interview with Isatha

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Have any of you played in other bands?

Gábor: Yes, four members of the band, Zsolt, Dániel, Tamás and Péter are involved in T.W.A.T.S and three members in From The Mirror. Most of us have had another band, mostly local pet projects which are now inactive.

How is it that you started playing music?

Gábor: On afternoon in high school together with a couple of friends we decided to form a metal band, the only problem being that none of us could play an instrument. We divided the roles among us and started to lear to play our respective instruments in the following weeks. Guitar turned out to be a good choice, although I wanted to be be a drummer. Hadn't my close friend called dibs, I surely would be one today.

Dániel: Stangely almost same as Gábor, i started playing with a couple of friends and since none of them could play the guitar, i decided to pick it up and do it. I was not really involved in the singing in the first few years, except for a demo with one of my previous band where we didnt have a singer, and an early Iron Maiden tribute project, where i was the lead singer/guitarist. Singing only came along seriously about a year ago, when we had to substitute our formal singer in From The Mirror. Since me and the other giutarist previously did the clean singing and the backing vocals, we tried to split the vocals between us and it worked out suprisingly well and i stuck with singing ever since then.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?

Dániel Horváth - 26 - growler/harsh vocals

Dóra Gerényi - 25 - flute

Dauda Judit Éva - 24 - clean vocals

Gábor Ferencz - 25 - guitar

Péter Ágoston - 27 - bass

Szabolcs Holló - synth

Tamás Megyeri - 28 - drums

Zsolt Harsányi - 21 - guitar

Have you had other previous members? Since formed Isatha we had a lot of changes in the band, all from the current members joined to the band later. But we have a stronger lineup than before and we try to learn from every problems we and they had.

Did you make music even when you were young?

Gábor: Only since high school.

Dániel: Since high school as well.

Where are you from?

Gábor: From near Pécs, Hungary.

Dániel: From the suburban area of Budapest.

What year did the band form? Gábor: In 2010.

What's your style of genre? Gábor: We dubbed it extreme folk metal, and it's basically just that: Harsh vocals, deep-tuned guitars and fast drum tracks mixed with folk melodies and the clean vocals. We touch on more metal-subgenres but his sums it up pretty well.

What inspires you?

Gábor: I'm inspired by a well-executed performance at a gig, where the audience as well as the band is having fun.

Dániel: seeing the same madness for music in the eyes of the audience and hearing them sing along with us on a gig. That always gives me chills.

How often and where do you reherse?

Gábor: We rent a rehearsal room in midtown Budapest and rehearse at least once a week.

Dániel: at least once a week, but more often if we prepare for a tour or a new album.

How have you developed since you started with the music?

Gábor: In my opinion, this question should be viewed from the perspective of the band. Practically none of the founding members of the band is still with the band, we have a lot of lineup-changes, which will surely effect the style of the upcoming songs on our second album. Our aim is to not deviate much from the original idea, rather to progress through a natural and gradual evolution and to see where it takes us.

Dániel: naturally, as the new members get more and more involved in the band and the songwriting, the music should change a bit, of course with keeping the basic style and idea of the band. I guess this, in our case, means faster and a bit more aggressive music, keeping the folk elements and clean vocals.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band?

Gábor: I like almost all aspects of IT, be it professional or entertainment.

Dániel: of course, my work as a lawyer and my other active bands.

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? Gábor: I would say not yet, first we should consolidate our lineup. In case we would get a record deal however it would be inevitable.

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that?

Gábor: I would love a record deal with a minor label, which allows us to promote our music however we see fit. I don't really like strict constraints that much though, so that comes to mind, when I think about labels and record deals.

Dániel: anything, what is useful to the band is welcome, i guess we would not be afraid to work a bit more harder to have a good record deal.

What made you decide to make this music?

Gábor: I was invited to the band by the previous gitarist. I saw the band perform live and thought it had potential.

Dániel: As the „freshman” I have to say that since I knew all the members and the band aswell for some years, it was not a hard decision. I had good relationship with all the participating members, i guess this motivated me a lot. I also saw the band perform in the past, which were always very intense, they made good live shows and that is really important to me. Finally, the songs let me use a quite wide range of my voices, so it is interesting and fun to do it.

What are your songs about?

Dániel: the songs from the first album are mainly classic folk based themes, they are about battles, heroes, and paganism infused with hungarian mythological and histocial elements (totem animal motives, tribal symbols). The recently written lyrics are a bit different, they use more symbolist and impressionist elements, are a bit less direct, but keep some of the folk base.

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics?

Gábor: Our clean and harsh vocalists, Judit and Dániel.

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Gábor: We always start with the music, mostly one or two interesting riffs and then build a song around it gradually. When the structure of the song is done, the vocalists move in and whip up their tune and lyrics. Then we adjust the whole thing to fit, if needed.

Do you compose in a certain inviroment? Gábor: Mostly in the rehearsal room we rent, the familiar environment, company of band mates and friend and the atmosphere is enjoyable, so I don't need my "quiet place" or something like that.

Dániel: that’s a funny question, i like composing in the rehersal room as well, but sometimes i get the best ideas, be it a nice guitar riff or a verse for a new song, in totally strange and irrelelvant situations, for example while standing at a bus stop, walking home, in line of a grocery store, or having lunch. Then i have to run and grab a guitar or a piece of paper and write it down before it fades. If the music is really good it just keeps ringing in your head, until you have an idea of what to sing to it, or what the next riff will be.

Have you done any covers live? Gábor: Yeah, people always request Eluveitie - Inis Mona from us, so we kept that song in the repertoire.

What language do you sing in?

Gábor: All song on the first album were in hungarian, on the secod album we'll have some english songs as well as hungarians.

Dániel: I have always found it easier to write in english, and since we would like to have tours in some other countries as well, i would personally prefer to stick with it.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs?

Gábor: We are a pretty undergound band, the least people were around 3-5, the most people around 100.

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Gábor: It varies on where the gig is held, but mostly people in their 20s and 30s.

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? Gábor: We gradually evolve our setlist, take out slower songs to show some new ones while keeping the "classics" people expect us to play.

Do you have a regular place you play live often?

Gábor: In Budapest there are like 3-4 places which usually host events for smaller, extreme metal (death, black and alike) bands, you'll find us there.

What was your latest gig? Gábor: We organized a gig with a couple of other folk metal bands in Budapest, about 100 people came and enjoyed themselves very much, in spite of technical difficulties. This is a pretty great turnout for us.

Have you had to cancel a gig?

Gábor: Yeah, for exmaple just this summer our friends in the romanian insdutrial metal band Dark Fusion won a contest and got invited to Wacken, unfortunately right when we had a gig with them and their sister band An Theos planned. We needed to re-organize the event and pretty much cancel our original one, but this is one of the better scenarios, we were happy they got to go to Wacken.

Where have you played live this year? Gábor: Yes, multiple times. We plan on having a mini tour in the autumn.

Where do you plan to gig the comming year? Gábor: There are no fixed plans yet, first we'd like to finish most of our second album.

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? Gábor: We have only a couple of T-shirts for sale and started selling them last year. We still have a lot of shirts from the original print, so it's not like its a booming business, more like a symbolic way for fans and friends to show their support for the band.

Where can people buy your merchandise? Gábor: Only at our gigs, or if they contact us personally.

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days?

Gábor: I do it too, it's just that much more comfortable. I think the music industry needs to adapt, there is no reason to fight this trend. Streaming music services could provide a healthy alternative, true fans will supoort you anyways, or you could just make a campaign for yourself. A good example is Nine Inch Nails, they release their albums on torrent websites and compensate by selling exclusive editions bunbdled with autograhps and what not. You can't fight it, you might as well embrace it.

Dániel: i never really liked that metal becomes more and more a business for some beacuse in my opinion this is against the very nature of this kind of music. So from my point of view this is not a bad tendency. If you are good people will support you by buying your record by priciple, or going to your concert.

How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Gábor: Yes, I bet it hurts record labels a lot, and by extensions the musicians themselves because of the current business model of the industry. But the thing is, most of the money goes to the record labels, so the way I see it it's mostly their bitching that holds back the industry from transferring to more comfortable distribution solutions for the audience. Just look at how people get record deals nowadays: they release their music on the web, and if it catches on, they are approached by a label, which then makes them sign an exclusive contract. So from that point on, the people who practically made the band get the deal in the first place get excluded from the new content, they need to go out of their way to get it.

Dániel: I absolutely agree with Gábor.

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Gábor: I don't really expect it to change things, but we are always happy to show off the work we put in the band any way we can.

Do you have any role models or idols? Gábor: There are several guitarists I like or envy for their skills, Alexi Laiho's and my guitar teacher József Kásádácz's style made the biggest impression on me. There are several very good musicians out there, and I respect them for their skills and the music they make, which I enjoy very much, but they are not my role models, I just play guitar because I enjoy it, I don't aspire to be world famous one day.

Why do you think that they exist? Gábor: Pretty early on when I started to play the guitar I realised the amount of work needed to perfect your technique. I recognize the insane amount of work famous musicians put into their craft, but I still think that first and foremost you need to be in the right place at the rigth time. I just know of too much talented musicians that didn't get famous and too many crooks to think otherwise.

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?

Gábor: Depends on what kind of music you like, I like melodic death metal very much, and there is a pretty active MDM scene out there, so I get inspiration from current music as well as older bands.

Dániel: I like to get inspiration mainly from older bands, basically beacause they are very different from anything what i do today (for example, when the first Iron maiden or Black Sabbath album came out, there certainly was nothing like folk metal). I like to discover the style from my own perspective and as i imagine it, not as others do it.

What have been your biggest obstacles?

Gábor: Conflicts between personal/professional life and the needs of the band. Playing in an active band is pretty time consuming.

Dániel: I think it’s always a big and current obstacle to any underground band to orgainze enough live perfomances and to fill them up with people, beacuase this is what keeps you in people’s mind. Our last gig was a quite positive experience from this point of view, since a lot of people showed up and supported us.

What advice would you give other bands or artists?

Gábor: 1. You can always do better. 2. You shouldn't be delving on issues you perceive as failures, like a bad gig or a failed contract opportunity. Let it go. 3. There's no point in doing any of this, if you don't enjoy it, it's not like you're going to get rich from playing music.

Dániel: never ever give up. If there is only one people on the whole world, who finds himself/herself supported or inspired by the music you do, it already worth your effort and time.

How do you get psyched for a gig?

Gábor: I drink some beers and enjoy the other bands just like the audience. If they get in the mood, I get psyched too.

Dániel: i could only define how not. Due to some past experiences, i never get more than 1-2 beers before i’m on stage, even if we play as the last band. Alcohol reduces your concentration and stamina, and you need a clean head if you want to get the best out of you. This is even more important when you play multiple roles in a band (for example guitars and voclas).

Do you have any new material?

Gábor: Coming soon, we plan on demoing some of our songs from the new album.

Dániel: certainly, we even started to include those new materials on our gig setlist.

What are your web sites?

Gábor: You'll find all the related info here: https://www.facebook.com/isatha/info?tab=page_info

How can people reach you? Gábor: They can contact us on facebook.

What are your plans for the future?

Gábor: I'd like to finish the second album and record it properly. Afterwards I'd like a bigger tour in neigboring countries.

Dániel: tours, tours and more tours, while preparing our kickass new EP or even album, depending on the speed of the songwriters.

Do you have something to add? Gábor: Shout out to An Theos and Dark Fusion in Romania!

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