INTERVIEW - CYPRUS - Minus One
thanks to Minus
One and Evi Papamichael at CyBC
Interview by Douwe Reveler for Sechuk.com
Published by Gary Speirs for Sechuk.com
In November 2015 it was announced
that the group Minus One would represent
Francois is the singer, Constantinos Amerikanos and Harrys Pari are on guitars, Antonis Loizides on bass and finally Chris J on the drums.
The four of us are together since 2009. Harry joined us last September. We did of course meet and have worked with one another as part of various other projects before 2009.
Who are your main musical influences ?
Each of us has various influences that range from blues, some country and even Greek music , hard rock and metal, and of course pop gems from all decades. I think the rock genre in general is what brought us together though. What we play as Minus One is really versatile though and as Alter Ego title suggests we have alter egos as a band too.
Do any of you have a musical education and do any of you come from musical families ?
We are mostly self-taught with maybe a couple of lessons at very young age. Only one of us has taken official musical education and has a degree.
Where are you from and are you still living there ?
We are all from
Can you tell us about the name of the band, Minus One ? Who came up with it and what is the idea behind it ?
Before we were called Minus One, we had a different name and used to have an
extra person with us who sang some Greek songs on our
The venue asked for a name so they
could advertise the event. We couldn’t use the name we were using for the
year you attempted to represent
Shine was composed by Minus One. As it was our first attempt, this year we felt more ready for this, and had time to come up with a better idea, which produced a more energetic song, Alter Ego.
It was the second time we were participating in a contest as we are mostly a band that plays live,( first time was Hard Rock Rising, where we won the country part, thus represented Cyprus in the international one, where we finished 8th among 12000 acts). Contests always teach you a lot and the most important is where you stand among others and that you should believe in yourself, giving it your best and hoping people will recognize and appreciate it.
We had a feeling that CYBC might want to “use” us at some point as we did feel that we impressed them in our first encounter. It still came as a great surprise when they did announce it to us, as soon as next year’s ESC came in play.
It was hard keeping it a secret but
we managed as we knew it was the professional thing to do however excited we
were, and we are known to be one of the most professional acting bands in
Thomas was a suggestion by CYBC, as they had some kind of friendly
connection from the previous years. We
are known to like trying new approaches in everything all the time, so this
collaboration was another thing we could try. Of course it was done for
Eurovision. Thomas travelled to
We didn’t. It was suggested and as we said in the previous question, we liked it and it happened. We like collaborations anyway and this one worked perfectly.
It was crazy, everybody loved the song and we were all sitting on our computers replying to positive messages and support all night nonstop till the next day. Still goes on a more non crazy pace now. We loved it!
Can you talk us through the song and the meaning of the lyrics ?
The song is about the inner “fight” a person can have with himself when on a crossroad, or caught in a middle of something that decisions have to be made, in order to move on. It can be about a relationship or about anything that can tear your decisions in half. In the end we let the listener decide and make up his own story or interpretation.
In your opinion what is it about
this composition that hopefully will make people around
We wanted to bring an upbeat song to Eurovision, but not the usual contest pop but a pop-rock feel that would make people want to get up and dance or jump to it. A catchy radio friendly tune that could stand as a song and be played on the radio even outside the contest. Did we nail that? We think we did and that’s all people need to vote for it.
We are in the process of setting it up with the help of some professionals on the matter, but what we have for now is still in the making so can’t say much on it. We are a live band though so expect that vibe to be part of it.
The people who see us live at gigs are always impressed and praise us on our
chemistry and energy as a band on stage, the way we capture the audience
with our passion and the way we enjoy what we do. That is something we will
also bring with us in
Have you followed the Eurovision Song Contest closely over the years ?
All of us at points in our lives did. Sometimes closely and sometimes more
as distant spectators.
Each one of us has some favorites but we all agree on the bands favorite, which we also perform at our live gigs. Wig Wam – In my Dreams, Norway 2005
ESC was always somewhat important in
Can you describe the Cypriot music scene ?
Although the country has an amazing number of talent, singers, musicians and bands ranging from Greek folk and modern, rock, metal, Jazz and even blues, as it never had a record industry, apart from a few indie labels and that in the latest years, the scene was not super vibrant continuously
Things got better in the last maybe
When we started as Minus One we actually changed the scene with our “risk” of insisting on doing our thing on Saturdays. Apparently a lot of people were looking for exactly that. The idea proved successful. Since then many bands followed our steps and now English pop-rock is the most popular live entertainment.
It was a fantastic experience. I had the chance to meet very interesting people, made new friends and got to spend time with huge artists. Traveling was very tiring but that was the idea! get a full taste out of this whole experience. I’m not sad I lost, I would have been sad if I hadn't participated at all.
We all worked other projects in the past and some side projects while in this band, but at the moment we are focused on Minus One. The only one still having an active side project now is Harry when he has time.
Can you talk us through the video clip ? When and where was it filmed ?
The video clip was filmed on a suburb just outside
A promotional tour in the weeks leading up to the contest has become popular. Do you have any plans to promote 'Alter Ego' internationally and if so where will you travel to ?
Our promo tour is already planned. We are only visiting
Do you have any different versions of the song planned for promotional purposes ? Perhaps a Greek language version ?
No other versions, at least not before ESC in May. We only have a slightly different live version as it is performed at our gigs. It was recorded and filmed one night and will probably be released as soon as the editing of the video is done.
Have you heard from any previous Cypriot representatives and if yes did they offer you some words of advice ?
Many of them are personal friends of ours. As you know
The contest this year will be held
It’s our first time in
What are you most looking forward to and what are you hoping to gain from taking part in the contest ?
We’ve heard the stories about the vibe and the experience ESC can be from
past contestants and participants and
we can’t wait to live it. Besides getting to know people and artists from
Have you listened to any of the other competing songs this year and if so do you have any favourites ?
We have heard many of the songs. Well, some of us at least did. There are a lot of good songs this year, many that are not your “typical Eurovision songs” but songs you would hear on a radio any day. No favorites yet. Not easy to choose anyway.
Those were charity events and we were not naked live. The venue was filled
with naked photos though, nothing that could be considered obscene as we
were strategically covered, but artistic. Not that we are shy or anything.
We did what we had to for a good cause. It’s an annual thing in
You will be the ambassadors for
Where do we start and what do we leave behind that is not already known.
Can you tell us about your favourite Cypriot food ?
Halloumi! Oh we said that already. Apart from that we got a lot of delicious
food, traditional and local recipes that are mostly healthy but so delicious
make you over eat and if you are not careful can gain weight. We all love
“Shieftalia” a traditional sausage/meatball like grill plate, of course
Do you have time for hobbies and if so, what do you enjoy doing ?
We all have various hobbies we enjoy during the little free time we have. From martial arts, water sports like windsurfing and SUP, football, photography, culinary arts, DIY fixing and building. Harry is also a Civil engineer. Well ok that’s not a hobby but a degree. Still worth mentioning.
If you were not musicians are there any other professions that interest you ?
Obviously something out of the previously mentioned list of hobbies.
That is a very difficult question to answer as we will probably leave someone behind and then remember and want to change our answer but this will be already published and there’s no way to change… Ah..decisions decisions.
Let’s stick to the living to make it a bit easier and more realistic. Each of us would probably say someone different anyway, and as we did share stages in the past with some let’s leave those out too. So as a band we would say Metallica. Or U2. Or Muse. Or…
We wouldn’t call them rituals, but routines that sometimes happen, sometimes don’t. Like one stretches while the others warm up their voice or fingers on the instrument. Other times some hung around the bar having a drink and talking to people of the crowd, while one might be taking a power nap in the dressing room.
Our plans are not based on the results we get from ESC but they can surely change some for the better. We already have some new songs waiting to be released as soon as the contest is over, and we take it from there, doing what we always did. Playing live and enjoying it, along with the crowd. Only maybe in bigger crowds from then on.
We hope you liked our song Alter Ego and we’ve won your vote. If you think
a friend of you will like it, let them hear it. We can’t wait to meet you
are also invited to view the Alter
Ego promo and the back stage images
Photos Credit : Demetris Vattis