Since my very first interview with Cpt. D.T. Ververelis was so successful, and had more views than any of my articles I decided to continue with this category and concept. My intention through these interviews is to motivate others. As my mom always said everything is possible if you really want it and if you believe in it. Therefore I chose some people who I personally admire to share their inspiring stories with you. Their way to achieve success wasn’t easy. They put a lot of love, work and effort in what they do. If we could manage to follow these people as a role models this world will be a better place.
Regarding the concept I chose my questions to be based on ancient philosophers’ quotes. Because their wise words and opinions are not outdated even though they were formed 2500 years ago. We can use their guidance in our lives today more than ever.
The first person that came to my mind for my next interview was a friend of mine, Bob Katsionis. He is one of the most interesting and most talented people I have ever met. The way we met was also very interesting and funny. One time 10 years ago I wrote a comment on a song he published on Facebook. Then he sent me a friend request. I thought that he was the guy who I met a couple of years ago at the Arda festival in Greece, because he kind of looked alike, he thought I was a girl from vegetable market in his neighborhood because her name was Tania and I kind of looked alike. Actually he was so surprised how this girl from vegetable market have such of knowledge about heavy metal music. Confusion was quickly resolved, the rest is history. We become friends and we remain friends for all these years.
He was the one that motivated me and helped me a lot when I was going through some difficult situations in my life, and since I created this blog in order to motivate others, Bob is the best choice I could ever made for this interview.
He is involved with music since he was 10 years old. First he started playing keyboards and few years later he also began learning guitar. Today he is playing keyboards and seven strings guitar in his bands but also as a guest in many other bands’ albums. As the rhythm guitarist and keyboard player he plays for the heavy metal/power metal bands Firewind, Revolution Renaissance, Outloud, and Serious Black. He is also founder of Progressive Vision Group, a music video producing company, which has produced more than 100 videos for rock and metal artists since 2002. He also produces albums for other bands.
So let’s start with an interview.
ME: I would like to start this conversation with one of my favorite philosophers Aristotle’s’ quote.
,,We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,,.
Tell me about your habits and about yourself?
BOB: I consider myself a habitual person. I like to do the things in a certain way. I wake up in the morning, order coffee from the same place, do the exact same routine. I like it this way. On the other hand, I’m no good managing my financial stuff or taking care of the legal business. I prefer to spend 10 hours fine-tuning a snare drum in a mix rather than making a 5 minute phone call that will save me some thousands of euros in the end of the year. That’s just me. Bad habit I know. On the other hand I like to work and create as a habit. I don’t know how to do anything else. Creating something is my way of life. Can’t just stop and breathe for a second, anyone can do this.
ME: That reminds me of one more Aristotle’s’ quote that said:
,,Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.,,
Do you agree?
BOB: I agree. What you get from your family and your home kinda shapes up what and who you are in the future. My father likes to swear a lot and I got this from him, but I think I have evolved it, ha ha ha! On the other hand he was working A LOT until the morning and then the next morning again and again. I got this from him as well.
ME: The next one I would like to mention is:
,,The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.,,
Do you still find a time for teaching? What about those who teach you in the past, how they contribute in who you become?
BOB: I used to teach since 1999 when I finished with my army duty until 2013 or something. I couldn’t do it anymore, there was no time. But for me it’s very important to be able to teach. Passing the torch for me is more important than holding it.
ME: Lets mention some of Confucius’ quotes:
,,The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.,,
So what makes your feet shuffle, what moves you forward? Do you feel tired sometimes?
BOB: Hm… I never think like that. I don’t try to reach any goals, or succeed or watch these “unlock your potential” videos online. I try to CREATE new stuff that people will enjoy. This is my success. And I don’t want to be “excellent”. I want to have my imperfections because these make you special, be it in music or as a person.
ME: the next one is:
,,To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.,,
He tries to teach us that understanding the limitations of your knowledge puts you in an advantage from people who overestimate their knowledge or aren’t aware of their own ignorance.
BOB: I am definitely good at that! When I was a kid around my 20’s I thought I knew everything. Later I found out that I still know a lot more than a lot of people, but I was also thrilled by people who know more than me. And I try to absorb this “extra” knowledge at any given chance. But I think I’m fully aware of my imperfections -that we talked before- and my limitation.
ME: Please, tell me if there is something that you don’t know but you would like to learn?
BOB: Oh, plenty of stuff. I would like to expand my music vocabulary by studying some jazz theory. Also learn some basic photography theory cause I find myself limited a lot of times during a video shoot. But my lack of knowledge was the one that gave birth to a more personal style in both music and video making.
ME: Socrates said:
,,I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.,,
How often do you do this?
BOB: Almost everyday I think I’m the worst musician in the world. Especially after YouTube entered our lives the questioning became more constant. Then I look around me, my life, my house, my friends and my discography and I thank God for who I am and the people I have in my life.
ME: Socrates also said that:
,,An honest man is always a child.,
Are you childish sometimes, and how much?
BOB: Ha! I think I never really grew up. Especially in the last year that I feel the need to be in front of my TV and play with my Playstation all the time! I bet Socrates would be a very tough RPG player to beat, hahaha! I think that my greatest shortcoming is my honesty and altruism and that I just say what I think out loud without ever being a mere 10% diplomatic.
ME: That reminds me of one Plato’s quotes that said:
,,Life must be lived as play.,,
Do you agree?
BOB: Definitely. For a strange reason, I watch everything happening around me as a movie. Like I’m not a part of it, like a video game that I control my character. Also, I can never talk 100% seriously, even for really serious matters. Don’t know why, I find everything shallow, only thing I care is making music, having fun and love some close people around me.
ME: We couldn’t miss few more of Plato’s quotes:
,,Music is a moral law. It gives the soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.,,
What is music to you? And how and when you became a metalhead?
BOB: I don’t want to say that “music is all my life” because I hate clichés. I will just tell you that sometimes when I make music I want to listen to some other music at the same time(!!!) The story of me becoming a metalhead is simple: One evening, after my school, I was at a local street food place. The “Metalhead Of The School” was there buying some Pita Gyros too and he told me “Hey Bob, I’m here to get some food and go home to watch Headbanger’s Ball TV Show at MTV-It’s great”. Then I went back home and said to my mom: “Can we switch the channel for 1 minute please? I want to watch something”. The TV was playing Iron Maiden’s “Can I Play With Madness”. It was 1988. And that was it.
ME: He also said that:
,,Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.,,
My question is:
As long as I know you, you are always in love, first with your work but also with some beautiful ladies, I had a chance to meet few of them. My question is, does love inspire you and how much? Is there anything else that inspires you besides love?
BOB: I can say that I was lucky to meet some really beautiful girls but in the end they just served as “experiences” on my way to meet the perfect woman for me which is -and has always been- Evridiki. I must be a case of 1 in a Billion that a man’s teenage idol falls in love with him and only for this I feel super lucky and blessed. Love has been an inspiration to me but mostly it life itself. The way I wake up some days and a melody comes and hits me with a hammer in my head.
ME: Plato said:
,,There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain,,.
Which of them are you and why?
BOB: I would say I’m a lover of Love itself 🙂
ME: We should also mention some Heraclitus, wisdom quotes, one of them says:
,,The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.,,
Tell me about your progress over the past years? If you had the chance, will you do something differently?
BOB: Good question. Well… Nope! Everything happened for a reason. I have regretted that I didn’t believe in myself back in 2003 and build my own band, but on the other hand joining Firewind was the biggest experience of my life and I have never ever regret anything I have lived with the guys. Maybe I shouldn’t give so much to some girls but on the other hand, these faulty relations made me appreciate what I have today.
ME: Heraclitus said:
,,Dogs bark at what they don’t understand.,,
I know that there are a lot of dogs out there that bark at you. Is there anything that you would like to say to them?
ME: Heraclitus also said:
,,You cannot step into the same river twice,,
Do you learn from your mistakes, have you ever repeated the same mistakes twice?
BOB: I learn and I do them again, because that’s just my habit, as we said in the beginning. I just become more experience at solving the problems I create 🙂
ME: One quote from Heraclitus that I like a lot is:
,,There is nothing permanent in the world except change.,,
What is your opinion on this one? Do you expect any changes soon?
BOB: Yes! I am planning on marrying the woman I love and having this very important thing taken care of. I decided to move a step ahead and make my own record label for the artists I’m working with. Plus I’m also working on a new music-app project. And who knows what else comes in the way.
ME: Oh, Bob this is the most wonderful news. I am so happy for you and Evridiki. Also, for all these years that I know you, you look happier and more productive than ever. I can tell you for sure this girl has a good influence on you. She is a treasure, take good care of her, please.
One wise Aeschylus’ quote says:
,,Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times,,.
Do you agree with this one and why?
BOB: Hm… I wouldn’t say that so much. Maybe requires to work with yourself a bit and find what makes you happy. Also it has to do with keeping the people you want around you and quit anything that makes you unhappy; a bad work environment, an unhealthy relationship etc.
ME: I couldn’t miss the Plutarch quote about the friendship:
,,I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.,,
Since you were there for me, a kind of friend who confronted me when I needed a shake, and changed my perspectives into the right path. I think this is the one that totally refers to you. What is your opinion on this one?
BOB: In the movie “Whiplash” the music teacher said something that shook my world (maybe more than Plutarch’s quote!) “There are not two words in the English language more harmful than “Good Job.” Your friends have to be there and give you shit when they see something bad happening and applaud you louder when you do something good. On the other hand, I have some friends who support me even if I do something they don’t approve and I think that’s pure love. Maybe a person has to have a support when he feels lonely in a decision.
ME: He also said:
,,Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.,,
Are you a good listener?
BOB: I think I am, even if my lady thinks that sometimes I’m in my own world, haha! When someone tells me his problem I like to try to find a useful thing to tell him rather than “everything is gonna be alright”. I told you, I hate clichés! If I don’t have a solution I will just shut my mouth, and do something to cheer him up.
ME: One of my favorite Homers’ quotes from The Iliad is:
“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
Do you agree and why?
BOB: Well… This is something we forget everyday. Every day brings us closer to our last (to quote Dream Theater!) and definitely we are missing it all trying to build something better for the future.
ME: Herodotus’ quote says:
,,How much better a thing it is to be envied than to be pitied.,,
What do you think about this one?
BOB: I LOVE being envied! Really! It means that I’m doing something really good. And then what I love more is to meet people who envy me and then they go like “Well, we thought you were a complete asshole but now that we met, you are a really cool guy and you know your shit”. Definitely my reputation precedes me and I don’t have a problem with that. If I wanted to be loved by everyone I would be a politician, not an artist.
ME: Euripides’ quote says:
,,Do not plan for ventures before finishing what’s at hand.”
Personally, I am not good at that, I always do so many things at the same time. What about you?
BOB: I agree. I do a lot of stuff at the same time, but lately I learned to finish one project and then move to the other. That was a very clever thing to do.
ME: I would like to thank you for all the photos from your personal collection that you shared with me for this article. Also, thank you for your time, your patience and honesty. I really enjoyed this conversation with you. As usual when I talk with a person that I admire, I always like to ask for one wise advice at the end. Would you be so nice to give one to me?
BOB: Less questions next time, hahahahaha! And maybe keep the “try to keep the people who make you happy around you”. I think it’s all about it.