CULTURE

Encouraged by response, local electronica act eager to step out

The members of Cyanna, a local electronica trio that describes itself as self-ridiculing, know very well where they come from and have no illusions or farfetched dreams about the Greek music circuit. On the other hand, their material is packed with all the necessary emotion that makes you want to turn up the volume and dance to their fiery sound. The excitement they generate, along with the trio’s intriguing stage presence, could possibly be enough to take them beyond the underground electronica circuit. The trio, comprising Spyreas Sid, 26, his brother Nikos Sid, 30, and Louis M, 25, which has lined up a performance in Athens for September 14 (Earthdance Festival, Akti tou Iliou, Kalamaki), began taking itself seriously in 2002. From that point, in took Cyanna a couple of years to release their debut album. The act has also contributed work to a German compilation CD which was released internationally. Most recently, a stroke of luck came their way: Cyanna won the first prize in Coca-Cola Soundwave, a musical competition for emerging acts, which brought the young Greek trio to Germany and Switzerland for appearances at concerts and festivals alongside established acts. The song «On and On,» which earned Cyanna its first prize in the song contest, was included on a compilation CD released recently by Lifo, a popular free-press weekly in Athens. Now back from their mini European tour, Cyanna are preparing to release a follow-up album. «What concerns us most is getting the next CD out,» the trio agreed. «We’d go abroad the first chance we had. There’s no competition here, no interest. Even those who talk about an English-language scene here know that they’re talking about an illusion. There’s not even any intrigue between the bands,» they continued. These bitter words are actually not far from the truth. The domestic underground circuit, which takes in anything that isn’t part of the Greek pop scene, is comprised of various rock and pop groups, as well as certain electronica acts. «Abroad, we can still talk about new types of music and sounds – even these days. At one festival, LCD Soundsystem was the main group, and the show was opened by Placebo. This can’t happen here, because people lack the musical knowledge,» remarked Spyreas. «In these places, they’re fusing different types of things and, that way, can produce something new. Here, they’re either not fusing things, or fusing very little and simply aping foreign sounds,» he continued. Complementing his bandmate, Louis M argued that local musicians lacked a genuine identity. «The thing is that a young musician pops up here and, instead of declaring: ‘I’m Costas from Petralona’ [a working-class suburb in Athens], imagines that he’s… Mark from Birmingham.» The remark triggered thoughts about what the Greek trio saw as British influences on Greek youth culture, illustrated by the way local youngsters dress. But that’s about as far as it goes, the Greek trio asserted, citing cultural differences between the two nations. «In England, the state is involved in musical education. Your thug who steps out and starts rapping in some side alley, criticizing the state, gets official support, even from the queen,» contended Spyreas. «Did you know that The Sex Pistols, the ultimate symbol of radical ways in music, had a contract with EMI?» added Louis M. This article first appeared in Kathimerini’s weekly supplement K on August 26, 2007.