While Calgary might be a far cry away from Greece geographically speaking, hearing fellow Westerners' uninformed opinions about the country's ongoing economic crisis only reinforced Alberta native Evangelos Lambrinoudis II's ties to his Greek heritage. Under his Corinthian moniker, the producer's releasing Eurozone Ghosts this week, a collection of nine nocturnal, driving techno tracks that plumb the depths of the "hopeless shadow" cast by recent world financial collapses by emphasizing the human elements of these stories.
Today we're premiering "Lonely City," which begins at an uneasy clip, summoning an insistent bass that echoes as if it were reverberating through hollow streetscapes and empty buildings. Beyond imagining the ultimate consequence to the kinds of politics and policies the artist rails against throughout the album, the song also hones in on the subjective experience of the listener, capturing the isolated feeling of driving through a city alone at night.
Though he's best known outside of the project for DJing a 80s and 90s hip-hop residency at Calgary's Broken City, Lambrinoudis also helms the label Deep Sea Mining Syndicate, which has released music ranging from the caustic body horror of Halifax-based Moss Harvest to the "paranoid cyberpunk masterpiece" from Edmonton's Private Investigators. We recently spoke to him over the phone about his motivations for writing the record, the horror films that inspired his work, and more.
Evangelos Lambrinoudis II: I don't know if you could tell by my last name but I am Greek, my parents are from Greece, and half of my grandparents and family lives there. When I started to interact with fellow Westerners about the crisis in Europe, specifically the role of Greece, I found there was a shocking xenophobic, ignorant understanding of the role of how the smaller European countries interact with the larger countries.
Now all of a sudden, these small countries are deemed places that are lazy, corrupt, and cancerous. The reality is they have tiny, insignificant populations, and economic contributions, so how is it possible for them to topple the Eurozone economically? All of these assumptions were rooted in Western media. It frustrated me because there was a time when people were talking about Greece like it was this beautiful, wonderful place with culture. I wanted to write an album that was in support of the underdogs and I think that's the main theme.
In the press release for Eurozone Ghosts, you connect these events to the 2008 economic crisis and Islamophobia, comparisons Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has also made in the past. Are you influenced by his writings?
I am actually. I've read a few of his books, The Global Minotaur: America, Europe, and the Future of the Global Economy and And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future. I'm a fan of Varoufakis and I also read a lot of [Slavo] Žižek, [Jacques] Lacan, and stuff like that.
I'm curious about this idea of underdogs and how you might identify with it, whether it's because you're a Calgary-based techno musician or if there's something more to it than that.
There's been a huge social shift where there's a lot of different voices that are now being heard. Even as a straight white dude, I grew up feeling like an underdog because of the way I looked, my heritage, and because my parents were immigrants. Now I'm seeing that was a pretty lucky experience compared to so many others.
For me it's so important to be able to share a story of an underdog and someone who's going through struggle without visibility. That's why I called the album Eurozone Ghosts—it's these people who actually live in these countries who have no voice. Just like how we see persecution of gender minorities and sexualities, they've actually become invisible, and I'm interested in that. I want to be able to support those people and raise those stories up in the only way I know how.
Tell me about how you came up with the concept for the "New History" music video.
I sent my friend Sara Hughes the album a few weeks ago and said, "I want you to just pick whichever song speaks to you and maybe we can do something." She mailed me back right away and said, "This is the song I want." At first I was a bit surprised, l was like "Really, that's the song? There are so many other long and crazy songs." And she said "No, I have this really great concept," and she started referencing David Lynch. Obviously there's a kind of Lost Highway vibe to the video. In a musical sense, the album has a lot of Roman Polanski-esque horror themes to some of the instrumentals I used, so I started sending her that kind of stuff.
I was really pleased with the decision to feature some of the landscape of Calgary and the mountains in Alberta. A lot of the musicians who come from here pretend to not have come from here. A lot of people move to Montreal and have this insane resentment towards Calgary—I mean sure, that could be for cultural reasons—but honestly I really love the landscape here, and I really love my home.
You've said Deep Sea Mining Syndicate is a place for left field music and ideas, why is it important to you to create a space that fosters these kinds of sounds and ideals?
I think that there's a serious pain that's happening inside the music and entertainment industry right now. A lot of people are really focused on extreme hedonism and escapism, and I felt with the material that I've been curating and helping develop with Deep Sea Mining Syndicate provides an alternative narrative. I absolutely understand that there's a place for like, cocaine and all these other things that are rooted in the tradition of electronic music, but I just wanted to put something out there that had a different voice.
What's coming up next for the label?
In the fall there's going to be an album from a friend of mine, Noah York, under his guise Ego Death, which is him, his partner, and maybe a few collaborators. There will be some tapes coming out from people who've previously released stuff, and there's going to be a couple of new artists as well. There's one person in particular, her name is Skin, who performs out of Montreal but is a Calgary ex-pat. Her record is also going to be coming out before the end of the year.
Eurozone Ghosts comes out Aug. 19 on Deep Sea Mining Syndicate, pre-order the album here.
Michael Rancic is on Twitter.