Thy Catafalque Interview

So, it’s a pleasure to speak with you, and you have been making music for a long time now, and you have a lot of songs to your name, furthermore they are original and innovative. How would you describe yourself? Like your qualities as we were at a job interview.

I think I am more like a composer than a musician, because I enjoy composing music more than playing itself. And I have been playing with musicians before and I know how they operate and I am just not really like that. I prefer just making music myself, I mean composing music.

What was the first thing that got your mind hooked when you were little? Drawing, music, history…

I just wanted to do something creative, I remember that. I really enjoyed drawing first, and trying to paint and draw, but I think I found out really early that I was not able to draw what I imagined. So at one point I just stopped trying because I realised it was not working the way I would have liked to do it. After that we just got our computer, and then I was able to draw on the computer and playing music on it, and I had to programme it, it was a ZX Spectrum. It was in Basic language and you had to program it. It was only one channel, like chiptune, or it was even worse than chiptune, I don’t know.

As you started making music, you developed a steady growth to make it more colorful and unique. If we take your first album “Sublunary Tragedies”, what basic concepts did stick with you relating to your newer projects?

Sublunary Tragedies was the first one, we did it with János and it was our first album, and then it was a different approach. I mean we just wanted to make some really fast and extreme black metal, that was our goal. We did it and it has changed a lot during the years. I think our approach has changed and I got interested in other kinds of music as well, and of course it showed up in Thy Catafalque as well. The way I changed the music changed.

To the untrained ear your music may sound like chaos for the first listen, but if we dive deeper into it, we can realise how fantastic the world of Thy Catafalque is. Did anyone tell you before, that they think your music is pointless or way too crazy?

I remember when I started doing this Darklight thing, I wanted to play metal but I didn’t have a guitar, I did it on the computer with these pre-recorded midilike guitar samples. And at that point it was obvious and I was told that it didn’t make any sense because it was not real music. And I knew it was nothing really serious, but I was doing it because I simply just liked the way that I could just create something. I didn’t care about that because I just wanted to make some music. Whatever music it was. But after I started playing in Gire, it was a real metal band with real instruments and real guitars, it was an absolutely different level of music and it was much better, and then I started Thy Catafalque with János, so it was a different level. Yeah, we got some harsh reviews in the beginnings, but it is normal and those reviews were well deserved. I mean the bad ones, because the production was awful, but the music was quite interesting I think. And it was fresh but the execution was really not good, because we didn’t know how to record properly and how to play properly, so it was just awful, but the music itself I think it was exciting.

How many instruments can you play?

That’s again a question I can’t really answer, because I mean I can play some basic guitar and basic keyboards. I think that’s it. I am not a good musician as I said I think it’s obvious. But that’s why I feel safe at home. I am not really interested in playing live. It’s one of the reasons I am not so comfortable with playing music.

Back to your albums, your most recent album “Vadak” is coming out this June at the Season of Mist label. How did this album come to be so fast after the previous? Would you say it’s continuing the previous album or is it a change relating to it?

I work fast recently especially because of these circumstances that world is in. Everyone is at home, at least I am, I have an online job, I have the free time to play music, and that’s what I like to do so I just do it. Songs are coming out and and they are just getting done. I remember by the time Naiv was released I already had 1 or 2 songs finished for the new one, and it’s the same again. I already 2 songs, 2 and a half new songs that are not on Vadak. And the difference between the new one and Naiv I think this is less playful probably and darker in tone. But it wasn’t intentional, I didn’t want to make it darker but I don’t know it came like that. I think it’s a bit heavier probably, but it’s because the world has changed a lot and it has its effect on the music as well so, that’s the reason.

I think your label can offer enough promotion, but how do you feel about it? Do you think you are more out there since you signed with them? Are there more opportunities for you?

Of course! Obviously. I mean I’ve been at Season of Mist for 10 years now and it’s obvious that they have such promotion power that I would never have by myself. That is what a label is for. They do their best and I don’t have any complaint about anything at all. The albums are promoted very well, and the LPs and CDs are sold out and I don’t know what more I could achieve.

10 albums is a serious amount. Do you run away from the world into music, or do you use music as a way to keep you in the world?

Well it’s sort of an escapist music in a way. I am not totally separating myself from the world with the help from music, because I’ve always been like this. Even when I didn’t play music I was quite an introverted person, and still I am.

Once again there are a number of artists contributing on your record. How do you select the right musicians for the right parts? Does the picture aline during the writing process?

This time I wanted to make the sound a bit more natural, more organic, so I was looking for musicians to play instead of my keyboard as much as it was possible. So I was just looking for the right musicians and it was easy. I mean everything is online these days, I just contacted them or talked to them and they recorded, they sent the recording back and I just put it into music. I sort of experimented with the sound and it was quite a good adventure.

On the new album, 2 of the songs got their own clips, do you like the outcome of them? Does the final product resembles what you wanted?

The first one for Piros-sárga it wasn’t meant to be a video actually, we didn’t want to have a static image, so we just wanted to make something that is a bit more spectacular. So it was just a cheap, very easy video for that. And for the other one called Szarvas it was a bit more serious and more like a real video. And yeah I like it, although we didn’t have a much time for that. It was recorded in Portugal, of course I wasn’t there. And we had to hurry because it had to be done by the Roadburn Redux Festival. We had like 2 or 3 days to completely record it and it was how it was. But I think considering the short amount of time, they are fine.

At the end of June, there will be a plenty of formats where your music can be purchased. I think it will convince everyone and it’s gonna make them to buy a physical copy of it. How much do you think you gonna sell in 1 month? Is the number of copies sold important to you?

I have no idea actually, or I have some idea because I think the colour ones, the gold ones and the red ones are already sold out. I don’t know more about the numbers actually. I have no clue.

How do you see the current metal bands and why? How much do you think they focus on originality?

I don’t really follow the metal scene I just listen to music in general. Actually, I was listening to Nocturnus from 1992. That was the last album I was listening to yesterday. I am not really interested in following the latest wave of metal music, and I honestly don’t care about other bands being original or not. I am not interested in myself being original either. So I just want to make music and making good songs, and if they are something new, that’s fine and if they are not, I don’t mind. So this avant-garde and progressive thing is nothing I am really concerned about. I just want to make music without any boundaries and that’s all.

What was the last surprise you got. Do you like unexpected events?

Yeah, but man, it’s quite personal. I don’t tell the last surprise. The problem with this is that I don’t really like going personal and it always comes up. And it comes off as if I am being some kind of arrogant person but I am not, I just don’t want to talk much about my personal life. And it’s a bit of a problem for me, giving interviews because it always comes up. What I was about to say now, I would tell it to my close friends, but I just don’t want to share it with everyone. Sorry about this.

Are there any surprises expectable for the Thy Catafalque fans? How much do you usually plan ahead?

The are some surprises on the new album that you can hear. That’s my surpsise and I don’t have anything else in my bag. Musicwise there will be some elements I never did before.

These were all my questions, if you have anything left in you or to add, you are welcome to say it.

Thanks for having me, and it was a pleasure talking to you.

The interview was taken with Tamás Kátai on 11.05.2021.

***This interveiw is not complete, it is a cut verison.

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