Concrete Interview

The bands’ history reaches back almost 20 years, and the style is Thrash metal. You previously released an album and some EP’s, then split up. How did the band work around 2010? Did you manage to reach the goals you set for yourselves at the time?

D.M.: We worked entirely differently back then. We really wanted the band to succeed, to become self-sustaining and productive, so we gigged a lot and went on several smaller tours in neighboring countries. For this to work of course we needed new music, and by then we were way past the material for the Mörbid Carnage split and the earlier First Attack EP, so we recorded Revelations of Perdition in 2011. Even though we got back some positive reviews, we immediately felt that it wasn’t what we really wanted it to become. This totally bummed us out and had a much larger negative impact on our collective musical psyche than we wanted to admit to ourselves. We wanted to move on as soon as possible, so we started writing new material, but simply got stuck along the way. We had a couple of songs, a half-assed concept, even an album cover ordered from Balázs Jacsó, but after a certain point everything just fell apart. Rehearsals got canceled, conflicts started to pop up everywhere, and we had to admit that this isn’t working, it’s just become this huge pain in the ass.

R.S.: After releasing Revelations, the new songs started coming along incredibly slowly, we felt that we were going nowhere and that a new album or EP should have materialized already. Everything was just a total hassle. All of us had some or other musical project at the time, so I think that’s why we basically just said that if this particular one isn’t working, then let’s simply let it go.

In my opinion you belong among the top 3 thrash metal bands here in Hungary. Did you get any negative criticism along the way?

R.S.: Thanks a lot man, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten such a huge compliment! As far as I can remember the press was kind to us, so we didn’t really get any damning criticism, for the album or for our live performances.

As mentioned earlier, the band went on hiatus for quite a long time, but now you’re here, making music again. Who was the initiator here? What motivated you? What made Concrete breath again?

D.M.: last spring our bassist at the time Jani “Necrofaust” Horváth was in some random conversation with a mutual friend (Béla from label/distro Drinkin’ Beer in Bandana) when they came up with the idea that we should do a one-off reunion show at a gig Béla would be organizing. Jani wrote to the other band members and everyone jumped on board in a heartbeat. It was pretty clear even then that we were all thrilled for this opportunity to make music again, especially since several members now had a family and kids, and didn’t have a chance to make music in recent years, while some other members were doing stuff which wasn’t thrash. It quickly became apparent at rehearsals that this wouldn’t just be a one-off thing, but we didn’t want to go overboard either. The prevailing consensus was that we’ll just see where this all takes us, we’ll remain open to anything that comes along the way, but the most important thing is that we all have a good time and don’t try to move out of our comfort zone.

R.S.: Our reunion is totally thanks to Jani. I was really surprised when this idea first came up, but after hearing that everyone is in, I couldn’t say no either. After that first gig everyone got incredibly pumped, so we decided that we’ll continue making music in one way or another.

Luckily you put together the new album titled “High Evolution”! I think it’s great! The tracks are all flawless, and the whole thing has a lot of momentum and ferocity. When were the songs written and who’s in the band now?

D.M.: That’s really kind of you, thanks! The whole album was written between November 2022 and February 2023, except the opening track Quellcrist, which was still left over from before the hiatus, when we just weren’t motivated to put it together properly.
Currently we’re just a four-piece, same guys from before the hiatus, except for Jani. He was really excited for the reunion (and as I mentioned that was his idea entirely), but later on he realized that he just can’t put in the work required for an entire new album cycle. Not to mention that we’re still writing new songs – and this was definitely not what he signed up for. We sat down and talked it through and concluded that we’d go on without him, but he’ll always be an integral part of this band, even if not as the bassist.

R.S.: Jani is still our good friend, but we felt that we could continue on with a faster pace if it’s only the four of us. For this reason Dani and I recorded the bass tracks for the album.

Did the ideas come together quickly for High Evolution? How is a Concrete track born?

D.M.: the songs started coming together around last year’s “reunion” show, unusually organically. We basically had entire tracks just popping out of our brains, lyrics and all, even though we at first didn’t plan on writing anything new. Initially we thought “ok, we have a few new tracks, let’s record and release them as an EP, maybe a split with another band”. But the songs just didn’t stop coming, and that’s how Oh No Oh Fuck got its title: we’ve already drawn a line at 7 tracks, but that one just violently popped into existence in an instant. Ricsi Benkő and I wrote the tracks equally split, with him writing 4 and me writing 4. We had to realize that we just work way more efficiently when a composer puts an entire track in front of everyone, instead of the way we used to do it, which was throwing around riffs and ideas to see which ones stick.
That’s how we got each song to about 90%, which we then started rehearsing to death. But the remaining 10% is crucial: these are just the nonsensical ideas, phrases, vocals or gang vocal elements that we add on along the way or just in the studio. We had to realize that some of the weirdest ideas can be the best ones in practice, and that we shouldn’t say „no” to anything just because it sounds stupid or „unorthodox”. Unfortunately the others are still saying „no” to my idea of doing gang clapping, but they’ll come around eventually.
Strangely another big positive factor was that Stoffi no longer lives in the same country as the rest of the band. It sounds silly but it’s true: the fact that he was unable to make it to most of the rehearsals motivated him to find a small local studio where he can practice and record vocal tracks onto the instrumental demo tracks that Ricsi and I recorded and sent to him. This upped his game incredibly, and the result is very noticeable on the record.
It was very important for us to make sure that anything we put into the songs is relevant so there’s no filler, and we quickly realized that this makes the songs much shorter than we used to write, making them more condensed. We’d rather release a 20-minute LP where every riff and word is meaningful than have a longer record full of mid, stock riffs. Who has time to listen to 40-50 minute albums nowadays anyway?

R.S.: The songs start out from riffs of demo recordings that Dani and Ricsi record at home. Sometimes they have lyric ideas for them too, as was the case with City and Last Stand. In other cases maybe there’s just an idea, which can be based on just something somebody said during rehearsal, which later I write into a set of lyrics. We put together the drums with Bende during rehearsal, which usually gives another twist to the songs, because he has great ideas. As for gang clapping? That’s kind of hard to do at a gig where everyone has their hands full… 😀

What change would you mention compared to the old Concrete? Do you think you’ve come back better?

D.M.: Everything changed, everything. We talk a lot about why it is that everything’s just working out so much better now than back then, and we keep coming back to the conclusion that it’s because we’ve just gotten rid of all the pressure and preconceptions that were paralyzing us; we weren’t trying to force ourselves to write music or do shows, and we weren’t trying to squeeze “success” out of being in a band. We let everything go and the creative juices immediately started flowing. Rehearsals are a blast, we’re confident in the stuff we’re writing and sharing with our band mates, and it seems this is making us happier than back when we were trying to do everything by the book, the way it’s “supposed to be”, where you HAVE to write music, you HAVE to tour, you HAVE to succeed. Sean from Loathe put it really well in a recent interview: “Only write for yourself, and never consider what people might think of it… If you write with a purpose of doing something with it, it’s inauthentic and it’s not going to work.”

R.S.: Whether we’re better or not everyone can decide for themselves, but what’s entirely certain is that our approach is completely different. We put a lot into demoing, which gives the entire band a great picture of what a song is supposed to end up being. Neglecting to do this entirely is what made Revelations a bit of a bad gambit, and maybe the reason we weren’t very satisfied with it in the end, but at the time we were really in this “we HAVE to record this album” headspace.

Do you want to release this album on a label? How satisfied are you with releasing the album on streaming platforms?

D.M.: We definitely want to release the album on vinyl. A good buddy of ours has a label and even before the recordings told us that he’d be interested in releasing it, so hopefully this fall, winter latest, we’ll have the pressing, depending on how busy manufacturers are.
The streaming platforms were a totally new thing to us, not just because we’re all old farts by now and we didn’t even know half of them, but because when Revelations of Perdition came out in 2011 it was a no-brainer that we have to release it on CD, it would have been unthinkable to just release something digitally, it just wouldn’t have made any sense. These days it’s mandatory, we all listen to different streaming services, and admittedly, if you want ANYONE to listen to your music, it has to be there. Of course we could have waited with the digital release until we had a physical, but we were incredibly eager to release this album as soon as possible. We’re proud of this material and we wanted to show it to the world, and for that, streaming platforms are perfect.

R.S.: Everything was happening so fast that we just couldn’t wait for the physical press to release the album, even those 6 weeks were torture which were needed between the final mix being ready and the subsequent premier. We’re very satisfied with the end result, and we were really eager to hear how others react to it.

You’ll be playing with High Command, Inhuman Nature and some local bands on November 13. What should we expect from that night? Will this be the thrash metal show of the year?

R.S.: What can you expect? High Evolution from beginning to end, and the premier of our new bassist! 😉

What’s next? How much do you guys want to gig? How many opportunities are coming up?

D.M.: Luckily we’re all on the same page as far as the future of the band, and the consensus is that we only do whatever we’re all cool with, whenever that’s suitable for everyone. Since the release we’ve been getting more and more invites, especially to gigs next year, and we’ve been offered quite a few great opportunities which we’re now discussing within the band – hopefully we’ll be able to grab as many as possible.

What can you promise, how many more albums will you write? When can we expect a follow-up?

D.M.: I think if we can stick to our guns and only do whatever is comfortable for everyone instead of trying to force ourselves in some direction, then we’ll be releasing a lot of new material in the future. We already have almost an album worth of newer songs written, which we just need to hammer out in the rehearsal room, and off to the studio it is. Crazy!!

R.S.: We already have a bunch of new material which can be on a potential new record, and there’s also stuff that I still want to add. Dani and Ricsi are on fire, and they’ve got some great ideas.

What do you guys have for sale currently, in terms of releases and merch?

D.M.: Not a damn thing, unless you count the digital download on Bandcamp. We’re aiming to produce some merch for the November gig, including some new t-shirt designs, and hopefully have the vinyl available before the year’s up. That’s what we get for throwing this album out there so quickly I suppose, we were totally unprepared

S.R.: We’re hoping to have shirts for the November gig, but as we said, we were really eager to share the release as soon as possible.

How did you get into Thrash metal? Do you think there’s anything new someone can bring to this genre in this day and age?

S.R.: I have a distant memory from when I was about 7-8 years old, it was my first time listening to Kreator’s “Come of Souls” with my older brother. I can clearly remember the beginning of the track “When the sun burns red”; something struck me like lightning, something which brings me back to this genre day by day.
I don’t really think there’s anything “new” to be brought into this kind of music, but I don’t really think that’s necessary either. I don’t think something needs to be genre-defining to be a great album, it just needs to be something that catches your attention and makes you start headbanging.

M.D.: I was 11 years old when I went over to one of my friends’ place to hang out when he pulled out an …And Justice For All cassette that he got from his older brother I think. I just started playing guitar at the time and I immediately thought “this is it, THIS is what I have to play!”. If that person is reading this interview, then let me take this opportunity to say: I hate you, you are an asshole. <3

Thanks for the answers, I’m glad you guys exist again!

M.D.: thank you for this opportunity, let’s hope we don’t fade out of existence again any time soon!

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CONCRETE – High Evolution album premier


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