Miguel Cano

It was at the beginning of the year when we informed you about the very interesting music documentary "Greek Rock Revolution", created by the Spanish film director Miguel Cano. The 95-minute film focuses on the rise of the Greek Rock scene over the last decade. Seven Greek bands, famous for their heavy sound and their explosive live performances (in Greek territories, but outside Greece as well), were interviewed and followed in their shows: 1000modsTuberNaxatrasPuta VolcanoVillagers of Ioannina CityPlanet of Zeus and Nightstalker.

The great and more recent news is that, as it was announced a few days ago, the film is about to have its world premiere at the 21st International Documentary Competition section of Thessaloniki International Film Festival with two screenings: one on the opening day of the Festival, 1st of March, and a second one, on the 4th of March. 

We are more than happy and proud to have in our Basement the director of the rockumentary Miguel Cano for a cool and very interesting interview. Focusing on the "Greek Rock Revolution", but also on Miguel's remarkable work that preceded his new project, we got to know a very important and skillful filmmaker that really honoured us by choosing to direct his attention to the Greek contemporary music scene...  


The Greek Revolution official trailer




The Basement: Hi Miguel and welcome to The Basement! At first, we would like to thank you for this interview, but -above all- we would like to thank you for turning your attention to our rock ‘n’ roll music. What was your first contact and acquaintance with the Greek rock scene?
I’ve been into to rock since I started listening to music. 3 years ago, as an act of boredom, I spent some time inquiring about the home country of the bands I was listening more often to. On that moment I realized that half of my favorite bands were coming from Greece and I started to wonder about what was happening there.

The Basement: When and under which circumstances did the idea of filming a documentary about Greek rock music came to you at first? Why Greece?
In 2008/09 I studied in Volos as Erasmus student and I fell in love with Greece, from its people, history and culture, to its wild university parties, rich underground culture and politically active youth. Later on, precisely 2 years ago, I moved to Berlin. On the first week there I attended a gig from a wonderful Russian band (The Re-Stoned) and I met a Greek folk (George Pirounakis) which had been working in Merch with Greek rock bands for many years. With a few beers on top, I told him about making this documentary and he replied that it was a great idea and he would support me by putting me in touch with some relevant contacts in Greece. Finally, last summer I found out that 6 out of the 7 bands that I wanted to feature on the movie were coming to Street Mode Festival. I checked and all those bands had plenty of concerts in Greece during that September. Then I thought to myself: it’s now or never. 

The Basement: In the title you use the word “Revolution”. Which elements of Greek rock music scene do you consider as revolutionary?
In the last years, the bands featured in the film are making a huge impact, which is trespassing the Greek borders and teasing people talk about what’s happening in Greece. In a 10-million population country, having so many bands in a specific music genre-breaking it internationally is already quite significant. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the main ‘revolutionary’ element of this movement is the scene itself. Last September I attended a dozen concerts all over Greece and they were all sold out acts, including a gig in Athens with 8-10k people gathering together to see Planet of Zeus and Tuber. Within the audience, I could see young and adults, as many females as males, and even families with their kids enjoying a rock concert together. I have the impression that people in Greece have been under pressure for many years now, they have lots to express and somehow they channel it through these rock bands, something which becomes, at the same time, a social gathering where people with similar concerns and emotions get together as a unite yearn for freedom. 

The Basement: We also read that in Greece you see some “resemblances with historical cultural momentums in Mississipi back when blues were born or in Seattle when grunge flourished”. Which are these similiraties and how do they lead to the creation of a solid music scene? 
In those two momentums, as I believe it happens currently in Greece, there was a long-lasting unstable social situation and a common feeling of non-conformity. This resulted in a propitious scenario for art expression where artists spoke out of their honest feelings of rage, and therefore the wide audience felt identified with them and found in their music a common point to gather and release griefs. 

The Basement: On which criteria were the bands that appear on the documentary chosen?
It’s always a delicate matter to set boundaries in music. I’m fully aware there are other music genres and arts flourishing in the country, as well as other fantastic rock bands which have been performing for many years. However, the point of this project has been from the first moment to present and describe the current rock scene in Greece. In the last years, the bands featured in the film are making a huge impact, which is trespassing the Greek borders and teasing people to talk about what’s happening in Greece. I also had very clear that I wanted to present the bands well and give them time on the film for the audience to know them well both personally and musically, something with I believe the movie has achieved for these 7 bands. 

The Basement: World Premiere at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival...  What will come next? In which cities and/or countries are you planning to show the film?
There could not be any better Première for Greek Rock Revolution than screening its first time at the opening day of Thessaloniki International Documentary Film Festival. That was the ideal scenario we had in mind for this project and from the Organization of the Festival they were very cooperative from the first moment to make it happen. This movie was conceived to show the World what is going on with the rock panorama in Greece as well as the context behind inspiring it. Showing it in front of a Greek audience is very special because it is bringing a piece of their lifestyle onto the big screen, proving that it is real. Very often we tend not to appreciate what we have at 'home' and look outside for the amazing. That is why sometimes it is important that somebody from abroad comes in to provide a fresh perspective on something you are very familiar with. I believe the Greek Rock scene is definitely a movement to be proud of, and I hope this movie will help that happen.


The Basement: What are your expectations of the “Greek Rock Revolution” documentary?
Firstly, to attend as many International Film Festivals as possible, for having the chance of presenting the movie and talking about it with minded audiences from all around. Secondly, to foster in Greece an acknowledgment of this scene, which hopefully will have an effect on improving the (very well deserved) artists’ recognition, attention from mainstream media and, eventually, a wider reach to the Greek audience. I personally believe people gathering to listen rock is positive for a society as they get to yell, jump, headbang, feel, express…modern society is becoming too static and I feel happy to promote somehow quite the opposite. At last, I can’t deny I hold the thought of contributing to stablishing a Greek Rock scene, not as a trend, but as a meaningful movement of music and social expression that will prevail and will be remembered.

The Basement: You run the Mr Challenge Films”. Tell us some information about this very interesting project.
In the last 8 years, I have travelled to nearly 70 countries making movies, photography, journalism and social projects. To me life makes no sense without challenges and, so far, I keep the eager of constant learning and the passion of exploring the world pursuing good human stories to tell and fair causes to fight for. I believe media has the power of changing people’s view and I strive for making a positive impact with my work. A better world is possible and I am convinced we, people, are the key to achieve it.

The Basement: You’ve travelled so much, but our attention was struck by your trip to Peru for two social documentaries. What were about and what were your experiences of your work there?
Those were my first two documentary movies back in 2010 and I produced them while I was working as a volunteer for a local NGO. I got a scholarship on the field of renewable energies engineering. However, I had just 3 months and as soon as I was in Peru I realized that I didn’t have time to develop any project on that field. Nevertheless, I wanted to make an impact. The two main projects of the NGO were appealing to me and I decided to create a whole campaign to support them. The first project was to support and organize the farmers from rural and mountainous areas around the harvesting of Panela (a purest and healthiest version of sugar). The second one, a clothing brand to unite weaver women and empower them to achieve self-independence from men of the community by providing them with the opportunity of earning their own income. I produced a documentary for each of the projects and I even organized a big event at the main square of the city (Piura), with stands, live music, art performances and the screening of my films. We could say that I went to Peru as Engineer and I came back as a Filmmaker. 

The Basement: Equally intriguing was your work in Split about the role of mothers during the war. What things were revealed by this one?
This was a strong project. I was working as a volunteer in Split for an NGO which support drug addicts (mostly heroin), by providing them with clean needles and basic goods. There I found out the story of how mothers from different former Yugoslavian Republics were helping each other during war times to rescue their children from war. Unfortunately, I never managed to get funds for this project. Still, I worked on it with the very limited resources I had at the time…till my laptop was stolen. 

The Basement: Which are your favourite directors and which are your favourite films?
My favourite film is Benito Zambrano’s Habana Blues which is, by the way, a movie about music with an extraordinary soundtrack. Among Directors I admire, David Fincher, Miyazaki, Tarantino, Amenábar (first era) and Clint Eastwood. 

The Basement: What about music? Which kind of music do you like the most and which are your favourite bands and artists?
I listen to music since I wake up till I go to bed and I enjoy many genres, from blues to classical music. Nonetheless, what I like the most is psychedelic (mostly) instrumental rock. Some of my favourite bands (apart from ones featured in the film) are My Sleeping Karma, Tuber, Toundra, Samsara Blues Experiment, Colour Haze, God is an Astronaut, Earthless, Kikagaku Moyo and Stone Rebel.

The Basement: Thank u so much Miguel! Wish you the best! Looking forward for the “Greek Rock Revolution”!

Reference Links:
Facebook Page of the movie
Greek Rock Revolution Website

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