Welcome to wherever you think you are.
This is the official introduction to the artistic music act, Starcry.
“Starcry” stands for the call of the sane in a mad world. A rather mundane, common and boring selling proposition for a band that claims “legendary” status. Although mostly known today for its graceful, industrial self-irony, oozing big city demented, dark, urban rythmes, Starcry has grown out of rural states of horror that must be defied by modern society for secular thinking to progress.
It started in 1991 and used to be what is nowadays called a death-rock band.
It happened at a place marked on Greek maps as Karditsa,
although it actually is “the Bog”. A lot of swamp things
got recruited to play the usual instruments rock bands played half a
century ago, and a lot of them sunk back to their swamp. They all entertained the thought that it was cool to play no more than 3 chords and out of sync and tune, which was great, but very soon they wanted to be recognised as virtuosos and outshine the rest of the band. But the band would triumph.
It is only now this obvious that Starcry where going nowhere at all
back then, and the Greek-lyrics-only side-project Rockshire, in which the
band played commercial covers in the greater area of Karditsa's flatland-country-side bars, could only confuse things further. Yet it was an important step into defining Starcry's identity as one of those weirdo bands concerned with issues of social psychology, political economy, mythological metaphor and cultural criticism.
The kids in the 1993 photo (Sefis Triantafillou –drums, Nikos
Doukas –bass, Nikos Dachris –Vox&Guits, Kostas Zaharis –Keyboard)
sounded as boy-ish as they look, almost like My Dying Bride and Anathema.
Shortly after this photo was taken, Nikos Pavlis (guitar) was added to
them (or maybe they were added to him), and shortly after that, they
sort of split up.
Or so they thought.
At the Art college, the Starcry identity got influenced by the persistent and passionate effort of dance students and
teachers, inherent in the apparent grace of jazz, classical and modern ballet, where Nick's major
project in Illustration was on.
Starcry was seemingly transcending the curse of the Bog. And sounded more like KMFDM - or even like Marilyn Manson without the drugs. A new tape was recorded and sent out to record companies. And then Nick came across the music of KMFDM for the first time. And knew that he had been missing something out, that he had to try harder. But it took him some time to realise thet it meant he had to become involved with commerce and public relations and branding and all those base things that artists usually despise.
As it were at this point, Starcry had lost its swamp links and was a one-man-band. Nick Dachris went back to Greece thinking that his expertise, skills and qualifications, transcending common competition standards, would take him anywhere he wanted successfully, and like a good honourable Greek man that he was, served the Greek Army for 18 months. His shock and disappointment were immense, as he realised that he was destined to face the Bog everywhere. And although Nick would have it abolished, the army was an even greater lesson than that of the dancers' grace to him. He learned about explosions, camouflage and loafing, and about status and power in closed, bureaucratic communities, and how incorruptible corruption is, and other existential ills the militaries breed for the greater, national benefits.
He could have let go at that point, give up Starcry and the gracious outfit and the grand shite gig’s first applause that had
long since gone dumb, and let the Bog swallow him.
Starting business in Athens, where he was born, Nick Dachris would stand up to the
Bog, for this was his miserable destiny. (It could have been a lot worse, Nick).
The debut Starcry album is ceremonious in the sense that it celebrates the fundamental institution of marriage, with its ritualistic, mock-wedding metaphor, and a critical stance, questioning love, discipline, sexuality, deviance, grief and a few more essential building blocks of social stability. It is comprised of 10 tracks that deal with the turbulant relationship between Eros and Psyche - or between the Id, the Self and the Ego, the Animus and the Anima, the Persona and the Shadow etc. - in a world that has only debt to promise for a future to young people. It is more or less a tragic irony, verging on comedy but never quite evoking laughter, commenting on the core anthropological principles that most social constituencies tend to have in common. It can be followed throughout as one piece of bizarre meditation, a passage of enchanting disillusionment, celebrating the ugliness that modern cultures promote as ideal for private life-values. The front cover (click on thumbnail image to enlarge) bears a carricature of Nosferatu the Vampyre in a confusing, multilayered frame and the album opens with Klaus Kinski's haunting monologue from the homonymous 1979 film, disolving into the piano introduction of 'I love you (sexy version)'.
And the critics' reviews were positive!
Nick had to face the dark energies of the Bog, head on, then. It appeared to him that everyone was lying to everyone else, that nobody trusted anybody, that honest communication was insulting and therefore not normal. Logical reasoning proved as difficult a task as frequently argued by modern art, and as a shock at the mistaken legitimacy of 'norms' which are presumtuously taken for granted. And then logic vanished altogether. And the oblivion of its absence was so forgiving... But how could community exist if no one trusted another, how coud the market function, how could the economy be anything other than an illusory fabrication? And then how can there be science and art and any kind of noble progress, if truth and honesty are outcasted from the 'norm'?
After Ideal Husband, a nice financial
and a nicer neurological crisis, Nick set out to answer those difficult questions in defense against the deeper schizophrenia that rules the Bog. He wrote five new songs and a new version
of a 1992 Starcry one, (Sanctum), and packed them in a demo CD titled 'Answer
While a grand, international Art exhibition, 'Outlook' was going on in several prestigious sites in Athens, a humble, downtown rock club named 'Odd' was accomodating Nick's 'Dark Meditation'. Outlook provoked the Greek Orthodox Church and the political opposition grabbed the chance to destroy the national credibility of the government which supported Art. On religious/conservative grounds, of course, critique of national dellusions is treason. Fundamentalist Orthodoxia took to the streets, attacking the “impious” Outlook and causing a scandal which led to censorship and government overthrowing. Outlook removed the “dirty” pieces and carried on as scheduled, with even more visitors than before. But the Orthodox fanatics feeling all powerful and justified now, also found 'Dark Meditation' and attacked Club Odd. The exhibits were violently removed from their mounts, damaging the walls and the works. The club owner got so shocked it took him three days to call Nick and report the incident. Nick wouldn't chase the issue or make too much of a fuss in the media under the given political climate conditions, as he had only just started part-time work as Art teacher in State Primary Education. Instead, he would establish this website to accomodate the 'secret' identity and keep it separate from from his teaching duties.
Business taking an upturn for the adventurous leader, 14 new tracks found their way into a pre-release in 2004 and finally got released in 2006, in Starcry's second full album, titled 'One Night Stand'.
'One Night Stand' is a glorious, Science-fiction-colored, audio torment exploring some very deep yet everyday pleasures and agonies, springing from the reconciliation of the 'normal' individual with the 'freak' inside him or her. With emphasis on atmosphere and architecture, this was the defining Starcry masterpiece. The front cover (click on thumbnail image to enlarge) shows a monochrome spiky goth flirting with a monochrome spiky fish in a sea of striking colors. There is an Orphic sequence to the songs and it is far more sinister and devastating than its predecessor, the debut, but somehow easier to listen to. It contains most of 'Answer Me', too. And its reception as a great improvement to an already good scheme convinced Starcry to allow for a bit of marketing.
Concerning brand sector pigeonholes, Starcry at this stage was difficult to compare with other well-known bands, but if one liked the old Skinny Puppy stuff, they would likeky like Starcry's too. Feedback from critics and non-critics placed Starcry between Front 242, Nitzer Ebb and the Future Sound of London with the majesty of Fading Colors or Kirlian Camera and a touch of Das Ich. Playlists that included Starcry at this point, were also populated by Ministry, The Prodigy, White (& Rob) Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Kreator(!), Suicide Commando, :Wumpscut:, Project Pitchfork, Christian Death, Dead Can Dance, Joy Division, Sunshine Blind, Concrete Blonde, Eurythmics, Boytronic, Madonna. And the Sisters of Mercy, the Mission, the Cure, Bauhaus, Fields of the Nepfilim, Killing Joke, Nine Inch Nails, the Birthday Party and Siouxsie and the Banshees. And a lot more, but -surprisingly- seldom or no KMFDM. Under the influence of this new bit of contextual enlightenment, Starcry could be characterised as dark alternative to the Classic Rock lines it errupted from. In short, Starcry would fall under an' artistic, industrial/electro-goth' heading. In shorter still, just Gothic Rock. Or Electro. Or Industrial. Or even 'Foreign'/'World'. Whatever suits the audience. Years later, Starcry was included in Mick Mercer's 'Music to Die For' with a compliment for clever titles.
'One Night Stand' was followed by the 'One Night Tour', another shitely wonderful incident in the Starcry saga...
But not before a time-warp of almost two years in which 'The Giaour Project' (2005) was recorded and released as a free gift to the visitors of this very web-site. The freakiest ever Starcry compositions, full of scorn and mockery against the establishment of militant doctrines, glamorous Olympics, Eurovisions, international Soccer Cups, National parades and rocketing Public debt and unemployment, were meant to shock the Greeks and those influencing Greek matters out of complacency.
'One Night Tour'(2006) itself was great fun. It lasted for a single night and it was followed by an idiotic, online blaze of glory that lasted a few weeks and made Starcry one of the most notorious dark genre bands in the Greek scene at the time. It flashed the social bitterness of the local dark genre, the bands, their ex-members and their fans. Starcry wasn't actually part of the greater soap opera but its thread on the Greek bands forum of Postwave.gr offered the stage and lights for hell to break loose upon the gig's support band, Ding An Sich, to whom Nick eventually proposed a joined marketing venture, upon whose decline the incident was over. Most people made no sense of the whole development and no change was observed in the sales of CDs and T-shirts afterwards - those remained null. But the market and cultural feedback Nick Dachris got out of it was invaluable, as it pointed out the shape of things to come. Starcry was finally above and beyond the Bog.
And the Bog wanted it back.
'Syphilisation' was finalised in 2008 and mastered by the revered Tom Baker of the Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Judas Priest, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Static X and others, level of sound professionalism. It was the most complete Starcry moment and, sadly, the last achievement of Cockroach Studio.
Preparing the promotional exposition of 'Syphilisation', Nick filmed a video clip for 'Rain of Stars', track 4 of the album. The song was inspired by the simplicity pertaining life at a nudist camp by the Aegean sea in contrast with the infuriating complexity of Capitalistic-Cannibalistic Urbanism. The video draws attention to the vainly contradictive masquerade that is enforced upon every individual member of a society void of confidence in itself. There are no actual bonds there, yet the soul is hanging on to its crucifiction, wearing its social identity mask and addressing an arbitrary but beautiful cosmic phenomenon pleading for transportation to an undefined paradise. Is it coherent or not? asks Nick. Is it safe to drop the mask and step off the cross? Or is it the human condition for a coherent society that always demands of its members to wear a mask and suffer on a cross? And are we happier without the burden, even as there is nothing else in the picture to aspire to?
Right after shooting 'Rain of Stars', the decision was taken for provision of reference to the early stages of the band, and the message underlying the greater darkness which Starcry was aiming to illuminate. For one day, early in autumn 2008, Rockshire was resurrected and 'The Disco Barbarella anthem' was made into a video clip, 16 years after it was written to define a band playing commercial covers at a Thessalian rural club called Disco Barbarella. Featuring Dimitris Zambogas, Nikos Pavlis and Nick Dachris with the ad hoc Acropolis Zombie Squad, it doesn't belong to 'Syphilisation' per se, but it complements it by reframing its front cover illustration, in a slightly different metaphor for the same situation, so furthering the message to include its origins. There is one straight forward question asked in the lyrics of the song: “What is here?” - or “What is it here?” since the song is in Greek and the interpretation may vary from one intellect to another -. And the setting is the very cradle of democracy, the actual place where the ancient citizens of the State of Athens held the first democratic meetings, some 2,500 years before. Find “what is here” wherever you are and it's likely that you'll start re-discovering your whole identity. It's kind of fun. Especially with a bunch of idiots jumping around in a state of utter nonsense, before the prime symbol of the most sacred of Western ideals.
Coinciding with Syphilisation's release, near the end of the year, wildfire riots started in Athens, and the country sunk into an Economic Crisis that would become renowned globally, putting the Eurozone in a very awkward position for years to come. The band was shocked to witness what they thought was a subjective clue of their peculiar paranoia alone, become the main objective for an entire nation, without 'Syphilisation' ever even hitting the radio-waves. 'Barbarella' never made the news but three years later the news were filled with the shocking sight of the entire Greek nation jumping around in utter nonsense, like idiots. And with other nations joining in, too.
Starcry hardly promoted its records. There was never much of a budget for marketing ventures and the art was typically more important to the artists than anything else. Most people around them were too busy kicking each other's balls most of the time, to take notice and consider current artistic messages by foreign-speaking snobs who renounced the kicking practice altogether.
Whether Starcry's 'Syphilisation', or any sort of 'authentic', 'underground' and 'independent', artistic philosophy can make a difference to the world or not, remains to be determined. So far it seems like the old world is dying, just as it was always the case, regardless of Art. Maybe, when historians in a calmer future examine the data, there can exist a plausible conclusion.
Or so goes the Starcry message, anyway (for those incredibly few who care to pay attention to it with an open mind).
The gloomy recession, still deepening four years later, darkly confirms the prophecies spelled out in Starcry's last release. The epidemic Syphilisation, spreading to the more affluent nations of the globe, is inviting totalitarian, 'Iron Fist' rules to put an end to the 'debt-culture'. And we've yet to face up to our animalistic emotions as species and civilisation, for a Starcry catharsis to occur. Meanwhile, Cockroach Studio is still uninhabitable due to the tear-gas, scorchings and smog of downtown Athens. Nick Dachris has returned to the UK and started a new business, secure for his sanity in the realisation that the great Bog was in a sense real and actually spreading, and it wasn't just him it was after.
Dr Nikos Pavlis has returned to Karditsa to practice advanced accounting. Dr Zoe Dachris has devoted her attention to exploring new paths in musicological synthesis.
As it stands in April 2012, Starcry has fallen silent. Listening to the cries of despair from the fall of short-termism, produces a twisted pleasure for the artistic demons possessing the souls of the band members. Meanwhile, the friction between macro-paranoia and micro-common sense is preparing the grounds for unprecedented Art. The Bog is upon us, all...
This story is to be continued.
Starcry's 'Syphilisation' and 'One Night Stand' CDs are distributed by Music Post (GR).
All Starcry.gr content Copyright © Nick Dachris 1993 - , unless otherwise specified. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org