Last year, ex-BLOOD STAIN CHILD vocalist Sophia unveiled her solo project Season Of Ghosts. In October, she and her support band made their live debut at Metal Female Voices Festival. On December 8th, the project's debut album THE HUMAN PARADOX was released in Europe. It became available in Japan on July 8th this year.
As this is JaME's first interview with Season Of Ghosts, please give us a short introduction to your band.
Sophia: Hello and nice to meet you! My name is Sophia. I write weird songs about aliens, ghosts and never giving up. I love cats and frilly clothes and for me, every day is Halloween!
Your first album THE HUMAN PARADOX was released on December 8th 2014, and a Japanese version was released exactly seven months later. What kind of concept did you create for THE HUMAN PARADOX?
Sophia: The album narrates the circle of life through the eyes of a time traveller; possibly an alien, a ghost, an observer. We, humans, are too simple and at the same time too weird. Human nature is a paradoxical thing, combining seemingly disparate elements in a harmony of discord. We sometimes want what we can't have, we love what hurts us and other times, we don't appreciate what we already have until we lose it. The title track talks about exactly this, and sums up the meaning of the whole album.
Many of your lyrics are very deep and thoughtful. What’s the inspiration behind them?
Sophia: I draw inspiration from the science of psychology, spirituality and the paranormal. I know that opting for more easy lyrics would have granted higher commercial success for my album, but I chose to write the stuff I really wanted, no matter how heavy they might sound to the average listener.
You play with the melodies and emotions a lot in your songs, like on Genesis -The Phoenix Syndrome and [NE]:MESIS -The Kiss Of Justice. What can you tell us about your songwriting process?
Sophia: I always start by writing the music first. I don’t enter the room convinced I will write a club track or a metal track or whatever. I sit down and open all my energy channels and wait for the emotion to come out and show me the way. I always compose intuitively, so I usually surprise myself with the outcome, because it’s something I didn’t expect. (laughs) After the music, I compose the vocal lines and slowly, the theme of the song starts to appear.
Lyrics are the last thing I write and by the time I need lyrics, the words come pouring out of me because the image is already solid in my head. I like creative vocal lines, not standard ways of composition and this way, I manage to infuse a variety of feelings into one song. This way, the sound gains more dimensions and depth in my opinion.
It is said that your music for SEASON OF GHOSTS is dedicated to the love for the unseen and movie soundtracks. What kind of scores inspire you and what interest do you have in the supernatural?
Sophia: I’ve been attracted to anything weird and supernatural ever since I can remember. I feel scared but my curiosity is bigger than my fear, I guess. This led me to some tricky paths, but also some really blessed ones. I feel grateful about where I am right now. As for my favorite scores - hmmm, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Braveheart, Harry Potter, Hook and also many anime soundtracks!
Who is hiding behind Ghost Legion? Is it just one person or are there several musicians working under this mysterious alias?
Sophia: There’re three people in Ghost Legion! Zombie Sam on guitars, Paul Brown on bass and Max Buell on drums. They’re all exceptional and seasoned musicians and I’m proud to have them in the SEASON OF GHOSTS family! I hope we can show you what we can do pretty soon!
On some tracks you worked with MiA of MEJIBRAY. Can you tell us more about your collaboration, the recording process and how you came to work with him?
Sophia: I’ve been working with MEJIBRAY as a guest on their songs for a couple of years now, and my collaborations with MiA and the MEJIBRAY staff is always smooth. MiA is an open-minded musician and likes to expand, so when I asked him whether he’d like to be a part of my new project, he said yes and supported me all the way. He recorded the tracks in a studio in Japan and sent them to us to process and mix. I hope you feel his influence on my songs! My aim was to combine the best of both the Western and the Eastern world.
THE HUMAN PARADOX was mixed and mastered by Ettore Rigotti. What interesting facts can you tell us about this special collaboration?
Sophia: I’ve worked with Ettore on a handful of albums; not only with BLOOD STAIN CHILD, but also the Princess Ghibli albums and Zombie Sam’s Self Conscious Insanity, so I knew the way he works and the quality of the results was guaranteed. Therefore, I chose him to mix and master my record without a second thought and I don’t regret my decision. I’m a control freak when I work, so I had to approve every step of the mix and the master, so I guess I gave Ettore and the rest of the team a headache. (laughs) But it was the only way to ensure the album would have my mark on it. It’s very evident when you listen to it, I think.
Is there a special message hidden in Beautiful Eternal Things?
Sophia: When we join hands, we give birth to wondrous things, things that seem eternal, small or bigger miracles. When we fight each other, though, we create unimaginable levels of catastrophe. Beautiful Eternal Things is a song about the rise and fall of humanity.
In the spoken intro of Quantum - Through The Looking Glass, you speak about the difference between knowing the path and walking it. What was the idea behind this theme?
Sophia: This is actually a quote from “The Matrix”. What I mean is that there’s a difference between knowing what you have or need to do and actually putting it into practice. For example, many people know that in order to succeed, they need to do this and that, but how many are eager enough to really put in the work? Theory is easier than practice and everybody can analyze philosophies, but the people I personally respect are the ones who follow up with action and over-deliver. Quantum suggests that “sometimes there’s a second chance” and the song ends with “now I know which way to go”. It’s about a recently deceased soul that floats into space and reaches a parallel universe via a quantum leap. There, it meets its better and wiser counterpart and decides it wants to go back to Earth and try again. It’s a really trippy song, I love it.
Last year, you made your live comeback at Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium on October 18th. How did it go?
Sophia: MFVF was an amazing experience for me but also a huge challenge. After a two-and-a-half year absence from the stage and a change of career, I had to perform in front of different kinds of people, not just my own fans. I can’t hide that I was scared like hell, but in the end, everything went smoothly and the crowd was positive, enthusiastic and totally demolished the merchandise booth, even though no one had listened to the album yet! (laughs) That sure is proof that they liked the songs, right? I felt infinitely grateful after so much stress!
What are your thoughts on making an instrumental album that deals with the ghost theme one day?
Sophia: Now that’s a brilliant idea, isn’t it! I’m sure it’d scare the crap out of people. (laughs)
Do you have a message for JaME’s readers?
SOPHIA: “To your own self be true”. Much love and hope to see you on tour soon!
Interview with Season Of Ghosts
interview - 19.07.2015 01:01
JaME speaks to Sophia Aslanidou about her solo project Season Of Ghosts and debut album, THE HUMAN PARADOX.
© Tim Tronckoe Photography