INTERVIEW: ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE

Mit “Faded Photographs” liefert der Athener George Mastrokostas alias Absent Without Leave sein bisher ambitioniertestes Album, mit acht ausgefeilten Instrumentalstücken, die sich mal postrockig, mal shoegazig oder zurückhaltend ambientig ins Unterbewusstsein schleichen und einen bleibenden Eindruck hinterlassen.

absent without leave

Für die Fertigstellung des neuen Albums “Faded Photographs” hat sich Absent Without Leave die Hilfe einiger befreundeter Musiker eingeholt. Genauer gesagt wirken zehn weitere Musiker aus insgesamt acht Ländern mit, unter anderem Port-Royal aus Italien, Alexandr Vatagin (Tupolev) aus Wien und Olafur Josephsson (Stafreann Hakon) aus Reykjavik. Port-Royal durften sogar letzte Hand anlegen und sind fürs Mastering verantwortlich.

Das Album ist über Sound in Silence, dem eigenen Label von Mastrokostas, auf CD erschienen und in einer Auflage von 500 Stück, in einem sehenswerten 4-Panel-Digipack mit individuellen Covern, hier erhältlich. Hörproben gibt es auf Soundcloud.

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Wir haben uns  mit George Mastrokostas unterhalten und Interessantes zu den Arbeiten an “Faded Photographs” und einigen weiteren Themen erfahren:

How did you come up with the idea to record an album with the help of different other musicians?
I know all the guys who contributed to the album for years now and with about half of them we had collaborated again in the past for releases or gigs. I always wanted to collaborate with them again, or for the first time with some of them, so when I started working on my new album I thought it was a good idea to call all of them to contribute something to it. It was a pleasant surprise for me that all of them liked this idea and were willing to help me with this album.

Most of your previous releases are written and arranged by yourself. How did you work this time?
This time I recorded the first ideas for each track and then I sent them to the other musicians, telling them how I imagine the track and what I want them to add on it or just letting free to add whatever they like. After they recorded their parts, they sent me back the files and I added the final touches and did the mixing of the album. It was a really creative process to work this way and the contribution of each musician is so valuable for the final result. Each one has added his trademark sound on the tracks he plays without disturbing the overall sound of the album that is still Absent Without Leave and this is because we all have the same aesthetics.

The album is mastered by Port-Royal. What did the guys say to you after listening to the completed tracks?
Port-Royal are really good friends and great musicians too so it’s always a pleasure to work with them. Though they didn’t had so much free time because their tour and other jobs they were still so kind to accept not only to play on two tracks of Faded Photographs but also to do the mastering of it. They enjoyed the completed tracks and I think they are absolutely satisfied with the final result as all the other musicians too.

Tell us a little bit about being an alternative musician in Greece.
It’s not very easy to be an alternative musician of shoegaze/post-rock/ambient in Greece as the people who like that kind of music here are very few and even fewer are the independent record labels, venues, magazines etc.
That’s the main reason I always work with foreign labels for my releases.

Is there any Greek band or musician, you like to introduce to our readers?
You should check Coti K., in my opinion one of the best composers and producers in Greece.
I really enjoyed his latest album called Onda.

Obviously, you are a very creative person, what´s up next?
Sometime in next months I will release a new ep which will be out exclusively on 12” vinyl by Three:Four Records.

Hopefully soon I will record some music as my contribution to the next Wixel album, called Musical Soup, including many other artists like Peter Broderick (Efterklang), Boris Snauwaert (Haruki), Pieter Van Dessel (Plastic Operator) and more. Moreover sometime in 2011 I will start working on a collaboration ep, that has been a thought for years now, with my friend Anne of Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks and I’m also planning some more eps (solo, collaborations, splits…) so any offers from labels for future releases are always welcomed.

What about touring? Will you come to Germany?
I’m planning to book a tour around Europe in April-May so I hope that I will manage to come to Germany too. If anyone is interested in booking an Absent Without Leave show or can help out in any way, please get in touch at geezertek@yahoo.gr

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