Details The Scantharies
The Scantharies is a new band put together by Anglo Greek musician and producer Andy Dragazis.
Their debut self titled album is set for release on 3 December 2012 on Memphis Industries. Some may know Dragazis from his four Blue States albums released variously on Memphis Industries and XL Recordings.
Dragazis, who splits his time between London and the Greek island of Evia, came up with the idea of an album influenced by the Greek garage rock scence of the 60s and 70s whilst driving to buy cigarettes with his uncle listening to his old compilation tapes. These tapes were an eclectic mix of old Greek bands such as The Persons, The Forminx and Aphrodites’ Child, traditional Greek Rebetiko music of composers like Stavros Xarhakos and the mainstream instrumental guitar workings of The Ventures.
After spending time on ‘Dreams Island’, an island off the coast of Eretria, Dragazis envisaged the album would be a ‘best of’ compilation of a band called ‘The Scantharies’ who he imagined bestrode the Greek music scene from the late 60s through to the end of the 70s. ‘Dreams Island’ is the island famously visited by The Beatles in the late 60s with their ‘fixer’ Magic Alex. He imagined that this visit inspired four local Eretrians to start a band called ‘The Scantharies’, a play on the Greek word for beetle. The band would morph from a simple guitar led instrumental garage group into a more widescreen and experimental ensemble absorbing more diverse musical influences, becoming increasingly religiously obsessed, before ultimately dissolving in acrimony, overdoses and obscurity.
The album begins with ‘The Start’ and ‘I’ve Got The Green Light And I’m Ready To Go’, two tracks bristling with Fender fuzz that wouldn’t feel out of place on an early Ventures record. ‘The Bear’ and ‘What The Gods Want, The Gods Get’ introduce some Joe Meek electronic flourishes and hint at the greater musical experimentation to come. The tone of the album becomes increasingly darker with ‘Feat Of Flames’ and ‘Advance! Forward!’ culminating with the organ heavy, procession like ‘Hip Messiah’, ending with the Xahakos influenced ‘The Cross’.
The recordings took place in London and Greece where Dragazis has been putting a band of young Greek musicians together to play the songs of The Scantharies live, a case of art imitating art.