Pantelis Thalassinos was in Patras last Saturday, in the context of the 2nd Festival of Social Care Agencies organized by the Regional Federation of Persons with Disabilities of Western Greece and Southern Ionian Islands in collaboration with the Municipality of Patras and the Cultural Organization of the Municipality as well as the Region of Western Greece .
The beloved songwriter and performer together with the Ensemble of Music Creation Evikoon Melos and Dora Beleri, gave a concert, with free entry & with the aim of taking the audience on a journey through musical paths and great hits. Shortly before going on stage, he spoke to thebest.gr about his career, his songs, music today, but also about his relationship with time.
. There are people who started and had one path, one path and found themselves in other places for the money. They became enamored of them and lost their personal vision
You have played many times in Patras, what are your impressions?
Of the musical meetings I had in Patras over the years, I single out the first one, with the “Smugglers”. We were “polished” and inexperienced. We often came to the city and I have vivid memories of those live shows. I also remember a concert at the Roman conservatory with Takim, with traditional songs. I also had separate meetings with the Thanasis Tsipinakis Night String Orchestra. And this night is special because I’m meeting an orchestra who are all amazing. And it is a great honor that we met at this Festival. I didn’t know there were so many agencies for people with disabilities. I saw things that surprised me. With a little help nothing is impossible for these kids.
The public of Patras is a “party-goer” and this element makes the city stand out. He’ll even dance to a song that might not be all that danceable. There is also a portion of the audience that listens to “cool” songs.
How easily do you say yes to appearances and collaborations?
“Yes” I always say, as long as a serious proposal has been made to me. I’m not hard to say “yes”, although I believe that saying “no” builds careers. You have to weigh things although clearly you can also fall into traps where you don’t know what you will face. There are people who started and had one path, one path and found themselves in other places for the money. They became enamored of them and lost their personal vision. I tried not to get it. I think I didn’t get it because I always had a second job and didn’t just depend on the money from music.
Many songs continue to move you over time…
I managed this with my helper Ilias Katsoulis, who left 14 years ago. I think I owe him a lot. The lyrics he gave me moved me and I wanted to make them into songs. He taught me to write poetry too. I used to take lyrics from him, from Manos Eleftheriou, from Alkis Alkaios and I tried to make mine… serious.
What matters is that when you said it, you believed it, there was a reason for saying it. From then on, the criterion is not whether it was heard or liked by others
Which song of yours can still move you so much years later?
A song by Yiannis Nikolaos, “it’s not my fault that I’m growing up” because as the years pass, I understand it more. And two other songs, in lyrics by Ilias Katsoulis, “ticket in your pocket” which I always find a reason to say and the “Smyrnaian songs” which I consider magical. The first time I presented it to people, in the chorus, people sang while it was unknown to them.
Is there an unknown story behind one of your songs that you could share?
All songs have a story behind them. But there is one that says “to love the mountains and the seas, the known and the unknown places”. Within 15-18 years, this song has made a career, while at first people didn’t understand it. Now the teachers teach it to children, in kindergartens. It carries serious messages and I will tell you its story.
I had gone to buy a used car to take to Paros and I met a man there who showed me a poetry collection of his father who was in exile in Makronissos and wrote poems. It was Nikos Veliotis who had written the chorus to the song “To karavi” by Giorgos Zambetas. “Only for me there is no longer a ship to travel and the ports and the ships and the hearts have left me outside. It had been stolen from him and his children managed to right the wrong and get his name in as a co-creator.
Have you regretted any of the songs you’ve sung?
What matters is that when you said it, you believed it, there was a reason for saying it. From then on, the criterion is not whether it was heard or liked by others. Since I liked it at the time, I recorded it. The songs carry a secret, they tell you something. If on the road, you no longer consider it worthy of saying it with others, you leave it behind. I have written 400 songs and 30-40 songs go into a program. The others are unfair, although there are gems that didn’t become hits because either you, the radio or the circumstances didn’t help them. The beautiful comes from the time, it may not be the time.
Are good songs being written today?
Yes always. There will always be good songs written and good singers. I have singled out many, such as Anatoli Margiola, Dimitris Bakulis, Panos Bousalis, Aspasia Stratigou. I have written everyone’s names somewhere. I consider myself lucky to have lived in the pre-YouTube era and stayed in people’s ears as something permanent. Of course life goes on and so do the methods to release your songs.
Even the radio doesn’t know what to play first, and new artists should be playing too. He plays what people expect to get an audience. There is a speed without reason or cause. Radio today is scary.
There was a time when quite a few people came to my concerts, now 1,000-1,500 people come. As I said, everything has its time. Many times you are quiet when this time comes
Do you have unreleased songs?
Of course, there are songs that I was never able to get into the studio and write. They might stay with my friends. There are many songs that they know and others that are anecdotes and I play them in my live performances. I’m not so stubborn that I want everyone to know all my songs.
There was a time when quite a few people came to my concerts, now 1,000-1,500 people come. As I said, everything has its time. Many times you are quiet when this time comes. You don’t have the courage to always have a career and be in everything. It’s a natural thing that happens as you grow older. You don’t have to pretend you’re young and have powers.
What is your relationship with time?
Each passing day. I try not to look back, how I was. I try to love myself and grow with my classmates. I try to grow up nicely, not to do sophisticated things. For example, I don’t want to dye my hair. All people should represent their age and as an image.
Apart from your hair, what else has changed over the years?
Growing up, I’d either be a long-haired with white or “dyed hair”. And so I cut them to be even more comfortable. There are things that have changed and we are slowly accepting them. Growing up you acquire other things that you could not have when you were younger, such as experience, wisdom. You learn to listen, to see rather than to speak. God gave us one mouth, two ears.
What upsets you most about our society today?
Speed, the new market ideology which is a terrible thing. They sell you seaweed for silk ribbons. I am saddened by the stereotypes that beauty models have to project and don’t allow everyone to be different. I see the youth that everyone has from a tattoo and I don’t understand why. Models of people are shown that shouldn’t be shown as much because young people are being influenced.