After a message sent on Facebook, we had the opportunity to meet Zoltán « Zoli » Farkas, guitarist/vocalist but also Ektomorf‘s founder, a hungarian band with many influences. Interview in L’Empreinte’s backstage at Savigny-Le-Temple (77).
- Could you introduce the band and yourself?
My name is Zoli from Ektomorf and we come from Hungary.
- How would you describe Ektomorf’s music to someone that never heard about the band before?
I would say it’s like Groove Metal with some thrash Metal and even with some Death Metal in it, a little bit. Like a big crossover.
- How do you feel being back in France? What do you think about French fans in general?
Actually we didn’t play too much in France maybe a few shows, but last night we had a show which was incredible. I mean we played there for the very first time and it was as if we already played there ten times before: the fans were crazy! And also, the tour we did in 2013, in Paris, it was our first time there and the fans were also crazy. French fans are good!
- How does the musical creation process work in Ektomorf?
I write the songs. I usually jam at home on my lap-top, I have a cool application for guitar and some drum grooves. And I just put the song together, and when it’s done, I just show it to the guys and we put it really together in the bandroom and we go at it. It’s that simple.
- About the line-up, was there any change between your first and last record?
There was a few line-up change. I mean my brother was in the band, as a bass player, for like…I don’t know how many years but for a long time. Then my guitarist took his role as a bass player and he’s there since then. Then Róbert, our drummer, he’s the youngest in the band, he is there since five years. And Tamás is there since eight years, I think. And I’m there since forever.
- Do you think these line-up changes affect the band itself or maybe your motivation sometimes?
No, never. A line-up change shouldn’t affect anything except… You know things happen like if someone wants to go, then go. This is our idea but when I was like 14-15 years old and I made the band, it hurt really much. And I wanted to keep someone there because I thought it was going to be forever. But now, I know it’s not. Of course, I’m 41 years old now, and if some problem comes up between the four of us, we sit down and talk, that’s the way. And we try to solve the problems because we want to stay together because the line-up we have now it’s really strong. So, in the past, the line-up changes… I didn’’t regret any.
- You had an acoustic tour back in 2010, was it as intense as the show you usually play? Was it hard to transpose Ektomorf’s music to acoustic?
I don’t know, I just got this fever for acoustic music, I always loved it! And I told them I was going to make an album and I asked my record company, and they said “You’re fucking crazy”, since Etkomorf’s music is not about melody. But I really would like to do it and so we did it and we had a few show with it, I think three or four, and that was it. Then for a while, it was in the set and I played some songs, along with a guitar, but not anymore. It was just an experience but I still love it. I mean I play at home and if you check, for example my Facebook, I still post songs when I sing like Lynyrd Skynyrd, like “Simple Man” and stuff like this because I love that, I still love that. But I don’t really want to put this in Ektomorf because the band is going in a really heavy way, heavier than ever before. And I think this is what Ektomorf was made for and this is what our fans love too.
- Why did you choose extended range guitars and why do you tune your instruments so low?
We play on eight strings guitars, I tried the seven but I didn’t really feel a big difference between six and seven, but between six and eight, I really felt the difference. I’m not a shredder, I can’t really shred, I’m more like rhythm guitar player and song writer. And the raison we use eight strings guitars, with extended range, is because when you tune low, the sound is still very tight. Because if you tune low a six strings guitar, you started to lose the sound and it becomes really muddy. But eight strings guitar is going to be really tight and punch in the face. But you know, it was an experiment for like three of four months to find out what was the best: if we stay with the six, or go for the eight. But the eight just sounds much, much, much, much better! So we stayed with eight. And I don’t think we ever go back to six from now on.
- Was it easy to convince Corpsegrinder from Cannibal Corpse to sing with you on the last album?
We’re friends! (laugh) I don’t think he would do for anyone just like: “Hey! I’m a fan! Would you do a song with me?”. Because you know he is on the top of Death Metal singers. We’re friends since a long time and we met in Budapest at a show they played, I was there to see them, and I said: “You know, what about a song together?”, then he said “Yeah, let’s do it!”. So I sent him the demo and he loved it. Everything was easy except the recording which took like a year! You know he was always on tour, I was always on tour… It wasn’t easy to put the things together, but before we recorded the album, they played in Budapest again, in the summer, and we recorded the song in their dressing room! I drove there, I took my computer and a microphone, and he just sings. He is a professional, it was done in like 15 or 20 minutes! His voice, man! It’s like a fucking thunder! I don’t know if you met him but when he speaks, he has a voice like me, sort of raw, but when he starts to sing, man…It’s like a fucking thunder! He is so loud! And then I felt it, my computer was on the couch and I felt it fucking vibrating from his voice. He is the best! And he is a really, really fucking nice guy!
- Why was it important for you to release a song called “Holocaust”, “in memory of the 6 millions of victims”, as you said in the beginning of the video clip?
I’m a Gipsy, my father is a Gipsy and my grand-father was almost taken to Auschwitz, and he could escape. But it almost happened and he told me many stories about that. Actually, the very first Ektomorf’s demo was called “Holocaust”. I wrote the song and I knew this song was going to be about this subject. There were no lyrics and I wanted to give it different titles such as: “The voices of Holocaust”, or something about Auschwitz, but I was like “Let’s just call it Holocaust.”. And I was always against racism, always, so this song is really important to me. And we shot the video in Auschwitz. We didn’t get a permit, they didn’t let us doing it, so we just went there and we recorded at eight in the morning. So I thought maybe they will come back to us and fuck with us but they didn’t. I think the reason is because when you see this video, you understand that this actually for all of the victims, like a memory.
- You come from Hungary, a country we don’t really know about, how is the Metal scene in this country? Would you say that a specific Metal genre is dominating the Hungarian musical scene?
You can find all the kind of Metal genres there, like Black Metal, Death Metal, Punk Rock, anything. But, of course, it is a small country so you don’t have many places to play, I mean maybe a few towns and cities and that’s it. But there is like really good bands, and especially one big band which is playing in stadiums, they are more like Punk Rock. We’ve been a part of this but in 1999, we needed to do something because I saw that the circle was getting always smaller, and thank God, we made it.
- What would be the best line-up ever that you would dream of going on tour with?
Like an imaginary band, with members? That’s tough man! (laugh) I don’t know… I love Slayer so for sure… But I love Metallica so it is hard to choose a frontman. Ok let’s put together something like… Kerry King would play the guitar, and Georges “Corpsegrinder” would sing. Roy Mayorga would play drums, from the back days of Soulfly. And on bass… (Szabi Murvai, Ektomorf’s bass player is waving his hand behind us so Zoltán would notice him, which makes everyone laugh). Paul Gray, who died, unfortunately, from Slipknot. That would be my line-up!
- It should be really epic!
And I need to pick up another guitar player too! (Darren, XtortYa’s guitar player, raises his hand, which, once again, makes everyone laugh) You? (Darren: “I’ll do it!”) So, then… Man… James Hetfield, so he can sing too, some parts because for me, Georges is like… But they can sing together sometimes!
- Do you prefer an epic lead guitar or a lumbering rhythm part?
I’m more like a rhythm guy so I like more a song, even with a cool lead, which you listen to and it can’t get out of your head for months! And then you remember it forever. But I also love some cool solos… If there is a lead, for me the lead should be short and very memorable so that it is stuck in your head. The big shreddings, without a reason, just to show how good and fast I can shred… That doesn’t catch me.
- What is the first Metal song you ever listened to?
The first Metal song? It was Accept’s “Metal Heart”. That was the first one… These mother fuckers (probably the rest of his band) keep making it embarrassing! And I think it is a cool song, and the whole album is great!
- Why do you play Metal music?
I can’t explain, man… That’s in my nature, that’s what catches me the most and I think this music represents my personality.
- So when did you decide that you wanted to play Metal music as a professional?
I think I was 14 years old, and I am now 41… You see, some people say that with time, you just grow old and you say: “It was good when you were a kid !”, but I want to keep it forever, that’s in my veins!
- We wish that go on forever! Then what is the most insane dedication you received from a fan?
There is many, I mean for me, even when they stand at the bus, when I step out from the bus and there is some fans with CD’s to sign and it’s fucking freezing outside but they stand there, I think our fans are amazing… But you know, when they made the fucking Ektomorf’s symbol in their skin, as an ink… Or someone came to me to sign on his shoulder and, it was a guy, he said “I’m gonna make a tattoo of it!”, and I didn’t really believe it but he fucking did it! And it is not just one, there is many more like this! So for me, all the dedications from the fans, buying the CD’s, watching the videos, coming to our shows, support the bands. Without our fans, we would be fucking over, we could play in our rooms, for ourselves. So everything is a dedication from them, but what makes me like cheer is the tattoos. There was a guy, in Germany, who made a portrait of me with two guitars on his fucking leg and it was like paint and I was just like: “Wow, man! Awesome!”. I love all our fans!
- The last question: what was your last musical crush? Any bands to recommend to us?
From new bands? Well… That’s tough because actually, it is hard to say but I can’t really listen to the new bands… I would love to and I’m always checking stuff but I just don’t find this special thing I found in the old bands. There was Suicide Silence for a while, to me. I like them because they are really heavy, but their new album…you have to listen to it a lot to accept it. But for new bands, I can say none right now.
- Do you have some words in Hungarian to conclude?
(All the musicians of the band are saying stuff in Hungarian and everyone laugh) Ah don’t listen to these motherfuckers! So I would say: “K?szi szépen hogy j?ttetek és k?szi Szuportot”. That means: “Thank you very much for coming up here and thank you for your support!”.