Hungary, Budapest, which is said to be “quite in the middle of nowhere in the international rock world” is the home of THE HELLFREAKS.
A Punk Rock band considered unique in their country. is one of just very few bands who are into rock music with a girl in the front, but definitely no punk rock bands with a female singer. But somehow, with a bit of luck and hell lot of work they have managed to play way more shows over the border than in Hungary. We played over 200 gigs across Europe and also made it over the big pond and toured in the US.
After many line-up changes, the only original band member is their singer, Shakey Sue, who literally grew up with this band. Not only the line up has changed, but also the music, which started as a hobby band, but grew into a life absorbing passion, with music that was way more ’billy influenced, but by this time this band has climbed up so many levels and now are a modern punk rock group.
Hell was full so they came back! Their return to this world began in February 2009 when Shakey Sue and her guitarist decided to amp up the sophistication of the music they were playing as members of an established surf-psycho band. Sue abandoned her drumsticks and the guitarist grabbed his Gretsch and after teaming up with two other friends who were rocking the punk world, the Hellfreaks were born.
Rather than trying to hide their horns any longer, they combined their musical roots and the result was an original hard hitting sound.
During the summer of 2009 they recorded their first demo. That very same year the Program For National Contemporary Music Culture in Hungary invited applications for music and motion pictures. Despite over 180 submissions, The Hellfreaks won the competition which gave them the funds required to produce their first music video for their single „Boogieman” which instantly resulted in over millions of views on Youtube. The video became one of the most viewed psychobilly videos ever!
At the beginning of 2010 the band released their debut album „Hell Sweet Hell” which was an almost immediate success being sold to fans from Alaska to Australia, from Budapest to Birmingham.
THE HELLFREAKS have released 3 albums and a couple of videoclips, which count more than 6 million views together. They very happy about how things turned out but we swear that we’re still far from the finish line!
In this interview, IndiePulse Music speaks with a group that has been through a lot and will stand for more to be the best.
IPM: What inspired you to write music like you do
Basically we wanted to do something true. That’s the simplified answer.
We have almost 10 years as a band behind our backs, and at the beginning we started on an other road, which was way more into horrorpunk, psychobilly. But after a couple of years we felt like being choked by the limitations of these genres.
We’re all kids of rock’n roll, but we are all from a different corner of rock music. What we do now is just let ourselves do what feels natural for all of us and do something that counts in the end. That’s why we like to label it as modern punk rock. It has its punk attitude, but by far not in the classical ACAB way. Same musically-wise – you feel the rebellious, energetic spirit in it, but you can’t name it with one word. It’s a mix of all that we like and that’s the only way we could turn it to something unique.
IPM: Tell us about the other members of the band, and of your chemistry.
Well, my name is Sue, singer and only former band member of the Hellfreaks. I’m pretty much the tiger mom of this band, and I’ve been through all the ups and downs in our band history. To summarize myself: I’m a workaholic, I don’t believe in talent, I believe in hard work, I’m a modern witch, an engineer and a totally crazy cat lady.
One of the biggest heart and soul of our current line up is Gabi Domján, who is our bass player and the mastermind of our music. He is one of the very best bass players Hungary, is a bass-addict in every aspect, and has to live with four cats.
Our guitar player, Jozzy, is our newest member. He joined the band a couple of weeks ago, but is a perfect match for us. He plays in a several bands, has the most wonderful beard on earth, a muscular body without doing proper training , has 4 kids and seems to be okay with cats.
Our beloved drummer Béla Budai has been our love-at-first-sight for 2 years now. He & Jozzy were bandmates in the past in a pretty famous Hungarian rock band called Leander Rising. With these guys we have an extremely strong line up, and yes, we are stronger than ever. Béla might be the only human on earth who doesn’t like cats but I still like him.
One day he will accept their regime anyway.
He has to.
IPM: What are or were some of the challenges for you in producing or performing while keeping true to your vision of your music.
Basically the hardest part is time management and setting the right priorities in life. When we started this band, all of the members were studying and we didn’t have the responsibilities which normally turn up when we all grow up.
Having the dream of playing in a band, touring around the world, doing what you love is the easy part. I guess many many people out there would totally love to join this ride. But when it’s about the true side of the story – how much hard work, how many sacrifices you have to make, how many ungrateful aspects music business has, how often it hurts, how often you feel humiliated even when you’re doing your very best … Many people jump off the boat when they start to see these things clearly, that’s why one of the hardest parts was to find the right people to walk along this road with and to learn that it doesn’t matter how hard it hits, you have to stand up.
IPM: Tell us about some of your recent shows / performances.
We just played at EXIT Festival in Serbia, which is awarded as the Best Major Festival in 2018. That was pretty cool, especially as the festival is taking place in the fortress of Novi Sad.
IPM: Any Albums coming out soon or shows you are looking to promote.
We’re working on our new album, our 4th longplayer right now, and are just in the middle of the writing process. We have some very interesting co-operations, the first time that we have a producer on board as well. So there will be many interesting things to talk about, but not yet..But of course we’ll also have some shows across Europe and hope to see many of you!
17.08 – CZ, Fest Pod Parou
02.10 – DE, Sonthofen at Barfly-Sonthofen
03.10 – DE, München at Bürgerhaus Glockenbachwerkstatt
04.10 – DE, Ludwigsburg at Rocknrollbar Ludwigsburg
05.10 – CH, Meyrin at Undertown
06.10 – IT, Treviso at Nasty Boys
31.10 – DE, Frankfurt Am Main at Das Bett
01.11 – DE, SubKultur – Hannover
02.11 – DE, Erfurt at Ilvers Musikbar
03.11 – DE, Berlin at Wild At Heart
04.11 – CZ, Prague at Café Na Pul Cesty
16.11 – HU, Budapest at Robot
IPM: Any “strange tales” or things that may have happened during a show that seemed too weird to be true?
We’ve been touring for almost 10 years now all around Europe, but so far, the stage has always been our “safety zone” … or just all the strange things that happen seem normal for us after all.
IPM: Where do you see your music going, where would you like to be in the near future, goals, dreams and passions?
This band is by far more than just a hobby. It’s our everything, and as long as we see and feel that we are developing step by step, as long as we are walking along the right road. We don’t have any big goals, because in that case we might feel empty when we’ve reached it. We simply want more: more shows, more countries to discover, more time to have to spend with music, more adventures, more possibilities. We already made it once to the US, but we really would like to make it back. We really want to see Japan and Australia and we hope to be able to open these doors one day with our music.
IPM: What would you like our readers to know about you.
I think that it’s a very important fact that we are Hungarians. And at this point, I would like to make a shout out in the name of all the bands who come from Eastern Europe and are successfully touring around the continent or made it even more far: if you see a band performing in your town from this area, just go to their godd**n show! Why? Because all of them worked 3 times more than any band had to from the Western part of our continent. First – they deserve it, and second – if they managed it so far, trust me, they have to be something special as they might have had to move mountains to make it to your doors!
IPM: Where can our readers find your music?
Our Website: www.thehellfreaks.com and online at the following links –
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHellfreaks
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thehellfreaks/
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/thehellfreaks
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