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Vasilis Chountas (a.k.a Whodoes) – Composer/Musician(Interview)

A different way of playing (ambient) guitars by Vasilis Chountas a.k.a Whodoes.

Sphere Music has a new featured artist. Let us welcome Vasilis Chountas known as Whodoes. He runs Whodoes musica which transcends genre and guitar styles. He has created a wall of sound by just the use of guitar. For someone who grow up with an ample dose of mainstream music, the guitar sound has been associated with loudness and intensity. All that has changed since I listened to Dolphins in the Sky, the debut album of Vasilis Chountas.

If you haven’t read my review please visit this link.

This interview was made possible through days of interaction in varying times. In between that I was listening to tracks off his albums to inspire me with the questions.

The earliest stage experience he had were several gigs in Italy around 2002-2003. He speaks three languages: Italian, English and Greek. He also contributed his talent to the band The Lost cargo as a guitarist. The band’s lead man Kostantinos Yiotas produced  the phenomenal Dolphins in the Sky.

A detailed bio can be found at the end of this interview.

Welcome Vasilis. You are Sphere Music’s Featured artist! For a start I want to know the earliest music performance you’ve been to. The thing that sort of started you to this musical path.

My first venture into concerts started in my teens. At that time I used to play covers of my favorite bands. Later in life, my first professional step came with the Greek-ethnic singer Yiota Vei. 

You do amazing stuff with the guitar that has never been approached by any guitar artist before. What made you to decide creating this style of music?

When I left my musical training to express my style freely, I realized exactly what I want as a musician and guitarist. This was my need to expand the sound of the guitar in the ichosynthesis using multi-effects pedals, and convert it into other musical instruments as possible, in a more natural way. For these reasons ,I also used other materials like violin bow, wood stick , slide ,e-bow etc and looper pedals for real time composition .As a composer over the years, i developed a personal sense of music ,combining different styles like post rock, ethnic, electro, soundtrack and chill out .

 Dolphins in the Sky is the title of your new album which is out. It contains 11 interesting tracks divided into two parts. The first half deals with floating ‘space’ music while the second half is percussive in nature and very experimental. What made you decide to use Dolphins as part of the title? 

With this separation(in mood), I want to symbolize the difference between urban and natural environment. The first part is inspired of water element, the sea and the blue sky. The second part describes the desire and the search of the countryside, the journey of mental through the daily routine of man in the city. Also is inspired of moments before and after work with ‘’ I’m late’’ and ‘’Dismist’’ tracks. I believe dolphins have a very symbolic meaning because they are among the mammals, they interact with humans and they are also symbol of ecology. All this sensitivity functions of life focus on man, as an integral part of this world.  

Your career includes live performances and recordings, compositions for live orchestra and compilation recordings. What’s the next step for you? 

The next step for me, is to complete the distribution of my cd. In the meantime, I’m working on composing and recording my next album.

What’s the state of Greek popular music these days and what are the exciting things that are happening in your country musically? 

Actually Greek and foreign pop music influence the majority of Greeks. Nevertheless, there is also a small amount of new artists and bands, who gain ground.

You studied law in Italy before devoting your energy to music. How do your reconcile the two? 

The only common element of these two, is the mathematical way of thinking. Τhe difference is, that the mathematical result of the music is less rational than law.

Name the top 5 albums you listen to these day?

Dictaphone : vertigo 2 ,Cinematic orchestra : motion #1 , Mogwai: Rock action , Hidden orchestra: Night wallks

Why did you name your project Whodoes? Instead of just your own name? 

The project name comes from my surname, which is Chountas. My need was to find a way to facilitate the pronunciation for those who don’t speak Greek, and also express my inner aspects.

Tell me the process of composing tunes. How does a tune start and how do you record them? 

First I live, listen, feel and then I compose. My life experiences whisper melodies in my ears. A separation, anger, an afternoon walk even a discussion could be the subjects that inspire me .” Why?” track for example, was an inspiration that came out after the news for our entry in the I.M.F .The feeling of sadness for the future of Greece and the political-social situation worldwide ,was the key for my inspiration. Melodies that didn’t exist at that ,time flooded my soul and so within a week I had completed the production and creation of ’’ Why?’’, who also became a videoclip afterwards.

 What can listeners expect from Whodoes in years to come in terms of sound evolution? 

The artist has a specific aim in his life. And this is what nature intends him to do. The experiment of my artistic temperament with other kinds of music or art, is what the audience expects from me.

*** 

Vasilis Chountas (a.k.a Whodoes) – Composer

Whodoes is a self-taught musician, with professional experience in music compositions for theatre performances, documentaries and narrative acts. Whodoes has performed numerous solo live acts creating musical adaptations of speech and images and has participated in many concerts and festivals.

The term Ambient-Experimental-Looped Guitar is used in order to describe the use of various techniques and gadgets converting the electric guitar into other instruments such as bowed guitar(conversion in to violin,viola,cello sounds)e-bow,slide guitar,woodsticks(conversion in to traditional santouri sound).All this comes from ‘’one man solo performance’’ using abience,beat samples and looping guitar phraces on real time.

This is the first album of the artist “Whodoes”-Dolphins In The Sky. It contains eleven instrumental pieces of music a mixture of ambient, chill out, ethnic, post rock, electro and soundtrack music.

More material are available:

www.youtube.com/vasilischountas

http://soundcloud.com/whodoes

www.myspace.com/vasilischountas  

 

 

DETAILED BIO:

EDUCATION

Diploma in Music Technology                                                                                                2011   :   Vocational Training Institute of Athens, Greece

http:www.oeek.gr

RECORDINGS

2011  :   Personal music project, New Album_Dolphins in the sky

Composition, recording, mixing and mastering

Project:Whodoes-Dolphins In The Sky

2010   :  Music Project _Lost Cargo

http://www.myspace.com/thelostcargo

Lead guitarist

2010  :   Urban Shadow album Hope (Archangel music) track 6“Rif Sa Da

Ni”

PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE

Theatre Performances and Narrative Acts:

2011:     Composer and Musician (live solo performances, music editing,covers, sound design)

“Heroes and Myths: Quotations from the works of Tenesse

Williams”

A performance produced by actors with disabilities by the theatre group “THEAMA”

Athens Festival – Technopolis Gazi
Contemporary Theatre Festival

2010:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, music editing, sound design)

“The Mediterranean Myth of Lamia”

A performance produced by actors with disabilities by the     theatre group “THEAMA”

Acharnes Festival

2009:             Composer and Musician (Live solo performances, sound     design and musical adaptation of speech)

“The Crete of Nikos Kazantzakis”

Screenplay by Rena Venieri (actor) and direction by Manolis Mavromatis (journalist)

A co- production of the Greek broadcasting company

Technopolis Gazi

2008 – 2010:  Composer and Musician (live orchestra performances, solo musical adaptation of speech)

“Women through time: symbolizing women from Ancient Greece to the present”

Performers: Yiota Vei (singer) and Rena Venieri (actor)

A production of the European Theatre Group of Literature

and Arts

Athens Festival
Acharnes Festival
Festival of Marathonas

2008:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, sound design, musical adaptation of speech)

“Vine harvest representation in ancient Greece – acts of wine”, Cretan Theatre Group

2008:               Composer and Musician (live solo performances, sound design, musical adaptation of speech)

“The Lament of Greece” with the participation of Yiota Vei     http://www.yiotavei.gr

Ancient theatre of Acharnes, Mycenaean tomb archaeological site

CONCERT SOLO PERFORMANCE

2011:   Urban Shadow “Hope” presentation, Guest performer

2010:   Support Zion Train at An live club (May 21st), Athens

2009:   Music Gravity “Experimental music and improvisations”

2009:   Mama Africa Arts Festival 3, Athens

OTHER PERFORMANCES

Performed solo and composed the music for the following events

2010:               Book Presentations

2009:               “Yiorgis Varlamos Engravings Exhibition”

2009:               Embassy of Iceland – own album (Whodoes: Dolphins In The Sky) presentation

2002 – 2003: Several gigs in Italy

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