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I was able to chat with NEED guitarist, Ravaya, before the release of their new album Hegaiamas:A Song For Freedom and upcoming tour of North America with Evergrey.
THE METAL PIT: Thank you for doing this interview. I want to start with the question of theme and structure in your music. With Orvam: A song for home, you started, what I assume is a long ranging theme that I would love to know more about.
  -RAVAYA Thank you for taking the time Eric. Well, theme and structure do in fact play an important role in our music and on that note let me say that we too want to know more about it, and I’m not joking at all. I think you’re spot on about the long ranging theme on both albums but I’m going to share with you that this fact even surprised me at first. In all honesty Orvam felt more like an ending to me when it was done. After its completion and for maybe 6 months after that, I could not envision another Need album. I had talked to Jon about it and jokingly said that maybe that was it for us. Then one day I picked up an acoustic guitar and came up with the intro melody of what became the title track Hegaiamas. I also wrote the melody and the first two lines of lyrics and then the thing exploded in some way. I’m rambling here but for a lack of a better explanation I felt there were many loose ends with Orvam after all and in some way I think we kind of resolved them with Hegaiamas.
  I know the two themes are home and freedom with this latest release of Hegiaimas. Will this be a trilogy or longer?
  - Well, it seems there will be a third part because making Hegaiamas spurred new questions and the need for further exploration. But that is in no way a certainty. I think we‘ll decide when we finally get down to write a new album. Maybe there will be a third part maybe not. The only certain thing is that there will be another Need album.
  I assume because of the structure of the two albums, each having 7 songs, each with a track 6 that is two people talking, each with a theme, of course, that the next release will follow suit.
- No idea. We plan and structure things but mostly when they are in the making. As far as the spoken parts are concerned, they are unfolding narratives in some sense and in my opinion unresolved. It depends on the way we feel at that time. Hotel Oniro and I.O.T.A. are two pieces we are proud of although people seem to either like them a lot or skip them. But for sure we aren’t going to include or exclude a track on a matter of continuity alone.
Track 6 on both albums don’t seem to tie in to the music, maybe I’m missing something? The two tracks, do, however, seem to have a theme of “music” in common, am I right in that?
- If that’s the way you feel then you are right either way. If you feel they don’t tie in with the music then this is your perspective on this and that’s cool. For me music is a way of living so perhaps they are about life. Different people get different vibes from them and that’s great.
I got to see you guys at ProgPower, and was there when Jon joined the Mountain King, Jon Oliva, for the album Streets, in its entirety. That was a highlight of my concert going experiences, I can only imagine what it meant to him.
- Jon and Jon have had a great relationship for years, they have been on stage together many times and the ProgPower thing was the culmination of their friendship in my opinion. It sure was a sight to see. And a pretty rocking one I might add.
The band toured with Oliva before that, correct? How does relationships with tourmates usually go? Your coming tour with Evergrey, Ascendia and Seven Kingdoms is a heck of a lineup!
- So far it’s been great. Jon Oliva is a masterpiece of a human being and all the guys from Pain were great so we had a great time. We are eager to hit the road with Evergrey, Ascendia and Seven Kingdoms. I trust we will have a blast!!!
How do you find your music is received in North America?
- Better than anywhere else it seems. We‘re so happy about that. Let me just say that the reception we got in ProgPower USA and the overall experience including all the wonderful people we met there was the deciding factor for me personally to carry on with this band. Let me leave it at that.
There seems to be a huge metal scene in Greece, where you are from. You’ve been called the “bad boys” of the scene out there. Why is that?
- Haha honestly Eric no idea. I guess because we don’t seem to sacrifice the heaviness although people seem to classify us as prog but who knows really? Also because we tend to be quite intense on stage. I don’t think we’re all that bad but I’ll take it as a compliment.
What other music from Greece do we need to be hearing or discovering?
- Well POEM is a great band and also MOTHER OF MILLIONS’s new album will be killer. TARDIVE DYSKINESIA if you’re in to the djenty stuff and definitely MOTHER TURTLE if you’re into progrock.
I’ll go ahead and ask the usual, what are your influences question. It’s a good question for you guys, since NEED doesn’t really sound like anyone else out there right now, in my opinion. You have been compared to Dream Theater and Nevermore, two very different types of bands because I believe your music can’t quite be put into a box so easily.
- I’m so glad you can’t put us in a box. Boxes aren’t really our thing hehehe. I think that’s the main draw and the main drawback of this band. People who need to classify us tend not to like us but people that do get the thing we’re doing seem to really like us. When we jam we tend to focus on the feeling the music carries and go with that. We dig in this feeling always asking questions. How does this make me feel? How does this part juxtaposed with that part work and do they work together? All in all it’s a sort of crafting process. I mean it’s more a manual thing than a thought process. At least I hope. As far as Dream Theater and Nevermore are concerned, being compared to these two bands is a high compliment. Like I said music for me is a way of living and both bands are imprinted on my soul not as music per se but as life experiences. Soulprinted for a lack of a better term hehehehe.
One last question, you guys do a lot of covers or tribute songs, is there a chance you’ll come out with an album of all those collected?
- Sure, as long as there’s time to do it. There’s always talk about doing covers in Need but it seems we never get down to it. We‘ll eventually do it but I don’t think it will be a typical covers record in no sense.
Thanks for taking the time to do this! I know from personal experience how great you guys are live, and I really hope our readers will get out and support you on this coming tour!
- Thank you Eric, hope we catch you on tour someplace. Enjoy Hegaiamas till then.