top of page

Reminiscing Dark Malta 2024

The Amazing Ms. Lia Hide


F Photo by Who Cares Luc Luyten

An early start on Friday, 19th April 2024, at the first day of the Dark Malta Festival – 5th Anniversary, was awarded with a superb performance by Greek artist Lia Hide, accompanied by her band featuring Dennis Morfis on guitars, bassist Aki’ Base and George Rados on drums.  Her virtuosity on the keyboard and the lyricism of her song writing shined through.  With what seemed an effortless performance Hide transmitted her message and left the crowd waiting for more.

For those not familiar, Lia Hide is an Athenian singer / songwriter, producer, music educator and performer.  Her music can be described as dark, art, avant grade and a bit pop.  After a prolific recording past in the Greek Electronica, with numerous releases, albums, collaborations, and compilations.   She has collaborated and appeared with Tricky, KBHTA, Kovacs, Joseph van Wissem, Anneke van Giersberg, Keep Shelly, Molly Nilsson, Kadebostany, Robin Skouteris, Ida Nielsen, Lucy Woodward just to name a few. 

Lia Hide is constantly touring throughout Europe, USA and Canada to promote her music.  

To date Lia Hide has released 4 solo studio albums:

“Home” [EMI-Universal, 2013],

“Everyone Seems to Know Who I Am” [DontHideMe, 2017],

“Tells no Fairytales” [DontHideMe, 2019 – vinyl by B-OtherSideRecords],

“The Missing Fourth Guest” [Conch Town Records, 2022]

 a Remix album:

“Fairytales Remixed” [Amour Records, 2019]

and music for the Dance drama “ΓΕΝΟΚΤΟΝΙΑ” by Pavlos Kourtidis (2019) “GENOCIDE” by Idalgos Records.

More information can be optioned from  www.liahide.com and www.facebook.com/lia.hide


How was your first experience in Malta?  Did you manage to enjoy our island apart of performing at Dark Malta Festival?We absolutely loved it! We stayed at St. Paul's bay, and although at first it seemed like a ghost town, as we arrived really early on that Thursday, it didn't take long to realize that was not the case, not at all! We were also celebrating my birthday (all through the weekend..) so we made sure we wined and dined at every occasion and place (meaning pub, restaurant or our hotel room balcony!). We spent the last day in Valletta, which was beyond anything we could imagine, simply gorgeous, and Dennis had the chance to visit Mdina a little and reported how amazingly beautiful it was (I unfortunately had to stay at our merch table, but don't regret it a bit, met amazing people and made new friends, right there!)


What is the first music you remember hearing whilst growing up and what where are your main influences?The very first music I heard (that I remember) was the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel and a specific album of Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis that was recorded in New York and produced by Quincy Jones, Joconda's Smile – we used to travel a lot in Europe with my family and most of the music I remember was the ones my dad chose for the road trips. Now, my main influences is a whole different chapter. There's a lot of the 90s grunge (and not only) scene in me, and I absolutely love Faith no More, Soundgarden and NIN, grew up when the Prodigy, Massive Attack and Rage Against the Machine emerged, but at the same time I've listened to a lot of Jazz, Classical, Film Music, especially Ennio Morricone, and then again, my first vinyl album I bought was Pet Shop Boys' Behavior while I adore Cindy Lauper, and not to forget : I call myself Kate Bush's daughter and Tori Amos' sister, so you understand it's all over the place!


Photo obtained from liahide.com

Does a classical background training help even when writing modern tunes and electronica?I can't say it does, on the contrary, a classical background may be tricky, as electronic music tends to be rather simple in structure and harmony, so I actually have to scold myself and go back again and again and edit and take out stuff, all the time. It does however help me in particular to formulate my personal musical character, so this is more or less why I choose avant pop as a genre, it seems to be embracing what I do, more accurately (check the wikipedia article on that, I love it!). My sound engineer in Athens used to say that us classically trained singers and vocal teachers are a pain in the a$s to record, as we never let go of what we've been taught, never sing freely, and I have to agree it took me some time to go back to being a punk soul as a singer! The biggest issue though, is that studying classical music you are sooner or later imposed with a burden, the notion that you continue the legacy and are obliged in a way to be as good as your predecessors, so that makes us our worse enemies, nothing is ever good enough. That is the bigger obstacle one has to overcome.


How would you describe the style of the songs on your solo albums?

Each album is a different story, both as a narrative in my lyrics, as well as in musical style. My first album HOME is toooo long, and far too complicated in production, but then again, that was me back then. I moved on to a more southern-nightmare, dark-folk second album with murder ballads, whereas my third album was more alternative with more aggressiveness and I started writing more social and political songs, let the guitar go distorted and used unusual song lengths and structures, which lead to the fourth album that is, to me, the most mature to date (seems natural I suppose). It's where I let go of all biases and insecurities (lockdown can do that to you) and released all my music influences and needs, so there's jazz and trip hop and post punk and progressive and spoken word and harder themes to talk about. All of them albums are concept albums, but I think I fully elaborated and expanded the fundamentals of the idea of the concept album on the Missing Fourth Guest.  


Photo obtained from liahide.com

Tell us a bit about your musical journey between your first solo album ‘Home’ released in 2013 and ‘The Missing Fourth Guest’ (2022).I took me a while to release my second album, after a turbulent departure from EMI-Universal (that released my 1st album) and I deeply regret that. I lost way too much time, and way too much energy struggling with that bullying I suffered there, but bounced back eventually, and decided to work only with small indie labels from then on - until the label of my dreams will knock on the door (if you have any friends at Sargent House, please let them know..). The band around me stayed more or less the same, George Rados drums, has been my best friend since we were 14 years old, and I could not imagine this without him. Aki'Base bass, joined us a decade ago, just in time for the 2nd album, and this hugely effected our style, as he brought in all this amazing dark wave, melodic bass lines and post attitude, and Dennis Morfis has been by my side since my 1st album's presentation, took but a small hiatus to work on his own projects, only to be replaced by two of Greece's most amazing and prolific guitar players, the Godess of guitar that is Irene Ketikidi, and Panos Papazoglou, and now Dennis is back to stay. We decided to add a trumpet for the 4th album, the amazing Stelios Chatzikaleas, which you did not see at Dark Malta, alas, as it tends to be rather costly to fly a 5-piece bands overseas, but I promise we will have him with, next time! Apart from working with these amazing gentlemen I also took some time to study a bit more, finished another Master’s degree, this time in Songwriting, in Bath, and started writing music for the Theater and Dance Dramas, while in the meantime I took it fully upon me to be the tour and general manager of the band as no-one else could/would fill in those shoes. We started touring overseas after the 2nd album, as we realized that there is no scene for us in Greece, and if it were not for Covid, we'd have reached half a thousand shows by now, I figure, but then again, we wouldn't have written that unique 4th album – so no regrets! It's been busy, to say the least!  


Prior to releasing your solo albums, you collaborated frequently with other established artists.  How did that help you in your career?When I was younger, I was always in bands, since really really young, like 13 years old. When my last teenage band broke up, I quit the idea of releasing music, as I had no band, and these two seemed inevitably bound together, to me. So, in a way, if it were not for all these collaborative projects, I would have probably have pursued an academic music career or be a musical theater performer (which doesn't sound that bad, come to think of it). Being in the recording industry kept me running so in a way I was always ready to embark on the 'Lia Hide' (Lia Hide is not my real name – it's a loooong Greek one (!) but I'd rather not share it) journey. I took the decision to start my 'solo' project however, when the producers I worked with wanted to do soulful music in Greek, and I hated that idea. I don't hate the idea of Greek as a language in music, I am actually about to release some myself. I do hate the idea of creating music aiming specifically and only for money and only that, like, cheesy, silly love songs. So, this is more or less the turning point, when I decided I was not in it for the money, rather, I wanted to make tomorrow better, I wanted to communicate and I wanted to meet other people and understand how the world turns.


Photo obtained from liahide.com

Apart from the fascinating soundscape your albums offer food for thought through the lyrics.  What are the subjects covered on your songs and what message do you want to get through to your listeners?In the beginning there was love. Everyone feels safe discussing the romance and breakups and wounded heart. But to be honest, I have very few love songs and they are all about stupid ex's and their manipulative nature, so there's one subject, hurt and pain when my arm's twisted. Then there are a few songs on my family, and I need to ask them to forgive me, but have not been the most easy going and healthy of families, I have to admit, and they really messed me up. So, there's abuse, and sentimental bullying and then, my biggest fear, growing up to be a mean, old, sick in the head - woman, like my grandma. And a theme that always fascinated me, serial killers! So, there you have it, the theme of psychological disorders. There's songs about death (we lost loved ones in Covid) and there's songs about birth and children than never came. And then, there's social injustice, defending the weak and shouting out for the destruction of our planet, the capitalistic consumption of all that beautiful and healthy, just for the sick sake of profit. That's quite a range of themes, I have to say! But what I want to get through once the curtain falls and you leave our show to go home, is that it's ok if you're not ok, it's ok if you are strange, and it may be ugly and hard, but we'll make it, we just have to.


The world, once again, is going through a turbulent period.  Do you think that music can help by bringing people together?I honestly don't know. Music has changed into a very commercialized product more than ever. I don't know how when Tay-Tay and Queen B are flooding the information stream, other genres can survive – I feel like all others are shrunk into a niche. Yet, I realize that now, more than ever, there is a huge gap between American and European Music, and I have great faith in our culture (but not our politics) here, in Europe (90% of the American mainstream music I hear lately is really useless to me, and even worse, I've followed amazing artists that once they reach the more mainstream stats, their music quality starts to deteriorate ). It seems odd but I feel like for the first time in my life, the American market does not interest me at all. I find the Europeans more alert and thirsty for art and evolution and change, and that is optimistic – but of course, I am biased, as I have visited and performed in many showcases and festivals in Europe, post Covid, and none in the US – so I am not being very fair with them Americans, am I? Although I am a teacher and very close to the younger generation, I don't fully comprehend what young artists are doing at the moment, only in the electronica, avant-garde, experimental and jazz scenes can I follow up. Living in the Balkans, with all that Trap and Turbofolk music, you tend to lose hope, but then again there's amazing hip hop and dark wave and punk and of course Metal, and I see a huge rise of numbers in festivals and festival crowds, so maybe now, especially after the Covid lockdowns, people will be united through music, at least through live music!


Any new projects in the pipeline?We are travelling to Bulgaria in the 1st of May 2024, funded by Culture Moves Europe to spend 2 weeks isolated in a house in a forest and record and create. We have sketches for 2 albums in the making, one in Greek and one in English, we will finish one of them, and in the meantime we hope we will find a new label that is more fit to what we do and who understand and love our musical identity. We love Conch Town Records and they have been treating us like royals, as all of the small indie labels we've worked with in the past, but we feel we need a big push now, so we need to find those people who understand we are magic, which kind of magic, and want the world to be charmed by our spells!


Any message you may wish to impart, especially to artists struggling to make it through in the music industry?Tough question. What is there to say? Right now, as I am typing these words, I am sleepless for a week, my head's filled with ideas, and in the same time I have to work (I teach at a Conservatory, have 20+ very demanding students) to fund what we do, go through contracts and agreements and edit some videos, but will also go to a few much anticipated concerts these days (Electric Litany, Sevdaliza) in Athens. What I am trying to say is, work hard, but really hard, work as hard as you can, learn how to do more than just sing or play an instrument, be very good at your instrument, rehearse, study and listen and join other musicians, try to find the people to help you, but at the same time try not to wear yourself out, listen to new music, perform as much and as best as you can and go see other artists, be out there. And most importantly, respect others, be kind and be honest, be yourself – and take the time to figure out who you are. The audience will always tell a lie, always.


Would you consider performing in Malta again if the opportunity arises?Of course I would (I already miss it.. it was WOW!) please let me know when!!!

 

 





44 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page