by Kristel Liakou
*Rembetis: the musician who writes|sings|plays greek folk music.
He started singing since he was 13 years old. The first concert he gave was at the central square of Sparta, the town he comes from. Now, after all these years experimenting with a bunch of different music styles, Bob Mauridis is the front-man of Black Hat bones an high energy rock n’ roll band and the main singer at Tragoudaskalades a small folk band at the same time.
Folk music in Greece is much different from folk music in Jamaica, that’s for sure. But how much different is rock n roll from Greece’s traditional genre, “Rempetiko”? The answer is “Hell, a lot!” to my ears and I believe to Ramon’s, Bob’s dog, as well. We both starting to get worried about Bob. “What if he is bipolar? How can a man ever balance the concerts with Clutch and Lana del Rey with the lives in small tsipouradika (local nightlife spots) in Exarcheia?”. Ramon gives me the eye when I ask Bob if he is ever jealous of the laziness of his dog. “If I were an animal I would be a Capybara, so no. I don’t fancy his lifestyle” he explains. “Lately I can only relate to the lifestyle of a mashed potato though […]” he adds and I am starting to think about the interesting, fucked-up conversation that will follow.
So, apart from potatoes and Capybaras, if you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
I wish one day I will actually deserve this “title”. Until then, I am just someone who is involved with music. To answer your question, if I didn’t have the chance to be the man I am today, I would like to be a shipbuilder and a shepherd. My goal is to be a sheep farmer at some point.
Tell me the biggest myth regarding the rock star’s lifestyle.
I can’t relate to the American model of how a rock star must be. Neither I believe that there is one specific lifestyle that rock stars follow no matter what. Nevertheless, I am not the one to ask your answer because I am not a rock star; I am a man who loves music and tries to earn some money in order to make a new album.
Do you find that your style is important when you are performing? Do you dress differently when you play music as a rocker and in a different way when you act as a Rempetis?
Of course, it is important because, during a live, we perform something on stage -as actors do for a theatrical play. During a live you won’t just hear us, you also will see us. Thus the image is very important. And yes, I dress differently regarding each occasion.
A few days ago you released your new album “Born in a Thunder”. What has changed from the last one?
A drummer. That’s the only change. Seriously, we didn’t change something intentionally. I bet there are changes because we get new experiences that became the inspiration. All in all, we are down the same path that we were before.
Can you describe the process you go through when you write a song?
First, there must be an inspiration. It could be anything. For instance, the way that the eagle flies was the main inspiration behind the “Born in a Thunder”. So I am dead serious when I say “anything”. Then, I write down the main idea and If I am inspired enough, I write the lyrics and the main music in a day.
Are you going on a tour soon?
We want to, but it’s difficult. There are many reasons that hold us back and the main one is that when you go on a tour, the factors often take advantage of you. We don’t ask for loads of money -we just wanna cover our expenses. So we don’t plan a proper tour in the near future, only some lives in many different places in Greece.
Do you have a manual on “how to survive a band tour”?
Always have loads of underwear and socks. Sleep well and take naps frequently.
In my mind, being a rocker and a Rempetis at the same time is kinda opposite. What do you think?
They are two different things indeed. Sometimes I feel there are two different characters in my body. Other times, I am feeling fine having those two bold, whole, original personalities inside me. They don’t mix and I like that. I prefer it that way; that is why I don’t experiment combining those two music genres.
I speak from personal experience that you are a good chef. What would you cook to Josh Homme (random option)?
Spaghetti bolognese. I don’t know if he is vegan if so, I would use soya instead of minced meat. I believe he would appreciate it. I believe everyone appreciates the tastefulness of a tomato mixed with onion etc. Onion is everything. Eat onion kiddos!