The Callas, “Black Leather Books”

Sjimon Gompers

The Callas

Aris, Lakis, Marilena and Chrysanthi, of The Callas. (courtesy of the band)

From the lands that brought us the academic merits of sophism, and the various philosophical groundwork for western civilization; we bring you The Callas from Athens, Greece. Their new album title flips Sylvia Plath's “I Am Vertical” poem with the re-appropriated word readjustment of, Am I Vertical?, as the band of brothers Aris and Lakis Ionas, are joined by Marilena on drums and Chrysanthi contributing guitars and vocals in the The Callasettes spirit. Their follow up to Objekt finds the Grecian group collaborating with the legendary Jim Sclavunos to take their multifaceted visions further into the questions and creative altitudes and attitudes on, Am I Vertical?.

On their premiere of “Black Leather Books”, the group goes for the degree of danger with tightly controlled moods of menace. The song's style rides off the opening lyrical axis of, “I'm on my own, with my leather books,” where self-sustained modes of operation are the supreme order of The Callas. From the song title to the lyrical descriptions of body and form metaphors, the word play on “books” elicits a similarity to the sound and adjective contexts of “boots.” A group that is also known to dabble in the mediums of film, the stoic electric bass lead song paints images of library rebels and auteur outlaws ripping out pages in adaptations of works from the modern literary canon.

The Callas talked with on making Am I Vertical? with Jim Sclavunos, and the various inspirations behind “Black Leather Books”.

As a film and music collective, what is about the art of sound and vision that inspires and informs both mediums for you all?

We have no money, we love being with others, drinking with them, observing them, getting excited by and with them… we’re enjoying the process of doing something with a little help from our friends.

What is it about “Black Leather Books” that inspired this great, bass thumping song?

We're inspired by so many different kind of things… a girl, a death, an artwork. Literature is an old ongoing love… 'Black Leather Books' is a tribute to the fetishism of the books, kind of The Velvets meets Bataille meets Kenneth Anger.

Tell us about working with Jim Sclavunos on Am I Vertical?.

It was almost a month of a creativity orgy!

How was this forthcoming album different than the making of your previous album, Objekt?

Firstly, all of our previous works were self-released, in the traditional art DIY way, while on this one we’re collaborating with a really cool label [Inner Ear]. Then, there’s the great work of our sound engineer, Nikos Ottomo Angloupas, with the magical Mr. Sclavunos’ touch. And lastly, we believe that in this album we‘ve managed to mix all our different kind of influences and create The Callas' kaleidoscopic world.

Favorite things about 2013?

Thomas Pynchon new book, our New York and Paris shows, our first feature film Lustlands (HAOS film), Marilena and Chrysanthi joined the band.

What are you all looking forward to for 2014?

New album, new film, new artworks, loads of love and lust.

Am I Vertical? will be available November 19 from Inner Ear.

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