Hungarian punk at itīs best

Rocco from Bankrupt sent me a promo of their new CD and when I sent him some questions to an interview he answered the same day. Thatīs the way hungarian punks work. This happened in february 2005.

 

History?

Rocco: We started out in March í96, but things only got (a bit more) serious with the present line-up, which came about in the fall of 2000. Since then we have played lots of gigs in 8 countries, supported bands like the Toy Dolls, Real McKenzies, and DOA, and released two albums (Listen Ė 2000, Bad Hair Day Ė 2004).

 

Please tell me a little about every member, age, family, work and something and about every one?

Iím Rocco, I play bass and do the vocals on songs of the new album. Iíve been listening for punk rock for about 16 years now. My all-time favorites are the Clash, the Ramones, and the Stranglers, and Iíve discovered a couple of cool bands in the past few years like the Dwarves, Turbonegro, or the Briefs. Iím doing Magyar Taraj, the best local punk zine.

William plays guitar, and he sang on most of the songs on Listen, and did backing vocals on the new one. Heís running a small label called PiaR Records (www.piarr.hu), thatís where our new CD was released. He likes the Dwarves too, and melodycore bands like NOFX, and Pennywise. Heís been in the band with me since the very beginnings.

Kicsi (Shorty) used to play drums for a punk band called Kulturalis Szemle in the 90s. They toured France twice, which was quite a big thing for a punk band back then (before the Internet age). Heís from Oroshaza, a town in the Great Hungarian Plains. He likes í77 punk, and some weird industrial music too.

(Weíd prefer not to go into details of our private lives.)

 

How is it to play this sort of music in Hungary?

Itís not easy. Even though we have some Hungarian lyrics now, our main focus is still on English lyrics, and itís still unaccepted for punk bands to sing in English here. Itís OK for a hardcore band, but not for a punk rock band. We also differ musically, since we have different influences from the other local bands. 

 

Hungarian punk I havenīt heard so much from, howīs the history for Hungarian punk?

Since there was a Communist regime in Hungary until 1989, punk bands in the Eighties were strongly anti-Communist. Some bands, like CPg, were even jailed for this. My favorite band from this era are the Kretens, even if some members of this band later became mainstream pop musicians. There are very few listenable quality recordings that remained from these bands, since the recording facilities were under Communist control too, so most of these bands couldnít record their music. The only band that started in the Eighties and has been going ever since is Aurora (CPg also reformed too a few years ago).

Punk bands that became the biggest after the change of systems included Prosectura (fun-punk), PICSA (oldschool punk) and melodycore bands like Alvin es a mokusok, Macskanadrag, Hatosagilag Tilos, and Furgerokalabak.

 

Is there any good bands now and have it been any good bands before?

The best Hungarian band ever are probably the psychobilly band Gorilla, who are widely regarded as one of the top bands of the genre. (Unfortunately, since the guitarist lives in Canada now, they play only 1-2 gigs a year, when he comes home.) I should also mention our friends Honeyball (ska-punk), and the other bands on Piar Records: Graveyard at Maximum (ska-punk) and Nem-Mind1 (melodycore). You can find a listing of local punk bands at www.magyartaraj.uw.hu (click links).

 

 

The political life in Hungary, how is it?

Itís very disappointing. By now all the major political parties had their chance to be in power, and they all turned out be incompetent corrupt idiots. The two big parties are the ex-communists, and another terrible party run by nationalist yuppies. Nothing to choose from, really. 

 

Punk and politics, does it go hand in hand?

No. Most of the original í77 punk bands werenít political, and even the Clash werenít serious about their leftist stuff, there was nothing behind it, as Joe Strummer said in an interview once. I think itís really important to be aware of whatís happening in the world, but I suppose the people who listen to our music are intelligent enough to realize by themselves that Bush is an idiot, or itís not nice to be cruel to animals. Most of the so-called political bands today are just chanting meaningless slogans, and preaching to the converted, and thatís boring for us.

The song ĄGod Bless DisneylandĒ on our new album is basically a political song, but it deals with the ambiguity of US influence on Europe in an ironic way. (By ambiguity I mean the contrast between their repulsive foreign policy and their awesome pop culture, from 50s rocknroll to the Ramones.)

 

Any good political band/artist in the world?

I think NOFX turned out to be good at political lyrics too, because that bitter, sick humor that was characterisic of Fat Mikeís earlier fun lyrics is still there. They are not just repeating the Fuck Bush mantra, but come up with ideas, like, the more educated you are, the more your vote should count (Idiots Are Taking Over), which is a pretty good idea, actually. If you just watch talk shows on TV and the idiots featured there, you certainly donít think they have any idea who they would vote for at the next elections.  

 

You sing about punk in your first song on your CD, what do you mean by those lyrics?

The lyrics to ĄStart AgainĒ express my frustration with the present punk scene, which completely lost its original direction. There are so few really good and inspiring bands out there, and most of these (like the Dwarves, or the Briefs) are guys well in their 30s (or more), while most of the young bands play generic, pretentious crap, and thatís just disappointing.

I just wanted to recapture with this song what initially grabbed me about punk rock, when I was listening to the Clash and the Ramones in my room after school as a kid.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does punk mean to you, is it only a word or is it a lifestyle?

Walking your own way, doing your own stuff, thatís the main point. What I always loved about punk rock is that itís the most down-to-earth genre. When I heard these guys sing, they were talking to me, they were real, unlike the metalheads singing about fighting dragons and all that bullshit. So itís really sad that punk rock is turning into metal again nowadays, with even worse, totally meaningless lyrics that make me think back about the fucking dragons with nostalgia.

 

You sing both in english and Hungarian, is it hard to decide which language you shall sing in?

We have Hungarian versions for 5 songs, and we use these only in Hungary. A lot of people here canít relate to a band that is singing in English, so itís a small compromise we decided to make.

 

But you put the songs in Hungarian last, why? Why didnīt you mix them together?

Those are Hungarian versions for 5 songs that are among the first 11 Enlish language tracks, if you listen more carefully J

 

How does the average Bankrupt-listener/audience look like?

She has blond hair and huge tits, ideally.

 

How much does a record of yours sell?

So far weíve sold 520 copies of Listen, the previous album. The new album, Bad Hair Day came out in December, so sales have just begun, but we hope to sell more of this one, since itís a better album.

 

Have people in Hungary money enough to buy CDs?

Most people could afford to buy independent releases (CDs of local punk bands cost usually about 5-10 EUR), but they choose to download it from the Internet and spend the money on beers instead.

 

Is it a big pirate selling of CDs in Hungary?

No, but people mostly download music from the Internet instead of buying CDs.

 

Does punk get any covering in media?

A little, but itís usually stereotyped and distorted.

 

How is a good concert with you?

If the sound is good, and there are enough people who like melodic punk rock, it usually turns out good. We opened for the Toy Dolls recently in Budapest, and that was awesome.

 

If you could choose five bands from now and from the history to do a big concert together with Bankrupt, which five bands would you choose?

My first big concert experience was the first Toy Dolls gig in Budapest, back in 1995. Nine years later I got to support them with Bankrupt, so thatís a dream come true for sure. We also played the Punk Aid festival in Prague, where the Damned were the headliner, and they were still very good, it was a very memorable gig too.

Of course, Iíd love to see the Clash or the Ramones, but as far as somewhat more realistic wishes are concerned, it would be great to be on the same bill with the Dwarves, or the Briefs.

 

What do you know about Sweden? You work at a Swedish company?

Yes, so Iíll probably have the chance to visit Sweden soon. Iíve heard itís really nice in the summer. I like a lot of Swedish bands, like the Hives, Randy, Backyard Babies, Bones, your rock scene is definitely the best in Europe.

 

Have you heard any other good Swedish bands?

Thereís just a lot of them.

 

Please rank your five favourite records, five favourite concerts and five most important things in life?

I donít like setting up this top5-stuff, but I can mention some good ones. J

The Dwarves are a band that we all like, The Dwarves Are Young And Good Looking and The Dwarves Come Clean are both flawless albums, and I really wanna buy the new one, it should be good too. I really liked the Peacocks from Switzerland when they played here, and their new album is great too. Our drummer, Kicsi, was pretty enthusiastic about the Hatepinks from France, when we played with them in Chemnitz, Germany. Me and William went to see the Beatsteaks from Berlin last Saturday, and they were great too.

 

First, last and most expensive record ever bought?

I think the first CD I bought was Orcastrated by the Toy Dolls, and now I wanna buy that new Dwarves CD however much it costs. I know the last CD William bought was Smacksmash by the Beatsteaks.

 

Most embarrasing record in your collection?

I donít keep CDs that I donít like. So my conscience is clear J

 

Your language is a little bit the same as the Finnish language, have you heard any Finnish bands you like?

Itís a very distant connection, we donít understand a word in Finnish. Itís one of the funniest languages. There were a couple of Finnish bands on Bad Afro, like the Flaming Sideburns, or the Festermen, which were good, and thereís a young Misfits-influenced band called Scarecrow that was on the comp CD of my zine, and people here liked them. Me too, of course.

 

Is it many interviews? Is it boring?

Not many, and only boring if the questions are generic. This is our first interview for a Swedish zine, so this oneís cool for sure.

 

Is there many zines in Hungary? Some worth to mention?

The other punk rock zines besides Magyar Taraj are in the starting phase. Thereís one called Knuckleduster, I liked this one. There are some hardcore and skinhead zines as well, for example The Six Cuts Hardcore Webzine - www.thesixcuts.hu

 

Future plans for the band?

Meeting cool people, discovering new places, playing good gigs. Thatís it.

 

For yourself?

Writing better songs, developing as a musician and songwriter.

 

Wisdom word?

GABBA-GABBA HEY!

 

Something to add?

Our CD are available at www.interpunk.com and www.outbench.at . For downloadable songs, visit our site: www.bankrupt.at.hu , and if you are a good-looking girl, add us to your friends on MySpace: www.myspace.com/bankrupt