Interview in Rave teen magazine, UK. Issued in January, 1968
THEIR name is unusual. Their command of English is limited. They are: Vangelis Papathanassiou on organ and drums, twenty five; Demis Rousses, lead singer, plays trumpet, bass, organ and bouzouki, twenty one; Lucas Sideras, drummer of Aphrodite's Child, twenty one. They are based in Paris, are all Greek and all enjoying the fruits of their hit Rain and Tears.
I spoke to Vangelis Papathanassiou and completely threw him off balance by pronouncing his name correctly. He speaks the best English out of the three, and together, bravely, we got through the interview, using words of English, French and some you will never find in any dictionary! But pop, thank God, is a pretty international language.
The three of us, have been a group for about a year and are all old friends. We were previously playing with different groups which broke, so we decided to get together and form our own. We had some really great ideas, so we formed Aphrodite's Child. The pop scene in Greece is exactly the same as in England, but then it all started in England and Greece is a small country, so naturally its ideas are smaller.
We did not leave Greece over anything political. We just felt that we had more chances to do well abroad.
The fact that the boys are Paris-based is more of an accident than design. Like most foreign groups who've gone as far as they can in their own country, they had intended coming to London.
We had set off for London, but by the time we had got to Paris, all the trouble had started there and we couldn't get any transport to go on to London. Not even a train! So we stayed in Paris.
Fate however, was kind and they were heard by a Phillips record producer, Pierre Sberre, in Paris, who was impressed and recorded them. This all happened in May, and now their very first record Rain and Tears is an astounding hit throughout Europe.
Yes, it's unbelievable, we had the No. 1 place in France, Italy, Norway, Holland, Belgium - in fact all the small European countries. And after the Beatles and Mary Hopkin, we had the third most popular record in Europe! We had not expected this at all. It's all happened so quickly. We thought when we recorded it that it was very commercial, but were not sure what would happen.
You know what it's like when you record something; before it's released it's impossible to imagine what can happen to it.
Before Rain and Tears we were a much more psychedelic group, but Pierre suggested we should take a more classical approach, which paid off for this hit. Back home in Greece we were a very big group. It was never a problem being successful there. To get a hit you can sell 5,000 or 10,000 or maybe if you're lucky 20,000 records, it's such a small country. Already, so far, with Rain and Tears we have sold over one million records. Offers since the hit have been non-stop. It's always the same when something good happens to a group, propositions start flooding in.
It seems that two of the boys have been to England in the past - one as a student, the other for a holiday. They may not have been known then but I think they'll get a very warm reception when they finally make it over here on tour. Meanwhile, watch out for great things from Aphrodite's Child.
Interview by Maureen O'Grady. Rave magazine