Here’s something personal I would like to share with you.

I remember the first big life dream I had. I was in 2nd grade (7 years old or so) when while talking to my grandfather I realized that I wanted to become a pilot. A fighter jet pilot. I kept and developed this dream for quite some time, until it abruptly ended 4 or 5 years later.

I did not care about commercial airlines airplanes, not for propellers, water-planes, helicopters, small jets or anything else. Fighter jets. The reason: speed.

Of course the main reason was the wish to fly, but the idea of flying very very very fast, flying almost twice the speed of sound (which just meant very very very fast to me back then) was fascinating. Now the “add on” possibility of carrying and firing missiles or  machine guns and be involved in air combats, sounded cool to my naiv imagination about all this. I was not much different than other boys in my age, playing war every now and then (Germans against Americans in WWII ) and being fascinated by weapons – up to a degree.

At age of 12 I was keeping a secret, for quite some time. A very important secret. I thought I was hiding it well, I was  very careful and that no-one could find out that … I was not seeing well. I became shortsighted. When my parents found out, the visit to the ophthalmologist just confirmed what I already knew: The dream of becoming a fighter jet pilot was over. I did ask though, I did request a confirmation: “can I become a fighter jet pilot now?” . The doctor was very open, and honest: “Not by that level of myopia, but you could probably fly small propeller planes.” – Yeah shoot me right now-

I wasn’t angry at the doctor, didn’t blame anyone other than myself for reading comics in low light or watching too much television – which in the era of 2 programs, broadcasting from noon to midnight with a couple of breaks in between, seems like and  overstatement today- but I knew, this dream was over.

I already have started taking music -accordion- lessons. I liked music. I loved the way music made me feel: exited, sad, full of power, thoughtful even happy.

Also the lyrics fascinated me, I loved the worlds they would build, I loved the stories and the felling they would describe. So a few years later I would also try to write some lyrics. And some short stories. But that’s a story for a different day.

Since my young days I was exposed in several music styles and genres, from traditional greek folk and greek pop music to the music my older brother brought home: Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors (OMG I LOVED The Doors) Deep Purple, Scorpions (yep), The Foreigners, ABBA, Rolling Stones, etc etc. Later, classic music, orchestra music and filmscores along with chansons and world music will be added to my listening queue, so the mix of what I would  listen and like, would become -maybe “dangerously”- broad.

I went more into music, trying to figure out how “it works”. I wasn’t really interested in practicing scales or runs, so I’d listen to songs and try to play them, transcribe them (on paper with my limited knowledge) and play them back. Of course very soon I toyed with the idea of writing music.

I loved the idea of creating something that wasn’t there, And while I gave it some tries, what I was kept doing in the beginning is changing existing songs. Playing back the songs as close to the original was only exited for as long as I was learning them. After that I was more into changing bits here and there, which not always worked out well, and not everybody wanted to hear, but still.

Fighter Jet pilot dream faded out, although for some years I did hold on it, hoping for some sort of miracle that will bring my sight back, and take those hated glasses away – and with them the 4-eye label some class mates loved to pin on me-.

Eventually I started writing my songs and later working as a musician (playing the songs of others, trying to keep them interesting for me). One of the first songs I wrote was for voice and classical guitar on a poem of the greek poet Nikos Kavvadias. As many artists so me too, I have some small problems finishing something. letting it go. I  found a solution for that quite early: Change it, rework it in a new version. So later I did a version of this “first” song for guitar only, and a few years ago I recorded it … again in a new version:

 

I followed that path for years, writing music, playing music, changing music and I still do. I love  many styles of music and I do wish to create, play and change songs in as many of them as possible. And the way I found to do that: collaborations.

One of these collaborations lead to DubLion Project an “Electro Duo” with Rob Schroeder. We started the same way I did back then: changing songs by remixing them. We did a couple of remixes in 2013 but we always had in plan to do original songs. For our first original song release “Overdrive” we collaborated with Juliet Lyons and co-wrote the song Overdrive, which in turned was remixed – and thus changed – by other artists.

Recently we released some new versions of Overdrive: covers of it by Mini Diaz and Emily’s Escape. We are exited and happy, but personally I feel like closing a cycle here: having my creations played and changed by other artists. I am hugely grateful for that.

Yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebration in the US reminded my how thankful I am for all this, even for not becoming a fighter jet pilot, throwing bombs over a target somewhere in the world. And how thankful I am for the people I met and the ones I will meet. For the moments, the dreams, the laughs, the tears and the love I shared and will share. Thankful for my friends,  for my life and my art. Thankful my family and my dog!

Talk soon,

Panos

P.S. I would love to hear form you. What are you thankful for. What dreams did or do you still have. What is what you love doing?  Send me an email, write a comment or just think about it and send your thoughts my way. Thoughts fly much faster than fighter jet planes.

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About the author

Panos Kolias is a film, tv and concert music composer and musician.
He regularly produces cues and other commercial music for major television programs like CBS, ABC and others.
He's a part of the electronic duo DubLion Project and works also as a musician, educator, orchestrator, and technical consultant.
Besides composing for TV and film and composing concert music, he holds a lecturer position at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, teaching Music Technology and Film scoring courses.

2 comments on “A personal note”

  1. Dimitris Papageorgiou Reply

    SO overwhelmed reading for your dream to become a jet pilot.. It was my dream too, my first purpose in life!
    I reallized it when I was ten, inspired by my birth village, Piges in Greece, which gave birth to almost 25 jet pilots, something was making as want this as much.
    So move by your story my good friend, it reminded me a lot, it took me back to the most happy years of my life.
    I’m still in a place where I don’t know if I’m grateful about the music “backup” plan.. a basketball carrier was also so close to me at the age of 15 that I had to decide which road to take and live for it!

    That’s my story my friend..

    • Panos_Kolias

      I did not know that. :) How cool is that! :)

      Music cannot really be a “backup” plan, especially today. Music is a passion and you my friend have this passion burning inside you with a huge flame. Regardless if you can make a living out of it or not. It burns higher than jets can fly, and it will always do.
      Being passionate is one of the biggest privileges and gifts. Being indifferent one of the biggest burdens. So be grateful my friend. And keep singing and writing.

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