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Eve To Adam

Interviewed by Mike Korn
Interview With Eve To Adam's Taki Sassaris from 2001
MSJ: When your new CD "Auburn Slip" comes out, people will think Eve To Adam is a new band. But that's actually far from the truth, isn't it?
Yeah, that's definitely far from the truth! The actual conception of the band started with me and my brother in Florida in 1997. We decided to relocate because we were not happy with our musical environment down there. There was a lack of musicians who could work with us. We needed a new canvas, a new atmosphere that would lend itself more to our kind of artistic background. We moved up to New York in September of 1998 to complete the project and fulfill our vision.
MSJ: You had a lot of trial and error before you got the current line-up. Is this the line-up that's going to stick?
Yeah, the current line-up is where it's at. Every member has contributed in a significant way. There won't be any changes if I can help it, ever. You can never really foresee everything that's going to happen but the chemistry right now is excellent. I think we're poised to break out and make more of an impression. We're very comfortable with where we're at.
MSJ: Is there any particular meaning to the name "Eve To Adam"?
Well, I guess...no. I found the name in Milton's "Paradise Lost". The name kind of stuck with me; it spoke to me when I saw it. It's a great name because it allows for multiple interpretations and it doesn't immediately denote what kind of music the band is. Those were 2 qualities I was really looking for in a band name. I love U2; I love their name because it could really mean anything. As far as the primary meaning of "Eve To Adam" goes, the sound of our band really has both male and female qualities. It covers the spectrum of sexuality and represents it sonically. On "Auburn Slip", there are moments of sheer aggression but there are some sultry melodies which are softer. Those aspects don't necessarily have to denote male and female roles but traditionally the aggression is considered male and the melody is female.
MSJ: What struck me as unusual for a band with four guys in it was the name goes from female to male instead of vice versa.
It's interesting that you bring that up. Having grown up in a more female-dominated and matrilineal society, my brother and myself had to learn to become men and take on a traditional role. The generation we're living in now, our whole modern world, is definitely embracing femininity more than ever. And that does have some significant relevance. For us, it really was "eve to adam"; we started off with a certain set of values and then had to integrate other values. Any well-adjusted person has to have elements of both masculine and feminine qualities. Maybe that's what the name represents. I'm proud it represents that journey for us.
MSJ: The hard rock world has the stigma of being sexist.
Absolutely, and maybe that's something else we're trying to change.
MSJ: Getting to the music itself, would you call it progressive rock, heavy metal or just plain rock n' roll?
I think there are tastes of everything that you mentioned, which gets to be a problem when people try to categorize it. We're not a straightforward metal band but we're not just rock n' roll, either. Obviously we're heavier and harder than that but there's elements of rock n' roll, just like there was in Led Zeppelin. There's progressive elements there, too. I've heard Tool described as "alternative metal", I've heard Staind called "alternative metal". I don't see why we couldn't be described the same way. Alternative hard rock, progressive metal...any of those terms could be used to describe us. I think today it's more about getting to know what the band is about than just labeling it. A lot of these labels don't even have any real meaning anymore.
MSJ: Your dad was a doctor. When did the light go on in your head telling you that you would be in a rock band instead of following in his footsteps?
Probably when I was about 12 years old. I grew up in a time when MTV was featuring a lot of 80's metal and hair bands. The first time I saw and heard "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, I think I knew what I wanted to do. I started taking music lessons, my parents bought me a guitar. Alex and me put together some cover bands. I was 12 and he was 10.We've been doing this for a long time, always with the hopes of doing it professionally.
MSJ: Your family has been supportive?
Well, they weren't at first! They weren't for a very long time. It took a lot to convince them and just with sheer persistence and perseverance on our part, we broke them. After they saw what we had put into this, they came to our side. About a year ago, when we had the first mix of "Auburn Slip", we invited them to listen to it and they were very emotionally moved by the whole thing. For the first time ever, I think my Dad understood that music could be a career, that there was a lot of work that could go into it. It requires diligence, it requires hard work, it requires focus...not unlike what he does for a living. My Dad was an immigrant and this whole thing of being in a rock band was really foreign to him at first. Somebody is going to pay to see you sing songs...he never got into that. The interesting thing about this is that, through this whole process, he learned a lot about himself and a lot about his sons and it expanded his horizons. Our relationship is a lot more honest and a lot more vibrant than it ever was.
MSJ: Coming from a Greek cultural background, did that influence your music at all?
I definitely think it did. Growing up in a culture that was very dramatic, growing up Greek Orthodox and attending services every Sunday, seeing the amount of depth and ritual involved in the culture, it really made an impact and had a huge impression on us growing up. It ingrained itself on us, it's a huge part of your environment, you just absorb it. The way our music comes across is dramatic. It's a very dramatic record.
MSJ: Are your lyrics based on real life experience or is it more imaginative stuff?
A combination, depending on the song. I'll give you a couple of examples. The song "World Between My Hands" was inspired by the lost love that my grandmother had when she lost her husband. I was just 2 years old when that happened. I was inspired by how she never really recovered from that. "Matador" is a very personal song that's inspired by self-examination. All the songs are rooted in real life, the emotional interaction that takes place in life.
MSJ: One major name that you interacted with in the past was Desmond Child. It seemed you had a good/bad relationship with him. Can you elaborate on that?
Working with Desmond, who's one of the biggest rock songwriters ever, and getting exposed to that whole business-oriented side, was just amazing. Alex and I got to grow up really fast; we got exposed to a lot of things that would have ordinarily taken 5 years. We got a crash course, we got it all in about a year and a half. We learned a lot about songwriting, a lot about artistry, a lot about self-examination. It helped me find my voice, my vision. Unfortunately, as I was on that journey, Desmond just wanted us to do his thing. The lack of creative control we had was a definite deal breaker for us. We wanted the opportunity to find our own style. We were really young. I was 20, Alex was 18. It was a little bit too much too fast. He wanted us to do things on a bigger commercial level. We turned it down. We felt we didn't want to be associated with something we weren't behind 100%. I don't know how many people would have done it but we walked away from it. We respected what he tried to do for us but really what he tried to do for us could have killed us off.
MSJ: Basically, he was trying to make you into a pop band?
Yeah, yeah.
MSJ: When "Auburn Slip" comes out, it's going to be on Mikendra Records, a label that you pretty much created yourself. Did you create the label so you would have the kind of creative control you talked about?
We've had a couple of different experiences in the industry now. We got shopped around to some majors. We felt that with the amount of compromise that we would have to put on our artistic vision that we just didn't want to go that route. It was similar to the Desmond situation. What we've done by creating our own label and releasing the record ourselves was done out of necessity. We're happy with where we're at right now. We're a young band; we've got our first record coming out. We'd like the chance to develop, the chance to grow. We decided to do this on our own. We've done everything on our own so far anyway. Why not finish the game out and take it to the next level? I guess that might be another meaning to our name, "Eve To Adam". That theme deals with temptation. We were tempted and we walked away. The path that was put in front of us seemed easy but easy is not always right.
MSJ: You've already had quite an experience, because you toured with Motley Crue and the Scorpions. What was that like?
That was amazing, that was like the greatest 3 and a half weeks of my life. Musically, we hadn't gelled the way we are now, but it was great to be playing those size venues. It was great to even be associated with Motley Crue and Scorpions, 2 bands that we definitely grew up with. Motley Crue was another one of those bands that when I was 12, they blew my mind. It was a great honor for us. The amount of exposure we got and the whole experience was definitely a life-changing experience.
MSJ: All the wild backstage rumors about Motley Crue, was there any truth to those?
It's the truth. Nikki Sixx and Vince, they're definitely upholding their reputation.
MSJ: Have you ever had a Spinal Tap moment?
A Spinal Tap moment? Well, there were some on that Motley Crue tour. An obscure band from the northeast, getting to tour with two of the biggest bands of the 70's and 80's, and actually getting to sign breasts. That strikes me as kind of Spinal Tapish.
MSJ: Well, signing breasts is a perk of hanging out with those guys.
Signing breasts is absolutely a perk of the business, no matter what the size!
MSJ: What was the last show you saw just for your own enjoyment?
I just saw Tool and it was awesome, it was amazing. I love going to shows like that because it rekindles my own inspiration. Seeing those guys and what they're doing, it keeps you hungry and it keeps you in the game. They did it the right way. They took their time; they did it their way. That's the kind of success we are shooting for.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 4 at  garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2001-and-2002.
 
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