By Carl Begai
In 2018, electro-oriented metal band Season Of Ghosts made the decision to relocate from vocalist / founder Sophia Aslanides’ native Greece to the UK in the interest of the band’s future. With their second album, A Leap Of Faith, making the rounds it made more sense to Sophia and partner-in-crime / guitarist Zombie Sam – a solo artist and producer in his own right – to be located in the UK as it’s a central hub in relation to Europe and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the birth of a nasty bug dubbed COVID-19 knocked the world on its ass with a global pandemic, effectively putting their plans for 2020 on hold. At least in terms of Season Of Ghosts getting back on the road in support of A Leap Of Faith.
“As far as opportunities are concerned there are plenty of them, lots of people to meet and network,” Sophia says of the decision to relocate, “but on a different level, if you want to work or evolve as a person in any way imaginable you can do it in England. It’s very fertile ground. Sure, the pandemic came along but it hasn’t swayed my thinking because I’m pretty much an introvert and a nerd (laughs). I work from home anyway, and I never stop working for the band. Because we couldn’t tour this year, we started working on the Season Of Ghosts infrastructure. Sam started working on new songs and new ideas, we’ve both contributed on different levels, and we’ve also been studying to improve on and gain more skills both related to music and our day jobs. It’s safe to say that we’ve worked more during the pandemic than before (laughs). We’ve just tried to use the time as creatively as possible.”
Confirming that a third Season Of Ghosts album is most certainly in the works. According to Sophia, it will pick up from where A Leap Of Faith left off in terms furthering the band’s sound. That record was far superior to The Human Paradox (2014) with regards to flow and cementing the Season Of Ghosts identity, and both Sophia and Sam intend to continue in this vein.
“The first album was just me wanting to combine a million different things. It was like, ‘This is going on the album. I don’t care if it doesn’t fit. I’m going to put it in there because it makes sense to me.’ Everybody was freaking out and calling me crazy, but that was me manifesting my passion project. I think every artist is guilty of doing that at the beginning, but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing about The Human Paradox. I agree with you, though, that A Leap Of Faith has a much better flow to it, and that’s due to Sam’s influence.”
“What I promised to myself is that the third album would be more aggressive and more electronic oriented compared to A Leap Of Faith. We’re going to take both albums, the best of both worlds, and add a new element. To be honest, if I wanted to just perform the same thing over and over Sam would boil me alive in a cauldron (laughs). He refuses not to evolve, he is always coming up with new stuff.”
While the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have proven beneficial to Season Of Ghosts on a creative level, it scrapped any possibilities of touring and forced the postponement of one event that easily would have drawn diehard SoG fans to the heart of London from around the world. It was announced at the beginning of the year that Season Of Ghosts would play direct support to Blood Stain Child for one night only. This is significant in that Sophia has a long history with the band, having worked behind-the-scenes with them before spending two years as their vocalist and recording one album, Epsilon (2011). She left the band in 2012 and it was an unpleasant parting of ways, making the London team-up a massive surprise.
“That concert was the brainchild of ORIONlive, a local organizer who does a very, very good job supporting Japanese artists.” Sophia explains. “Apart from the festivals they organize, they do individual concerts and one of them was this Blood Stain Child show. They invited Season Of Ghosts to join the bill for old time’s sake. When I got the invitation I was skeptical because I didn’t know how to approach it emotionally. But, thinking like an adult I said ‘Okay, eight years have passed, it’s time to move on, there’s no harm in doing the show.’ This doesn’t mean my relationship with Blood Stain Child is ‘back to normal’, however.”
Regardless of the bad taste left in Sophia’s mouth by her Blood Stain Child experience, she continues to embrace the songs she created with them. Following an off-the-cuff acoustic rendition of “Stargazer” during one of the dynamic duo’s now infamous Bickering With Sam And Sophia live streams, positive fan reaction convinced them to go in and shoot an “official” live acoustic performance of the song. Since then the push has been on for Season Of Ghosts to record an acoustic album.
“‘Stargazer’ turned out well and that’s thanks to Sam because he came up with the arrangement. We’ve had very persistent requests to release an acoustic album; whether it would be digital or physical or both I don’t know, but we’ve had considerable pressure to do that. It’s going to happen, probably as an EP.”
“We’re currently planning a calendar on how to do things because, sadly, our studio schedule just changed,” she continues.”We were expecting it to change and it was just confirmed since pretty much every European country is going back into lockdown. Normally we work on and record a new album at a studio in Italy, but because there is a lockdown we can’t work with our producer face to face. So, we’re figuring out now how to do it remotely with him and not compromise on the quality of the album. Needless to say I’m petrified about that, but Sam is chill as always (laughs).”
It’s worth noting that Season Of Ghosts first made a name for themselves as an independent band and will continue on that trajectory with any upcoming releases. Yes, there were labels in the background in the past, but the fact of the matter is that Sophia and Sam have done all the significant promotion and associated legwork on their own
“The truth is nowadays you can do a lot of expensive looking things through having good friends and meaningful networking,” Sophia reveals. “Obviously, whatever money we have we pour into our musical projects. We are continually trying to come up with more money that we can use for our music, and Season Of Ghosts has always been a self-funded project. I’m not a rich person and I don’t have financial backing from anybody, therefore the things we do have a minimal budget, but we’re happy to produce high quality results on our albums, in photos and videos.”
The fact Season Of Ghosts is still around to tell their tale – and bicker incessantly for our entertainment on the side – is proof this model does work.
“It takes a lot of effort and a very low amount of ego (laughs). I have to stress that because you need to do every possible job in order to avoid paying others to do them for you. When you don’t have the big boys backing you with their pretty money while incurring tons of debt in the process, you need to be everyone from the company CEO down to the receptionist to the janitor, so to say. And we are all those things for the good of the band.”
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