Alex Varkatzas Explains 2020 Split With Atreyu
For years, Alex Varkatzas was one of the two vocalists in Atreyu, but that all changed in 2020 when it was revealed that a split had occurred. At the time, a statement was issued that read in part, "Alex Varkatzas is sailing off on a ship of his own, and will part ways with Atreyu. He will not disappear and neither will Atreyu." Now, in a new interview, the singer sheds a little more light on the exit from his longtime group and admits that things didn't go so well in the immediate aftermath.
Reflecting on that period, Varkatzas revealed that his exit from the band occurred months before the public statement was issued in September of 2020. But, he clarifies, that the act of leaving the band wasn't exactly clearly defined.
"I want to clarify. The words 'I left Atreyu.' I never made that statement," explained the singer to Blabbermouth. "We legally agreed upon and posted terminology, and as far as I know, the band and I have parted ways."
He went on to add that with such ambiguity, it made responding to the reactions a little more difficult. "It's so weird. All these people are hitting me up, like, 'I'm so happy you decided to leave and be with your family. I support that!' I'm like, 'Man. I never remember saying that or instigating that," he added.
"Very abruptly, you could say we parted ways and everything changed for me. If I'm being totally emotionally honest, I lost my life, sort of," he continued. "Aside from my family, I found myself without a job and any friends, or the majority of my friends were gone. The pandemic and lockdown had started. It was not announced, but I was out of the band in April 2020 at the peak of everything, which is when the shoe dropped behind the scenes."
What Happened After His Exit From Atreyu?
"It was super-challenging. My wife was also six months pregnant with our third and final kid. We were told we were not able to have any more children. I'm not a religious person, but I would say that if somebody was putting some big tests in front of me to see what I was made of and what I was going to do, and I failed at first. I failed pretty horribly at first. I had to hit bottom," says Varkatzas.
The singer says, "I fell into a pretty bad depression. I worked out my entire adult life pretty vigorously. I maintained a certain mindset and attitude. I stopped working out and started drinking. Not like a drunk, but regularly drinking, which is something I hadn't done in years. I let myself feel sorry about myself and the situation. I looked around. I'm a role model for my kids. I have three children: Nine, seven and three. It's like, what am I doing? What example am I setting? Even though I don't have to work every day and do stuff, I'm lucky to have other hobbies and interests that make a little money, like painting and art. I don't want my kids to perceive that this is normal. I wanted them to see the hard-working, go-getter of a person. I hit bottom. I realized that I wanted to go up. I wanted to get out of that hole."
What Happened With Atreyu?
Later in the interview, Varkatzas elaborated a bit on how things were shifting in the band behind the scenes. "Atreyu had changed so much musically over the years. Other people, I don't want to say, had taken over, but their influence had taken over. I had my era of influence, but when a band is around for so long, it's only natural for things to shift and change. It would be unnatural for them not to. Things shifted and maybe I didn't know where I fit into the shift," he explained.
"That put me in a weird place for a few years, even when the band came back. Even when we did, the deal was I wasn't going to sing. I didn't want to. I didn't want to challenge myself that way. I wanted to scream. It was not my intention to have Atreyu with two clean vocalists singing clean. But it's not my band. It's also four other people's band. You got to roll with everybody and meet somewhere in the middle," he adds.
That inability to be on the same page with his band led to a change in view as to how he fit with the group. "I felt fucking irrelevant," he revealed at one point, then later adding, "Something was going on. I couldn't pinpoint it, not even for a long time. It was that feeling out of place. I didn't know where I fit. I have always known where I fit in that band for a long time. Things change. It's hard to change with it, especially in art."
What Is Varkatzas Up to Now?
The singer has reclaimed his musical passion with his new group, Dead Icarus, which pairs him with Enterprise Earth's Gabe Mangold, who played guitar, bass and produced their new EP.
"What's cool about Dead Icarus is there is no [meeting in the] middle. It's what I want to do. Gabe, my writing partner, we're working on a full-length now, and it's incredible." He later added, "The new stuff sounds sonically awesome. I'm in this great, excited, creative space. Gabe and I are speaking the same language. It's so important."
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Gallery Credit: Philip Trapp