Q&A with Greek singer/songwriter Lia Hide, dark art & progressive pop with ethereal softness and velvet depths

"I miss spontaneity, the most. I don't like all this polished and well-rounded, super-edited and highly commercial sound, and generally I tend to dislike or, to not prefer, virtuosos, or let's put it in other words, show-offs. I cannot see this changing, as we enter a more digitalized era with so much technology, but still hope for a difference! I also dislike tags, when people put tags on musicians and expect them to be a certain way, and criticize them for failing to provide what they imagined."

Lia Hide: The Missing Fourth Guest

Lia Hide is a Greek singer/songwriter. Her music is dark art/progressive pop. She has collaborated and appeared with Tricky, Joseph van Wissem, Anneke van Giersbergen, Keep Shelly in Athens, Molly Nilsson, Kovacs, Kadebostany, Robin Skouteris and many more. She has been touring Greece and Europe (Italy, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK, Poland, France, Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary) as well as US and Canada for the past few years, extensively. Her virtuosity on the keyboard and the lyricism of her songwriting, along with her amazing solid rhythm section experiments on song lengths and arrangements, playing around with radio-friendly landscapes and post and punkish elements. Her lyrics are on adulthood, social injustice, existential crisis and broken hearts. Her singing is as always precisely articulated, versatile through strong high notes, ethereal softness and velvet depths. Her latest effort, The Missing Fourth Guest, is the fourth album by the Athenian avant-pop artist. It will be released on April 1, 2022 via Conch Town Records. The Missing Fourth Guest borrows its title from Plato's 'Timeaus' dialogue opening line and discusses the emotional struggles of the recent Covid19 pandemic and lockdowns, human mortality, and the modern man's place in the Universe. The album contains seven tracks, and in addition, a three-fold major work in the form of a sonota. Hide’s influences include: Kate Bush, Fiona Apple, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds & Radiohead.                                       (Photo: Lia Hide)

Lia Hide's classical music training is evident. Her songwriting is simple, pop, structured and lyrical, yet bears progressive music elements, embedding glitch and jazz fragments, cinematic guitars and orchestral layers, electronic sub drones, and industrial noises.  The dark post-wave affair is brought to life by Hide’s lyrics, the music and arrangements created by Hide and bandmates Aki’Base (bass) & George Radios (drums,) Additional musicians on the record include Thanos Hadjikaleas (trumpet,) and Dennis Morfis and Panos Angelothanasis (guitars.) An international affair, the album was produced by Hide and recorded at Don’t Hide Me Studios in Athens, Greece, mixed by Ian Shaw of Warmfuzz Productions in Key West, Florida and mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering in the Isle of Skye, UK.

Interview by Michael Limnios           Special Thanks: Pati deVries (Devious Planet)

How has the Rock/Pop and Jazz music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I've never lived a day that I remember, when music was not part of my daily life, my world, my vocabulary. We could claim I've been fortunate to have had such a luxury. So, my views were always biased, in a way, from the lives of the musicians I looked up to, the words of the songs, everything.

Since I strongly believe that music is born in the sociopolitical every day concept we live in, I cannot really differentiate one from the other, life from music. Maybe, If I have to really put a definition to it, music has made my world, my life, more vibrant, my views more demanding, or so. I therefore think, this is the other way around: my views and my journeys have influenced the music I've chosen to include in my life.

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

My sound is definitely dark, my stories are not bright and happy, and my melodies tend to be sad and a bit demanding, or intellectual, to put it in other words. I cannot really describe my sound, but the kind people who have been working with us and our press, they have advised us to use words like avant, art, progressive, alternative, all of them in the pop genre. My creative drives from everything that's happening around me every day, mostly social issues, some personal.

"I think every generation has its rebels when it comes to music, and If I've understood it correctly, nowadays these musicians are mostly in the hip-hop or metal genres. I don't see other genres being very active into stating their minds or place in sociopolitical issues, except from rare occasions. I'd like music and musicians to focus on making this world a better one, but that's such a utopian idea, that I dare not think about it." (Photo: Lia Hide)

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

A few things along the way changed me, one was most certainly my very difficult departure from the EMI label, another would be the recent pandemic and lockdown - both gave me freedom, it was a very difficult process, though.

I can't choose a moment or two as a highlight of what has happened to us, so far, all moments are amazing and great in their own special way, from the smallest venue to the largest festival.

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

I miss spontaneity, the most. I don't like all this polished and well-rounded, super-edited and highly commercial sound, and generally I tend to dislike or, to not prefer, virtuosos, or let's put it in other words, show-offs. I cannot see this changing, as we enter a more digitalized era with so much technology, but still hope for a difference! I also dislike tags, when people put tags on musicians and expect them to be a certain way, and criticize them for failing to provide what they imagined.

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

It's always difficult for us, no matter how many female artists you like, or follow or applause. The truth is, that before we make it big time, we are considered lesser, de facto, simply for being girls. I remember a bar owner, once, after our show, telling us "you know, that guitar player you have, Irene, she's great, you know, but it's like driving a car. I mean she's good, but as good as a woman can be, on the guitar, or on driving a car". The status of women in music is the same as the status of women in everything in our lives, more importantly in the arts, media and entertainment, I'll quote Bjork here "a man can be lots of things. a woman is expected to be just feminine".

"My sound is definitely dark, my stories are not bright and happy, and my melodies tend to be sad and a bit demanding, or intellectual, to put it in other words. I cannot really describe my sound, but the kind people who have been working with us and our press, they have advised us to use words like avant, art, progressive, alternative, all of them in the pop genre. My creative drives from everything that's happening around me every day, mostly social issues, some personal." (Photo: Lia Hide)

What is the impact of the music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?

I think every generation has its rebels when it comes to music, and If I've understood it correctly, nowadays these musicians are mostly in the hip-hop or metal genres. I don't see other genres being very active into stating their minds or place in sociopolitical issues, except from rare occasions. I'd like music and musicians to focus on making this world a better one, but that's such a utopian idea, that I dare not think about it. 

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I've learned, the hard way, that the more polite and open you are to people, the more they'll downsize and push you over. The more accessible you are, and the more you speak your mind, the more they'll snob you or trash you. Unless, somewhere in the meantime, you make it big, then things change, you get bonus respect and bonus criticism. But when I say people, I don't mean the audience, I am talking about the scene itself, and I am focusing in Greece. Wherever we've performed in Europe or elsewhere, there's always been extra respect for the effort we are doing. Here, I've learned, after all these years of experience, no-one will help you, unless they can get a piece of you. And I don't blame anyone for it, I totally understand that we live in a very difficult to live country, where the educational system has been utterly destroyed (or will be in the very near future) and values are collapsing. So, I don't blame anyone, I just find it very hard to cope with, sometimes.

Lia Hide - Home

(Photo: Lia Hide)

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