Season of Ghosts is a groundbreaking music project, dedicated to the love for the unseen, and film soundtracks. Conceived by Greek singer-songwriter, Sophia Aslanidou, the project came to life in October of 2013 and the highly anticipated debut concept album, ‘The Human Paradox’, was released on the 8th of December 2014, receiving enthusiastic reviews and critical acclaim. They combine extreme rock/metal sounds, harsh electronics and powerful compelling vocals through the eerie spectrum of a Sci-Fi horror movie. We’ve been in conversation with Sophia over the past month about her musical endeavors and she has captured our attention…
INTERVIEW MEIKEE MAGNETIC
Sophia, you were born in Caracas, Venezuela and grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece. How did you become the singer of your previous project BLOOD STAIN CHILD (Japan)?
In one word: ANIME! *laughs*. I grew up with lots of Japanese pop culture influences, from the ever popular mascots like My Melody and Hello Kitty, to the various anime that I used to watch on Greek TV to Asian food and practicing martial arts. It’s no overstatement to say that Japanese pop culture defined my sense of aesthetics, sense of humor and so much more from a very early age. Several years after, I discovered the modern Japanese music scene. I used to work as a Manager and talent scout for Japanese bands for a long time, before I met the band that asked me to step on the stage, instead of orchestrating marketing strategies backstage. I met BLOOD STAIN CHILD during that time and after having worked on promotion for a while, I mentioned I was a musician as well, so they asked for a demo, to my utter surprise! I was hired 5 minutes later. It was a lousy The Cure cover with me playing guitar and singing. I know I make it sound easy, but stuff like that is probably not the everyday story you’ll hear in the neighborhood. It takes a strange girl, with strange thoughts, who always leaves room for the unimaginable to materialize that. *laughs*
You have a Master’s degree in translation and fluent in Greek, English, Japanese plus a bit German and French. Tell us about your love of language:
Well, I’m a study junkie! I can’t imagine myself without learning something every day. Languages are something I love the most. Comparative linguistics and studying the origin of words never fail to amuse me! I’m very into psychology and communication and I think you can learn a lot about the collective mentality of a nation, by studying its language. I used to be decent in German and French, but I haven’t had the chance to practice for the longest time, so most of it has sadly left me. I’m studying Italian at the moment, though and I understand a little Spanish. Expanding your knowledge accelerates spiritual growth in my opinion.
When and how was the band formed?
I created SEASON OF GHOSTS right after I left my old band in Japan. I felt the need to have control over my career and business moves, which is not possible in a band where there are many different opinions, for better or worse. Feeling stuck is never a pleasant feeling, especially if you’re a person seeking constant personal evolution like me. SEASON OF GHOSTS was a personal challenge, to level up and over – deliver. In the beginning I was unsure and thought I needed others to compose for me, but then I realized I had to give it a shot and believe in myself. So I did it. I sat down and composed the biggest part of the album, as well as all the concepts, lyrics and environments. I also ended up co-producing the whole thing becasue I proved to be a merciless control freak in the process.
Describe to our readers some of the topics you write about in your lyrics:
My songs talk about a variety of topics, in a story-telling atmosphere. THE HUMAN PARADOX is a concept album and this concept talks about the circle of life through the eyes of wanderer, a “time traveller”. Observing the various stages of human existence, you start pondering about many things, so there’s a reference to several esoteric topics, moments of introspection, emotional fluctuations with a self-educational purpose as well as several paranormal and sci-fi influences (I’m an X-files geek). Ultimately, the lyrics are eye-openers that mean to motivate, inspire, heal and cleanse the soul of the listener, so that by the end of the album he’ll experience a “cathartic” feeling. The music and lyrics have been designed in a way that the album somehow feels like a sort of guided meditation. It’s food for thought without it being too heavy to digest.
Congrats on your studio album! What is different about this album from the previous ones?
This is my debut album. Epsilon, which I recorded with BSC was their 5th studio album.
How would you describe your personal style?
Elegant and dramatic! I love Harajuku retro and romantic fashions, namely Lolita (mostly Classic, Pirate and Gothic). Also Aristocrat and Visual Kei as well as PVC and steampunk. Depending on my mood, I’ll come up with fairytale-like Lolita outfits or glam, Visual Kei-inspired PVC outfits, full of feathers and animal print, like the one I wear on the Dream;Paralysis video.
I generally eat clean and healthy. I avoid excessive sugars and processed carbs, I prefer vegetables, fruit and dairy. I don’t feel okay with meat, so I avoid it. If I had to choose my two favorite foods without considering fat/carb levels, these would be leek & feta pie (made with filo pastry) and a bowl of plain yoghurt, or alternatively stuffed bell peppers with rice and herbs with a side of feta and plain yoghurt. I love Greek food but I also have an affection for Asian food; Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Thai. In general I love to eat and cook.
I see you have a love for Japan, what was the draw for you to this wondrous culture?
As I mentioned above, it was anime, really. Growing up, I came to realize and appreciate more aspects of what really attracted me to the Japanese culture. It was the attention to every detail, the elaborate fashion designs, their aesthetic perception, the true appreciation of beauty and perfection. I’d been listening to a lot of Britpop, Alt rock, metal, electro-industrial from the west for many years, before I discovered Visual Kei and the contemporary Harajuku culture. What always disappointed me, was how a big part of the artists didn’t pay attention to the way they looked or their looks were too plain, rough, or random. I mean as a fan back then, I didn’t wanna put up a poster with a guy who looked like uncle George. Dark Beauty readers, out of all people, understand that, right? *laughs* I’m not judging anyone here and every artist expresses themselves in a different way that must be respected, it’s my personal opinion. So upon discovering Malice Mizer, I felt my heart fluttering with joy because they both sounded AND looked absolutely outrageous! I got sold in an instant. Even when they blended every dark and alternative fashion style under the sun in one, to the point of ambivalence, they did it in a unique and inspiring way. This opened up a new dimension for me, because I saw everything I ever loved mixed into one glorious outcome that can be credited as original at the end of the day. I decided that after this, the standards had been seriously raised and there was no excuse for poor-looking stage outfits. I believe that art doesn’t end with a musician’s music. It extends to outer appearances, lifestyle and so much more. Japan taught me that.
Who are the band members and what are their musical roles?
Sam, Paul and Max are my Ghost Legion, my backing band. Zombie Sam plays guitar and does all the orchestrations and co-production. Paul Brown plays the bass and Max Buell plays the drums. They’re all highly experienced and dependable musicians as well as really nice people, so we create a family-like atmosphere on stage. You’ll most probably hear them perform in my next album!
How about a personal message to your fans around the world:
Don’t live your life with the fear of other people’s judgment. Be honest, improve and love yourself. Recipe for happiness!
Let our readers know about your future plans:
I just released REMIXING THE PARADOX, a free remix album with tracks by notable artists such as Neuroticfish, FrozenPlasma, Rotersand, FGFC820 and others and in a few months I’ll go back to the INVICTUS MEDIA studio to start composing my second album together with Zombie Sam. There are more artist collaborations in the near future, as well as lots of traveling involved, so keep your eyes peeled and follow me in my spooky/cute adventures!
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
An ode to dark elegance. A true inspiration.