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An interview with Sakis Gouzonis (Electronic Music Composer)
Interview by Arie Susanto
Founder of We Are Going Nowhere
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Tell me about your childhood.
I was born on 16 March 1978 to Nicolas and Frederica Gouzonis in Thessaloniki, Greece. When I was ten years old, we moved to the town of Elassona, which is located at the foot of Mount Olympus, the mythic place of the twelve Olympian gods. At the age of twelve, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. When I touched my first electronic keyboard for the very first time, I felt a strange power all over my body. I instantly understood that music is my gift. I can still remember myself sitting at my parents’ home in Elassona, spending countless hours every single day playing, composing and arranging music.
When you were a kid, who was your favorite musician?
When I was a kid, the music from the 80’s and 90’s had a major influence on me. Some of my favorite music composers were Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Yanni, John Williams, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman. When I first listened to the music of the aforementioned great music composers, my life took a whole new direction.
I don’t know anything about Greek traditional music. Does it have any impact on your music?
The traditional music of Greece represents a unique fusion of eastern and western styles. The main instrument played today on most parts of the country is the violin, which arrived in Greece by the late 1600’s. The violin gradually pushed out an older instrument called the lyra, except on the island of Crete and a few other islands where the lyra is still played occasionally. Personally, I don’t listen to this type of music.
Why are your music tracks available as free downloads? What do you expect from that?
By giving away my music for free, hopefully what I will get is a lot of people on my website and at my gigs. Consider it a promotional tool. Besides, everything will be free in the future. The advances we have seen in the last few years -cars that drive themselves, humanoid robots, 3D printers, etc.- are only the beginning of what is yet to come. People will not have to work to feed themselves, clothe themselves or put a roof over their head.
As a musician, you travel constantly. What life lessons have you learned so far?
One of the most important lessons life has taught me is how incredibly valuable and important time is. We need to respect time and be very careful about how we spend it, because we can never stop time or move backwards in time. Our time is now, not tomorrow. Now is the time to follow our dreams and give our gifts back to the world.
I am twenty. What life advice would you give to someone my age?
Invest in your friends. You need two or three close friends, who you can talk to about everything. Friendship has fallen on hard times in our times, but it is one of the most precious gifts we can have.
What is your opinion about Indonesia?
The entire country is lovely. The people are really kind, open and eager to share their culture with visitors. Also, the food is very delicious. And the beach sunsets are so wonderful. There are also many great temples and other cultural sites, which I would like to visit some day. Of course, some day I would love to perform at the Aula Simfonia Jakarta. I’ve heard that it’s the best and most sophisticated concert hall ever built in Indonesia.
What do you think of yourself?
I think the three words that can describe me the most are happy, funny and mysterious. Friends usually associate me with the color yellow; sunshiny, bright, smiley and amusing.
Do you have an opinion on the guitar?
The guitar is an instrument that can be easily picked up by anyone, but its tonal options are limited. Compare a good guitar with a good synthesizer, and you will see that the synthesizer has way more tonal options; it can sound like just about anything. As much as you try to make a guitar sound like a tuba, it really won’t sound much like a tuba. On the other hand, you don’t bring a synthesizer to a campfire; it’s usually bulky, and you most likely can’t plug it in.
In closing, what are your views about the Greek government?
I never mix music with politics. My music appeals to people of all political views. Given the opportunity, I would like to invite all Indonesians and all people around the globe to visit my website at sakisgouzonis.com, where they will be able to stream and download my electronic music for free.
Sakis Gouzonis (Interview)
Interview by Andrea Caccese
Founder of The Bandcamp Diaries
New York, United States of America
Sunday, 3 July 2016
We had a chat with Greek electronic music composer Sakis Gouzonis, who kindly shared his view on many aspects of making music, from song-writing to the state of the industry! Read on to find out more.
I love how you manage to render your tracks so personal and organic. Does the melody come first, or do you focus on the beat the most?
Before we begin, I would like to thank you, Andrea, for this interview and for your compliment on my music. To answer your first question, the melody always comes first, followed by the beat. I just start playing and humming until a new melody emerges. I work a lot on the new melody, because I want it to be as beautiful and emotional as possible. When I feel that the new melody is ready, then, I add all the necessary percussion instruments, basses, strings, synthesizer sounds, etc. Putting sounds together and seeing how a collection of sounds can produce quite a profound effect is a really fascinating process.
Do you perform live? If so, do you feel more comfortable on a stage or within the walls of the recording studio?
So far, I have performed more than a thousand concerts. Numerous people of all ages and backgrounds have come to my live performances, and I feel very blessed. I definitely like the studio and the creative process. I definitely like seeing my visions come to reality. I definitely like getting up in the morning with the hope that today I will produce something that really matters to people. But my favorite part has always been communicating with my audience. I love the live shows, the tremendous energy on stage, the give-and-take with my listeners. The applause before, during and after each performance, fills me with huge energy and indescribable excitement.
If you could only pick one song to make a “first impression” on a new listener, which song would you pick and why?
That’s a very interesting but difficult question. I think I would pick The Power Of Your Love. The Power Of Your Love is in fact a movie in itself without the visuals. There is a huge story to be told. It’s instrumental music doing what it does best, taking you on a journey, using art to initiate an adventure. The Power Of Your Love is soaked in optimism and hope. It has been mixed and produced in such a way that it really draws emotion out of you. The sound effects add to that epic atmosphere, but not in an overbearing manner. The Power Of Your Love is a music track that you want to listen to intently rather than have on in the background.
What does it take to be “innovative” in music?
To be innovative in music you have to experiment and do something in a new way. If you are a composer, you have to compose in an unusual, engaging and individual style. If you are a lyricist, you have to write in an unusual, engaging and individual style. And so on and so forth. A music innovator seeks not only to beat the competition, but also to better his music both for himself and for his listeners. A music innovator is never satisfied. There is always something better around the corner, and he is determined to break from the pack and find it. Listening to live music, playing live concerts, staying current with what is rising to the top of the music world, creating songwriting partnerships can all help you become innovative in music.
Any upcoming release or tour your way?
My 9th studio album, Liberating Truth, which contains ten brand new tracks of electronic and cinematic music, was released one and a half month ago, so I am in the process of promoting it both online and offline. As always, I worked very hard to produce a quality album with excellent compositions and powerful orchestrations. Given the opportunity, I would like to thank all of my online and offline fans for their continuous love and support, and tell them that I will continue to produce the most beautiful electronic and cinematic music possible. I really enjoy the smiles on my fans’ faces each time I release a new album; being able to inspire people and change their lives for the better is a beautiful gift for which I am very grateful.
Anywhere online where curious fans can listen to your music and find out more about you?
Listeners can learn more about me and my music by visiting my official website, which is http://www.sakisgouzonis.com. My official website includes detailed biography, complete discography, a gallery of album covers, a frequently updated electronic press kit, press releases, questions and answers, album reviews, articles, interviews, news, contact details and links. Since 2008, I have released 9 studio albums; First Contact (2008), New Earth (2009), The Tree Of Life (2010), Ultimate Love (2011), Vast Victory (2012), Spiritual Unity (2013), Golden Heart (2014), A World At Peace (2015) and Liberating Truth (2016). Listeners can stream or download my full discography for free, and share it with their family, friends and colleagues. Listeners can also sign up for my free e-newsletter, if they want to stay updated about upcoming album releases and live shows in their area.
Interview with Sakis Gouzonis
Interview by Olivier Bezombes
Owner of CreativInn
Virginia, United States of America
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Sakis Gouzonis is a multi-award-winning Greek composer, arranger, orchestrator, producer and performer of electronic music. I’m really happy to interview him today and let you discover his artistic universe.
Sakis Gouzonis Interview:
“Be teachable, hone your talent, have a good attitude, and be willing to make sacrifices to succeed.”
Sakis Gouzonis, please tell us a bit about yourself and your universe?
Before I answer your first question, Olivier, I would like to thank you for interviewing me and giving me the opportunity to showcase my music. I am an independent artist from Greece. I compose, arrange, orchestrate, produce and perform electronic and cinematic music. To this day, I have released 9 studio albums, each containing ten original music tracks; First Contact (2008), New Earth (2009), The Tree Of Life (2010), Ultimate Love (2011), Vast Victory (2012), Spiritual Unity (2013), Golden Heart (2014), A World At Peace (2015), and Liberating Truth (2016). Music is the best way to express myself and communicate with the world. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Were you always interested in music growing up?
Yes. Music had an enormous impact on me as a child. At a very young age, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. Even though I didn’t have any knowledge of musical notation, I had the innate ability to create original compositions and play music by ear. The day I completed my first composition, I knew that being a composer and playing music was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. And I haven’t stopped since that day.
How did you get into music composition?
Young people are often attracted by seeing their friends or famous artists exercising their gift. But that was not the case with me. Nobody in my family was an artist, and I had never been to a concert before. Then, one day, I found a few old tapes at my parents’ home with some Christian music on them. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with all the exciting melodies and powerful orchestrations. Soon afterwards, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. When I touched my first electronic keyboard for the very first time, I felt a very strange power all over my body. I instantly understood that music was my gift and what I was going to do forever.
Could you tell us about your style and the music you love?
My music is instrumental, electronic and cinematic, as well as very melodic and atmospheric. My music compositions and orchestrations are written and performed with a lot of passion and positive energy. I always do my best to keep my music interesting and exciting. Most people are not indifferent when listening to something with a lot of heart and soul. In my free time, I usually listen to electronic music with vocals. But when I work on my computer, I listen to instrumental music only, because vocals distract my concentration.
Do you have or have had a mentor or other special person to guide you?
I take matters into my own hands when it comes to guiding my music career. I haven’t always made perfect decisions, but they usually end up being valuable learning experiences. However, I have plenty of role models from both within and outside of music, but I don’t have a mentor that I meet with periodically one on one.
Where do you derive your influence? Do you have a favorite place or technique that helps you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the infinite beauty of our universe. I get inspired by everything I can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. Intelligent beings, planets, stars, life, light, love, and even time can inspire me to write music.
What is your dream project?
To compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Eurovision Song Contest, which is organized by the European Broadcasting Union, is the only Pan-European cultural event. It is a very important tool with which to build bridges between nations. Viewers in about forty countries come together once a year to enjoy this one-of-a-kind event.
Is artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
Being an artist doesn’t equal a lonely life, that’s up to the artist. To speak for myself, I am a very social person, but when it comes to music production, I prefer to work in isolation. Every time I work on a project, I don’t like having anyone around that might disturb my concentration.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone who dreams to be a music composer?
Be teachable, hone your talent, have a good attitude, and be willing to make sacrifices to succeed. Keep up with the new technology. Play music with your friends. Play music with strangers. Take chances. Love the music, and share that love with everyone. Have fun.
If you have any question, don’t hesitate to let a comment below, Sakis Gouzonis will be happy to answer you. If you like his universe, don’t hesitate to listen to his music.
Interview: Sakis Gouzonis
Interview by Manuella Essaka
Owner of 1inmusic
United Kingdom, European Union
Monday, 20 June 2016
Sakis Gouzonis is a multi-award winning electronic music composer from Greece. So far, the artist has released nine instrumental albums and has gained an impressive number of fans and friends all over the globe, without any assistance from record labels or marketing companies. 1 In Music met with one of the most unique success story stemming from Greece, as he introduces his newest album, Liberating Truth, an album that has been described by some reviewers as a “futuristic tour de force”.
What is unique about you and your music?
First of all, I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I create instrumental electronic music, which is based on the idea of taking the listener on a journey full of emotions. My music, which has earned me 10 international awards and distinctions, is written and performed with a lot of passion and positive energy. Most people are not indifferent when listening to something with a lot of heart and soul. So far, more than 660,000 people have become fans of my music. People from around 100 countries visit my official website every month to stream and download my discography that counts 9 studio albums. What is also noteworthy is that it has all been done independently, with no record labels or marketing companies supporting me.
What shaped your music and who supports you?
The music from the 80’s and 90’s had and still has a major influence on me. I have also been influenced by some really great composers, such as Vangelis, Yanni, Jean Michel Jarre, John Williams, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman. When I first listened to the music of the aforementioned composers, my life took a whole new direction. Support comes in many shapes and forms. My parents and my brothers, as well as my friends and my fans from all over the globe, support me and encourage me in every way that they can.
When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?
Kids and teenagers are usually attracted by seeing famous artists exercising their gift. But that was not the case with me. Nobody in my family was an artist, and I had never been to a concert before. Then, one day, I found a few old cassettes at my parents’ home with some Christian music on them. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with all the amazing melodies and orchestrations. When I was about twelve years old, I asked my parents to buy me an electronic keyboard. When I touched my first electronic keyboard for the very first time, I felt a very strange power all over my body. I instantly understood that music was my gift and what I was meant to do.
What type of music do you listen to?
In my free time, I usually listen to electronic music with vocals. But when I work on my computer, I listen to instrumental electronic music only, because vocals distract my brain’s processing centers too much.
Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
There are so many underrated music artists waiting to be discovered and create an impact in the international music scene that it wouldn’t be fair to mention just one. I hope one day they will get the recognition they deserve.
How do you prepare for your performances?
To prepare for my performances, I do have a routine I like to follow. I warm my fingers and I drink plenty of water. It’s also important for me to check my instruments to make sure that if something goes wrong, it’s not something I could have fixed beforehand.
What ignites your (song) writing flow?
The grandeur, the beauty, the diversity and the mysteries of the universe are what inspire me to keep writing music. Magnificent in the starry sky, in the waves of the sea, in the colors of the flowers and the singing of the birds, the universe inspires me a lot, creating in my heart feelings of love, peace, harmony, joy and respect.
What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
I teach English as a foreign language in Greece. As an English teacher, I have always loved the power of words. Great speeches, poems, lyrics, novels and short stories have touched and moved many people throughout human history. People frame words, and words in turn impact people. This relationship has always been of interest to me.
Success to you is…
…meeting the expectations that you have set for yourself.
What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?
The line to the place you want to get to is never straight. It strays among different avenues. Imagine an eight-lane highway eventually going to the same tunnel. Eventually, you get to that place you want to get to, but getting there requires a lot of lane changes.
Any upcoming projects?
My 9th studio album, Liberating Truth, was released last month, so I am in the process of promoting it both online and offline.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and best wishes with your new release. Where do we find that album and all of the rest of your music?
You can visit my official website below. It includes detailed biography, complete discography, a gallery of album covers, a frequently updated electronic press kit, press releases, questions and answers, album reviews, articles, interviews, news, contact details and links.
Note: You may need to click the above JPG images to enlarge them.
#14. An interview with Sakis Gouzonis (Electronic Music Composer)
We Are Going Nowhere blog
4 January 2017
#13. Sakis Gouzonis (Interview)
The Bandcamp Diaries blog
3 July 2016
#12. Interview with Sakis Gouzonis
25 June 2016
#11. Interview: Sakis Gouzonis
20 June 2016
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