Spyros Grammenos in Docville: “They almost made airbnb up to the trash cans”

A big concert, the “jealousy” of other people’s songs, the reaction to abusive attitudes, the accuracy: the songwriter talks about everything and everyone.

THE Spyros Grammenos invites us to a great musical celebration in Technopolis, while at the same time he writes new songs and participates in filming for the television series “The Numbers”, which features a wonderful fantasy by Phoebus Delivorias. He admits that he gets a lot of stress at concerts, that he’s jealous of other artists’ writing in a good way, and that children are the most honest audience he’s ever met. We talked about the release of Dimitris Lignadis, the case of Zak Kostopoulos, the funny side of his songs and the wave of precision that has been sweeping everything lately.

Why are you calling people to cancel everything on September 9 and come hear you in Technopolis?

I always had the dream of doing a big summer concert. For many years I avoided it. This year, the idea for this specific evening came early. I have started making the program and gathering the pieces that I will present. Among them, three completely new songs will be heard, which worries me a lot. My great joy is that I will finally play with my whole band. In recent years, due to the pandemic and the restrictions in small spaces, I have not appeared anywhere with the whole scheme. Because I get a lot of stress at concerts – and I don’t think so – I get joy, smiles and energy from my people.

Apart from your own songs, will there be any other surprises in Technopolis? Are you excited by new voices in music?

I can’t reveal yet if I will have guests. I don’t like covers, but I will include in the program some songs that I have been jealous of. I am constantly jealous of other artists – in a good way – and their writing style. One of them is Vevilos. His songs and style have nothing to do with mine, but every time I hear them I get chills. And of course Phoebus Delivorias. I had the pleasure of hearing his record before it was released. When the audition was over I told him I didn’t want to write anything again after that. I constantly see kids doing new things around me and I get courage and courage. For example Penny does a great rap and I really like her stuff. I was also very moved by what happened at Lex’s concert, the honesty of this man and the fact that he came on stage exactly as he wanted with his purse.

(© Michalis Karagiannis/Eurokinissi)

Are there always no influences in music? How do you make your own stories through your songs?

Of course. We are here to steal from each other. I listen to many different types of music. Who’s fucking mine now? Here we are talking about the others (laughs). What I write is all that I live. In the same record I can include romantic, sad, happy and political pieces. I feel the need to make songs with a funny side so I can finally say what I want to say. Usually my live shows are divided into two parts. In the first part I play lighter songs, while in the second we all get tanned together, to leave at the end happy again.

Not much time has passed since the release of your last work entitled “Your Disc” and the participation of many artists.

The record was released in 2021. During the quarantine we decided to complete the album through the crowdfunding process. This work was done with the help of the people from below and I was very moved by the support we received. I was particularly happy that everyone who worked was paid, as we operated the way the record label used to be several years ago. We have reached the point where we say: “My photographer friend Michalis, come and take me two images for the cover – my friend Kostas, come write me two guitars”. This is a problematic condition and fortunately we have broken it. When we see a concert we should never forget that at least 50 people have worked behind the musicians. From all this blackness of the pandemic, positive processes emerged. Some situations strengthened movements and ideas.

Like the wave of complaints that broke out and illuminated abusive and violating behaviors in the field of culture? You have also spoken publicly about your own experience.

This movement will do everything to help more people find the strength to speak up. MeToo broke out in the blink of an eye and offered us a lot. No matter how hard some try to make victims feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and alone, the wave of support will continue to grow.

What did you think after the decision to release Dimitris Lignadis?

I have been a victim of abuse and I have spoken openly about it. I don’t know if it would frighten me to speak now that I see a rapist walking around free and indeed with a decision of the Justice. Some insist on saying, “Shit, fuck off and get on with your life.” Things are not like that. Others have to do the trick. That ball in the chest that is created in the victim when something like this happens to him must come the time to be thrown in the face of every abuser. It is important to stand by these people in every way. What scares them are ideas. Rapists don’t bother them that much. We have a government that has not shown any sensitivity on this issue and it is not the first time that we see its own people being accused of such issues. I know how difficult the process is for someone to speak up. I personally can’t encourage anyone to do it, but I can advise them to follow the path that will make them feel better.

Have you ever encountered negative reactions at any of your concerts?

There is a homophobic section of people with racist ideas in society and a lot of work is still needed to put humanity and acceptance in their heads. Love is all around us and we must look deep within ourselves to discover it. It happened that people reacted to two of my shows regarding the case of Zak Kostopoulos. One viewer in Cyprus protested the line “housewives and cops killed me together”, while another in Evia got up and walked away. They even complained to the shop owner about my choice of songs.

(© Michalis Karagiannis/Eurokinissi)

How did your adventure with music begin? You have done various jobs, while you have also worked as a hairdresser.

When I was very young I had asked my mother to get me a guitar as a present that cost exactly as much as the rent of our house. He didn’t do me any favors. As a teenager, I created various bands to express myself. At 15 I actually became a hairdresser. We had a neighborhood store in Ioannina. Our customers were specific people. The hairdresser was not exactly a miniature of society but our own microcosm. The relationship between the client and the hairdresser is special. We don’t let many people touch our head: our mother, our partner, the doctor, the hairdresser, sometimes even the policeman who pulls us over to Exarchia. When I was a kid I needed the daily wages and I went through various jobs to make ends meet. I have worked for four years as a delivery man in Ioannina. A place where it is said that it has not stopped raining since… 1942.

Are you concerned about the effort – especially by the new generation – to sort through the chaos of everyday life and manage to survive?

We are all fighting to survive. However, it is important to live a little. To not simply survive or become one with our work.

Given the wave of accuracy, the increase in rents and everything that is happening in Exarchia, do you think we have become strangers in the city we live in?

Of course. Right now, in order for two people to survive in a house, they have to look for a third person. A family needs about 600 euros to get on a boat and travel to an island. In Pagrati they almost made airbnb even the garbage cans.

Do you think there will be elections soon?

I don’t know what will happen with the elections, I’m not good at political predictions. However, I feel that the “New York Times” report confirmed me and did not make me fall from the clouds. I don’t know where this story with the government will go and what will happen. However, I hope for a better future.

(© Michalis Karagiannis/Eurokinissi)

The new series of ERT entitled “The numbers” has the signature of Phoebus Delivorias. What are your thoughts and impressions of this work you are involved in?

“Numbers” will be a weekly fiction series on ERT, a fantasy of Phoebus Delivorias. Sometimes I think that Phoebus has these nice ideas just to keep me all summer in Athens, as happened some years ago with Taratsa. The series follows the story of a songwriter who tries to revive the Mantra of Atticus in modern Athens, while I am the owner of a barbershop where the heroes gather for small talk. Singers, stand-up comedians, magicians and dancers will make their appearance in some episodes.

You do not lack imagination and a child’s eye towards things. How have you managed to keep these features alive?

Imagination is a necessary part of creation. As we grow up, we close ourselves with the “don’ts”, the “musts” and the “no”s we hear from everywhere. All this changes us and isolates us from life.


Spyros Grammenos will perform at Technopolis on 9/9 (21.00)

The article is in Greek

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