Hungarian legends The Hellfreaks came to my attention about 7 or 8 years ago when they played Trash & Burn festival and they were great. They changed their style and their lineup a bit over the years but remained one of the most hard working and great European bands. I didn´t miss the opportunity to ask the band couple of questions for this webzine. Read the interview!
1.HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE HELLFREAKS TO THE READERS OF THIS WEBZINE WHO HADN´T HEARD FOR YOU?
We are The Hellfreaks, a 4-piece punk-rock band from Hungary, Budapest, which is quite in the middle of nowhere in the international rock world. But somehow, with a bit of luck and hell lot of work we managed to play way more shows over the border than in Hungary. Since the foundation in 2009 we have played over 200 gigs across Europe and also made it over the big pond and toured in the US.
We play loud & fast modern punk rock with a very unique female voice on the mic, which is way more than just-another-riot-band. We are definitely the kind of sound you can love or you can hate, but nothing in between.
2.YOU´VE COME A LONG WAY FROM THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BAND, ALMOST TEN YEARS IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN, ABANDONING YOUR EARLIER PSYCHOBILLY STYLE FOR MORE PUNKROCK MUSIC AND DARKER ATTITUDE. DO YOU THINK THAT YOURE NOW AT YOUR CREATIVE PEAK?
That would be devastating! No, we don’t think that, as this would mean that we reached our personal highest level and the road would go down from this point. But for sure that’s not the situation. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any sense to continue – or why would you spend your time with something that can’t get better, that can’t develop?
For us it is and has always been very important to do our best, to observe, to rethink and to learn. That’s also one of the reasons why our albums are so different from each other. The other reason is the line up change. Even since the last album: after the album release tour, Béla, our drummer joined the team 2 years ago, and now, just some weeks ago, we welcomed our newest member Jozzy. Jozzy & Béla have been bandmates in the past in a pretty famous Hungarian rock band called Leander Rising. With these guys we have an extremely strong line up, and yes, we are stronger than ever, but we’re by far not on the top of our personal mountain!
3.TIME HAS PASSED SINCE YOUR LAST ALBUM WAS OUT. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE FEEDBACK TO THE ALBUM? HOW MANY VIDEOS DID YOU MAKE? WAS IT FUN TO MAKE THE CLIPS?
We released 4 videos for our album Astoria.
The first one was “Back To My Planet”, which was basically a very heartwarming present from a talented fan of us. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr7CvojaliA)
The 2nd one was “Rope” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbtdi0zzhM8) , which is a roadmovie of our gigs in 2016 summer, which was obviously fun, as we all love to be on tour and be on the stage. It’s kind of our natural habitat. The third one was “Burn The Horizon” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow9W64QnR4c): The video was managed by a really one-off and special teamwork. Steven Shea (American writer, producer who worked on many videoclips and US movies before), is big fan of the band. He offered to make a videoclip for us with his professional team and manage the writing and production also. The unique thing about the video alongside the production is the location of the shooting, because only the ‘viral video’ was made in Budapest, all the other parts were made in the United States of America.
But it was worth it. Not just because of the result, but also because with the video production team “Mihaszna” we found our partner in crimes for the future, and can’t wait to continue our work with them!
4.IS THERE NEW MATERIAL COMING OUT SOON?
But your question pointed out exactly the funniest fact – the only thing of our whole US tour which felt like exactly the same as in Europe , was the feeling on the stage, the crowd we faced. We didn’t feel any differences. Looks like the punk rock scene doesn’t need borders. 😉
To talk about Hungary in general isn’t a question we could answer in a couple of sentences. But we’re not living our best time: Hungary is very centralized, all the young people, everyone who is able to do so move to Budapest, as it’s very heavy to find possibilities & jobs on the countryside or even in the smaller cities. Also in the way of thinking we are a very split country – from the open minded younger generation to those who are still binded by their roots. In general we miss the possibilities and standards like our Western European neighbours. It doesn’t matter if you have a university degree, you can easily end up with a job where you don’t earn enough to rent a room and have proper food, or easily end up without a job and out on the streets. But all Eastern European countries struggle with these problems. From the outside you might think “ but hey, they neither have so high costs”. But it’s just not true. Life is harder over here, and that is a simple fact, which is not worth crying about. If you have a dream – it doesn’t matter if the dream is to have a successful band or to have a house one day with a garden – you have to work 3 times harder than in Western European countries.
But it’s important to say that Budapest is not just beautiful, it’s also a place you can fall in love with pretty quickly – as especially these kinds of struggles awake a kind of magic which makes it so unique. I (Sue) also lived in Berlin, the coolest city in Europe for a couple of years, but came back, and I am more than happy about it because I just love this city as it has its very own, heartwarming spirit.
I think the most famous villain of Hungary might be Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was famous for her sadistic activities. She lived in the 16th century and it was said that she enjoyed torturing and killing young girls. She believed that drinking and bathing in the blood of young girls would preserve her youth and her looks. Witnesses told stories of her stabbing victims or biting their breasts, hands, faces and arms, cutting them with scissors, sticking needles into their lips or burning them with red-hot irons, coins or keys. Some were beaten to death and some were starved.
We know for example the band Clockwork Psycho – but we don’t know them personally.