Dark Clouds

A new wave of eastern Europe metal



Answers are courtesy of vokiller Tauszik Viktor


-Your roots must be both metal and hardcore. Do U agree & what do U do when writing a song not to sound like many metalcore bands?
1. The very first Dark Clouds tunes released on demos were a lot longer and slower, influenced mostly by My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost or Tiamat albums of that time (the mid 1990s) and I guess one of the main reasons we chose to play this kind of metal is that nobody else did so. Everyone was into more brutal and faster death / grindcore or, at the other extreme, soft and melancholic gothic music. We've been always trying to create something unique, the only thing that's changed since then is our approach to songwriting. So, later on we started to combine the doom-like slow or mid-paced stuff with straightforward metal riffs while keeping the typical giutar melodies so the music became heavier and more depressive. Nowadays we concentrate on writing rather simple structured and catchy songs which have an immediate impact on the crowd at a live show. I think the best way to describe our current style (we call it something like doomcore death metal and that's partially true, of course, but still not precise enough to define it) is to mention a couple of our favorite bands: Crowbar, Overkill, Kreator, Anthrax, S.O.D., Cro-Mags, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Merauder,Entombed, Pro-Pain, Prong, Stuck Mojo, Transport League, Nevermore, My Dying Bride… Sometimes it's relatively easy to discover the influence of some of these bands listening to our songs but never directly. Instead of stealing ideas from our favorites we draw strength from their music. The same thing goes for the lyrics, too. So, if someone says we sound like a mixture of metal and hardcore, we won't disagree because we are really inspired both by the radical, action-orientated, positive hardcore mentality and the brutal intensity of metal music. Fortunately, these two scenes are not so isolated from each other anymore, lots of bands combine these elements nowadays and the only thing that matters is the quality of the music. (This is deeply true! /M.G.)

-U seem to be very meticulous and professional, recording, lyrics and artwork included. How long did the whole process of making "Depressive Global System" take?
2. As for the first part of the question, you're right, we've always been extremely meticulous in every way. From the very first Dark Clouds demo on, we've been concentrating not only on the small Hungarian metal market but on the international scene, too. Therefore, we never wanted our stuff to look and sound just average. Our debut demo „Requiem For A Helpless World" (1996) had a decent distribution in Europe but then we went through several line-up changes and that slowed things down for a while, so we had to start to rebuild everything again with our subsequent releases. Regarding this new self-released CD, „Global Depressing System", the songwriting process began in late 2000 and we recorded the album in February 2001 within one week. The album was meant to be released not later than the Summer of 2001 but then suddenly our record company collapsed, so we had to cancel the contract with them and to collect the money we needed to bring out the CD on our own. I might as well say we're one year late but the album has never lost its actuality and we still believe there's a lot of good potential in it. So, right now we are looking for a new record label to release our forthcoming stuff.

-I was so pleased of the mixing when I first listened to your record, cos the guitars & the vocals are really straight-to-your-face and not in the background. Why do U think so many aggressive bands tend to 'hide' them nowadays? And was this a choice of yours or Zoltan's?
3. The making of this album was the third occasion we worked with Zoltán (Töfi) and this time our goal was to make even more out of all the benefits of his studio. It's a small one, isn't equipped like the Death Star or something but sounds quite similar. It's definitely strong for its size and is relatively cheap for us. Töfi is a skilled metal musician himself so he understands our style perfectly and he knows how to achieve the best possible results but we also had very specific ideas about the sound and the mixing. By the way, it's one of our guitarists, Hugó who directed the recording process while Töfi was away… Therefore, it was all our choice and Töfi carried it out. This is the sound we really like and I have no idea why it is that certain metal bands never push the guitars and the vocals forward 'cause they only make all the aggression disappear from their music this way. The way I see it, a good, heavy sound is one of the essential factors for a wide recognition today in this genre. (Exactly!/M.G.)

-How popular are U in Hungary, how often do U play a year, how often do U rehearse a week, have U ever played abroad?
4. We have a pretty strong fan basis in the Hungarian underground. The promotional support from our former label helped us a lot in selling our debut album „Nadir", of course, but most of the CDs was sold at the live shows. The situation is still the same, the only difference is that we must take care of everything ourselves now, including both country-wide and international distribution of the new album. But it's a long and slow process so the best way for us to promote „Global Depressing System" right now is to play live as much as possible. We usually do two country-wide tours every year. In the early times we played mostly as a support band for some more popular Hungarian groups but nowadays we prefer to play as headliners. We are also regularly invited to Summer festivals and nearly two years ago we opened for Crowbar at a similar event. So, after the Winter holidays we will start another tour and we also want to play live abroad as much as we can. In 2002, we already did a few shows in Transylvania and former Upper Northern Hungary (it belongs to Slovakia now), so we definitely want to have more gigs in the neighbourhood - and a little bit later we would like to go to farther countries, too. The number of rehersals may vary depending on our current agenda. Obviously, when we're on tour, we play more or less the same program on every gig so we don't have to practice so much but when we work on new songs or prepare for the next studio session, we rehearse more often which means at least two or three times a week.

-What other Hungarian bands would U recommend the Italian audience?
5. Luckily, we have more and more promising bands which can stand the test in the international scene, too. I would recommend you Supernatural (melodic doom metal), Cadaveres De Tortugas (HC / metal), Aebsence (imagine Alice In Chains and Tool combined with Hungarian folk elements), Casket Garden (Scandinavian style death metal), Nemesis (progressive metal), - and Moby Dick. This "great whale" is a legendary Hungarian power / thrash metal band that split years ago but now they're back again. Their reunion shows worked exceptionally well and right now they're working on a come back album. We are all Moby Dick fans, we even recorded a cover version of one of their songs on "Nadir" and we hope to tour with them sometime in 2003.

-How the fuck is it possible that such a cool, groovy, ass-kicking and talented band like yours still has no deal? I know Hungary's progressed this much in the last years, like all the other countries of the Eastern Europe's bloc...
6. That's what we always ask ourselves, too. But speaking seriously, the whole promotional campaign has only just begun so we have to be very patient now. We are definitely a hard working band but since we haven't played abroad that much yet, it's not that evident for a foreign label. So, I guess the only way for us to convince a record company is to send them a really professional looking promo package. The rest, however, is up to them.

-I believe that man will kill itself and lots of animals, but the earth will go on existing. I believe man never learns from their mistakes, except very few humans like U & me spread in the world. What's your opinion about the new generations?
7. If it's true that the future of the world depends on the new generations, then I guess our fate is already fuckin' sealed… I see less and less people who are not only aware of the fact that the whole world is dying but are also able and willing to do something to make things better. The majority, however, doesn't even seem to care. They worry more about things like what's going on in the new reality show on TV, which mobile phone logo or sound to download, what to drink or smoke etc. The biggest problem is that the media're so highly developed and powerful now, they can influence and manipulate masses stronger than ever and the average people are totally misled. You see, even the media is controlled by those huge companies and businessmen who dominate the world, so the ordinary people usually only do what they suggest them do and buy what they are told to buy. They really believe that all those things are good because they see them advertised everywhere and see other people buying them, too. To cut it short, they judge things (and people, for that matter…) by their popularity and not by their real worth and use. Here's what's going to happen if we let those multinational sermoners and fashion dictators influence our personal taste, ideals and opinion. Needless to say, this topic also has a political aspect - which leads us to the well-known phenomenon called globalisation. Some claim that it brings people of the world together but I believe the point of the whole thing is that some money and power hungry maniacs buy themselves territories abroad and use those lands only for their own purposes, making use of the local living labour-power. Obviously they don't even mind if countless hectares of forests fall, many different species of living creatures disappear although they know exactly what's going on…(No-one could've explained it better, great man, your opinion rocks!/M.G.).

-Secondly, I've recently heard some scientists saying that the ozone hole causing the global warming (along with other factors) is getting closed a little, but the biggest world's polluters are the USA, which don't repsect Kyoto's toxic emission limits. Do U feel that Europe and America are becoming farther & farther because of their huge culture differences or not?
8. Looks like Europe and America are already on seperate ways more or less but I guess it's not because of cultural differences since America has no real historical and cultural past comparing to Europe. This is rather an economic and political conflict here. One of the most evident signs of the growing distance between the two is the Iraq issue because apparently Bush has only one ally in Europe who positively supports the fuckin' war, and that's Tony Blair. Shame on him! From the economic point of view, I think the European Union is destined to counterbalance America but the USA is determined to rule the world and Bush is totally unrestrained. No wonder the Eastern world hates his guts so much... When American people are killed, everyone must mourn them and combine their powers to retaliate (you know what I mean) but when little children die in Iraq following the US embagro, or when people anywhere else die, nobody seems to worry. Consequently, it's your place of birth and nationality that determines your life's worth... What a nonsense! And speaking of Kyoto, the fact that America doesn't respect the toxic emission limits demonstrates once again that the world is run by total idiots. (I'd add this:they've arrived so high, cos they come from certain families with the right contacts, attended certain schools, people...been licking boots all their lives long, and that's how they gained power. I just think they're so detached from average people that they don't care about the future generations and prob'ly not even 'bout their own (grand)children/M.G.)

-Ok, coming back to Dark Clouds, what are your next plans and what'll your next songs sound like?
9. Regarding next year's live shows, nothing is confirmed yet, except for the fact that we will work even harder than in the previous years. Dark Clouds will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2003, so we want to celebrate it suitably. We will bring out new a CD which is not a new full length album but a special release with a couple of new songs, covers and previously unreleased stuff. Musically, we will follow the same direction but comparing to the „Global…" CD, the new songs will be less melodic and more aggressive. It's going to be like a birthday present from ourselves to ourselves. Not to mention that we will also try to make it really interesting for the listeners. We'll work with Töfi again so the sound will be even more devastating than before. We have 12 new songs completed now and we even tested some of them live already. Furthermore, we want to get a record deal to release the next albums, as I mentioned it before, and since it's impossible to find a Hungarian label that would be interested in supporting such an underground band, we will now try our luck abroad. This would be the next step forward for us. We don't want to become everyone's fave band or anything like that but we believe there is a certain level of popularity in the international underground scene that we are able to reach and that's exactly what we want to achieve in the near future.

-Is your line-up steady now?
10. Unfortunately we will have to recruit a new bass player now because Szilárd recently quit the band in order to concentrate on other things in his life. It was a big disappointment for us, especially because this five member line-up was absolutely steady since 1998. We knew that he was unhappy about something and he also knew that his attitude to the work in Dark Clouds wasn't the same anymore but at least we went separate ways without having any bitter row. So now that we will only play smaller club shows, Norbert will be the only guitarist and Hugó will play bass. It's only a temporary solution, of course, 'cause this kind of extreme metal requires massive brain-melting sound which can only be achieved with two guitars but the four remaining members are tied together by tight bonds, forming a steady unity so I can guarantee you that we will not stop for long.

-Is it hard to have an extreme band in Hungary, find venues where to play, rehearsing at night after job or study duties, find mags where to be reviewed, interviewed, buy ad places, etc.?
11. Well, obviously it's not Sweden where even the government supports the formation of musicians in every way, right from their early age. (Italy is the same as Hungary, but we're in a big shit for another 1000 reasons, word!/M.G.). But generally speaking, you don't have to be a skillful musician to start a band. All you need is creativity, steadfastness and belief in what you're doing. Time will take good care of all the rest… Even the most popular Hungarian metal bands can barely get their living by playing this kind of music and rehearsing after working or studying is fuckin' exhausting - but if you don't have a job then you can't even afford a rehearsal room... It's a vicious circle and this way of life is only for the real survivors, so to speak, 'cause if you're lenient, daily grind will certainly kill the creative instinct in you. But for smart and tenacious people, it can be very rewarding in the course of time. Otherwise, there are more and more fanzines, especially webzines here, although most of them only have a Hungarian version. So, even if you can't always manage to be reviewed, interviewed and / or to place your ads in the Hungarian edition of the Metal Hammer magazine for instance, you can still count on these 'zines. Being regularly present in Metal Hammer is a big advantage from the promotional point of view because the average metal fans in Hungary only know bands they read about in the above mentioned magazine. Our situation is quite difficult because the Hungarian metal media mostly propagates easy-to-listen and easy-to-sell trendy stuff, so many exciting, unique bands remain totally unknown here. The only thing we can do about it is playing live constantly but I'm not complaining because we like to perform a lot and these tactics proved to be pretty effective. Regarding venues, it's easier to find clubs to play outside of Budapest, the underground is literally oppressed in the capital these days. It takes some time to conquer these venues, I mean you have to open for more popular bands first, without having your expenses paid back. That is how every young Hungarian band starts it and Dark Clouds is no exception but most people know that we've been around in the scene for awhile so we can stipulate certain conditions now.

-Is there only one in dark Clouds dealing with all these issues or do U share interviews and so on?
12. It's usually up to me to deal with interviews but if we are invited to a radio or TV show, we're all there. We take this part of musicianship very seriously and even when it comes to answering questions for an e-mail interview, we discuss the replies together before formulating the final version of the answers.

-A curiosity: I was in Budapest 2 summers ago and I found a very cool hostel, the best ever in Europe, so I have good memories and never had problems at all. But someone there told me to be careful when going to clubs because U may meet girls who pretend to be interested in U and order VERY expensive drinks. Then the mafioso owners won't let U go out if U don't pay, that is after your credit card is drained. Is it true or just an urban legend?
13. That's actually true. The police and the embassies in Budapest receive lots of complaints from foreign citizens reporting similar cases of fraud. People usually mention overbilling, physical intimidation (in order to make them pay incredibly high bills) or even violence form the pat of the owners and employees of the clubs or restaurants. You should be extremely careful with those girls. Never let them persuade you to do what they suggest you do 'cos they're probably up to cheat you. Furthermore, always check the price list before ordering anything. Budapest is a nice and lovely town, full of friendly people but isn't free from crime. You can always prevent being tricked, however, and with little precaution and suspicion you can keep such crooks back from ruining your journey or holiday. Many people wanna make money as fast as possible, that's their only motivation in life and that's also the case in a so-called developing country like Hungary. Disgusting, isn't it.

-Some of my all-time fave porn actresses are Ilona Staller (who even became a politician in Italy for the Radical party 10 years ago), Eva Henger and Anita Dark. What new actresses would U suggest me?
14. Maya Gold and Sandra Iron are probably the most popular Hungarian porn actresses nowadays. As for other young Hungarian actresses, they usually appear on stupid American style sitcoms or movies that I never watch 'cause I hate them like poison but at least I know some names and faces… So Kata Dobó, Anita Deutsch or Mónika Ulmann are really hot chicks, just to mention a few - and we also have a talented new female singer named Linda Király (no family relations with Gábor Király, the football player who keeps goal in the German First Division) who can easily beat all those world-famous can't sing, can't dance, brain dead blondies. She's about to make a career in the USA now, so I think many people will soon hear more about her.

-Time to write a message/greeting/threat/appeal/menace/whatever to our readers. Just take all the place U need!
15. First of all, I wish to thank you, Marco, for the fantastic review on our new CD and for this interview. To all readers out there: we count on every diehard underground metal fan who's interested in hearing something that's perhaps a little bit unusual but really brutal, varied and has an important message in the lyrics. We're also looking forward to playing in Italy someday soon, so watch out for us. Live your life consciously, beware of political aggression and extremities. And at last but not at least, let me send my personal greetings to some wonderful Italian people I know: TANTI SALUTI A IRENE E ANITA IN BERGAMO. Take care. Ciao.

Metal cheerz to you Viktor,

Editor Markus Ganzherrlich - 26/11/02

Tauszik Viktor, v.
Czetvitz Norbert, g.
Köves Hugò, b. (temporarily), from June 2003 Gergely Turbók
Fekete Szabolcs, d.

T. Viktor, Budapest 1042
Lebstück Maria utca 50 IV/9
Tel: +36 1 380 4088 / +36 20 348 2771
E-mail: vtauszik@freemail.hu

-Requiem For A Helpless World (demo 1996)
-Downward Trends (for promotional use only demo 1997)
-The Horror Of It All (EP 1999)
-Nadir (Nephilim rec. LP 2000)
-Global Depressing System (CD 2002)

June 2003 Line-up