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Interview: Simos Tagias

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Roger Martinez’s Higher States begins the new year by welcoming Simos Tagias to the label for his debut EP. As one of the most recognized names in progressive house, the Greek artist has landed releases on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat Music and Cid Inc’s Replug Records. The Athens resident has continued to explore the creative realms of the genre in recent years, expanding his repertoire to it’s more techno inspired derivatives, while never losing sight of his much-loved melodic sound. Now following a remix for Proton Music to begin the new year, Simos makes his first appearance on Higher States with ‘Waterdrop / Fluxer’. We had a chance to catch up with the much loved Greek artist for an exclusive interview just prior to the release. Enjoy!

Hi Simos, thanks for joining us. What is your current mood and what was the last piece of music you listened to?

 Hello and thank you for this interview. I’m in quarantine mood, like the whole world. Waiting for this to come in to an end so we can finally breathe and of course to be able to party again. I don’t know how this sounds to you but lockdown helped me a lot.  I have a lot of free time and unlimited inspiration to produce, so I really enjoy it. The last piece of music I listened was my favourite movie soundtrack “Last Of The Mohicans “

 What are your plans for the coming week?

 I’m super busy due to my apartments’ renovation. Hope to move in soon and get more inspired!

 Talk to us about growing up and living in Greece, how has it affected your musical taste and the music you make?

 I had a wonderful childhood and I must thank my parents for that. Growing up in a country where the sun is always shining, the summer lasts 7 months, with 300 beautiful islands (my wife is originally from one of them), crystal clear beaches and amazing food I couldn’t be nothing less than “Blessed”. I never imagine myself far away from Greece.  I’m the kind of person that listens to all kind of music. Thankfully Greece has a rich cultural heritage of music as Mikis Theodorakis , Yannis and of course the king Vangelis Papathanasiou. Electronic scene in Greece is growing day by day and new producers are doing their first steps. Just like I did back in 2012 inspired by some of the greatest Greek artists like G Pal , Stereo Nova , Universal trilogy , Mike Verros and many more.

 Can you name five tracks that were important in your musical development and why they are so significant for you?

 Its really hard to pick 5 tracks among hundreds. I have many beautiful music memories.  I’ll never forget how I felt when I first listened to Bob Marley. I was six years old . But I ll try to choose 5 tracks that literally pushed me into this magic world of music production:

Underworld – Dark & Long (Dark Train)

The Auranaut Groove On – Dream Off

Banco De Gaia – Heliopolis (Eedupolis Dog Mix)

Shmuel Flash – Chilling Moments (Bedrock Vocal)

Tijuana – Groove is in The Air (Simon’s Future Dreams Mix)

 You have a new EP out this week on Roger Martinez’s Higher States, tell us a bit about the release and how it showcases your individualities.

 I’m really happy for this cooperation. I’ve met twice with Roger and he is a very interesting person! Our music taste is very similar so it wasn’t hard for me to choose Higher States. This EP has two new tracks, in a progressive style with melodies, pads and of course groove which, I believe, characterizes my sound. Additionally, it has very nice feedbacks so far and I’m really looking forward to this.

 You’ve always been known as a progressive house producer but in recent years the majority of your productions have been a bit darker and more on the melodic house and techno tip. What was it that inspired this change?

 I like to make changes so I don’t get bored. I experiment on new sounds and techniques and see what style fits better to me in order to improve and make the best out of me each time. My music followers can easily notice that all the Eps’, I have done so far, have different styles of tracks, from dark to melodic and deep. I really like to. Although I try to get into different genres, I always end up on progressive house.

 Your Higher States release is a bit of a return to your warmer more traditional sound though, will we be seeing more of this from you this year?

Yes, I think this release is closer to my style and I really enjoy to work on these tracks, literally made me happy. Also, I get great response from the crowd and support from DJ’s so far and I intend to keep this way and present more music like this in this year.

 Was there anything that inspired these two tracks? And where does your inspiration come from generally?

 Inspiration and creativity depends on each days’ mood. These two things go together. I woke up one day and I said to myself, lets make something cheerful and I produced “Waterdrop”. Even though I’ve listened to this track a hundred times I still end up with that mornings’ feeling…pure happiness. The other track, “Fluxer”, is more dynamic, darky with pure progressive elements. It is definitely a club track . When I make music I always think how powerful the track can be on the dance floor.  I imagine people dancing with my tracks. Also, I get inspired by listening to other genre for example downtempo or electronica even jazz and try to absorb any new elements that music can offer to me.

 What does your set-up like? Do you favor physical gear over digital? And what studio tools featured heavily in the writing of this EP?

I have a very simply set-up, only the basics.. computer, soundcard, monitors and a lot of software. I like to have everything in one place that’s why I’m not a big fan of fancy synths and hardware. Lots of cables! All my music is made by plug ins.

 Was Higher States a label you had in mind for the project from the beginning? And what made it a great place to release these particular tracks?

Higher States was always on my list , especially when I started to receive the promos.  Really like the music and the line up so I knew that my music can fit to this label. As I said Roger is a friend so I did not hesitate to send him my music.

 How much road testing or friend feedback is done before you’re ready to say a track is finished? And who is someone you share your new music with first for feedback?

It depends..I have a lot of unfished stuff because I was stuck.  In some cases, I have finished the tracks in the same day. It’s the producers’ syndrome. I used to send my new tracks to some friends for a first feedback because it is always helpful to get a different opinion. But, I try not to exaggerate because every man has different taste in music something that often confused me and made me hesitant about selecting a label. Now, I helps me more  to send my music directly to DJs and wait for their response.

 How have you been dealing with COVID-19? How has it affected your daily life, music production and overall inspiration to write new music?

 Like every other man I’m trying to protect myself and my beloved ones. World affairs have affected all of us. New rules and prohibitions which we need to deal with. The good think during this pandemic is that I had the time I need to experiment with my sound and learn more things about music.

 What is the current situation with the pandemic in Greece?

 Greece is in a second lockdown for the past two months few months now. We all have to be patient and never stop hoping for better days to come.

 Once nightlife eventually resumes globally what kind of effect do you think this period in our history will have on the clubbing experience?

 I’m sure that it won’t be the same. Restrictions, especially at big festivals,  will make it very hard for the promoters to invest in projects without profit. It will take time to get back to normal.

 What have been some of your favourite tracks over the quarantine period?

I heard great music during quarantine. These are some throwback tracks I chose:

 The Future Sound Of London – Papua New Guinea

Armin Van Buuren feat Justine Suissa – Burned With Desire (Chillout Mix)

 Apart from music, what makes you happiest?

 Working on our groves taking care of our olive trees. It makes me feel free.

 What does 2021 hold for you? Anything you can share with us?

More good music ..I’m working on some new projects and looking forward for new cooperation’s soon.

‘Waterdrop / Fluxer’ is available for pre-order now via Higher States: https://bit.ly/3rCMbJd

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