Music from the Heart

Pakology: Challenges of an instrumental duo

Pakology is an experimental acoustic instrumental project for two guitars brought to life by Pablo Garcia (ES) and Kostas Tolikas (GR) in mid-2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. Its music is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean culture and flamenco artists such as Paco De Lucia, but it also contains a wide range of blues, jazz, rock elements blended together in a unique way. The band has released its debut album called "The First Movement", which contains 9 original tracks. We caught up with the duo to chat about music, creativity in lockdown and more.

Introduce yourselves and your musical project a little bit

KT: Hi and thanks for giving us the opportunity to talk about our project and ourselves. My name is Kostas Tolikas, I am from Greece and I’ve been living and working as a web designer in Prague for the last few years. I started playing the guitar at the age of 12 and have been involved in various projects over the years. Currently I am so excited to be part of this unique project, which we created with Pablo, called Pakology. We formed Pakology in mid-2018 and we play instrumental music written for two guitars with obvious influences from our countries Greece and Spain.
PG: Hello and thank you again, I am Pablo Garcia  from Spain and I am also settled in Prague and working as a video content creator. I started to play spanish guitar when I was 8 years old, and flamenco notes/tones have been surrounding me, which makes a perfect combination with the Greek mediterranean vibes. As Kostas mentioned our Project is an instrumental duo of guitars, which I always felt is a bit more challenging, as when you mention to someone that you have a music band many times they ask you who sings? I recognize that voice is a standard in the music but we took the challenge as we do enjoy and believe in our compositions.

How a Greek and a Spaniard ended up in Prague?

KT: In my case it was a number of things that happened in my life within a short period of time. Long story short, I visited Prague a couple of times and loved the city and its vibes and while I was still in Greece I applied for a couple of jobs just to give it a try. I got an offer, I moved to Prague and even though in the back of my head the idea was to stay for only a short time I am still here.
PG: Well, in my case I had never been to Prague, but I was Erasmus in Slovenia years ago and the experience really opened my personal horizons and the multicultural feeling that became part of my life until now. I arrived to Prague in 2013 kind of looking for this adventure feeling that I lived in Slovenia. 

Tell us more about your latest release

KT: “The First Movement” is our debut album that contains 9 originals and was released a few months ago on all digital platforms and in physical CDs. It’s a pure collaboration between Pablo and me and was entirely composed and produced by ourselves. Each song has its story and we really enjoyed the ride from the beginning till the end to the maximum.
PG: Nothing  much to add on what Kostas has mentioned, the feedback we have received so far from the audience is that they get that feeling of being transported into the seaside relax mode, what actually is a big compliment for us.

What about your musical background? did you take any lessons or are you self-taught?

KT: My sister had been playing the classical guitar and she was the one who taught me some basic chords and techniques, which then gave me the motivation to explore the instrument by myself. I’ve learnt lots of stuff through magazines and books but I’ve been mainly using my ears till even today. A few years ago I decided to take some bass lessons so that I have a deeper understanding of the theory and to expand my musical horizons.
PG: In my case, it was one of my brothers taught me the basics and slowly I was getting motivated with my friends by learning and playing popular songs while they were singing, but the same as Kostas my main learning source has been by ear and practicing the music of the great guitar players.  

How did you cope with lockdown and current crisis in general?

KT: I tried to focus on the positives of it or I’d go nuts. Had to set a new daily routine and stick with it.
PG: I would say, there have been stages… but music is always a good toy to play with in these times… and a good help to cope with daily life.

Did you find the lockdown beneficial for creativity or otherwise? What it was like to release an album in the middle of the pandemic?

KT: Definitely, yes. During the lockdown we came up with so many new ideas, hopefully we will have the chance to put them together and create new songs. Now as for the release it’s a tricky one as we mainly wanted to promote our album through gigs. However, you just have to accept the reality and find alternative ways to interact with the target audience through social media. The response of the people has been very satisfying so far though, which makes us very happy and inspires us to continue doing what we do.
PG: Totally agree with Kostas, I would just add that there is always an idea to develop coming from nowhere in the most unexpected moments, Covid Muses...

Have you learnt anything new during lockdown?

KT: I learnt that things can change from one day to another in life and you have to be strong and flexible to adjust to any new reality.
PG: Biggest lesson has been and is until now about how to be alone with myself as I am my best friend and worst enemy.

What are the future plans for Pakology?

KT: As I mentioned we have so much material gathered. We are already thinking of the next album while we are still promoting “The First Movement” by making videos and hopefully some online gigs in the very near future. Of course we are looking forward to playing live in front of an audience once the pandemic is over.
PG: Yes, we have still a lot of ideas we would like to record and share, and as long as the pandemic situation will get better we will jump into the gigs and the warm feeling of the audience.

Photo: FF production

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