The Silent Heroes of Rock & Metal: Story of a Dee-Jay; DJ Nicos Metalhard

Updated: Dec 9, 2018

Nicos is not just a DJ devoted to rock / metal music, he is someone who carries this music with him all his life. Full of experience and a lot of acquaintances in the field, he cultivated metal music since his childhood and turned it into a way of life. For Nicos not a lot of intros are required, simply a big respect from myself and a thank you for all he is offering to this musical genre.

Interview to Helena ‘Raven’ Geo

Metal Hard at Rocka Rolla

- Hello Nico, and thank you for this interview. For starters, let’s focus a bit on the present. Where do you deejay nowadays and what would a metalhead expect to listen from your playlist?

Hello to you too. I was deejaying at Rocka Rolla in Nicosia for some time. On Saturdays I play at Route 66 in Limassol. Always looking for new experiences though. My playlist includes all Metal genres. My aim is to please all metalheads. I mostly play for the people listening rather than for myself.

- Would you care to comment on Rocka Rolla, which closed its doors a few days ago, following 3 location changes and 12 years of operation?

About Rocka Rolla, its closing down was devastating for all. It was the only place for full time metalheads, for all genres of metal. I was really sad when I was informed, and I hope that something else or even Rocka Rolla will open its doors soon. I already missed Theo and the people hanging out there, all the unforgettable nights and the DJ events.

- Which are the must bands that you play often? Do you have some suggestions for our readers?

I always start with AC/DCs’ Hells Bells and I continue with a bit of classic before I ‘raise the volume’. I try to move within a diversity of new and old. It is hard for me to suggest any songs or bands that I play. I mostly try to feel the listeners on what they like to listen to and take it from there. Bands that I play often are Debauchery, Exodus, Five Finger Death Punch, Gojira, Panzer, Obituary, Motorhead, Iron Maiden and many more. It all depends on the listeners.

- In what other places did you deejay at, in Cyprus and abroad, and which of all these experiences was sort of a turning point for you and in what way?

In Cyprus, apart from the afore mentioned Rocka Rolla and Route 66, I played on some live shows as guest DJ. Abroad I played in a variety of metal bars and clubs, as well as at live events. Even though I have been deejaying for many years, I think my turning point was when I started playing in Japan.

- Before you returned to Cyprus you lived in Japan for 9 years, and before that for 11 years in the USA. Tell us a bit about the metal fans there and in general of the relative scene in these large countries.

In New York, which is heaven for those enjoying live shows, since there are a lot of them there, the scene wasn’t very large for metalheads and DJ events though. There was only one metal bar,Duff'sBrooklyn, where I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few musicians, such as Pantera, Iron Maiden, Type O Negative, Judas Priest, Slayer and many more, that I can’t recall right now.

Because I wanted to deejay somewhere, I discovered a rock bar and we agreed to organize one Metal night once a week. It was a great success and I kept at that until I left for Tokyo in July 2006. In Japan things were very different. There was an enormous metal scene there, with many live shows, many metal bars and a whole lot of metalheads. It wasn’t easy for me to start there, for many reasons, but mainly because of the language barrier. I started slowly in small bars and after 2 years I was considered to be one of Japans’ best Metal DJs. I had regular events in some of the most know metal bars and on a lot of live shows.

With Rotting Christ in Osaka, Japan

- When we first met you mentioned that you used to organize a metal barbecue in Japan. How did that happen, and how did the Japanese accept the Cypriot cuisine you introduced to them?

It started off as a simple BBQ with some friends, and in a few years it became a large BBQ party. Apart from deejaying, I enjoy cooking, and the only way to get Cypriot food there was to cook it myself. Apart from our souvla, I also prepared sheftalia and koupepia. The Japanese went mad over the last two. Even today, years after I returned to Cyprus, they are asking me when will I go back to host another Cyprus BBQ.

- You were involved in metal events there. Some friendships with bands started off because of that, which you still keep. I’d like you to talk to us a bit about that.

Due to the fact that I was already part of the metal scene, a production company asked me to help organize live shows with famous bands from all over the world, and of course I accepted. I took over themeet and greet events and the before and after parties. I was lucky enough to meet and become friends with many musicians, a lot of whom I still keep in touch with. This entire experience was for me the best I could live through the metal scene, which I consider a part of my life. Some of the best acquaintances I made was with Havok, Marduk, Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, The Crown, Hypocrisy, Mastodon, Kataklysm, Psycroptic and many more.

- Tell us a few words about “Metal Hard”.

“Metal Hard” started in Japan almost 12 years ago. In Japan, the ‘rule’ is that DJ events are named, so that people can recognize them. There is quite a bit of competition also amongst the different groups. So when I started deejaying in Japan I had to name my event and thus “Metal Hard” was born. It was established within two years and became one of the most known events in Tokyo. In 2012 Metal Hard Radio was started with a lot of success. Also, ‘Metal Hard’ was one of the main organizers and sponsor for live shows between 2011 to 2015 in Japan.

- Which were the first listens, the musical stimuli, that made you see metal music as a way of life?

I knew from the first time I listened to Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Motorhead and a few other 80s bands that this is the music for me, and it did indeed become a way of life since then.

- Let’s roll back in time a bit, get to know Nicos as a teenager. Where did you use to hang out and how did you spend your free time?

Unfortunately there weren’t any metalhead hangouts when I was young, but I tried at every chance I got to go somewhere which played even a littleHard Rock. Other than that, I used to listen to music at home. Of course I went out a lot, since back then I worked quite a lot at Night Clubs and Bars in Limassol, but unfortunately not a lot of choices for metal music.

With Steve Zetro Souza from Exodus

- Which musicians’ posters did you have plastered on your teenage room walls?

I had a lot of posters on the walls. A few that I remember now were AC/DC of course, Manowar, Accept, Metallica, Megadeth, DIO, and many more.

- What is the first thing that comes to mind from the 80s?


- Do you remember the first metal live you attended as a viewer? How did you feel at the end of that night?

The first metal live was AC/DC, Metallica, Motley Crue and Black Crowes in 1991. It was the most unforgettable experience.

- First vinyl or cassette tape?


- Three favorite albums?

Don’t like that question much. I don’t have any favorite albums. I listen to music according to how I feel at that particular moment and it’s always different. Today I might listen to something all the time and then it’s something else.

- Was there an album or song that marked your teen years?

Metal as music and a way of life marked my teen years, and my entire life up to today, and it will do so up until the end.

- You first djset?

I don’t recall much detail, but it was at Underground in Nicosia in 1991, when I used to hang out with the young then Armageddon.

- Was there a moment where you felt proud to be involved with metal music?

I always felt and still feel that way, and I feel that I have nothing to prove to anyone. Being involved with this music is sufficient enough for me.

- Where there any comments that bothered you as far as your musical inclinations were concerned when you first started, or even today?

Didn’t care then and still don’t even now.

With Marduk

- What message would you like to send to our rock/metal youth of the island?

From my experience so far in Cyprus, there are a lot of metalheads with vast knowledge on music, and also a lot of really goods bands. I would like to comment on a few things though, that I noticed, which luckily are few:

1. Metal does not stop because something changed in our lives (marriage, family, work, death etc). Sometimes it’s not easy, but I believe that metal music can help through anything.

2. The 80s was perfect, but it does not stop there. There are a lot of new bands just as good. Theyjustneedtobegivenachance.

3. Accept the likes of other metalheads. If you don’t like a song, just wait, enjoy your drink, and one of your favorites will come right up.

4. Whenever you can, support the metal scene in Cyprus, the live shows, metal bars and other metal events.

5. Stay Metal!!!

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