I’ve wanted to interview this band since I saw them play many years ago at Savino Live. Finally, I recently caught up first with; General Manager, Giampiero Soncini aka GP, then with, Andreas and Harris, two of the band members of probably Cyprus’ best known rock band ‘Minus One’ which was enlightening to say the least … this local band based in Nicosia, are one of the few Cypriot bands that sing in English and tbh, they’re unique in every sense of the word … normally doing about 10 gigs a month, the lockdown has given them time to think, differently, again!!!
Andreas and Chris originally put the band together back in 2009, bringing in Antonis and Constantinos aka Americanos, all experienced musicians and composers btw, launching as ‘Gnostoi Agnostoi’ or ‘Known Unknown’ in English, a cover band that made the covers different, sometime maybe better, even then, they were something different, the transition to Minus One happened after a bit of a shuffle of band members … more recently adding the last member Orestis their Bassist … I had to ask … Why ‘Minus One’? … Andreas said “it was during one of the band’s transitions in the early days, we were practising for a concert, at the time we had two singers, that night Christos hadn’t turned up and Francois joked; let’s call the band ‘Minus One’ and we all laughed and then it just stuck”
In 2014, under the name ‘Marianne’s Wish’, 2 members of the band competed in the Hard Rock worldwide contest, finishing 8th out of over 10,000 bands, and winning an all expenses paid tour of the USA … when I asked Harris if this was their first sign of stardom he said, “there’s no such thing as stardom in Cyprus, there’s just not enough people”, it made me laugh … but he said “Eurovision in Stockholm, helped us brand the band”!, then laughing he said “of course everybody knows our lead singer and front-man Andreas”, and I just got to say, this guy has got an amazing voice, omg!
Fame at Last
Following their huge success on the road, and in Cyprus, in 2016 the band were chosen as the Cypriot entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, with the self-penned song ‘Alter Ego’. They finished 21st overall, but went on to perform in the final, live, in front of 205 million people on TV. He continued “it was an intense 14 days and nights, woke up, breakfast, interviews most days, rehearsals, show, or party, every night. The song reached the top of the charts in Spotify and iTunes throughout most of Europe.
In 2017 the group opened for for Glenn Hughes of Trapeze, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath fame, in Vienna, Bologna and Milan, receiving great reviews and they have performed at events in North America, Europe, Russia and the UK, but you’re just as likely to catch them at a hotel or private party, in someone’s garden, at a wedding, as much as in front of a 2,500 audience stadium.
I was in conference with Andreas and Harris who explained “Minus One are a party band, who wanna make people dance, putting in lots of energy, so the crowd can feel the phenomenal chemistry between the band, so we always put on a fun show every time we play, even if it’s 2 or 3 times a week, and we’re not happy if we haven’t got everyone dancing by the end, even the most difficult crowds” … check out some of their Facebook Videos here
Two in One Night
Harris continued “we work hard, sometimes very hard, occasionally doing two gigs in one night, putting in 100% for every gig … Once we did Rock Tepee in Limassol from 8 pm ‘t 10 pm and Savino Live in Larnaca from 12 midnight and played for three hours, another time we did The Limassol Bikers Festival at the Old Port, set up did a sound check, dashed off to Ravens Music Hall, did a sound check, back to the old port did the gig and then back to Ravens, to do it again, its tiring, he laughed, but it gives us something to talk about”
Let it Rain
Harris continued, “We understand that it’s not just the music, but also the appearance, the energy we put into every show, the two just work so well together, hand in hand” … Oh, he remembered, “one gig we did the after party for the Limassol Marathon, at Guaba Beach Bar in Limassol it poured down with rain but we didn’t stop the show, we got soaked the crowd got soaked but they danced all the way to the encores”!
Believe it or not, during those manic times, they were rehearsing and recording their first album ‘Red, Black White’, at Medley studios in Copenhagen, with the help of Soren Andersen of Glenn Hughes, Marco Mendoza, and Mike Tramp fame, it was published worldwide by Mighty Music of Denmark in December 2018, and still available on all digital platforms … order now
I mentioned they are unique, well these guys pretty much learn new tracks almost every week, just looking at their play list which is now well over 150 songs, from R’&’B to Pop, and Dance to Heavy Rock, everything from Queen to Ed Sheeran and even a bit of Justin Timberlake … wow! … Intrigued, I asked them to explain … Andreas said “we love to write our own stuff, music that matters, not political stuff, and we know we have to adapt to our audiences, so we also love doing covers, especially non-rock ones, because we can put our own feel into the songs, but at the end of the day we are a rock band!, and when we drop the guitars you’ll know it, and that’s basically why we’re different”
Of course Covid put a stop to them performing 10 times a month … so they wanted to bring their music to your home and together with the gorgeous Drew from Savino Live, they put on two scheduled gigs at the rock venue, with cameras, and they were the first band to stream live during lockdown … check out the first Stay Home Live Stream and their covers of Harry Styles’s Sign Of The Times, and Elton John’s I’m Still Standing.
They’ve almost finished making their second album ‘Cover Songs’. Harris said ” during lockdown, we used the technology available to us, we all recorded in our own place, then edited together, from different houses and decided it was good enough to make as an album … you’ll probably find things like covers of Photograph by Ed Sheeran, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen coz it’s got so many different beat changes, and What’s up by 4 Non
blondes, in two different ways oh and Tainted Love by Soft Cell to Gangstas Paradise by Coolio … Andreas said “its better to cover songs that aren’t rock, especially if there’s no guitars, so we can make stuff up showing off our different styles of Rock!, oh and don’t be surprised if you hear some explosions during the tracks”!
These guys have certainly played at some cool places, from Savino Live, their home in Larnaca, to Radio Kanali 6, Ravens Music Hall and Rock Tepee in Limassol and the biggest so far The Loud Music Festival in Yermasogia, Limassol and of course The GPS Stadium in Nicosia and The Daxi Music Festival in Ayia Napa’s Stadium, internationally; Sweden, Italy, Athens, and at Medley Studios in Denmark, with btw, Producer Soren Anderson, who is the guitarist of Glenn Hughes, bassist for Deep Purple, at his own studios, to mention but a few … oh, and one day, they flew to Kazan in Russia, on 3 connection flights, missing one of them, got there, played, and came back within 48 hours … That’s awesome!!!
At the time of writing, and with Covid still being a nightmare their next gig is for Karen of Kendall Events at Darcy’s Restaurant in Paphos on Saturday 29th August … keep your eyes on Minus One’s Facebook page for the latest info … and seriously if you’ve never seen this band play, you really must, coz nothing compares to catching them live! Check out their Reviews here … and of course you can book them by hitting the Booking Agent’s icon below …
Andreas Kapatais, Frontman
Chris J, Drums
Constantinos Amerikanos, Guitar
Orestis Savva, Bass
Harrys Pari, Guitar
Mad TV award 2016 – Best Band
Super music awards 2016 – Most Airplay
Moi Ostrov magazine 2016 – Best Band
Giampiero Soncini (GP)
Languages: Italian, English, French
By Tony Dynamou