Interview: Andry Soars Into the Skies

Greece’s blues metal femme powerhouse Andry Lagiou has released her debut solo album, Skies. She started in the music industry back in 2013, when she formed her first band, The Harps. In 2017, her career really kicked off after her performance on The Voice.

We chatted with Lagiou about the release of Skies. It was a great sit down and a pleasure to speak with her.

What was your favorite song to record?

I would say my favorite song is “Church Bells” because it has a deeper meaning. I wrote this song, and I had my grandma in mind, so it means a lot to me. Because I had my favorite person in mind. It just came out great.

What were the themes for Skies?

The meaning of the whole album, and my career in general, is about female empowerment, women standing on their feet and finding who they truly are. Well, it goes for all people, not specifically women, since there is a coherence between my previous album, this one, and the next. There’s also a connection between those songs, meaning that it’s all about what life has to give, like ups and downs, and the ballads are powerful, talking about love and all of the crazy stuff that someone can think of. We also have the add-ons that are really powerful and give you that hard rock sensation. It’s basically an alternation, a roller-coaster between the songs musically and different sensations.

Who are your main inspirations when it comes to writing music? 

I really don’t know the answer when people ask me that. It’m just happy going into the studio, grab a guitar and start playing. When I want to evolve the song, I just have to have a special topic in my head, meaning that it comes from the lyrics. It doesn’t really come from the music, but from the lyrics, the melodies, and the vocal melodies. It all comes from the vocal melodies, and then I put all of the music and orchestrations in place. I get inspired by different stuff; it could be from a movie, nature, people, behaviors from people that I love or don’t love.

That’s everything that comes in mind, everything comes in place and whatever. I feel like, “Oh my God. I saw this great series that I like and I would really like to have a theme for that series or that movie.” So the theme becomes the next song.

Do you have people that play the instruments for you or how does that work? 

I do everything myself. I only hire people to record my songs. As for how I choose them, I just happen to know people. I’ve been in the business since I was 16, which is basically more than 14 years. I asked some of my colleagues if and how they want to participate, what expectations they have, and all that stuff.

What was it like to record this album versus your other stuff?

Actually it was a bit crazy because when I started the album, I didn’t have a drummer. I said, “I’m going to go with MIDI drums;” then Michael Leopond from Symphony X said, “Look, you can do it with MIDI drums,” as he did it on his solo album with Michael Leopond and stuff from Symphony X. I said “Okay, let’s just go for MIDI drums then.” I changed my mind because it sounds really fake in my ears, and I wanted something real. I wanted something completely real, and since the finances are much higher for a musician to record an album like that, I was waiting for the right time when finances are better to continue with the album. I had a really big break in between so that I could rearrange the finances for the album so I can continue doing it.

You have a few bands, correct? What’s that like?

I’m only part of Pyramid with Tim Ripper Owens. He’s the Judas Priest singer, and it’s a prog metal band.

How does the work you do with Pyramid compare to your solo work? 

Well it’s a completely different style, I would say it’s a different approach because solo, it’s just me. It’s just how I write songs how I do it myself. With Pyramid, what I can do is just that because with the bass player, we have a really good connection and we’re working well. What I do with this band is, I also put myself and my soul in it. It’s not like a session project to me, I put all of myself in it, vocally and lyrically. I basically also write lyrics and melodies for this band. I’m not just a session player; I’m a very big part of it.

It’s a completely different taste, like night and day, but still, one is considered metal, the other progressive metal. Mine is, I don’t know how one would call it, like blues metal hard rock or blues metal.

What’s next for you down the road? 

Recording wise, I’m releasing my third album, which is going to be equally good as the second. I just embraced the way that they’re embraced. I’m thinking about new video productions because I love making videos. Band-wise, we will play a few shows; we will tour definitely. We were planning on touring in South America … probably in December. We were headlining and a festival in Belgium in September at Queens of Metal. There are a few other things that are on the way. It means that I’m going to visit the U.S. soon. I’m going to visit Los Angeles soon, but I can not say much about it but it’s in L.A.

How do you feel the United States compares to Greece? 

Again, it’s night and day. I just want to live there. When I come to L.A. or New York or other cities, I just feel like I was born to be American in a way. However I have the Greek history behind me. It’s contradictory. I think my heart lays more towards the U.S. over  Greece, and I feel like home when I’m there. When I’m performing and playing there, it feels like home all of the time.

Have you ever considered doing a song in Greek? 

Pretty much, the answer is no. This particular language, is made for Greek songs, it’s not made for something else, I guess. There’s pretty much no point, because my direction is towards rock and not other genres. I might jump in for a bit, but not too much. I would still have to have the rock style, like songs similar to “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera.

What was it like to work with Jay Ruston? His name came up next to yours on all tracks.

Jay Ruston is my sound engineer. He’s like the magician of my productions. He is the one that produces the sounds. It’s the most important part. I mean, I sing, and he makes my voice look right. This has always been happening. I have a really great sound engineer, and we get along pretty well.

How long have you two been working together?

We worked on Skies, but I knew him from way before, when he was trying to help me out with a lot of stuff. Actually he was there at my first steps of jumping onto a more metal genre. I asked him for advice, == and how I would do things. He was always there for me, and he’s been an amazing engineer and a really good friend. I really love Jay.

Have you considered doing any collaborations with any artists in the future? 

I mean yes, but who would you think that would be good fit?

There’s this violinist, Lindsey Stirling, that would be really interesting because she’s done stuff with Amy Lee from Evanescence and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm. She’s not afraid to go into those different genres and make her presence known.

Tell her that we’re interested. I mean if she likes doing collabs with that type of female artists, then we might do it.

It’s quite an interesting feel with violin, which may not be a traditional go-to, but it would definitely be interesting to see how it goes with your voice. 

Oh trust me, I’ve checked violin with my voice, and they go great. We’ve checked that, and we’ve tried it. So it works, that’s for sure.

There are so many powerful instrumental musicians, such as Taylor Davis and Apocalyptica. Have you considered reaching out to any artists? 

Normally I don’t do that, but I’ve spoken to a few vocalists such as Nathan James and Ken Tamplin. There are only a few people around, but you know, we’re just talking (so far).

I would love to do a duet with Floor Johansson because we did a TikTok dance with her, and it was successful, and it went viral. It was something that was interesting to do. Basically if you asked me about collaborating, it wouldn’t be metal at all. I would love to do a duet with Christina Aguilera; I think that we could do a run of vocals and if it was more of a blues rock song like the ones that she’s done in the past, I think I could be on one of them and play with her. It’s kind of impossible, but it’s my dream.

What’s your dream lineup to tour with?

The perfect band that I would like to tour with would be Megadeth. They’re one of my favorite metal bands for playing live. I’ve seen them playing live, and they were incredible. There was no comparison with anything else. It was top notch.

Did it take any influence on your music at all?

I’ve heard that music a log time ago when I was 4 years old. It was by an extremely famous writer, Ron Wasserman. He’s the guy that wrote all of the Power Rangers songs, and I know him personally. I was born in the 1990s; I found Power Rangers through the cartoons the childhood series. I actually got introduced to metal through this sort of thing. I knew it way before other people, but that’s how I got introduced to it so to me, Ron Wasserman is amazing and the base of my childhood. The moment that I heard the basic part “Go Go Power Rangers”, that was it. I said “This is what I want to do in my life.”

Stream Skies here.

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