None Other is a one-man project by Greek musician Spyros Charmanis, who recently released an album titled Than The Common Plague. About this concept album and other topics, Spyros talked with Moshville.
How did you go about forming None Other?
To be honest, ‘None Other’ is more of a moniker rather than a full band. My two previous works had my name on them (‘Spyros Charmanis’) and this time I thought it best to go with an alias, if you will, as I believe a ‘band name’ would be easier for people to remember than a difficult to pronounce weird Greek name! ‘None Other’ serves also as a play on words, as apart from a few quest appearances it’s just me!
Let’s talk about your new concept album Than The Common Plague.” What would you tell to the potential new fans to give a chance to this record?
First of all I would thank them if they choose to pay attention. There’s so much music out there it can get overwhelming! When it comes to this particular record, I think that it can be evident how much effort, care and love has been put into its making, from tying the music together to the production and the packaging, and I’d like to think people ultimately appreciate that. I am a fan of albums as an art form myself – not just a bunch of songs thrown in together – and that’s what I wanted to create. From my part, I wanted to make as complete an experience as I could, and if people can put on the album, hold the book and feel anything for a few minutes then I can be happy!
What are themes that you explore in your lyrics?
When it comes to this record, the story reflects on a health-related adventure I came face to face with a couple of years back and it deals with disease, life through course of treatment and the inherent isolation through the journey that ends with ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’. Not that this last part has any specific meaning attached (like, dying), it is rather to state closure and thus open to interpretation for each listener.
Why do you prefer to make concept albums?
I guess the easiest explanation is that I am an avid fan of concept albums myself. I find the medium very open to artistic freedom, it can give me so much room to develop and explore ideas. It is much like a guideline or a purpose that you have to serve, although not strict in the slightest, where the sum of its parts when put together become stronger and coherent, while not taking away anything from the beauty of a good individual song. Of course that ‘coherence’ –while subjective- is not at all easy to achieve, but that challenge is what draws me into concept albums! The line between make or break it is a fine one and that’s always attractive to me!
What is None Other up to these days?
There is a video being prepared, featuring a live acoustic-electric rendition of a song from the album which was shot in a studio the other day. I’m also preparing for some intimate live dates around town here in Volos, Greece. These are very personal and always fun to do: a voice, a guitar and an amp, nothing else! But other than that, it’s just normal, boring everyday stuff. Double the boring actually, since I’m working two jobs.
Are there any projects you are working on beside None Other?
None other at the moment. Hey! Kidding aside, I’ve always wanted to form a power trio type of thing, I’m very fond of power trios! Who knows, maybe sometime the opportunity will present itself.
If you are asked to pick a song which represents None Other in the best possible way, which song would it be and why?
I’d pick ‘Bearer’ from the new album and that’s because it can get both intense and quiet and has a nice quirky drum pattern to it. I think this song best describes the mood swings apparent throughout the album.
Do you love to perform live and where does None Other stand about live performances?
Of course I do, who doesn’t? There are these solo live dates I mentioned earlier, but apart from that…The thing is, where I live it’s very difficult to find people I can trust in bringing the material to life in a full band line-up situation. It’s a tough combination of a variety of reasons: small town, demanding material, plus my unique blend of perfectionism and insecurity doesn’t help me either I bet! But you know, never say never.
Is there anything you want to share with our readers about your new album?
I’d like to say I’m very proud of both the end result and how it came to be and I believe that whoever chooses to invest in it will end up feeling rewarded! On the other hand, everyone says that about their recent work, right? Thanks in advance to whoever takes the time and lends an ear!