- Words Ryan Cahill
We meet the East London musician to get the lowdown on his latest track, "Bubbling".
London-based musician Christos is the new kid on the block. With his signature look, and a catchy sound to match, he represents the next wave of unsigned talents seeking to make it big in the capital. After recently releasing his debut EP, Teargas, he’s just unveiled the video for its second single, “Bubbling”. The video was shot in and around Athens, using some of cities most iconic locations from the Acropolis to the hills that circle the city.
The track ultimately discusses the apocalypse, touching upon key themes of doom, loss, catastrophe and withdrawal. Made as a response to the news cycle at the peak of the crisis in Greece, the track features sparse and melodic production which help to accentuate Christos’ powerful vocals. Raw, artistic and politically pumped, the visuals for “Bubbling” show that Christos is one to watch when it comes to London’s rising music talent…
"Bubbling" by Christos
When did you first become interested in music?
I’ve always known I wanted to be in music, but I’m not classically trained or anything. I started trying to produce when I was 17, and it took me 5 years to release my first song, last year. I had some sessions with producer friends, but no one fully understood the sound I wanted, so I had to make it myself.
Who you would say your biggest influences were growing up?
Well, growing up in Greece, the music young people listen to is always a mix of English-speaking chart music and Greek music that is more traditional, drawing on folk rhythms. And then there’s like Greek pop music that aims to combine the two, by fusing contemporary beats with traditional elements, and I think that’s my musical aesthetic. I guess it’s instinctual for me to try to combine different sounds. Which is why Kala by M.I.A was such a big moment when I discovered it when I was 13, because she took all these crazy beats and folk elements and turned it into this thing that no one had heard before. Wow, her mind… This is what I strive to do in a way, by creating new contexts for the rhythms I’ve heard my whole life, by mixing them with new things.
How would you describe your sound?
I think maybe ‘world pop’, or ‘experimental pop.’ It’s like ‘world music’ but sexy, and all the songs are bops.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your songwriting today. What inspires you?
I was inspired by reggaeton when I made this EP, because I was living in Mexico City at the time and it was literally everywhere. I started noticing similarities between the reggaeton beat and Greek folk rhythms, so in a way I am making that cultural connection. In terms of lyrics, the songs in my EP talk about resilience, all the changes that took place post-crisis in Greece, how disenchanted my generation and I were, but also how we can be empowered to change that paradigm. I couldn’t witness all that and not talk about it. Some of the lyrics are also about being wasted.
Tell us about the video. What is the thought process behind that?
The music video is an homage to ‘Run Lola Run’, one of my favourite films. I had bright red hair when we shot the video last year, so I thought referencing that would be the perfect fit! The scenes where I run in the video encapsulate this feeling of wanting to escape. The video was filmed in Athens where I’m from–in the original Lola is running through Berlin. There was all this stupid press a few years ago about how ‘Athens is The New Berlin’, and that’s such an expat-friendly statement which is very far from the current reality of the city, still very much in crisis. So I thought we could also poke fun at that, like look at me running through the ‘New Berlin.’ Then the scenes of me in the zorb ball reflect this theme of dissociation and lack of orientation and direction, hopelessness, loss of balance–like a return to the womb, almost.
Who did you work with on it?
I directed it myself. I have a cinematographer I work with, but I direct, edit, style, colour-correct all my own videos. I think it’s important for me to do everything myself, especially this early into my career. Being this DIY comes with certain limitations, but it pays off in the freedom and how you can micromanage everything. Also not many people know this but I produced this entire EP myself.
And the track itself, what is that about?
I made the demo in 2016 and left it, then I rediscovered it last year in my files and finished it to include on the EP. The production is kind of sparse and melodic, and my vocal is really disaffected, like there’s purposefully no passion in it. I think I was really exasperated and confused with all the things that were happening in Greece at the time, so it was made in response to this feeling that the world was about to end. But I also didn’t care if the world ended, because it was going to shit. I would rather create a new world than try to fix this one. That’s what “wanna see the world explode” means.
What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I want my music and visual to be seen and heard by as many people as possible, but without compromising my ‘protest’ message. The kind of production and videos I envision need funding, so in the immediate future I would like access to more of that. But I also don’t want to give up my creative freedom or have to turn myself into a meme to get those resources. I’ve had some label offers and I’m thinking about it, so we’ll just have to wait and see.