Kyriakos "Charlie" Tsiolis


Strong opinion based and with a lot of vigor, the US Thrash Metal band Aftermath returns to the scene with a new album, "There Is Something Wrong". The overall result is monstrous and overwhelming with its contained message. In their talk about the new album, Steinmetal gained a plentiful of input from Kyriakos Tsiolis, aka Charlie, about what he really thinks about the world around us, and how our way of life can be treacherous and unforeseen  
April 12, 2019
Aftermath's Charlie: "The entire system has been designed by people that have real power – the ones you don't see.  Not the puppets that are elected
Greetings Charlie, I am pleased to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online magazine. How have you been doing sir?

I would like to thank you for the interview.  I have been doing well despite the condition of the world.

It has been a while since your band Aftermath was heard from. In the mid-90s you released quite an astounding debut, "Eyes of Tomorrow", and a few years afterwards, the moniker vanished, with band members turning into different directions. What happened back then in 1996?

Heading into 1996, we were writing some new music and had recorded a four-song demo that was not released, but only used for songwriting purposes.  Then I got a call from an attorney named Peter Paterno.  He tells me on the call that he represents a client that is starting a "small R&B label" and his client wants to name the label Aftermath.  They wanted to offer us $5,000 to license the name from us.  We had received a trademark years earlier from the United States Trademark and Patent Office for the name Aftermath.  This was something bands rarely did back then even the big ones.  So Paterno tries to bullshit me on the phone and offer me what he believed would be enough for us to allow his client to license the name.  He was wrong.

Paterno was one of the biggest and most powerful attorneys in the music business. I think he thought I didn't know who he was when he called.  He represented acts like Metallica and Guns N' Roses and Dr. Dre.  It turned out the client was Dre, which he didn't mention.  We figured it out and sued.  We sued for a Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction to stop the label from using the name Aftermath.  This court hearing was before the scheduled release of their debut release.  The hearing lasted three days.  In the end the judge believe rap fans and metal fans aren't the same and that there would be no confusion between us.  He denied the motions we filed and said we can go forward with a trial.  The problem was the trial would be in front of the same judge and we would need to put money up in a bond if we would decide to move to a trial.  Instead, my brother who was and is our manager was a law student at the time and negotiated a settlement with Dre and Interscope Records.  The settlement was for Interscope to release an Aftermath record. A guaranteed release with no label input at all.  Under the agreement we could record anything, and they needed to release it.  Well I decided we were not releasing a follow up to our debut.  Instead, we recorded a record under the name Mother God Moviestar and gave them a record that wasn't anything like Aftermath.  They were totally confused by this and wondered why we did it.  We did it based on principle and because those songs could never be considered Aftermath.  After the release we did one tour and called it a day as Mother God Moviestar in 1998.

Wow, that is quite a story, a kind of an endeavor that truly led into an entirely different future that was planned, I am sure.
You took your time before releasing your sophomore album "There is Something Wrong" ever since you made your comeback in 2014. What made the songwriting / studio work processes that long?

When we got back together in 2014, we did it to play Headbanger's Open Air in Germany.  We had never played Europe so when the promoter contacted us to do the gig I reached out to the guys and they all said yes.  I had not talked to Steve since 1998 and wasn't sure if he would want to do the show, but he was totally into it.  We never got together to record a record.  We really thought what a cool thing to do after all these years to play Germany would be great. Also, Shadow Kingdom Records was reissuing "Eyes of Tomorrow" and Divebomb Records was releasing our 1987 "Killing the Future" demo on CD. Both releases were coming out in 2015.  So, doing the fest was even better timing.  When we got back together, we did it as a five piece with Steve Sacco (guitar), John Lovette (guitar), Ray Schmidt (drums), Adam (our original bass player) and me.  Before we went to Germany, we let Adam go and John left for personal reasons.  We decided to do the show as a four piece.  We brought in Eric on bass for the show.  The first rehearsal felt so natural like it did in the beginning in 1985.

We eventually decided to write a new song for fun and that song led to the next and the next.  Finally, we figured we would write a record.  I also wanted to release a concept record to bring out all the things going on in the world that most people aren't aware of.  The writing of the songs was easy; the studio tracking was easy also, even though George had joined the band on bass a month earlier.  The hardest part of the process was putting together all the other parts that I did.  The record has an intro, interludes and outro.  Those parts were all done on my iPhone over the course of a year or longer. I needed to go through hours and hours and different versions to select the ones that I felt got the message out.  We also needed to select the ones that would best fit between the songs.  We could have done the record without them and made it a straightforward thrash record, but it needed to be more than that if we were going to release a follow-up to "Eyes of Tomorrow".  I felt it was important to get the message out there and the best way to do it was by making it a concept album.  And to add to that we decided to blend our original crossover thrash style with our technical/progressive style on this record.

Listening to "There Is Something Wrong" had me thinking quite a lot. There are aspects of society that I can't say that I relate to, especially when it comes to the decaying human behavior. You guys took it further on, attacking governance and religion, punching straight in the face. Anything in particular that made you so angry or has it been a slow process that finally made you blow up?

As a kid I would always question authority.  I didn't realize it at the time, but what I instinctively knew was that there was something wrong with the system or systems that rule us.  If you listen to our early stuff in the 1980s, my lyrics were touching on how bad things were.  Just look at the titles from those early songs and you will know what I mean.  But, a lot of kids at that time had those feelings, right?  For me, my view of the world started to become clearer five or six years ago when I started to really wonder and question things deeply.  In human history, there has never really been a time of peace.  What I mean in written history. There have always been wars between tribes, or nation-states in ancient times to wars throughout the centuries.  I wondered why.  Why the wars?  Is it religion or money that causes all these meaningless battles and deaths? That question led to years of research and in the end what I found was that the entire system has been designed by people that have real power – the ones you don't see.  Not the puppets that are elected, but those that never have official titles.  These people and groups have created systems to achieve their goals and keep us uniformed, misinformed, naïve and divided.  So, the process has been a long one for me, but short one at the same time.

From your perspective, is there any hope for human society out of the mess that you claim that it created itself?

I think there is hope if people wake up in time.  That is the ultimate message in the record.  People need to question everything they are taught from the places we have been told are institutions that are there to protect us.  What I mean is that from religion to schools to the media, we are constantly fed information that they want to feed us – to control us.  Question that information.  Research and figure it out.   Why are they spraying chemicals in the skies?  What are they doing at CERN?  Why do governments need to borrow money and turn us into debt slaves?  These are the types of questions we need to be asking.

Musically speaking, what was your vision when you guys wrote the music for this album?

We wanted a to write a record that could blend our crossover style and the technical/progressive style.  For many fans we are a technical/progressive band if they only know "Eyes of Tomorrow".  They have no idea we were one of the fist crossover thrash bands.  We formed in 1985 and we were a speedcore, metalcore and finally a crossover band depending on what term they used back then.  We were into metal and hardcore and our songs were fast and angry.  By 1987, we totally changed styles, our debut was at the forefront of technical/ progressive thrash despite the fact that it was released in 1994 because we started writing that record in 1987.  On the new record we wanted to write songs from both styles.  So, you get a track like "Diethanasia" that is like early Aftermath and then "Gaslight" a track that would feel at home on "Eyes of Tomorrow".  I heard "Killing the Future" for the first time in like 30 years and loved the energy, attitude and vibe of that demo.  I knew we needed this record to have those elements and it wouldn't be possible if it was all technical/progressive.

The way I see it, "There Is Something Wrong" is a true kind of progression that really took you forward from your debut. What is your take on that?

I agree, the new record is definitely a progression from "Eyes of Tomorrow".  What is funny is that the progression wouldn't be there if we didn't go back to our roots.

Why did you choose "Diethanasia" as your lead single / video to present the new album? Does it have the strongest shocking message or something else?

We released the track "Smash Reset Control" before the release of the record as a lyric video. We picked that song because it was simple and to the point.  It was also the most crossover track on the record and we wanted people to hear a song that was different than "Eyes of Tomorrow".  For the release of the record and as the first single we picked "Diethansia" because it is super catchy and the message on that track is really scary if you listen to the lyrics. It isn't the most shocking on the record, but it is the most in your face about it.  You know if the lyrics weren't that shocking it would be much more accessible to radio.

Without a doubt, several of the album's songs sent chills down my spine, the fine integration between the harsh themes and the dissonance of the music, really has quite an impact. Which of these tunes are your favorites and why?

Thanks for the kind words.  I love the entire record and listen to it as a whole often.  I could never say that about our other music.  But my favorite track would have to be the title track.  And "Temptation Overthrown" always gets me going as well.  There is something about that song that is like adrenaline.  "Pseudocide" is up there as well.

As Metal music made its advancements in the second decade of 00s, I wonder if you have been tuning in on what is going on? Any bands that you have been listening to? Any potential newcomer starlets that you think would be significant in the future?

To be honest, I don't know what band (that is currently out there) today will be big tomorrow.  The thrash scene overall is doing great today. Way better than it has been doing in decades and that is great to see.  There are a lot of great young thrash bands today.   But what I was saying earlier applied to metal in general.  When Korn came out, they created a movement.  I don't see that with any of the current metal bands.

In general, how have you been viewing the Metal market in comparison to the days that you guys started out? Is it complicated or rather easy to digest and work with?

The internet and recording process have totally made releasing music today easier. Back then to record a great sounding demo you needed a lot of money and a real studio.  The only way to promote it back then was through tape trading and zines.  We needed to mail everything which cost money and took weeks to get to some places.  So, to get known back then took a lot more money and effort.  Today, you can record a great sounding record in a basement, record a video on your phone and upload to social media sites in a day.  That is amazing when you think about it.  The only problem with this is that now way more bands can do what I described.  So, while it is easier to get it out there, it faces way more competition today.

Will you guys be heading to Europe to support the album or will it be mainly local shows?

We have already played several shows in Chicago before the release and one since.  We would love to play Europe.  We shall see what happens.

Charlie, I wish to thank you for the interview. Aftermath became quite an interesting band. Your new record is a true shocker and an eyes opener for all the conspiracies around us. Thank you for that.

Thank you for the interview.  And continued success with the site.

When clicked, this video is loaded from YouTube servers. See our privacy policy for details.
crossmenucross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram