Strawberry Pills come from Athens (Greece) with a new approach to the dark and mysterious sounds from the 80’s that pays homage to the ...

Strawberry Pills: Darkness as a Second Skin


Strawberry Pills come from Athens (Greece) with a new approach to the dark and mysterious sounds from the 80’s that pays homage to the cryptic and fascinating world of film noir and crime fiction. 

The ominous presence of dark shadows in pale light and sensual femme fatales abound while listening to Murder To A Beat, the debut LP by Strawberry Pills released in October 30 by Inner Ear Records. 

A fascinating and intriguing debut that will please and mystify those seekers that are attracted to the dark and melodic side of music.

How did Strawberry Pills come to be?
Valisia: Back in 2008 Antonis and I were together in my first band Phoenix Catscratch. At some point Antonis left and somewhere around 2013 he started a project called Strawberry Pills where he collaborated with several female singers, one of them being me. As we realised how great we worked together we decided to keep it between the two of us but it didn’t last long (i think it was a matter of months) due to various reasons. Which brings us in 2019 when we met again and both realised that this is the right time for Strawberry Pills the band to do its thing. We know what we want to do without even speaking about it and each of us is important in achieving that. 

Please guide us along some of the concepts/ideas behind your newest LP. You mention having influences from film noir and crime fiction, what are the main references that you can cite? 
Valisia: The general atmosphere of "Murder To A Beat" is inspired by the tone and the mood of film noir and crime fiction. It is fast paced, it is caressed by both shadows and lights and it has an underlying existentialist philosophy. Agatha Christie was a major influence along with many many film noir movies such as "Touch of Evil", "The Maltese Falcon", "Dial M for Murder". 

Antonis: Practically, I treated all of the songs more like “horror audio movies” and not as actual songs. We created characters and let their stories blend with some touches from reality. It was an interesting process. We created a dark and twisted universe. 

Your sound has a very fresh and innovative approach to some more dark and obscure kind of music from the 80’s. What bands can you say influenced you the most for your own unique sound? 
Valisia: Ultravox, Japan, Yello, Chris and Cosey, Cabaret Voltaire, just to mention some. 

Antonis: I also love Deux, The Soft Moon, Depeche Mode and of course, our king the one and only Daniel Johnston. 

What themes do you feel most likely to explore in your lyrics? 
Antonis: Horror, death, love and I combine them with some of my everyday experiences in life. Valisia Is more lyrical than me, she takes it to another level. 

Valisia: I've got a more timeless perspective on things, mainly through several forms of art and secondly through history. Therefore, I am usually motivated by a book I read, a photograph, a painting, a movie. Major characteristics to all of them are mystery, eccentricity, eroticism, intense emotion. 

What is the concept behind the cover art chosen for the album. 
Valisia: The cover's aesthetic is consistent with the whole album's concept. The key element is the hanging phone. The significance of the telephone in film noir and crime fiction is enormous. Most of the times the fate of the hero is defendant on a single phone call. The title of the album is repeated several times imitating somehow the incessant ringing of the telephone in the middle of the night and the threat it represents. 

With the situation we are currently facing, most shows have been cancelled or postponed, however do you have any plans about future tours? 
Antonis: We can’t wait to be on the road again. We had some shows cancelled due to the pandemic so we will make sure to return onstage as soon as possible. 

How would you best describe the underground music scene in Athens and how do you think that you fit in it? 
Antonis: The Greek underground scene is at its best. Great bands putting out amazing albums and touring all over. It felt like a music playground before the COVID-19 situation. Even though I like the Greek scene a lot though, I feel like Strawberry Pills is part of a bigger, European dark scene that works as one. We get in touch with artists from all over the world and it feels great to do so. 

The videoclip for The Voyeur has a very dark and mysterious mystique. What leitmotif or concepts inspired you for the videoclip for The Voyeur? 
Valisia: We were inspired both lyrically and visually by the iconoclastic photography of Guy Bourdin. His work was described as “tiptoeing to the edge of pornography but ending up at art”. He exposed the true nature of desire. Thus, following Guy Bourdin’s frame of mind “The Voyeur” spies on other people’s lives trying to feel what they feel, trying to sense the heat. It's claustrophobic, it's compulsive, it's scheming.

Text and Interview: Cláudia Zafre
Band: Strawberry Pills (Vasilia Odell, Antonis Konstantaras)