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Ektomorf – broken bones and red eyes
The last time Ektomorf met STALKER was exactly seven months ago on 20th of February. Even though now it feels like the time just flew by, this incredible band has not been a moment at rest – after one very successful album and just as successful DVD, Farkas brothers and Co went straight on with the new record “Outcast” to only prove – practice makes perfect.
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This is one band with a story, with a very difficult history and a thorny path behind them, yet enough willpower and ambition to conquer it all and put everyone in doubt back in the right place. So you think it´s another Soulfly/Sepultura clone?! Ha! You´ve got another thing coming – “Outcast” will make you very sorry for this kind of thoughts!
Since the tour is yet to come, the only way to talk to Zoltán was via a phone straight from the Nuclear Blast´s German office. This setup made absolutely no difference, as in Zoltán´s voice I could hear so much excitement, passion and pride of all their work and achievement! And by the frequency with which this extraordinary songwriter, musician and person used the word “love” you can easily sense just how wholehearted this music is! As a result - here´s our vivid conversation – so much emotions regardless the topic, let it be the new album, broken bones on tour or incurable genetic diseases…
Photo: Melanie Haack
Zoltan, what have you been doing since the album was ready?
We´ve had one show at Wacken and also one show in Bremerhaven, so that was something… and we´ve also started to make some photosession for the new album, so that´s it so far.
What about a full tour in support of the “Outcast”?
Well, we aren´t touring yet. We will tour next year in February-March, a headliner tour. Now we´re working with AMD (???), a booking agency, so with them will organize the tour.
And will that be in Europe or where are you heading to?
Oh yes, sorry, in Europe, but we´ll go everywhere, I hope!
The latest album “Instinct” was such great success, as well as the following DVD. Now with the new album public´s expectations are quite high, do you think you´ve managed to maintain this high level?
Well, it´s already much better, you know, feedback from everywhere is only positive! The release date is straight after my birthday, so I´m very excited about it! I am so happy and all so positive, I mean, really, the most positive we´ve ever had. So I think the new album will be even better than anything else we´ve ever done!
Does the final album match your ideas and visions about it in the past?
Yes-yes, I´m 100% satisfied, if that´s what you meant. I´m extremely pleased with the album, I mean, we´ve found the sound we´ve always wanted to get, this is precisely what I wanted to hear and finally it worked out. This album sounds exactly how I always wanted, I LOVE this album!
Where and when did you record the album?
We´ve recorded it this summer, from July to august, four weeks, in Denmark at Antfarm studios, with Tue Madsen.
Photo: Melanie Haack
How did the idea of this album came around?
The songwriting just comes out, you know? No pressure, not like “I´ve to write this song” – no-no! It comes fast and I just record them with my laptop, you know, and then I gave it to the guys to listen and then we´ve rehearsed them and that was the way.
But did you have some specific theme for this album?
Well, “Outcast” is all about… well, me, you know? It has messages about all over the world, you know? There´s a big problem with the racism all over the world, very big problem and I mean, it is growing, it is scary and this is what we are´ saying. And also because we, I feel like an outcast, ´cos you know, I´m a gypsy and gypsies in Hungary are hated and discriminated, and I always was since I was a kid, you know? So this is obviously the main idea of the “Outcast”.
Was this then the reason why you moved to Holland?
I was with my girlfriend, but I already moved back because we quit and I moved back to Hungary again.
How does it feel to be back home?
Great! I moved back with my parents and I´ve all my friends there and it´s really great!
What kind of mood were you in when you were writing for the “Outcast”?
Well, you know, it´s all about my lifestyle, I can say it again, you know, there was no plan for it, for the lyrics or the music, it comes naturally and suddenly, really! I don´t even know how I wrote the lyrics! Suddenly – BOOM! – and there it is! But of course, you know, it´s all about emotions, it´s in me, and I kind of put all the anger through my music, that´s how it goes.
Photo: Melanie Haack
So this makes all your songs very personal, you don´t have much fiction in your lyrics then?
Well, all the lyrics of course they have… some… well, I mean, all the lyrics are…hmmmm, well, about me! But I never was thinking about, when I was writing, that sit down and ok, this song we´ll call “Outcast” and I´ve to write about… whatever, you know? The words suddenly come, “Outcast” or “I´m Against”, and the music was there already, so we just put the lyrics on it.
The “Outcast” isn´t out yet for another month so what shall we expect, how would you describe it?
Well, it´s the best album we´ve ever have done! (laughs proudly) No, really! And it´s really aggressive, and … and it´s full of anger. The sound is really fucking massive, the most massive sound we´ve ever had till now! You´re gonna definitely hear it. And there´s many special stuff on this album, like… there gonna be an acoustic song, it´s called “Who Can I Trust” – you´re gonna be surprised, but there´s no distorted guitars in this song, only acoustic guitar and my voice. But still, it´s very aggressive, and massive, and strong, but only with an acoustic guitar. There´s also more gypsy stuff on it, very colorful and very interesting album.
An acoustic-mood song is a bit unusual for Ektomorf, isn´t?...
Well, I don´t think it´s gonna be the last song in acoustic, no. Maybe it was the first, but you know, I like this kind of stuff, the next song we´ll do in this style will be a little bit different, but I like to use my voice in a way like I use it on the distorted songs, but with different instruments. I think it´s something special no one did before, to use an aggressive voice on instruments like an acoustic guitar or a sitar or like some other stuff. So we won´t do it too often, maybe after couple of next albums, you never know.
Talking about unusual combinations, who played those additional instruments, for example on “Ambush In The Night”?
It was Tamás, he just bought a sitar especially for this, brand new, very beautiful instrument, the sitar from India and he played it. I can play some, but not as good as him.
Photo: Melanie Haack
Did other band members also participate in writing for “Outcast”?
It was always like this that I write and the guys love it, really. It´s not like I´m a dictator, it´s really not like that in Ektomorf. I just write the songs and the lyrics and I give it to them, they love it and we go on to the band-room. Maybe they also put something to them, and of course it´s always changing a bit in the studio, sometimes a lot, but yeah, I write the stuff and they never really write anything, but it´s really fine like this and so… I really have to say it again, I´m not a dictator! I´m just the songwriter in the band.
What´s gonna be on the limited edition of the album?
It´s gonna be with three bonus tracks, those gonna be the three songs from “I Scream Up To The Sky” album, but on the way like we were playing in the studio, rehearsing, and Tue, he recorded it with microphones, it´s just rare rehearsing stuff, which I think is really fucking good, because those songs they always like at the live show, so I think it´s a good thing for the fans, and also some background talking in the band room, you know, “blah-blah”, so this kind of stuff, it´s gonna be great!
How did you chose the song to cover, how come Prodigy and not something more Metal, something heavier?
Simply because I love Prodigy (laughs). If we do some Metal cover, it would be stupid, because we already get so many negative stuff about us being similar to some bands, which I´m already very sick and tired, that I can only tell them to FUCK OFF! But Prodigy I love, I love that album, “Fat of the Land” and that song is just, it feels like I wrote those lyrics, really. And we´ve tried it in the band-room and we´ve tried it live and it was great, so we recorded it and people really liked it, so and that´s why I said let´s record it for the album, that was the idea.
Photo: Melanie Haack
What does the band name mean, what is “ektomorf” actually?
“Ektomorf” is a Latin word and it´s a gene sickness, and then you get very thin and you can´t even walk, you know… and I didn´t chose it because of the meaning, I just chose it because I love the sound of the name “ektomorf”. No one have it, I think it´s very unique and one word which is not English, you know? Many bands use English name, so that´s why.
If not an incurable disease, does Ektomorf have a mission of its own, something which you want to say with your music?
Yeah, sure, it´s like… it´s just be yourself and believe in yourself.
And what do you believe in?
I believe in God, strongly, but I´m not religious. And I believe in myself and in my music. Music is my life.
If you could hold a speech in front of all world leaders, what would be your message?
All the world leaders?... FUCK OFF!!! Really, because they fuck up the world. So I would not tell them anything just to make them feel better. I would tell them straight: FUCK OFF!!! This is a message from all the people in the world, you guys just drive the world down, just look around what´s going on in the world, so just a big FUCK to all of them! (evil laughter)
So what then would be a perfect society in your view?
The perfect society would be if people had no hate and no racism, because that´s just disgusting. This is the main problem – to hate each other for something very unreasonable, like skin color or speaking a different language, or you look different, you think different, this is segregation and discrimination and racism. The perfect society wouldn´t have any of this. Everyone is free to live as they want, any style, any language, any skin color, anything, you shouldn´t hate each other for this. Perfect society would be without racism. That would be great.
Foto: Samira Alinto
You said once that “The place we like to go home and play for fans is not Hungary anymore…” so what would you call ´home´ and where is that best place to play?
For the band I can say it´s Germany. And the place in Hungary where I live with my parents is my home, but I would still like to find my own… Right now I´m 30 years old and I still haven´t found it yet… but at the moment I feel at home.
How does it feel to be a part of the Metal scene in Hungary, where from what it seems, are very few musicians of that style…
Well, I don´t care of it. I don´t really follow of anything what´s going on there.
But how can you not care, it´s your home-country and you´ve clearly have done a lot for this kind of music field there!!!
No, no! Because we´ve left Hungary in 2000 with my band and we don´t play at home, we´ve played one show with Kreator and one show with Children of Bodom, because we had to, that´s why, but otherwise we would not. People don´t care about Ektomorf in Hungary and we don´t care about them. Not of the fans, not even of the bands there, because we concentrate more on our own music and that´s it.
When you´ve played with Children of Bodom and Kreator, how did the audience receive you? You weren´t the main band and many didn´t know you well, so what kind of impression you felt Ektomorf has made?
With Kreator it was really great, fucking great and we had very nice time with Kreator guys, especially Mille – he´s cool, very cool and with Children of Bodom it was also fucking good, but with Children of Bodom guys we didn´t get that… we didn´t have any problems, but we just didn´t get so close to each other, like friends… But the audience was, with Kreator and Children of Bodom, was fucking amazing. With Children of Bodom I can say even better, because there was more young kids, even from 14 and they really-really liked the band, we got a lot of fans from this tour, and I really appreciated that tour, really! It was the greatest support for us till now!
Photo: Samira Alinto
What are you listening to at the moment?
Just before the interview I was listening to Danko Jones “Sleep Is The Enemy” – I love that! He´s fucking great and he likes Ektomorf! We´ve met in Wacken this year and he said like “Ah, Ektomorf! I´ve seen you in 2004 and I know your album!” and this was a great thing for me, because I love Danko Jones! Full of energy, great Rock´n´Roll – I really love the music they make! Great guys!
When you lived in Holland, away from home, was there something you´ve missed about Hungary the most?
Yes, I´ve missed my friends. And I´ve missed the nature, because in Amsterdam there is no nature, you know? Where I live in Hungary, 200km from Budapest, so there´s a lot of nature, I missed that a lot.
Which of your songs are you the most proud of?
I´m really proud of the song “Outcast”, the song “I Know Them”, all of them, but those two are the most special.
Will you ever sing those songs you have in Hungarian language from your early records?
Only English and I´ll never write a Hungarian song again! Those songs is something I´ve really left behind.
Have you any plans for the videos to support “Outcast” album?
Yeah, I´m flying tomorrow back to Hungary and this weekend we´re starting to shoot the video for “Outcast” and a little later for the song “I Choke”. And “Outcast” is gonna be ready before the release and “I Choke” is a little later, but they´re gonna be online for the fans.
Can you tell us what is the scenario in those videos, what´s the story?
For the “Outcast” we´ll go to this place where gypsies are living, in this very bad poverty, you know, like a ghetto, and we´re gonna shoot it there. And I´m gonna sing there, some scene with guitar and drums and so on, but it´s mostly gonna be about them. Black and white, very contrast, it´s really heavy song.
For “I Choke” there is really no plan yet.
How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn´t know you?
I would just say my name, and I would say I´m a musician and… I´m just a normal person.
What is the song “Red I” about?
Well the story is that we´ve just came back from Helsinki and Stockholm after Children of Bodom tour and I´ve met a black guy and his name was “Red Eye” and I was like, “Why do you call yourself ´red eye´?” and he said that “if you open your skin, doesn´t matter what color your skin is, what comes out is red.” And I was like “Yes! It sounds really good!” and I said to him “I will write a song ´red eye”.” So that was the story.
Any other interesting stories from this tour?
There were a lot! My brother had an operation on a broken leg, with a cast on his leg, he couldn´t walk. He had to sit on a chair during the whole tour! (laughs) and just before the last five shows, when I stepped out of the bus in Stockholm, I stepped on the ice and I slipped on the ice, so I had the same! And it wasn´t broken, but I couldn´t step on it. So they took me to the hospital and I had some plastic shit on my leg and I had to play the last five shows in this! So my brother was sitting on a chair, I was standing with my leg in plastic… And I was sweating blood because it was so fucking painful, to play in this, my ankle was so big, like a really big apple, you know? And so only Tamás, the other guitar player was the only one on stage who could move, you know? (laughs) that was heavy, really!... And I was swearing to Sweden that why the fuck can´t they clean the snow! It took six weeks to recover…
Other than those physical ´adventures´, what else do you find the hardest about being a musician?
Well, maybe that I am not having so much cozy, private life, you know? Like see, I´m not with my girlfriend anymore, so it´s kind of heavy… but it also makes me happy: being single is also not that bad, (laughs) – I enjoy it, it´s not bad! I don´t want to be whining about it, like “oh, I´m a musician”… I love being a musician, that´s what I always wanted.
So you believe in destiny, that this is something you´re meant to do in life?
Definitely! I believe in destiny, you´re right. I 100% believe in it.
Must be something like this… because now you´re famous in Europe, released very strong albums and you´ve been on tour with such huge artists – I don´t know any other band from Eastern Europe with such impressive achievements…
I don´t really know, it is just a miracle! (laughs) We´ve started from Hungary, from a small garage band, and I was singing on the “Hangok” album without any English! I didn´t speak any fucking word, you know? I just started asking my friends “please write it down to me in English and I´ll sing it, please help me!” I sing it and we sent it to Germany and a small label write us back “yeah, we´ll release this album” and so on, and then one show, then another label, another show, then moving to Germany… I don´t know, like I said to you, I believe in destiny, I believe in God, and I think I was meant for it, and my boys too, you know, in the band, so that´s why we get till here.
Were there any times when you´ve thought of quitting, when it seemed like it´s not going anywhere?
It was when we were living in Berlin, for seven months and we had no money, we had no food… if I think back, it was just so fucking bad, and we had a manager, he wanted to fuck us up, take all what we´ve earned, it was 50 Euro, which was good money, but we didn´t get, he took it and we needed money for food! He bought some drugs on it and he fucked us up so much, that guy! And then the guys said to me, everyone in the band, “we cannot do this anymore” so that was the lowest time, I was alone in the band, you know, really, completely! And I was like, “ok, I will do it alone and get new musicians”, but thank God, things have changed and we got back after 2-3 weeks, tried again and then it worked.
So the lineup was more or less stable throughout those years?
No no, it changed many times, with the drummer only two times, and Josef one time already and my brother never, he was always the bass player, and guitar players always come and go in the band, but since three years back, you know, since the “Destroy” album, it really fits and I hope it will stay the same lineup.
And so could you tell us some words about the band members, what are they like in person?
Well, my brother is my brother! (laughs) He´s very easy and he doesn´t really care about heavy music, he loves Spanish music, but when he´s with Ektomorf this is music played with passion, he goes on stage, headbanging like an animal, you know? And he loves to fish, he´s fishing the whole day, sitting at the lake!
Tamás, the guitar player, he´s a big smoker, he loves reggae music a LOT, you can see it on his hair (laughs), he is a big Bob Marley fan, he´s cool guy, and he´s better and better every year with the solos, you know? He really became a big part, real part of the band.
Josef-the-drummer is really a stormy guy, he likes to think a lot, reading books about life you know, (says laughingly), he thinks it helps for him, but you know, he´s a fantastic drummer and we always believe in him, because the drummer before him, who left the band, everyone in Hungary said there´s Ektomorf no more, but it´s not like that because I saw the fire in his eyes and he´s fucking great, he´s easygoing and he´s really crazy for the band – they´re all fucking great guys and I love them and they love me! We are really like brothers and I hope it will really stay!
And about me… I´m just me! (laughs)
So I can only wish you much luck for the future, it was really great to talk to you!
And thank you, it was a pleasure! Don´t miss the tour!
Author: Marina Sidyakina, translation: Klaudia Weber, photos: Melanie Haack, Samira Alinto & hfr.
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