Interview: DOPE DEFAULT
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We got into rock music the same way most people do, via friends, older siblings etc. Most of us picked up our instruments as teenagers, mainly because we were inspired by the big rock and metal bands. Our main occupation today is music, at least for some of us. And to be honest, we don’t know what we would be doing today if not this! Probably we’d still be into one art form or the other!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Movies, TV series and pop culture in general take up a lot of our time. And certainly, the continuous lockdowns played a big part in that! And this is also a huge influence, for instance ‘The Saint of Killers’ from our new album is directly inspired by the namesake character from the ‘Preacher’ comic books and TV Series. So, we’re definitely influenced by this stuff.
And of course, we like to see other bands live and participate actively in the local scene. Covid was a big drawback for this but hopefully things are getting back to normal again.
How long has your band been around?
We’ve been active since the fall of 2015. We were initially a studio project, but after the warm reception of our first EP ‘Nuclear Honeymoon’ we decided to become a ‘normal’ band and get into things more seriously. We’ve been with our current lineup since the summer of 2018.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We ‘re based in Thessaloniki, Greece. It’s a city that has a rich culture in rock music. A lot of great bands have been formed here, in all kinds of music, some of which have even reached legendary status. And this is a place that’s generally considered a hot spot for Greek new bands, whether it be rock or pop or whatever.
And of course, the Greek stoner rock scene played a huge part in our early stages. We were influenced by the big bands of the scene, though we have kind of taken our own way since then.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We wanted something catchy and short, and also unique. We thought the word ‘dope’ was pretty fitting for a stoner rock band. And also, the word ‘default’ was being thrown around a lot at the time when we were formed, back in the time of the Greek financial crisis. So, it’s sort of a blend of what we play and where we come from, and it also sounded to us short, catchy and unique.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Our last show on February 2020, before covid, was quite memorable. We had the honor to share the stage with fellow Thessaloniki rockers Walking Stone Giants. It was a really great night and we were in the middle of our tour for our previous record, ‘Imprisoned’, which was unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic.
Other than that, the Ram the Spot festival in 2017 comes in mind. It was quite a big event in a big venue, with great sound, big stage etc. We had a really great time there!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
In our home town Eightball club is a great live stage, we always love it when we play there! Other than that, we’d definitely like to play a big festival, whether it’s home or abroad!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If we could make a dream lineup, it would definitely include our favorite big, legendary bands, like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Pantera etc. And of course, Ghost, we’d love to be on the same ticket with them!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The most important thing is to first work on yourself. Practice your instrument, try to be as much a capable musician as you can be. If you can afford some kind of music education, go for it! And try to work on your songwriting as well.
The second thing is finding the right people to have in your band, people that are committed, that like your music, that want to follow the whole thing to wherever it can go. That’s very important.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
There’s not much that we regret, really. Maybe we could have taken things a bit slower, be more patient. If we could give our younger selves some technical advice, about music production, mixing etc. that would be cool!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Our first single from the new album, ‘Down to Pieces’, means a lot to us. It is the song of our first music video and one that pointed to our new direction as a band. One in which we sort of ‘completed’ ourselves songwriting-wise. We felt that lyrically and musically we finally found our way.
Other than that, ‘Nuclear Honeymoon’ is a milestone for us, since this was our very first song.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
‘Sinless Invader’ is certainly one of the most enjoyable tunes to play live, and it is one that people want to hear the most in our live shows. We’d really like to play the songs from our new album, ‘Division’, live and see which ones get the best reaction from the audience. We really enjoyed writing and rehearsing them and we can’t wait to play them live.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Usually, one of us comes up with a guitar riff or a vocal line and then we all work on it together. We work on some basic lyrics and then rehearse the heck out of it!
Inspiration can come out of anything, really. Usually out of thin air! And sometimes we have to make sure that it’s actually original, and we haven’t heard this idea before somewhere else!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Sometimes it’s just some inner stuff we want to get out, and other times it might me a social or political issue. But most of all we just want to have fun and give people something that they can enjoy. Music is art and art must be enjoyed in and of itself!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Like in any band, inner friction is unavoidable. But we’ve learned over the years to get by with each other as people, so it’s fairly easy to get over any disagreement. You just have to know when to back down and when to stand your ground. And it’s really important to accept and take into account other people’s opinions, no matter how they may differ from your own.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our main goal right now is to promote our new album, ‘Division’. This is the only thing on our mind right now. That and to prepare for some awesome live shows in the near future! Other than that, we’ll definitely be working on new material, and also preparing a new music video.
So stay tuned!
Down to Pieces music video