Interview: Mikebass – The Giant’s Fall

TMW is excited to share with you today an interview with Mikebass, discussing his atmospheric instrumental project The Giant’s Fall. Originally released digitally in 2018, The Giant’s Fall seeks to create a narrative inspired by Greek mythology using an eclectic mix of psychedelic doom, sludge, and drone sounds that capture the sacredness of primordial convictions and relates them to contemporary loss of peace.

The burden lies with the listener as the din of catastrophe varies from subconscious to subconscious. Familiarity with the Greek myth of Talos will provide some direction, but what Mikebass does with the inclusion of a Martin Luther King sample twists in the ideas of militarism and greed. Additionally, given the very real challenges artificial intelligence poses to our lives in the 21st Century, as well as our continued refusal to accept tranquility as a sustainable world-view, Mikebass connects centuries of mutual apprehension with his music.

Check out our short discussion of The Giant’s Fall below, and do pick up a copy for yourself.

Hi Mike. Thanks for answering a few questions for us. The Giant’s Fall is said to be a personal experiment for you, departing slightly from the traditional sludge/doom sound and, as the sole member, entirely from your role as a vocalist in a band. I’d describe the sound as post-apocalyptic, atmospheric psychedelic-stoner sludge, which is a bit of a mouthful, but I think justifiably so. Can you tell us more about how this project started, and what lead to you re-releasing the album on FYC Records?

Mikebass: It’s my honor! Thank you very much for your hospitality and the opportunity to say a few words to the readers of USA/Australia and beyond, about my new project, The Giant’s Fall. It was back in 2016, when I moved from Athens to Crete, I started experimenting with this unique project of mine, The Giant’s Fall. It was almost two years of absence from musical events; two years also after the dissolution of Lucky Funeral, the band I was singing for. My purpose was to do something different from what I used to do till then. That’s why I chose to do an instrumental project, influenced by ancient Cretan mythology.

I jammed and experimented a lot in sounds, which drove me to create this doom/psychedelic/stoner/drone style. So in 2018 I recorded a four track EP that was self-released in digital format on The Giant’s Fall Bandcamp page. Several years later my work got then attention of Nikolaos Spanakis and the journey began. I recorded an extra song and it was released by FYC Records on February 28th in 4-Panel Digi CD Format, as a full album, limited to 100 Copies, along with Patches and T-Shirts. And it’s almost sold out!

The album’s main theme is the story of Talos, an ancient giant of Greek mythology. For those unfamiliar, can you briefly explain the character of Talos as the ancient protector of Crete?

Mikebass: Correct! The main character is Talos; a mythical guardian of Crete. He was a gigantic humanoid with a body of bronze. It is considered the first robot ever built or created by the imagination. According to mythology, Hephaistos created him and gave him to Minos in order to protect Crete. He did it around the shores of the island three times a day. He had a nail in his heel that held in his one and only vein, the sound that flowed through him. For me, this giant is purely symbolic. It symbolizes protection, strength and safety.

The song titles help explain what parts of the story we’re listening to, from his creation by Zeus using “Ichor,” the blood of the gods, to “The End of Talos” by Medea’s meddlesome sorcery. It has a complex weight to it, but knowing the story only adds to the heaviness through your use of Sabbath-like doom and the psychedelic guitar and keyboard atmospherics of early Pink Floyd. How did you connect all the narrative ideas to an almost entirely instrumental backdrop?

Mikebass: After choosing the theme of the album, I tried to create a story without lyrics. I wanted to create strong images for the listener by giving them some information through the song titles, so they can travel with their minds and live the myth of Talos. I’m generally an open-minded person and especially with the sounds that influenced me all these years. My purpose was to build a body of dark doom enriched by drone, psychedelic and atmospheric synths.

In “The Giant King,” you sample a portion of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous anti-war speech in which he talks about needing to undergo a “radical revolution of values,” for society to shift from “thing-oriented” to “people-oriented.” King laments a modern society when “machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people,” and calls out “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism,” suggesting such things were nearly impossible to stop. All of this seems as significant now as it was in 1967. How do industry, hatred, and materialism themes stretch back to ancient Greece?

Mikebass: This is one of the most touching and emotional speeches; full of passion and always relevant to the current situation worldwide. I’ve always wanted to use some quotes by him in my music. Of course, it has nothing to do with the theme of the album. I used this specific speech because I wanted to express my socio-political messages through my music; to take position in social and political events, in a time when the battle is now class-based; in a world full of hate, racism, sexism and capitalism it is necessary to express these messages and fight for justice.

I read an article suggesting the story of Talos, along with that of Pandora, is the earliest written example of artificial intelligence. It warns of a future overrun by unnatural creations. The author writes, in part, that it’s “almost as if the myths say that it’s great to have these artificial things up in heaven used by the gods. But once they interact with humans, we get chaos and destruction.” That certainly traces throughout time, having a greater impact as technology develops. Do you agree with this comparison, and how do you think it relates to the modern world?

Mikebass: The truth is that I have stopped believing and trusting man. Yes, it is wonderful what the human mind can achieve (see science, arts and technology). But equally important is arrogance, malice, destruction, self-centeredness and the thirst for power at any cost, creating gods and religions to live in fear. I believe in the goodness and purity of some people. I trust and love nature and also all the animals that want to coexist harmoniously, with equality, peacefulness and justice on this planet. The rest are like the box of Pandora. They opened it and are already living in chaos, destruction and obsolescence. Unfortunately, the times we live in are very difficult. Maybe it always was.

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