Interviews

Dissecting aliens with Vaggelis Koutsopoulos (Ptoma)

In my return to the underground of extreme musick I’ve been able to find a great loads of interesting bands and projects from many different genres. One of these are Greek sci-fi goregrinders Ptoma and because I love to share my love for extreme music with my readers, it didn’t take a long to make my mind up and ask Vaggelis a few questions to form this nice interview. So, here we go!

I’m not gonna break traditions and as such I can’t but ask the totally boring question. How did you guys, meet and what was the reason/ocassion you’ve decided to form Ptoma?

Hi Rudolf, well Nick and I we are friends many years so we decided to do a project. At the beginning Ptoma was low budget project then Dr Chris joined (i meet him after we released some splits and one demo) And Ptoma year by year become more interesting in the audience

Also to point out Ptoma at first formed as fun to have in free time.

I just wanted to ask about that, yes…why have you decided to bring in Dr. Chris? Did you aim for heavier sound, or to free Nick from some of his duties?

Yeah for heavier sound and with Nick using at first FL studio was not so good by the years.

I did the proposition to Dr Chris because he have awesome guitar skills and of course great taste in music.

Majority of bands usually go with different titles before settle down with the final choice. How did the name “Ptoma” came about? Was it important for you, as Greeks, to have a Greek name of the band, or is it just a coincidence?

The name came out by short thoughts. We thought about an unique name and gory at the same time, so we used a Greek word for our project.

Goregrind music wouldn’t be goregrind without a gore oriented artwork and lyrics (or a stage performance). What does inspire Ptoma to write your lyrics? What’s the favourite topic – is it the extra-terrestrial/aliens on Earth stuff, straightforward gore or a combination of both? Who’s responsible for the lyrics anyway?

Yeah totally agree with you about the gore artwork but as Ptoma we thought to use different methods in artworks (alien stuff ). I write the lurics and mostly yes the topic is about extra-terrestrial, mutations etc… and the inspiration of course for Ptoma is from old school horror movies and even horror games.

Let me guess…The Thing, Alien…Predator? Resident Evil? Yeah, we might take a detour for a second here, as I am a big fan of movies (and games as well, to a lesser degree)…and as Greek video market was (and I guess still is) very very rich, what movies have you personally grew up with, what would you cite as the quintessential titles helping you to form a base for Ptoma’s lyrics?

Yeah, haha, exactly! I grew up with movies like The Blob (1989), The Thing (1982), Killer klowns from outer space (1989), Alien (1979). These movies (and lot of other movies ) gave me a big inspiration in everything.

Your very first material released was the 2015 demo “Frozen and Absorbed”. The very song titles are easily distinguished as having the aforementioned sci-fi/horror themes. What can you tell me about that demo, any interesting bits of info about the recording?

Yeah, exactly. About the demo…It was the beginning of Ptoma – easy titles, low-budget work and experimental in our ears. I think it’s still available on Discogs.

Usually, demos are self-released, but “Frozen and Absorbed” was released by Running Through the Blood Productions. How did you end up with that nice little label? And because the released was quite limited (30 copies), do you have any plans to re-release it again for a wider audience?

Yeah usually demos are self released but at that time I was interested to release it running through the blood productions because I wanted to help the label and of course help us spreading our first work to the underground maniacs.

Well we’ve re-pressed it, I think, in 25 more copies… I don’t remember.

Ptoma is quite active on the scene and mentioning one label with a pretty interesting roster, it seems to me Bobby Maggard has taken a liking to Ptoma, as he has released quite a few of your split album releases. Who’s contacted who in this case? Did you get in touch with Bobby to ask about releasing your stuff through his Regurgitated Stoma Stew Productions?

I was amazed when I first discovered Regurgitated Stoma Stew Productions, so why not Ptoma to be among the gore releases of that label!? And yes, I’ve contacted Bobby Maggard (fantastic person and gore artist) for the splits and even the latest single cdr.

When I’ve been researching Ptoma’s output, I couldn’t but notice you’ve been with some other great labels, like Bunch Grenade, Uterus Records, Testicular Records, Inhuman Homicide Records, Eyes of the Dead Productions… do you prefer to “buy around” for the best record deal (if we can talk about such a thing in the underground-goregrind circles), or it was just a deal of the moment? What label did you like the most?

It was just a deal of the moment and thought the labels promoting us and themselves at the same time.

I like all the labels im 100% happy for their help they have our respect and appreciation!

I’ve mentioned Ptoma is quite prolific with its output, 2-3 titles every year, that’s really nice. Do you plan your release or is it a spontaneous decision to go a make some new material?

Yeah, you can say it’s spontaneous decision – and who knows, possibly a new split or even full album in the near future!

Your latest material was released by Yoann from Inhuman Homicide Records in France, how do you view this release from one year’s distance? How content are you with it?

The full album “Life” was amazing release through Inhuman Homicide Records (editor’s note: for the interview with Yoann from Inhuman Homicide Records, click here). For 44:45 minutes I can say – you will enjoy it. Sure, in that release we don’t have short tracks, but it have that space, alien and gory atmosphere! Shape-shifting Killer it’s the most popular track. And I wanto to mention Testicular records has helped for the co-release.

Now, obviously, I can’t miss the important question – what’s cooking in Ptoma’s kitchen? What new material can we expect and when? Anything you can tell us about it?

I can only say, possibly a new, third, full album, but we have lot of work to do and I think it will be ready for 2021 or later. Who knows, it depends the free time of each member.

This is not a useless question, as many goregrind acts don’t play live….what’s the situation with Ptoma, do you play live? If so, what were some best memorable gigs you can mention? What bands do you love to play with and what bands would you love to play with in the future?

We wish to play live unfortunately we don’t have a drummer to help. So if the near future if we find one sure we start to play in festivals. And we would love to play at Obscene Extreme.

Slowly coming to the end of this nice interview, what can you tell us about the current underground scene in Greece? I remember it was very strong in 1990s (to this day I love bands like Nightfall)…how about new bands? Anything worthy of shoutout?

Yeah the underground scene in Greece it’s still strong. Not like 90s, but they keep the underground scene alive. In the grind scene, new band like Raw Noise Apes or even a good Greek grind label Septic Aroma Of Reeking Stench. In the black metal scene…well, there are tons of bands you can discover!

And finally, do you have any band merchandise to offer to those of our readers, who want to have some physical stuff from Ptoma?

Yeah we have the new Ptoma shirt “Sci-fi Gore” available at Ameyal of metal (Mexican label) And in Discogs you can find our previous releases for good prices.

Many thank for your time, bro and all the best for Ptoma!

Thanks a lot much appreciated for the interview Rudolf / Rubber Axe Zine!

Band contact: https://www.facebook.com/PtomagoreOfficial/

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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