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Evropi: an interview with Sea + Air

Sea + Air combine exotic Mediterranean melodies and unusual instruments with an extravagant Stadium Rock sound they have coined Ghost Pop. Meet musical couple Eleni Zafiriadou and Daniel Benjamin.

Written by Amelia Gregory

How did you meet and how and why did you decide to make music together?
D: I was bicycling one night and saw Eleni sleepwalking outside of the little village we lived in. So I guided her home. I knew where she lived, had seen her at school and knew she was a great dancer. That’ s why I assumed she would be a great singer, too. When I finally dared to ask her if she could sing she said: I can scream! That’ s how our punkrock band Jumbo Jet started.

Why the name Evropi?
E: It’s Greek for Europe. We had a three year tour across Europe going on with 600 shows in 22 countries where we also started writing the songs for the new album. We were inspired by the music we caught and the conversations we had with young people whose ideas of how Europe could be were very similar.

How did you hook up with wave machines producer Tim Bruzon and what was it like making the album in Liverpool?
E: We met Tim in Stuttgart while he was joining his girlfriend on tour and ever since we’ve stayed in contact with him. He told us about his project Wave Machines and that he’s also into mixing.
So we had this track we were working on and we were kind of stuck with it in the mix. We send the track to Tim and were so excited about how our song turned into something really cool that we decided to
work on our album with him. I was really amazed about his anarchistic approach and that he had zero respect for the material he got from us. The way how he acted like a third band member.
I really liked that. He’s very experimental and there is no German Angst in him.

What kind of music inspires you, do you have different tastes?
E: I’m always inspired by music where artists create their own cosmos and genre. How do you describe the music of Kate Bush or Prince or DJ Shadow or Arvo Pärt? It’s music that just those people
are able to do and no one else.

Who played the traditional greek instruments on the album?
D: I played them. I spent months in Greece, listening, watching and understanding those instruments. I usually don’ t practise instruments cause observing very close is enough and you still keep your own approach to a strange instrument that way.

What inspired the lyrics on the album?
E: My own family history. It’s the story of three women and their journey from Asia Minor to Greece, Germany and back across Europe. But you could easily change the names and make your own
story out of it.

How do you feel about the current migration issues across Europe and beyond?
E: Half a year ago 34 young men from Gambia arrived in our village. I was touched by our little communitiy’s willingness to help. They organized a lovely welcome party for the refugees so we could
easily get to know each other. As for myself I’d rather help without a big fuss than talk about it. So I started to give German lessons at my house and Daniel started to organize excursions where
a lot of the young men joined us.

What can we expect from your live show?
E: The effort to sound like a seven-piece band even though it’s just the two of us.

Find Evropi on tour with Duke Special here:

> Oct 15 – Apex, Bury St Edmunds
> Oct 16 – BOTW, Manchester
> Oct 18 – Fibbers, York
> Oct 20 – Flowerpot, Derby
> Oct 21 – Louisiana, Bristol
> Oct 22 – Copper Rooms, Warwick
> Oct 23 – Boileroom, Guildford
> Oct 24 – The Convent, Stroud
> Oct 25 – Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, Portsmouth

And they are playing in London on 27th Oct at The Finsbury, with Flights of Helios and Business Lunch.

Sea + Air is out now on Glitterhouse Records/Shellshock.


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