A talk with Athens-based Musician and Multimedia artist ∑tella

 


Meet Athens-based musician ∑tella, (née Stella Chronopoulou)

I first discovered the 80s tinged, groovy pop of ∑tella on a U.S. based blog. The post highlighted “Greece’s lock on the pop and electronic worlds.” While more and more of the music I’ve discovered of late in the U.S. feels.. well stale (I love you, garage rock, but how many more male-led garage acid rock bands can I take?), I was both refreshed by the discovery and also – confused. How had none of these musicians ever popped up on my radar? I spend a fair amount of time on music blogs. But as with fashion, it seems Greek artists, while much loved when discovered, rarely receive as much of the limelight as those from other counties.

∑tella’s 2017 record, Works for You, plays on personal themes such as self-care, intimacy, and power dynamics. Its undeniably groovy, but the melodies have REALLY been stuck in my head. The music moves, but isn’t a dance record, per se (nor was it intended that way…). Nonetheless, anyone with a penchant for grooves and hints of disco will enjoy it. Ava Luna and Lower Dens immediately came to mind for me.

Prior to Works for You, Stella released a debut self-titled album on Greek label Inner Ear Records (GR) in early 2015. Read on to learn more about Stella’s favorite venues, the inspiration behind the music, and what’s to come in the future.. plus, a new collaboration!

Tell me about your most recent album, Works for You. It ranges from playful and quirky to “holy this is groovy,” I can dance! Did you think you were making a dance album at all?

Haha! Not really, I was going for a more mellow sound this time, but I guess getting someone to dance is always a pleasant surprise.

What inspired the record? I find it matches the cover – minimal and blue – somehow perfectly. Any particular artistic influences, movements, etc?
Many thoughts about how this record came together. Talking about a lot of things that are easier to sing about, so was inspired mainly from my own personal experiences and maybe from other people stories as well.
I’m wearing a ninja suit and have a soccer ball in from of me on the cover of the album, simply because these are two of my favourite objects/items. I use to dress up a ninja very often when I was young and also played a lot of soccer.

What’s your favorite city to play, and why?

I don’t have a favourite city, I have favourite gigs and some have been in Athens, a very memorable one in Austin, TX, some we did in the Balkans and of course many around Greece.

I can’t stop listening to “Walk Like I Taught You”

 

 

Your sound has this distinct 80s sound to it – without being over the top synthy etc. Can you speak to some of your musical influences from the past?

Sure! I was a big Michael Jackson fan, a Whitney Houston fan, a Nirvana fan, a Duran Duran fan, a Fleetwood Mac fan, a Queen fan, a Robert Palmer fan, a Kate Bush fan. Go figure.
What do you think of the music scene in Athens, overall? What’s your favorite venue?

I would say the music scene in Athens is really blossoming at the moment. The current state/ environment helped for that. Not sure if I have a favourite venue, but I do like spaces like Romantso, Death Disco, Fuzz club,  Embros Theater, Bageion Hotel.
Are there any other Greek musicians currently in the game that you find interesting? Anyone pushing the mold?

I would mention bands like Acid Baby Jesus, Bazooka and Larry Gus. Definitely worth checking out!

Any projects lined up for the near future?

I’m almost done with a new album so I am searching for a new record label, hopefully, a US-based or European one. I’d also like to push things a bit further than Greece.

Also, my close partner in music crime Nteibint and I just released a new single via Eskimo Recordings (BE) called “A State Nearby”.
Listen to “A State Nearby” here:

Stella plays Romantso in Athens on February 16h! RSVP here via Facebook

Follow Stella on Instagram @stella_the_music