Interviews: THIS GENTLE FLOW
- Post-Punk Gothic Dark Alternative Industrial
In this episode we chat with Valerios Calocerinos who has been active in the dark music scenes since the early 1990s as a member of numerous bands as well as managing a record label. Most particularly and currently, regards this interview, we discuss his project titled This Gentle Flow. Firstly, here is a link to hear and download a free copy of the track "King Pest" which is featured on the "S.I.N.G.E.D. 2" compilation album. The track is here on youtube. There are links to many more songs further below.
Interview by DJ Robot Citizen:
Question: If an alien invasion scout force cornered you in a dark alley and asked you to describe the sounds of This Gentle Flow in around 50 words or less, what would you say?
Answer: "It's not for everyone."
Question: How many items (like albums/EPs/DVDs) have you released and where are they available from?
Answer: "We have released 1 EP 'This Cage', 2 Albums - 'No Art' & 'Black' and one single - 'King Pest'. Everything is available via www.LeftAsInSinister.com in both CD form and iTunes. We have had quite a few tracks on various compilations as well."
Question: Which is the most recent release? If there's anything you'd like to say about it, please do!
Answer: "The latest release is the single King Pest which is a collaboration with Mike Pougonas from Greece (bands: The Flowers of Romance, Nexus, New Zero God). Both he and I have been networking in the world underground scene for many years and this single was a bit of a tribute to the networking spirit which has kept the underground alive and also to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Australian label 'Left As In Sinister'"
Question: Is there a guiding theme/philosophy/idealogy/ethos or set of aesthetics for This Gentle Flow? If so please feel free to share about that.
Answer: "The most important thing for me as a music creator with any of my projects is to be diverse and always moving forward creatively with little regard to opinion. This Gentle Flow has covered a lot of territory from Dark Ambient to Neo Folk, industrial and everything in between. Being a crusty old Goth there is definitely an underlying dark element either sonically or lyrically or both. Sometimes I like things to be polished, and other times raw, electronic versus organic etc. Each piece is its own entity."
Question: When did you commence upon this project?
Answer: "The first release for This Gentle Flow was in 1999 at the same time I was playing bass for Ikon."
Question: What initially inspired you to create, to embark and proceed with This Gentle Flow?
Answer: "I have been writing stories, lyrics and music since I was a child and assembled a mass of of work which I knew I had to start to assemble and complete really for my own sanity. As a writer it can be a real burdon carrying incomplete ideas around, I had and still have a need to complete them and let them go to mingle with the universe and see what happens."
Question: And what inspires you currently?
Answer: "I am inspired by emotional responses to my environment and kind of mix that up with some incident I've created for the third person."
Question: You've been involved with several music projects in the past - what were those? Anything you would like to say regards them?
Answer: "Chronologically - Lemon Avenue, Meridian, Ikon, Recur, This Gentle Flow, SND, Ionia. There are others too but these are the ones that sort of come from the same mould as This Gentle Flow. Lemon Avenue was a really great band, our album "Love and Necromancy" still stands up really well. I continue to develop SND and Ionia. Both of these projects also have a literary element."
Question: Do you perform as This Gentle Flow live, and if so, what are some events that you remember most fondly?
Answer: "The last shows This Gentle Flow did were in Melbourne, one of my fondest memories is of Andy (who now plays with Sounds Like Winter) bleeding over his guitar and bits falling off him. Another great memory was performing in Athens and the after-party that ensued."
Question: How do you perform the material live? Do you seek to emulate the studio recordings or achieve something different?
Answer: "It really depends on where the show is. With the full band the songs are a bit more dynamic than the recording due to our line up: 2 basses, 2 guitars and backing tracks. We use some of the dark ambient stuff from 'Black' between tracks to build tension and generally revel in the psychedelia of it. I also sometimes do shows with one or 2 other musicians like I did in Athens. This was with a percussionist from Scotland (Paul Simons) who has performed on some of my recordings when he was in Australia."
Question: Anything more to add about your related projects?
Answer: "A lot of my songs come from this crazy parallel universe that I have created and write about a lot. Two of my other projects (SND and IONIA) are polar opposites genre-wise but share the same knots of logic."
Question: What do you feel are some of the major challenges that independent/underground musicians face in current times?
Answer: "The challenge has always been exposure, without money from somewhere you just don't get it. Now everything seems to be saturated and it's difficult to stand out from the crowd. There is a real lack of venues in Australia so it's difficult to get support on a local level. Add to that we, and by 'we' I mean everyone on the S.I.N.G.E.D compilation, are part of a subculture which by its own definition is underground and most of us don't have it in us to create music for the masses; it's an emotional and creative process rather then a profitable proposition. In general I think the challenge is also keeping the passion and momentum alive when you are also faced with navigating your way through all the constructs and distractions that life keeps throwing your way."
Question: What are some potential solutions?
Answer: "I think independent and underground will remain just that. I think it would be great for public spaces to be made available for performance without all the bureaucratic red tape and bull shit. Musicians/bands generally just want to play and I believe support has to really be gained on a local level before it can spread out to the rest of the world otherwise you just become another act lost on the internet hoping people find you."
Question: What are your plans for this project for the near future?
Answer: "I am working on another single and film clip at the moment which has a bit of a different sound to anything I have done before. I am probably going to do some shows in Athens again next year. This Gentle Flow and all my projects are always evolving and I am constantly writing and fleshing out new ideas. I would love to pull the band together for some shows in Australia too and somehow get Mike here from Greece to front the band."
Question: Anything else you'd like to add?
Answer: "Thanks a lot for adding us to the compilation, it's really nice to be part of something which celebrates the talent we have in our own back yard."
:-) Thank-you very much Valerios for sharing with us about your many projects. Dear Readers, there are numerous links for these just below.
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Earlier music projects:
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Mike Pougounas, guest vocalist on "King Pest" (from the band New Zero God).
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