Q&A with Greek musician and producer Epi K. Paradox, traded the sun-soaked Mediterranean to pursue his music career in London, UK.

"The current state of the music industry consists of a quite diverse sound and different genres. However, I believe the Blues is still going strong and fans have been loyal to the scene for many decades now. Blues is the foundation of popular music and its roots will hopefully keep growing for many years to come. Therefore, I believe it is a matter of generations, how one passes the information to another. That way, there is a great potential."

Epi K. Paradox: A Gentle Roots Storm

Singer-songwriter, guitar player and producer Epi K. Paradox (aka Epimenidis Koutsaftakis), originally from Chania, Crete, an island in Greece, traded the sun-soaked Mediterranean to pursue his music career in London, UK. Taking inspiration from the British Blues Explosion of the late 60s and early 70s, Epi K. Paradox creates his own brand of contemporary Blues music, while remaining faithful to Rhythm and Blues tradition. His music influences reminisce the roaring guitar riffs of Buddy Guy, Mike Bloomfield, Jimmy Page and Roy Buchanan, while his songwriting skills reflect on the revival sound of the Blues era. After graduating from BIMM London and London College of Music in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Epi K. Paradox has performed in various venues in London, including the O2 Academy, The Monarch, St Moritz Club and Fiddler's Elbow, just to name a few.                                              (Epi K. Paradox / Photo by Bazil van Sinner)

The release of his powerful debut digital single Find My Baby in late October, 2018 set high expectations, while Epi K. Paradox  released his debut album I'll Take The Long Road in September 27th, 2019 and his EP Out Of The Blue in December 2021. His new 6 tracks album titled A Gentle Storm and released in January 2023.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I was introduced to the Blues and Rock counterculture by my father at a very young age. An Invitation to the Blues, as Tom Waits highlights in one of his numerous songs. Therefore, it inevitably shaped my general perspective and lifestyle. Growing up in a small town in Crete, Greece felt restrictive at times, in terms of accessing resources to listen and finding new opportunities to play music were limited. However, listening to the international sound of the Blues made my mind travel, while opening a whole new world for me. An evoked response to play the Blues, which guided me to further develop my music ambitions and aspirations.

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? Where does your creative drive come from?

The early sounds of the 60s and 70s, such as the British Blues Explosion, has been a significant influence on my musical expression. I incorporate elements of this music in my own creative work, with a level of passion equal to the sonic change of this era. The Psychedelic Rock counterculture of the 60s has also had a great impact on my songwriting process, while adding elements of contemporary production on my music catalogue. Blues has always been the main ingredient of the music I represent, yet on my latest studio album “A Gentle Storm” the sound has been shifted to a more Americana-Roots way, while still being faithful to Rhythm & Blues tradition.

What moment changed your music life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

I wouldn’t say there is a specific moment, but if I had to highlight a chapter of my life that has shaped my musical journey so far, this would be the period I was studying and performing in London. So many powerful experiences in such a vibrant music capital. I would definitely consider a highlight of my life and career performing at the O2 in London in 2017, with a project I used to play back in that day. I can still recall the vibe of the audience on that night. It was then when I realised how vital performing is for me, after taking a year off for personal reasons.

"I was introduced to the Blues and Rock counterculture by my father at a very young age. An Invitation to the Blues, as Tom Waits highlights in one of his numerous songs. Therefore, it inevitably shaped my general perspective and lifestyle. Growing up in a small town in Crete, Greece felt restrictive at times, in terms of accessing resources to listen and finding new opportunities to play music were limited." (Singer-songwriter, guitar player and producer Epi K. Paradox / Photo by Roussos Kasiotakis)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Back in the day music had the power of change, while it impacted on the future shape of things in various ways. It was celebrated, whilst connected to the power of movement. Music could change the world and it did. There was a continuous sociopolitical shifting, shaping of ethics and lifestyle. As such, the hippie movement brought the sexual liberation at the end of the 60s. Nowadays, we face an unprecedented need of constant stimulation on all levels. Music today is perceived as the necessity for consumerism. There is a shift in listening habits which makes monetising music more difficult. I believe that in the near future people will prefer access (streaming services, online music platforms) to ownership (vinyl record, CD, cassette). However, there is a significant rise on vinyl sales during the last decade, which states that traditional means of music reproduction are still relevant to the digital age.

What's the balance in music between technique and soul? How do you want the music to affect people?

Technique lays the foundation to your musical skills. Practice also helps to craft your talent. It is then the aesthetics, the vibe, the soul and shaping your unique sound that makes the difference. This is progress. It is my understanding that music, along with poetry, theatre or cinema, to name a few, are the highest forms of expression. Therefore, it inevitably affects people’s views, perspectives and feelings.

Do you think there is an audience for blues music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?

The current state of the music industry consists of a quite diverse sound and different genres. However, I believe the Blues is still going strong and fans have been loyal to the scene for many decades now. Blues is the foundation of popular music and its roots will hopefully keep growing for many years to come. Therefore, I believe it is a matter of generations, how one passes the information to another. That way, there is a great potential.

"Technique lays the foundation to your musical skills. Practice also helps to craft your talent. It is then the aesthetics, the vibe, the soul and shaping your unique sound that makes the difference. This is progress. It is my understanding that music, along with poetry, theatre or cinema, to name a few, are the highest forms of expression. Therefore, it inevitably affects people’s views, perspectives and feelings."

(Epi K. Paradox / Photo by Roussos Kasiotakis)

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you understand the music, and the meaning of life?

As stated above, music has a strong impact on a sociopolitical and cultural level, as it incorporates a big chunk of our society and represents its religious or political views. For example, it is quite often that a song or a specific artist is linked to a protest. Therefore, music always stays relevant, no matter the circumstances. It is my general perspective, that I make music to chase the Blues away, hoping to affect people in a positive manner.

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