dare to experiment with song structures and sounds

Angertea

Thanks again for agreeing to this interview, Gergely! Let's get started.  Would you mind telling me a little about yourself, Angertea, and how the band originally came to be as it is today?

Hi! I'm Gergely Mihaly, the singer and guitarrist of Angertea. Besides the band I teach at a grammar school in Szentes, Hungary. And I also paint pictures in my free time, which has become my second profession lately. One of my latest paintings can be seen on Angertea's new album cover.
Angertea has been together since secondary school. We started off as a usual school-band with 2 of my close friends. We didn't really have any serious plans, or aims, just wanted to have fun, and we thought that it would be easier to get girlfriends this way... :) In 1998 the original drummer left the band, and Ottó joined us, and since then there has been no change in the band. 18 years... We've toured a lot especially in Hungary, and we've had 4 albums and an EP mixed by Grammy-Award winner producer, Neil Kernon, who discovered us back in 2011. Due to this discovery we got a record contract from Norwegian Smash Fabrick Records, where our latest album came out, and now we're signed to Inverse Records where our fifth album, entitled Snakes in Blossom is released this March. We like to invite our childhood heroes on our records as guest musicians, and we've already had Scott Reeder from Kyuss, or Bill Gould from Faith No More, and now on this current album Franz Stahl from Scream-Foo Fighters. 

18 years is a long run! How do you feel your latest record, Snakes In Blossom compares to your past material?

For me this record seems to be the most mature one of all our albums. Throughout the years we've gained a lot of experience in writing and recording songs, so I think these songs are the most professionally written ones, we've ever done. Though Snakes in Blossom is longer than our previous 2 albums. It's almost 50 minutes long which may be a bit much for an average listener, but we made this album for fanatics who have the time and devotion to this type of music. :) I hope they will enjoy the album. :)

Fifty minutes is a lot of time spent writing/rehearsing. I'd guess even those who aren't "diehard" fans could appreciate the dedication and effort you guys put into the length and quality of the music. When it comes to writing, how do you handle the process? Is it done as a unit, or do individual members handle the composition?

I hope the fans will appreciate it! :) Well, we always compose the songs together in the rehearsal room. There are individual ideas, so a member, even our drummer brings an idea, or a complete song, a rythm, anything... Then the other two members add their own ideas to it, and this way does a complete song build up. Then we record it as we play at the rehearsal, and everyone gets the recording, and starts to shape the song at home. Then at the following rehearsal new ideas are added. We argue a lot this time, but it's worth it, I guess! :) It's quite a long process, but we've been doing it for 20 years now, and it doesn't seem to change.

That sounds like a great system. Having everyone come together and express themselves; each member being such a big part of what makes the band, THE band-that's what its all about. What are/were Angertea's biggest influences? And I'm not just talking musical; are there any universal ideals, or elements that brought and held the band together in the beginning? Or even continue to do so now?

We started it in the late 90s, in 96, when we were still teeneagers. Bands of the nineties had a huge influence on us then. And they are the basis fo our sound. Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, so grunge bands, but we've always liked metal as well, like Pantera, Sepultura. Then later we started listening to Tool as well, and it also influenced/influences us a lot. And there are a lot more bands to learn a bit from. Even bands we tour with, or just accidentally listen to. We like creative people. Besides all these we have been shaped by the environment we live in, too. This is the Great Plain of Hungary. It's a beautiful huge area with the river Tisza. We even wrote a song about the river on Snakes in Blossom. So living in this area, baing part of it also influences our sound, and attitude.

In your twenty-plus years as a band, do you believe the music industry has changed much? And if so, to what degree? And do you think it's for the better, or worse off than it used to be?

Twenty years ago the internet wasn't as much available as it is today. And that age had some advantages and drawbacks as well. It was much more difficult to get your music to people, but the ones that got it, listened to it more carefully than today. Nowadays with the help of the net, thousands of bands try to make people listen to their stuff. Everything is in front of you. Hundreds of records are out every month, and most bands write songs accourding to a recipe, to have an instant effect on you. And that's why they are quite similar to each other. There are only a few bands that dare to be different. It's a risk, because if someting is different, it might seem strange, or bizarre to people, but I like to call ourselves an experimantal band, who dare to experiment with song structures and sounds. That's why we may not have as many fans as a recipe-based band, but we don't really care about it. This band is not about a schedule, or plan, it shows what we are. It's a piece of art, not a industry product.

I can appreciate that. I'd like to think I have the same values. Music should be about artistic expression, and creativity, not solely about pleasing the masses. Going back to talk of your latest release, Snakes In Blossom-What is the story behind the album, lyrically?

Basically I like dealing with the issues that happen to me in everyday life. My personal things, you know... The title came from my past 3 years' experience. I had a really great time 2-3 years ago, having a really beautiful girlfriend, good job, good salary, happy life... Then all of a sudden everything changed. She stabbed me in the back, and I felt that I've lost everything suddenly. I fell into a state, that I wouldn't wish to my enemies... So the basic story behind "Snakes in Blossom" is this. The snakes are always there in you life, treathening you, but there are good times, when you can't even imagine that they exist. You should always be careful... I got out of this horrible depressed state, but it wasn't easy. Writing music was one of the cures.

Life experience makes for great heartfelt music!  To finish up the interview, would you mind listing a few bands/albums that our readers should give a chance? Also, any last words?

Nowadays I mostly listen to great Hungarian bands that we tour with. Here are some names! It's really worth listening to their stuff, they are unique. The Hungarian underground is stronger than ever: Grand Mexican Warlock, Shapat Terror, Room Of The Mad Robots, Real Lies(RIP), Hot Beaver, Dereng, Omega Diatribe, Billog, Nova Prospect, Bekes Projekt, AEbsence, Wackor, Baby Bone, Apey and the Pea.
For last words I would encourage everybody to check out our new album, that can be listened to here.

Thanks for taking the time to talk! It's been good. We'll be seeing you around!
 

Joseph Prieto