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Efialtis & The Greek Eurozone crisis

Efialtis & The Greek Eurozone crisis

By: Ashley Moore

It is Efialtis in particular that Disorder Magazine chose to report, as today is especially significant for the band. Greece, after years of steep austerity and increasing sanctions initiated through a heavily influenced German European Union, decides whether they can hack the debilitating and humiliating sanctions, legal reform measures and a budget so tight you couldn’t drive a ten penny nail in with a sledge hammer.

On a North London industrial estate, New River Studios, a warehouse turned café, bar and venue, we’re gearing up for a benefit DIY show in aid of supporting vulnerable migrants through the Praxis Community Projects. On the bill were Snob, Balistraria, Molloch, Cloud Rat and Efialtis.

It is Efialtis in particular that Disorder Magazine chose to report, as today is especially significant for the band. Greece, after years of steep austerity and increasing sanctions initiated through a heavily influenced German European Union, decides whether they can hack the debilitating and humiliating sanctions, legal reform measures and a budget so tight you couldn’t drive a ten penny nail in with a sledge hammer.

This is the preliminary issue, the underlying question is whether the country votes no. This could mean that it will be hard for negotiation on the Union’s side, there could be possible destabilisation of the global economy and could ultimately end in Greece leaving the Euro Zone, subsequently dropping the Euro and replacing it with its original currency, the Drachma.

Efialtis are a South London based, all female, all feminist danger punk outfit lead by the bollocks of Greek National, Alex Smyrliadis. It’s essential to note that all the lyrics are written and screeched in her native tongue. It’s also key to note that the translation of Efialtis means nightmare. This could be interpreted as cliché, but in this instant, it is a true representation of the bleak situation in her homeland.

Of all the images coming out of the country at the moment, one placard that struck the futility of the situation read: “If the parents don’t have jobs and cant look after themselves then what hope is there for the children?” And worse than that, the infirm, the elderly, and generally those who are vulnerable are feeling the pressure now more than ever.

The blue and red atmospheric lighting set the mood for a heavy and poignant show. The three piece, whose members also include Bryony Beynon on skins and cymbals, and Eva Georgiou on the thick strings, stood in the middle of a large practice room. Alex draped to the right. From her guitar hung an oneiropagida (dreamcatcher). It is from this imagery that Alex’s influence from the occult comes through. She was laden with motifs in the Greek alphabet drawn in permanent marker and lipstick over her body announcing: chaos, asphyxiation, paranoia, pain and blackmail. This is provocative language and some might say hyperbolic, but the situation is real and these are the projections that Alex has gleamed from her close-but-far stance. It is a real time struggle, a notion that the mainstream media mixes up either directly or indirectly.

The set was short and punchy, trademark of most DIY punk shows­­­; the riffs were heavy and driving. There was a rare groove among the coagulated mess between the bass and the booming drums. Alex’s Greek lyrics were formidably served and were screeched to the beat. Halfway through the set Alex slowed it down and gave a moving and sincere speech about what was happening on the day and how it affected herself and her family. And their closing song, self-titled with the same name as the group, got my blood pumping and I felt the message coming through… nightmare.

Alex has been skeptical about the Eurozone since its inception, something she believes was the “beginning of the end,” for Greece. The rise in debt was so severe that by the time Syriza was elected it had risen from 800 million to 8 billion, “the public had reached peak levels of fear and uncertainly.” She claims that it is a choice between a yes/NAI “profit now, suffer later” and a no/OXI “suffer now, profit later.” Bearing in mind that the Eurozone was built around countries with strong financial infrastructures, in Alex’s words, the “peripheral countries just couldn’t compete” with the “never-ending cycle of lending” and the dizzying interest rates, it is, with morbid intent “the single currency” that was the “bullet in the gun that shot Greece in the head.”

In hindsight we know now that Greece voted OXI to more austerity by an outright majority. Alex expressed her thoughts on the outcome of the referendum and concluded that Tsipras “acted with a sense of urgency when no prior government had.” She is hugely—and rightly so—offended about “lazy Greek” stories that come out of the international media and expressed that the OXI vote meant that the public hadn’t rolled over and are “smarter than the international media thinks they are.” She gave an example of the Evening Standard who published a story about the OXI vote happened due to the anarchists voting, “which is ridiculous as it suggests that 60% of the public are anarchists.” She added, “This is just one example of how international media disrespects the freedom and opinions of the Greek People.”

Alex considers the situation a “humanitarian disaster” and expressed the “panic in their voices” when talking to people back home. She talked of her father only being able to open his garage for two days and not being able to pay his employees “more than 1/5 of their daily earnings.” She also explained family friend Spyros’ dilemma of saving his wages for the past “ten years” so that his daughter Anna can go to King's College and study economics—the irony is too much to bear—he is in danger of losing it all if Greece goes bankrupt.

But the main outlet is the music, and a culmination of DIY punk, feminism, gothic and the occult added to the foundation of Efialtis. She explained why she chose to write in Greek, suggesting that it gave an air of “primal mystery to the songs.” As the crisis heightened, Alex realised that as she wrote more and more songs they were “essentially conversations between [herself] and an opposing entity that had somehow wronged [her].” The furious riffs instigated release of frustration with “political developments” and the anger had “embedded itself into [her] consciousness.”

The ugly head of right wing extremism revealed itself in a nosferatu-esque manner when the ulterior problems of Greece, whose economic turmoil and exasperation of political choices became prevalent. This is a historical trait that we have witnessed the world over and is demonstrable in the “rise of the Golden Dawn” Alex explains, who are a right-wing party in Greece that some have likened to the Nazi’s. However, she explained Syriza’s strong voice exposed the debt for what it really was to the public and was a good lesson in proving to the “powerful conservative nations that they should be less secure in position over poorer nations.”

Alex has done her research of course, anyone would. She quotes acclaimed French economist Thomas Piketty on the crises, ‘Germany has no standing to lecture other nations when it comes to repaying creditors’ and criticised Germany over its ‘shocking ignorance of history’ referring to reparations from the First and Second World War, which Greece at the time pardoned. She continued to explain that the affected nations “recognised” that after “large crises,” which created huge debt loads, “people need to look toward the future” and should not “pay for the mistakes of their parents.” This is reinforced through Piketty, “The younger generation of Greeks carries no more responsibility for the mistakes of its elders than the younger generation of Germans did in the 1950s and 1960s.”

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