When it comes to AMERICAN METAL many people think of crap like METALLICA, KORN and stuff like that! Some closer to the metal scene think ICED EARTH, OVERKILL, and other well known metal bands. ME? Well bands that make me proud to be an American Metalhead are bands like THE WEIRD LORD SLOUGH FEG, CAULDRON BORN, GOTHIC KNIGHTS, OVERLORDE, CAGE and ZANDELLE!! Why? Cause unlike Iced Earth and Overkill these bands have a much smaller fan base and hardly any label support to help them through the tough times. They only have their metal and their faith in it to keep them pushing, fighting and screaming!! These guys find the will to.... play live when only three people show up! They find the will..... when two of the three people mock them for being behind the times! They find the will.... to pay for their own cds, websites and equipment when they barely have food on their tables! They fight for the metal and the metal fights the world through them! I feel more of a kinship to the struggling bands who fight on, then the bands with the fans,press and hype!

What to be metal? What to have the metal will? Follow me in to the mind of ZANDELLE's singer and mastermind George Tsalikis and learn from us both.


Prof.ManiC: Ok, lets start with the bands recent signing to LIMB…. How many demos did you send out to labels in the beginning? How did you first come into contact with them?
George Tsalikis:
We didn’t really send out too many demos to labels. We wanted to hit certain labels that we felt would truly benefit the band and that we had the greatest chance of getting signed with. We got in touch with LIMB through a friend of ours, Martin Brand who happens to be from Germany and knows people that work for the company. He personally passed along our three-song demo to them and upon listening to it, they apparently saw the potential. They then contacted me via email and asked to hear the rest of the album.
When you got the word they were interested in signing the band, how did it make you feel? Did you take the first deal they offered you or did you haggle with them over details?
George Tsalikis:

When I got the email from them I literally jumped up and down. Just having a well-known record label indicate that they are interested in you truly means a lot.

As far as the offer, upon receiving and reviewing it, we asked around some people who work in the industry or who have had dealings in the industry and they confirmed that the offer was pretty standard for a new band and not bad at all. Being that we didn’t really have any leverage, we didn’t feel we were in a position to haggle. After all, as I said, the offer seemed pretty good. Plus, the last thing we wanted was for them to think we were difficult to work with. We felt we would save the haggling for when they suggested something we truly disliked.

Prof.ManiC: How long are you signed with them? What kind of promotion did they promise??
George Tsalikis:

Just to clear something up, we haven’t signed the actual contract yet. They’ve just finished writing it up and are going over it prior to sending it to us for the signing. However, the offer was for us to be optioned for three additional albums after this one, with each album having a life span of 10 years.

The promotion they promised is actually very good. In fact they’re putting more money into the promotion than they have in our advance. But that’s okay. Because the way we see it, the more promotion the album gets, the better it’ll do. They’ll be promoting it in magazines, radio stations, etc.

Prof.ManiC: How much money would you guess that you have put into your own promotion up to this point? Do you think being signed will help make some of it back or do you think it will just make you spend even more?
George Tsalikis: As I mentioned earlier, they’re going to be dumping a lot of money into promotions so it looks like we really won’t have to do too much on our end. We’ll still do what we can here in the States because I think most of the promotion they’ll be doing will be overseas.
Prof.ManiC: Why isn’t Zandelle on LIMB’s website under artists?
George Tsalikis: Good question. I can only assume that they’re waiting for everything to be finalized before adding us to their site (contract signing, release dates, etc.). Or, it could simply be that their web designer simply hasn’t gotten around to it yet.
Prof.ManiC: Ok, on to the new CD….When is it expected to come out? How do you think it sounds when compared to the last CD?? In what aspects to you think you and the band have grown since that last recording?

George Tsalikis:

As per my last contact with the label, they indicated that they’re looking to release the album on September 16th in Europe and shortly thereafter in the States. But that could change, so until it becomes official, I’m not promising anything.

Compared to the last CD, this album is miles ahead in many aspects. Not only does the production on this album far surpass the previous two, but the song writing and performances have greatly improved as well since our last release. I attribute that to all the hard work we put into our music. We’re very hard on ourselves when it comes to song writing and performing. We’re constantly striving to outdo what we’ve previously done.

Prof.ManiC: And why pick the name “Twilight on humanity”? Was the name picked before 9/11 or was it because of that it was chosen?
George Tsalikis: The title was chosen way before 9/11. The songs also were recorded long before then. At the time we were actually in the mixing phase of the project. The title is in fact the title of the last song on the album, which is a twelve-minute epic piece. The song demonstrates the full range of the band and we just felt it would be appropriate to make it the title-track.
Prof.ManiC: How do the new songs compare to the ZANDELLE classics like “Bringer of Doom”, “Flight of the Dragon” and “Crimson Rain”? Will those older songs remain in the set list?
George Tsalikis: The new songs definitely bring the band to a higher level, however the classics still remain part of our live set list since they do have a lot offer in and of themselves. In fact, we’ve modified the way we play some of the older tunes to reflect our current performance level. Some of the changes are more drastic than others, and that’s mostly due to the line-up change since the last recording. Now that we have musicians in the band that can do so much more, we’re taking advantage of the increase in talent.
Prof.ManiC: What are some of the new songs about?
George Tsalikis: The songs vary in topic from medieval fantasy to philosophy about what happens after one dies. And of course, we had to have one Metal anthem and one power ballad as well.
Prof.ManiC: In the past the cover artwork hasn’t been the best even though the CD’s have been good…will this trend continue?
George Tsalikis: Not at all. In the past, we didn’t have the support of a record label so due to budgetary constraints, we were forced to go for a less expensive option when it came to artwork. We felt it was more important to dump what little money we had into the production itself. Fortunately, this time around we were able to purchase professional artwork from a very well known artist (BROM). So I’m please to say that, like the music and production, the artwork will also be a huge step up from the previous releases.
Prof.ManiC: Speaking of the older cds why discontinue them? Just finally ran out or was it a conscious decision to do it? If so why? Are you ashamed of the old stuff now?
George Tsalikis: It was definitely a conscious decision to discontinue the old releases. It wasn’t so much out of being ashamed of them because we’re not (although we know we’ve grown tremendously since then) but we felt we’ve reached a new level now and must strive to continue to put out albums of higher quality. But, not to worry, we do plan on doing something with the old material. We’ll reveal more when it becomes definite.
Prof.ManiC: How have you managed to increase your vocal strength from each cd?? Just playing live? Voice lessons? What excerises do you do for your voice?
George Tsalikis: Basically I do two things, I listen and I practice. First, I listen to myself on the previous recordings. I find the things that I want to refine, I figure out how to improve those things and then I practice. It’s all about technique, practice and the desire to get better. I also study other singers to see how they get their voices to sound a certain way or to possess a certain quality. Then I try to implement those techniques into my singing. Sometimes I find something that works great for me, other times I don’t. But you have to keep trying, otherwise you’ll never get better. The pitfall with that however is that you may start to sound too much like a particular singer. That’s why you have to learn how to incorporate techniques into your own style instead of just imitating someone else. At this point, I don’t do any kind of special exercise other than more and more singing, be it Zandelle songs, or songs of other bands.
Prof.ManiC: Since you’re into martial arts. What are your favorite Martial Artists? Favorite Martial Arts books? Movies? Games?
George Tsalikis:

I think because I’m a serious student of martial arts, I find I have hardly any favorites when it comes to martial artists, books, movies, or games. The problem is, the more advanced you become in a true martial art, the more you see the phoniness in the popular martial art movies. Books and games also fail to capture a lot and they tend to leave me disappointed. The thing with movies is they can make anyone look good because everything is choreographed. So, as far as martial artists, I like Jackie Chan because of his charisma and the sick stunts he manages to pull off without getting himself killed. I was also into Brandon Lee before he died, and of course I enjoyed Bruce Lee’s movies, but again, that’s primarily for entertainment. I guess it’s like asking a fan of true Metal what his or her favorite movie depicting Metal is. Though we enjoy watching some of them, they’re only mockeries of the true lifestyle.
Prof.ManiC: Since the band is coming to Cleveland to play the CLASSIC METAL FEST, what are your expectations for it? What other bands playing there are you looking forward to see play or having a few drinks with?
George Tsalikis: We’re actually very psyched to play this Festival. I’m truly looking forward to the overall atmosphere and camaraderie that only true fans of Metal can share. It’s going to be one of those shows where not only will I have a great time on the stage, but also off. I’m looking forward to seeing just about every band there. I couldn’t narrow it down if I tried. It’s truly going to be an amazing event.
Prof.ManiC: What lies after “Twilight on humanity” for you and the band??
George Tsalikis:

Basically we’re hoping the album does well enough so that the LIMB will keep us on for three more. We’re already working on writing new material. We’re even going to be playing a new song at the festival which has received very positive reviews from fans that have heard us play it live. The new material we feel is even going to surpass the songs on Twilight on Humanity. That much I can guarantee.
Prof.ManiC: Any final comments??
George Tsalikis:

First I’d like to thank you for the interview and for the opportunity to help promote Zandelle and our upcoming performance on the 12th. Rest assured that so long as I live, Zandelle and True Metal will always exist. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Festival.