2004-05-03 Ektomorf

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"Destroy" ist the name of EKTOMORFs first record at Nuclear Blast records, and it´s one pure outcry, a groovy piece of anger. And maybe THE record of today´s. EKTOMORF played their asses off to come this far, especially in southern Germany. And they´re just back from a tour with PRO PAIN through central Europe. EKTOMORF brothers Zoltàn (voc., git.) and Csaba Farkas (b.) re-visited the New York band on their gig in Tilburg/Holland and by surprise I bumped into song writer, guitar player and head of the band, Zoltàn:InterviewYou´re just back from touring Germany with PRO PAIN?

Yeah, we had more than 10 gigs in Germany, I think. All the German shows were great, really. People in Germany seemed to like EKTOMORF. I can´t say we´re well known, but people went crazy. And in Austria people were really jumping, from the stage to the fucking mixing desk. Erfurt was great, Ludwigsburg... Berlin was killer, Hamburg was awesome, Engelsdorf also. I´m not sure where we played else. But, yeah, Munich was really great: Guys came into the door, when we sat at the merchandise and handed out some T-shirts. The guys were really young, between 16, 17, they came down, bought a T-shirt and said, "we saw the "I Know Them" video at MTV´s Hell´s Kitchen and, wow, we really liked it. And we´ve got your new album, and now we really enjoyed the show." That was great.

It´s good that your having a video on air.

Now we´ve got two out, "I Know Them" and "Destroy". "Destroy" also got a cool video, we´ve made both videos with a team from Berlin, they´re called Roax Films, they are cool guys. Actually we did two videos within one day. It was really hard, we started at eight in the morning and finished at midnight. It was fucking cold then, and snowy again, freezing, but we did it.

How did you get a deal with Nuclear Blast records?

We´ve had a thousand million gigs in Germany, in small clubs, at small festivals. The most important step was the Summer Breeze festival in 2002. Summer Breeze was killer, 8.000 people went crazy, you can see it on the Summer Breeze DVD. They recorded just one song, but the whole gig was the same, really killer. We´ve heard that Nuclear Blast did like out gig, but we´ve had a deal with Silverdust at that time. Silverdust is a cool label, but we had some problem. We´re still in a really good relationship and we will also play Summer Breeze this year, so it´s alright. But before "Destroy" we´ve had some problems. We broke the contract with them and then we were signed to Nuclear Blast. It sounds so easy, but we´ve had some problems.

Silverdust is a very small label compared to Nuclear Blast, Germany´s major independent.

Yeah, I think Nuclear Blast are really big. We´ve had some problems with Silverdust, we could not really fix it, we´ve had some little fights, but now we´re with Achim again. You know, Achim is the boss at Silverdust. The last show of the PRO PAIN tour was in Aalen and we´ve met with him. He came to us, I also went to him, and we talked between ten to fifteen minutes. Now we´re going to play the Summer Breeze Festival, so everything is alright. At that time everything was so confused- thank you so much to my ex-manager: He was a real fucked up guy, he took all the money. And where the money is missing, everyone has a problem. We all live from money, you know. We had a problem, and everything was so confused. And when everything was shit, I called Nuclear Blast from my parents home from Hungaryand asked, "I heard that you like the band?" They were answering, "Yeah, we like it." I was so surprised about it, they´re such a big label, and they wanted to work with such a small band like us. Shortly after we went to Denmark to record "Destroy" with Tue Madsen, he is a really cool guy. We recorded the album with him in 3 weeks in the Danish Ant Farm Studios. It was so great.

What did Tue Madsen do before he recorded your album?

He produced MNEMIC. You know this band? They´re a bit like Fear Factory. They´re the reason we went to Denmark, because I got a bunch of CDs from Nuclear Blast - they sent me GRAVEWORM and a lot of Black Metal and Death Metal stuff, that wasn´t really my style. Finally, really in the end, I got the record from MNEMIC. And I thought, "wow, that´s such a great sound". It´s not exactly my music, but it´s near to EKTOMORF. Some more down-tuned stuff. I said, yes, we would like to work with this guy. And Nuclear Blast gave the guy a call right a way, "Do you wanna work with EKTOMORF?", and he said: "Yeah, I already heard about that band, yes I wanna do it." We went to Ludwigsburg immediately for a two-week-rehearsing. We always rehearse in a band room with Apophis, when we´re in Germany. They´re cool guys. We recorded all the twelve fresh songs in the band room and sent the disc to him, and when we went to the studio he already knew our new songs. We wanted to get a sound like you´ll have EKTOMORF live on stage in studio, but on a studio quality, that´s what I told him. And I got a sound that I would have never expected. We really got a sound I was waiting for my whole live. This was the first time that we were in a studio in a foreign country. We recorded the first four albums in Hungary, but now we were in Denmark, and (with emphasis:) this is different. The guy there in the studio, he has got a really sharp ear, a good heart and soul and he put it in the music - this way we got the Destroy-album.

"Destroy" reminded me a lot of "Chaos A.D." Because of the raw power.

A lot of people compare us with SEPULTURA/SOULFLY. I´m really curious now, I really wanna hear it from Max Cavalera. Everyone´s saying so, and I wanna hear it from the main guy now. If Max is mentioning us -in a positive way - then I will be really happy, because Max Cavalera is for me the leader in the music. What he does is for me so impressive, he is so fucking cool.

Isn´t there a chance for you to meet him in the near future?

No. I don´t think so, he is so big. If he likes us, I will be so fucking happy, if not, then - still respect for him. We´ve got a few reviews from England that we´re just a cheap copy, for example in Terrorizer magazine we´ve got only two of ten points, and "Destroy" was named "cheap shit". But in another magazine from England we were evoked to be the new gods of Thrash. It´s different.

Maybe you´ve got too much groove and too much melodies for the Terrorizer staff...

You know what?! For me the guys in front of the stage are the most important. If they have a nice time, if they feel good, if they jump up and down and if they go crazy in the mosh pit I don´t care what some guys wrote in a magazine. I´m happy, if there is some good stuff written, and I get angry, if they write some shit - because I´m human. But I don´t really give a shit anymore. Two days ago in Belgium I met with a guy of a really big label - I won´t say the name, but I think you will know if I say "Soulfly". This guy did treat me like I - I don´t find a word for it. But I don´t care, I don´t really give a shit. If I will care it will be because of Max Cavalera. I´m curious what he would say. I heard some rumours that he is really interested in the band, because people are telling him, "there is a band, they´re is like this, this band is like you." I´m really looking forward.

Your mixing an interesting kind of folklore into it, what kind of folk is it?

It´s gypsy. I´m gypsy, you know?! My father is a gypsy, my mother is Hungarian, and I´m a half-blood. I really put a lot of gypsy stuff into our 2000 release "Kalyi Jag" - that´s actually in gypsy language and means "Black Fire". What you hear on the "Destroy" album now is much better, because it´s in much better quality and has a much better conception. It´s in my blood. When I heard the "Roots" album I really got a feeling that I wanna do it, too, want to do something like this, but with my roots. But I didn´t want to go to the tribe, there are also some gypsy tribes in Hungary, oh my God, a lot. I don´t wanna go there, they don´t really like me, I´m a half-blood, I´m not a "real" gypsy. But I wanted to try it, and I think it works, people like it. When we played for example "Sunto del Mulo" from the "Kalyi Jag" album in Germany, people did sing it (his eyes glancing). You know, in Germany, isn´t it amazing?! German people singing fucking gypsy lyrics. It´s amazing!

Sounds like a break in history.

But in Hungary we went through a lot of racist shit, when our album was released in 2000. On "Kalyi Jag" there was a lot of Gypsy stuff. We went on a big stage in a big venue, we played there, we had quite a good time that night, and then we said, ok., guys, this is our new album. And we said that we are gypsies and that we don´t feel ashamed. They throw bottles on the stage, shouting "Fucking gypsies". Only in Hungary. Now it has changed a bit, because we played in Budapest in Hungary on his tour and people went crazy. We got a real big one of the Hungarian national flag with an EKTOMORF sign in the middle and written EKTOMORF, and we´ve shown it from the stage and said "thank you, guys". I said on the stage, that I don´t look back, past is past. I really love you guys and we are really proud that we can play and that we can represent out country in foreign countries and maybe in the whole world. I´m really happy for this.

But is it the same people that did shout on you and who are now standing in the front row again?

I saw their faces. For example there was a girl, I know for sure that she did bring back the CD in 2000, because I know the guy from the shop. He told me that this girl brought back the CD and put it on the desk and said "I don´t want this gypsy shit. Give me back my money, please." This time she was the first in line: "Sign the "Destroy" album, please." But, you know, we are really open minded, I say, ok., forget this shit, maybe they changed. And, come on, we´re born in this town, we´re born in this country, and you can say anything, you can leave your country, but your heart is always back there. We just forget about it, past is past. It´s dark, and it´s behind you, that´s it.

So, you live now in Amsterdam?

Yes, we live in Amsterdam. With my girlfriend.

What´s it like now, writing songs when you´re here in Holland and the band is still back in Hungary?

I already have two new songs.

But who´s writing the new songs? Only you or the other guys as well?

Definitely I write the songs. Actually I wrote the "Destroy" album in our living room with a little amp, headphones and my guitar plugged in. Sometimes the lyrics come at first place, sometimes the music comes first, sometimes different. For example for the song "I Know Them" the lyrics and the music just came together. Yeah, I write the songs. Every song, every riff and every lyric. When I call the guys, I say, "hey guys, I have 5 or 10 new songs". Than I call my manager Stiefel, he´s German, and we go to Ludwigsburg in his band room. We rehearsed from nine in the morning till ten in the night for "Destroy". That was a lot, really a lot. And in two weeks the album was completely ready.

So you´re meeting in Germany?

Yes. And we slept there in a flat. And we went everywhere between Ludwigsburg and Sulzbach with a rental car. I wrote everything, but we jammed it together, let´s put it like this. I already have two new songs, one we already recorded on this tour in a club, and it´s so heavy. It´s heavier than "Destroy".

I´m looking forward. How does your tradition work. If you´re a half-blood and you´re not this much in the gypsy scene, is your father playing music as well?

My father was a drummer in a band like Black Sabbath. We are not traditional, thank God. If we would be a traditional gypsy family, I will not sit here and I will not have any tattoos, because there they don´t like it, they don´t like the style that I have.

That´s not what I mean, I meant, where or how did you dig your "roots"?

Oh, where I get these tabs? It was like this: When we made the "Scream Up To The Sky" album, there is a song, it´s called "An Les Devla". It means "Bring it God". And I went to a really old gypsy woman - she is very fucking small, really old, but her hair is still black, and she really is a witch - and I asked her: "Please help me, translate the words from Hungarian to Gypsy language". And she said: "No problem, tell me". And I told her, and she told me in Gypsy. And I wrote it. I asked her how I have to write it. She told me: "Just like I said. It´s free". And I did it, and then I got a tape. It´s a really old, long tapes. It´s from the 60s, there is a lot of vocal stuff on from old gypsies, who are already everyone dead. One man was walking around house by house with a tape player and a microphone and recorded: "Hey, sing for me something." It´s a lot of stuff. It´s great. Actually we digitalised some of the stuff with the computer, so we put it from the tape to a CD, and that´s what we use in studio.

This female singer on the album is from this old tape?

Yes, the female and the male also, there is a male singer as well. I think it´s wonderful, it´s so great. You know, the most beautiful ting is that all the tune from the throat, it´s in B. This is our tune, it´s really deep. It is not a normal tune, because a normal tune is C or D - that is high, it is like Metallica and we are in B. And they sing in the same line. We did not have re-tune anything with computer, it was right there on the tape, same tune as our guitars. We were like "wow, that´s great." So that´s how I got this stuff.

What festivals do you play this year?

Festivals? We play Wacken, we play With Full Force, Summer Breeze, and we got some chance that we may play in Rock am Ring and Rock im Park. We´ll see. And some festivals in Czech Republic and Slovenia - these guys are really crazy. We played there, and they a really hungry for music. When we played a small place in Czech Republic, it was one of the best gigs on the whole tour with Pro Pain. When you say, "I wanna hear your voice! Make some fucking noise!" They are all screaming, and they are really loud. They are not loud like "loud", they are three or four times louder than normal people. And if they are jumping, it´s crazy. So we will play there, too. In Austria we will play some festival, actually our summer is really busy. But I´m happy for this, because this is actually our support year, and we want to play everywhere. But the PRO PAIN tour was so great for us. We had a nice time with the guys, that was great. And we´ve had a nice time on the stage also.

Famous last words?

Always believe in yourself and follow your heart.