Nick Azelis Vocals/Bass
Angelo Triantafillou Guitar
Kenny Nitsotolis Drummer

Exclusive Interview with Pyndar

Pindar (Pyndar): Ancient Greek: Πίνδαρος, Pindaros (522-443 BC). One of nine lyric poets from ancient Greece described as, “By far the greatest ever, inspired by magnificence, and absolutely brilliant…”

Travelling the road to stardom is one of the toughest journeys anyone can attempt to make. No matter what your craft is, the path will be long, narrow and treacherous, and in the end only a select few gifted (and lucky) individuals will have the opportunity to stand alone at the top.

However, there are different variations of this road and multiple stops you can make along the way. For example, there are those all the way at the top; stars who have experienced their ups and downs, who have learned from the best-of-the-best, and who have no doubt had Lady Luck by their side. Then there are those who are sitting in the middle; people with so much talent who have been given the chance to shine, but who are just waiting for the right opportunity to make the most of it. And then there are those who are just starting off; these are the budding talents who are looking to break into the industry, learn the ropes, and do whatever it takes to get their work noticed. And just like those at the top, with a little bit of passion, luck, and perseverance, they too can achieve star-status.

Pyndar, a local Toronto band made up of three individuals with very similar upbringings, are an example of those who possess a love and skillset for rock and roll, and who are now beginning to make significant strides towards becoming household names in Toronto’s music scene.

The band consists of three members: lead vocalist and bass player Nick Azelis, lead guitarist Angelo Triantafillou, and drummer Kenny Nitsotolis. They are an extremely talented trio with a unique sound that covers a wide range of audiences, who are looking to continue riding some recent momentum brought their way, as they prepare for their second Toronto show in a matter of one month.

Nick Azelis Vocals/Bass
Favourite bands/musicians Black Sabbath, Dio, Scorpions, King Diamond, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest
Greek roots Both parents hail from the village of Milea in Eperus, Greece.

Angelo Triantafillou Guitar
Favourite bands/musicians Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Black Sabbath, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theatre
Greek roots Both parents hail from Argos in Peloponnese.

Kenny Nitsotolis Drummer
Favourite bands/musicians Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Megadeth, Michael Jackson, Sum 41, Tool, The Doors
Greek roots Father hails from the village of Milea in Eperus, Greece; mother is from Krania.

Pyndar were united the way most people become and remain friends; through commonalities, interests, and mutual relationships. In this case I'm referring to their love for rock and roll, their natual ability to write and play music at a high level, and their strong ties to their Greek heritage.

I recently had a chance to sit down with Pyndar's lead guitarist ahead of their biggest show yet to talk about these subjects, as well as find out more about how this up-and-coming band originally formed, what influences Greek music has had on their playing, and what the future has in store.


Jonathan Bliangas: When did Pyndar form?
Angelo Triantafillou: A couple of years ago, around 2009, I was looking to either start up or join a band. I had basically been a “basement player” my whole life. I really started learning how to play guitar in grade 10 and absolutely fell in love with it. After that I wanted to find some band members, and what happened was, my brother knew Nick’s dad (our lead vocalist), and he found out through him that his son also played guitar and was looking to start up a band. So I met Nick and we hit it off. In the beginning we wrote a few original songs and did a lot of covers, but then we realized that we needed more members. Especially a drummer. So thankfully, Nick’s cousin, Kenny – who is our drummer now – said he would be interested in playing drums. Ever since then it’s been just the three of us, and we feel a chemistry that helps us make great music.

JB: Did you guys ever consider expanding beyond just three members?
AT: We’ve actually considered the idea of adding one more guitarist. The reason being, sometimes when I’m playing solos or doing something else, I need somebody on the rhythm helping out. In that case we could use either another guitarist, or even a keyboardist. If you hear our single “Letting Go” there’s piano in the background. So it just fills the whole song and makes it rich, so that might be something we look at adding in the future.

JB: You guys recently had a show at the Hard Rock Café that went very well. How did you guys go about booking this show?
AT: We basically had an itch to play some of our original music for people to hear, so we started looking for a promoter. We ended up getting in touch with somebody and told him how we were a local Toronto band and that we were looking to play a gig. Luckily for us he had an opening at the ‘Hard Rock. He asked if we were interested, and we of course said yes to the opportunity. This wasn’t our first time playing in front of a live crowd, though. We performed at a local bar before this show, but that was close to a year ago and all we played were covers. This show meant a lot more because everything we played was original.

JB: How were your nerves this time around in front of a bigger crowd compared to the first time you performed?
AT: I got the butterflies out of my system with our first show, but I still had them going for this one. The adrenaline was definitely pumping through our veins. I feel like we perform better when we get those butterflies because that means you’re going to put on a good show. I think the more your perform the more comfortable you get.


JB: What was the feedback like after the ‘Hard Rock gig?
AT: Very good. We had a couple of people who approached us afterwards who wanted to give us some studio time which was awesome. We also got another show out of it which was what we wanted the most. Kind of like a stepping stone. We also launched our website, a fan page on Facebook, and a Twitter account as well. The feedback’s been tremendous.

JB: What goes into writing a song from scratch? What’s the process like?
AT: Nick is the main guy when it comes to writing lyrics for our songs. What we’ll sometimes do is, we’ll write the music and then match it with lyrics. But what we’ve also done is, Nick will often make up lyrics, and then we put the music to it. The way you can go about it varies.

JB: Which method do you prefer?
AT: I like writing the music first. I prefer to have the backing for a good song, and then find lyrics that work with it. For example, I went up to Nick one day and told him that I have music for a song, and that I want the lyrics to be about jealousy and hatred, and how negative they both are. The next day he came to jam with the lyrics in his hand. It’s amazing to work with a guy who’s so talented like that. We haven’t performed this particular song yet, but we will in the very near future.

JB: Which modern day band would you say Pyndar resembles most?
AT: Our style of music touches on a wide scale. We can sometimes sound like Metallica, and then suddenly switch over to Carlos Santana. Then we have our ballads, and from there we switch over to heavy metal. We really cover the whole spectrum and I think that’s good because then we have different sounds that cater to different audiences. If you listen to our single you can hear both rock and pop. It’s the type of song you could hear on the radio or at a club. It really doesn’t matter.

JB: Would you guys ever consider recording a song in Greek?
AT: Definitely. Our single “Letting Go” is actually in the process of being fully translated, and after that we plan on recording it and sending it off to Greece. Our producer actually has a few connections in Greece so we’re hoping when he sends it over it gets picked up. Who knows? But we love playing Greek music and we love listening to Greek music. All three of us grew up with lots of Greek influences so it will always be a part of us.

JB: What does the future have in store for Pyndar?
AT: We’re going to try and take this thing as far as we can. Right now we have a show coming up and we’re going to focus hard on our album. At the moment we have about ten original songs, and of course the challenge lies in getting studio time to record all of them. But we think we can slowly start heading in that direction.

JB: Tell us what we need to know about your next show.
AT: Our next show is going to be at the Opera House on Queen and Broadview. We’re expecting a jam packed show of at least seven or eight hundred people. It’s also St. Patrick’s Day so there will be green beer and lots of fun, that’s for sure. You can buy tickets off any of our band members or inquire about them on our Facebook Fan page. They cost twelve dollars if you buy them in advance or fifteen if you buy them at the door.