Interview with ‘Yiannis Papanikolaou’ of Greek Metal Band ‘Diviner’


Yiannis_PapanikolaouDiviner is a heavy metal band from Greece with classic heavy origins, strong melodies, crushing riffs, groovy rhythm sections, powerful vocals and modern sound. Founded by long-time friends and music partners Yiannis Papanikolaou (vocals) and Thimios Krikos (guitar). Diviner‘s debut album “Fallen Empires” was released on November 20th 2015 in Europe and North America on CD, LP and digital through Ulterium Records. The vinyl edition of “Fallen Empires” is strictly limited to 300 copies worldwide. In the following interview, we talk with frontman Yannis:

TMR: Hello Yiannis this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in Greece?

Hello my friend and thank you for your hospitality on behalf of the entire Diviner band! Since you asked, it’s quite a critical time for our homeland Greece, but we keep our spirits up and luckily metal music offers a great help!

TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

With pleasure! So besides myself behind the mic, Diviner are aparted from Thimios Krikos and George Maroulees on the guitars, Herc Booze on the bass and Fragiskos Samoilis on the drums.

Diviner_promoTMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Diviner’.

Well, the band was formed in 2011 by my lifelong friend and music partner Thimios Krikos and myself, bringing to life an idea that had been going around our minds for quite a while, creating a modern sound for the all time authentic Heavy Metal. The team was soon enriched by some of the most talented and dear bandmates we could come up with,who all put together Diviner’s lineup today. After a long period of songwriting, recording and preparing our debut album, “Fallen Empires” was released in past November, bringing us on the verge of a new adventure!

TMR: Why the name ‘Diviner’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

The name Diviner has a lot to do with the band’s general concept, which might not be very strict and limiting but it offers us a lot of guidance regarding our inspiration and lyrics. Us being adorers of fictional tales and symbolic stories of inner battles of the mind, Diviner could be considered the One that is a carrier of Greatness, the bringer of Light in our darkened souls, our help to surpass whatever’s holding us back from our true dreams.

TMR: How did you get into metal?

Growing up in a decade drenched into the magic potions of Number Of The Beast, Master Of Puppets, Heaven And Hell, Reign In Blood etc, it felt almost impossible not to. I was mesmerized by all the mind-blowing journeys this music offered me and couldn’t help craving to create some heavy metal adventures of my own!

TMR: What is your musical background ?

Since I begun my involvement with heavy metal at the age of 17 as a musician, I have shared a lot of music memories with several bands, three of the most important of which, being Innerwish, Battleroar and Rock ‘n’ Roll Children (Dio tribute band). Through the years, I have also done a lot of experimenting in various alternate music paths, some of them having to do with more traditional greek elements. Years ago I felt this quest came to an end, and knew it was the time I put every experience I had gathered down to a new challenge, thus creating Diviner.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Diviner’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?

I have to admit that regarding Fallen Empires, Thimios and I worked together as one mind in order to come up with a solid heavy metal material. As time goes by, it’s a thrill to see how our team is evolved and find out that killer ideas fly around from all sorts of directions, and by that I mean by every member. Regarding how we get in the mood of writing, I think there is no such thing as a recipe, rather than just the right moment, when feelings and images you keep inside somehow find their way out and are translated to music and lyrics. Any situation that speaks to the heart could get us inspired. As for musical influence, I guess those are a blend of the classic legends such as Judas Priest, Metallica, Accept, Dio, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and some more fresh elements of Iced Earth, Annihilator, Amon Amarth, Dickinson’s and Halford’s personal projects.

Yiannis_DivinerTMR: What are some key principles or phylosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person?

Μy friend, this is really hard to answer, since we all keep some personal beliefs and values as sacred and they could not always put down to a couple of sentencies. Speaking for myself, Ι always feel that my personal search for the truth is a neverending quest. But until now my short knowledge makes me believe that this life is not the end, but just the beginning of our journey to eternity, beyond this life and this universe!

TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Diviner’?

Ι hope this won’t sound cliche, but we considered the greatest hightlight so far to be the amazing feedback we’ve been having since “Fallen Empires” was released. Planning our up-coming touring and all, I guess a lot of unforgettable moments are bound to come!

TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one)

By no means have we yet reached a point where there has been a great difficulty we had to overcome. Let’s hope that when that time comes. we’ll find the strength to deal with it!

TMR: So what makes you laugh?

Anything! Everyday life is an endless source for me to laugh, and those close to me that might be reading this, know it very well to be so! Not a day goes by that I don’t burst into some serious laughing, while most of my inspiration is even myself sometimes! Humor is, I think, among our strongest weapons against the world.

TMR: What is your biggest fear ?

Such thoughts rarely cross my mind….maybe it’s the day that Iron Maiden decide to quit!(hahaha)

TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band?

Well, there is so much I’d like to do, really, but, like everyone, I’m running short for time. I try to enjoy my privacy with best friends whom I consider family, I also try to listen to a lot of music and go to as many live concerts as possible…always proud to be a metal fan! I wish I had more free time to do some extra reading, which I love, and also get involved more with sciences I adore, such as Physics and Astronomy! I’d love to have more time to study the universe and all it’s treasures.

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

Well, despite all support by our label Ulterium, thank God for internet! Whether we like it or not, it is a good tool in the hands of bands, and doesn’t require huge financial budgets that don’t exist but time and love for communication. However, I believe that music itself is the greatest promotion a band might have, because it speaks right to the hearts of us. Especially for a heavy metal band, stage is the place where magic should happen and Diviner can’t wait to communicate Fallen Empires loud and heavy!\m/

TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please?

It’s very crowded, let me say that! It’s most promising to see that over the past decade there have been many greek metal bands to make it through the borders, and I keep discovering new metallers with amazing skills every day! I should also give credits to numerous new comer master-minds of sound enginneering and production, setting the local standards high enough to stand aside with other European challenges. And given the fact that all this takes place in such difficult times for the greek society, I think representatives of such devotion and progress deserve a big “Hail”!!!

TMR: How do you prepare for a show?

… I do run my usual routine, apart from getting emotionally ready and focused of course…I do my vocal exercises and warm-up, I even find some physical exersise helpful to get me toned up and ready. Nothing extra-ordinary, my friend… I drink a lot of water, try to sleep well the night before, if possible…Then, if all that fails, I simply close my eyes, pray to the Gods of Heavy Metal and hit the stage!!!

TMR: Speaking of recording, your new album “Fallen Empires” has been released on Nov. 20th. what can you tell us about the album [such as the recording process, the songs etc.]

One of the good things about the completion of “Fallen Empires” was that we had no deadlines, so we took all time we need to come up with the result we had in mind. It was not an easy task, trying to unite the authenticity of heavy metal sound with the aggressiveness and groove of the up- to-date sound, but working with Thimios Krikos on the production and, of course, Taylor Maid on the mastering were definite tools for success. We all feel we gave our 100% for Fallen Empires, and achieving to self-produce the sound we wanted was extremely satisfactory to us.

Fallen Empires (Diviner)TMR: The album is released through Ulterium Records, how did you get signed by them ?

Another blessing for Diviner! We were familiar with Ulterium Records due to it’s perfect collaboration to Innerwish, so when Fallen Empires was fully ready we received a very flattering and legitimade offer that we had no reason to refuse. We didn’t need to look any further, having signed up with a new respected label who truly has faith in hour music is all we could ask for!

TMR: About the cover artwork. Do you think it is as important as your music? Does it visualize the lyrics of your songs or what’s the actual story behind its concept?

It might not be as important as the music, but it’s certainly the very first impression you get when purchasing the album, so it’s nice that we feel it totally represents an atmosphere of what you are about to listen. I guess you could say there is also a symbolic layout, presenting the sailing of Diviner towards Fallen Empires, our way up to regaining all that has been lost, the most sacred elements of us and the world.

TMR: What is your favorite ‘Diviner’ song to play live?

My friend, you will allow me to take a “rain-check” on that question and not answer it until we have really done a great deal of touring with Diviner! Right now, we are so filled up with energy and excitement, that we can’t wait to bring all Fallen Empires songs to life by sharing it with the crowd!\m/

TMR: What is your favorite concert that you saw and what made it so good?

Oh, I can recall only so many! Some lie back in my childhood years and have baptised me in the holliness of Heavy Metal and some others are more recent to my mind and have offered me new chances for unexplored excitement!But I guess the favorite one is Iron Maiden’s first performance in Greece on September 13th back in 1988. It was the 80’s, the tour for the unbeatable “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son” ,it was Maiden at their best, at their creative pinnacle, in all their greatness and magic stage show ! Definitely a night that defined me as a heavy metal listener…life changing indeed! It was also my very first metal concert ever!

TMR: What is the most embarrassing music on your phone or in your collection and how do you justify it to others?

Oh no, I don’t share those troubling thoughts! I don’t have any problem revealing anything that’s in my phone playlist or i-pod, there’s quite a lot of music references I enjoy except from heavy metal and I’m proud of it. But I’ll give you this: The most embarassing sound in my phone are certainly some self recorded files of myself, humming some new riffing and vocal ideas when I’m suddenly hit with a new inspiration and have to remember it! I wouldn’t want that to fall into the wrong hands…hahaha!!!

TMR: If you could pick a band to tour with, who would it be? And where would the tour go?

My God, I see it’s time for science fiction so I’ll gladly play along! These are so many fantasies moving around dream-on touring lineups, so I’ll just go ahead and mention number one to get it over with: In my personal wildest dreams Iron Maiden pick out Diviner to follow them in their next globe tour and I get to live the all-time metal fan dream…oh, and I don’t care where we go, Gosh we’re playing with Iron Maiden!

TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?

I honestly have no recollection of ever being asked something so dumb that I would remember it…or at least none of these dumb questions have to do with Diviner. Some advertising companies ask me some really stupid questions over the phone sometimes,haha…

TMR: What is your favorite album top 5 of all time ?

Ok , I have to put a lot of pressure to myself to narrow my favorite albums down to 5, but talking about metal here they come :

1. The Number Of The Beast – IRON MAIDEN
2. Master Of Puppets – METALLICA
3. Painkiller – JUDAS PRIEST
4. Heaven And Hell – BLACK SABBATH
5. Reign In Blood – SLAYER

TMR: As a band today, what do you think is the biggest challenge you face?

I believe the greatest challenge for Diviner is the very nature of our band. I knew it the moment the idea of creating this band started revolving in my head, that it would be very challenging to play the heavy metal music we craved for without sounding old school or outdated. I’m happy we took that challenge and hope all others yet to come help us evolve as musicians and composers, not to mention as people. I really believe heavy metal can really do that for you.

TMR: Any (tour) plans for the near future ?

It’s so great to finally talk dates! We’ve been waiting for this for so long and now is the time Ulterium and Diviner put down our plans and schedules and try to do the very best so that we can enjoy this album as much as we can! After the debut show for Diviner in past December in Thessaloniki, our very next performance will take place on Feb 21 in Athens, hopefully being one of the many to follow, which we will soon be able to announce. We are also working on several European dates, so we hope to have a full programme ready soon!

TMR: Yiannis thanks for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Diviner’ all the best for 2016 … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement ?]

Thank you so much for taking the time to offer Diviner this great discussion! We wish all readers all best for 2016, and also do some wishful thinking for ourselves: We wish this year brings Diviner closer to as many of you as possible, letting us carry you away with some true heavy metal energy!!!Hail to all of you!\m/













Diviner is:
Yiannis Papanikolaou [Rock ‘n’ Roll Children, ex. Innerwish] – Vocals
Thimios Krikos [Innerwish] – Guitar
George Maroulees [4bitten] – Guitar
Herc Booze [SiXforNinE] – Bass
Fragiskos Samoilis [Innerwish] – Drums

Weblinks: Facebook / Website / Twitter

Video below: ‘Come Into My Glory’

Video below: ‘Kingdom Come’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts