Article with interview quotes in Backstage magazine, February 1982
In the Belgian musicians magazine a peculiar article in Dutch appeared that consisted mainly of an extensive description of the man's works, but also featured a few snippets of an interview. It would be rather pointless to translate the complete article, so here follow a few excerpts with mainly the interview bits, split by dashes.
In those days we had requested an interview with Vangelis, and, what a miracle, it was granted. Due to various reasons there were only 5 minutes left for us and Vangelis spoke to us friendly, but reserved and far from open.
It appeared extremely hard to get something from him, even though we had predicted this and had prepared ourselves with the necessary information. But what we did get is enough for an article and, looking back at it, we are amongst the very few interviewers that weren't turned down by Vangelis. If that can be looked at as an accomplishment!
The performances from the Forminx had the same impact as equally tempered bands all over the world: resistance from the older generations against such "madness", screaming fans and disturbances at the stagings, in short: the reverse of what's happening these days... [note: remember, it's 1982] Consequently the rumor appeared that Vangelis "caught" a fear in those days of everything to do with performing, but asked about it he answered with a surprised "Non, qui vous a dit ca?" [Transl: "No, who told you that?"]
Vangelis: There was just the classical problem of almost all the popconcerts at that time: Much turbulence, something was broken and the police interfered. I didn't like that at all, that's true, but to say because of that that I don't like performing is nonsense. Besides, the circumstances during a performance are completely different these days.
In '67 the air turns dark above the otherwise so sunny Hellas: after harsh internal difficulties (that actually originated from WW2), the army takes over the control of the country. After being able to maintain his position for some time, the Greek king Constantijn has to make place as well, and for about seven years Greece is drowned in a hopeless and cruel dictatorship by the colonels.
Backstage: Did you flee for the colonels because of political motives?
Vangelis: Directly it had nothing to do with the politics, although I couldn't stand the military dictators. No one did by the way. What made me leave was rather a collection of problems: you couldn't maintain a dialogue with those people. Performing was made impossible for us, I could no longer obtain the foreign material to continue working in electronic music. As rock musician you were a "persona non grata..." A claustrophobic situation. I left then, to see whether I'd be able to work better somewhere else. Because studying is something one does everyday, isn't it?
On "La Fete Sauvage" we hear for the first time the golden voice of Vana Veroutis. Not only does she sing on Vangelis records, she is also his wife, or was, because Vangelis claims he now doesn't even know were she is.
It's the time in the early seventies, where it's "fancy" to have extensive jamsessions, if you played in a rockgroup, with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix as predecessors. Since Vangelis had more than enough musical friends, there was quite some jamming going on, with the taperecorder turned on. The result was hours of not- or half finished music that certainly wasn't meant for consumption. Unfortunately it happened that ruthless recordmanagers pressed LPs of those tapes as soon as Vangelis gained success with other recordcompanies. Especially since the release of the "Spiral" LP. Thus the monstrosity "Hypothesis" can be found in the shops, an album that should best be left there in all its glory (unless you want EVERYTHING by Vangelis). Vangelis himself denounces them in horror.
Vangelis: It's a model of a jazz oriented record, that we put together in 1970 with some friends. It was certainly not meant to become a record. For that, the music is really not good enough... We have been fighting legally for years to get it out of the stores.
When we ask Vangelis, and tell him that quite some people disapprove of his (over-)production
he answers bored/sarcastically that he occasionally feels like releasing 40 records a year.
Vangelis: People aren't forced to buy my records, are they?
Don't worry, nothing is able to bother that Greek in his studios in London... Nothing? We asked Vangelis whether he'll live in London for ever. Foolish question to a Greek of course, because our beard joked: "Rien n'est definitif (claps in his hands) dans ce monde, hein?" [Transl: "Nothing lasts forever in the world, right?"]
The same answer you would get from Telly Savalas or Melina Mercouri, or whichever Greek you'd ask.
Interview by A.L. from Backstage magazine, 1982
Translated from Dutch by Dennis Lodewijks.