"I wanted to be Aaliyah so bad": Escuela Grind's Katerina Economou picks the ten records that changed their life

Escuela Grind live
(Image credit: Press)

Magnetic vocalist of rising grindcore stars Escuela Grind, Katerina Economou is an irrepressible force of nature on-stage. The band showcased their chaotic live energy on a massive UK and European tour with Napalm Death in 2023, even getting ND frontman Barney Greenway then popping up as a guest on Escuela Grind's most recent EP DDEEAATTHHMMEETTAALL

But while there's no denying the band's extreme metal credentials, there's also so much more to Escuela Grind - as the hip-hop references on 2022's excellent Cliffhanger show. That in mind, Hammer caught up with Katerina to find out which records make them tick. 

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1. Prince - Strange Relationship (Sign "O" The Times, 1987)

“Prince was the first artist that I remember really connecting with. My family loved him - he would always be blasting at weddings, and we’d all be dancing along. But he was also the first artist where I went beyond the singles. I remember getting my hands on his records, hearing Strange Relationship and thinking, ‘Why isn’t this song on the radio?’"

2. Aaliyah - More Than A Woman (Aaliyah, 2001)

"While we’re obviously a grindcore band, I’d never want to live in a world where you can only listen to one genre. I love Prince, and I still listen to Aaliyah’s More Than a Woman all the time. I was a 90s kid, so I have vivid memories of watching her on MTV. I remember thinking she was so beautiful and talented – I wanted to be Aaliyah so bad. 

Her music always interested me, with the Middle-Eastern and Indian influence. When she passed away, I was devastated. That’s the first time I realised musicians aren’t here forever - I saw music in a new light, in terms of impact and legacy." 

3. Converge - The Saddest Day (Petitioning The Empty Sky, 1996)

The Saddest Day was the first Converge song I ever heard. I liked heavy stuff before, but Converge were totally different. They took everything that was happening on the East Coast - the hardcore, the powerviolence - and made it into their own thing. 

It was also the first time I became aware of the hardcore community, since the scene was pretty local. Converge definitely started me on my journey into more underground music - and it really comes full circle, because we recorded our last album with Kurt Ballou, and we’re recording our next album with him too." 

4. Dropdead - A Nation Sleeps (Dropdead, 1993)

“Speaking of powerviolence, I chose A Nation Sleeps by Dropdead because they also helped set me on the path towards more extreme music. Additionally, they’re just amazing people – I love how they have these messages of veganism and peace on all their tracks. I love bands that take hardcore and use it as a positive force."

5. The Marked Men - Don't Lose It (On The Outside, 2004)

"On a similar note, I love acts that take a heavy genre and twist it into something super-bright and positive sonically; I’m obsessed with The Marked Men because they’re this happy brand of punk rock. They’re always singing harmonies and the songs are so catchy and full of life. Don’t Lose It exemplifies that." 

6. Iron Age - Evil Ways (Constant Struggle, 

“I have to mention Iron Age’s Evil Ways. The band remind me of my time living in Texas. I shifted from a really rural, almost hippy area, to somewhere huge. It was so wild, filled with all these crazy, larger-than-life characters. Iron Age also totally defined [crossover thrash] – you can hear their influence trickling down the Dallas network."

7. Trapped Under Ice - Gemini (Secrets Of The World, 2009)

 “It’s hard to pick one band to represent the whole of hardcore for me, but I went with Trapped Under Ice. I love this band, I love how direct they are. Hearing Gemini takes me back to the teenage angst I felt when I first heard it."

8. Gorguts - From Wisdom To Hate (From Wisdom To Hate, 2001)

"Thinking of my teenage years, I will also admit that I wasn’t super into technical death metal back then. It never really clicked for me; it felt like musicians’ music, you know? But, after being exposed to Gorguts, I started to get it. From Wisdom To Hate is my favourite track of theirs - it goes so hard, but you can also get super-introspective listening to it." 

9. Parlamentarisk Sodomi - Du Vet Ikke Om Atomvåpen (De Anarkistiske An(n)aler, 2009)

Grindcore-wise, Parlamentarisk Sodomi are a standout. It’s a one-man bedroom project from Norway, and I’ve always loved it. I always recommend Du Vet Ikke Om Atomvåpen. I don’t speak Norwegian, but you can feel the frustration in the sound. It’s chaotic, grindy, noisy… Everything that I love, essentially." 

10. Minnie Riperton - Reasons (Perfect Angel, 1974)

“I thought I’d end with a track that transcends time - [US soul legend] MINNIE RIPERTON’s Reasons. It’s magical, and it has a wonderful message of strength. I really resonate with Minnie as an artist - there are a lot of similarities between us. She used her voice very loudly when she was alive, and Ihope to do the same. It’s our duty as musicians to convey a progressive message - I feel very strongly about that.”

Escuela Grind's new EP DDEEAATTHHMMEETTAALL is out now via MNRK Heavy

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Emily Swingle

Full-time freelancer, part-time music festival gremlin, Emily first cut her journalistic teeth when she co-founded Bittersweet Press in 2019. After asserting herself as a home-grown, emo-loving, nu-metal apologist, Clash Magazine would eventually invite Emily to join their Editorial team in 2022. In the following year, she would pen her first piece for Metal Hammer - unfortunately for the team, Emily has since become a regular fixture. When she’s not blasting metal for Hammer, she also scribbles for Rock Sound, Why Now and Guitar and more.