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Miadis: “I moved here from Dallas because I think Fort Worth has a cooler music scene.” Photo: Vishal Malhotra

George Miadis is the songwriter and frontman of Sonar Lights, a Fort Worth-based hard rock group whose powerhouse stage presence carries the audience from a simmer to a boil with explosive force. The band recently returned from the Midwest, where they wrapped up the final leg of their latest tour. Currently, the trio, including Ian Frazier on drums and percussion and Darren Wise on bass, is working on its third album, At the Edge of the World. The band recently released the first single from the upcoming LP, and they plan on dropping a new tune every couple of months until the album comes out in the winter. 

Miadis’ love of music came early. Born in Boston, he grew up in Athens, Greece (his parents’ homeland). Early on, he learned to play the guitar while also mastering other instruments such as the bouzouki, oud, and cumbus. At age 12, he enrolled in the National Conservatory in Athens for classical guitar and music theory. While Miadis was still a teenager, his guitar teacher invited him to join his Latin-style musical ensemble as a rhythm guitarist. The teenage prodigy began to open for a number of Greek bands, expanding his name recognition at a young age. Later, Miadis moved to Belgium, where he studied classical guitar and jazz drums at the Royal Conservatory of Ghent, performing in venues across Belgium, France, Germany, and Holland.  

In 2006, Miadis made the move to Dallas to study sound engineering at the Mediatech Institute. Recording musicians made finding bandmates easy. Miadis soon met Roy Oteo, a drummer who had trained with a marching band, and, along with Daniel Schmuck and Artel Vincent, formed an early version of Sonar Lights in 2011. The group released its debut album, Here We Are, in 2012. The second, Babelonia, dropped in 2017. 

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Mediatech is also where Miadis met Tim Kimsey, a Grammy-winning sound engineer. Kimsey was so impressed with Sonar Lights, he agreed to produce Babelonia. The album received national and international attention, including garnering airplay on stations in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and South Africa. 

The group later narrowed to a power trio with new members on bass and drums. Wise came on board in 2016 after seeing Sonar Lights perform in Denton, just at a time when the previous bass player was leaving. Frazier met the group in 2015 while performing with another band and became Sonar’s third drummer.

The group’s style is high-density hard rock, with electrifying resonance and pristine vocal harmonies. Their main influences hark back to early heavy metal/rock pioneers like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin combined with late-’70s/early-’80s prog-rock. Their dynamic tempo shifts are punctuated by lush guitar tones – rhythmic textures intertwine with melodic lead lines and often Middle-Eastern/Asian-tinged vocals. 

The first single from their upcoming album was picked up by 25 (and counting) worldwide radio stations. The release is the band’s interpretation of “The Four Horsemen” by Aphrodite’s Child, a Greek prog band that peaked in the ’70s. The vocalist of Aphrodite’s Child was Demis Roussos, Miadis’ mentor in his early years of singing. When Roussos passed away in 2015, Miadis decided to perform a tribute to him. “The Four Horsemen,” with its mystical lyrics and complex chords, builds from a mild tempo to a magnetic cadence. 

“With the singles, we focus on one song for a couple of months,” Miadis said. “This brings more creative ideas and more careful production and overall quality. Plus, disc jockeys tend to play the song more frequently when they know the next single is coming out soon.”

Over the years, Sonar Lights has shared the stage with rock luminaries such as The B-52s, Candlebox, Cowboy Mouth, Los Lonely Boys, Mutemath, Rigor Mortis, The Toadies, and Wishbone Ash. The band has also earned working sponsorships with major music manufacturers such as PRS Guitars and Bogner Amplification.

“One of the highlights of our band’s time together is the experience of touring in China and performing at both the 2013 and 2014 Midi Festival, China’s largest music festival,” Miadis said.  

When not on the road, Miadis gigs as a recording engineer and producer for other artists. He also frequently plays solo gigs, performing originals and covers. He recently mesmerized the crowd at a TCU-area house party with covers of John Lennon and others. This year marks his 10th as a Fort Worth resident. 

“I moved here from Dallas because I think Fort Worth has a cooler music scene,” he said. 

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