Synth & Greek Poetry “Being Moved by Love” // An Interview with KAMA MUTA

WL//WH Interview  KAMA MUTA

Pulling their name from the Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism, Kama Muta (काममूत ‘moved by love’) Thessaloniki-based Greek darkwave duo is fresh from dropping, via fellow Athenian DIY label Dystatik, their digital and cassette debut album, “οι φωνές κάηκαν” (The Voices Have Burned), defined by an intoxicating alchemy of allegorical Greek Poetry and gripping Synth-driven Sounds. Let’s delve deeper into the surreal world of KM with the two founders tristixia and Sofia Spyridonidou.

  • Welcome again to WL//WH, KM. Let’s trace back to your roots, where did you grow up and how did you get into music? Who were your musical inspirations growing up?

We are currently located in Thessaloniki, Greece the second biggest city in the country, full of gas and disturbance, in which we were raised. Other than that, we are too, children of the earth.

Sofia: As a kid, I didn’t have much exposure to music and only listened to pop music on the radio. Sometime early in junior high school, I stumbled upon the IAMX project, by watching a film featuring them on its soundtrack, and that was my first step in discovering music that I truly liked. What followed was Post-punk, Psychedelic, and Progressive rock and Electronic music in various forms, darkness being a common factor.

tristixia: It all started with a game called Guitar Hero. After that, I became a guitar player (or so I thought). My base is Plassic rock, Progressive rock, Psychedelic, etc. Electronic music came recently to my attention and it gave me a voice that complements what I want to deliver with it.

  • Let’s talk about how KM came to life, its name, what attracted you to each other, and all we need to know about it…

tristixia: kama muta is a very strong emotion that not many are familiar with because it got officially 6 years now. I found this emotion because of my expertise (psychologist, specialized in positive psychology).

What gives me strong emotions is poetry. I wanted to find a way to combine music with it. Then post-punk/darkwave came to my ears and it fit perfectly.

Sofia: Meeting tristixia through a common friend, Kama Muta was born by realizing we shared a lot of our musical preferences. I found the poetry to be a great foundation to base my compositions on and so we began this experiment.

  • Your sound is described as a Synth-driven combination of Darkwave and Post-punk. Did you already have a set idea/vision of how you wanted to sound or has it been a gradual process of discovery?

tristixia: Music wise it’s unstable and we love that. We want to reach the audience without the need to label the exact genre. It has a core, yes. It also has some common ground between songs. The real act for me starts when words and music have flow. I met a dancer in a restaurant. I asked her how can someone like me, shy, dance to the music. She told me that having flow is what makes you flawless. Her answer really hit me and I follow this advice for my art too.

Sofia: Our sound is mostly consistent with darkwave, however, we were never set on making something that would constrain us. I think it all works out because electronic music has the potential to be transformed into another vision quite easily.

  • Could you talk about Thessaloniki’s underground music scene? What distinguishes it from the capital, Athens? More generally, what’s the Greek music scene like at the moment? Any new bands to keep an eye on?

Sofia: Historically, Athens had an electronic scene in the ’80s, while Thessaloniki was more focused on Punk Rock and Rock. Right now I think that the main difference is Thessaloniki’s DIY approach but Athens still maintains a strong electronic presence. Take a look at Blakaut and Dramachine.

tristixia: Honestly, we have everything. From unmixed backing tracks with distorted vocals playing loud at the universities to commercial Synth-Pop artist that play in every festival possible because they sell records. We’re observing patiently. Check out Eddie Dark.

  • What is the relationship between other forms of art and music in KM? Does one inform the other?

Sofia: If I get the chance I would like to work on making music videos for some of our songs. Films and paintings are great influences to me and the emotions they give me are reflected back in our music.

tristixia: it’s an interesting and somehow tricky question. I cannot consider our craft as just music. Everything is art. We may not rehearse every day but every day it is with us at work, at home, at peace, at war. We give birth to what you listen hoping that it will outlive us. Emotions, information, and minds are getting exchanged in order for this “music” to exist.

  • Let’s talk about your ‘Greek poetry combined with the music’, seemingly a dystopian and urban surreal form of poetry from what I could understand.

tristixia: I’m amazed how my Greek poetry traveled here for this interview. With Sofia‘s help, we translated the lyrics into English as well. I prefer poetry to speak for itself. My main and favourite goal when writing is that I want to give you images that can be unique, yours. After my writing is done it belongs to everyone because everyone has their own view on it.

  • Can you tell us a little about your recording process and how you create your songs? Is it the capturing of improvisation or is it more structured?

Sofia: We maintain a DIY approach and most of the music comes out from improvisation and mistakes that found interesting enough to later structure into something more concrete. I wanted it to portray the landscape of a dystopic setting, at the same time being deeply rooted in reality.

  • You have finally just released your debut LP, a concept album if I’m not wrong, could you give us a deep insight into it and how it took shape, the title, the influences, the encompassing threads/themes that tie the songs, the highs and lows that have brought the final result?

tristixia: The album “οι φωνές κάηκαν” (The Voices Have Burned) is indeed a concept album. The structure is based on a book that I wrote with the same title. It’s not gonna be published at the moment. When the time comes it will really give an extra point of view to the story but for now, we’ll stick to the songs only. It’s, basically, 8+1 times that the voices got burned after an endless run full of buzz at the echo chambers.

Stories about people incapable of loving, introverted isolation, the free will to suicide, grief, equality of the despised, and most importantly: stories that your mind may (re)create.

  • What do you enjoy most about performing live? Your highs and lows so far?

tristixia: the most enjoyable feeling so far is watching total strangers come to our show and have a conversation afterward. Also, playing in a crowd that doesn’t speak Greek but keeps dancing is a precious moment as well (love to Bulgaria).

Sofia: It is great when you can accurately create the atmosphere you want and see the audience get immersed in it. It is a whole different story when stage fright gets in the way of doing that.

  • What kind of old/new music are you listening to when you’re not creating your own one? Any current bands/artists you are excited by at the moment?

tristixia: I really enjoy the new era that the British Post-punk revival brought (aka Crank Wave). I think if it reaches Greece we’ll have really good and new music to listen to. Idles are a good pick for me.

Sofia: My love for the progressive rock of the ’70s and Krautrock will never die (Yes, King Crimson, Nektar, Can), but I listen to anything that piques my interest. Right now my hyperfixations are Wire, Fever Ray, and Sen Morimoto.

  • What are your plans for the future after the album?

Before we answer we would like to thank you for this opportunity. It was a pleasure to open our hearts for people to listen and read. Enjoy!

You can expect from us with a little delay due to military obligations some shows “soon”. After a tour in Greece we would love to play abroad. So we’ll be chasing that.

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