thanx to J-P muikku from Finland (although he was living in Hungary at the time!) for this interview…………

BRIGAD is classic punknroll from Becs, South-West Hungary. I got in touch with Balazs when I was asking some gig information on  Punk Maffia list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/punkmaffia/>  so this interview is quite direct consequence from that encounter even though it took quite a long for me to sent the questions. Check out their website, <http://punk.supergamez.hu/brigad/>  they have now also the English pages up and running. J-P asked and Balazs answered, read on.


How the band got together in the first place and how you ended up to this name? Has the band name any specific meaning?

The band came together in October of 1996, we decided to play punk rock. It was old school type then. We started rehearsing and after 4 months we already made gigs which quite sucked as you can imagine. The name was Tequila first, cus we loved tequila, but it wasn't the real name. So we decided to find out a better one. We had lots of name ideas, but as we had leftist ideologies, we wanted something sounding like that, and meaning we are one team, one crew or something like that. So we thought brigade would be just fine. First we wanted it to be red brigade, but we realized we couldn't have a name which resembled a communist terror brigade. So it became brigade or Brigád in hungarian.


What I know the live line up is three piece, but on albums you usually have 5-6 players, why this difference? How stabile this three piece line up has been? Has it caused any problems that one member is ten years older than the others, any feelings of generation gap?

Actually we are a three member band. One guitar and lead vocal that's me, one bass and backing vocal that's Magdy, and one drummer that's Koko. It's been going like this only for 2 years. Before that we had a separate singer and a female vocalist. We lost our first singer, because he committed suicide. The second one had drug problems, so I took up singing, and it's been like that ever since. We used to have an other guitarist as well, but he left the band - he didn't want to play music anymore. On albums we recorded trumpets as well,  but we have only a couple of ska based songs, so we don't take trumpets on our gigs. Magdy is 10 years older than I, and that doesn't do much difference. He has experience, he lived to see a few things, but the base concept is the same: he dresses, thinks and plays as we do. (Ok, we used to joke with him, calling him Ye Olde Fart, and Wayne Fass - which means Old Dick in hungarian) Hobbija a részegségi görcsben levés. So, you do not spit on glass of pálinka...

 

Has Brigad fucked a gig because of the alcohol consumption?

Drinking is a strange thing in the band, because we are a real weird mixture of straight edge and street punk. I'm vegetarian, don't smoke, and read Bhagavad Gita. But also drink a lot, he he. Drinking is a real problem in Finland as far as I know, and it isn't less problematic in Hungary. But that's not the point. Drinking always went side by side with rock and roll - you know: Sex'n'drugs'n'rock&roll - and I guess the energy and freedom it gives me on stage is something I can't easily throw aside. I plan on stopping to do this though, cus it ain't true I can't play without alcohol. Well at least I accomplished not to get drunk before a gig. We blew several gigs because of getting totally drunk. We swore not to drink that much before gigs after disastrous shows. Not after gigs though, he he.

 

As far I could figure out, you are recording for Rockworld, which for a Finn looks quite ... unpunk as RAC/WP related labels don't have any place in Finnish punk scene. I know the anti-Communist history of Hungarian punk, but communists has been dead and buried over a decade by now, so why still RAC/etc label?

Ok, let's clear out something: we are a leftist (but not communist) anti-racist punk band. We hate fascists and neonazis, and fight against homophoby. Rockworld is an underground label dealing with most of the punk bands of Hungary, and skinhead bands as well. I do not give a fuck about what they do,  or say as much as they do not compromise us and release our albums properly. I don't think this is ignorance, we do not give our names to any racist or related stuff. Rockworld is clearly divided to two spheres, we are in the punk sphere. They also release HétköznaPI CSAlódások, which is a communist band. Hungary is small. We don't have separate labels for RAC/WP and punk if you understand what I mean. We can be happy we have punk music industry at all.


Your singing language is Hungarian, but during the couple of last years there has been quite a number of English songs on your albums and the latest EP will have three out of four songs in English. Are you looking for wider audiences beyond the Hungarian borders?

We already made more than 20 songs in English, and plan on releasing an only English version of our music. When we play abroad, mostly in Austria we sing in English. We don't have to do that in Romania, Slovakia and Yugoslavia, because there are mostly hungarians living there (these parts used to be Hungary before the Ist World War) We do write songs in English, because the mother tongue of rock'n'roll is English. And most of Europe speak English as well. So it's good. Sounds good too. But we have to sing in hungarian as well, cus audiences in Hungary are ignorant, they don't listen to what they do not understand. About the language of the songs, have you done any songs on both languages? Yeah, we have songs in both languages. But we only record them in one language.


As far I could figure out, Brigad is 'funpunk' but there is also social commentary on the lyrics...? Could you write something about your usual lyrical subjects?

Actually that's not really true. We do have a couple of funny lyrics but none of them are nonsense. We are a serious band. We play a mixture of ordinary type punk and melodycore and our lyrics are mostly about social problems and psychological problems. We do not go into politics, because we don't want to be on either side. Politics is not for music. It is entertainment, it doesn't have to be about political matters. Most of the funny songs have a meaning as well. Like the song Please fart in my mouth! is about the twisted moralless society of nowadays. It's about the fact, that tv channels and the internet have flooded us with pictures of people eating each others crap and fucking with animals, and so on. The song Life's beautiful is about how damn bad the situation is when you gotta shit on the street, and have nowhere to go. It's about how few public toilets are in Hungary, and how often people shit in their pants. Ok, but these were the funny ones. We have serious songs like Enough which is a song against killing animals. Or 1997 is about what foolish things Hungarian government did that year.


How do you see the 1956 revolution?

In 56' hungarian people fought for freedom. A beautiful thing. The USA ignored us, and let the soviets kill many people. It was worth nothing, and blood flowed. Injustice is the only way for this world. But we keep on fighting, we never give up.


There was a poll couple of days ago, where was asked how people would react if a Gypsy (or Roma politically correct way) would perform as Santa Claus for their kids. For 50% it didn't cause any problems and for the rest. Out of these rest, 3% would feel it a bit offending but they would not do anything for it.For the remaining 47% - they were ready to raise hell because of that. What this poll tells about Hungarian society?

About Hungary: primitive intolerant nationalist buch of worthless idiots. A great example what Communism did to people...Hungary now consists of mediocre minds so fucking nationalist, that they would kill their own father if they realised he was a gypsy. Ok, that was a bit exaggerated, actually there are many good hearted people in Hungary, the problem is with authority. They teach people to be nationalists, to love their nation more than anything, and be proud about it. Nationalism is a poison. It makes people go against each other. We need a slight leftist authority, but what we have now is nothing. This party called Socialist Party, does nothing to have with leftist thinking. They are just as bad as the other side. No better than that.


Hungary will become part of European Union in 2004, how you see this for yourself and Hungary in general?

I guess it's been time for us to move on for some time already. Getting in the EU means better soil for punk music, because we will have better opportunities to make shows in Hungary and abroad as well, and also we'll have a new globalised world to attack with songs. :-)


When looking the gig infos, you are paired quite often with
Szeged
's
own Smafu,i.e http://punk.supergamez.hu/smafu/ where this 'pairing' comes from?

We've been friends for some time with Smafu, we got to know each other by the internet. They are nice persons and their music is good too. I like to do gigs with them, and I plan to do them in the future as well.


Pécs, what kind of place it is to live and when it comes to gigs for all kind of bands?

Well, Pécs is a beautiful southern hungarian city. Quite large with 200 000 residents and no trams! Only buses and cars. Nice mediterranean weather in most of the year, and a good underground life. Musical tastes are oriented towards death metal, alternative rock, punk, and heavy metal. Few skinheads, that's nice!


What I have followed the gig info's there seems to  be 'always' some doom/stoner/etc metal gigs there. How's the relations between different scenes, is there mixed music gigs or is it more narrow-minded down there?

We have a lot of good friends from other music cultures, but we don't much mix it with them. Punks do not like rockers, and the like. Audiences would put out each other, if you get what I mean...


Ok, one serious question too: Big Brother or Valo Világ? :-) (Two most prominent Hungarian reality tv shows)

Big Brother is the most disgusting thing ever made up. So abusing Orwell's reputation, is above the worst offenses. Anyway I never watch TV, only Discovery channel and Animal Planet sometimes...


Anything to say to Finnish punks?

To Finnish punks I say hi, and I hope we can play in Finland once, though it's far from here, I really wanna check out our 'language relative country'


BRIGAD CONTACT: check out their website at
http://punk.supergamez.hu/brigad/ or email directly to Balazs Szakonyi at kakakapitany@hotmail.com