‘I thought it was one of our friends taking the piss, but we are here!’ | Made in Pécs Fesztivál

Raw as hell. That’s Strange Collective, a cool band from Liverpool which will play at Made in Pécs Fesztivál. But how on earth did they get here? Interview.


Strange Collective at A38 Boat, Budapest /// Photos by Sinco / Made in Pécs Festival


It’s one of the craziest festivals in Hungary. What is madness, if not having 118 bands in one town within only 24 hours at the beginning of January? Yeah, so Made in Pécs Fesztivál tries to do it again on the 6th of January. And in 2018, it will be super special because, for the first time in history, they have some guest bands from Liverpool.


One of them will be Strange Collective; they had a warm-up show in late November at A38 Boat in Budapest. It was awesome, I really like their catchy, raw vibe. It’s pure madness – just like the festival, they will perform. Apparently, if there is demand, there will be supply.



We had a very cool conversation with the guys – Alex Wynne (Lead singer, Rhythm guitar), Ali Horn (Lead guitar, Vocals), Josh Perry (Drums) and Lucy Hope (Bass) – about the underground scene of Liverpool, Brexit, success, plans and the most important question: how on earth did they get to Pécs and what was their first reaction when the organizers of the Festival wrote them an email to ask them to play at Made in Pécs Festival?


Before November, they’ve never been to Hungary and didn’t know too much about the country or Pécs. It’s really funny how they are trying to pronounce the name of the town.


So here’s the story, morning glory:


We got an email and it said ‘Do you want to play another gig?’ at Pécs? Well, we’ve been slaving away in the last four years, so one day when you get an email saying if you want to play in a different country, of course, you say yes, who wouldn’t? It’s just crazy! How and where were we found? We played with a jazz band or what? I spoke to a geezer from Hungary only once and that’s why I’m surprised that we got this gig.

– recalls the moment by Ali.


But the best and funniest viable theory came from Josh:


I thought it was one of our friends taking the piss, but we are here!


Yeah, it’s no surprise. But it’s not a joke as they found out. It’s happening immediately.


Everyone knows each other

I couldn’t miss the question what’s going on inside the underground music scene in Liverpool, cause every Hungarian band wants to play there, so I’m interested in the possibilities for clubbing situation, etc.


With Liverpool being a small city, everyone knows each other so a lot of opportunities come from that as well, there are not very many people there you don’t know who plays in the music scene.

– they say.


And as we were talking about the clubbing possibilities, they gave me a detailed answer: ‘In Liverpool, Kazimier closed down which was a big one but we’re always trying to find solutions for that. Also, if these places get shot down, they will start again elsewhere, as they did with Kazimier, they just opened again with the same people. I think there are now unused warehouses which they use for parties instead of making them into venues, so basically people are just finding places to have fun.’



But they believe that the music scene which Liverpool became famous for is always going to be there, it’s always going to stay, even when venues close down. The energy remains.


The UK it’s not as easy as a pie – even if you’re a native

I guess it’s also interesting if there is any rivalry between towns and bands?


Josh says, ‘There’s definitely rivalry but its more to do with football than with music. I can’t speak for anyone else but it doesn’t really matter where you’re from as long as you play good music, I have musician friends from all over the UK.’


But if we look around and see the whole picture, it is not exactly cloudless with little rainbows. They think it’s hard in England as well. ‘When we started this, we already played in different bands and already knew the scene, the different people. It was a lot easier than previous projects when we had to convince people that our stuff is good – if you know them, they believe you’ – recalls Ali.



Local problems are one of the reasons for their choice of destinations:


I’d much rather tour Europe than the UK. That’s the dream! The gigs that we’ve done in the UK outside Liverpool have been in shitty pubs. And the backstage area is the size of this table and you’re sitting there with your guitars piling up with four other bands. You drive for five hours just to play and … It’s a shame really but this is all great!


And one of the most interesting questions in relation with Brexit is how bands would go in out of the UK? We need a visa to play there, would they need the same to perform inside the EU? It is going to be a tough one, and nobody knows anything, no strict directives yet.


Ali Horn /// Photo by Sinco / Made in Pécs Festival


Ali thinks: ‘It was hard enough before and it will be much tougher when Brexit goes through. Moneywise for a band to tour in Europe now it’s gonna be even more, very expensive. You think of something as simple as music, you wouldn’t think it would be affected but as soon as money’s involved, that’s it. Luckily, we don’t make any. (laughs)’


So if you have the courage and want to listen to them live, C’mon, you can do it on 6th of January from midnight at Pécsi Est.


EDITED by Károly Gergely


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Balogh Roland