Absinthe Green is the brainchild of songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Eirini “Absinthe Green”. Absinthe made a name for herself playing the bass for different acts of the metal scene through the years. She has participated in international projects, such as handling the bass duties for the German band Enemy of the Sun, and Greek dark metal act RandomWalk among others. Furthermore, she has shared the stage with renowned artists in numerous shows and festivals throughout Europe.
Absinthe started writing music for this project back in Germany, in 2016. Having a diverse musical background, her songwriting blends a variety of music genres and influences together, into the unique sound of Absinthe Green.
After a while, the moment has arrived for her to realise her personal vision in the form of a full band. This coincided with the artist’s move back to Greece in the end of 2019, where Absinthe was joined by former RandomWalk bandmate Harry Mason on drums and later on by Villy Pirris on bass, with herself on vocals and rhythm guitar.
Harry’s groovy, solid beats and energetic stage performance made him the perfect accomplice to undertake the drums duties for the band. Villy came into the picture in the spring of 2020, after an audition the band had scheduled. His musical skills and professionalism convinced Absinthe and Harry from the very beginning that he was the right person for the job, so he quickly joined the ranks of Absinthe Green. Villy’s smooth, assertive playing and dynamic performance, along with his energy, commitment and enthusiasm made him an ideal choice and valuable asset for Absinthe Green.
The debut album “Of Love and Pain”, is an amalgamation of Absinthe’s musical influences and personal life experiences. Produced by renowned producer Hiili Hilesmaa (HIM, The 69 Eyes, Amorphis, Moonspell, Sentenced et al.), it combines pop elements with aggressive guitars, solid, groovy drum beats and a variety of vocals that have the ability to pull diverse audiences together.
The album, coming out later this year, consists of 11 tracks that venture into life’s duality and inner struggles with love and pain, loss and recovery, destruction and creation, light and darkness.
Today we had a chance to interview Absinthe Green about her journey into the music industry and her freshly released song, “Dead Before My Eyes”.
- How did you first get into music?
I grew up with my father singing for me Black Sabbath’s N.I.B as a lullaby to go to sleep, and waking me up screaming and mimicking Robert Plant on ‘Whole Lotta Love’.
I was very lucky to live in a very musical household, as my parents would always listen to great music of many diverse genres.
- What instruments can you play?
As a kid I started playing piano and melodica, then I studied classical guitar, transitioning to electric guitar. I also play a bit of drums. I was always singing, but later on, I started playing electric bass, almost “accidentally” to fill in for my friends’ band that couldn’t find a bassist and were in a hurry to enter a competition. That was the start of my music career as a session and touring musician, on bass. But I love experimenting with different instruments. I have a theremin and musical saw that I’d like to write some music on, but I can’t find the time these days. Hopefully my next album will have some sick theremin melodies in it.
- Where do you see your musical career in 10 years?
I would like to think that I will have released a few albums and that I will have played some of my favourite venues and festivals, alongside artists I look up to and respect.
- Which instrument is your favourite to play?
That really depends on the day. In terms of ease and habit, guitar and keys are the first ones I’d reach for when I want to write some music or sing vocal melodies. I love performing on bass. I think because of the frequency and groove, it’s such a sexy instrument.
- Which instrument is your least favourite to play?
I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite, but the one that I had the least practice with is drums. I always record the demos with simpler drums and leave proper drum tracking to our drummer.
- What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
I am sincere and I write from the heart. So I’d like to think that I genuinely connect with people through my songs. I also think that performance is one of my strongest suits.
What would you say is your greatest weakness as an artist?
Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me. That in combination with me being a perfectionist has stalled the process of getting my music out there for very long in the past. Not anymore. I have accepted that pursuing perfection is futile and unrealistic. So I finally learnt to do the best I can and set it free. And that’s why I can be here right now and talk to you about my music.
- Who is your favourite musician?
Oh, too many to mention. I have so many influences, but I don’t like to idolise. With one
exception: Ludwig Van Beethoven. For me he was one of the greatest. Music-wise he was
so much ahead of his time, we could talk and analyse him and his music for hours. Lifewise, he was the one who taught me to never give up, no matter what sort of adversity or
challenge you might face.
- What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?
As I mentioned above, being a perfectionist I don’t get to pat myself on the back a lot, and that’s something I’m trying to change and learn to acknowledge my achievements. Releasing my first personal album is for sure a huge milestone. Also getting to work together with people I look up to and respect, and them recognising my talent, is mindblowing. I’m beyond grateful for that.
- What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?
I love traveling, photography, roller-derby, exploring different extreme sports and I am also an animal activist. That’s a very important cause in my life.
- What is your creative process when making music?
My creative process is not always the same. Sometimes I start by writing the lyric, and then I build a melody around it, other times I get a melody in my mind just by reading my poems off of my note book, and other times I just jam on the guitar or keyboard, and the harmonies create the foundation for the start of the song. Other times I would play with different sound-effects and a new tune will get born.
- Tell me about your top performances.
One I will never forget was when I played a big festival in Germany. I remember my father and best friend were visiting and I totally lost them in the crowd because the people were going crazy, head-banging and yelling! My finger was bleeding on the bass fretboard and Tom Angelripper from Sodom was side-stage looking at me half grossed out and half laughing and waiving me his devil horns, until he found and handed me a band-aid.
That was a wild show!
- Take me through how the Dead Before My Eyes song idea came about, the writing and production process.
I was fooling around with my bass and began playing the main riff. I picked up my guitar next and started recording a demo, and that’s how Dead Before My Eyes was born. I created the harmonies, then started singing the vocal melody over them. I wanted the song to be an empowering rock anthem, that would unite the audience when played live.
So after having recorded the main vocals, I had my friend Vikke/Vic Anselmo -who is an amazing vocalist and all around musician- over and we recorded the “football” chant of the
chorus and some backing vocal ideas. I wanted to have a “pop” guitar solo that would be an improvisation of the chorus vocal, so I wrote that on keyboard and had my friend record it on guitar afterwards.
- Who would you most like to collaborate with artistically?
So many people…It would be a dream to one day work together with Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Ozzy or Jack White. I’m probably forgetting someone very important right now…
- Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
My biggest influences are people whom I’ve never met, and never will, as they are long dead. But the one person that you could say was the closest to a mentor for me is Dimitri
Toufexis. He was a child prodigy with absolute pitch, who had shared the stage with Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis when he was like 8 years old. A brilliant musician, who always happily shares his experience and knowledge with the people around him. I had the luck and honor to be tutored by him in my performance and classical music classes in college.
Such an inspirational man!
- Have you ever taught or mentored another musician?
Yes, I am teaching songwriting and performance. I am also part of the Berklee College of Music Mentor Collective, where I am mentoring new music students.
- What was your worst performance?
I remember one time when I was playing as a session bassist in a rock’n’roll band from Germany. We were playing in a venue where the band didn’t even properly fit on stage and we couldn’t hear a thing. We rode it through and had fun in the process nevertheless. It was frustrating at the time but funny when I think about it now.
- How do you deal with disinterested or unruly audiences?
I am lucky to have not played for a disinterested audience, at least, not yet, haha. In my experience, interaction with the people always engages them in participating more. As far as unruliness in concerned, if something bad or dangerous is happening we stop the show immediately, and try to resolve the matter before continuing. Of course I want people to have fun and rock out to the extreme, but when someone misbehaves in any way, from pushing or fighting with each other to groping people when they stage-dive or anything else, and we see it, they get the boot. I want people to feel safe and welcome at my shows. For me, music is about bringing people together. Not the opposite.
- Do you prefer to work alone or collaboratively?
I am a lone-wolf and I prefer working alone most of the time. But of course, one couldn’t and shouldn’t do everything by themselves. With my band, Absinthe Green I am lucky to have found musicians with whom I can collaborate and communicate quite well and everyone has their own post and responsibility in the band. I am still learning to trust people and share tasks that I would otherwise just do myself to be sure they are done the way I want them. Music-wise, we have a very specific way of operating: I am doing the bulk of the songwriting and the rest of the band are embellishing the songs with their ideas and inspiration. As the time passes, we are all getting to know each other better, and more
freedom is ensued as we get more in sync and intuitive about the whole process.
- What are your favourite venues to perform at?
I love both big festivals and smaller venues alike. Festivals because I can reach more people with my music and smaller venues because people are much closer and it gets
more personal and intimate.
- What inspires you as an artist?
I believe that inspiration can come from anything, if you have your eyes, mind and heart open. Literature, art, everyday life struggles and the state of the world today are some of the things that inspire me. I write from a very personal place so it gets intimate; a lot of my songs are about my own experience with depression, love, death, creation and destruction.
- How do you nurture your own creativity?
I love reading, films, art and fashion, so these are the ‘places’ I go to, when I seek direct inspiration. Being a songwriting tutor, I have also incorporated a lot of object writing and other techniques that I teach my students in order to increase creativity in musical compositions.
- Do you have trouble with performance anxiety?
I don’t. Strangely enough, the stage is where I feel most at home. I feel like I can finally express myself and share my music with the world. The energy I get from the audience is something incredible and I wouldn’t trade this connection for the world.
- What are your favourite musical genres, and are there any you dislike?
I don’t think I have a favourite. I listen to all kinds of music as long as they speak to my emotion, aesthetic and given mood. I hate fast-food music that is brainless and exists for easy consumption, only to get discarded when the next fad emerges.
- How do you differ from most other artists?
I am me. I know that I will sound like a motivational speaker, but each of us is different and unique. Diversity is one of the most beautiful and interesting things. That applies in music as it applies in life: Being yourself is your biggest strength, unless of course if you are an asshole. Jokes aside, if you strive every day to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday, that’s all you need. Acknowledge your uniqueness and let it thrive.
- How do you think of your previous song comparing to this newly released?
‘Dead Before My Eyes’ is a groovy rock anthem, with its chorus meant to be sung together with the audience like a football chant. I think it’s more fierce and up-lifting. It’s meant to aspire assertiveness. In the music video you’ll see me torturing my bad ‘ex boyfriend’ with my roller derby girl gang; it’s all about girl power and reclaiming one’s strength. ‘War Inside My Head’ on the other hand, is a totally different vibe. This is a song about inner struggle and cognitive dissonance. I wrote it back when I was 19 years old and going through deep depression, to externalise this feeling of helplessness. It wasn’t meant to be part of the album, but when we were deciding on the track list, I played it to our producer Hiili Hiilesmaa and he insisted that it should be part of it.
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