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New Zero God and Mike Pougounas.
‘Every time I was simply trying to write about what was buzzing me, I guess this is the music I write for my lyrics. People say it is Goth. I always stood up for it.’
New Zero God, formed in 2006, was originally made up of ex members of The Flowers Of Romance and Nexus. You may remember The Flowers Of Romance – they were the first Greek Gothic rock band to make it over the borders and had played gigs with the likes of The Mission, The Sisters Of Mercy, and New Model Army, with Wayne Hussey producing and providing additional vocals and guitars for their 1996 album ‘Brilliant Mistakes’ that was released in 35 countries. This album was recorded in The Mission’s studio, Swirlsound, Bristol, and was engineered by The Cure and The Mission’s sound engineer Steve Whitfield.
The Flowers Of Romance, ‘The Crying Puppet’ from ‘Brilliant Mistakes’, backing vocals, guitar and loops by Wayne Hussey.
The Flowers Of Romance, who acquired their name prior to Public Image Ltd releasing ‘Flowers Of Romance’, split up after 18 years together. Their singer, Mike Pougounas then went on to form the industrial Goth band, Nexus, with Costas Spanos and Dimitris Steves in 1998. Nexus came about because Mike had gotten interested in the American scene when the European one spiralled downwards. Suddenly during the mid-late 90s he discovered that the American ‘Gothic’ scene was far more interesting than the European one. Part of this interest grew out of frustration with the proliferation of Internet geeks who were clicking away with their computer mouse and creating music without having a clue, let alone having some soul. Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Orgy had suddenly seemed more interesting, however Goth or non-Goth they were perceived to be. The UK band The Prodigy were of interest to Mike, not because of their music and it’s genre, but because of how they used a mix of computers, instruments and ‘human feelings’ to create their product. This led Mike to industrial Goth with Nexus being his experiment within this genre.
‘Evil In/Evil Out’, taken from the 2002 album ‘Wrapped in Cellophane’.
We now have the latest incarnation in the form of New Zero God after Nexus disbanded. They are: Mike Pougounas, vocals (The Flowers Of Romance and Nexus), Dimitris “Sidheog” Steves, drums (Nexus), Harris Stavrakas, bass (The Flowers Of Romance) and Michalis (Michael) Christou, guitars (Panx Romana and Avaton). However, this is a different line-up to the one that recorded “Fun Is A Four Letter Word”, their debut 2010 album that the band didn’t know they were going to make, let alone release. The album’s line up was Mike Pougounas, Dimitris “Sidheog” Steves, B-Abyss, and E-Raptor. The latter two replaced The Flowers Of Romance member Averkios Chadjiantoniadis and Nexus member Costas Spanos, and have since parted ways with New Zero God to concentrate on their own band.
Credit: Julio Cesar, a long-time fan since The Flowers Of Romance days, who made and posted the video as a present to New Zero God, created this video.
‘Fun Is A Fur Letter Word’ resulted in an immediate record deal with Puzzlemusik Records, but this was almost by accident. The album that had started to be written in 2008, and recorded in 2009, was from a band that, as yet, had no name nor knew that they were going to gig. New Zero God, at this stage, weren’t a proper band. A good reaction when tracks were posted meant that suddenly they had to find a name fast as it looked like The Flowers Of Romance had accidentally re-formed. Then followed the gigging that they hadn’t planned to do either, supporting Christian Death and The Legendary Pink Dots.
Mike Pougounas had previously owned the Cyberdelia Records label, so he’s been on the inside of the industry as well as the outside. Cyberdelia distributed Goth and EBM, was the distributor for Factory Records and Nightbreed etc and released The Mission’s ‘Aura’ album for Greece and Cyprus. When The Flowers Of Romance and Nexus ceased, Nexus finishing at the same time as Cyberdelia in 2005, Mike went back to the beginning, re-evaluated his thoughts, and decided to opt for being in a straight Goth-type rock band with no frills and a suitably ‘dirty’ feel to the whole thing. New Zero God has been put in the post-punk category but there is something more Goth than Post-punk going on, verging on rock that creates a unique sound, all the mentioned elements are there, but with a twist.
To put a band like this into context, one needs to understand that the Greek underground music scene had a boom-time in the 90s that evolved from the Punk and new wave scene of the 80s. The Greek scene, along with Germany’s, Finland’s, Britain’s and just about anywhere that had a Goth scene, suffered the same fate. After the boom came the bust. The success of the bands from these scenes alerted record labels and promoters to ‘the next big thing’. This was actually to the detriment of the Greek music scene that had, and still has, a strong metal fan base. There, as well as over here, record labels jumped on every band going, whether they were stunningly brilliant or totally dire and signed them up. The result was a saturation of the scene by bad bands and the Goth fans simply turned away.
Mike thinks that if it wasn’t for Germany who, because of it’s own healthier scene due in part to the likes of Thomas Thyssen who was reviewing bands such as The Flowers Of Romance, allowed the English bands to carry on gigging, thereby influencing the German scene. Mike said that he thought that Goth would be dead after the Fields Of The Nephilim largely due to bands like Kraftwerk becoming the German version of The Beatles – immensely popular, dominating everything, along with bands who were pumping out EBM Electro Goth music that isolated the guitar-oriented bands. Swedish, Norwegian and some UK bands such as Mesh and VNV Nation formed a different kind of Goth which is dangerously close to Trance – not in the style of music but because the Trance kids latched on to it.
Mike and I discussed language and how bands from all corners of Europe have opted to write and sing in English as opposed to their native tongue. It can be frustrating to find the right English words to give the right feel to a song but since Mike’s been in the business for 30+ years now, English is second nature to him, and to transfer their music across the water and to get gigs outside of their native country, singing in English was a choice that they and many other bands have had to make. We found that we were in total agreement, though, when we got onto the subject of the Eurovision Song Contest and that the word ‘rubbish’ is a universal.
You can visit New Zero God at any one of the following links:
Read Sean Palfrey’s review of ‘Fun Is A Four Letter Word’ HERE
New Zero God on My Space
New Zero God on You Tube
New Zero God on Facebook
New Zero God Fan Club on Facebook
New Zero God Fan Blog – Brazil
New Zero God’s CD “Fun Is A Four Letter Word” is available, including digital download, through CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and a variety of other online outlets and record shops.
New Zero God – CD Baby – newZEROgod
ITunes – new-zero-god
Amazon, UK – Fun-Four-Letter-Word
Amazon, USA – Fun-Four-Letter-Word
Amazon, France – Fun-Four-Letter-Word
Amazon, Germany – Fun Is a Four Letter Word