The Band: Arkhe
Answers by: Andras (vocals, guitar, bass, synth and more)
Answers by: Andras (vocals, guitar, bass, synth and more)
As the name of the band suggests, ARKHE is a definite new beginning, a new chapter, sort of a self discovery through music. ARKHE has many hours of work behind, the album was produced by Viktor Scheer and a few guests contributed to the recording. We talked to multitalented Andras, a guy that can do it all, and had the disposition to share the details of the process with us. This is the result, enjoy it.
Hello Andras and congratulations for your album "Λ"
Hello and thank you very much!
How was Arkhe born?
Ten years ago I decided to make a solo album. I recorded lots of stuff on my computer during the years but never had enough time to complete it, as I was too busy with Sear Bliss. I knew that I need complete focus on that, so I was waiting for the right moment. After our 20th anniversary show in Budapest I decided to put Sear Bliss on an indefinite hiatus in order to finally make my own album. I checked all ideas that I collected on my computer during the years and found out they are not that far from Sear Bliss' music, so I decided to start everything from zero. Of course, it required a lot more effort but was also an exciting challenge. This is how the journey began and I enjoyed every single moment of it. I named the project Arkhe to emphasize this is really a new beginning for me. Also, the real cause of bringing Arkhe to life was to express some feelings which were lurking in me. I needed to release them, to get rid of some haunting emotions and for me it worked as some sort of therapy.
If I'm not wrong there are many hours of music sessions behind your album, how long did you work on it?
Sometimes it seemed endless. Long hours, days and months of work.. I have never worked so long on an album before. The more we worked on it and the more we discovered and we enjoyed experimenting a lot. I reached a state when I composed even in my dream. It was really weird. A weird experience.
Which was the hardest part in the composition process, that one that almost took you to get rid of the monster?
When we had some serious issues with the recording system. I remember I was really desperate. There was a point when it seemed the project can't be continued that way and we have to look for another solution. It took quite a long time and we struggled a lot but finally things were solved. It was a great relief when we finished the album.
Andras, this is an album for Sear Bliss' fans or it's opened to every one, musically speaking?
Well, this album is for everyone who is not afraid of unusual and experimental things. Arkhe requires open mind and a wide range of taste in music. I'm not sure if all Sear Bliss fans will like it. It's way too different musically. Actually, I've put all my influences into these songs which have nothing to do with Sear Bliss. Besides, this is quite a difficult album to listen to. It requires time and several listening sessions.
Did you have some kind of cooperation, aid or support composing the album, further than family and friends...?
Well, the biggest support was definitely Viktor, the producer. He helped a lot to achieve what I envisioned for the album. He is really professional and has all the knowledge on making a complete record. He is a great musician and sound engineer at the same time. We know each other very well and it was a pleasure to work with him. He made the whole process very comfortable for me.
After so much work, how satisfied are you with the final result?
Well, you can't be fully satisfied with an album you are involved in. It's impossible. However, I believe more or less I achieved what I planned and I was able to express the feelings I wanted and this is what matters. I know what I would do differently now and since it was a real experiment for me on unexplored paths, I wasn't really sure about the result. In this context, I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome. I've learnt a lot of this record and on the next album I will do many things differently.
Your work combines so much styles and genres that I don't dare to define it, I leave that task to you hahaha.... What labels would you post on it?
It makes no sense to put any labels on it, since it is a mixture of a lot of different genres. I haven't invented anything new but I'm quite open-minded musically and I just wrote songs using these influences.
You have included a version of Napalms Death's repertoire, the fantastic "Scum". I would say that you make it yours, with your own touch. Why did you choose it and what was your approach?
I definitely wanted to put a cover on the album. My original idea was to make something outstanding and unusual. It was difficult to decide what to choose. I knew I wanted to make something that is exciting and challeging. Scum seemed to be a good one. No one expects a song like that on this album. Besides, Napalm Death made a great impression on me when I was a kid. Of course, I didn't want a typical cover, so we changed the song quite drastically. Our version was born very quickly and the whole process went smoothly.
"Λ" has a great range of influences, but the most interesting is that it still sounds very addictive, it is not the kind of freaky album that only the musician will play...
Thank you for the compliments. We spent a lot of time on polishing the album and we carefully worked on each fragment of the songs, i.e. selecting the right tones, trying tons of different vocals, tempos, etc. It was a really huge work and of course, a great relief when we finished with it.
These are songs only for the CD or you plan to play them on the stage? Any tour dates arranged?
We definitely want to play live and we already started rehearsing the song. We have the complete band for the live shows and our first gig is planned to be in Budapest in September. I believe these songs would work well on stage and we want to focus on visuals too plus we want to play a few more cover songs. We hope to go on a tour sooner or later. It would be great.
Yeah, it sounds great. Now, after all the effort, what is the difference of working in a one-man band and a standard band with serveral members? Drawbacks vs advantages?
Good question. I was thinking on this just the other day. Well, working in a one-man band is completely different compared to a band, however I'm used to work alone, as the last Sear Bliss album was already made that way. On the other hand, I still miss the early days, when we worked together as a band and each member had his own role and each of us was eager and keen on the band. It has such a different vibe, difficult to compare to an album like this. Of course, there are advantages too, i.e. you have total freedom when working alone and there are absolutely no compromises, therefor there are no conflicts. All decisions and everything depend on you. I really enjoyed this infinite freedom during the creation of A.
Arkhe is a one album project or you have in mind to continue the saga?
I will definitely continue the story. I already have a second album in my mind. I know what I want to do differently next time. I have learnt a lot from this and now I have a clear picture of what I'd like to express next time. I want to explore further but on different paths.
Cool. How can we get this Arkhe's debut album from any part of the world?
Plastic Head is distributing it worldwide, so hopefully it is not difficult to get it by now.
I don't have many chances to talk to an Hungarian artist, so what is your vision of Metal in general from your geographic location and your national culture?
I'm not following the scene closely, to be honest. I'm glad some of the bands I like still exist. We play both inside and outside our country. I'm satisfied what we have achieved so far and looking forward to the next steps. Cool to see vinyls are coming back, there are cool festival and shows everywhere. We do this because we love it.
That’s is clear. And to finish, I don't want to loose the chance to ask you about Sear Bliss, your last album is from 2012, are you guys preparing something new?
Well, the band was a bit in the shadows in the last couple of years, mostly because of the making of the Arkhe album but since last year we are very active again. We have had some incredibly great shows and tour, as the celebration of the 20th anniversary of our first album Phantoms, plus we are playing some festivals this summer. After the summer we plan to start writing a new album as the chemistry in the band is awesome now. There is another great plan but I would like to reveal it only when it is 100% sure. Things are a bit slow though, as each of us has other commitments too.
It sounds great and exciting, we will wait for the news. Thank you very much for you attention, Andras.
Thank you very much for this interview and interest in Arkhe. I really appreciate your support.