We talked to Lia about the making of “The Finger,” music politics, the Greek government, and her aspiration with the single, “Die! Die Superhero!”, a song that exemplifies the band’s soon to be released post-rock debut album, whose name has yet to be decided.
Musebox: First off, why do you and your bandmates call yourselves “The Finger”? There must be some history behind why you’re so keen on giving someone the “finger,” as obviated in your single “Die! Die Superhero!”
Lia Siouti: Well, actually it started as a joke, during a recording session, somebody made fun of something and somebody gave the finger, so I dropped it as an idea to name the band and everybody seemed to like it. It was in the earliest days of our recordings, when we hadn’t figured out our sound yet, but knew what we wanted to talk about in our songs.Beside the obvious political meaning of the name, it could social. It could be personal. Giving someone the finger and not accepting him to be the “superhero,” could apply to many things in one’s life.
MB: Who are the band members aside from yourself and what role do they play in “The Finger”?
Lia Siouti: The band consists of five members. Aside me, there is Noukas Sotiris, producer and rhythm guitars, Azas Sakis is the lead guitarist, Nick Ditsias is the drummer and Haralanis Andy is our bassist.
MB: So how did “The Finger” come about and what message are you trying to get out there that separates you from other artists?
Lia Siouti: We can’t really tell how or when exactly we formed the band. I mean, we started recording tracks, before we were a full band. We didn’t have a bassist, we didn’t have a drummer. We just knew that we wanted to get some things out there, to try and say something different. Not that the things we talk about haven’t been said before, but we try to put it out in our own words. In a time when most artists write only about love, we include it but not headline it.
MB: You’re based in Greece. We don’t get artists from that area in the globe. I have to ask, what is the music scene like over there?
Lia Siouti: You don’t get artists from this area, cause mainstream is the god here. I believe we have talented artists over here too, but they tend to compromise with the needs of the Greek music industry. They tend to change their original sound, so that it can sell more. Another thing in Greece that destroys every effort to make something different is the people. If you aren’t already famous, they’re not gonna listen to you; they’re not gonna give you a chance. So, what you get, are some talented artists that can’t express themselves, can’t find an audience, don’t agree with each other and they end up breaking up or changing members all the time. That’s why artists from Greece, rarely succeed abroad.
MB: Where have the Greek gotten the idea that mainstream music is the IT music? I’m guessing Britney Spears, Rhianna, Lady Gaga are the rage over there. Do you find yourself performing in Greece or are you planning on touring places like the UK and the US, where indie and unknown musicians are favored?
Lia Siouti: Commercial radios and TV are actually bombing us here with that sort of stuff. And when you have everybody playing the same music over and over, at the end you believe that you like it. It’s brainwash. If you are not famous abroad, you ‘re not gonna get played in Greece.
At the moment we are looking to find an agent to book us shows outside. We know there is a different kind of support in UK and US. We’d wish to start touring from there, but at the moment there are no specific plans about that.
MB: Musicians have it hard when it comes to making a living out of their music, but on top of that, Greece did had its recent debt crisis. With the recession and talk of a double dip in the US, we can relate to the crunch. So how have you seen that affecting fellow musicians around you or how has it affected yourself?
Lia Siouti: Well, at the moment in Greece, if you are an indie musician, making a living out of music, I know that is totally impossible. All the musicians i know also have a day job in order to survive. The debt crisis is getting bigger and bigger instead of making something out of all the loans that we got as a country. I even see many musicians giving up and trying to find another job to have a steady income. Personally, i never relied on music to make a living. It has just inspired me to talk about this system in our songs.
MB: What should we be expecting from your debut album and from where in your life does the album resonate from? Where is that Brit-Rock attitude that you’re exuding coming from?
Lia Siouti: Our debut album will consist of ten or eleven tracks, mostly talking about things we are fed up with. It’s something like a reaction to the financial and political system in Greece and in extension, worldwide. I believe that rock bands especially, should put more of that in their tracks. Besides, rock started as a movement, as an attitude that was passed into the genre.
MB: You said rock bands should put more of “that” into their music. Can you elaborate? What type of music is your pet peeve?
Lia Siouti: The financial crisis has expanded so much in our everyday lives that it seems impossible not to write about it. O.K. love is nice, love is life, but there are so many bigger things right now that worry us, that musicians should write about. People have always been looking in music, to find the words that express them. Also, it’s not just the global debt crisis and poverty, it’s all the civil wars going on right now, we can’t pretend that they’re not happening. Hip-hop seems to be taking it the wrong way too. I like hip hop, but i hate the way it’s turned out to be these days. Where are the messages? Where are the anti-racism, anti-war songs?
We would like to hear something besides booty and money.
MB: What is it about the Greek political system that you’re frustrated about that we will be listening to in your album?
Lia Siouti: If you’ve heard our debut single “Die! Die Superhero!” you have got a taste of the entire album. There was a time when Greeks believed in the system, in the governments word and in the promises they made. It seems now that people have woken up. We believe in superheroes no more! I mean, no one can really save us. We can only save ourselves. Three months ago, the riots were so big in Greece and no one seemed to care about the people’s voice. We’re now saying what we really want to say, but the government doesn’t seem to care.
MB: What element do you think you bring as a female front woman? Is there a specific artist that you’re, to an extent, influenced by?
Lia Siouti: I love PJ Harvey, Nina Simone and Beth Gibbons. They all put their own unique kind of expression in their music. I don’t think that I’ ll be bringing something new out there. There are many female fronted rock bands. I love the Yeah Yeah Yeahs too.
MB: For a band that has only released a single track, you’re causing quite the stir in the interweb. I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more of The Finger down the road, but before you explode, what are you putting your effort into to get your name out there in the public?
Lia Siouti: At the moment we are putting all our effort into our full-length album. We spend endless time in the studio, recording and re-recording the same tracks till we get it all right. Since it’s our debut, we want it to be the best that we can do. After that we’ll start touring. A real engaged audience, only comes when they see you play live. I believe that airplay, or features and stuff, are good for reaching an audience but not enough to engage with it.
MB: Who are some “unknown”/little known musicians that you’re currently listening to or have on your iPod?
Lia Siouti: To be honest, i don’t listen that much new music lately! I’m eight hours a day in the studio and when I wanna listen to something, I tend to listen old-time favorite songs. It calms me down after a tiring day. Plus, I don’t have an iPod!
MB: Do you have anything that you’re working on and would like to tell your fans about? When will you be releasing your full album?
Lia Siouti: We have a full album on the way, but the release date is totally unknown yet, since we don’t know how we’re gonna release it. I would love to see it on vinyl though.
MB: What is the name of your album going to be?
Lia Siouti: We have not decided yet, but we are between two names.
MB: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Lia Siouti: Never give up!