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Spotlight: Christos Athanasias of Devil Electric

Christos Athanasias. Credit: Kirty Phillips
(Image credit: Kirty Phillips)

CHRISTOS ATHANASIAS

HAILS FROM: Naarm/Melbourne, VIC
PLAYS IN: Devil Electric AND The Ugly Kings
SOUNDS LIKE: Face-punching rock 'n' roll
LATEST DROP: Godless (Devil Electric LP out now independently)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
When it comes to Devil Electric live, I’ve been using the most excellent Guild Polara S-100. It plays brilliantly from the get-go and sounds unreal; it has excellent tone response and sounds fat and tight, especially when I’m playing heavy, chugging riffs. When it comes to The Ugly Kings, I’ve been religiously using a sunburst Hagstrom Viking Deluxe. This has been customised with gold hardware, TV Jones pickups and an original Bigsby. This was literally the first project where I created something unique, using what the makers intended but adding a Christos flavour. It’s a super versatile guitar, and the neck of the Hagstrom is a work of art – super smooth and super easy to play with. 

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
Throughout my teen years I was a massive Metallica and Iron Maiden fan, and it was in high school in Greece that three friends and I decided to form a band –before any of us knew how to play any instruments. With inspiration from Sabbath, Metallica and Maiden, of course I said I wanted to be the guitarist. I believe I took about four guitar lessons before I said to myself, “I am now ready to write some riffs.” And so I did. As it turns out, those were the only four guitar lessons I took in my life. Then we moved to Australia and I was just jamming in my room, trying to work things out based on how it sounded and without any real technical guitar knowledge. 

What inspires you as a player?
Tony Iommi, Jack White and Tom Morello. All three pushed the envelope of guitar playing. All three had uniquely different styles, but I believe also share one common thing: clarity. You can clearly follow and remember their riffs and their songwriting. You can instantly know a riff played by them. I love that. And that is exactly what I try to bring to the table when I play the guitar. The main thing is clarity of melody and songwriting, despite the amount of fuzz, octaves and drive I stack on my guitar sound.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
Absolutely! I love Fender and Vox Amps. Recently, I’ve been mostly using two Fender Hot Rods. I split the signal on the way to my chain, so my first pedal is my Lehle Splitter, and then I break out two different chains of effects that run independently to the two amps. My favourite drive pedals are the T-Rex Mudhoney, Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive, EarthQuaker Cloven Hoof Fuzz, Visual Sound Angry Fuzz and the almighty Gamechanger Audio Third Man Plasma Coil. Favourite octave pedals are the one and only Electro-Harmonix POG, the EarthQuaker Bit Commander synth, and of course the Digitech Whammy. I also love the delay and tremolo pedals that Guyatone makes.

What would your signature model look like?
As a matter of fact, I already have one! It’s called The Devil King, made by Mantra Guitar Co, and there’s only one in the world. It’s very special to me! Made to the exact spec requested. It was inspired by BB King’s Lucille Guitar – ES-335 shape, no F holes, matte black, gold trim and hardware, with one almighty TV Jones humbucker on the bridge. No neck position pickup cavity either. It’s a beast of a guitar that I have mostly used for Devil Electric, but do use it sometimes for The Ugly Kings as well. It’s definitely got a mean and meaty sound, and I use it all the time for recording. 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
It has to be the classy and evil Tony Iommi. I would be jamming with the Hand Of Doom, and that would be a dream come true for sure. The song has to be ‘War Pigs’, honouring the song that blew my mind when I was a kid.

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Ellie Robinson
Ellie Robinson

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…

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