Interview: Lia Hide
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My dad used to play the guitar when I was little and he tried to force the six-stinged beast on to me (I am so not proud of my guitar playing) but for some strange reason I always longed to be a piano player. I don't know what did it for me, can't quite remember, although I do remember I always sang at school plays and ceremonies, always did get that solo part in the choir, always was in a band. I never wanted to be something else, not even acting did it for me and I did try it, as I did with Musical Theater. I love the genre, there are some isolated characters I'd like to play, but just that – not that I'd hate being a West End or Broadway star! Maybe if I did have a family, when I was younger, with a lot of children, maybe that would have changed my life and future, but we'll never know now, will we?!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love to cook! A girl's gotta eat! And I love having people over for wine and dinner. I used to love to paint, but I don't have the time anymore, and I miss it badly. I think my entire day, week, month, life is a creative process, I think I cook and paint and edit videos and write short stories just like I write music, or even better, to complement my music writing.
How long has your band been together?
I have been performing with George Rados (drums) since we were teenagers. Aki'Base (bass) completed the palette when he joined us for our second album. Dennis Morfis had joined us from our first album on the guitar, although he did swap seats with the amazing Irene Ketikidi, for a good three years' break, and he's back with us, now. Stelios Chatzikaleas (trumpet) is the latest addition. So, I'd say the Lia Hide band is together for almost a decade.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Before Covid19 we'd share our days between the UK and Athens, when not on tour, but since December 2019 we got stuck in Athens. This darkened my soul a bit, locked me more in my thoughts and in a way, produced this last album of ours. Although there's a very dark story song (Niobe) in there that I wrote back when I studied in Corsham, Wiltshire, that is indeed a lot different from the others. I am often told that there's a strange 'Greek' lyricism in my melodic lines, and I do include some traditional Greek chord progressions and modes, from time to time, and surely on purpose, I love the underlying dance of phonetics in our language and tradition and try to incorporate that in there, as well.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
There's been weird incidents - Aki'Base (bass) was electrocuted at one of our Italy shows (Europe Tour Fall 2019) - funny incidents (I lost my voice while on stage one night in a lovely garden venue in Crete suffering from a severe cold, and we had to continue with me mute – another one when George Rados (drums) drank a bit too much vodka on an empty stomach once in Thessaloniki, while on a National TV show, and we played everything a bit more... punkish, let's say - and incredible incidents: most of them with the gorgeous people in Northern Greece and Epirus, remarkable moments of amazing, focused and generous crowds. One of my favorite ones though, is one night we performed in Utrecht, with a band from Turkey. Amazing place, weird Netherlanders and an incredible aura at that place, Moira.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My childhood dream (since I saw Queen's performance there, on TV) was to play at Wembley Arena (still is). My favorite venue to play at (of the one's we've already performed at) is Lycabetus Hill Open Theater (Athens) and Teatro del Sale (Firenze, Italy). I'd love to perform at the Ancient Theater of Herod (Deand Can Dance, Foo Fighter and so many others have performed there, all left speachless at its grandeur and magic!).
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the line up?
Oh! Dream question!! I'll only use currently alive bands/artists, so we can have our hopes high but yet realistic (haha..). I'd want to share a show with (order of appearance, and festival night would start at 17.30): FKA Twigs / Sevdaliza / us (Lia Hide) / Tori Amos / St. Vincent / Radiohead / NIN
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?
Someone who's just starting: Study. A lot. And be unbiased and bold. My younger self (let's say when I was in my early 20s): now is the time. Don't waste your time building a teacher's career, simply because people tell you that's your best shot. Leave this country, go away, and start, NOW!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I'd go back to around 2005 when I graduated from most of my under+post graduate studies, and I'd tell me to believe in myself and go write my first album. I should have released my 1st album back then, in 2006, the latest, let's say. I've wasted far too much time building my academic career.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I think it's the first song on my first album 'Home' (back in 2013). The song is called 'Song for a Funeral' and I've always wanted to have it played at my own funeral, along with 'Midnight Radio' from 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'.
What is your creative process for writing your music and what inspires you to write your music?
Anything and everything. Although I am trained by now, to write upon demand (and MMus in Songwriting does that to you), when I do write songs about Lia Hide I start them all together, both music and lyrics, they all come instantly and simultaneously. The lyrics might be gibberish at first but the story does come to me, all at once, and I just go back again and again and trim words and arrangement.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I want people to feel confident of who they are, but in the same time, to protect the weak and unprivileged. I want no more war and racism, poverty and inequality. And I want people to be bold to look into depression and a sad heart with understanding and cherish the gifts life has given them.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We've just performed in one of Athen's most celebrated Summer Festivals (Athens Jazz – we were the Jazz+ act), and we are to perform, late June, in our city's most important music showcases, Athens Music Week. Some summer festivals in the islands await for us, but I really do miss the big road and hope we can soon travel Europe and US (and more!) again!