I remember thinking to myself: ‘well, that’s a pretty funny and catchy name’ and then I recall a status update on facebook by Thodoris saying: ‘shhhh…. Laternative is on’. And really, it wasn’t hard at all to become a great fan of their radio show, since they do what they do really well, but it was even more amazing to discover a whole new world of music, writing, and publishing behind that name. Stavros and Panagiotis were forced to wake up early, after one of their famous dj sets in town, to pose for imatiothiki, in their gorgeous 19th century apartment in the heart of Athens, doing… well… some pretty funny things and proving that two is far better than one. As for me, well, I get to be the lucky person to meet her favorite radio producers and two young men who are over and above grumbling about what is wrong with our times, and instead work (and party) their way through the difficulties.
You guys have both worked for websites, and newspapers as journalists. And I suppose you have seen some really weird things, or things that you wouldn’t even know existed, unless you did a story on them. Anything you’d like to mention?
Stavros: It was one of my first stories. I went to this live music club, sort of bouzoukia style, that hosted an Albanian night. And they had brought over some super stars from back home and then they would be dancing folk tunes, that I had never heard before. That was something I would have never seen I guess, if it weren’t for the story I had to write.
Panagiotis: I did a story on Michael Jacksons Greek Fan Club, right after his death. They were communicating through an online forum they had and they had written poems and letters to Michael. But, in the end, they weren’t very happy with the way I put out their story. What can you do?
And you, like Nikitas Mantas, wanted to become sportscasters at first. But then your carrier followed different paths. What is it with Greece and sports newspapers?
P: They never write true stories. It’s hilarious. You see something happening either on the field or on tv and then you read a whole different story on the newspaper.
S: And it’s our way of bridging the gap between how greek football actually is and where we would like it to be. The UK has no sports newspapers at all. Just really good sports sections on their main papers.
And your favorite sport would be?
S: And we are supporting Panaithinaikos B.C.
Ok, so, you started your show on SKAI, about 5 years ago, and now this year you transferred to En Lefko 87.7. How has your show changed so far and how did you two meet?
P: We met back in 2007 at a meeting held by the newspaper TA NEA, where we were discussing about how we were going to cover the elections. Then we got together for the show and since then have been working on various projects under the name Laternative. But our show in SKAI was different that it is now. Firstly, our show was at night and there were a lot more interviews and news we were doing. Now, En Lefko is a music station, so we are focusing on that.
S: But you need to know that our show is based on a large group of friends that is talking about things and discussing anything that seems interesting.
P: And we are obsessed with lists. We might not mention it clearly, but each radio show presents a certain list, from music, to films to whatever.
But you are really organized and have some interesting add-ons to your show.
P: Yes, like the Youtube Anthem of the Day, our daily Blast from the Past.
S: Trivial Information of the Day, Word of the day… the weather by Fotis Valatos.
P: And we have each Thursday Adioxos, who informs us about the week’s films.
Wow, okay. But you also write on Athens Voice and Lifo, which are the main free papers this city has to offer. How about TV? Would you do it? Have you thought about it?
S: Yes, we have. We’ve done a couple of tests and pilots in the past. The thing is TV is totally ignoring the city. Well, apart from this show that was on last year, Food in the City, that somehow showed a little bit of Athens. But other than that, you don’t really see Athens and what it was to offer on TV. That would be something we would like to work on if we were on TV.
On your show, you often have artists over and you ask them to make a Desert Island list, meaning a list of songs that they wouldn’t mind casting away with. What would be your top 10 Desert Island list?
S: M. Χατζιδάκις – Ο Γιάννης ο φονιάς / Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Mercy Seat / Radiohead – Idioteque / B. Τσιτσάνης – Αργοσβήνεις Μόνη / Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar / The Beatles – I Me Mine / Caribou – Jamelia / Μ. Θεοδωράκης – Σαββατόβραδο / Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere / Gustavo Santaolalla – Iguazu
P: New Order – Blue Monday / The Jesus and Mary Chain – Crackin’ Up / Wipers – Youth Of America / The Clash – Guns Of Brixton / The Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs / Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy / Laurent Garnier – The Man With The Red Face / LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge / Ricardo Villalobos – Easy Lee / dEUS – Ideal Crash. Ok, and I will add one more Δήμος Μούτσης & Σωτηρία Μπέλλου – Δε Λες Κουβέντα
And your top 5 torturing songs of all time(aka songs that sound have never been recorded) would be?
S: The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry / Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next / U2 – With Or Without / Green Day – Boulevard of Broken Dreams / Eminem – Lose Yourself
P: OMD – Electricity / The Cranberries – Zombie / Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds / No Doubt – Don’t Speak / AC/DC – Thunderstruck, well actually I don’t like any of their songs
Which artist would you really want to see perform live?
P: David Bowie
And which movie would you watch forever and ever?
P: Apocalypse Now
S: The Godfather II
P: Welcome to the house of Coppola’s biggest fans.
Ok, so apart from the writing and the music, you have started your own book series within Rodakio publishing, called Laternative, which aim to focus on music and urban culture. So far you have published Keith Richards’ biography ‘Life’ and you are currently working on your second publishing, ‘Bruce’. There are many biographies about artist, but is there anything that hasn’t been written yet, and that you’d love to read and publish in Greece?
P: Most music legends have had their biographies written. But if we had the chance, not to translate, but to actually write someone’s biography, that person would most certainly David Bowie.
You mentioned before that you are missing Athens from contemporary television. But what are you missing from Athens?
S: A bazaar, or some street festival. When you visit other European cities you always seem to find some sort of bazaar or happening out on the squares or some small streets. I am missing such actions in our city.
P: I think Athens isn’t really friendly for pedestrians. There are many beautiful places to visit, but if you want to get from one place to the other, you have to go through bad streets, bad sidewalks, small sidewalks, dirty parts of town, traffic etc etc in order to just enjoy a stroll around town.
S: And the people that live here! They don’t love their city. I guess everyone is thinking that what they are experiencing now, and everything that consist of their everyday surroundings is just contemporary and they will all move out into some better place sooner of later. So they do nothing about what is happening right here, right now. They just put it off again and again, because they refuse to see that this is it. This is the city we are living in. This is the city we are most likely to live in for the rest of our lives and it won’t get any better, unless we make it better.
And let’s talk a little bit about fashion. What are you disapproving on boy’s outfits?
S: Tod’s shoes. Pink shirts. Actually, anything pink. But I really like it when a guy looks after himself. I mean, I totally respect that, it’s nice to see someone with a sense of style.
P: We also care about how we dress and what we choose to buy, but we never dedicate much time to that. That needs to be said. But I think I would say I don’t like pointy shoes on men.
S: Yes, we hate pointy shoes. All shoes should be round. Actually, I buy the same type of shoes the past 10 years. It’s simple. They have a white sole and they are made of black leather. And they are not pointy. And that’s that. Same type of shoes. 10 years.
P: Oh, and hair gel! I hate hair gel.
And girls? Would you not approve of something us girls wear?
S: These trousers that look like bags.
You mean harem pants?
S: Yes, that. Whatever. Those baggy trousers. I don’t like those.
P: I hate animal prints. I don’t really get why girls wear that. And some sandals. They can look really weird.
S: But we love dresses.
P: Yes, girls in dresses is the right choice.
A few comments on the things pictured and said above: A big thank you to the guys that bared with me with just a couple hours of sleep. / Their apartment was built in 1866. The guys came in later, as Panagiotis puts it. / For moving around town they use Panagiotis’ Vespa. They’ve called it the Laternativemobile. None of them knows how to drive a car. / What you see in Stavro’s hands is not an orange, but a melon. Stavros is quite the farmer. / Panagiotis had a thing for adidas cardigans that hold cities’ names on them. Well, he used to. He doesn’t any more. Still, he’s got a pretty neat collection. / The apartment’s main bathroom has a window – right above the bathtub – overlooking Ermou Street. That’s the busiest retail street Athens has to offer. / Stavros at the time of the shooting was currently sleeping on a separate room their apartment has on the terrace. His room was occupied by a friend staying, so it cannot be seen at the pictures. / The Laternative logo was designed by kaphro (aka Αfroditi Spyropoulou). It is meant to show the differences between Panagiotis and Stavros. Inside and outside. / Panagiotis happened to write a piece on life with a roommate just a day before this was posted. If you speak Greek, take a look. It’s funny and makes you fully understand what you see above.