We didn’t mean this to be a summary but it ended up as one. We talked with Soma Deli and Ábel Ürögdi about Vanishing Point Festival and the reality of clubs.
Middlemist Red is five years old! Holy crap! Already? What is five years good for, or, looking from another angle, is half a decade enough for anything on the road to success? Of course, the term ‘success’ is very relative. Especially, if you consider that there are very few bands in Hungary, who are not from mainstream genres (that is to say, building their brand from below) managed to achieve the level of critical and public success that they are widely accepted as trend-makers. Of course, they are building on the work of other works (mostly international bands) BUT nowadays they are also being copied and referenced, and this is big! Seriously. It suffices to take a look in the musical underground of the generation between 15-25 and not one band started because Soma Nové and his band made it. These new formations feel that this is the style trending now, so obviously they want to hop on the bandwagon.
So if you look at it this way, Middlemist has managed to enclose a separate piece during this five-year period, what’s more, they are very comfortable in it! In five years- not bad! Similarly, if they wink today, a few thousand people will wink back. If they put up a song, it’s going to have (at least) ten thousand views. These are results. Surely, it’s not exactly the ‘people-are-hanging-from-the-roof-of-a-festival-tent-because-they-want-to-hear-some-quality-party-music’ feeling – still though. They extend the musical realm of this country. At least someone does it! (I would not say ‘psychedelic rock’ because I definitely don’t want to label them.)
Of course, they are not on f. trendy-youtube-influencer levels because that’s a different playground but they made it to the Vanishing Light Festival, and so on and so forth.
I really didn’t have the five-years thing in my mind when we sat down with Soma Deli and Ábel Ürögdi about their band. Only, in the end, I realised, that they’ll have their anniversary. That’s why the interview itself wasn’t a big birthday-summary (originally). However, as I listened back to it, I managed to interpret it in such a way (#fakenews) to lean more towards a proper summary.
We like to reflect upon an album properly to make it actually good
The most important question comes first: when will we have a new album?
‘Surely, many people reading this will be sad but there will not be a Middlemist Red album this year. Definitely not a full LP.’
– said Soma.
God damn. To be fair, it’s not that tragic if you take into consideration that a new video just been published for Illuminair, which was drawn by Soma Nové – frame by frame. I also heard (from the Little Birds of master Varys) that they expected bigger hype around the video than what they actually got (8k views in only two months, that’s not too bad on a local level). So how’s this?
‘Maybe we didn’t really expect more of it, in terms of reception. But we still can’t complain. By the way, we are planning to nominate the video -which was produced with immense help from MOME – to various music video competitions and animated film festivals, so we still have that’ – summarised Soma.
Of course, after this, we started discussing the question of promotion, and Ábel explained the history of Vanishing Point festival, which was conceived and organized by them. ‘Every band gets better and better album by album. And the pressure stemming from this process always pushed us to release our albums – which was not bad for us in terms of publicity in the first and second album – but it would nice if we didn’t need to work against the clock. Especially as both the festival and the music video consumed immense creative energies.’
As they said, they would like to prepare for and build up their 3rd LP much better. This is why we’ll only have singles (hopefully) this year. Soma explained that they ‘would like to sit on it for a bit, we don’t want to rush it, we like to reflect upon an album properly to make it actually good. So it wouldn’t be pressed by an unrealistic, pre-set deadline.’
However, the visual world built around Ripple Sound had its final moment with the music video for Illuminair. As Soma said, ‘the video was a much bigger job that people would think, that is obvious at first. Soma put together an incredibly graphical world behind the second album. Every single detail is hand-drawn, unique. We wanted to give a key to people, so they can analyze and take apart what is the visual world is about, what we wanted to say with it. From now on, we will be working on something new, we’d like to make it a more permanent feature during our live shows as well.’
They don’t just want to take out!
Concerning Vanishing Point, they had the thought-process similar to this: ‘In fact, the whole thing comes from the fact that we don’t only want to take out from this, we want to give back. This psychedelic wave reached us quite late and we feel like if we don’t add something, then it would run itself out pretty quickly, and we don’t want that. The Black Angel-Levitation Festival was the example which we wanted to follow. We’d like to support each other, like a family, to form a community. And we also see that other bands also like the idea of thematic festivals. Secondly, there are quite a few bands which does not want to come to Hungary not because they invited but because they don’t want to risk one gig because they don’t know if they’ll have the audience. We want to show them that there is an audience and it’s worth it! We want to prove that it’s worth coming to Budapest, to Hungary, there is potential in this city, in this country, in this community!’
The festival-similarly to last year – will be one-day long and in Dürer Kert, with ‘bigger’ names and relatively relaxed schedule.
We managed to pull people out of stagnation
I was wondering, how musicians would assess the events of the last half a decade in the club-world. For me, this is especially interesting as I have ambivalent feelings.
‘We managed to pull people out of stagnation. Not only in relation to festivals but also if you talk about clubs. There is an immense development – eg: the Rómer ház in Győr, there is a huge market for live music. But we could talk about Debrecen as well, where the opening of Víztorony next to Roncs Bár was a really positive development. They needed a place where upcoming bands can show themselves’ – explained Soma but he pulls us back to reality with the next sentence. ‘We had a gig in Vén Bagoly, which is a pub and the police came because someone ratted on us – we had to leave the place and it was really shit coming off the stage like this.’
As if it was the ’80s. Of course, this is not a broader trend. And the guys told us that ‘the festivals are really helpful for the bands. If there was no Campus in Debrecen, and they wouldn’t allow us to play there, then there wouldn’t have been Víztorony but they did so it’s all good.’ (Of course, there are still technical issues quite often – but this is the beauty of upcoming bands in Eastern Europe!)
Don’t look back (in anger)
But I keep talking about these last five years. What’s next? Party-party? Of course not! But why not?
‘We like to celebrate our birthday, that the band is one year older. Regardless, we prefer to look forward instead of continuously thinking about the past, what did we do wrong, etc. We have no real reason to summarise these five years because hopefully, we’ll have many more of them!
– said Soma.
They’re going on a Transylvanian tour again between 21 and 24 February – they will perform in Kolozsvár, Marosvásárhely, Szatmárnémeti, and Nagyvárad. Or if you wanna join their 5th-anniversary SHOW, you can check them out on 14th of March at Akvárium, Budapest.
EDITED by Károly Gergely