SUPERBUTT: We are no prophets and nobody is

On November 19th the Hungarian dudes from Superbutt will play in Bulgaria once again, eight years after their memorable first coming here. During that time their sound has seriously evolved and improved, as is shown by their last album “You and Your Revolution” which is truly killer. Those who read this blog (and this is pretty much me) maybe have noticed that I write that every other album is worth the sometimes prolonged wait. Well, András Vörös isn’t lightning fast in answering too, but this actually ended up being quite a good interview… And, calm down. They are no Debercen fans.

- It has been quite a while since you last played Bulgaria, so like 8 years and 4 albums later what is the main change in Superbutt compared to back then?
- Well, those shows were the first ones that we ever played outside Hungary (before that, there was only one festival guest appearance in Germany, where we played 4 songs, but that doesn’t really count, I guess), the band was hardly more than a year old and altogether we played less than 50 concerts before we went to Bulgaria. Since then, we’re past our 500th gig and we toured practically all over Europe. Still, we have the fondest memories of Sofia (and Plovdiv too) and we keep telling stories about that trip up to this very day. I’ll never forget for example how drunk some of the dudes from the band got after the show: they were going around the block like 5 times looking for the hostel where we stayed, and they didn’t realize that they were going around in a circle until we, the sober ones arrived and directed them into the place. Speaking of which, we liked that hostel so much, that we are going to stay there this time too. So, girls, if you want to throw your panties at us and stand screaming our names outside our 5 star suites (well, not exactly), we’ll stay at the Art Hostel… Getting back to the changes since 2001, we have a different line up compared to then. I’m the only one on stage, that’s still the same, but Szabolcs, our guitar player at the time is still with us as a sound engineer and he’s coming too. He said he wouldn’t miss it for the world and he is looking forward to the fabulous gyuvetch that we are going to taste again for sure!

- And what has remained unchanged?
- Would “our love towards music” be too pathetic to say?

- Your last album – “You and Your Revolution”, came out in Hungary at least a year before it did in the rest of Europe. Why?
- It was more a practical issue than a tactical decision. Obviously, we didn’t want to sit on the record for too long once it was finished and so we released it in Hungary right away. That was in December last year and back then, we simply didn’t have enough time to prepare everything for a release in other countries too, before the end of the year. So, we scheduled it for 2009 with our German label, and they decided to do it rather in the second half of the year. Since it had already been out in our home country, and whoever was that much interested in any other part of the world, had quite surely downloaded it from the internet already in the first few weeks after the Hungarian release, we thought it really doesn’t make a difference, even if almost a year passes until it will be officially available on CD in Germany and some more countries in Europe. I mean, releasing a new record these days is not about really selling physical copies of it anyway, is it? Who buys CDs in 2009? The release of the record means merely that some promotion will be done, there will be some reviews and interviews and hopefully the information reaches some people as well, who haven’t heard about us before and who might like what we do. That’s all we really expect, and from that point of view, there’s not much to worry about whether it should have been done last year or now.

- What is the meaning behind the title and the whole album?
- I guess it’s a somewhat cynical and skeptical approach to how we all fight our own little revolutions that are probably just meaningless jokes to others. It might be a humble warning as well: always keep in mind how things may look different from a different perspective, before your enthusiasm turns you into a clown or worse, into a monster. A bit of irony always comes in handy, laugh at your own misery rather than be angry about things you can’t change anyway.

"Who the fuck stepped on my leg?!"

- What was it like working with Zak Tell (from Clawfinger, sings in the first song "Last Call" - the author)?
- Nice and easy. We know each other for years, and not only Zak but the whole bunch of Clawfinger is made of really cool guys. I guess I don’t even have to mention that they are professionals as well, and the entire recording with Zak took not more than an hour. I gave him the lyrics, showed him the music and he did it in no time, adding his own style to the song, which we are really happy with. Right now we are in the process of shooting a video for that song as well and Zak will be in that too. 15 years ago, when I was headbanging to “Do What I Say” in front of the TV, if someone had told me that one day we would work together, I wouldn’t have believed it at all. I now it happened, how cool is that?

- Not many bands put a song with a guest appearance as the album opener, but you don’t give a damn, do you?
- No, not really. Actually, I haven’t even thought of it until now, that you asked…

- I remember this song off your first album – “Ernesto c. Guevara for President” – And to be fair that guy isn’t exactly my favorite character. So, I was wondering what you meant in that song?
- Although the title may suggest differently, if you read the lyrics, you realize that it isn’t a campaign speech for the late Che Guevara or the likes. On the contrary, the lines “it’s so red that it has to be brown” in the pre-chorus refer to the colors of Communists and Nazis and both that and the line of the chorus “…you march and your faith is strong, but I was there when it all went wrong” try to say, that no matter if it’s far left or far right, it always ends the same. Similarly, the verses picture the two poles of a thing in each line: saints or hypocrites, judges or suspects, rebels or fat civilians but you know what? In the end it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same.

- The short written introduction on your band’s myspace states you don’t have political messages. Am I missing something, because I honestly thought you did?
- No, not directly at least. I wouldn’t deny that I have a strong opinion on a lot of things, including politics, but I’d hate to express those in a direct way in our lyrics. Honestly, who am I to tell people how to think or what to like? Yes, sure, if we lived in a dictatorship, I’d definitely stand up for general and eternal values, like freedom. But thanks God, we live in freedom and although there is a lot of shit going down in politics in our country too (like everywhere in the world), how petty and ridiculous would it be to go out on stage to tell people to vote for this and that party, or to yell them that the war in the Middle East is wrong? I mean, yes it may be wrong indeed, but we’re not in the position to debate that when we are on stage, because I have a microphone but the audience doesn’t. So, whatever I’d say, it couldn’t generate a discussion, it would just be a one sided revelation and that’s not right, because we are not prophets and nobody is. And if we can have a message to people, I’d rather have this (I mean that nobody is a prophet, nobody can have the ultimate truth and there is at least two sides to every story), than direct messages as to how to behave, what to think and who to vote for. I mean, come on, music is supposed to be art of some sort, which is way above the narrow-minded politicians fighting for money and power.

- It also says you are no rock stars and you drive a Ford Focus. Hell, that’s better than my car. So you’re rubbing it in my face or what? (Kidding) But seriously – you say you don’t make money from the band, so I was wondering what is the main force that drives you to continue?
- As a matter of fact, after five years I just changed my Focus to a new Honda Accord, so I hope that makes me Axl Rose now! Getting back to your question, well, how about self expression, leaving your little mark on the world and also all the experience and adventures and that come along with playing music and touring?

András has a Redrum t-shirt but doesn't sing in Bulgarian.

- Here in Bulgaria some people have the idea that singing in English instead of Bulgarian isn’t patriotic enough. You guys sing in English as well, besides the one EP in Hungarian. Do you have the same language issue over there?
- No, we don’t or at least not in that form. And let me ask back: if singing in English makes it possible for I.T.S.I. or Last Hope or any other band from Bulgaria come over to play a show in Hungary (or anywhere else in the world) and make me think that “WOW, it’s good, so Bulgaria must be a great place, because they have good bands and cool people” – isn’t that patriotic enough? Singing in English is just a functional tool, because that is the language that most people understand around the world. It’s the new Lingua Franca and although I’d love to sing mostly in Hungarian, because that’s my mother tongue and obviously I’ll always be able to express myself more sophisticatedly in my native language than a foreign one, unfortunately it’s spoken only by 15 million people or so, while English is spoken by a billion at least. On the other hand, I hate when some bands say: I sing in English because it sounds better. Bullshit, it doesn’t! You may hide the clichés of some lyrics behind English because we don’t understand that language as much as our very own, but that won’t make it sound any better. And the audience in your home country will always be able to identify a lot more with lyrics that are in your and their common mother tongue, so while I admit, that English is the practical solution and we’ll stick to it because we like to travel around the world touring, I want to come up with more Hungarian stuff too in the future.

- You always had awesome videos for your singles. Do you guys in the band have something to do with the storylines in them or not?
- No, usually not. Our secret to have good videos is to work with directors who want to realize their own ideas that they often have had for a long time but didn’t have a chance to do yet. That way they really give their best and that usually shows in the results. On the other hand we also have to admit that we are musicians and may not know too much about how to make a film or a video, so I guess it wouldn’t be wise to try to instruct people who are good at it, while we are not. I mean, we wouldn’t like to be told either, what kind of music to write, so our visual art partners have a free hand too. We are the band that can be made look anything, we will not oppose to almost any idea. The best example was, when we shot the cover photos of the “Black Soup” album, and the photographer poured a mixture of olive oil with baking powder and black paint on top of our heads from above, while we were standing naked in a photo studio where it was hardly warmer than 10 degrees in January and they didn’t even have hot water to wash it off afterwards. But seeing the result, we said, yeah it was well worth it.

- The “Figure” video in particular – what is the meaning behind it?
- Well, just like it was said above, you should ask the director about that, but to my understanding, it’s about the constant fight and the vain effort to overcome your own self. It is best if I give you all the link of the “making of” video on YouTube, which gives you some more insight.

- The Hungarian scene seems pretty strong with bands like you, Blind Myself and Subscribe that we have seen in Bulgaria a few times. What are some of the other names concert organizers in Bulgaria should write down now?
- Most importantly, I’d recommend our number one hardcore band called Bridge To Solace, whose name is probably not unfamiliar to the hardcore kids in Bulgaria either. Other than that, I’d list a few that are very young but promising, like AWS or Turn Of Mind, but for those who like a bit less hard stuff, in the vein of Mars Volta and the likes, I’d definitely suggest the bands Turbo and Shell Beach as well.

- And last - I know you’re from Budapest and this probably isn’t your club, but still, what do you think of Debercen’s entry in the UEFA Champions League?
- Generally speaking, my sport is ice hockey and I don’t give a rat’s ass about Hungarian football, which is a pity, because it’s a great sport, but they destroyed it in our country. Just like you guys are over the famous Stoichkov, Lechkov, Balakov era too, but let’s hope that we both climb up again one day. Debrecen is a sympathetic team and although they know that they could have never made it into the Champions League if it wasn’t for the new qualifying system implemented by Platini, it’s still cool to have a team in there after 15 years.

The photos are taken from the band's website.

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