Interview with Be’lakor

Chiar daca este foarte putin cunoscuta in Romania, formatia australiana Be’lakor este una dintre cele mai mari descoperiri ale decadei, in materie de metal.

Ultimul album al trupei, Stone’s Reach a primit in unanimitate  aprecieri pozitive din partea criticilor de specialitate, asta dupa ce in urma cu 2 ani, in 2007, albumul de debut al trupei, The Frail Tide a ajuns in top-ul 5 ale celor mai bune albume ale anului pentru zona metal.

RockaRolla si Good Music is Good Music va prezinta in exclusivitate un interviu cu George Kosmas, vocalistul si chitaristul Be’lakor.

Alina Vadean – RockaRolla; Good Music is Good Music

George KosmasBe’lakor

A.V. :Be’lakor is still a new name for the metal scene, especially in Europe. Tell us when did you start making music and why?

G.K.: Steve (keys), John (bass) and I started writing metal music back in 2004. However, the complete band didn’t really come together until 2005 when Be’lakor was born. We started making music simply because we love it, and we all wanted a creative outlet for our riffs and arrangements. Each of us has always been attracted to melodic (usually melancholy) sophisticated music, so it was always our ambition to tread down that path.

A.V.: I know the band’s name comes from a character in a game, Warhammer. Who chose this name? Who’s the best gamer in your band?

G.K.: That is correct. The name was first suggested by myself, and then after some time considering it, we decided to adopt it as a band. Only three of us are (former) gamers in the band and, although we used to play at a tournament level, full time work has unfortunately put an end to it. So, right now, none of us are very good gamers sadly!

A.V.: Is there any significance between Be’lakor as a game character and your band?

G.K.: Not at all. We are not a “game themed” band, our lyrics usually deal with either real world concepts or genuine mythology. The name Be’lakor was simply chosen for aesthetic reasons, we liked the way it sounds and how it looks on paper. I think it’s also quite a unique and interesting name.

A.V.: You’ve released your first album, The Frail Tide in 2007. How was the feedback from the metal media, metal fans at that time?

G.K.: The feedback was consistently excellent and made us pretty excited! As a bunch of (essentially) kids, we had no idea what to expect at the time and we were ecstatic to see so many people enjoying the music and writing enthusiastic reviews. Good feedback is pretty much what drives us as a band, we get a real buzz from people enjoying our music. It also pushes us to try and better ourselves with each song we write.

A.V.: You have a new album released last year, Stone’s Reach and I have to admit it is one of the best metal albums in the decade. How did you work at this album?

G.K.: Thank you for the kind words! We start with a process of building a song riff by riff. If we don’t feel that a riff is the best we can do – it is immediately thrown out. After we’ve come up with a strong collection we set about arranging, and re-arranging, the song in order to give it a strong cohesiveness. We also write linking passages and bridges that we think aids the transitions. It meant that the album took a long time to write, but I think the process pays off in the end by resulting in a consistent album. It’s always important to us to avoid ‘filler’ material if we can – better that the album take an extra 6 months and we do it right.

A.V.: Regarding the album production, what’s the difference between The Frail Tide and Stone’s Reach?

G.K.: To be completely honest, the biggest difference is a lot of money! The Frail Tide was recorded by the band with the technical assistance of our friend Peter O’Brian. This was all done in his bedroom, through a home PC. After we finished this process, we took it to Warren Hammond (who is a professional audio engineer) to edit and mix. On the other hand, Stone’s Reach was recorded with Warren from the very beginning in his studio. Although this cost a lot more, I think the difference in quality well justified the decision.

A.V.: I know that a few months later you’ve signed with Kolony Records, the Italian label. Is it better to work with an European label than  work with the Australian labels?

G.K.: The two cannot be readily compared, simply because we look for different things from each label. From an Australian label, we really just want the CD to end up on the right shelves. On the other hand, a European label has the much more complex and important role of promoting and developing Be’lakor amongst our largest audience. Working with Kolony has been excellent, it is a thoroughly well-organized and professional label, which is very important to us.

A.V.: Regarding Stone’s Reach, the feedback from the metal media and metal listeners was really positive. How would you compare your 2 albums now? Is Stone’s Reach an extension of the first album or a step forward?

G.K.: I think Stone’s Reach is certainly a large step forward. We put a lot more effort into writing the music and, I think, it’s quite apparent to the listener that we improved considerably as musicians between both albums. Stone’s Reach is a more sophisticated album and I think it demands more from the listener. But for this reason, the album has greater longevity and is more rewarding over time. However, there is no doubt I am biased! Some people have expressed a preference for The Frail Tide (and some people don’t like either) – so it’s entirely up to the listener.

A.V.: What or who inspires you in writing music? Who are your main musical influences?

G.K.: Basically any interesting music that evokes a strong mood in the listener. I personally have a preference for melancholy melodies over those that are more uplifting. You can find this across many genres, from the obvious melo-death to prog rock (King Crimson, Pink Floyd), classical music (Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff) or even quality pop music (like Queen, for example). Our direct metal musical influences differ greatly from member to member, but at the moment music like Rotting Christ and Dissection are getting regular listens on my player.

A.V.: There were not too many Australian metal bands a few years ago. I can mention Voyager, Ilium, Eyefear, Dungeon. How is the metal scene now in Australia?

G.K.: At the risk of sounding a bit excessive, I think the Australian scene is really having a small renaissance at the moment. There are plenty of top quality bands producing excellent music – I think it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the metal world takes a bit more notice. Some of my personal favourites are Nazxul, Ne Obliviscaris, Psycroptic and The Amenta – but there are plenty more!

A.V.: Did you think to move to Europe since you’ve signed with an European label and we can admit that Europe is a kind of Metal Land?

G.K.: At this stage, it’s not really an option. We are yet to even play a show in Europe and Be’lakor is by no means even a ‘middle-sized’ by international standards. Add to this the fact that we all have full-time careers or university in Australia and it isn’t something we’d be doing too soon. However, you are right that Europe is the heart of metal and I wouldn’t discount anything in the future.

A.V.: Any chance to see you live in Europe in 2010?

G.K.: I would say at this stage there is a fairly good chance – but nothing is ‘locked in’ yet. It’s very expensive for an Australian band to organise an overseas tour, but it is certainly one of our priorities at this stage. Stay tuned!

Thank you for the interview and looking forward to see you live as soon as possible!

Be’lakor: Thank you very much Alina – our best regards to any Romanian fans, we’d love to play in beautiful Bucharest soon!



Good Music is Good Music


~ by arianrod on February 28, 2010.

One Response to “Interview with Be’lakor”

  1. […] Read the rest here:  Interview with Be'lakor « Good Music is Good Music […]

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