You are back and are playing music again! I think many rejoiced when they read in the news that the new Marblebog is here! Why the long hiatus? Rest and recuperation, or other important duties are the cause?
Marblebog was put on ice in 2010 as I was completely fed up with the scene. Three albums under a relatively short period and split releases with ten bands was a bit too much. I also moved to the capital that year and wanted to try new things. During 2010-2011 we were trying to record an album with my punky death metal band named Dög, but eventually nothing came of it. After that tragedies kept coming in my life and I didn’t have the peace of mind, not to mention the time to compose anything. By 2018 things stabilized, I have moved to the Pilis Mountains, close to nature and suddenly everything fell into place.
What was it like, standing before the microphone and playing guitar again after all these years? When did the time come when you woke up in the middle of the night, eager to create?
I’ve never stopped doing music during those 8 years, I just never got to the composing and recording part. A lot of unfinished ideas piled up, it was a real relief to create this album.
The new album titled “Kietlen” was released 15th February. I think your music developed a lot and got even more refined! Even though there was no new Marblebog song released, you advancing was still on track! Am I correct?
I’d like to clarify here, that the digital and CD format was released in February, while the tape was released back in December. Half of the album was written a long time ago, there was a riff originated in 2003, before the release of my first album, but several other ideas were created around 2005. The other half of the riffs were written around 2018-2019, but there is no distinction in the songs between old and new, almost all of them have elements from both. I don’t feel too much of a difference between the new and old riffs, all of them came from the same source.
Is everything your own creation, or were there external forces helping out?
For this comeback album, it was important to me to do everything myself, just like in the beginning. This is a deep, personal material, and looking at the previously mentioned rough patch in my life, it would have been strange to get someone else involved. The whole process was quite exhausting, I don’t have the time that I used to have and I wanted to make a more serious album; writing the music and lyrics, recording all the instruments, mixing, designing the cover all by myself made me feel quite miserable sometimes. However it was worth it, you really can’t compare it to anything when, after beating all the obstacles, you are finished.
I dare say this will be your most listened-to album, as I think it is top notch work! What do you think? Where do you think it’s better compared to the earlier releases?
So be it! This is the first album where I managed to come close to the sound I pictured in my mind. It’s a richer, more layered sound, a lot of tiny, fine nuance got on the disc.
Compared to the creation phases many years ago, what did you do differently?
All the old Marblebog stuff, from the first demo until the last released single was recorded with the same lousy equipment that I could get when I was 14. Over the past few years I built a – compared to the previous one – more serious home studio, so this time I had everything recorded with professional gear. There are more work hours in this album than all the old stuff combined, but I still left in a few mistakes, I didn’t want to overdo the polishing. I used a classical guitar in the intro and outro, which is definitely a new thing for me. I didn’t want to put individual ambient songs on the album, but every song has synthesizer tracks, the guitars are EQ-ed high on purpose and there is still a lot of reverb. I grew up on 80’s rock and metal, I can hardly imagine a Marblebog album without reverb. The vocals are a bit different than they were, instead of the screams and standard shrieks I tried a different method for vocalizing, which resulted in this inhuman, Gollum-like sound.
Full moon really has it’s effect on people, and on the cover you see such a phenomenon. We can think all kinds of things about it. Why did you use this to visualize “Kietlen”?
I like photography and there’s this favourite rock I have nearby which truly inspires me. I regularly visit it to clear my thoughts. It was happenstance that it was a full moon, was a 13th Friday, and although it doesn’t hold a meaning, I had this old-school feeling captured in that moment.
Have you ever thought about not returning to music over the years? What kind of influences and changes happened to you?
I always wanted to play music, but during my inactive period circumstances simply came together in a way that stopped me from it. I can barely imagine not playing music, it doesn’t matter whether it is heavy guitar oriented music or some electric stuff. Even today I actively seek out and discover new music, but I also read a lot and I’m a movie nerd. A painting or photo can also move me. My primary inspiration was always nature, I always feel a strange duality there – on one hand, my mind relaxes, on the other hand I get a lot of ideas, and it helps to get my ideas into form. But I can also be inspired by a run-down train station or a sci-fi short story, they simply don’t appear so directly in my music.
Besides Marblebog, do you play anywhere else, or plan on doing so?
I create ambient music with synthesizers and other gadgets under the name Asattarn. Honestly speaking, without Asattarn there would be no Marblebog today. When I started making music again, I used synthesizers, this resulted in Asattarn. I released the first Asattarn album in Autumn 2018, titled “An Old Beginning”. It featured two acoustic songs at the end where I used several ideas I’ve written for Marblebog. When the album came out, I had the feeling that I have to make also a distorted guitar version of those songs, which was the first step towards the Marblebog return album. Last year an Asattarn/Teophania split was also released on tape and CD, for which I recorded a 20 minute song. Asattarn’s second album titled “Mu” will be released this Spring. With this album I wanted to move away from the “black metal musician’s dark ambient project” phenomenon, as this is very calm, meditative material. This year I’ll have two other splits with Hungarian ambient groups. Besides this, recently I have a strong urge to start a more traditional heavy metal/doom band with guitar solos and clean vocals. We’ll see how and when this will happen.
Over the years you’ve had several split releases. Did you get a lot of requests, or how did it happen?
This is the nature of underground. I was very deep in the tape and CD trade as a teen, then when I actively started making music it was a given to trade my stuff with other bands and labels, so I got to know a lot of people. First I started doing split releases with Hungarian bands, then came the bands from abroad. I usually did splits with bands with whom I was friends with, if I just got a request out of the blue I usually rejected it. At the end I stretched myself too thin, one of the reasons I’ve thrown in the towel in 2010. At that time I even canceled a couple of arranged splits and there were people who didn’t take it well. Currently I’m not planning on doing split releases since I can better establish this unique atmosphere in the form of an individual album. I don’t want to mish-mash themes.
The album has a 100 unit casette release. Can people still get their hands on one? : ) Do you think there will be a re-release.
Cassettes are already sold out from me but they are still available at Dread Records. The CD version is released by Cyclopean Eye Productions in India, that’s a digipak edition limited to 300 copies which we’ll definitely have in stock for a while for sure. The next thing will be a t-shirt with the logo drawn by Christophe Szpajdel, the one I’ve used in the new re-releases and on the new album. If everything goes according to plan, there will also be a vinyl LP.
I know that big publishers don’t matter to you, but I’m interested on how you choose the ideal publisher whom you trust?
I really don’t know, they always found me, I never had to go knocking on doors and I don’t intend to. There were ones with whom cooperation was successful, and others with whom not so much. Good communication is important and I like the personal touch. I’m on friendly terms with the people I work with now, we’ve known each other for many years now. Over the past few years, the three old Marblebog albums were re-released by the US based Dread Records on tape so it was a given that they would release the tape version of the new album. We know each other with Sandesh for 15 years now, he is behind Cyclopean Eye Productions, so when he heard that I’m recording a new album, he immediately offered to do the CD version. Both labels made their offers without even hearing the new songs, so the mutual trust was present.
Is a more active period coming for Marblebog? We won’t have to wait another 10 years for a new release? What are your plans?
I still have a couple of things up my sleeve from the earlier periods, but those aren’t really the style of Marblebog. Of course new riffs come regularly, even for “Kietlen” a lot of stuff was written last year. Back then, I wrote and recorded “Csendhajnal” in one day, so I can’t predict it. I feel I still have Marblebog songs in me, among others. Considering releases, the tape reissue of the 2003 mini-album “Ermitus” is coming this Spring with a new layout, and after that hopefully “Csendhajnal” will also be released as an LP, although only next year. Concerning Asattarn I’m pretty much scheduled for the whole of 2020.
What peaks your interest the most currently? What are you looking for, what ties you down?
The music projects take up most of my freetime, it’s good to delve deep in them.
Thank you! May the cosmic forces and the spirit of Bükk be with you!
Thank you for the interview!
Marblebog: https://marblebog.com/ Asattarn: https://asattarn.com/