Today, 4BITTEN’s new album ”Rewind And Erase” is released. We had an interview with their vocalist Fofi about the album, the band’s career and influences. And we found out, Fofi’s impressive voice was nature’s gift. Favourite quote: ”It’s important to love who you are and to believe in yourself.”
Pia: Hi Fofi! First of all, congratulations to a really cool album (click here for the review). I love it! How do you like it? Would you change something if you could travel back in time?
Fofi: Thank you!! We are very proud of this album all around. Would I personally change anything… No… I have learned from ALL my experiences and I have evolved as a person (and artist) because of them.
You start the album with ‘Die in vain’, a catchy heavy rock title that didn’t leave my head for days! Which one is your favourite song?
Hahaha… Glad it stuck in your head! That’s what it’s all about. When you hear a song and it sticks. I don’t know if I have a favorite because everytime we play a song of the new album I love it more… But having said that I do feel that ‘Save My Soul’ is one of the stronger tracks…
The only thing I missed on “Rewind and erase” is a ballad. Was it a decision to not put one on the album or did it just not happen?
It wasn’t intentional… When we were composing the songs, ballads just weren’t coming out and then during the pre-production stage of the album, as we chose the songs… The 11 that made it were the ‘right’ ones.
The title implies you regret something in life and would like to make it undone – what is it? Or is there another explanation for the title?
No, as a person, and as a band, we don’t have regrets. We very much believe that we have learned from our ‘mistakes’ (if there have been any) and that every experience has helped us evolve musically, but as a band. The title is very much a statement for our fans… And anyone who has known 4BITTEN since 2009. It’s saying “Hey, forget what you THOUGHT you knew about 4Bitten… rewind… and erase… and listen again!”
There are some songs (esp. ‘Cause I can’) in which you tell the listener you won’t ever change your way of life – who provoked you?
I can’t say that it was one single thing or person in particular. It’s a song for everyone. It’s important to love who you are and to believe in yourself. But at the time that I was writing the lyrics for the song, the guys in the band and our producer were telling me how I need to sing this album in a ‘stronger’ way than the other two and we got a bit intense for a few days… So maybe that’s it… Hahahaha!
Your video for ‘Save my soul’ is full of religious symbols like the bible itself, statue of Madonna and words like ‘Sinner’, ‘Mercy’, … What’s the message behind it? Are you religious people?
The video for ‘Save my Soul’ – just as the song – is inspired by Ed Gein (a body snatcher and murderer of the 1960’s in the USA). His mother was very religious and would read the bible to Ed and his brother on a daily basis, and she taught her sons that everyone (especially women) were out to tempt them and turn them into sinners. And when Ed grew up and committed the crimes that he did, he believed that those women were trying to turn him into a sinner and he asked for mercy on their souls as well as his own. Are we religious… I can’t speak for the entire band but I myself do believe in God.
Are there plans for another video?
Yes, there are plans for another video which we are preparing for September. But I can’t say much more at this time.
How would you describe the development of 4BITTEN from your debut “No more sins” in 2009 until now?
If I had to say it in one phrase I would say that 4BITTEN has grown and evolved. To elaborate, since 2009 we’ve had the opportunity to play with bands that we’ve respected growing up. We’ve played in front of crowds throughout Europe and the UK, we’ve become better songwriters, we have a much better understanding of how to work in the studio, and in general we have become a tighter unit.
Your music has a big rock attitude but also typical metal elements like the low tuned guitars and dominant bass. Do you feel more like a rock or a metal band?
It’s all rock’n’roll isn’t it?? I mean whether it’s light or heavy or metal… That changes with the times, wouldn’t you say? The rock scene has gotten heavier because that’s the way life is evolving… And we, too, evolved into a rock band with a heavier sound.
What makes your music so special is of course your voice, Fofi. Were you born with it or is it the result of whisky and cigarettes?
I hate to burst a rock’n’roll bubble but… I don’t smoke and I don’t drink… In part, I was born with the voice I have but I have been trained and I know how to ‘handle’ my voice.
Are there plans for a tour or festivals so far?
Yes, towards the end of the year we are planning a Greek tour and 2016 is looking to be a very productive touring year for 4BITTEN, with a European/UK tour, which is being scheduled, and festivals. But, I can’t say anything specific at this time….
Before you started your band, you played cover songs in several clubs – which were your favourites?
Our favorite covers?? Well, we never played songs that we didn’t love… But I think, the ones we enjoyed performing live with all of our Dio and Black Sabbath covers, ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by Led Zeppelin, and ‘Rock Bottom’ by UFO.
You name Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Janis Joplin as your main influences – what else are your inspirations for writing music?
The three artists you named are really just a few… I mean, Metallica has been a huge influence on the boys… But life is THE inspiration. What we see around us, what we experience, what we’re feeling…. Life.
Which band would you like to tour with?
Obviously, we would like to tour with all of the bands and artists who have influenced us, but if we’re talking about bands leaving their mark today… Than Alter Bridge, Slash, and Monster Magnet would be a few bands that we would love to tour with.
Your best live experience so far?
We’ve had amazing live experiences. Just the fact that we’ve had the opportunity to support bands like Michael Schenker Group, Dan Reed, Blayze Bayley, just to name a few. But I would have to say that our best live experience was when we toured with UFO. It was the most extensive tour so far. We played in France and Spain for the first time. We got to joke around every night with Vinnie Moore… UFO had a great stage crew and we had great laughs every night with them backstage. I could go on and on. Unforgettable… Really…
Do you have a kind of ritual before entering the stage?
Hahahaha… Yeah, before going on stage we act like a soccer team after a goal: We hoot and hug and give eachother a hard time. It’s probably kind of funny to watch….
Let’s talk about your home country! Which are the most beautiful places?
Greece has endless ‘natural’ beauties. The islands, the ancient temples/cities. I don’t think that there are any Greeks who have seen ALL the beauty Greece has to offer because there’s sooo much… Definately the island of Naxos (George and Angelo are from there), Santorini, Kefalonia, to name a few.
If I think about metal/rock from Greece, there are only three bands popping up in my mind: Septicflesh, Rotting Christ and Suicidal Angels. Can you name other interesting bands from your country’s metal scene?
Yes, these are three bands that have definately put Greece on the metal/rock map. There are also new bands coming out who are really making a strong mark like 649, Poltergeist, and Planet of Zeus, to name a few.
In Germany, we would describe your voice as a ‘Rockröhre’, which describes a female voice that is low and rough (e.g. Janis Joplin). Is there a word like this in Greece, too? If yes – which?
Thanks… That’s what we’re looking for. Hahaha… No there isn’t anything like that in Greek but it’s true that Janis was one of my biggest influences.
If I may ask a political question: Greece is famous for Alexis Tsipras and Yannis Varoufakis, nowadays, and their – I’d say – rockstar attitude towards the EU. That’s at least what press in my country says. These guys seem to have balls! But how do you see it from the ‘inside’ as being citizens of Greece? Have they done a good job so far or are there mixed feelings in your media and public?
I think that the attitude has been: “Let’s give them a chance to try and do something. Has anyone else done anything better so far…” Yes, I agree that they have balls… And I do agree that Varoufakis has a rockstar attitude. Hahahaha… Have they done a good job? … I don’t know if they can do any better under the circumstances. I’m still waiting to see…
Last but not least: For our magazine is called ‘Metal & High Heels’ I have to ask which your favourite shoes are!
My favorite shoes are allstars, an occasional cowboy boot. But without a doubt, NO SHOES is my preference, especially when on stage!
Thank you for the interview, Fofi! The last words are yours.
Thank you, Pia, for the interview! I hope that people will love this album as much as we do!!! And keep a look out for 4BITTEN because we’ll be hitting a town near you soon!