The slamming new metal project titled NinémiA is the brainchild of Greek bassist Christos Agathokléous, and he is on a mission to deliver the band’s music to the masses. The lineup for the group’s first album includes drummer Dirk Verbeuren of MEGADETH.
Randy “Rocket” Cody of TheMetalDen.com recently conducted an email interview with Chris of NinémiA for TMD’s worldwide army of metal fanatics.
ROCKET: Where were you born and raised?
CHRIS: I was born in 1985 in Nicosia, Cyprus where is still my hometown.
ROCKET: Do you recall your first heavy metal concert?
CHRIS: I think it was a local teenage band called “Spirit” in 98’ but by a famous band, was Rotting Christ in early 1999. We did not have many concerts happening back then, only by local bands. “RC” being Greeks they always had Cyprus in their tour schedule. So yeah, that was my first official metal concert.
ROCKET: When did you first start training to play the bass?
CHRIS: I started three months after I turned 13; I had some piano and music theory background, which helped.
ROCKET: How did you first put together NinémiA band?
CHRIS: I‘ve always wanted to start my own thing, basically since I started playing’ bass. After I moved back to Cyprus from my studies in 2012, I started PR with local musicians. That ended up me playing in a various projects for cover and original material bands. That took me a while up until 2018 that I decided to stop playing with and for others and form my own project. I had the song ideas ages ago, they just needed the perfect fit. I tried playin with many musicians but even though they were great I just could not feel it happening, the chemistry wasn’t there. So I just recorded the songs on bass in late 2019 and went on finding the players. The pandemic did not work well for that (as for many other issues) and tried finding musicians from home on the internet. My first contact was Jason Pantino from Australia, the guitarist for Aveira Skies and currently living in Sweden who helped and programmed digital drums on the songs. Today, Jason is the one mixing and mastering the tracks and a great support regarding the project all together. Could not do it without him. After programming drums, went on finding the guitarist. Artur Hearhadze from Belarus living in Poland filled in the spot magically. We video-called and collaborated perfectly, like meeting up close. As I said during the pandemic that was the only way in general, did not matter where you were on the globe. That’s how things worked. Artur is the guitarist for the 40 Thieves and vocalist for NDNP (No drink No pass). He is now the official guitarist for NinémiA and cannot thank him enough. He was understanding and supportive from the very start. Gave his musical touch because he picked up the coherence on the very first bass/drums demos. A true bless.
Looking for a vocalist was quite a task. Many great vocalists tried a few of the songs, all in their way, many of em were amazing but Mr. Mikołaj Krzaczek from Poland was cherry on top. Make sure you check out “Thamnos Project”. His last name in polish means “bush” so he made this illusive character called “Thamnos” which is greek for bush. Thamnos project is his musical brainchild, quite the musical journey. Mikołaj keeps an open eye for good collaborations, and we made it through perfectly. Always there supportive and helpful with the project all-together. With all these people, we matched on a personal level and that made the project stand out better. The beast Dirk Verbeuren came to fill in for the drums after I contacted him online. He was really open to playing the parts because he liked what he heard. That made me pinch myself a million times. After coming to a deal with him he gracefully and masterfully played and elevated the songs. Still, something I don’t believe. It’s like a miracle.
ROCKET: What has your experience been like so far working with Dirk Verbeuren of MEGADETH?
CHRIS: Like a far, reach dream. When we first spoke on a video call, I was so chill with him because he transcends this gratitude to life, which made the whole process paved easily, I felt like I knew him for years. He is an inspiring personality, knows a ton about music, his taste is so diverse like mine for all genres, not snobby at all, and you can tell he really loves what he does and never stopped being a fan. He recorded in Adair’s Daufebach Studio in LA. It only took him 10 days for 72 minutes of material.
He didn’t record parts and mixed them all together, he actually played and recorded each song by hitting the recording button from beginning to the end, which gave the material a live human touch instead of relying on edits afterwards. I could tell he was listening to the song’s demos for a while and went to record them all prepared like the professional he is. I keep him posted for the project’s state etc. Even though he is super, busy we keep in touch regularly and he is super supportive.
ROCKET: You are working on releasing a full-length album in 2023, correct. What date will it be made available exactly?
CHRIS: Possibly late February or mid-March. The album will be called “Weapons of Math Destruction” which will also be the titled for an 11-minute instrumental.
ROCKET: You released several singles so far off this album, right? One included is the brilliant song “Dr. Oppenheimer” which its accompanying music video out on YouTube already got 2,000 plus views. What inspired this song to be made?
CHRIS: We did yes, the singles are “Same Old Story” (S.O.S) , “Psychotropic Plague” featuring Jason Donnelly aka DJ Puzzle and the vocalist Alia Fay, “The acquired savant” featuring Derek Sherinian who is currently in Sons of Apollo and ex-Dream Theater keyboardist, “Dust to Stars”, “Astrofield” and “Dr. Oppenheimer”.
The last one sounds like a lovechild by Dream Theater and Black Sabbath. Both those bands affected me on my playing and composition. From one hand the masterful technic by the six-string player John Myung who backs up Petrucci virtuosity and from the other mr Geezer Butler who grooved gracefully along the heavy riff master Tomi Iommi. Prog is a big part for me but always sticking to my roots. I guess the song came out naturally, that’s how I am. The main melody though is based on a byzantine scale. All these were combined somehow. The lyrics are not meant to be taken literally. Oppenheimer is used allegorically as the misuse of science and it’s not an attack or criticism against the renowned Doctor.
ROCKET: What kind of bass guitar do you play currently?
CHRIS: A six string Ibanez SDGR.
ROCKET: What kind of amp rig?
CHRIS: A Crate MXB50.
ROCKET: Do you play with your fingers or with a pick?
CHRIS: Fingers, always had.
ROCKET: Who would you say are your biggest bass playing influences?
CHRIS: Geezer Butler, Geddy Lee, John Myung, Steve Harris, Cliff Burton, Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius.
ROCKET: Do you plan on playing any shows and will Dirk be part of those gigs, or will you get a touring drummer?
CHRIS: Yes, I do, hopefully next year. I will most probably get a touring drummer since Dirk is a part of Megadeth and also Grammy nominated at the moment for a song he has co-written. I really wish they get it because they deserve it! Dirk gave his personal touch when he recorded on the project, that was the deal and he will never stop being a part of it, his name is there, his masterful playing, his character. Can’t thank him enough. I believe he waits for the whole album to come out officially in order to lean back and enjoy it. He supports everything I shared so far on social medias and music platforms we are getting along perfect and again, I can’t thank him enough.
ROCKET: What are your goals for NinémiA band in the future? Are you seeking any record label representation?
CHRIS: I already have material for a next album. Once the full album comes out, I would try to organize live events. Won’t be a tour at first, but maybe a couple of concerts here and there, aiming to the vocalist’s homeland since he is the frontman he gets to rightfully choose where and when. The whole album is DIY but I will try contacting some labels if they are interested in distributing the cd. Also, a T-Shirt design is in process. Today’s bands are mostly T-Shirt companies, right? Kidding. You know is a tough season for music especially in our genre. I just wanted to put it out there and share my music as a fan. Without Jason, Artur, Thamnos and Dirk this wouldn’t be possible.
ROCKET: What is your dream rock venue to perform at?
CHRIS: Ancient Theater of Curion in Cyprus.
ROCKET: Thanks very much for rocking this interview out with me. Best of luck with your music. Any last words for the fans?
CHRIS: Well, I’m a fan, people listening to NinémiA are just listening to a fan’s compositions. So much great music out there never had the chance to come out. Thank you so much for the honor, Randy Rocket Cody, hope we get in touch soon and I would be glad to keep you posted. And to all those followers listening to NinémiA, thank you for the support. Stay tuned.