In a very short amount of time, George Klontzas’ solo project, Teknovore has come a long way. George has been a part of industrial acts such as Croona, the new Neon Decay and Cynical Existence which means he has a wealth of experience behind him, not to mention a tonne of talent and an ear for the good stuff. Seeing as the new album, The Theseus Paradox was out, we spoke to George about ancient history, mythical heroes and music.
Welcome George Klontzas to the ancient darkness that is Onyx. We have the Moirai in a corner doing their thing and we can just shoot the breeze like the Oracles of Delphi.
How did you originally get into the electro scene?
In my teens I was mainly into Metal but I was also interested in electronic music to a lesser degree. Eurodance was huge at that time, and that was obviously a major influence on the Aggrotech sound. In fact one of the first albums I bought was 2 Unlimited’s No Limits. The real gateway albums for me though have to be the Mortal Kombat soundtrack which introduced me to Fear Factory, KMFDM, Juno Reactor, and the Quake soundtrack which introduced me to NIN. Of course, living on a Greek island before the advent of the Internet not much was available to me and I was just skimming the surface. It was as a student living in Edinburgh, attending Goth and Industrial club nights that I really got into the scene.
There are a lot of goth/industrial/metal acts from Greece, so what is the scene like there in Athens especially and has it changed over the years?
I’m still living on an island (Crete) literally and I suppose metaphorically too in a sense. Sometimes I feel a bit removed from the Greek scene, looking in, so I don’t really feel like an authority that can speak on it. What I can say with confidence is that we are surely blessed to have many talented and multi-faceted artist s and bands here in Greece. Just off the top of my head I need to mention Siva Six whose latest album is excellent as always. I was happy to see recently that Cygnosic are back recording new stuff. Technolorgy are releasing something in April I believe. I’ve been listening to ΦΩΝΟΠΤΙΚΟΝ a lot recently too and a young artist that I think deserves more attention is Saint – I encourage you to check out their album Erga Omnes. Again though, I feel bad because there are so many others I could and should mention and I have to give you props for reviewing and shining a spotlight on many Greek artists recently!
You have been in a few fairly big name industrial acts What prompted you to start Teknovore?
Mostly it was a desire to try my hand at various different styles that I love like Goa and Psytrance, Techno and the EBSM sound that’s emerged out of France in recent years. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to make an album when I started. I was just making all these tracks in different styles, seeing what I could do with them, what worked for me and what didn’t. After I had made the decision that I was indeed making an album I started the process of reworking the tracks so they could have some cohesion as a whole. Many of the tracks on the album are the 3rd or 4th vastly different versions of what I had originally made. Teknovore basically became about not playing it safe and in the end what I found is that the tracks that caused me the most frustration in making are my favorites on the album.
How different has it been for you doing a solo project from being in a collective?
It’s given me a lot of freedom creatively. No rules to follow or guidelines to adhere to other than those I set for myself. Especially not having a singer has allowed me to be much more creative with song structures. Many of the genres I love are instrumental and it makes a lot of sense to me to work with guest vocalists when needed, at least from an artistic point of view. However, from a commercial viewpoint, vocals and lyrics can help the music connect with an audience so bringing in someone on a more permanent basis or even doing taking on that role myself is something I may consider. I’m not leaning in the direction currently but you never know.
Let’s talk about The Theseus Paradox album. The paradox is that if you replace everything is it the same object/human when you first started. Is there a particular significance in the title for you?
I certainly saw the parallels in my own life. I went through a period of introspection a couple of years ago when I decided to leave some parts of my life behind. I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago and yet I am. Would my younger self recognize me now and vice versa? This was also reflected in how I felt about the music I was making. What expectations, if any, would there be based on what I had done in the past? How much should I hold on to and how much should I reject or replace? This whole thought process took over in the early stages of making The Theseus Paradox and became the main concept behind the album.
The album is amazing. Where did you even start in creating this debut monster?
Thank you for saying so! I guess I’ve already inadvertently answered this question. I’ll also mention that I invested in a brand new setup before getting started and much of the experimentation in the early stages came from learning the new plugins. That’s also how the cover of Dark Soho’s Save Me God was born which was on the Anachronist single with vocals by Z from Siva Six. A made a couple of covers as a training exercise when I started. There’s a cover of FLA’s Plasticity sitting on my hard drive somewhere. I focused a lot on some aspects that I felt I was weak at in the past like sound design. The right or wrong sounds will make or break a track.
You are on Infacted Recordings with j:dead and you have mixed tracks for Jay Taylor plus he appears on two of your tracks. So when did you ask Jay to do vocals?
Funnily enough the first track Jay and I worked on together, Tearing Me Apart, was originally supposed to be a track for Croona. Fredrik and I then decided to put Croona on ice so it became the J:dead vs Teknovore single you may have heard and the collaborations on my album happened as a result of that. Really I have Fredrik to thank for putting me in touch with Jay as he is a great guy and I really enjoyed working with him. Hopefully there’ll be more Teknovore x J:dead stuff happening in the future.
Jay Ruin or RNZR also does an amazing job as well as Neon Decay which is another non de plume for Fredrik Croona. How fortunate do you feel having all these amazing vocalists contribute to your album?
Very fortunate indeed. Fredrik and I have worked on various projects together over the last decade and he’s a great friend. Neon Decay is a new project we’ve been working on that’s a continuation of what we did with Croona mixed with synthwave… so nothing like the track we made together on my album!
I’ve been following Jay’s work since he was CeDigest, you know, the glory days of Noitekk! I agree he did an amazing job and he’s also just released a new RNZR single called Chaotic Erotica. Check it out, it’s gloriously filthy!
The artwork is stunning for the cover. Nikos Stavridakis is the man that created it. Are you still amazed by it?
Nikos and I go back a long way. He’s one of the first people to support me as a musician. When I started putting together The Theseus Paradox it was important to me that I work with people I can trust. When I explained the concept he loved it and was really excited to work on it and that is reflected in the end result. It’s such a powerful and striking image. Just perfect.
What gets your blood pumping now?
Other than making and listening to music, I watch A LOT of movies. Talk to me about horror movies – I can go all day! And I love re-watching my favorite movies with my daughter and introducing her to them so I can hear her comments. It’s like seeing them again with fresh eyes. That’s one of my favourite aspects of parenting – re-experiencing things through her. I’m into gaming too, though I kind of gave it up over the last year so I could focus on music. If The Theseus Paradox sells well I’ll reward myself with a PS5!
If you could be a mythical Greek Hero for a day, who would you be?
This feels like a trick question because almost all of them had tragic ends…but if it’s just for a day I suppose I’d avoid those. I won’t say Theseus as it is too obvious and I’m tempted to say Orpheus because of his legendary musical ability. I’m going to go with an out-of-the-box answer though and say Diomedes, one of the main characters in the Iliad. He is the most valiant hero of the Trojan War who while possessing great fighting ability also displays great wisdom. He fights and injures both Ares and Aphrodite in a single day yet shows humility thus avoiding committing hubris.
What is next for you and Teknovore?
I’ve just finished working on the Neon Decay album so now I can turn my focus back to Teknovore. I’ve got a few ideas about where I’m going with the next release but nothing solid yet. I’d like to get an EP and single ready to release by the end of 2022. Finally, I’ve had some initial discussions regarding some live shows. We’ll see what happens!
Thank you George for running this gauntlet…luckily no sirens were hurt in the asking of these questions!
Thank you for having me and keep up the good work! Calling back to your mention of the Oracle of Delphi earlier I’ll leave you with some Ancient Greek wisdom in the form of the three maxims inscribed outside the temple of Delphi: Know thyself; Nothing to excess; Surety brings ruin
I think there is a lesson in that for all of us……..