band to rehearse the songs, and if we were to play live, it would only be done in such a way that would do justice to the songs. Therefore, if you don’t plan gigging, the booking agency is unnecessary. We did have a label though for Introspection but it seemed that they didn’t do the slightest to promote the album. We’re sorry to say that this was probably the biggest mistake we have done so far. Possibly we will go fully DIY next time.
What made you decide to make this music? We had already composed enough material for two albums before Introspection and this material is pretty much pure progressive in nature. It was our will to do something more acoustic (though the final result was not as acoustic as we initially meant to). I had a vision to make our Snow Goose, it sounds boastful, I know, but that was the overall idea. The nature of the music possibly stems from our feelings and mood of the time.
What are your songs about?
There is a concept to the whole album (which is actually one songs divided in 11+1 parts) that tells the
story of a man who is tortured by memories of the past. The inner voices are let loose (Pandora’s Box). The rainy day exacerbates the gloominess (Alienated) and the character spins a vinyl. “With the right music, you either forget everything or you remember everything” they say and the case is that memories come in torrents (Immersed). Οld, nagging recollections (The Thorn in Me) resurface and finally the character is sucked by a whirlpool, recounting their life (My Stories). The optimistic prospect (A Prospect of a Blooming Life), the feeling like “coming home” (Home) is gradually replaced by vague, forgotten, yet ever-present memories of loss and disappointment that get clearer and clearer in their head (It All Becomes Clear) and recounting these stories (Narrative) brings our character to their limit (On the Borderline) who makes a promise to set everything right but “you can’t escape the past, no matter how much you want to” and the mental residuals in their head prevent them from keeping their promise (A Promise Unkept/Mental Residuals).
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Composing is usually a collective process. Stratos or I will bring an idea on the table and we will develop it together. Sometimes Stratos has completed songs (like Pandora’s Box, or My Stories) but it is usually the two of us who will shape it into its final form, and let us not forget our producer, Vangelis Spanakakis and our sound engineer, Dimitris Radis, who have come up with really interesting ideas and they are, in essence, part of the band. We haven’t discarded the idea to write songs with lyrics down the line.
Do you compose in a certain environment? Not necessarily. For my part is easier since I can carry the guitar around with me, whereas Stratos has not this priviledge. Yet, most of the ideas initiate and are developed in our homes.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? It was when the physical form of Introspection came out, namely on the 12th of December of 2018. No T-Shirts or anything else, for the time being at least.
Where can people buy your merchandise? On our bandcamp page here: https://residuosmentales.bandcamp.com/releases
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records nowadays? It’s a double edge-sword. On the one hand, you can access music that you wouldn’t dream of it was available. After all, back when we were young (like we said, we are almost forty years old) tape-trading was the only means to find out music out of the ordinary. Don’t forget that even Metallica’s fame evolved also through tape-trading. It would really be better if people used this method and if they like the stuff they hear then offer their support to the band by buying the physical stuff. But people don’t seem to hear music this way. Just a casual listen, get a general idea if they liked it or not and that was it. Maybe even Pink Floyd wouldn’t make the cut, I mean how many people would lose themselves in
Echoes’ majestic intro? Within thirty seconds they would have moved on to the next YouTube video. At the end of the day, it’s these people who approach music this way who lose because they don’t really feel the music. Our opinion is reinforced by the way they attend gigs: instead of living the moment, they will see the show through a mobile-screen. It seems as if music is not as important as it used to be… Anyway, we did release Introspection in physical form because we do believe there are still people who actually listen to music.
How do you think the music industry has changed because of this? Once the bands didn’t tour extensively because they would lose money. Now, if we exclude a handful of bands, it is the gigs you hope for to sell any CDs. Yet, as we said before, it is not downloading per se the problem, but the fact that people seem to be less interested in music, less interested to find out artists with their own voice. It makes sense though, since the listener is literally inundated with new releases all the time and it is impossible to keep tabs with what is going on and support them.
What do you think of my work? We do admire anything that is being done with passion and love! You have given voice to many bands and artists can provide many details through your questions. We thank you for that!
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? For starters, this is the first interview we do for a non-Greek portal! If anybody wants to look up for information about Residuos Mentales, they will find a lot of stuff in here.
Do you have any role models or idols? Why do you think that they exist? With regard to music, my personal favourite artist is Andy Latimer from Camel. Stratos is fascinated and studies the techniques of great Russians pianists like Rachmaninoff, Prokopiev and Shostakovich as well as some Greek composers like Hadjidakis. Aside music, we admire people whose actions have a good impact on this world (consider Carola Rackete). It makes sense to admire a brave act.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? We try to get the best from both worlds. Surely bands like Camel, Van der Graaf Generator, Kansas and stuff like that has gone deeply under our skin since we listen to them for so many years (the old-fashioned way, like we’ve already said) but we have our ear on the ground and admire when more contemporary bands come up with something striking. In fact, we do avoid sounding like our heroes (but sometimes we fail miserably!)
What have been your biggest obstacles? The biggest hindrance so far is the lack of sources (money, that is) to put things down the way me wean to, bearing in mind that it is only two of us and there is no other support. But of course it doesn’t daunt us, it will simply take a little more time.
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Since we are pretty much newbies in the business it would be really very smug of us to do something like that. Just put all the energy and love you have for the music, do your best and work as hard as you would work for a conventional job and with a lot of luck things may work out. And if commercial success won’t come your way, you will have met so many interesting, like-minded people that you’ll never regret it.
Do you have any new material? Of course we have, it is enough for two full-length releases and right now we are in the process of rearranging and improving the songs of our second release.
What are your web sites? We have no web site but people can access our music through Bandcamp, Spotify and all major platforms!
What are your plans for the future? To put out the music we have almost ready and keep sharing the gift of music!
Do you have something to add? We’d like to thank you for the opportunity you give us to present Residuos Mentales to all people who have in interest in cinematic/prog music. Our greetings to all creative people and those who loose themselves in their passion!
▶ Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/album/0NhHCYv4TBP5JcD9qDkuXQ
▶ Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/residuos-mentales/sets
▶ Reverbnation : https://www.reverbnation.com/residuosmentales
▶ last.fm : https://www.last.fm/music/Residuos+Mentales
▶ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIQqrRCf9jU&list=PLEPvyFjf3zp-FgGZe71m7D1Lpikry3LYJ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi9mnY84oIElt2hLIXM0q0Q
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