March 30, 2021
Tune-In Tuesdays #99: C.O.D.E. Decodes the Story Behind Their Latest Single, “Words”
Rocking their listeners’ worlds with a blast of energy and emotion throughout their discography, the Athens-based rock band C.O.D.E. (Culture of Digital Elegance) packs yet another powerful punch with their latest single, “Words.”
Earlier this month, we spoke to C.O.D.E. band members Yiannis Katsaros and Vicky Fysikas to learn more about “Words” as well as their upcoming album, “No Excuses.”
Culture of Digital Elegance Band Members
- Yiannis Katsaros: Guitars, backing vocals, lyrics, production
- Vicky Fysikas: Vocals
- Miltos Schimatariotis: Synth, production
- Elias Goulas: Drums
Summarize your sound in just three words — why did you choose those three?
Yiannis: It is emotional, explosive, and fluid. It’s emotional because our music is very melodic and we have these intense vocal melodies and lines. Explosive, because of the style, of course, it’s quite intense.
For the last word, fluid, all of our band members listen to different genres of music so we have many different influences. We experiment with these influences in our songs, as well. So our music doesn’t have a particular sound, it’s mostly fluid.
How did you meet? What inspired you to start a band together?
Vicky: We started to learn music at a very young age, back when we were in school. I learned about music theory and how to play the piano, and Yiannis learned how to play the guitar. We met while we were studying at the same school, [the school of] Music Technology & Acoustics.
Yiannis: The band consists of a few more members, too; Miltos on the keys and Elias on the drums. At first, we were just three members.
Are all of you from Athens? Have you grown up there your whole life, or did you move there for school — or after school?
Yiannis: I grew up in Athens. Miltos and Elias did, too.
Vicky: I grew up in Larissa! It’s a city north of Athens.
Yiannis: It’s about three hours north of Athens.
Vicky: We met each other in Crete, it’s a beautiful island.
Tell us a little about the meaning behind your band name — “Culture of Digital Elegance.” How did you guys come up with it?
Yiannis: At first, I think we thought “CODE” was cool [laughs].
Vicky: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah!
Yiannis: It represents the “CODE” of our music or the “CODE” between us. But then we thought it would be cool if it was also an acronym, so we transformed it to “Culture of Digital Elegance.” It really represents the 21st century, so we like the whole meaning of it.
Ah, that’s awesome! Now, give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your music-making process. Do you start with the lyrics or the instruments? Do you work on your parts individually or figure out the sound while playing together?
Vicky: Most of the time, we start with the instruments — a guitar riff maybe, or a piano part, a vocal melody. Sometimes I’ll write keywords as a placeholder for lyrics so I can sing a line or two to get the song going.
Yiannis: And then I write the lyrics later on, usually.
Do you write your lyrics in Greek first and then translate the song into English?
Yiannis: I write in English. My mother actually grew up in South Africa, so English is my second language. I still speak to her in English — she most definitely speaks to me in English [laughs] — so I think in English, too.
Tell us a little about your latest single, “Words.” What’s the story behind the song?
Music video for “Words” by Culture of Digital Elegance (C.O.D.E.)Source: Culture Of Digital Elegance – Words (Lyric Video) | Culture of Digital Elegance
Yiannis: “Words” started with the intro riff — I was ‘noodling.’
Vicky: Then I came up with the vocal melody.
Yiannis: And then we just jammed and it went from there. It’s that kind of song, y’know, it’s a fast song, a rock song.
The press release for “Words” says that the title “refers to the words we say or don’t say and lead to the rupture of human relationships.” Over the years, what have you found most important about becoming a better communicator?
Yiannis: “Words” is about communicating, and I think the first thing that comes to mind is “listening.” That’s something every human being must develop throughout the course of growing up. A lot of times in a conversation, our minds wander; we’re not actually listening to the person that’s in front of us.
You also need to decode where the other person is coming from. What are their intentions between the words?
Vicky: Yes. Actually listen and speak from the heart. But be aware of the impact that words have because not everyone is strong enough to process your words in good faith.
Adding to that, what are some of the most common barriers you see causing communication riffs, on an individual level and on a more societal level?
Yiannis: Usually, these communication problems happen when we get offended. If there’s something that bugs you about yourself and somebody mentions that you’ll most likely get offended. I think it’s better to work on yourself first and be okay with yourself, in order to communicate in a better fashion.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves one piece of advice, what would it be and why?
Yiannis: As a band, there are times where we would’ve liked to be more bold and handle our time better, be more decisive about certain things. I think this is something most bands go through because you’re immature at first and you don’t know where it’s going yet.
What do you hope listeners take away from “Words” and your music as a whole?
Yiannis: “Words” is a rock song, listeners can rock out with “Words” [laughs]. That’s its purpose!
Generally, our music can take you to a lot of places, emotionally. The songs definitely took us to those places while making them… So watch out for the stuff that’s coming.
Is there anything you can tell us about your upcoming music yet, or is everything still a secret?
Yiannis: We’re releasing an album this year.
Vicky: It’s almost done. The album will have 10 songs, including “Words” and the previous singles we released, “No Excuses,” “City Polluted,” and “Stain.” The name of the album is also “No Excuses,” like our first single.
Yiannis: And expect a lot of sounds!
Vicky: And a lot of emotion, too.
What have been your favorite experiences playing together so far?
Vicky: Playing shows for sure! We miss the shows.
Yiannis: But we do really love the studio, too; the creative process, the experience of listening to your songs that has just come together. It’s something amazing.
Miltos and I are also sound engineers, so we do all the producing ourselves. We really love both, the shows and the studio.
What are your overall goals as a band? What impact do you hope to have on the music industry?
That’s the first step. If we’re happy with that, we’d definitely like to reach more audiences and rock out somewhere else in the world.
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