Absense – Interview with Nefeli Pischou & ‘XV’ EP Review

From the city of gods, Athens, comes a band with god-like music. Absense, Melodic Death Metal band from Athens, have released their debut EP, ‘XV’ late in 2020. We have enjoyed listening to the EP and writing this review about it. We also interviewed vocalist Nefeli Pischou and talked about her band’s music, plans and her thoughts on many issues. Hope you enjoy this short review of ‘XV’ and interview!

Review

XV’ is a good EP that shows some great work on production and a great potential from a young band with a well-developed unique sound and great technical abilities. Absense made sure their debut EP is itself an entity, and not a bunch of songs put in a list together. This can be seen by the EP’s introductory mood in the first track ‘Of Lies’, and a closing mood in the last one, ‘Once Upon a Crime’.

The EP has many creative alternations in the tempo and heaviness of the music, taking us from heavy riffs with thunderous growls, to emotional singing over soft melodies. Nefeli’s vocals were a huge part of this contrast. She shook the Earth’s foundations with her growling and carried us on a cloud of feelings with her clean singing. ‘Li(f)e’ and ‘Crawl’ are the songs I loved her vocals on most.

The band’s ability to write with this variety, and deliver what they wrote in such quality, foretells of a great future for the Greek band. We recommend XV’ to all fans of Death Metal and Groove Metal.


Interview

We hope you enjoy the interview we had with Nefeli Pischou where we talked about her band’s music and new releases as well as many other fun things.

Hello Nefeli! Really happy to be able to chat with you. How is 2021 treating you so far?
Hey, I’m equally happy and honored to be speaking with you. 2021 finds me in Athens where we’re still under lockdown. I’m trying to cope with this whole situation in the most productive and creative way I can, doing things I enjoy such as music, my job and running. I see this whole thing as a test of our personal boundaries and resilience, and a chance for introspection and revaluation of the liberties that we once took for granted. I’d like to believe that this year will bring us back to normality. 
Hope things will improve very soon 💜
We will talk about your debut EP that you released late last year in a bit. But first, would you like to introduce your band, Absense, to our readers who are learning about you for the first time?
We are Absense and we play harsh music with a few pinches of love.😋 After few a years of musical experimentation and lineup changes, we settled on our current five members and we play a mix of melodic death with a lot of groovy parts blended in, cause none of us likes to keep their heads still. I feel like bands like Meshuggah, Machine Head and In Flames acted as catalysts for our sound.
Katerina Vratits
Awesome.
You released ‘XV’ in November 2020. How are you feeling about the reception this EP got so far?
We’re very excited with how people have reacted so far, even though we can only see it from social media due to the circumstances. There is no better feeling than having your music heard in different corners of the world. It’s very encouraging to feel like your music is genuinely liked and this gives us even more of a push to create more and better things.
To get our readers to know you better, I’d like to play a game of imagination. I’ll give you a certain scenario in an alternate universe and you’d have to react to these changes. Ready for my nerdy questions?
Haha, no but shoot anyways. 
🤣
In a universe where you’re a superhero, what would your superpower be?
Definitely supersonic scream. Not because of my screaming, but because I have been known to laugh and be heard a few blocks down the road. 
In a universe where the senses of taste and hearing are mixed up, what would Absense’s music taste like?
Hmmm. Tabasco sauce, cause we’re spicy and hot 🔥🌶️
In a universe where you’re the queen of a kingdom, what interesting law would you make?
Hear hear: From now on, weekends shall be three days long! Rejoice!
Long live the queen!
In a universe where the currency is a person’s sense of humour, how rich would you be?
I’d be the currency cause I’m a joke 🤣
😂 That’s hilarious.
In a universe where aliens came to Earth and asked you for one song from ‘XV’ so they can use it as one of the specimens to study music on Earth, which song would you give them?
Once Upon a Crime. They’d think that earthlings are badasses and they wouldn’t invade.🚀🛸
Katerina Vratits
Smart!
In a universe where you’re a stand up comedian instead of a Metal vocalist, what would be a joke you’d tell?
I dated a singer. It was fun but it was all “meee, meee, me, me, meee”  (imitates vocal exercises)
🤣🤣🤣
Thank you for playing Nefeli!
Have you ever been treated in a sexist manner? How would you react to sexism, and what advice would you give young people who face any form of discrimination?
I live in a country in which, unfortunately, the concept of patriarchy and sexism is still prevalent to a great extent.

If you are a woman and you happen to be driving, you are seen as a potential crash cause. If you wear what you like, you are sometimes seen as provocative while your moral values are also questioned. Similarly, if you are an artist, the same thing happens with the rest of your “liberal and progressive” views and opinions (Obviously, I’m using the word “progressive” sarcastically… )

Ever since I remember myself, and also due to a number of intense, personal experiences, I have always wanted to change this, or, at least, be part of this change. I have always been attracted to activities that have been, to a great extent, male dominated. In all honesty, I did not choose the activities in order to prove something, I simply chose them because they happened to be the activities I liked to be part of.
Thankfully, in the music industry, issues concerning feminism and sexism are clearly better than in other areas of society, as you are allowed to express yourself more freely. Nevertheless, I still don’t think that absolutely everything is fair and equal towards women even today in the music industry.

To this day, there are still people who give you a strange look (some people actually give you a look of horror XD) when you happen to mention in the conversation that you play metal music with extreme vocals.

Unfortunately, there is still the prevalent misconception and prejudice around women screamers that they are unable to represent screaming as successfully as a man can. I have also come across cases that a woman’s impressive looks are the reason that her vocal abilities are not taken seriously. In contrast to this, most men in the industry  are not judged by their looks but by their abilities. Obviously, this is all bullshit as far as I’m concerned.
However, what I think is really positive and I think it is important to point out is that there has been a more active participation of women in the scene over the past few years. I really believe that this clearly and strongly proves that music has no gender. It goes without saying that I am more than honored to be part of this change that has happened and is still happening.

I really hope that this type of discrimination will be completely eliminated in the future. So, to answer your question, I have not experienced sexist behavior as an individual, even though my choices would seemingly make me an easy target to those who like to target and attack women for these reasons. I think it hasn’t happened to me because I am strong willed, aggressive and do not tolerate this kind of behavior. I wouldn’t make it easy for someone to feel they question or belittle my abilities. The same goes for when I want to express what I am feeling on stage.

This is what I advise all the young ones out there to do. Be aggressive and stand up for yourselves. Be kind but take no one’s shit. Stop caring about other people’s opinions and worldviews and don’t let yourselves be defined by the fact that others accept you or not. The same goes for your choices. Don’t let anyone determine who you are. Do it anyways, no matter what the odds…
That’s a great piece of advice and thank you for taking the time to express all these feelings in a brilliant way. 💜

After your EP, are you planning for a bigger release that you’d like to tell us about?
Yeah, we’re trying to work on material for a full length album. The pandemic is trying to make that difficult, but we’re trying to collaborate remotely to the best of our abilities, and are all aching for a jam session!
Katerina Vratits
Hope to hear your new material soon ☺️
Thank you for the interview Nefeli! It has been a pleasure! 
Thanks, I had fun answering your questions! Stay safe. 

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