Bouzouki player, Gregory Georgiou, DJ George Savva and Percussionist Arky Kalithrakas. Three gifted musicians, who together form the modern Greek sensation that is the band ‘FiloXenia.’
Their ingenious sound seamlessly mixes together (George) the rhythms of live drums (Arky) with the melodies of the Greek bouzouki (Greg) underpinned by a vast variety of classic Greek hits and EDM bangers.
Taking their band name from the ancient Greek value of ‘philoxenia’ (hospitality), which tops the list of virtues and still lives on today in modern Greece, FiloXenia is a culmination of two important Greek phrases: ‘filo’ (meaning friend) and ‘xeni’ (meaning strangers). In Greek culture, this concept remains at the core of every community, every family, and every individual.
The talented trio, who had already built their ‘filia’ (friendship), discovered during a jam session that their combined genius created the most authentic sounds of modern Greek and English music; and thus, Filoxenia was founded.
The three best friends, whose close bond forms a brotherhood like no other, were artists before they met, each discovering their passion for music at a very young age.
Greg picked up the bouzouki in the early years of his life. His ability to play and entertain to all the Greek favourites whilst also adapting to modern dance music is what makes his performances so sought after.
An independent DJ for over 10 years, George has played on some of the Australian capital city of Sydney’s biggest club stages such as The Ivy, Marquee, Home The Venue, and Maxx Watts Theatre to name a few. His diverse knowledge and perceptibility when it comes to reading a crowd makes him indispensable say the guys, calling him the backbone of FiloXenia.
Arky started drumming at a very young age, having played in various bands prior to FiloXenia. His inspirations range from a variety of genres that are not well known by most, but the charismatic percussionist is known for his iconic cocktail of Heavy Metal, Funk, Rock and Reggae. This, combined with his showmanship – jumping off stages, swinging off speakers and getting lost in the music – have made his a performance not to be missed.
“George is not only our musical backbone, but our foundational backbone,” says FiloXenia when asked about the formation of the band and how it all began.
George knew of Greg’s renowned bouzouki-playing ability, as well as Arky’s skill on the 'kit'.
In what was to be a breakthrough “light-bulb” moment, George arranged a casual jam session where the three came together to meet officially for the first time.
“We had a free jam with no objective in sight apart from testing the waters,” the three say.
“One Facebook upload and thousands of overnight views later, FiloXenia was born!
"The three of us then grew into the best of friends relatively quickly when we shared similar tastes in modern dance music, and fusing our musical inspirations with our Greek culture to create our FiloXenia sound!”
From this, the reputation of the band has grown to that of an international presence, from supporting acts such as Nikiforos all the way to producing their own music, which is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Soundcloud, and showcases original songs that bring an even greater air of authenticity to the FiloXenia brand.
Greek City Times is proud to feature FiloXenia in the 6th episode of our Live in L0ckdown series this time tomorrow, and we asked the guys a couple of questions so that you could get to know them a little better.
How has performing and collaborating strengthened your friendship?
They say “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”, and to an extent that is true. However, when you are performing a few shows per weekend, growing our fanbase and expanding our reach both nationally and internationally, we all put our heart and soul into this as a job. When passion is on the line, sparks fly! It is through this love for each other that allows us to critique, improve and grow as a collaboration. We are band-brothers for life!
How would you explain your sound style of music/ performing?
Our sound is quite versatile, which makes us who we are. We hold the traditional Greek sound true to our hearts through Tsifteteli, Zeibekiko and Modern Greek classics.
Additionally, we are all massive fans of Trance and House music, which we incorporate in all our sets with a live Greek twist. Performance-wise, we are told that we radiate an energy that is off the charts! It’s like second nature to us, given our long history in the music scene. We have played on some of Sydney’s biggest club stages, as well as smaller club gigs and each set, we pour our blood, sweat and tears into!
Also, we produce our own music which is all on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, where we get to showcase songs that we’ve created from scratch in order to add a higher sense of authenticity to the FiloXenia brand.
What favourite performances stand out in your mind?
We have thrown multiple events, and one of our favourites was ‘FiloXenia Sunset Sessions’ which was a 5 hour, intimate cruise around Sydney Harbour with 150 amazing fans and friends.
Also, supporting International Superstar, Inna at Metro Theatre was iconic, as well as getting to hang out with the famous European icon. Supporting the one and only Nikiforos at Metro theatre is unquestionably one of our favourite also.
Each show we perform has a different dynamic to the last, which keeps it super interesting for us always.
Can you tell us about your original music released on Spotify and Apple Music?
So far, our greatest achievement is having released our originals on Spotify/ Apple Music. We didn’t expect what was to follow, which was hundreds of thousands of plays by people across the world.
Our first song is currently sitting on over half a million streams!
We are an independent band, and everything we do and release is managed through the three of us only. The feeling of seeing people from all pockets of the world dancing and enjoying life to our music is a feeling we are yet able to describe.
Our first two songs featured a dear friend of ours, Sophia on vocals, and the later two are dance-floor shakers through which our shared taste of music resonate.
We have plenty more in the pipeline that we are so excited to release!
How do you feel when you are performing? Do you have any favourite moments on stage?
You simply cannot wipe the smile off our faces.
We have a chemistry while playing that allows us to know what we are thinking without moving our lips. That is the most important thing while performing.
Whether it is Greg playing the bouzouki behind his head without skipping a beat, George smashing the set with customised mixes and mashups that have never been heard before, and Arky spinning sticks mid-beat and playing standing up on his seat, where he looks ready to stage dive at any moment. Being the heaviest in the band, we are glad to say he hasn’t taken the leap into the crowd yet!
Famously, there is a moment in majority of our famous shows where George puts Greg on his shoulders and walks safely through the crowd while Greg is playing.
Who or what would you say has inspired you as performers?
Our individual love for music and staying up to date with the latest trends not only within the Greek scene but also the dance music scene is what keeps us motivated.
As individuals we all look up to specific artists for inspiration. George takes inspiration from DJs like Armin Van Buuren and Greek artists like Konstantinos Koufos.
Greg looks up to Bouzouki players such as Panagiotis Stergiou and Christos Nikolopoulos.
Finally, Arky loves learning off a lot of different drummers but his favourite has to be Chad Smith from Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
We also continue to bounce ideas for songs, events, merchandise, collaborations, content ideas to each other daily.
How did you choose your band name? What does FiloXenia mean to you in this sense?
Once our first ever upload got thousands of views overnight, before we even decided to be a band, it was evident where this was headed. We needed a name, and we needed one fast!
Funnily enough, that first rehearsal was the first time Greg and Arky met. “From strangers to friends” is the unofficial translation of the world “FiloXenia”. And the name itself has a beautiful resonance with the Greek culture that we felt fit perfectly with the brand we were trying to portray.
Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to tell us about?
We have our baskets full of projects that we would love to share, however C0vid unfortunately has put some to a halt.
In saying that, we have two or three original songs scheduled for a release by the end of the year which we’re excited about.
Hopefully we have a more relaxed summer in terms of restrictions as we are a signature away from signing a contract with a venue to put on a massive show! Can’t give too much more away, but when the time comes, you will know.
We are also headlining our own show in Adelaide called Filoxenia Club which is scheduled for the 17th September, pending COVID restrictions.
What are your future ambitions? Your vision for the future?
We are living in the present and having that mentality has done us justice. We have a projection of the future to be more recognised, release more songs and expand the FiloXenia name.
We have nothing but faith in ourselves and the process, and believe that this will transition into further success. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for FiloXenia.
Greek City Times is proud to present to you Live in L0ckdown: ft. Filoxenia, this time tomorrow.
Our sixth episode features Filoxenia. Enjoy!
You can also catch Filoxenia here:
As l0ckdown restrictions continue in some major cities across the world, Greek City Times presents our 'Live in L0ckdown' series, streaming on www.greekcitytimes.com.
Whilst some of the world is experiencing C0VID fatique, fires are sweeping across our beloved Greece, may these few moments bring some much needed peace, albeit temporary.
You can support the firefighters in Greece by donating to The Hellenic Initiative’s Wildfire Relief Fund here: The Hellenic Initiative’s Wildfire Relief Fund
Live in L0ckdown: Ft. Internationally Acclaimed Bouzouki Player Tommy Tsonis
Live in L0ckdown: Ft. Beats by Bongo Ang, Primo Percussionist
Live in L0ckdown: Ft. the Sultry Sounds of Tina Kokkalis